2013 NFL Mock Draft: First-Round Predictions for All 32 Teams
With the beginning of the college football season comes the beginning of the NFL draft hype machine. Of course, both the college and pro football seasons are still young, but when have we let that stop us before?
Despite the NFL season's youth, it's already clear that some teams are going to struggle and others are going to excel. The same can be said about many NFL draft prospects.
So, while there are unknowns, there are also knowns. It's impossible for everything to be certain, but we're starting to get into the process.
Using Bleacher Report's own Matt Miller's latest power rankings as a draft order, what will the 2013 NFL draft look like?
1. Oakland Raiders: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
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An extremely intelligent and accurate quarterback, Matt Barkley is somewhat physically limited. However, few quarterbacks are safer prospects than Barkley is.
The Raiders are bad. Carson Palmer isn't a good quarterback anymore and Oakland needs to start over. The best way to do that is with a new quarterback, who coincidentally went to the same school as Palmer.
2. Cleveland Browns: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
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Cleveland's offense is struggling, not because of a lack of talent, but because of a lack of experience. This will change in time. On defense, however, the Browns still need more talent.
Barkevious Mingo is an undersized but dynamic defensive end. He is explosive and has elite pass-rushing potential. Mingo could be a force opposite Jabaal Sheard.
3. Miami Dolphins: Keenan Allen, WR, California
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Miami's wide receivers are terrible. None of them has anything near No. 1 wideout ability, and even No. 2 ability is a stretch. If Ryan Tannehill is to succeed, the Dolphins need wideouts.
Keenan Allen has good size, but he excels with his athleticism. The California star is fast, explosive and dynamic. He has elite ability and can take over a game with ease.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
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Jacksonville has some talent on its roster, but it's a work in progress. The Jaguars need playmakers on defense, though, and Jarvis Jones is the definition of one.
The linebacker is an elite pass-rusher with rare athletic ability. Jones' Von-Miller-like ability is more than worth a top-five draft pick. He could be a huge difference-maker in the NFL.
5. Minnesota Vikings: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
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Defensive tackles with Star Lotulelei's ability and versatility are rare. The 6'4", 320-pounder is an elite prospect in any scheme, and he should be a top-five selection.
Kevin Williams' play has declined in recent years, and Letroy Guion has no business starting. This pick addresses a need, but, more importantly, it's a good value.
6. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
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Prior to 2012, Geno Smith had put up good numbers but never looked like an elite NFL prospect. That's changing now, as Smith is putting it all together. He has No. 1 overall ability.
Kansas City has a talented roster, but it has a few huge holes, most notably quarterback. Matt Cassel can't win in the NFL, and Smith is the logical solution.
7. Indianapolis Colts: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
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Indianapolis needs to protect Andrew Luck. The Colts' current offensive line is terrible and the team has no choice but to upgrade.
Taylor Lewan may not be an elite left tackle prospect, but he's capable of being a well-above-average blind side protector. The 6'7", 310-pounder is a good athlete with the ability to drive back defenders in the run game.
8. Seattle Seahawks: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
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At 6'4", 200 pounds, Justin Hunter has terrific size. He combines this with elite athleticism and speed, making him a truly dangerous threat at all areas of the field.
Seattle has a few decent wideouts, but none can really be defined as a weapon. They aren't positive difference-makers, and the Seahawks need a legitimate No. 1 wideout.
9. Tennessee Titans: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
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Tennessee improved its pass rush over the offseason by adding Kamerion Wimbley, but it still needs some work. Wimbley isn't elite, and the other players at the position are weak.
Sam Montgomery could change all that. The LSU star has huge potential as a pass-rushing defensive end. He may not be a great run defender, but he should rack up sacks with ease.
10. New York Jets: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
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Will the Jets finally move on and replace Mark Sanchez? Who knows, but I'm predicting it anyway.
New York isn't necessarily a bad team, but Sanchez is a bad quarterback. He has held the Jets back for years now, and the team needs to find a new quarterback.
Tyler Wilson has a ton of talent, but the rest of the Arkansas team is doing him no favors. There's no denying Wilson's franchise-quarterback potential, but he's taking a beating and is somewhat risky.
11. St. Louis Rams (from Washington): D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
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Sam Bradford has been getting murdered behind St. Louis' offensive line. The unit has failed to contain any pass rush, and Bradford rarely has any time to throw.
D.J. Fluker isn't a left tackle, but he can be an excellent right tackle. His strength and size are great in the run game there, and he's still athletic enough to work in pass-protection.
12. Buffalo Bills: Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
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Despite getting off to a rough start, Logan Thomas is still talented and has tons of upside. It's too early to give up on him as a 2013 prospect. There is too much natural ability and potential.
Buffalo gave Ryan Fitzpatrick a huge contract and he has disappointed pretty well since. Fitzpatrick simply isn't all that talented, and he isn't good enough to lead Buffalo to the playoffs.
13. Arizona Cardinals: DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
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Replacing Dre Kirkpatrick as Alabama's No. 1 cornerback, DeMarcus Milliner has big shoes to fill, and so far, so good. Milliner has lived up to the challenge, exceeding all expectations.
Arizona has a star in Patrick Peterson, but the team needs more cornerbacks. Milliner has huge potential to go with Peterson, and he would help shore up a weak unit.
14. San Diego Chargers: Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
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San Diego is aging, especially on defense. Takeo Spikes is way too old to rely on any longer, so enter Manti Te'o. Te'o isn't a freakish athlete, but he's a good, physical football player.
Te'o is versatile, capable of playing in any aspect of the game. This isn't the next Patrick Willis but rather a solid all-around player.
15. St. Louis Rams: Eric Reid, S, LSU
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The Rams need more talent. They aren't particularly strong in any one unit, but they need to add talent across the board. That's where St. Louis should start.
At 6'2", 208 pounds, Eric Reid has nearly perfect safety size to go along with great athleticism. Reid is a good player with huge upside playing with Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins.
16. Carolina Panthers: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
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Carolina's defensive tackles are awful. The Panthers struggle to stop the run, and their interior defensive line provides virtually zero resistance.
Johnathan Hankins can provide resistance. The 325-pounder is the ideal nose tackle and rarely allows himself to be moved off the line of scrimmage. He's extremely physical and tough against the run.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State
Despite a great 2011 season, David Amerson isn't athletic enough to warrant a top-10 selection. He is a good player, but he may be limited to playing safety.
At cornerback, Tampa Bay has the overpaid Eric Wright and troubled Aqib Talib. There is little depth and even less reliable talent at the top. Amerson would be a terrific addition for Tampa Bay.
18. New Orleans Saints: Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
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An excellent athlete, Jackson Jeffcoat has huge pass-rushing potential. He's undersized, but his length, burst and quickness are great for attacking the quarterback. Jeffcoat hasn't put it all together yet, but if he does, he could be a force.
Will Smith is starting to age for the Saints, and Jordan Cameron hasn't yet proven to be a reliable pass-rusher. Besides, as the Giants have shown, a team can never have enough threats off the edge.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
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At 6'3", 315 pounds, Kawann Short could, in theory, play either nose tackle or defensive end for the Cowboys. The Purdue star can hold strong against the run or penetrate, so he fits at either position.
Dallas doesn't have many glaring weaknesses, but its defensive line is aging and not that great. Short would provide youth and versatility along a weaker unit.
20. Chicago Bears: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
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Chicago's offensive line has been its Achilles' heel for years. It routinely gets Jay Cutler killed, yet the Bears have done little to upgrade the unit.
The 6'6", 310-pound Luke Joeckel is a great athlete with left-tackle potential. However, he is still raw and far from a sure thing. Joeckel isn't a bad value, though, and Chicago's need is huge.
21. Pittsburgh Steelers: T.J. McDonald, S, USC
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Every year, the NFL draft community toys with the idea of Pittsburgh drafting a safety in the first round. To date, though, it hasn't happened. Troy Polamalu continues to age, and the position next to him is as rough of a position as there is on the Steelers defense.
T.J. McDonald is an athletic 205-pounder with the ability to play either safety position. The USC star is an outstanding athlete, and has huge upside. This is a potential steal.
22. Cincinnati Bengals: Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
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Cincinnati's running back situation is rough. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is nothing special, and Bernard Scott isn't exactly dynamic either. With the somewhat-limited Andy Dalton at quarterback, the Bengals must be able to run the ball.
Marcus Lattimore is a tremendous talent coming off a torn ACL. Few running backs offer more power, and Lattimore also has speed. He is a potential star in the NFL, despite the beating he has already taken in college.
23. New York Giants: Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin
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New York's offensive line remains one of its weaker units. Eli Manning doesn't have too many problems, but the Giants could afford to upgrade along several spots there.
Ricky Wagner may not be a left tackle, but he can be excellent on the right side. The Wisconsin product plays with a nastiness and is a safe if somewhat low-ceiling pick. He's an upgrade.
24. Detroit Lions: Jonathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
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Detroit's cornerbacks are truly awful. They were before losing Eric Wright in free agency, and they became even worse afterwards. There is little upside and currently, little ability.
Jonathan Banks, a great athlete and playmaker, would likely contribute immediately. He would add talent to a weak unit and give opposing offenses a cornerback to fear on the Detroit team.
25. Denver Broncos: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
Denver's defensive tackles are awful. Derek Wolfe played there in college but has moved to defensive end in the NFL, and the Broncos are without an interior presence.
Sylvester Williams is simply explosive. He routinely penetrates the backfield and makes plays. Denver needs any legitimate defensive tackle, and Williams has huge upside. He could be a huge playmaker in the NFL.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Michael Buchanan, DE, Illinois
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John Abraham is aging, and Atlanta lacks both a replacement and a defensive end to play opposite him. The Falcons pass rush relies heavily on Abraham and desperately needs more threats.
A lengthy pass-rusher, Michael Buchanan has tons of upside. The 6'5", 245-pounder is explosive and knows how to get after the quarterback. He offers Atlanta another pass-rusher who can actually intimidate offenses.
27. Baltimore Ravens: Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
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Baltimore's offensive line is a bit of a mess. Michael Oher shouldn't be playing left tackle, and the team's left guard situation is weak at best. A rookie many thought should play guard is playing right tackle.
Barrett Jones could fix a number of these issues, plus replace the aging Matt Birk at center. Few players are as versatile at Jones, who could theoretically play any offensive line position.
However, Jones is likely Baltimore's long-term left guard, though he could definitely replace Birk. He's a star at any interior line position, though.
28. Philadelphia Eagles: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
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If Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie leaves in free agency, Philadelphia will need another cornerback. If he doesn't, the Eagles could still use more depth at the position.
Xavier Rhodes is a great athlete with huge size. The Florida State star has nearly unlimited potential, though he still needs to improve his technique. 6'2", 217-pound size and great speed simply can't be taught, though.
29. New England Patriots: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
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New England's offensive line is struggling. The team's tackles are probably the biggest issue, but the unit needs to improve across the board.
With no great tackle values available, the Patriots address the interior offensive line. Chance Warmack is a road-grading guard who is more-than-adept in pass-protection but excels when clearing holes in the run game.
30. Green Bay Packers: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
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With Nick Collins' career apparently over, Green Bay needs a safety. Its defense hasn't been the same without Collins and really needs help across the board.
Though he weighs in at 6'1", 218, Kenny Vaccaro can play either safety position. He is capable of playing close to the line of scrimmage defending the run or playing back deep in coverage. Dom Capers loves that type of versatility.
31. Houston Texans: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
Houston's defense is fantastic, there's no denying that. However, the Texans could stand to upgrade at nose tackle, and every team could use more defensive line depth.
The 6'3", 320-pounder could play nose tackle or defensive end in Houston's 3-4 scheme. He is fairly athletic and makes plays in the backfield but also holds strong against the run. It might take a year or two for Williams to start, but he can be good.
32. San Francisco 49ers: John Jenkins, DT, Georgia
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The 49ers are an incredibly complete team. They are at least solid at every position and great at many. It's tough to pick a position for them to upgrade.
However, every team can use more big men in the middle of its defensive line. John Jenkins is a mammoth nose tackle with huge upside. He can clog up the middle and overpower interior linemen. In a few years, Jenkins could be a force while providing depth in the mean time.