There is no Andrew Luck. No RG3. Not even a Matt Kalil or Trent Richardson. So without any "elite" prospects this season, projecting the draft should be easy, right? Actually, the opposite. Although it's a weaker class at the top from a year ago, it makes the first round much more interesting.
With a 2-14 record, the Kansas City Chiefs have the first overall pick for the first time in franchise history. And with an abysmal offensive display in 2012, quarterback will be the top need for the Chiefs this offseason.
In the 2008 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins' top need was at quarterback, but with the No. 1 overall selection, Miami decided to go with the "safe" pick (left tackle Jake Long), passing on Matt Ryan. Fast forward to the present and the Chiefs will face a similar conundrum: go with the reliable left tackle prospect (Luke Joeckel), or is there a quarterback the decision-makers at Arrowhead feel is worthy of the No. 1 overall pick?
NFL MOCK DRAFT
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Shortly after Andy Reid was hired in Philadelphia in 1999, he drafted a quarterback second overall (Donovan McNabb) and although he received criticism for the pick, it turned out to be the correct choice. Selecting Geno Smith No. 1 would bring some of the same criticism by some, but it would give the Chiefs a talented quarterback to build around.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State: The Jaguars have drafted offense in the top-10 the past two years (Blaine Gabbert, Justin Blackmon), but with with new GM David Caldwell running things in Jacksonville, any position is possible here. Jacksonville finished last in the league in sacks (20.0) and Werner brings an athletic, physical presence against both the run and pass, in the mold of Chris Long.
3. Oakland Raiders
Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU: The Raiders have a lot of beef on their defensive line, but need to add more speed to get after the passer, ranking 31st in the league in sacks (25.0) this season. Mingo has the athletic skill-set and potential that will be enticing for Oakland.
4. Philadelphia Eagles
Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M: Just like other positions on the Eagles depth chart, offensive tackle looked to be a strength, but injuries have really taken a toll on this team. Although Jason Peters injury situation will be a factor in Philadelphia choosing a tackle, Joeckel has the chance to grow into one of the NFL's best.
5. Detroit Lions
Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M: The Lions' future at defensive end looks uncertain right now with Cliff Avril about to hit free agency and Kyle Vanden Bosch turning 35 years old next season. Moore is still developing as a hand-in-the-ground edge rusher, but his motor and tenacity is enough to consider him a top-10 pick.
6. Cleveland Browns
Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama: Although they'll have a new head coach and GM, the Browns will probably give Brandon Weeden another year at quarterback, mostly because there aren't many options out there. The biggest need for Cleveland is in the secondary, lacking an impact corner opposite Joe Haden.
7. Arizona Cardinals
Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas: The Cardinals need help in a lot of areas on offense, most notably at quarterback and offensive tackle. With a new GM and head coach at the helm in Arizona, a quarterback is a strong possibility with this pick, possibly Tyler Wilson who might be the toughest prospect in this class, regardless of position.
8. Buffalo Bills
Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State: With new head coach Doug Marrone in Buffalo, his former Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib makes a lot of sense for the Bills in the second round. But Buffalo can't afford to pass on a quarterback in the first round if they feel another one is worth this pick.
9. NY Jets
Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia: The Jets need a lot of help in several areas, mostly on offense, including the quarterback position. But the Jets have struggled to put pressure on the opponents' backfield and Jones has thrived as a 3-4 pass rushing linebacker for the Bulldogs.
10. Tennessee Titans
Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama: As a former offensive lineman who was drafted in the top-10, Titans head coach Mike Munchak will undoubtedly be impressed with Warmack and with the future of both their starting guards (LeRoy Harris, Steve Hutchinson) in doubt, the Tide guard make sense here.
11. San Diego Chargers
Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan: The Chargers have questions at both tackle spots and while they hope Jared Gaither is part of the solution, his durability remains to be a concern. Fisher isn't flashy, but he could cement his top-15 status with a positive week in Mobile.
12. Miami Dolphins
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee: While Brian Hartline has stepped up this season, Miami receivers combined for just three touchdowns this season and the Dolphins need to get their young quarterback some help. Who will be the top receiver drafted? Keenan Allen and DeAndre Hopkins are options, but Patterson gets the edge right now.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State: Even before the Buccaneers traded Aqib Talib to the Patriots, the cornerback position was a weak spot for Tampa Bay. Rhodes doesn't have elite speed, but he plays quick, physical and smart with potential to be one of the best bump-and-run corners at the next level.
14. Carolina Panthers
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah: The interior of the Panthers' defensive line has been a question mark since Kris Jenkins left in 2007 and, ironically, Carolina haven't invested a top-50 draft pick on a defensive tackle since Jenkins over a decade ago. Lotulelei isn't as consistent as scouts would like, but when he's firing on all cylinders, he's tough to control.
15. New Orleans Saints
Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon: The Saints have several needs on the defensive side of the ball and with a draft strong on the defensive line, there is a good chance they choose either a tackle or end. Jordan is an intriguing prospect because while still unpolished in some areas, his combination of length and athleticism is truly impressive.
16. St. Louis Rams
Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma: The Rams still have hopes that Sam Bradford will get back on track, but the front office will need to add blockers in order to protect the former No. 1 overall pick. Johnson is a former QB, TE and DE who is still growing at the offensive tackle position, but the upside is off the charts.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers
Keenan Allen, WR, California: With Mike Wallace's future in Pittsburgh very much in doubt, the Steelers need to target a starting caliber receiver to compliment Antonio Brown. Allen's production suffered this past season due to inconsistent quarterback play, but he has all the tools to develop into a consistent NFL starter.
18. Dallas Cowboys
Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida: With Warmack off the board, there is a good chance the Cowboys switch gears to their needs on the defensive line, especially as they transition their defensive schemes. Floyd, who has experience both inside and outside on the line, would be able to fill a big need for Dallas' new-look defensive front.
19. NY Giants
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Brigham Young: Stop me if you've heard this before -- the Giants select the top pass rusher left on the board with their first-round pick. Ansah still needs a lot of work, but his NFL upside will land him in the top-20, if not higher.
20. Chicago Bears
Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame: Here is where we might start to see the ramifications of Taylor Lewan and Jake Matthews deciding to return to school, pushing other offensive tackles, arguably Chicago's top need, up the draft board and possibly out of the Bears range. Nonetheless, Te'o would give the Bears a young face for an older defense.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU: Cincinnati ranks near the top of the NFL in sacks, but most of that production is coming from inside (Geno Atkins) and Michael Johnson is set for free agency next year. Montgomery has a few question marks, but there is no doubt about his combination of athleticism and strength to create pressure in the backfield.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington)
Eric Reid, FS, LSU: The Rams upgraded their cornerbacks last season through free agency (Cortland Finnegan) and the draft (Janoris Jenkins) and should look at safety this offseason. Although he still has some maddening inconsistencies, Reid will likely be a hot commodity on draft day because of his size and speed.
23. Minnesota Vikings
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson: No one will mistake Christian Ponder for Peyton Manning, but the Vikings are currently connected to the former Florida State quarterback and need to add weapons to help him succeed. Hopkins isn't the biggest or the fastest, but he just makes plays on the field and finds ways to get open.
24. Indianapolis Colts
Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State: The Colts have done an admirable job on defense in their first season utilizing the 3-4 scheme, but need to add more bulk up front. Hankins has the natural size to be a space-eater in the middle, but also has experience on the outside, showing the versatility the NFL will love.
25. Seattle Seahawks
Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri: The Seahawks have one of the better defensive fronts in the NFC, but it wouldn't be surprising to see them add some depth, especially with Alan Branch slated to hit free agency in the winter. Richardson explodes off the snap and has the length and quickness to be effective against both the run and the pass.
26. Green Bay Packers
Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia: For most of the season, it seemed evident that the Packers needed to add more speed on defense and that was never more true than Green Bay's loss in the playoffs to San Francisco. Ogletree isn't the most natural fit in a 3-4 defense, but his rangy athleticism allows him to be used in a variety of ways.
27. Houston Texans
Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU: Both of the Texans' starters at inside linebacker are set for free agency after this season (Tim Dobbins, Bradie James) and it wouldn't be a shock if neither return. Minter has been a dominant run force for the Tigers this season and would brings Pro Bowl potential to the position in the NFL.
28. Denver Broncos
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame: The Broncos have Peyton Manning for the next year or two and should put as many weapons around him as possible. Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme are both solid players, but neither have the playmaking ability of the athletic tight end out of Notre Dame.
29. Baltimore Ravens
Matt Elam, SS, Florida: The Ravens are aging on defense and there are some concerns that Ed Reed might retire after the season. Elam doesn't look like much at 5-10 and 200 pounds, but he plays much bigger against both the run and the pass.
30. San Francisco 49ers
Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama: San Francisco has one of the more talented front-sevens in college football, but could use some more depth on the line, especially at nose tackle. Williams manned the nose spot in Alabama's 3-4 defense, but has the skill-set to play anywhere on the 49ers' defensive line.
31. New England Patriots
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia: With Wes Welker set for free agency, the Patriots might be looking for a new slot receiver and Tom Brady could do a lot with the versatile offensive ability of Tavon Austin.
32. Atlanta Falcons
Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford: Despite another productive season, future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez has said he will retire after this season so until we know otherwise, tight end is a big need for the Falcons this off-season. Ertz is a tough, reliable pass catcher who should be able to fill the shoes of Gonzalez.
Dane Brugler is a Draft Analyst for www.NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange.