The 2013 NFL draft is right around the corner. Well, not really, but it's never too early to take a look at the next draft and project what every team in the NFL will do.
The 2012 NFL draft was the most unpredictable draft of all time thanks to a plethora of trades and some head-scratching selections in the first round (you know who you are).
If this new trend of unpredictability in the first round continues, the 2013 NFL draft could be even more chaotic.
At this point in time college football hasn't even kicked off but there are a variety of prospects that are sure to be first-round selections barring a major injury. Sprinkle in a bit of the aforementioned unpredictability and one can begin to see how the 2013 NFL draft may play out.
For the purposes of this mock draft order is based on how each team is projected to finish next season. Each pick is based on what every team will likely do given the position of the pick, team needs and the players left on the board.
Here's an early look at the entire first round of the 2013 NFL draft:
Matt Barkley, QB, USC
As of right now Matt Barkley is the consensus No. 1 prospect heading into the draft. He’s not Andrew Luck by any means but he has enough skill to be a franchise quarterback. He made an interesting decision staying at USC for another year, but he’ll still be the pick.
The Vikings have a long way to go before being a contender again. Passing on a can’t-miss player at the most important position in football wouldn’t be an amazing idea.
Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Jarvis Jones is a ridiculous athlete that can do it all, but his specialty is rushing the passer. He’ll fit right into the St. Louis defense and give them an additional pass-rusher to counter the variety of passing attacks the Rams will encounter in the NFC.
The Rams have a ways to go as well but passing on the best player available wouldn’t make sense. A player like Jones can turn an average defensive unit into an elite one quickly.
Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
Sam Montgomery is yet another athletic defensive player that can rush the passer form a variety of positions. He hails from LSU so it’s a safe bet his production in college will transfer to the NFL nicely.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to continue to stock up on the defensive side of the ball now that the offense looks to be shaping up nicely. Adding a pass-rusher to the mix should help.
Robert Woods, WR, USC
Robert Woods is the best receiver prospect to enter the draft, and for good reason. He was very productive while at USC and formed a deadly duo with quarterback Matt Barkley. The only concern with Woods is his weight at 185 lbs.
The Browns did a good job of adding offensive weapons in the last draft but need a legitimate threat at wide receiver. Having Woods across from Greg Little could create an elite offense.
Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
Jackson Jeffcoat is a physically dominating defensive end that easily dominated the opposition while in college. He fits any defense and will likely have a long NFL career.
Jeffcoat fills a need for the Jaguars at multiple positions. He fits nicely with the already impressive unit and should allow the Jaguars to compete with the Houston Texans.
Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
Barkevious Mingo is a threat to reach quarterbacks on any play from the outside linebacker position. He could add some more weight to his frame but uses what he has nicely.
Mingo fits right into the Titans defense and gives them a dimension they’ve been missing. Tennessee has a few pieces in place already, Mingo is just the icing on the cake.
David Amerson, CB, N.C. State
David Amerson is easily the best cornerback in the draft. He’s a massive corner that physically dominates opponents and has great ball-tracking skills.
The Colts roster is still riddled with holes, but having Amerson fall to them is a great way to turn around a mediocre defense fast. Amerson is a day one starter and will be in the league for a long time.
Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee
Tyler Bray is one of the better quarterbacks entering the draft. He performed well while at Tennessee and has a good amount of upside. Bray needs time to learn, and he could find that in Oakland.
Carson Palmer won’t last much longer with the Raiders because of age and performance. Bray will have an opportunity to learn from Palmer as well as compete with him for the starting job.
Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Marcus Lattimore is the best back in the draft by a mile. He may even be better than the first back taken last year, Trent Richardson. His stock really depends on his ability to recover from a knee injury.
The Rams drafted Isaiah Pead last year but he is more of a spell back for now. Steven Jackson is aging fast, so adding Lattimore not only adds depth to the position but gives St. Louis an elite combination on the ground for years to come.
(Editors Note: This pick was originally slated for the Washington Redskins. The Redskins traded this pick, along with a first rounder in 2014, the sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft and a second round selection in the 2012 draft to trad up to second overall in the 2012 draft where they selected Robert Griffin III. Sorry for the confusion).
Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
Had Manti Te’o entered the 2012 NFL draft he would have been the first linebacker off the board. He instead elected to return to Notre Dame to finish up his career.
Te’o can play any linebacker position and that has to be attractive to the Miami Dolphins. His production speaks for itself and he could find himself the leader of the defense as a rookie.
Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
Logan Thomas is quietly moving up draft boards everywhere, and the media will likely create a hype machine for him as the draft approaches. That’s not to say he’s a bad player, his production is very impressive.
It’s do-or-die time for Matt Cassel. Regardless of how he performs this season the Chiefs are likely to bring in a successor and Thomas is a great candidate.
Barrett Jones, OG, Alabama
Barrett Jones is a massive guard that led the way for Alabama running backs with ease. Simply playing at Alabama almost ensures you’ll pan out at the next level and Jones is no exception.
The Jets were candidates to take an offensive lineman early last year but didn’t. They can’t afford to pass on one now, especially with the focus being on the running game in New York.
Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
Tyrann Mathieu is a hard prospect to gauge in terms of when he should be selected. He’s known for the big play but is small and iffy in coverage. Still, Mathieu’s production in college combined with the media will likely see him taken in the first round.
The Bears have a few problem areas on the roster but corner seems to be the biggest at this point. Mathieu will be thrown to the wolves in the NFC North against the likes of Matt Stafford and Aaron Rodgers. We’ll know if he was worthy of a first-round pick quickly.
Bacarri Rambo, SS, Georgia
Bacarri Rambo is a beast in the run game and is known for big hits. His suspension for marijuana won’t impact his draft status in the slightest because of his abilities.
The Cowboys did a great job of improving the secondary last season but still need to do more if they hope to truly contend. Rambo is a solid piece to the equation.
Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
Tyler Wilson has all the intangibles you look for in an NFL quarterback and has the production at the collegiate level to match. At this point he’s a steal for the Arizona Cardinals.
Kevin Kolb’s time is running out in Arizona. If he fails to produce despite having Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd he’ll get the boot in favor of Wilson.
Jonathan Banks, CB, Mississippi St.
Jonathan Banks is an elite cornerback prospect that would go higher had he played at a bigger school. Last year he could have entered the draft and competed to be one of the top two corners selected. He’s got impeccable cover skills that will make him a great corner in the NFL.
San Diego failed to do much of anything in terms of addressing the cornerback spot last year, so taking Banks here is a steal and a no-brainer.
D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
D.J. Fluker is a sure-fire left tackle in the NFL. He’s an impressive athlete that follows the same mold of past Alabama offensive linemen.
The Ravens could use some additional depth along the line. Fluker will compete for a starting job somewhere on the offensive line, and win. He’s an amazing prospect that will be vital for the Ravens to compete for the AFC North crown each year.
DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
DeMarcus Milliner was over-shadowed at Alabama by Dre Kirkpatrick and DeQuan Menzie. He’s got great cover skills and is physical enough to start in the NFL from day one.
The Seahawks have a few young corners that played admirably when called upon but Milliner is an upgrade. The already impressive unit only gets better once Milliner puts on the colorful ‘Hawks jersey.
Alex Hurst, OT, LSU
Alex Hurst is a ridiculously large offensive lineman at 6’6”, 340 lbs. It’s safe to say he doesn’t have trouble opening up running lanes.
The Saints are going to have to enter a slight rebuilding phase soon and a good way to start is to upgrade the trenches. Hurst is the obvious choice here.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Tyler Eifert is a solid all-around prospect at the tight end position who is worth a first-round pick for a team looking for a legitimate threat at the position.
Tony Gonzalez is retiring after the upcoming season and the Falcons need to find a replacement. Eifert won’t match Gonzalez’s production right away, but it’s better than what is currently on the roster.
Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas
Knile Davis is a prototypical NFL running back and easily the second-best entering this draft. He’s got game-breaking speed but is big enough to get the tough short yards.
Running back is one of the glaring holes on the Bengals roster. Adding Davis only makes one of youngest and talented teams in the league that much better, he’ll fit perfectly in the AFC North.
Brandon Jenkins, OLB, Florida St.
Brandon Jenkins is yet another solid pass-rusher that uses his athleticism and physicality around the edge efficiently to get to quarterbacks. He has had some consistency issues but is worth the risk here.
Philadelphia isn’t done upgrading their mediocre linebacking group just yet. Jenkins kills two birds with one stone by upgrading the unit and giving the defense another amazing pass-rusher as well.
Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
Alex Okafor isn’t the biggest defensive name coming out of Texas this year, but he’s still an elite prospect that can instantly upgrade the majority of 4-3 defensive lines in the NFL.
Detroit could use some talented youth at the defensive end position and Okafor is that and much more. He’ll be starting in Detroit for a long time.
C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
C.J. Mosley was a tad over-shadowed while at Alabama but it’s a safe bet that he’ll have an insanely productive junior year and enter the draft. He’s a great prospect that can do it all from the inside linebacker spot.
The Steelers neglected the insider linebacker position last year and are rewarded with Mosley. He fits the mold of a classic Pittsburgh linebacker and will produce like one as well.
Keenan Allen, WR, California
Keenan Allen is a fringe first-round receiver who has amazing hands and the ability to create a big play on any down. Allen has the size and abilities that easily make him worthy of a first-round pick.
When Buffalo pairs Allen with Stevie Johnson, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick may just prove he was worth the massive money the Bills gave him. With Allen in the fold the Bills are quickly becoming one of the most complete teams in the league.
Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami (Fla.)
Seantrel Henderson is worth a pick here based on upside alone. He’s a big prospect that will only continue to improve at the next level.
Henderson provides some much-needed depth along the Denver offensive line. He can come in and compete for a starting job right away. It’s not a sexy pick, but it’s a safe one as the franchise moves forward with Peyton Manning.
Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
Kawann Short is an elite prospect on the defensive line that fits into any NFL defense. He’ll also be an upgrade to just about any NFL defense thanks to his ability to stuff the run.
The Panthers decided to not upgrade the defensive tackle position last year but have to address it here. Short is the best tackle available and joins an already stellar defensive line.
Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin
Picking up a Wisconsin offensive lineman typically results in an NFL team finding a sure thing for years. Ricky Wagner isn’t an exception to the rule. He’s a dominant tackle that can start immediately.
The Packers would be wise to make sure they have one of the better offensive lines in the league to protect the best quarterback in the league, Aaron Rodgers. Selecting Wagner here is the best possible move.
Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Desmond Trufant has had consistency issues throughout his career but has tremendous upside that could allow him to succeed at the next level. He’s a safe pick that will likely develop into a starter.
Trufant adds some much-needed youth to the Texans secondary and could quickly become the starting corner opposite Jonathan Joseph.
Jelani Jenkins, OLB, Florida
Jelani Jenkins is an absolute steal here. Standing at only 6’0” has caused some to think he could struggle at the next level, but his production and athleticism are rare.
Jenkins will undoubtedly succeed after joining the New York Giants’ already elite pass rush. He’s yet another piece that is simply unfair to the rest of the league.
Kwame Geathers, DT, Georgia
Kwame Geathers is a massive nose tackle weighing in at 350 lbs. For his size, Geathers is extremely athletic and can both stuff the run and rush the passer effectively.
Ironically enough, Vince Wilfork is approaching the end of his career but Geathers is there to replace him right away. Geathers will be a main component of a rapidly improving New England defense.
Devin Taylor, DE, South Carolina
Devin Taylor is an elite pass-rushing specialist that stood out while at South Carolina. He has the prototypical size and speed to be an every-down player in the NFL. He’s the clear-cut best player available at this point.
Taylor joins what is already the best defense in the NFL. He’ll join a rotation in the defense before taking over the starting role in a few years.