Mock Draft 0.5 Plus Four
The hearts broken by Andrew Luck on Saturday belonged not only to Chiefs fans but to Browns fans, as well.
The reason for Kansas City's dismay is clear. A first-round loss snatched from the jaws of a 28-point lead is enough to sour all the positive energy that had surrounded the franchise since finishing the 2012 season with the NFL's worst record.
But the discontent in Cleveland stems from the few more missed opportunities cost by the Colts. The Browns own Indianapolis' first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, courtesy of the Trent Richardson trade. And every Indy win drops the value of Cleveland's compensation.
Now, the best the Browns can hope for is the 25th pick to complement the one they already own, No. 4 overall. Should the Colts advance one round deeper into the playoffs, Cleveland's second first-round pick would be, at best, No. 29. (Wouldn't it somehow be fitting for the Colts to beat Patriots on a late touchdown by Richardson?)
As the Browns' second pick remains uncertain, we do know where four more teams will be picking. Green Bay, Philadelphia, Kansas City and Cincinnati all settled into their first-round slots, and we can now add them to our first (partial) Mock Draft of the postseason, which we released last week.
Here's how picks 21-24 could come off the board:
21. Packers: Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame The temptation here would be for the Packers to take a tight end to replace Jermichael Finley. And if Eric Ebron or Austin Seferian-Jenkins fall to this spot, I could see Green Bay going in that direction. But to compete in the postseason against the running games of the Seahawks, 49ers and Eagles, they need to strengthen their front seven. Tuitt is a big (6-foot-6, 312 pounds), physical defensive end. He's the best 3-4 end in the draft and a run-stuffer ideally suited to play the 5 technique, certainly more so than Datone Jones was coming out of UCLA last year.
22. Eagles: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State I was all set to give them Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, until I saw reports on Monday that he may be leaning toward returning to Oregon for his senior season. If he were to come out, he'd be a great fit for Philly, which needs cornerback help. And while cornerback is one of the deepest positions in the draft, there simply aren't a ton worth taking in the first round. The Chip Kelly culture needs high-motor guys who can run all day, on both sides of the ball, and Shazier -- while undersized at 226 pounds -- will be all over the field, whether he lines up inside or outside. Shazier is terrific against the run and more than capable in coverage. And I suspect he'll be used effectively as a blitzer, as he's just not built to rush the quarterback and take on tackles every play.
23. Chiefs: Cedric Ogbuehi, T, Texas A&M When Kansas City selected Eric Fisher with the No. 1 pick last year, the plan was to ease him into the NFL at right tackle and then slide him over to left tackle. This offseaosn would be the time to do it, with Branden Albert about to enter free agency. That would give the Chiefs the chance to take Ogbuehi, who blossomed into a first-round prospect playing right tackle opposite Jake Matthews. He also has experience at guard, and the Chiefs face the prospect of losing both Jon Asamoah and Geoff Schwartz in free agency.
24. Bengals: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State Over time, Bengals fans will realize that replacing Andy Dalton is not an immediate need (honestly, who is available -- in the draft or through free agency -- that would represent an upgrade?). The Bengals would be better served to focus on improving their secondary. Roby's stock has declined this season, but he is the kind of athletic, aggressive corner who would fit perfectly in this defense. There are good corners to be taken through the first four rounds, and I can see Cincinnati loading up on a few. But Roby has the greatest upside and is worth a shot in the late first round.