Want to know where Matt Barkley and other candidates for college football's most prestigious individual award may land?
I know it's early for a 2013 mock draft and Heisman speculation, but I'm obsessed with knowing who's next.
In light of that obsession, a draft prognosticator never sleeps.
In scanning the list of players that could have been first- or second-round picks in the 2012 draft and players that figure to have a big role because of departed stars, I created this mock.
I am spotlighting the players that have a chance to gain Heisman consideration within a first-round mock draft for 2013.
Check it out:
1. Cleveland Browns: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
I don't anticipate the Browns seriously addressing their QB situation in this draft. While they may select Trent Richardson with the No. 4 pick, they will still have a need for a franchise QB.
After returning to USC, Barkley has to be considered the front-runner for both the Heisman Trophy and the top pick in the 2013 draft.
Needs: WR, QB, ROT, OLB, DE, DT, G/C
2. Indianapolis Colts: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
With the Colts selecting Andrew Luck with the top pick in 2012, the move in the next draft should be to find him a stud LT. Fluker looks like the best of the bunch at this point.
Needs: NT, CB, WR, TE, G, DE, LB, LT
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State
If the Jags don't go for Michael Floyd or Justin Blackmon this year, Wilson could be a solid pick for them in 2013.
Needs: WR, C, ROT, CB, OLB, RB, DT
4. Minnesota Vikings: Robert Woods, WR, USC
Woods has a outside shot at the Heisman—very outside, considering the front-runner is his QB.
Still, he is a dynamic WR, and if the Vikings don't select Justin Blackmon with their No. 3 pick in the 2012 draft, Woods could be the Vikes' new No. 1 receiver.
It may be a year too late for Christian Ponder, but it would make sense if things progress as it appears they will.
Needs: WR, S, CB, MLB, DT, OLB, DE
5. Miami Dolphins: Sam Montgomery, DE/OLB, LSU
Montgomery could be a running mate or replacement for Cameron Wake.
Needs: WR, ROT, S, DE, CB, TE, OLB
6. Arizona Cardinals: Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee
The Cardinals aren't going to find their franchise QB in the 2012 NFL draft, but they may find him in Tennessee's Bray. I see them addressing the WR or OL in the first round this year, but looking to add a long-term option under center in 2013.
Bray is going into his junior season. Had he been eligible for the 2012 draft, he would have been a top 15 pick.
He's 6'6", 210 pounds, with a great arm.
He may ultimately end up better than Barkley, though his chances for the Heisman aren't as great due to his supporting cast.
Needs: ROT, WR, 3-4 OLB, QB, DE, DB, C/G, ILB
7. St. Louis Rams: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
If the Rams don't take Matt Kalil in 2012, adding protection for Sam Bradford should be the top priority in 2013.
Needs: OT, DT, CB, RB, LB, S
8. Oakland Raiders: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
I'm not sold on Carson Palmer, and there is no reason to believe Terrelle Pryor will be ready to be the starting QB by next year.
Because of that, the Raiders should take a long look at the QB spot in 2012. That could mean Wilson from Arkansas.
Wilson is impressing with his arm and his leadership skills. Steve Greenberg of the Sporting News said this after Wilson's impressive spring game performance:
No, not because of his numbers on Saturday against backup players who were aligned mostly in base defenses.
It’s because of his great talent passing the ball, sure, but that would be nothing in 2012 without the almost Tebow-like leadership Wilson is showing. “Almost” as in, he can have just as much influence on his fellow Razorbacks as Tebow had on the Florida Gators, only without the showy flexed biceps and teary press-conference speeches. (Did that sound cynical? We swear we didn’t intend for it to.)
Who wins the Heisman Trophy in 2012?
He and the Razorbacks will have to battle through a beast of an SEC schedule. If he shines, however, he'll be in play for teams like the Raiders.
Needs: QB, WR, LB
9. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins): David Amerson, CB, N.C. State
The RG3 trade benefits start to pay off. The Rams can now address the other side of the ball.
Needs: OT, DT, CB, RB, LB, S
10. Seattle Seahawks: Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
Allen could add a much-needed speed threat to the Seahawks' attack.
Needs: LB, G/ROT, WR, RB, CB, TE, QB
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
This is, by far, my favorite player in college football. I have a rule against endorsing selections of RB in the top 10—especially if the team has multiple needs. I'd almost be willing to break that rule for Lattimore.
He is one of the most intelligent players at the position that I've seen in the college ranks.
He is patient, with excellent instincts and great poise. As I describe him, it almost sounds like I'm talking about a QB, but he's that type of leader.
He has had tremendous production over his first two seasons (2015 rushing yards), but that is also part of the concern (460 plays from scrimmage).
He suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2011, and teams will be concerned about the workload he carried in college. Lattimore has been a workhorse from the moment he arrived on campus in South Carolina.
If his durability and health check out, he's a stud candidate for the Heisman and a great pick for the Bucs.
Needs: RB, OLB, SS, G, TE, ILB, WR
12. Buffalo Bills: Jelani Jenkins, OLB, Florida
The Bills could continue improving their defense with this selection. This would another step in building a formidable front seven.
Needs: WR, OLB, CB, QB, TE, ILB, G
13. Tennessee Titans: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
Short could address the Titans' run defense. They were ranked 24th in the NFL against the run in 2011.
Needs: LB, S. OT, DE, RB, WR, DT
14. Carolina Panthers: Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
The Honey Badger was invited to the Heisman ceremony in 2011, it's possible he could be a much more serious candidate in 2012.
He is a defensive player, but his great return skills give him another avenue to gain consideration.
The Panthers' pass coverage needs to improve, but moreover, they need defensive playmakers. No player in the draft carries that label more than Mathieu.
Needs: CB, OLB, WR, OT, G, DE
15. Denver Broncos: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
The Broncos spent a boat load on Peyton Manning, but he isn't a long-term solution.
They need to bring his successor on board in 2013. It will allow him to learn from Manning and be ready to take the reins when Manning walks away.
Jones folded in 2011 amidst the Heisman talk, but he should have a better season in 2012; thus, he is a candidate again.
Needs: CB, G/C, RB, WR, QB
16. Kansas City Chiefs: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Hawkins could be a dominant presence on the Chiefs' defensive line. If they take David DeCastro in the first round of the 2012 draft, they are showing a commitment to become solid in the trenches.
Needs: NT, G, OLB, RB, DE, WR
17. Chicago Bears: DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
Charles Tillman is getting old, and Tim Jennings isn't an ideal starter. Millner could be a star, and it makes a ton of sense for the Bears to look at him.
Needs: CB, DE, LB, TE, DT, G, LT
18. Cincinnati Bengals: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
Cincinnati could take Mingo to replenish and add depth to their defensive line.
Needs: G, SS, DE, RB, OLB, DT
19. San Francisco 49ers: Barrett Jones, G/C, Alabama
The Niners' biggest strength is their running game. Drafting Jones could add to their strength in that area.
Needs: G, DE, CB, OLB, TE S, ILB
20. Dallas Cowboys: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
If the Cowboys don't take Janoris Jenkins in the first round of the 2012 draft, Rhodes or another CB could be in play in 2013.
Needs: S, CB, WR, G, RB, OLB
21. New York Jets: Michael Dyer, RB, Arkansas State
The Jets have to think about addressing the RB position. Dyer should have a huge year at Arkansas State after transferring from Auburn.
Needs: WR, RT, DE, S, RB, ILB
22. Philadelphia Eagles: Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin
Looking to Wisconsin for OL is never a bad thing. Wagner could be a solid pick especially, if Jason Peters' injury lingers.
Needs: LT, OLB, DT, QB, RB
23. New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
The Saints should be looking for an impact player on either side of the ball. Injuries or poor play could cause a position to become a commodity, but for now, it is the best player available.
Needs: Best avail
24: San Diego Chargers: T.J. McDonald, S, USC
I think the Chargers should take Nick Perry of USC in this year's draft. If they do, they could continue to upgrade their defense with former Trojans by taking McDonald.
Needs: OL, OLB, S
25. Atlanta Falcons: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Falcons should also be looking for the best available player. Floyd has solid upside, so it's possible his stock rises out of this range. If not, he qualifies and could add depth.
Needs: Best avail
26. Baltimore Ravens: Chris Faulk, OT, LSU
The Ravens' O-Line is aging. They can address the C position this year, but the OT void could be filled with Faulk.
Needs: G, OLB, LOT, DE, RB
27. New York Giants: Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
Another player that was invited to the Heisman ceremony, and one that elected to return to school after a stellar season.
If the G-Men don't take a RB with the No. 32 selection in 2012, Ball certainly fits the Giants' mold at RB.
They need youth and depth at the position, and Ball would be a great selection.
Needs: OT, RB, LB, DT, DE, S
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
The Steelers could go NT here, but if they continue to rebuild their LB corps, Te'o is a solid pick.
Needs: OT/G, CB, NT, ILB, RB, S
29. Detroit Lions: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
The Lions may not retain Cliff Avril after this season, drafting Okafor is a solid backup plan.
Needs: CB, LOT, LB, DE, RB, S
30. Houston Texans: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
The Texans need a solid leader at ILB. Mosley is expected to have a huge season for the awesome 'Bama defense.
Needs: ROT, ILB, G, CB, OLB
31. New England Patriots: Khaled Holmes, G/C, USC
The Pats' O-Line is aging, and they must start replacing the pieces in front of Tom Brady.
Needs: S, G/C, OLB, CB, RB
32. Green Bay Packers: Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma
The Pack could take Mark Barron this year—if he's available—to replace the newly released Nick Collins. Even if they do, they could still draft Jefferson for versatility and depth.
Needs: S, RB, DE, CB, TE