Mock drafting is a funny process that involves endless permutations of possibilities. I posted my latest go at guessing the first round of NFL's late-April party yesterday and want to offer some context to several vital selections.
Fluker probably a fluke at 11
Eric Fisher, No. 1: While Luke Joeckel is the safer, more complete blind-side blocker, Fisher's athleticism gives him a better chance than most think to join Andy Reid's offense. Fisher would augment the West Coast system, and the mobility and aggressiveness scouts love probably would make Alex Smith more comfortable if he has to go in motion. This is a true coin flip, and whoever doesn't go atop the board should at latest be claimed by the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 4.
Dion Jordan, No. 2: The fit in Gus Bradley's hybrid system as a versatile LEO LB would give Jacksonville a disruptive force they haven't had in a long time. Geno Smith and an interior defensive lineman are the only other valid directions (preferably the latter), to varying degrees, but Jordan could be one of those commodities that bolsters the rest of the D with his mere presence, so if they grade him as the best talent AND the most dynamic piece, then he's the grab.
Ezekiel Ansah, No. 5: The Detroit Lions' first-hand experience working with the raw but ridiculously gifted Ansah at the Senior Bowl should go a long way with increasing their first-round comfort. Top-rated cornerback Dee Milliner is the only other appropriately valued option they'd consider if both Fisher and Joeckel are crossed off. They can probably fill their left tackle need with a fringe first-rounder, such as Terron Armstead, Justin Pugh or Menelik Watson, with the fourth selection in Round 2.
D.J. Fluker, No. 11: This will probably change heading into the primetime event, but since guessing swaps wasn't a part of this exercise, I took the mindset that the San Diego Chargers would reach for an elite-potential tackle if they missed out on Lane Johnson. This could easily be one of the first-round guards, and SD could trade up to block the Arizona Cardinals from taking said LT.
Tyler Eifert, No. 13: If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers use this to land Darrelle Revis, this is moot. And this slot could provide a cornerback, maybe Desmond Trufant if they want to reach if Xavier Rhodes is gone, as I project. But Greg Schiano's hints that he doesn't necessarily back Josh Freeman could mean he's itching to get another receiving weapon. Eifert would give the Bucs a potential franchise offensive contributor at the position in a league that has embraced the offensive upside of this group of players.
Kenny Vaccaro, No. 16: The St. Louis Rams may snag Tavon Austin here (I have him going there with the Rams' second pick), but a few of the teams behind them (mainly the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants) would covet/ponder the former Longhorn to man their respective secondaries, so the Rams would block any concern to wait on this guy.
Stay tuned for my next update, when I'm betting all of these and more picks will change.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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