2013 NFL Mock Draft: Pick-by-Pick Predictions for All 32 Teams
The football season is young, but we are already starting to see the next NFL stars emerge. Despite being more focused on the current season, there are plenty of people on each team's payroll carefully monitoring these college stars.
Putting together a mock draft this early in the year is tough. The toughest part is developing the projected draft order. This is why I ask that you focus more on the prospects and how they fit with the team rather than the projected order.
No. 1 Arizona Cardinals
Pick: Matt Barkley, Quarterback, USC Trojans
The Arizona Cardinals have a talented football team, but they lack it where it counts. The quarterback position is a lost cause. Both John Skelton and Kevin Kolb lack the package needed to develop into a top-notch NFL quarterback. However, USC's Matt Barkley is a complete football player that has a bright future in the NFL.
Arizona needs a quarterback who can come in and infuse confidence in the team. Barkley has the leadership and the talent to turn the entire vibe of the franchise around. Someone like Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas might have a higher ceiling, but Barkley is the safer pick.
If somehow the quarterback position figures itself out the Cardinals would target an offensive lineman. An offensive tackle like Michigan's Taylor Lewan would make sense.
No. 2 Miami Dolphins
Pick: Star Lotulelei, Defensive Tackle, Utah Utes
The Miami Dolphins have a ton of needs, which means they can focus on adding the most talented player available. Utah's Star Lotulelei is the type of difference maker that can turn an up-and-coming defense into an elite unit. Lotulelei can both stuff the run and make plays behind the line of scrimmage. He's the type of playmaker that can change the course of a game.
Selecting this early in the draft means you have to find an impact player. This means avoiding reaching for a player based on need. The Dolphins have a real issue at the wide receiver position, but there isn't a player worthy of the No. 2 pick.
A top-notch wide receiver is something that would really help Ryan Tannehill, but a strong defense would also help.
No. 3 Cleveland Browns
Pick: Barkevious Mingo, Defensive End, LSU Tigers
The additions of Brandon Weedon, Trent Richardson, Mitchell Schwartz and Josh Gordon means that the Cleveland Browns have a lot invested in the offensive side of the ball. This defense is a player or two away from becoming an elite unit. LSU's Barkevious Mingo has the elite pass-rush ability to change the direction of a franchise.
A defensive line featuring Mingo, Jabaal Sheard, Phil Taylor and Ahtybaa Rubin makes up a potentially dominant unit. Add this too a secondary that has Joe Hadin and T.J. Ward and you have a defense that's ready to match the other dominant units in the AFC North.
The biggest question facing the Browns is the management structure. A new owner is about to take over, and he might want to re-adjust the staff that's in place. It's not out of the question that this franchise selects someone like Logan Thomas a year after adding Weeden.
This is a quarterback driven league, and finding the right one is very important.
No. 4 Minnesota Vikings
Pick: David Amerson, Cornerback, NC State Wolfpack
It was a rough start to the 2012 season for NC State's David Amerson. He allowed the Tennessee offense to torch him for two touchdowns. However, that doesn't mean that he's any less talented. Amerson is a ballhawk that has a special ability to generate turnovers.
The Minnesota Vikings have a lot of issues in the secondary. They have high hopes for players like Chris Cook and Josh Robinson, but neither have the talent of Amerson. He's the type of playmaker that can get the Vikings defense back to a dominant fashion.
This is a team that needs a playmaker at wide receiver. If someone like Justin Hunter or Robert Woods emerges as a top-5 talent then they would be the pick.
No. 5 St. Louis Rams
Pick: Taylor Lewan, Offensive Tackle, Michigan
The Michigan Wolverines had a horrendous start to the season, but Taylor Lewan had a dominant performance. He did a great job protecting the quarterback, opening running lanes and setting the tone with a nasty approach. Lewan is an elite player who is capable of quickly adjusting to the NFL.
The St. Louis Rams admitted failure when they traded Jason Smith to the New York Jets, but that doesn't mean they should avoid adding a potential elite offensive lineman. Adding Lewan will allow the Rams to move Roger Saffold to move to right tackle-- which is a position he's better suited for.
Lewan is the type of talent that could elevate himself to the the top of the draft. Left tackles are just as important as quarterbacks.
No. 6 New York Jets
Pick: Logan Thomas, Quarterback, Virginia Tech Hokies
When Mark Sanchez entered the NFL there were questions about his ceiling. The past few years have showed that Sanchez has limitations. Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas has the type of potential that the New York Jets need at the quarterback position. At this point, a rookie with a ton of upside can perform as well as Sanchez.
The Jets could also target a top-notch pass rusher, running back or right tackle. If Sanchez shows some signs of development it would be wise to surround him with talent. New York deciding to move on from Santonio Holmes would be a start. Keenan Allen would be a great replacement.
However, if the franchise isn't behind the quarterback, it means it's time to move on. Thomas is the type of playmaker who can make New York forget about the charismatic Sanchez.
No. 7 Indianapolis Colts
Pick: Jarvis Jones, Outside Linebacker, Georgia Bulldogs
The Indianapolis Colts' decision to switch to a 3-4 attack means that Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are trade assets. This also means that Indianapolis needs to find someone capable of generating pressure off the edge. Jarvis Jones is an NFL-ready pass-rusher who can make an instant impact.
Jones is the type of playmaker that can help Chuck Pagano get the Colts' defense on track. This team needs to focus on upgrading the talent on defense after placing so much focus on putting talent around Andrew Luck.
Jones is the type of talent that can be the leader of the defense. If this franchise is looking for the next Terrell Suggs, Jones is the guy to fit that role.
No. 8 Oakland Raiders
Pick: Alex Okafor, Defensive End, Texas Longhorns
Texas' Alex Okafor is an excellent athlete who excels at generating pressure off the edge. He uses a quick first step, solid balance and suddenness to work his way into the backfield. Okafor has the natural ability to quickly develop into a player who consistently tops the double-digit sack mark.
The Oakland Raiders are a franchise that's looking to make major changes to the roster. New general manager Reggie McKenzie knows how important it is to have a defense that can generate pressure on the quarterback.
Depending how the Carson Palmer situation works out, the Raiders could also be in the market for a new quarterback. Someone like Matt Barkley would make a ton of sense.
No. 9 Tennessee Titans
Pick: Robert Woods, Wide Receiver, USC Trojans
The Tennessee Titans made a major investment in Jake Locker, and it's important that they surround him with talented playmakers. Tennessee currently has Nate Washington, Kenny Britt and Kendall Wright on the roster. However, Britt is anything but reliable.
Due to a series of off-the-field issues, Britt certainly has a short leash in Tennessee. USC's Robert Woods would make an excellent replacement for Britt. He's a good teammate, reliable target and someone that Jake Locker can count on.
Kendall Wright is the big-play threat, and Woods would be the guy the Titans target in the short passing game.
No. 10 Jacksonville Jaguars
Pick: Keenan Allen, Wide Receiver, California Golden Bears
Mike Mularkey was the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons when the team make an aggressive move to add Julio Jones to the mix. Mularkey knows having two play-making wide receivers is something that significantly increases the offensive production. California's Keenan Allen is an explosive wide receiver who'd really help the Jacksonville Jaguars' offense.
A wide receiving corps featuring Allen, Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson would be one of the better groups in the NFL. With this group, Blaine Gabbert would have a much better chance of developing into a successful quarterback.
Jacksonville could also look to bring in another pass-rusher. A penetrating defensive tackle like Florida's Sharrif Floyd would be a great fit.
No. 11 Carolina Panthers
Pick: Jake Matthews, Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M Aggies
Texas A&M's Jake Matthews is one of the more underrated offensive tackles in college football. He's a well-rounded player who does a great job both opening running lanes and protecting the passer. Matthews is an intelligent player. His use of angles and sound technique is what makes him such a successful offensive tackle.
The Carolina Panthers have a major need at the right tackle position. Matthews would be able to instantly come in and fill that role. The fact that he also has the potential to shift to left tackle increases his value. The Panthers can let him start his career on the right side, and then rotate to left tackle when Jordan Gross moves on.
Carolina will absolutely be keeping an eye on the defensive line prospects in this draft. They could use an upgrade at both defensive tackle and end. This could be a landing spot for Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins if he continues his strong play.
No. 12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pick: Dion Jordan, Defensive End, Oregon Ducks
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made several nice additions during this past offseason. However, they're a few players away from being a true contender. Their biggest need is for a pass-rushing defensive end. Oregon's Dion Jordan has the skill-set needed to develop into one of the NFL's top pass-rushers.
Jordan might be a better fit at outside linebacker in a 3-4 system, but he has the long frame to grow into the defensive end position. Even though he might be a little undersized, Jordan's ability to generate pressure on the quarterback will allow some teams to overlook that issue.
Tampa Bay's defense would really benefit from someone like Jordan lining up opposite Adrian Clayborn. Jordan's quickness, violent hands and length is what makes him such a dangerous pass-rusher. Adding Jordan would give the Buccaneers a great young core of playmakers on defense.
No. 13 Seattle Seahawks
Pick: Sean Porter, Outside Linebacker, Texas A&M Aggies
Texas A&M's Sean Porter is a well-rounded football player. He's someone that can drop into coverage, support the run and generate pressure on the quarterback. Teams running either the 3-4 or 4-3 defense can easily find a spot for Porter. With the Seattle Seahawks, he'll be able to come in and give them what Aaron Curry couldn't.
Seattle has done a good job adding talent all across the defense and might be one more linebacker away from an elite unit. Porter would be a good option to come in and replace Leroy Hill. A linebacker corps of Porter, KJ Wright and Bobby Wagner would be a highly successful unit.
It's time that the Seahawks start to worry about the durability of left tackle Russell Okung. He's constantly out of the lineup; leaving their quarterback vulnerable to pressure. They could look at someone like Wisconsin's Ricky Wagner with their first-round pick.
No. 14 St. Louis Rams (from Wash)
Pick: Justin Hunter, Wide Receiver, Tennessee Volunteers
The St. Louis Rams wrapped up another offseason where they didn't add a top-flight wide receiver. They continue to ask Sam Bradford to run the offense with a group of inconsistent pass catchers. This isn't an easy task, and something that could hurt his development. Tennessee's Justin Hunter is a rare athlete who looks like a potential No. 1 receiver.
He's got a combination of excellent size, quickness and leaping ability. Hunter is someone that's capable of making the tough catch in traffic. Bradford can just throw the ball in Hunter's direction and feel comfortable that his guy will win the matchup.
The trade the Rams pulled off with the Washington Redskins really sets this franchise up for the future. In this mock, they were able to land a franchise left tackle in Taylor Lewan and a play-making wide receiver in Hunter.
No. 15 Denver Broncos
Pick: Johnathan Hankins, Defensive Tackle, Ohio State Buckeyes
The combination of Justin Bannan and Ty Warren is serviceable, but neither is a top-notch playmaker. John Fox knows the Denver Broncos must find an upgrade at the defensive tackle position. Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins has the potential to develop into a player similar to Haloti Ngata.
At 6'3", 333 pounds, Hankins is a massive individual who also possesses good athleticism. He's much quicker than his size suggests, and he uses a good burst to penetrate the pocket. This is a player that can both anchor at the point of attack and work his way into the backfield. The entire Broncos defense would benefit from adding a player who can control the line of scrimmage like Hankins.
The linebacker corps would be especially pleased with this pick. Hankins does a good job occupying blockers, which will allow the linebackers to cleanly flow to the football.
No. 16 San Diego Chargers
Pick: Ricky Wagner, Offensive Tackle, Wisconsin Badgers
The San Diego Chargers just re-signed Jared Gaither to a new deal. However, Gaither has durability issues that make him very unreliable. The left tackle position is too important to have someone that's consistently out of the line. Wisconsin's Ricky Wagner possesses the size, balance and quick feet needed to play left tackle in the NFL.
He does a great job quickly getting into his kick slide and beating pass-rushers to the edge. His strong lower half helps him absorb contact and anchor at the point of attack. Wisconsin does a great job producing technically sound offensive lineman, and Wagner can be counted in amongst that group.
Even if Gaither is able to remain healthy, Wagner would be a wise pick, as Jeromey Clary is a liability at right tackle.
No. 17 Buffalo Bills
Pick: Marquess Wilson, Wide Receiver, Washington State Cougars
The Buffalo Bills have a lot of firepower on offense, but they lack a great option at the No. 2 wide receiver spot. Opposing defenses are able to key on Stevie Johnson because they don't fear the likes of Donald Jones and David Nelson. Washington State's Marquess Wilson has the play-making ability to help draw attention away from Johnson's side of the field.
Wilson is a tall and lanky target who does a great job attacking the football at its highest point. His body control and timing gives him a chance to pull down any ball thrown in his direction. Wilson doesn't have great top-end speed, but he does a good job changing gears.
Another up-and-down season by Ryan Fitzpatrick could force the Bills to look at adding a quarterback. Someone like West Virginia's Geno Smith would look good in Chan Gailey's system.
No. 18 Detroit Lions
Pick: Marcus Lattimore, Running Back, South Carolina Gamecocks
The Detroit Lions have an extremely explosive offense, but they need to find some balance. Detroit's running backs have really struggled with injuries. Jahvid Best, Kevin Smith and Mikel LeShoure have all been in and out of the lineup. South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore could come in and quickly make the running game a strength for the Lions.
Lattimore has a stocky build which allows him to keep his pads low and play with balance. His ability to change direction with out hesitation and quickly get up to full speed is what makes him such a difference maker. When defenders feel they have him in their sights, he adjusts and picks up extra yardage.
Detroit fans might be worried about Lattimore's knee injury. However, he's already showing little effect from the injury. At this point, this isn't enough to make him a durability concern.
No. 19 Atlanta Falcons
Pick: Sharrif Floyd, Defensive Tackle, Florida Gators
The Atlanta Falcons' defense didn't do a great job generating pressure on the quarterback last year. They only registered 33 sacks as a team last season, with 9.5 of them coming from John Abraham. Florida's Sharrif Floyd possesses the quickness and power needed to wreak havoc in the backfield.
At Florida, Floyd lines up at both defensive tackle and end. This type of versatility increases his value, as defensive coordinators can employ different alignments with Floyd in the game. Adding him to the mix would also give offenses another player they must worry about. His presence would provide the rest of the defense with favorable matchups.
Atlanta also has some issues along the offensive line. They could look at a left tackle like Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel.
No. 20 Philadelphia Eagles
Pick: Tony Jefferson, Safety, Oklahoma Sooners
The Philadelphia Eagles have been looking to solidify the safety position since Brian Dawkins signed with the Denver Broncos. Players like Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman and Jaiquawn Jarrett just haven't been able to seize the job. Oklahoma's Tony Jefferson possesses the athleticism and football IQ needed to make an immediate impact.
He's someone that can line up in man coverage, cover the deep middle of the field and support the run. A few years ago, the Eagles decided to pass up on Earl Thomas in order to select Brandon Graham. It's likely they regret that decision, but with Jefferson they have a chance to make amends.
Depending on the long-term health of Jason Peters, Philadelphia could also look to target a left tackle prospect. Again, someone like Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel would be an excellent fit.
No. 21 Pittsburgh Steelers
Pick: CJ Mosley, Linebacker, Alabama Crimson Tide
The Pittsburgh Steelers' defense is starting to show signs of aging, especially at the linebacker position. Larry Foote doesn't have many productive years left in the league. Alabama's CJ Mosley possesses the skill set needed to quickly take over for Foote.
Playing at Alabama provides Mosley with the experience of playing in a 3-4 defense. Understanding the assignments and concepts of this defense will help him make an early impact for the Steelers. This is a player that will not only stuff the run, but also do well in coverage.
Pittsburgh has done a good job adding young talent along the defensive line and outside linebacker spots. They've drafted players like Jason Worlids, Cameron Heyward and Ziggy Hood at those positions. However, they haven't really addressed the middle linebacker spot.
No. 22 Dallas Cowboys
Pick: Chance Warmack, Guard, Alabama Crimson Tide
So far this season, the Dallas Cowboys are having all kinds of issues with the interior of their offensive line. Against the New York Giants, Tony Romo constantly had to deal with pressure in his face. Alabama's Chance Warmack might be the most talented offensive lineman in this draft. If teams placed more value on the guard position, he'd come off the board in the top 10.
Warmack is both powerful and explosive. He plays an aggressive style of football that allows him to constantly deliver a strong jolt. In the running game, Warmack uses inside hand placement, leverage and a balanced stance to drive defenders off the ball.
The Cowboys will likely also keep an eye on the outside linebacker prospects. They haven't been able to lock Anthony Spencer up to a long-term deal, and are unlikely to use the franchise tag on him again. Florida State's Bjoern Werner would be a good pickup for the Cowboys.
No. 23 Kansas City Chiefs
Pick: Bjoern Werner, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, Florida State Seminoles
The Kansas City Chiefs have a good collect of young talent on the defensive side of the ball. However, they could use another pass rusher to help Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. Florida State's Bjoern Werner is a tremendous athlete who possesses the quickness to generate a ton of pressure on the quarterback.
Werner is an interesting player, as he's a little undersized but is still strong at the point of attack. His good technique and use of leverage makes it tough for blockers to move him off the line. However, it's his ability to get after the quarterback that makes him a top-notch prospect.
There's a lot of focus on Matt Cassel this season, and if he struggles could be replaced. West Virginia's Geno Smith would be a great fit for the Chiefs.
No. 24 Chicago Bears
Pick: Luke Joeckel, Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M Aggies
For the past several seasons, the Chicago Bears' offensive line has struggle to keep Jay Cutler upright. J'Marcus Webb has a lot of natural ability, but his lapses in focus are a real problem. Chicago can't continue to neglect the offensive line. Adding a top-notch pass protector like Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel would solve the Bears problems.
Joeckel is a fluid athlete who excels at protecting the edge. He does a great job quickly getting into his kick slide and shuffling his feet. His shuffle is very balanced which helps him anchor against the bull rush and quickly change direction.
If somehow Webb develops into a winning player, the Bears could look to address the linebacker position. Notre Dame's Manti Te'o would be a great long-term replacement for Brian Urlacher.
No. 25 Cincinnati Bengals
Pick: Manti Te'o, Linebacker, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Rey Maualuga has been a solid player in the middle of the Cincinnati Bengals' defense. However, he's a free agent at the end of the season. He could be someone several teams target during the free agency period. Notre Dame's Manti Te'o would be a great replacement for Maualuga.
Actually, Te'o has a much higher ceiling that Maualuga. He possesses excellent size, good strength and the closing burst to make plays sideline to sideline. Te'o is also a smart football player who's capable of making all the defensive calls.
Cincinnati could also take a long look at the running back prospects. They might have to move up to land South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore, but he might be worth the assets needed to make that move.
No. 26 New Orleans Saints
Pick: Sam Montgomery, Defensive End, LSU Tigers
New defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's defense relies on the front four generating most of the pressure. The New Orleans Saints' current roster lacks someone that can consistently get after the quarterback. LSU's Sam Montgomery possesses the speed and the motor to be a difference maker in this system.
Having Montgomery lineup opposite Will Smith would give Spagnuolo the players he needs to make his system work.
Montgomery is a little undersized, but he has the frame to add more bulk and not lose speed. This the big question mark surrounding Montgomery. Teams need to decide if they feel comfortable with him playing defensive end, or if he's a better fit at outside linebacker.
No. 27 Baltimore Ravens
Pick: Kenny Vaccaro, Safety, Texas Longhorns
For the past few seasons, Ed Reed has talked a lot about retirement. Reed and Ray Lewis are the heart of the Baltimore Ravens defense. This team would look a whole lot different with either one of them out of the lineup. It makes sense for the Ravens to bring someone in that can learn from Reed and eventually replace him. Texas' Kenny Vaccaro has the potential to fill that role.
Vaccaro is a versatile defender that does a good job both in coverage and against the run. His possesses the speed to cover a lot of ground and make plays from sideline to sideline. Vaccaro's excellent short-area burst allows him to quickly close on the football and ball carrier.
I mentioned Ray Lewis, and the Ravens have to start thinking about his eventual replacement. Someone like Alabama's CJ Mosley would be a great apprentice.
No. 28 New York Giants
Pick: Tyler Eifert, Tight End, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Eli Manning has always made good use of the tight end position. He's been able to help average players like Kevin Boss and Jake Ballard have productive seasons. The New York Giants would be wise to bring in a tight end with more talent than those two players. Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert is the type of athlete capable of being a real offensive threat.
Eifert possesses both excellent size and speed. He excels at attacking the seam and stretching the field. His ability to attack the football at its highest point makes him a matchup nightmare. This is a player that's too fast for linebackers to cover, and too big for defensive backs to handle.
The Giants have some question marks along the offensive line. A left tackle prospect like North Carolina's Brennan Williams would also be an excellent pick here.
No. 29 New England Patriots
Pick: Johnathan Banks, Cornerback, Mississippi State Bulldogs
Mississippi State's Johnathan Banks is the type of football player that Bill Belichick would absolutely love. He's a very smart player who's rarely out of position. Banks plays with a lot of tenacity, as he does a good job supporting the run and attacking the ball in the air. With Banks, you know that you'll get a lot of effort and someone that plays smart football.
The New England Patriots continue to have issues in the secondary. They need someone who can come in and solidify the cornerback position. Because of the aggressiveness of the Patriots' offense, the defense will constantly deal with opponent trying to keep pace.
Don't rule out the Patriots using their first-round pick on another pass rusher. Chandler Jones can't be the only player on the defensive line capable of generating pressure. Auburn's Corey Lemonier would be a nice addition.
No. 30 Green Bay Packers
Pick: Dee Milliner, Cornerback, Alabama Crimson Tide
The Green Bay Packers secondary continues to be a major problem. Aaron Rodgers is talented enough to win games despite the defense, but that puts a lot of pressure on him. Alabama's Dee Milliner is someone that can instantly help improve the Packers' secondary.
Milliner has good size and bulk for the position. He combines that size with good quickness and excellent closing speed. Milliner is the type of cornerback that can matchup with any receiver in the NFL, as he's big enough to handle larger targets and fast enough to keep receivers in front of him.
The way the season started for Milliner it's possible that he climbs up the draft. In that case, the Packers would target the best available defensive player on their board.
No. 31 Houston Texans
Pick: Jonathan Cooper, Guard, North Carolina Tar Heels
The Houston Texans rely heavily on their defense and Arian Foster to win football games. Foster's running ability is the main reason the Texans were able to get a playoff victory last season. This is why it's important for the Texans to ensure that ground game can remain successful. Adding a potentially dominant offensive lineman like North Carolina's Jonathan Cooper will help the cause.
Cooper explodes off the football and attacks the defensive lineman. He rolls his hips into the defender and generates a great initial jolt. Cooper also has a lot of balance which helps him hold his blocks and excel in pass protection.
Houston will also be on the look out for a play-making wide receiver. They need someone they can use to help draw attention from Andre Johnson. It's possible Washington State's Marquess Wilson is available at this point in the draft.
No. 32 San Francisco 49ers
Pick: Corey Lemonier, Defensive End/Linebacker, Auburn Tigers
The San Francisco 49ers are built as a team that wins with their defense. That strong defense is what allows Jim Harbaugh to operate his run-first offensive attack. This means that San Francisco should continue to add talent to the defense when possible. Auburn's Corey Lemonier would give the 49ers another talented pass rusher.
Lemonier is an excellent athlete with a good burst off the line of scrimmage. He's able to quickly get off the ball, reach the edge and flatten out. Lemonier also possesses the strength and hand placement to utilize a strong bull rush.
The thing with Lemonier is that he also has good size, as he has added bulk since last season. San Francisco could even line him up at the defensive end in some formations.