2013 NFL Mock Draft: Predicting All 32 First-Round Picks
With two weeks of the NFL and three weeks of college football in the books, the power and prospect rankings are in motion. The predicted draft order of the 32 NFL franchises and the members of the 2013 crop worth a first-round pick will continue to change every week, but it is still instructive to explore the possibilities now and speculate about who each team will draft in 2013.
Here's my best early guess.
1. Oakland: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No team looks more worthy of the first pick than the Oakland Raiders. The secondary is struggling, the passing game is stuck in neutral and the passing game is in reverse.
Carson Palmer looks like a quarterback in the autumn of his career. He is due $13 million next year, and with the likelihood of the Raiders drafting early and taking a franchise quarterback, that is probably a check he won't have the opportunity to cash.
Barkley hasn't been great this year, but he can be a leader for the Raiders from Day 1. Plus, Logan Thomas and Tyler Wilson, his main rivals to be the first QB drafted, have been even worse.
2. Kansas City: Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
I know, I know, Thomas just played one of his worst games of his career against Pitt, and CBS Sports draft expert Rob Rang said the junior "may want to consider returning next season to iron out some of the wrinkles to his game.''
But his rare combination of arm strength, athleticism and size will still be too much for a team like the Chiefs to pass on next April. Thomas will surely improve as the season goes on, and the Chiefs will surely be ready to move on from Matt Cassel.
The Chiefs have invested high picks at just about every position but quarterback recently.
That will change in 2013.
3. Cleveland: Barkevious Mingo, OLB-DE, LSU
Mingo leads a stacked class of edge rushers who should dominate the first round.
Cleveland plays a 4-3 defense and Mingo does not have ideal bulk at 240 pounds for the defensive end position in that scheme. But as Denver showed, you should take the elite pass-rusher first and figure out how to fit him in your defense later.
Brandon Weeden showed enough this week to put quarterback down the list of draft needs for the Browns. The secondary was woeful against the Bengals without Joe Haden, but David Amerson's fall from grace means no cornerback is worth a top pick right now.
4. St. Louis: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Rodger Saffold may or may not work out for the Rams at left tackle, but his health woes mean that taking a tackle early in the 2013 draft is important for St. Louis, even if that player ends up at right tackle.
Joeckel is a prototype left tackle, in addition to being mobile with great feet. The Rams did pull out a nice win vs. the Redskins this weekend, but they are the fourth-best team in their division and will probably lose a lot of close games this year because of the lack of a downfield passing game target, stable offensive line and quality safeties.
Good thing for them that they have two first-round picks. Because of the trade they made that allowed the Redskins to draft Robert Griffin III, the Rams' win over Washington actually increased the value of the 2013 first-round pick they acquired from the Redskins.
5. Jacksonville: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
There was a ray of sunshine on Blaine Gabbert and Jacksonville's prospects for one game, but J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans defense rolled in like a tropical storm and reminded everyone why Gabbert is not a long-term answer for this team despite the use of a top-10 pick on him last year.
Smith lacks classic pocket-passer size and his spread offense will be a knock on him, but his hyper accuracy (as many touchdown passes as incompletions this year), pocket presence and underrated athleticism will win teams over next spring.
That other elite quarterback prospects like Barkley, Thomas and Tyler Wilson are hitting bumps in the road only helps Smith's case as a high first-round pick.
6. Minnesota: Eric Reid, FS, LSU
The Vikings have the problem of playing in a division with the Lions, Packers and Bears (oh my), not to mention deficiencies in the secondary that were exposed when Blaine Gabbert actually looked good against them to open the season.
They could also opt for a pass-rusher here, but Brian Robison has been a solid complement to Jared Allen.
It might seem odd for a team to spend a first-round pick on the same position for two consecutive years, but having two all-purpose safeties like Harrison Smith and Eric Reid would give defensive coordinator Alan Williams maximum flexibility.
7. Indianapolis: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Colts got their first win and might not be a shoo-in for a top-five spot in the draft, where many had them a few months. They might not even be the worst or second-worst team in the AFC South.
They'll probably need to be one to get a stud defensive tackle like Lotulelei, who could be the Haloti Ngata of defensive coordinator Greg Manusky's squad. Lotulelei is a man among boys in college football, and he continues to make plays outside of the hashes that no 330-pound player should be able to make. He can absorb double-teams and penetrate with the best of them.
He is exactly what the Colts need.
8. Tennessee: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Milliner is rocketing up draft boards after a splashy first game against Michigan to open the season.
The corner, who has started at Alabama since he was a true freshman, was also in on all of the nickel and dime packages against Michigan for the first time in his career now that Dre Kirkpatrick and DeQuan Menzie are playing on Sundays.
His interception of Denard Robinson put the rest of college football on notice that he will be leading the Crimson Tide secondary. The Titans have let the Chargers and Patriots pass almost at will the first two weeks of the season, so cornerback has to be a priority for the Titans in the draft next year.
9. Miami: Keenan Allen, WR, California
The selection of Ryan Tannehill in the top 10 appears to be a success so far, as the young quarterback has already led the Dolphins to a win. His pocket presence, mobility,and arm strength all look like the stuff of successful NFL starting quarterbacks.
Now the Dolphins need to give him a legitimate No. 1 receiver. They need a player who can win jump-balls downfield, stretch the defense and also catch contested passes on third down.
Keenan Allen is that player. The Dolphins defense has been strong and the offensive line looks serviceable. With a long-term deal for Reggie Bush and the addition of a receiver like Allen, the Dolphins would be good shape going forward.
10. Tampa Bay: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
11. Buffalo: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
Teams might raise an eyebrow at Wilson's second concussion in two seasons, and his comments about his teammates poor performance vs. Alabama in his absence might be construed the wrong way.
Still, it is not likely that a quarterback of his throwing talent will fall too far in the first round in a quarterback-hungry league.
The Bills did get a win in Week 2 after looking very poor in Week 1, but quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's play didn't really improve. If Buffalo is serious about threatening New England, it needs a potential franchise quarterback.
With the depth of this year's class, the Bills could get one in the 9-12 range in the first round.
12. New Orleans: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Werner's relentless style has put him atop the national ranking in sacks (6.5) and tackles for loss (9) through three games, which has to be getting the notice of the NFL.
His non-stop motor and physical play have elevated the whole Seminole defense and would be just what the Saints need on defense.
Cameron Jordan, a 2010 first-round pick, is starting to make things happen, and the addition of Werner would give the pass rush the other pincher it is lacking.
The Saints have no problems on offense, and they invested a lot on their linebacking corps in free agency. But they are stuck in a tough division and could well be the last-place team in the NFC South without head coach Sean Payton.
13. St. Louis (from Washington): Robert Woods, WR, USC
Woods' profile is suffering a little with quarterback Matt Barkley's poor play. But his well-rounded combination of speed, ups, precise routes and open-field running prowess will keep him in the first round mix no matter how much the Trojans underachieve.
The Rams are lucky to have the luxury of a second first-round pick in what is shaping up to be a deep and diverse class of wide receivers. When your biggest threat in the passing game is a 5'9" slot receiver, you know you need to invest in wide receivers.
The Redskins just lost Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker for the season, so their defense is crippled. Projecting them as the 13th pick might be generous. The Rams could end up with two top-10 picks in 2013.
14. Seattle: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Hunter is showing no ill effects from his 2011 ACL tear, with 22 catches in the first three games of the season. Cordarrelle Patterson has emerged in the place of dismissed and now Tennessee Tech wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers, giving Hunter the threat on the opposite side to keep defenses honest.
His size, speed and natural ball skills will attract a team looking to add a vertical element to its pass offense. The Seahawks attempted to do that with the signing of Sidney Rice in free agency last year, but his injuries are piling up and the team can't count on him to be the player they thought they would be when they signed him.
15. New York Jets: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
This draft for Jones will probably look absurdly late when the real thing happens next April. He was a one-man wrecking crew against Missouri, with two sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception.
Like Barkevious Mingo, he should be considered by teams no matter the defensive scheme they run because of his raw pass-rush and playmaking ability. The Jets aren't getting to the playoffs with the offense they have, but the addition of a player like Jones could make them the kind of team that can be taken deep into the playoffs by their defense alone.
They still lack an impact edge rusher, and it looks like 2013 will be the year to land one.
16. Cincinnati: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
Like Jones, Montgomery's ability to provide an outside pass rush could get him drafted as high as the top three next April, so this is about as late as you should expect to see him taken in any mock draft.
Montgomery has been drawing a ton of attention from offensive blocking schemes, and he is creating pressure and disruptions. The Bengals offense continues to have pieces fall into place. But the young defense has take a big step back so far this year, and the lack of a pass rush has been a big reason why.
Carlos Dunlap is close to returning to the field, but he is only one player and he clearly can't be counted on to stay healthy for a whole season.
17. Dallas: Jackson Jeffcoat, OLB/DE, Texas
Like father, like son, as Jackson Jeffcoat could be playing for his dad Jim's old team, the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys have the look of an underachieving, up-and-down team again this year, which should put them back in the middle of the first round. Jeffcoat has feasted on the poor early schedule for the Longhorns, with a big game vs. New Mexico (2.5 tackles for loss, one sack and a forced fumble).
He and senior Alex Okafor should feed off of each other's excellent play and join Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery as teammates at the same position who get drafted in the first round next year.
18. Arizona: Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee
Unlike Logan Thomas, Tyler Bray doesn't have an elite set of tools to help a team talk themselves into taking him high in the draft while his play is still slipping this season.
Bray's effectiveness took a nosedive against Florida with a 1-for-10 fourth quarter in the 37-20 loss. But Arizona won't mind if that causes him to fall into their laps in the mid-first round.
The Cardinals clearly have the defense to be a playoff team. But their offense is poor, starting with the quarterback position. They probably won't have the chance to take one of the consensus top two or three quarterbacks, so they will be looking a second-tier prospect, which is what Bray will be if he doesn't pick it up soon.
19. Chicago: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
The Bears are going to beat bad teams and get beat by good teams. That will put them in the middle of the first round, which might be high enough to land a possible left tackle like Lewan.
Jay Cutler's attitude is a problem, but he's right to single out J'Marcus Webb, his ineffective blindside protector. The Bears have to address the offensive line through free agency or the draft, and Lewan would be a gift for a team that was close to playing in the Super Bowl two years ago.
Lewan is adding to his draft stock with outspoken leadership off the field, and he has even scored a touchdown this season on a fumble recovery in the end zone.
20. Detroit: David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State
Amerson was slated to be a top-five pick coming into this season. But that all came crashing down against Tennessee, when Tyler Bray and the Volunteer receivers had their way with him.
He didn't even look like a fifth-round pick in that game. However, he did a lot to preserve his first-round status in the next game against Connecticut, when he picked off a pass and broke up a fourth-down attempt to preserve the win.
If he continues to play that way the rest of the season, he might not be there this late for a good, but flawed team like the Lions. But they would be thrilled to land him if they could. His mentality as a ball thief meshes perfectly with the pressure they can create up front.
21. New York Giants: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The Giants have showed us just about every side of their team in just two games. They could miss the playoffs, they could win the division, get a bye and lose in their first game (as they did after their last Super Bowl win), or they could just squeak in like last season. I've split the difference by putting them as a one-and-done wild-card team.
They would be smart to address the offensive line, as injuries continue to strike and deplete what depth they had this year. Warmack is a mauler who could help re-establish the running game, as he has been paving holes for Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson over the last two seasons.
22. Carolina: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
The Panthers were outfought by the Buccaneers in Week 1, but they showed a lot of the qualities on offense that can make them a playoff team this year behind Cam Newton and a lot of dangerous skill players.
On defense, the linebacker corps is healthy and making plays, and the run defense has been solid. What the team is lacking is a consistent presence opposite Charles Johnson in the pass rush.
Okafor is a versatile defensive lineman who can rush standing up or with his hand on the ground, and he can even line up as a 3-4 end if Ron Rivera decides to continue to put more 3-4 looks in the playbook.
23. San Diego: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
The Chargers have started 2-0, but it might be a false indicator, as they have played two teams that seem ticketed for the top 10 of the draft. Still, the second wild-card spot appears to be completely up for grabs, with last year's second-tier teams like Cincinnati, Buffalo and Tennessee all looking less than perfect.
The Chargers could sneak into the playoffs as the second wild-card team if they keep beating the teams they are supposed to beat. They would be fortunate to find a potentially elite right-tackle prospect at No. 23, but players like Riley Reiff and Bryan Bulaga have fallen that far in recent drafts.
24. Pittsburgh: Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
The Steelers are looking like bullies on defense again, but the offense is getting pushed around. Getting this year's first-round pick David DeCastro back will help. But for the running game to get on track, the team needs a workhorse back who can put a team away in the fourth quarter.
Lattimore looks like he has recovered from his ACL tear and is ready to become one of the few true bell-cow backs in the NFL.
Running back is a devalued position in the draft, so the Steelers should be in position to take a strong runner, even if they make the playoffs.
25. Philadelphia: T.J. McDonald, S, USC
The Eagles are 2-0 despite having the second-worst turnover differential in the league. They have picked off five passes, but that has more to do with breaking in Brandon Weeden than their safety play, which is still the weak link in their defensive chain.
T.J. McDonald could give them the physical presence and playmaking ability they have been lacking since Brian Dawkins went to Denver. McDonald was not one of the reasons the Trojans got knocked off by Stanford. He had nine tackles and blocked a field goal in the game.
Like most NFC teams, the Eagles could end up anywhere from deep in the playoffs to staying home with a 7-9 record.
26. Denver: Johnthan Banks, DB, Mississippi State
Peyton Manning and Denver struggled against the Falcons, but you saw Manning adapt and improve as the game went on, and you have to think that is the path his and their season will take.
With Willis McGahee providing the strongest rushing sidekick Manning has had since Edgerrin James and with one of the best pass rushes in the league, the Broncos should have little trouble winning the very weak AFC West. Plus, they are tough to beat at home, so advancing to the second round of the playoffs seems like a reasonable expectation.
With Champ Bailey's age and Tracy Porter's one-year contract, the Broncos should be focusing on corners, and Banks' experience in the SEC makes him a worthy choice in the first round.
27. Atlanta: John Jenkins, DT, Georgia
The Falcons are the classic team good enough to make the playoffs, but not good enough to go anywhere in the postseason. One of things they are missing is a true anchor on defense, as Willis McGahee was able to find room to run on Monday night and make a game out of what should have been a laugher.
Jenkins is going to be an interesting player to track as we enter draft season in January. The 358-pounder seems like the classic immovable object, but he is not strictly a gap-clogger. If he adds more pass-rush moves and polish to his game, he could be a hot name by April.
28. Baltimore: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
The Ravens constantly find themselves good enough to contend for the title, but never getting the breaks to go all the way. At some point, they have to starting thinking about life after Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, and drafting Te'o would be a big step toward putting together the defense in that coming era.
He is doing a lot to address his lack of big plays and range, and had one of the best games of his career last week while he was mourning the loss of his grandmother.
Any team looking for an inside linebacker will have to consider Te'o in the first round.
29. Green Bay: Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
The Packers just re-upped T.J. Lang to a long-term deal, and they would do well to target a very similar player in the 2013 NFL Draft.
With the injury rate on the offensive line, you can never have enough versatile, tough, smart linemen like Jones. Just like Lang, he can legitimately play four, if not all five positions on the line. He is also part of a line that has been the road-pavers for two first-round running backs and two national championship teams.
The Packers might have added a run dimension to their offense with Cedric Benson. But after watching the way the 49ers handled them in Lambeau, it's hard to project them winning a rematch in January.
30. New England: Kawann Short, DL, Purdue
After having one of the worst defenses in the league last year, the Patriots look like one of the best this year. They devoted two first-round picks to the unit in April, and giving up a third to land a force like Short would make the front seven elite, if it isn't already.
Short is massive with long arms and can be a player like Vince Wilfork who both ties up double-teams and makes penetration plays in the backfield. Short is a great fit in New England because he has the tools to play multiple spots on the defensive line on a team that loves to change up its defensive looks.
31. Houston: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
The running game is still steamrolling opponents despite some turnover and injuries changing the names on the offensive line. The defense is still nightmarish and dominant. As long as Matt Schaub stays healthy, the Texans should complete a stunning turnaround keyed by the hire of Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator.
Wade will be able to do what his dad Bum couldn't, get the city of Houston to the Super Bowl. To decide between the Texans and 49ers, who are mirror images of each other, is basically arbitrary. One thing I do know is that the Texans need to cultivate a threat opposite Andre Johnson in the passing game while they are still in this championship window, and Williams, who might be more talented than former teammates Kendall Wright and Josh Gordon, would be a perfect player to accomplish that goal.
32. San Francisco: C.J. Mosley, OLB, Alabama
Every team has a hole, but with a revitalized wide receiver corps and quarterback, it's hard to find an obvious issue that will keep this 49ers team from making a run deep into the playoffs again this year.
One luxury the team could afford is another explosive pass-rusher to play on the other side of 2011 first-round pick Aldon Smith. Mosley already has a pick-six and sack this year, and he is all over the field collecting tackles.
After placing three players in the first round this year (and one in the early second), the Crimson Tide defense could easily put several players in the first round again next year.