2013 NFL Mock Draft: Projecting the Offensive Stars of Tomorrow
The 2012 NFL draft is in the books, and while report cards are being handed out for this year's draft NFL teams now turn their attention towards preparing their squads for the upcoming season.
For one team that will mean Super Bowl glory while for another it will mean the chagrin of being first on the clock in next year's draft. However, in a league that's become more driven by offense than ever, every NFL club will be scouring the collegiate ranks for the offensive stars of tomorrow.
Here's a look at how the first round of that quest for the offensive firepower could play out.
1. Miami Dolphins: Robert Woods, WR, USC
By 2013 Ryan Tannehill will probably be under center in South Beach, and it might just be a good idea if the Dolphins got their shiny new quarterback someone to throw the ball to.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
The Jacksonville Jaguars are apparently so enamored with the ability of second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert to guide the offense this season that they selected a punter in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft.
Tyler Wilson threw for over 3,600 passing yards and 24 touchdown passes last year for the Razorbacks, and while Wilson has his sights set on some individual achievements the 6'3", 220-pound signal-caller is more worried right now about winning games for the Hogs according to The Washington Post.
While Wilson hasn’t shied away from saying he’d like to win the Heisman and be the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft, the Greenwood, Ark., native would trade both to win a championship with his home-state Razorbacks.
“Those are things you shoot for, but we’ve got a lot of work to do on the field first,” Wilson said.
3. Indianapolis Colts: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
The addition of Andrew Luck is a step in the right direction for the rebuilding Colts. Keeping Luck from having to look for receivers out of his earhole would be another.
4. Cleveland Browns: David Amerson, CB, NC State
As badly as the Cleveland Browns need wide receivers, team president Mike Holmgren doesn't like to draft them early. Amerson would form an imposing duo with Joe Haden in Cleveland's secondary after picking off 13 passes in 2011.
5. Minnesota Vikings: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Vikings bolstered their secondary in this year's draft with the addition of Josh Robinson, but Robinson isn't going to single-handedly turn around a Vikings pass defense that allowed the most touchdown passes in the NFL in 2011.
6. St. Louis Rams: Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin
The St. Louis Rams took several steps in the right direction in the 2012 NFL draft, but they did very little to address an offensive line that allowed the most sacks in the NFL in 2011.
7. Oakland Raiders: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
The Raiders gave up a ton to get quarterback Carson Palmer last year. However, Palmer is 32, and after another losing season for the silver and black Oakland may well look to swap out an old USC quarterback for a newer model.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
"Honey Badger" may only be 5'9", but the first team All-American is superb in coverage and would be a significant upgrade for a Buccaneers secondary badly in need of one.
9. New York Jets: Brandon Jenkins, OLB, Florida State
The Jets attempted to upgrade the pass rush with the addition of Quinton Coples this year, but if that doesn't work out the team may find themselves in the market for a player better suited to the role of 3-4 rush linebacker.
10. Arizona Cardinals: Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee
The Arizona Cardinals failed in their pursuit of Peyton Manning in free agency, but if Kevin Kolb struggles again under center in the desert the Cardinals will likely pursue his replacement in next year's draft.
“I have started to look at it from a coaching standpoint,” Bray said. “Last year, I was a player and wanted to get out of here. I was tired and all of that. I’ve realized that we actually do need to work on stuff in the areas we need improvement on.”
11. Seattle Seahawks: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
The Seahawks did very little to improve the offensive front this season, and the team could certainly do a lot worse than the son of Hall of Fame center, Bruce Matthews.
12. Buffalo Bills: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
I don't know if teammates that play the same position have ever been selected back-to-back in the NFL draft, but after concentrating on defense this offseason the Bills could stand to improve the offensive line next year.
13. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins): Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
The Rams added a pair of wideouts in the 2012 draft, but they're so hard up at wide receiver right now that the rebuild will likely need to continue next year .
14. Carolina Panthers: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
The Panthers ranked near the bottom of the NFL in run defense in 2011 and were especially soft between the tackles, but somewhat surprisingly Carolina ignored the middle of the defensive front in this year's draft.
15. Tennessee Titans: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
After ranking 31st in the NFL last year in sacks the Tennessee Titans badly need to upgrade the defensive front, and Montgomery tallied nine sacks last year for the Tigers.
16. Denver Broncos: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
The 255-pound thumper topped 150 tackles in 2011, and Te'o would be an immediate upgrade for a Denver defense that struggled at times in the middle a season ago.
17. Kansas City Chiefs: Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
Jones tallied 13.5 sacks for the Bulldogs in 2011, and the 241-pound junior would be an excellent batterymate for Tamba Hali chasing quarterbacks in Kansas City.
18. Chicago Bears: DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Bears drafted a pair of cornerbacks late in the 2012 draft, but Peanut Tillman isn't getting any younger and the Bears may not have time to wait for "project types" to develop.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
The Dallas Cowboys franchised outside linebacker Anthony Spencer in 2012, but if Spencer doesn't show marked improvement this season Dallas will almost certainly look to replace him.
20. Cincinnati Bengals: Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
The Cincinnati Bengals signed BenJarvus Green-Ellis in free agency and drafted Dan Herron, but neither of those running backs are in any way what one would call "explosive".
"I watched him during spring practice, he ran on the sideline, ran straight ahead. And I think the month of May, he's going to start making some cuts and planting and so forth," Spurrier said. "But from watching him run straight ahead, I don't think it will be a problem when he starts cutting and juking and jiving and so forth."
21. New Orleans Saints: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
I know this may be blasphemous to supporters of the Saints, but Drew Brees is well past 30 years old and at some point the team is going to have to address the future under center in the Big Easy.
22. San Diego Chargers: Johnathan Hankins, NT, Ohio State
The Chargers brought back veteran Antonio Garay on what is essentially a one-year deal in 2012. That could leave San Diego looking for a upgrade next season at a position where the Bolts haven't been shy about turnover the past few years.
23. Atlanta Falcons: William Gholston, DE, Michigan State
The 6'7", 280-pound beefeater has some character concerns, but the talented pass-rusher also possesses surprising quickness and could be an excellent heir for John Abraham up front.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Tom Wort, ILB, Oklahoma
The Steelers chose to pass on grabbing James Farrior's replacement in this year's draft. Larry Foote can hold down the fort this ye ar, but the team is going to have to eventually procure a long-term answer at the position.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Johnathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie may be playing his last year in Philly, and the hard hitting Banks would be an interesting change of pace given DRC's aversion to contact.
26. Detroit Lions: Khaled Holmes, G/C, USC
The Detroit Lions addressed the tackle position in this year's draft with the addition of Riley Reiff, but the Lions could still stand to get better and younger along the interior of the offensive line.
"This team is a lot closer," Holmes said. "It's the closest team I've ever played on. We've all got each other's backs." One reason for that development, according to Holmes: "We've got confidence and a clear goal ahead of us."
27. Baltimore Ravens: Ray-Ray Armstrong, S, Miami
The Ravens still need to procure a successor to Ed Reed at safety, and Armstrong could be an excellent fit if he can show the team he's learned from his suspension for accepting improper benefits.
28. San Francisco 49ers: Star Lotulelei, NT, Utah
The 49ers could use an upgrade in the middle of the defensive front, and at 325 pounds Lotulelei has the bulk to hold the point of attack on a 3-4 defensive line.
29. New York Giants: Chris Faulk, OT, LSU
The New York offensive line is getting pretty long in the tooth. The 6'6" 325-pound junior would provide a badly needed infusion of youth and talent to Big Blue's big uglies.
30. Houston Texans: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
The trade that sent DeMeco Ryans to Philadelphia leaves the Texans with a need at inside linebacker, and Mosley's time in the 3-4 defense in Tuscaloosa would probably appeal to Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
31. New England Patriots: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
The Patriots focused their attention on defense in 2012, but Rome wasn't built in a day. The athletic Okafor would likely excel in Bill Belichick's multiple fronts defense given his combination of strength and quickness.
32. Green Bay Packers: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
The Packers had the worst pass defense in the National Football League in 2011, and while the 6'0" junior is a bit raw the speedy youngster is incredibly athletic.
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