First of all I'm going to explain my off-season strategy to clarify the reasoning behind the picks.
I have always been a firm believer of bringing in proven, veteran defensive tackles rather than drafting one in the top ten. Yes, there are two very talented prospects at the top of the board this year at DT, but in my opinion it is better to find a solid DT in free agency and draft a DT with potential in the mid rounds to be a successor. Same goes for Free Safety. I really like Jarius Byrd, but I'm not gonna sit here and show you my dream offseason.
Our defense has been surprisingly better this season, and I really feel like we can win with the guys we have right now, with a couple of minor additions. This is why I go OT/WR first. Look to the future, and add immediate impact. With my first two picks you are replacing two franchise stud's in Smith and Gross.
That being said, here's the mock. No trades, no BS...
Round 1 (top 5 pick) - Luke Joeckel, LT - Texas A&M
This will be the pick. I guarantee it. Luke is the kind of guy that Jerry brings in when we are in these situations. Just like with Luke Kuechly, Luke Joeckel will make an immediate impact and his presence will be felt even as a rookie. Joeckel - Kuechly - Newton. That is our future.
Joeckel has demonstrated the combination of size and athleticism in starting the past two seasons at the all-important left tackle position that he could ultimately beat out linemate Jake Matthews when he elects to make himself eligible to the NFL.
Joeckel (pronounced JOKE-ell) was a highly regarded prep prospect who signed with the Aggies over the likes of Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma and many others.
He won the starting left tackle position as a true freshman and has started all 26 games since, earning a spot on the Big 12's All-Freshman team in 2010 and First Team honors by the Associated Press this past season (coaches voted him to the second team).
Joeckel eases back off the snap, showing the light feet, lateral agility and flexibility to handle speed and/or power as a pass blocker. He plays on the balls of his feet with his knees bent, hips down and arms extended in textbook form.
Joeckel isn't a mauler in the running game, relying more on his technique and athleticism to seal off defenders rather than simply drive them off the ball but he's a reliable performer in this regard, as well.
Joeckel isn't a finished product, but he demonstrates such a combination of size and fluidity already that it isn't tough to imagine a similar ascent up draft boards as we've seen in recent years from
the likes of Matt Kalil (Southern Cal) and even All-Pro Joe Thomas (Wisconsin), the No. 4 and No. 3 picks of the 2012 and 2007 NFL drafts, respectively.
Round 2 - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR - Tennessee
CP is a motherfuggin freak. I've heard Moss comparison's, I've heard Julio, Aj Green. His athleticism is unreal. Electrifying is the only way to describe this kid, absolutely electrifying. He has a great personality too, really funny guy that loves to play the game as you can see from the interview below. Smitty - Patterson - LaFell would be deadly.
CP will definitely be on the rise though, once everyone sees that athleticism on display. His former teammate Da'Rick Rodgers could also be a possibility in this spot if Patterson flies up the boards. Love all the UT receivers.
Round 4 - Zeke Motta, FS - Notre Dame
Ezekiel "Zeke" Motta is an up and coming safety prospect from Notre Dame. He really stood out to me when I was looking over safety prospects and automatically you fall in love with the heart and intensity he plays with. He plays just like his buddy, Vikings rookie safety from ND Harrison Smith and would be an absolute steal in the top of the 4th. INCREDIBLE special teamer too.
CAREER: Has not missed a game in his Irish career, playing in all 38 games and starting 16 contests ... has totaled 102 tackles, 53 solo stops, two tackles for loss, one-half sack, four pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions ... enters 2012 with most career tackles among active Notre Dame defensive backs and only Manti Te'o (324 tackles) and Kapron Lewis-Moore (140) have more tackles at Notre Dame ... talented, young player enrolled early in 2009 and spent the spring of 2010 practicing at linebacker before moving to safety in fall ... utilized more towards middle and end of freshman season as extra rusher in box ... carved out major contributing role on special teams in first year with Irish ... starts 2012 as a starter at safety along with Jamoris Slaughter.
Round 5 - Josh Boyd, DT - Mississippi state
Considering how much press linemate Fletcher Cox received a year ago, it is surprising how little Boyd received. After all, he signed with the Bulldogs as a similarly highly regarded prep prospect (turning down the likes of Alabama, LSU, Florida State and Miami among many others), was starting for the third consecutive season and finished last year with just five fewer tackles than the eventual No. 12 overall pick of the 2012 draft.
Perhaps the biggest reason for Cox enjoying so much more fanfare is the fact that he's a more talented pass rusher than Boyd, whose thick lower body helped make him the more consistent run defender, especially when it came to handling double-teams.
He enjoyed quite the breakout campaign last year (51 tackles, eight tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks) after registering "only" 24 stops (7.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks) in 2010 and 17 tackles in three starts (played in all 12 games) as a true freshman in 2009 and thus must prove it wasn't a fluke, but make no mistake, Boyd has the talent to warrant top 64 consideration.
Round 6 - Dustin Hopkins, K - Florida State
Can we finally draft a fugging kicker?