9. Dallas Cowboys
Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
Actual pick: Tyron Smith, OT, Southern California
Smith is off the board, so Solder is the pick. He’s been solid for the Pats in his three years there. For what used to be a subpar (and now average) Cowboys offensive line, pass protection for Tony Romo is a must.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars
Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
Actual pick: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
This is a risky pick for the Jags as Miller is coming off an ACL tear and he was suspended for six games for substance abuse – if he gets caught one more time, he’s out for an entire year. His status is in doubt for the start of 2014 as well, but for a current coach in Gus Bradley (although he wasn’t in Jacksonville in 2011) who wants to boast a defense similar to the one he coached in Seattle, Miller is worth the risk. No other defensive backs are worth taking this high.
11. Houston Texans
Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
Actual pick: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
Watt is better than Quinn, but Quinn fills the same need and can possibly provide a similar presence on the defensive line. He’s been the anchor of the Rams’ defense and I thought he was a serious candidate for defensive player of the year after the way he played in 2013.
12. Minnesota Vikings
Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
Actual pick: Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State
This was a tough one. There’s a huge drop in talent at the skill positions after the first eleven picks. Randall Cobb and Torrey Smith are both available, and I’m going with Smith for the Vikings here due to his ability to stay on the field. While Cobb is a physical freak, Smith has been more consistent. He fills a Vikings’ need at receiver. Cobb, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Greg Jennings (who actually had a very good season last year) is a nice receiving group.
13. Detroit Lions
Justin Houston, LB, Georgia
Actual pick: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
Fairley hasn’t exactly worked out for Detroit. I’ve even seen some 2014 mocks that have the Lions taking Aaron Donald to give Detroit what Fairley was supposed to give them. Houston gives the Lions a solid pass rusher to help things on the back end — getting to the passer will help what was a mediocre pass defense in 2013.
14. St. Louis Rams
Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky
Actual pick: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
In my 2010 re-mock, I gave the Rams Sam Bradford. There’s no turning back now. Bradford hasn’t had a true number one receiver and Bradford hasn’t had good or even average receivers until last year — and even Tavon Austin was average. Get Sam Bradford weapons. Cobb is a number one receiver when healthy.
15. Miami Dolphins
DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma
Actual pick: Mike Pouncey, C, Florida
This was a tough decision. While Pouncey has been good for the Dolphins, he was involved with the bullying scandal and centers don’t really come at a premium especially in the draft. The Dolphins have lacked a solid running back for a while, and Ryan Tannehill needs some help on offense. Murray has been good since his breakout game against St. Louis that year.
16. Washington Redskins
Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB, Purdue
Actual pick: same
I’ve watched Kerrigan closely since he was drafted. I’ll say this: he’s been the best defender on the team since he was drafted. Better than Orkapo. Kerrigan played every single defensive snap in his first two seasons. Every snap. He’s been way more consistent than Orkapo or even London Fletcher. No way I’m picking any other player here.