2013 NFL Mock Draft 3.0

Posted: March 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

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Update: Changes to picks 2, 8, 9, 12, 16, 18, 21, 26, 27, 31

1. Kansas City Chiefs – OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M

Andy Reid acquired his QB through a trade with San Francisco for Alex Smith. I do not doubt that they will also draft a young backup for Smith to mentor (err, lose his job to). But, that will not be with the first pick. Luke Joeckel has been the guy I have had here for months, and even with Erik Fisher’s combine inspired rise in the rankings, I think Big Red will make the right choice and get Alex Smith some protection with the former Aggie bookend tackle.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars – OT Erik Fisher, Central Michigan
(Previously: DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State)

Gus Bradley knows defense. But, he also knows that no offense is going to succeed without a capable line. Bjoern Werner, who was previously mocked here, has seen his stock fall dramatically. Meanwhile, OT Erik Fisher put together one of the finest combines of anyone. Bradley will use his later picks to stock up on defensive players. Fisher’s rise will culminate with the first two selections being offensive linemen.

3. Oakland Raiders – DT Sharif Floyd, Florida

Mingo was slotted into this pick because of the team’s need for pass rushers. But, Sharif Floyd’s fantastic 4.87 forty-yard dash time at the combine will likely propel him into the top-five. Oakland has long been enamored with speed and size. Well, Floyd brings both, with a massive 297 pound frame supported by legs of steel. Oakland will “pass” on a pass-rusher and take the big road-grader in Floyd.

4. Philadelphia Eagles – OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon

I had mocked Lotulelei into this spot before the combine. While I am sure that the team would love to land a big nose-tackle here, Lotulelei’s stock has fallen after reports of heart problems (and not the kind that the Eagles had all season in 2012). Jordan, meanwhile, has a high motor and ran an impressive 4.53 in the forty-yard-dash this week. Chip Kelly obviously knows Jordan well from Oregon, and it would be prudent for him to find a dynamite pass-rusher as the team moves to a 3-4 defense.

5. Detroit Lions – DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU

Eddie Lacy, who was formerly mocked to Detroit here, can be had much lower in the first round if they choose to trade down or up. At four, it is too much of a reach to take a RB. If Mingo lasts past Philadelphia, Detroit will have a whole lot of takers. They could, however, take the LSU pass-rusher who had a tough campaign in 2012. His talent level suggests top-five, but his production suggests late first round. Detroit has long drafted for talent over production.

6. Cleveland Browns – OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia

New Browns coach Rob Chudzinski would love to get a playmaking WR for Brandon Weeden at this pick. However, no wideout in this draft is deserving of a top-five selection. So, the team is forced to improve their defense with the addition of Jones. One of the best pass-rushers in the class, Jones can also hold his own against the run, as evidenced in Georgia’s narrow SEC Championship Game loss to Alabama. There are some injury questions, as the redshirt Junior was diagnosed with a case of spinal stenosis in 2009 and some NFL doctors may be hesitant to clear him.

7. Arizona Cardinals – QB Geno Smith, West Virginia

Talk about a best-case scenario for Bruce Arians and the Cardinals. In a draft with a weak QB class, Arizona gets the best of the bunch at #7. The Kevin Kolb experiment is waning. Injuries and inconsistency will contribute to Arians finding a new, fresh face to put under center in 2013. Smith may have some question marks. But, he has the mobility and arm strength that scouts love.

8. Buffalo Bills – OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
(Previously: OT Erik Fisher, Central Michigan)

If Fisher and Smith are gone, the Bills will likely go with Johnson or Alabama G Chance Warmack. Johnson is the pick merely because tackle is a more important position. The 6-6, 302 pound road-grader looked good at the Senior Bowl, and is more athletic than most linemen. After all, Johnson was a high school QB before transitioning to TE with the Sooners in 2010. Halfway through that season, he converted to the other side of the ball, suiting up for Bob Stoops as a DE. In 2011, Johnson switched to OT and has never looked back.

9. New York Jets – CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
(Previously: NT Star Lotulelei, Utah

Lotulelei’s stock has fallen like a shooting “star.” With his heart condition, I cannot see a team risking a top-ten pick on the mammoth defensive lineman. New York needs some weapons for Mark Sanchez (they may even need a replacement for Mark Sanchez). But, the Darrelle Revis rumors that have engulfed the airwaves are too prominent to ignore. Dee Milliner showed tremendous speed at the combine and would be a great value pick at #9, replacing Revis Island with Milliner Mountain in the New York defensive backfield.

10. Tennessee Titans – DE Damontre Moore, Texas A&M

Damontre Moore’s fall culminates in the former Aggie going #10 to Tennessee. The Titans’ defense was a collective disappointment in 2012. They became the first team in history to surrender 30+ points in each of their first five games. Moore is a talented rusher with run-stopping tools who could go as high as #2 in the draft. The Titans would be licking-their-chops if they found him waiting for them at #10.

11. San Diego Chargers – OG Chance Warmack, Alabama

Chance Warmack is a top-10 talent playing a position rarely taken in the top-20 of the draft. San Diego needs playmakers for Philip Rivers after losing Vincent Jackson and Darren Sproles in consecutive offseasons. But, the draft is not top-heavy with offensive skill-position talent. It is, however, filled with road-graders like Warmack, a 6’2, 322 pound monster who was a unanimous All-American. A starter for 39 games during his career with the Crimson Tide, the Atlanta native is light on his feet and able to get good push on defensive tackles whilst showing good lateral ability against speed-rushers. New coach Mike McCoy would probably prefer a bookend tackle. But, with Fisher and Joekel off the board, replacing Rex Hadnot next to Nick Hardwick would be a fine move for an offensive coach.

12. Miami Dolphins – CB Xavier Rhodes
(Previously: CB Dee Milliner, Alabama)

With Sean Smith likely gone via free agency, the Dolphins need to find a starting CB who can help contain Tom Brady and the Patriots twice a year. Rhodes is the top bump-and-run corner in the draft with explosive range and length at 6’1. His 4.43 forty-yard dash guaranteed that Rhodes would see his stock rise.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – CB Jonathan Banks, Mississippi State

The Buccaneers had the 32nd ranked pass defense last season. In other words, it could not get any worse for their secondary. They used their first pick to select S Mark Barron last year. There’s a good chance they use another top pick to further improve their woeful secondary. Jonathan Banks has had over 50 tackles each of his last three seasons, as well as 16 turnovers forced either through interceptions or forced fumbles. A playmaker is what Banks can become and in Tampa Bay, they need defensive playmakers.

14. Carolina Panthers – DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri

Carolina drafted BC Linebacker Luke Kuechly in the first round in 2012. A year later, he is their second consecutive winner of a Rookie of the Year award. They’ll go for three straight with former Missouri Tiger Sheldon Richardson. With Sharif Floyd off the board, the Panthers go with the next available defensive tackle, a position of dire need on defense. The 6-3, 295 pound Richardson has speed (4.89) and size. His one flaw is experience, as he did not become a full-time starter until Missouri moved to the SEC in 2012. However, his 75 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, a blocked kick, and a 60-yard fumble return all suggest that Richardson is the perfect compliment on defense to Kuechly and Jon Beason.

15. New Orleans Saints – DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU

I would not be surprised to see the pass rushing specialist from Brigham Young go in the top-five. After all, this has become a passing league, and the best way to stop a passing game is to get to the QB. The 6-5, 274 pound wrecking ball possesses a rare combination of size, athleticiscm, and power. I would not be surprised to see him go as high as Detroit or Philadelphia in the top-five. New Orleans, however, finds a need here as they will be switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense. Ansah, who has compared himself in the past to Jason Pierre-Paul and Clay Matthews, could thrive in either format.

16. St. Louis Rams – FS Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
(Previously: OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma)

A hybrid defender with the size, speed, and athleticism of elite safeties, Kenny Vaccaro’s stock has risen a bit thanks to a strong combine and the failures of others at his position. Known as a hard hitter in Austin, Vaccaro should step right in and give St. Louis’ defense an attitude that they have been missing for a long time.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers – OT DJ Fluker, Alabama

Pittsburgh’s offensive line has been the bane of their existence for years now. Even when they were winning Super Bowls in 2005 and 2008, they did it in spite of mediocre line play. This may be a bit of a reach at 17. But, there’s no denying the need. Pittsburgh could look to go pass rusher to replace the aging James Harrison. With most of the rushers off the board, I think they will consider trading down and grabbing this proven winner. What is the one thing the Steelers have forever been known for? The answer is running the football. They have gotten away from that philosophy in recent years. But, Fluker is the best run-blocker in this draft and a healthy Rashard Mendenhall with lanes to run through could propel Pittsburgh back into the playoffs in 2013.

18. Dallas Cowboys – DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina
(Previously RB Eddie Lacy, Alabama)

I flirted with Eddie Lacy in this spot. But, I was reminded by Cowboys fans that Jason Garrett could have Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton in the backfield and he would still line up for a 4th and inches with four wide receivers. Monte Kiffin’s Tampa-2 defense requires a quick, gap-penetrating defensive tackle. Who knows what the story is with Jay Ratliff? Sylvester Williams has shown that his first step is undeniably one of the best in the draft.

19. New York Giants – OLB Alec Ogletree, Georgia

The Giants recently released OLB Michael Boley, so there is certainly a need at the position. The Giants won their two Super Bowls behind defense, and while it would be nice to improve the offensive line, the value just is not here at 19. Ogletree is a former safety with terrific athleticism and range. Not only that, but, he has proven to be one of the best special teams players in the country, something critical for youngsters in the NFL. Many compare the former Bulldog to Atlanta’s Sean Weatherspoon. I doubt that Giants’ coach Tom Coughlin would have much of a problem with that.

20. Chicago Bears – TE Zach Ertz, Stanford

The Bears once again fell short last season and it led to the firing of Lovie Smith. New coach Marc Trestman is a QB guru who will look to keep Jay Cutler playing consistently all season. One way to ease the mind of any signal-caller is by getting him a security blanket over the middle. Yes, Cutler and Brandon Marshall formed a dominant duo last season. But, TE Kellen Davis has never progressed like they would have liked. Zach Ertz is the top TE on the board. At 6-6, 252 pounds, he presents a tall target for Cutler on check-downs. He led the Cardinal in catches (69), yards (898), and receiving touchdowns (six) last season.

21. Cincinnati Bengals – DE Bjoern Werner, Florida St.
(Previously: Manti Te’o, Notre Dame)

Werner’s stock dropped off after the combine. His mediocre 4.83 forty time and dramatic lack of experience might be enough to scare teams off, allowing a franchise like the Bengals to get a legit steal. Cincinnati does not really need a pass rusher. But, when a player with Werner’s potential falls to a playoff team, they usually take notice.

22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington) – WR Keenan Allen, California

The Rams are in need of a playmaker or two on offense. It remains to be seen whether or not Steven Jackson or Danny Amendola will return. But, even if they do, the Rams need a game breaker #1 type receiver that Amendola or Brandon Gibson just does not provide. Allen has speed and size that would certainly help Sam Bradford emerge from mediocrity.

23. Minnesota Vikings – WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee

When Percy Harvin went down once again last season, the Vikings were left with retreads like Michael Jenkins in their starting lineup. Yes, Adrian Peterson is the best there is at RB. But, backs always struggle the year after they rush as much as Peterson did (especially coming off of major knee surgery). Cordarrelle Patterson could go in the top-15 because of his size (6-3) and ability to stretch the field (16.9 average per catch). He would be the perfect compliment to the speedy yet diminutive Harvin.

24. Indianapolis Colts – DT John Jenkins, Georgia

The Indianap0lis defense struggled mightily at times last year. After switching to a 3-4 from a 4-3 in the offseason prior, the Colts were left sticking square pegs in some round holes. NT Antonio Johnson was capable in the middle. But, Jonathan Jenkins of Georgia presents an option that is too good to pass up. Every great 3-4 defense has a great behemoth to plug into the middle. Jenkins, who stands at 6-4, 360 pounds, would fill that hole to a T. They say he is built like a Coke machine. Good luck moving him.

25. Seattle Seahawks – DT Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State

Seattle’s defense was dominant last year. But, the unit was lacking an interior pass-rushing precense. “Big Hank,” as he has become known in Columbus, started every game as a Junior, recording four tackles for loss. His rare combination of size and foot quickness make him an integral asset to a pass rushing defensive line.

26. Green Bay Packers – MLB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
(Previously: CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State)

Yes, Green Bay needs secondary help. But, Te’o proved over his career that he is deserving of a first round selection and he could theoretically thrive in Green Bay. The biggest problem for Te’o will be distractions in the NFL. Since the fake girlfriend story blew up in his face, Te’o has had to duck questions about his decision making and even his sexuality. That type of situation is synonymous with any major media market. Well, enter Green Bay; where the fans own the team and the media still acts cordially. Many players have gone to Green Bay and turned their act around. Te’o could thrive on a defense behind the girth of BJ Raji and aside the talents of AJ Hawk and Clay Matthews.

27. Houston Texans – WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
(Previously: FS Kenny Vaccaro, Texas)

Yes, Houston needs secondary help. But, I do not think they are as high on Matt Elam as they would be on Kenny Vaccaro if he were available in this spot. Instead, the Texans address their second biggest need, a playmaker through the air not named Andre Johnson. Think about it, can you name a Texans’ receiver not initialed AJ? Kevin Walter comes to mind. But, after that, it is a barren wasteland. Austin made noise by proclaiming himself to be the best player in the draft. He then came out and ran a sub 4.35 forty. Someone will take this kid in the first round, and Houston would be lucky to grab him at 27.

28. Denver Broncos – S Matt Elam, Florida

The Broncos lost in the Divisional Playoffs because their safeties did not understand the fundamentals of a prevent defense. The failure to prevent a Hail Mary touchdown to Baltimore WR Jacoby Jones had a butterfly effect. Denver’s defensive backs coach was fired immediately afterwards, Baltimore went on to win the Super Bowl, Jacoby Jones will partake in Dancing With the Stars, and the Broncos will draft a safety early on. Elam is the top safety on the board and would be a great value pick at 28.

29. New England Patriots – CB Desmond Trufant, Washington

I would probably expect a trade here. Bill Belichick loves to move down and stock up on draft picks. This would be a terrific spot for a QB needy team (Kansas City/Buffalo?) to trade up and land a Matt Barkley or Mike Glennon. But, I do not like to predict trades. So, what does New England need the most? The answer is secondary help. There’s a lot of talk that the team could let Aqib Talib walk due to, among other things, his immense character concerns. Trufant is a senior with a ton of experience and speed (4.49). He really stood out among a talented North team in the Senior Bowl.

30. Atlanta Falcons – DE Datone Jones, UCLA

The run on defense continues. Atlanta could look at a tight end to replace the retiring Tony Gonzalez. But, their offense is not a major weakness. John Abraham is not getting any younger, and it appears as though the end is near for the veteran pass rusher. Enter Jones, who played virtually every position along the UCLA line during his career. The 6-4, 280 pound rusher is so explosive that he was able to bull-rush tackles as talented as Erik Fisher when they went eye-to-eye.

31. San Francisco 49ers – RB Eddie Lacy, Alabama
(Previously: WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia)

The 49ers showed they were interested in a bigger, bruising alternative to Frank Gore last offseason, when they signed two-time Super Bowl champion Brandon Jacobs away from the Giants. Unfortunately, Jacobs was a washed up has-been with attitude problems. So, why not find your running back of the future this year? Lacy is a big, talented back with quickness, agility, and bone-crushing strength. He, Colin Kaepernick, and LaMichael James in the backfield would be a filthy situation for years to come.

32. Baltimore Ravens – OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina

The Super Bowl champions have a lot of moves to make this offseason. Once they get the Joe Flacco situation sorted out, they will need to replace some of the guys keeping him alive. C Matt Birk is at the end of the line, and whilst it was nice to see him win one before he went out, his clock is ticking. Some teams have Cooper rated in the top-10. If he falls to Baltimore, why wouldn’t they take him?

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