I’m late this year, but I’ve talked to my sources around the league and the scouting team is confident that our board is going to be accurate. With no further ado, my 2013 NFL mock draft.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel: OT, Texas A&M: I haven’t been a fan of the Chief’s personnel moves this offseason whatsoever. They essentially gave up a late first round pick for Alex Smith and are trying to move Brandon Albert before draft day. Instead, they should have signed Albert, taken Geno Smith and kept their 2nd round pick. I digress, though, as now the pick comes down to one of the two top tackles and my money is on Joeckel.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon: If I were David Caldwell, I’d take Geno Smith. Pass rushers don’t turn around bad franchises and put butts in the seats, but franchise QBs do. Regardless, I see new defensive minded HC Gus Bradley taking the Oregon product to fill the ‘leo’ position in his defensive scheme. The Jags could go a lot of ways here including CB or QB.
3. Oakland Raiders: Ezekial Ansah, DE: BYU: The Raiders underwent a huge cap purge this offseason as GM Reggie Mckenzie tries to undo years of terrible personnel decisions. With that being the case, they have needs virtually everywhere. Ansah is new to football but he’s been compared to JPP with his athleticism and upside. I think the other 3 distinct options here would be Sharrif Floyd, Dee Milner and Star Lotulelei
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Star Lotulelei, DT: Utah: Chip Kelly and company have done a lot to revamp their defense this off-season. They did lose Cullen Jenkins, and Lotulelei could be his replacement and be a force along the defensive front. Other options here are Milliner, Geno Smith and Eric Fisher.
5. Detroit Lions: Eric Fisher, OT: Central Michigan: The Lions can’t go wrong with this first pick as they have needs at CB, OT and DE. With Ansah and Jordan off the board I think this makes Eric Fisher the logical pick. They also have needs at DE and CB.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB: Alabama: If Lane Johnson is still on the board at this point all bet are off. I believe some team will trade up in front of Arizona to take the sooner tackle. I’m not going to try to predict trades, so I’ll stick with the Browns taking Milliner to pair with stud CB Joe Haden.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Lane Johnson, OT: Okalahoma: The Cardinals have been ignoring this position for years and its time they address solidifying their offensive line. Johnson is a plug and play left tackle that will start from day one. Other glaring needs include OLB and RB.
8. Buffalo Bills: Geno Smith, QB: West Virginia: I’m not buying the Nassib to Buffalo at #8 connection. Geno Smith has the size arm strength and work ethic to be a top 15 QB in this league. He’ll have a chip on his shoulder given the fact that draftniks around the country have been hating on him throughout the process. The Bills could also use a pass rushing outside linebacker and help along the defensive front.
9. New York Jets: Jarvis Jones, OLB: Georgia: The Jets are in full re-build mode after shipping Revis Island to Tampa Bay. They had a non-existent pass rush last year and Jones has been compared to Terrell Suggs, as his less than average measureables shouldn’t blind people from his outstanding production. The Jets could also go guard, DT or safety with this pick.
10. Tennessee Titans: Bjoern Werner, DE: FSU : The Titans have next to no talent along the defensive front and lost Jason Jones to free agency. Werner is raw and new to football, but he’s a good pass rusher and stout at the point of attack. The Titans reportedly like both of the top two guards in the year’s draft, so don’t rule that out.
11. San Diego Chargers: Jonathan Cooper: OG, UNC: The Chargers have one of the worst offensive lines in the game and Cooper would help fix that. He’s athletic and many believe he’s better than Chance Wormack. The Chargers also need help at WR but I believe this is as much more pressing need.
12. Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes: CB, FSU: There’s widespread talk that the Dolphins want to trade up to grab a left tackle to replace Jake Long, but with none of the top 3 falling past Detroit I think they’ll stay put and select the in state product. They lost Vontae Davis in a trade last year and Sean Smith to free agency this offseason. Brent Grimes was signed but he’s aging and coming off an injury. Rhodes is big and physical and would be a day one starter. Another possibility here would be DJ Fluker, but he’s more of a RT so I don’t see them going that route.
13. New York Jets (from TB): Chance Warmack, G: Alabama: The Jets would upgrade a very weak right side of the offensive line with this selection. UMass product Vlad Ducasse has been a bust and they lost Matt Slauson to free agency. The Jets could conceivably take Kenny Vaccaro here to replace Laron Landry, but I think they’ll opt to add a guard instead.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sharrif Floyd, DT: Florida: This would be a slam dunk, sprint to the podium pick for Carolina. Their run defense is atrocious and Floyd would make an immediate impact. The Panthers have an awful secondary, so Desmond Trufant or Vaccaro are also possibilities, but I don’t see them passing on Floyd.
15. New Orleans Saints: Kenny Vacarro, Safety: Texas: This would be a great pick for a team that boasted the worst defense in the league last year. Vaccaro is instinctive and quick, and he would replace Roman Harper who by this point in his career simply can’t cover. The Saints could also use some help at DT so Sheldon Richardson is another option.
16. St Louis Rams: Tavon Austin, WR: WVU: The Rams lost Brandon Gibson and Danny Amendola in free agency and desperately need an infusion of youth and talent at this position. While some question his durability and longevity at a mere 175 pounds, his game-changing ability and explosiveness is undeniable. The Rams could also use help at OLB, so don’t rule out Alec Ogletree.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: DJ Fluker, OT: Alabama: The Steelers would ideally like to get help at OLB after losing James Harrison, but I think Fluker would be a good selection, as he could step in at either left guard, or left tackle if they believe he has the athleticism to play the position. One of the two Tennessee WRs is also a possibility to replace Mike Wallace.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Sheldon Richardson, DT: Mizzou: The Cowboys have switched to a 4-3 defense under Monte Kiffin, and they need help along the interior of the defensive line. Jay Ratliff is getting up there and made waves last year with an in locker room blow up with owner/GM Jerry Jones. The Cowboys would also like to add a safety, but with Vaccaro off the board I think they’ll go D line.
19. New York Giants: Desmond Trufant, CB: Washington: The Giants secondary was awful last season. They re-signed Aaron Ross and Terrell Thomas, but due to age and injury the are stop gaps at best. After that the lone dependable CB is Prince Amukamara, so pairing him with Trufant would help immensely. The Giants really need help at RT, but with Fluker gone I don’t see the value here. Never discount Jerry Reese’s liking of defensive ends, so Tank Carradine is another possibility.
20. Chicago Bears: Arthur Brown, ILB: Kansas State: The Bears lost the leader/icon of their defense for the last decade Brian Urlacher this off-season. Brown is one of my favorite players in the draft and I think he’d be a great replacement for the future Hall of Famer. He’s got good instincts, a good football IQ and would be a great leader for the Bears vaunted defense. CB and DE are other options here.
21. Minnesota Vikings: Sylvester Williams, DT: UNC: The Vikings have a host of needs, particularly on defense. Kevin Williams isn’t getting any younger and the cupboard is relatively bare after him. Williams is athletic and would immediately help improve their defensive front. WR and CB are also big needs for the Vikings.
22. Cincinnati Bengals: Eddie Lacy, RB: Alabama: The Bengals have been vocal about their desire to find a complement to BGJE, and Lacy could be that guy. A lot of people think that he isn’t a first round pick, but save a trade down I don’t see anyone that pops out at another glaring area of need for the Bengals here.
23. St. Louis Rams: Alec Ogletree, LB: Georgia: This would be a great pick for the Rams, as they’d add an athletic playmaker to what is already an up an coming defense. The Rams could use a safety but I don’t believe that Eric Reid or Jonathan Cyprien would be the pick here over Ogletree. The rolled the dice on Janoris Jenkins last year and the early returns were great, so I don’t think Jeff Fisher is scared by guys with character red flags.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Barkevious Mingo: OLB, LSU: The Colts went predominately offense in last year’s draft and now GM Ryan Grigson will look to provide Chuck Pagano with playmakers on the other side of the ball. Mingo has a long frame and is raw but extremely athletic. There is little talent outside of the aging Robert mathis, and Eric Walden is by no means a sack artist. They could also use another WR and help along the defensive line.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle): DJ Hayden: CB, Houston: Hayden overcame an injury sustained in practice generally seen in car accident victims with a survival rate of less than 5%. Doctors have cleared him to play and he profiles as a true cover corner at the next level. After losing Antoine Winfield the cupboard is bare in the secondary. The Vikings also have glaring needs at WR and MLB so Patterson and Teo would also be intriguing choices.
26. Green Bay Packers: Tyler Eifert, TE: Notre Dame: This would be a slam dunk pick for GB, and I’m not even certain he makes it this far. Jermichael Finely has fallen out of favor with his drops and malcontent nature and Tom Crabtree left via Free agency. Eifert is athletic and could be groomed to be Finley’s replacement. The Packers could use a linebacker or a safety and also have needs along the offensive line.
27. Houston Texans: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR: Tennessee: There has been talk for what seems like forever about how the Texans need to find a complement to Andre Johnson. While he’s raw, Patterson could be that guy. His football instincts have been questioned, but he is a physical freak of nature and has the potential to be a stud WR. The Texans lost Connor Barwin to the Eagles, so Demontre Moore of Texas A&M is another potential pick.
28. Denver Broncos: Damontre Moore: DE, Texas A&M: The fax-gaffe that led to Elvis Dumervil signing with the Ravens has left the Broncos with a hole at the defensive end spot. Moore put up jaw droppingly-bad numbers at the combine (12 reps at 225), but he was very productive in the SEC. With Jon Fox and Jack Del Rio coaching him up he’d be in a situation where he could thrive. The Broncos also need help in the secondary.
29. New England Patriots: Denadre Hopkins, WR: Clemson: The pats opted not to keep Brandon Lloyd and let Wes Welker leave in free agency. They currently have no legitimate options outside of Amendola. Hopkins is long and was extremely productive at clemson, amassing 1400 yards and 18 tds last year. The pats could use another pass rusher or a safety as well.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Tank Carradine, DE: FSU: The Falcons chose not to resign John Abraham and have a huge void to fill at DE. The Ray Edwards experiment failed last season, and an aging Osi Umenyora is nothing more than a stop gap. Carradine had a devastating knee injury but was excellent before the injury and would be a great value pick for the Falcons. They also really need help in the secondary so don’t rule out blidi wreh-wilson from UConn.
31. San Francisco 49′ers: Jonathan Cyprien: SS, FIU: The 49′ers lost Dashon Goldson to the Bucs in Free agency and Cyprien could be the heir apparent at the position. He’s physical and would be a significant upgrade over journey Craig Dahl. They also could use help at CB and another WR.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te’o: MLB, Notre Dame: The world champs lost all time great Ray Lewis to retirement and they need someone to fill his shoes. While there are questions about Teo’s mental toughness regarding the girlfriend Hoax, he was talented and would be a natural leader in a good locker room. This is compounded by Rolando Mcclain’s most recent arrest and likely release. They have a host of other needs, especially safety as both Bernard Pollard and Ed Reid are gone. Don’t rule out Eric Reid from LSU.