Free agency is almost upon us. When it hits we can expect up to three decent QBs to part ways with their current teams: Alex Smith (San Fran), Matt Flynn (Seattle), and possibly Nick Foles (Philly). Other QBs will become free agents, though none of them (Jason Campbell, Matt More, Drew Stanton, Seneca Wallace, Brian Hoyer, Like McCown, Tyler Thigpen, Derek Anderson, Josh McCown, Brady Quinn, Chase Daniel, David Carr, Matt Leinart, Carlie Batch, Byron Leftwich, Rex Grossman, Vince Young, JP Losman...) are going to solve the QB situation for any team. I can't see Seattle really paying Matt Flynn almost $20 million (2012-2014) to be a backup so it's a good bet he gets traded, though he might not be cut if Seattle can't get anything for him. Alex Smith costs $10 million this year alone and figures to be cut if someone doesn't throw San Fran a bone. Foles, on the other hand, doesn't cost much at all so I can see Philly sitting on him if they don't get a good offer-at least a 3rd round pick and possibly a 2nd.
The Chiefs, Jacksonville, Browns, and Cardinals all need QBs. The Raiders and Jets have to at least be thinking about drafting a QB due to Palmer's age and Sanchez's ineffectiveness. Two of those six teams will address the QB position before the draft with Smith and Flynn. Because of their cap situation we can rule out New Jersey and I can't see Oakland doing anything more than grabbing a second or third round developmental guy with so many other pressing needs. Of the remaining teams, I can see Smith engineering either a trade to Arizona or his outright release (refusing to re-do his deal with the trade partner of San Fran's preference), followed by signing with Arizona. First, Arizona has one of the best WRs in the game, which has to appeal to a free agent QB. Second, Arizona has a decent defense, unlike the other three teams. Finally, Smith would get to try to stick it to the 49ers, a team that pretty much jerked him around for the entirety of his career so far. One of the other three teams, each of which has a new regime in place, is going to get Flynn. With three interested parties it may take a trade to get Flynn. As Cleveland has no second round pick the Skidmarks are probably out of the running. The new Jacksonville GM has said that Gabbert is his man even though there's really no reason for him to do so whereas Reid has made it clear he needs a QB. My guess is that the Chiefs secure Flynn's services in a trade and pick up the balance of his 2 year deal. KC pays him less than $7 million per season to kick the tires and, at worst, be a placeholder while building a team where a drafted QB won't be wasted.
In constructing this draft I used the draft value chart and tried to stick close to the big board on DraftTek. My goal was to look at team needs and get both value for each team as well as fill needs.
- Kansas City: OT Luke Joeckel-With the QB situation settled for the moment the Chiefs take the best player on their board. Joeckel should help keep Flynn upright. I can see Reid wanting to trade this pick but I can't see anyone paying the freight to move up to #1 overall. The teams that are in range (Jags, Raiders, Eagles) have more needs than picks.
- Jacksonville: DE Bjoern Werner-The Jags, like the Chiefs, may be stuck in their draft slot due to the cost involved in moving up. Jacksonville needs help all along the defensive line and the owner does seem to have a thing for guys who went to Florida universities.
- *Cleveland: QB Geno Smith-The Browns lost out on Flynn and Alex Smith and need a new QB to begin yet another new era in substandard football. Lacking a second round pick in 2013, the Browns send Oakland #6 plus their 2013 6th and 2014 2nd. The Raiders make the deal because QB isn't an overwhelming need at the moment and sliding back three slots replaces the 2nd round 2013 pick Oakland doesn't have.
- *Arizona: OT Eric Fisher-The Cardinals have to get more help for the offensive line and can't afford to let Philly have a crack at the 2nd OT off the board. Arizona ships Philly #7 and #38 for #4 and #69.
- Detroit: DE Damontre Moore-The Lions add a defensive end to a formidable defensive line. I suspect they'd be open to trade offers but those who need Lotulelei and Jones the most are pretty far down the board and with 2 of them on the board teams in easy range can just wait and see who falls.
- *New Jersey Jets: LB Jarvis Jones-Rex Ryan can't help himself. Jumping on the table in the New Jersey draft room he does the Truffle Shuffle if needs be in order to get a versatile cog to his defense. The Jets only have to give up #9 and #74 for the move while the Raiders find themselves with a pair of 2013 3rd rounders as well as an extra 6th and Cleveland's 2014 2nd. That's how to work a draft board.
- Philadelphia: DT Star Lotulelei-The Eagles have more pressing needs in the secondary but Lotulelei is too much value to pass up at this point.
- *Miami: CB Dee Milliner-Nix pulls the trigger on an intra-division trade. With Geno Smith long gone and the other QBs in something of a muddle, Buffalo (finally) works the draft board. The Bills pick up #12 and #79 while the Dolphins get the consensus best CB in the draft.
- *St Louis: DE Dion Jordan-The Raiders trade down for a third time, picking up #16 and #46 while sending the Rams #9 and their 4th rounder. The Raiders now have a 2013 2nd rounder (replacing the pick traded to Cincy for Palmer, an extra 2014 2nd rounder, a pair of 3rds and a pair of 6ths, though no 2013 4th. Jeff Fischer gets the man who perhaps will be his new Freak.
- Tennessee: CB Xavier Rhodes-Rhodes is a big corner and should step into a starting role immediately.
- San Diego: G Chance Warmack-The Chargers have needs all over the offensive line. Warmack should nail down one of the guard slots and give Rivers a chance to step into his throws.
- Buffalo: QB Mike Glennon-Because Marrone knows Nassib better than anyone he knows what he is and what he isn't. The Bills pass on him and take a guy who used to throw passes to WR TJ Graham. Glennon is a tall pocket passer with a strong arm. Oh, and Glennon plays in North Carolina. On the downside, he's about as mobile as a tackling dummy.
- *New Jersey Giants: DT Sheldon Richardson-The Giants had a down year, in part due to play along the defensive line. While the G-Men generally sit tight on draft day, Richardson doesn't figure to last much longer. The Giants give up #18 and #47 but do get back #75 in change.
- Carolina: WR Keenan Allen-Steve Smith isn't getting any younger. The Panthers drop back a couple of slots and still get the first WR off the board.
- New Orleans: DT Sharrif Floyd-the Saints sit tight and address one of the glaring holes on the defensive line.
- Oakland: S Kenny Vaccaro-The Raiders begin the rebuild with the highest rated safety on the board. Thanks to some trade downs the team has 3 more picks in the next two rounds plus an extra 2014 2nd rounder to fuel any trade up scenarios.
- Pittsburgh: WR Cordarrelle Patterson-Remember a couple of years ago when Ben Roethlisberger was screaming for a tall WR? With Mike Wallace seemingly on his way out of Pittsburgh the Steelers take a receiver who some believe is the best in the draft.
- Dallas: DT Johnathan Hankins-DT is a need in Big D. Hopefully he doesn't like the sauce...
- Tampa Bay: CB Jordan Poyer-Aqib Talib is gone and Ronde Barber doesn't figure to last much longer. The Bucs take a defensive back who will hopefully be much more like the latter than the former.
- Chicago: OT Lane Johnson-The Bears turn down any and all offers for this pick. The offensive line is a shambles and in dire need of reinforcements.
- Cincinnati: LB Kevin Minter-The Bengals have tried to make due with the lesser of the 3 USC LBs who all were drafted in the first round several years ago. They revisit the position.
- St Louis: LB Manti Te'o-Jeff Fischer seems to have a thing for projects. He's drafted a guy who made it rain (which led to a guy getting shot and paralyzed) so, in comparison, a guy with a made up girlfriend must seem completely harmless.
- *Oakland: DE Datone Jones-The Raiders ship Minny the pair of second rounders (one in 2013, one in 2014) they acquired by trading back (still have the extra 3rd and 6th) to pick up a much needed defensive end.
- Buffalo: LB Alec Ogletree-Even with his DUI arrest and earlier suspension Ogletree doesn't figure to slide any farther. Nix ships Indy Buffalo's 2nd and 3rd along with a 2014 4th rounder.
In the early part of the 3rd round, the Bills nab WR Aaron Dobson. He's big and appears to have terrific hands. In the first three rounds of the trade, the Bills come away with QB Mike Glennon, LB Alec Ogletree and WR Aaron Dobson. What might you think were this to come to pass?
(My first mock had Buffalo dropping back to 18 in a trade with Dallas for an unnamed QB and trading back into the first round with Chicago at 20 to take another player, whose position and name I left up to the reader. In the second mock Buffalo traded back to 22 with the Rams and took WR Cordarrelle Patterson and then traded up to 26 to take QB Tyler Wilson.)