2013 NFL Mock Draft: Projecting Every First Round Pick
Now that we're three weeks into the 2012 college football season, it's time for a 2013 mock draft.
The nation's top players have had their chance to make first impressions on the NFL scouts, coaches and general managers, and some have impressed, while others have underwhelmed.
Let's take a look at the entire first round.
1. Oakland Raiders: Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
The Carson Palmer experiment ends when the Raiders make Thomas the first overall pick in the 2013 draft.
At 6'6'' and 260 pounds with a rocket arm, he passes the eye test, and still has room to grow as a quarterback, especially as a pocket passer.
The Hokies quarterback will be 21 when he's drafted, so his upside is clearly through the roof.
Everything starts at the quarterback position, and the Raiders haven't had a viable signal-caller since Rich Gannon.
Thomas is the right choice here.
2. Cleveland Browns: Keenan Allen, WR, California
The Browns added their franchise running back in the 2012 draft, now they grab the go-to wide receiver they desperately need.
Allen is 6'3'' and nearly 200 pounds, so he has ideal No. 1 wideout size. More importantly, he's physical with smaller cornerbacks and has strong hands to bring in the jump ball when tightly covered.
He's not a huge YAC guy but is a reliable chain-mover who will be welcomed to an improving Browns offense.
Brandon Weeden gets a player similar in stature and skill set to that of collegiate teammate Justin Blackmon.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Lotulelei is the premier defensive tackle prospect in the 2013 class, a player who should flirt with a similar draft stock as Ndamukong Suh leading up to the 2010 draft.
At 6'4'' and 325 pounds, this Ute has menacing size and is extremely powerful at the point of attack. He's not a one-trick pony, as he's a capable pass-rusher as well as a block-occupying run-stuffer that's able to shed blocks and take down running backs close to the line.
Pair Lotulelei with Tyson Alualu, and the Jaguars defense gets better with quite the tandem on the interior of their defensive line.
4. Miami Dolphins: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
The Dolphins, well, they need wide receivers.
They have the least intimidating wideout group in the NFL, and if Ryan Tannehill is to mature into a legitimate franchise quarterback, he needs better weapons on the outside.
Harper is immensely talented and is coming off a torn ACL.
Thus far for the Volunteers, the 6'4'', 200-pound wideout has 22 catches for 295 yards and three touchdowns in three games.
He has the natural talent, size and speed to be a true No. 1 wideout in the NFL.
Sounds like a good fit for Miami, right?
5. Minnesota Vikings: David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State
The Vikings have to find youthful and skilled cornerbacks. Plural.
But finding a lockdown defensive back to match up with the dynamic playmakers on the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions is of the utmost importance.
Amerson is a physical 6'3'' cornerback who recorded 13 interceptions in 2011.
In all likelihood, he won't near that interception total this year, but his athletic prowess, size and ball-hawking skills make him the ideal first-round selection for the Vikings.
6. St. Louis Rams: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The Rams are quietly improving with Jeff Fisher at the helm, but they could still use some upgrades across their offensive line to protect Sam Bradford.
Joeckel isn't a Jake Long-esque prospect, but if he holds his ground in the SEC this year he'll impress coaches and GMs across the league.
St. Louis likes Rodger Saffold as the blindside protector, but Joeckel could instantly replace the veteran Barry Richardson on the right side to begin his career.
7. Indianapolis Colts: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Hankins is a mammoth individual, standing 6'3'' and weighing around 320 pounds. His motor is non stop and he moves well.
Chuck Pagano brought the 3-4 defense to Indianapolis.
What do all 3-4 defenses need?
A behemoth nose tackle to eat double teams and make an impact against the run.
A match made in heaven?
8. Tennessee Titans: Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
Yes, this is a tad early for an interior offensive lineman, but Jones is special.
He's the anchor on Alabama's stellar front, can play almost every position and is an absolute technician.
The Titans have struggled blocking for Chris Johnson early in the 2012 season and would like to add more depth in front of new franchise signal-caller Jake Locker.
Jones makes a ton of sense.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
Montgomery is a freakish athlete at 6'4'' and 245 pounds and exploded onto the scene in the SEC last season with nine sacks.
The Buccaneers love the youth on their defensive line, and have spent a handful of early draft picks along their defensive front, but with Da'Quan Bowers suffering a torn Achilles, they could use more reinforcements, especially in a division with Cam Newton, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees.
After what should be another big year in the best conference in college football, Montgomery squeaks into the top 10.
10. Kansas City Chiefs: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
If the Chiefs fall short of expectations in 2012, it'll likely be due to inconsistent play of Matt Cassel. The team might not totally give up on Matt Cassel, but they'll at least be looking for his future replacement.
Wilson is a special talent with an exceptionally live arm who operated in a traditional pro-style offense for the majority of his collegiate career.
He plays the game with confidence and has a bit of a gun-slinger mentality.
An ideal player to groom behind Cassel.
11. Arizona Cardinals: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
The Cardinals have gotten to a surprise 2-0 start, so readers in Arizona, don't kill me for placing them at the No. 11 spot.
If they do underwhelm for the remainder of the season, it'll likely be because they didn't get good quarterback play from Kevin Kolb or John Skelton.
Barkley is polished, intelligent and has an accurate arm.
He won't "wow" you with a ton of lasers down the field but has enough arm strength to make all the NFL throws.
12. St. Louis Rams (from Washington): Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Jones is one of the most dynamic, pure edge-rushers in the 2013 class. At 6'3'' and 240 pounds, he's best suited for a traditional 3-4 defense, but as we saw with Von Miller in Denver, the transition to the 4-3 can work for a young player.
Chris Long is the Rams' franchise pass-rusher, but they'd like to add another with immense pass-rushing skill to help long and Robert Quinn.
Jones would be the perfect addition in St. Louis.
13. New Orleans Saints: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Saints defense needs work. Especially in the secondary.
Milliner isn't as menacing as former Alabama cornerback and 2012 first-round pick Dre Kirkpatrick, but at 6'1'' and 200 pounds, Milliner's certainly built solidly to match up against the bigger receivers at the next level.
He's steadily improved in each of his seasons with the Crimson Tide, and he's primed for a big year in 2012.
If the Saints struggle this season and can't stop anyone through the air, Milliner should be the pick.
14: Seattle Seahawks: Robert Woods, WR, USC
Woods has game-breaking ability, but he's a silky smooth route-runner and has amazing hands.
With Russell Wilson looking to be the team's franchise quarterback, it's time to find him some weapons on the outside.
This USC stud is the perfect place to start.
15: Chicago Bears: Rick Wagner, OT, Wisconsin
Did you see the Bears-Packers game?
The pocket collapsed around Jay Cutler on nearly every drop back, and left tackle J'Marcus Webb was victimized all night.
Wagner is the next star offensive lineman from Wisconsin, and at 6'6'' and 320 pounds, he'll be welcomed on the Bears' offensive front.
16. Carolina Panthers: Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
The Panthers would love to add some pass-rushing talent to their roster, playing in the pass-happy NFC South.
Jeffcoat has NFL bloodlines and had eight sacks with 17 tackles for loss in 2011.
If he continues to improve this year with the Longhorns, he should be a Carolina Panther next year.
17. Buffalo Bills: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Chan Gailey, meet your dream quarterback prospect.
The 6'3'', 220-pound Smith has a strong arm, is accurate and has impressive athleticism.
He's a pocket passer first who can make all the throws but certainly can make plays when protection breaks down.
Even if the Bills want to begin another year with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, they'd be lucky to have Smith fall to them.
18. New York Jets: Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
If the Jets want to truly return to the ground-and-pound offensive attack, they have to find a running back who can really punish the defense.
Yes, Shonn Greene is a physical runner, but he has little-to-no burst and is not a high YPC guy.
Lattimore is a real specimen at 6'0'' and 220 pounds and appears to be fully recovered from a severe knee injury he suffered last season.
Rex Ryan will love this guy.
19. Cincinnati Bengals: T.J. McDonald, S, USC
Is Taylor Mays the future at safety for the Bengals?
So, just get another USC prospect to replace him.
McDonald isn't exactly as well rounded as 2012 first-round pick Mark Barron, but he's been a steady contributor for the Trojans since 2010, and at 6'3'' and 205 pounds this kid has great size.
20. Detroit Lions: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
Te'o is the preeminent inside linebacker in the 2013 class. At 6'2'' and 255 pounds, he's a true thumper and has a high football IQ.
The Lions offense is as good as any, but their defense needs a culture change.
Te'o's the guy to kick that off.
21. Dallas Cowboys: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
Mingo is a real athletic freak, a guy whose burst off the snap typically stuns offensive tackles.
He can run down backs on outside pitches and has a ton of upside.
The Cowboys have DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer on the outside of their defensive front, but Mingo can learn from those veterans early in his career.
22. New York Giants: Nico Johnson, LB, Alabama
Another year, another stud inside linebacker from Alabama.
The Crimson Tide should dominate on defense once again in 2012, and Johnson will be a key factor.
He has good size at 6'2'' and 245 pounds, and like guys before him like Rolando McClain and Dont'a Hightower, Johnson lays the wood and is freakishly athletic.
23. Denver Broncos: Chance Warmack, OL, Alabama
Warmack is a total mauler at the guard position at 6'2'' and 325 pounds and moves relatively well.
The Broncos will do whatever they can do keep Peyton Manning upright, so Warmack will at the very least, provide great offensive line depth.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Lewan has matured during his time at Michigan and has become one of the best left tackles in the nation.
He possesses a long reach and has ideal size at 6'7'' and 310 pounds.
The Steelers need to protect Ben Roethlisberger, and although they picked David DeCastro and Mike Adams in the 2012 draft, they need more depth.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
All Eagles fans want more carries for LeSean McCoy, so why draft a running back?
Well, if Philadelphia wants to feature more of the running game, they'll have to keep McCoy fresh.
He's a smaller runner, and the bruising Bell would be the ideal complement.
26. San Diego Chargers: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
The future of Jared Gaither is uncertain, and the Chargers know they have to keep Philip Rivers on his feet.
Fluker is enormous and has the experience to make an easy transition to the professional game.
27. Baltimore Ravens: William Gholston, DE, Michigan State
The Ravens defense is still crazy good, but they need more young parts.
Gholston is a 6'7'' 280-pound monster who can learn the ropes from Terrell Suggs and can eventually replace the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Baltimore.
A scary thought.
28. Atlanta Falcons: Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas
The Falcons are loaded on offense but need to look at the next option after Michael Turner.
Turner is still a viable runner, but he's undoubtedly at the twilight of his career.
With the shifty and powerful Davis, Atlanta should contend for years to come.
29. Green Bay Packers: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
The Packers are still one of the league's most sound clubs, but they could use more skill in the secondary.
Banks can become a solid player under the tutelage of Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams.
30. New England Patriots: Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State
We don't know what will happen with Wes Welker, and if he leaves in free agency, the Patriots need receiving help.
Brandon Lloyd is the downfield threat, but he's not exactly a youngster anymore.
That's where Wilson comes in.
31. Houston Texans: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
At 6'5'' and 252 pounds, Eifert is a massive receiving target who'll instantly be Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub's best friend.
He'd be a perfect complement to the Texans wideout and would bring even more balance to Houston's offensive attack.
San Francisco 49ers: Sean Porter, OLB, Texas A&M
Sean Porter and Aldon Smith on the outside of the 49ers' 3-4 defense?
Porter has a similar skill set to that of Von Miller as an athletic edge-rusher.
A luxury pick for San Francisco that'll strike even more fear into the rest of the league.