Admit it. You missed me.
Many of you have asked (actually, none of you have asked... this just sounds better), what does the Predictificationist do in the offseason?
Do I use my powers to win at horse racing? No - that'd be wrong.
Go around winning NCAA Tournament Bracket Contests? No - I actually came in second place to my three year old daughter, Ellie. She predicted the Florida Gulf Coast, Harvard and LaSalle upsets and had Louisville as the eventual champion... no joke. (She has Predictificationist genes)
Predict the winner of 'Dancing with the Stars'? Ummm... No.
So far, I've spent the offseason moving into a new house, renewing my Colts season tickets (I'm five rows closer this year) and pretending that watching the Pacers is as great as Colts football (it's not). If you throw in a side of 'freezing my butt off' and 'salivating over free agency' you know about all there is to know about my offseason.
Man... I'm boring.
The good news is that new year is beginning and the ol' Predictificationist is off to a good start. That's right, so far I've correctly predicted that Carson Palmer would end up in Arizona, Steven Jackson to the Falcons and the signings of LaRon Landry and Gosder Cherilus (not to mention the Mike Wallace's, etc. that everyone knew before hand).
Enough with the nonsense. You want to know what is going to happen during the NFL Draft on Thursday, right? You've come to the right place. Read below as I make a mockery out of other mock drafts...
(Please note - Draft day trades are not included in this mock... the Predictomatic was running low on oil.)
1. Kansas City Chiefs - Luke Joeckel, T Texas A&M
This has seemed to be the pick all along. The only thing that could mess this up is the Branden Albert situation. On a side note, wouldn't it be something if the Chiefs signed a RT named John Hyde? Their line could be anchored by Joeckel and Hyde. (This is how my brain works)
2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Dion Jordan, DE Oregon
The Jaguars desperately want to trade down and accumulate some additional picks for the draft. Jacksonville's needs are many and one player isn't going to change that. Finding a willing trade partner will be tough (unless you're at the bottom of the first round) because almost every team wants to trade down.
3. Oakland Raiders - Shariff Floyd, DT Florida State
The Raiders will be without Al Davis on draft day for the first time in 50 years. Oakland has made it clear that they want to draft a player that can have an immediate impact - no reaching allowed.
4. Philadelphia Eagles - Eric Fisher, T Central Michigan
Some people have speculated that Chip Kelly may go after his quarterback of the future (like Geno Smith) or Dion Jordan (if he's available). I see the Eagles drafting one of the top tackles to help keep Michael Vick from ending up on his backside (and out of the ER)... but that's just me.
5. Detroit Lions - Dee Milliner, CB Alabama
There is a chance the Lions use this pick for the offensive line after losing Gosder Cherilus (to the Colts) and Jeff Backus (retirement). My gut says that they try to improve a defense that couldn't stop anybody last season. Milliner seems to be the best corner on the board and I think they swing for the fences.
6. Cleveland Browns - Ezekiel Ansah, DE BYU
The Browns played hard last season and made a splash in free agency with the signing of Paul Kruger (among others). Cleveland has a young offensive core and I think the Browns will add the best available player. Pairing Kruger and Ansah will make life hard on division rival QBs Ben Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco - if you can't join 'em, beat 'em.
7. Arizona Cardinals - Chance Warmack, G Alabama
Bruce Arians got his quarterback (Carson Palmer) and should now do everything he can to protect him. Remember the beating that Andrew Luck took last season? The Cardinals have said that they are happy with their tackles - which probably means they will upgrade at guard, right?
8. Buffalo Bills - Ryan Nassib, QB Syracuse
If you would have told me at this time last year that Nassib would be the first quarterback off the board I would have laughed... hard. This would be the dumbest pick of the first round if it goes the way many are predicting. Ideally the Bills would trade down (sound familiar?) and snag a quarterback later in the round.
9. New York Jets - Tavon Austin, WR West Virginia
Austin is probably the most explosive player in the draft - and the Jets need it. Some people think the Jets will try to immediately replace Darrelle Revis and LaRon Landry, but I'm not buying it. The Jets need something to get fans excited - and this pick would do it. I won't lie - I secretly covet Austin for the Colts and tried to find a way to make him slip for my mock draft... I couldn't do it.
10. Tennessee Titans - Star Lotulelei, DT Utah
The Titans would be thrilled to see Lotulelei fall to them at the tenth pick. Health concerns may have hurt his stock a bit but Tennessee shouldn't be scared off. Great value at #10 if he falls.
11. San Diego Chargers - Lane Johnson, T Oklahoma
The Chargers offensive line is sick - and Johnson just might be some of the medicine to make it better. After struggling last season it seems as though the team may be on the verge of a complete rebuild... time will tell.
12. Miami Dolphins - Xavier Rhodes, CB Florida State
With Dee Milliner off the board, the Dolphins take the CB with the biggest upside. Rhodes has great size and should help Miami fans forget about the two starting corners they've lost since the beginning of last season.
13. New York Jets - Barkevious Mingo
The Jets haven't been shy in pronouncing their love for Mingo - the only question is if it is a smoke screen. The Jets could potentially add two playmakers (one on each side of the ball) if the draft were to fall this way. On a side note, if this was the 'Who has the Coolest Name' draft Barkevious Mingo would be the #1 overall pick.
14. Carolina Panthers - Sheldon Richardson, DT Missouri
Some speculate that the Panthers may go after a WR with this pick but I think this team want to get better fast - and that starts from working on the trenches. Richardson would give the Panthers the help inside that it needs.
15. New Orleans Saints - Jarvis Jones, LB Georgia
Everyone is trying to put Jones on the Steelers because he would be 'such a perfect fit'. Well, unfortunately 16 other teams will have a say before the Steelers get a chance to pick - and I think the Saints will snag him. New Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan will want to change the mindset of one of the worst defenses and Jones is a good place to start.
16. St. Louis Rams - Jonathan Cooper, G North Carolina
The Rams got Jake Long in free agency and should add to the talent on the offensive line if Cooper is still available. They've invested heavily in Sam Bradford and should do everything they can to protect him. This is the first of two picks in the first round and should be able to find a replacement for Danny Amendola later in the round.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers - Kenny Vaccaro, S Texas
The Steelers are one of the best teams at drafting the best available player. Vaccaro is the best safety in the draft and if he falls this far the Steelers will jump on him. Don't rule out a linebacker to replace James Harrison but this was the best available in my mock draft.
18. Dallas Cowboys - Sylvester Williams, DT North Carolina
I think the Cowboys are hoping that Kenny Vaccaro falls (or they may trade up) but shouldn't feel too bad if they have to settle for Williams. I could also see the Cowboys trying to upgrade the offensive line (after the money they just sunk into Tony Romo).
19. New York Giants - Alec Ogletree, LB Georgia
Ogletree is one of the hardest prospects to figure out in the draft. With the new CBA you could argue that there will be a team more willing to take a chance on him higher in the draft (like maybe the Bills at #8). My prediction is that he falls to the Giants who will be more than willing to take the chance - and probably make everyone wish they had in three years.
20. Chicago Bears - Tyler Eifert, TE Notre Dame
I think the new head man in Chicago will want to give Jay Cutler some more toys to play with - and Eifert would be just that. Easily the best TE in the draft, Eifert should find a home with someone in the first round (the Packers, Falcons and Patriots are also possibilities).
21. Cincinnati Bengals - John Cyprein, S Florida International
The Bengals are looking to pair a quality safety with Reggie Nelson and Cyprein just may fit the bill. I think Cincy would rather have Texas S Kenny Vaccaro but chances are slim that he will still be available. If the Bengals don't go with a safety I'd look for them to add another person to the mix on the offensive line.
22. St. Louis Rams - DeAndre Hopkins, WR Clemson
The Rams will add a weapon for Sam Bradford after losing Danny Amendola this offseason. Could be any one of a number of receivers but I was swayed by the private workout the Rams had with Hopkins.
23. Minnesota Vikings - Robert Woods, WR USC
The Vikings traded Percy Harvin this offseason and signed Greg Jennings. I think they want to give Christian Ponder every chance to succeed and will add another receiver to the mix. Could I be wrong? Yes (but probably not).
24. Indianapolis Colts - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR Tennessee
I can almost hear Brad Wells screaming, "WE NEED A PASS RUSHER!" and, truth is, I WANTED to draft one here, I just think Patterson offers too much value to pass on. If you've read the scouting reports you already know that he is raw and needs work on his route running - but he has TOP TEN talent. With the addition of Darrius Heyward-Bey the Colts aren't desperate for a receiver but would love to have one that can replace Reggie Wayne. If Wayne can mentor Patterson this could be a steal - just saying.
25. Minnesota Vikings - Manti Te'o, LB Notre Dame
The Vikings had success with Harrison Smith last year and if anyone can make the transition to the NFL easier for Te'o it's probably the Viks. Some people think that Te'o falls out of the first round but not me. If it's not the Vikings look for the Bears or Ravens to make the pick.
26. Green Bay Packers - Eddie Lacy, RB Alabama
There has been some debate as to whether a RB will be drafted in the first round this year. I didn't think so but as I did this mock draft I didn't know what other direction the Packers would take based on what was left. The Packers really wanted Steven Jackson and missed out - perhaps they draft a running back to ease the pressure on Aaron Rodgers.
27. Houston Texans - Justin Hunter, WR Tennessee
The Texans have needed another weapon opposite of Andre Johnson for awhile - and this should be the draft to do it. My feeling is that the Texans like Hunter more than Keenan Allen but either one would be a good fit here.
28. Denver Broncos - Bjoern Werner, DE Florida State
With the loss of Elvis Dumervil the Broncos will be desperate to add someone along the line. Von Miller should be able to provide most of the needed pressure making a player like Werner appealing. Werner isn't the most gifted pass rusher but is good enough to give Denver what they need.
29. New England Patriots - Desmond Trufant, CB Washington
The Patriots should draft the best available player here and it should be Trufant or D.J. Hayden. Going by my gut I feel like the Patriots see Trufant as a better fit. Don't rule out the possibility of snagging a WR for Tom Brady or a pass rusher - anything is possible here.
30. Atlanta Falcons - D.J. Hayden, CB Houston
I don't know that I really expect him to fall this far - but that's just how it happened. The Falcons are looking for someone to start opposite of Asante Samuel after losing Brent Grimes and Hayden would fit well here. Atlanta would be overjoyed if the draft fell like this - and it just might.
31. San Francisco 49ers - Eric Reid, S LSU
I don't expect the 49ers to stay at this position. My gut says that they trade up and try to land Dee Milliner. If (for some reason) they stay put they should add Reid or Florida S Matt Elam.
32. Baltimore Ravens - Keenan Allen, WR California
The Ravens traded away Anquan Boldin and may look to add a quality replacement at the end of the first round. Baltimore invested heavily in quarterback Joe Flacco and will want to surround him with as many weapons as possible.
So, that's how the first round will go.... I guess there is no need to turn on the TV on Thursday night, right?