2013 NFL Mock Draft 3.5

Posted: March 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

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Update: Changes to picks 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28

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

Andy Reid already inherited a decent defense in Kansas City. He then acquired his QB in Alex Smith as well as some talented free agents (Dunta Robinson, Anthony Fasano). The one thing K.C. has not done yet is improve the offensive line. Reid cut promising starter Eric Winston last week. Joeckel still makes too much sense to pass up here.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars – OT Erik Fisher, Central Michigan

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 – CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
(Previously: DT Sharif Floyd, Florida)

The stock on defensive linemen is dropping, and numerous reports say the Raiders are severely interested in Milliner, a speedy cover corner who blew the roof off the combine with a forty-yard dash in the 4.20s. Oakland has long loved speed and athleticism, and Milliner fits a hole for them. The only concern is how high they are taking him. This could be a potential trade down situation with a team that is looking for a QB like Geno Smith.

4. Philadelphia Eagles – QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
(Previously: OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon)

The airwaves were abuzz with the reports of Philadelphia’s front office entourage, including owner Jeffrey Lurie, venturing to Morgantown to watch Smith. The fact of the matter remains that Philadelphia does not have its QB of the future on its roster. Smith has some issues. But, he brings a rare combination of athleticism and arm strength that will entice Chip Kelly. The early returns in free agency suggest that Philadelphia is planning to solve their defensive issues through that medium. Jordan remains a possibility. But, for now, Smith is the pick.

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 – WR Cordarelle Patterson, Tennessee
(Previously: OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia)

The Browns addressed their need at pass rusher with former Raven Paul Kruger on the first day of the new year. Their next need, outside of secondary help, is on offense. The Browns have not had a bona fide #1 receiver since Braylon Edwards forgot how to catch the football five years ago. Patterson is a dynamic downfield playmaker with size and speed. This is a bit of a reach and Cleveland could trade down and probably still land Patterson. But, there are no trades in this mock draft, yet.

7. Arizona Cardinals – OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
(Previously: QB Geno Smith, West Virginia)

With Smith off the board, Arizona should focus on improving their disastrous offensive line. Reports are surfacing that suggest new coach Bruce Arians is bringing in former Michigan State QB Drew Stanton, a holdover from his time with the Colts. Whether the QB is Stanton or Kevin Kolb, they will not have much success without the ability to look downfield in Arians’ vertical offense. Johnson had a great Senior Bowl, and is as athletic as linemen come. A former high school QB and TE in his underclassman years with Oklahoma, Johnson would be the third tackle taken in the top seven.

8. Buffalo Bills – DE/OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon
(Previously: OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma)

With Smith and the three tackles all off the board, Buffalo settles for the BPA and takes Jordan. A dynamic pass rusher, Jordan would settle in across from Mario Williams in Buffalo’s front-seven, supplying constant pressure on the AFC East. The Bills desperately need a QB. But, taking one here would be a gigantic reach.

9. New York Jets – OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
(Previously: CB Dee Milliner, Alabama)

With Milliner off the board, New York addresses another aspect of their once stellar defense. Cap casualties and old-age ripped apart what used to be one of the best defenses in football. That leaves a spot for a pass rusher like Jones, who has bounced around the draft board all winter.

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

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

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

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 – DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State
(Previously: TE Zach Ertz, Stanford)

Chicago agreed to terms on Tuesday with former Cowboys and Giants TE Martellus Bennett, eliminating the need to draft one in the first round. They also grabbed former Saints OT Jermon Bushrod, leaving them with the opportunity to take BPA at this spot. Werner is raw, without much experience beyond his few years at Florida State. However, his pass rushing potential is at the top of the charts, and Chicago could use some youth on their defense.

21. Cincinnati Bengals – S Matt Elam, Florida
(Previously: DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State)

This hard-hitting safety is seeing his stock rise as the weeks go by. Elam combines decent cover skills with a reckless abandon that makes defensive coordinators salivate. Cincinnati has decent cover corners, but has not had the stellar “over-the-top” help that the best teams always do. After all, they have played Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed twice a year for the past decade.

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 Tavon Austin, West Virginia
(Previously: WR Cordarelle Patterson, Tennessee)

With Percy Harvin officially shipped off to Seattle, the Vikings’ receiving corps resembles that of the Naval Academy’s. Until they address that position, finding a target for Christian Ponder will remain the top need for Minnesota. Tavon Austin put on quite a show at the combine, and is basically a younger version of what Harvin currently is. Grabbing the diminutive yet speedy receiver would allow the Vikings to address other needs at 25.

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. Minnesota Vikings (From Seattle) – DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida

Talk about a dramatic drop. Floyd was projected to go #3 in our last mock, but, falls all the way to 25 in this version. Positional needs and free agent signings have something to do with that. As does the general belief that Floyd is not as dynamic a weapon as previously believed. The 6-2, 297 pound tackle would fit in nicely next to Kevin Williams until the latter is prepared to retire or be released.

26. Green Bay Packers – MLB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame

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 – NT Star Lotulelei, Utah
(Previously: WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia)

The Texans run a 3-4 defense, yet they really do not have a natural nose tackle in the middle. Shaun Cody, their current starter at the position, is barely 300 pounds after a fourth of July barbeque. Lotulelei has seen his stock drop due to health concerns. But, he would be a fantastic acquisition this late in the first round as a potential impact road-grader in the middle for Houston. Imagine a healthy Lotulelei lined up next to J.J. Watt.

28. Denver Broncos – S Eric Reid, LSU
(Previously: S Matt Elam, Florida)

Just because Elam is off the board, does not mean Denver does not need to find a replacement for their current safeties. Their elimination from the postseason had a lot to do with their inability to stop the deep pass vs. Baltimore. Reid is 6-1 with long arms and experience, having started since his freshman season with the Tigers.

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

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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