2013 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Projections
Early this week, I released my list of top 10 offensive prospects. Now comes my first—the first of many—2013 NFL Mock Draft. Too soon? Never. The draft is a never-ending business; a topic always open for discussion. Truth is, we're always looking in the rearview mirror at past picks or looking ahead to future possibilities.
While draft order and players selected are subject to change—it is, after all, only September—here it is, the full first-round of projections based on team needs.
1. Oakland Raiders: QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
It's time to pull the plug on the Carson Palmer experiment—and the Terrelle Pryor one, before it ever even began.
2. Cleveland Browns: DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU
After focusing primarily on bolstering the offense in last year's draft, the Browns go defense here and select a pass-rush machine.
3. Tennessee Titans: OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
Jones' 70 total tackles, 49 quarterback hurries, 13.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for a loss in 2011 is too tempting to pass on.
Who will be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft?
4. Minnesota Vikings: WR Keenan Allen, California
Christian Ponder gets the No. 1 wide receiver he desperately needs.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars: OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
Nothing sexy here, but protection to keep Blaine Gabbert upright. Joeckel is an elite tackle capable of starting Week 1.
6. Indianapolis Colts: DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
The Colts address a pressing need by drafting the top defensive tackle on my board. Despite attracting double teams, sometimes triple, on a regular basis, Lotulelei consistently disrupts plays behind the line of scrimmage.
7. Miami Dolphins: DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State
Of course the Dolphins are taking notice of Werner's current season: 6.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss through three games.
8. Carolina Panthers: DT Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State
Hankins is an ideal run-stuffing, pass-rushing 330-pound tackle to anchor the middle of the line.
9. St. Louis Rams: S Eric Reid, LSU
Reid steps in as the "center fielder" of a defense on the rise.
10. Kansas City Chiefs: QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
Finally, a quarterback who elevates—as opposed to handcuffs—his supporting cast.
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB David Amerson, North Carolina State
A 6'2" cover corner with the hands of a receiver and 14 career interceptions is exactly what this defense needs.
12. St. Louis Rams (from Redskins): WR Robert Woods, USC
Sam Bradford, meet your new go-to receiver. Woods is a fast, precise route-runnner and, most importantly, extremely productive.
13. Buffalo Bills: QB Matt Barkley, USC
Fed up with the inconsistent play of Fitzpatrick, the Bills don't hesitate at all here.
14. Seattle Seahawks: WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee
The Seahawks are ecstatic to see Hunter, viewed by many as the nation's top receiver, drop this far. This is where the dropping stops.
15. New York Jets: DE Sam Montgomery, LSU
Depending on who you talk to, Montgomery may be the Tigers' best prospect—Mingo and Reid included.
16. Chicago Bears: LB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
It's no secret that Brian Urlacher is a victim of age—and a few major injuries. The successor arrives.
17. Arizona Cardinals: QB Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech
Thomas is raw, no doubt, but the potential is undeniable. No rush to name him the starter, though, with Kevin Kolb's recent performances.
18. Cincinnati Bengals: CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
I won't be surprised one bit if and when Milliner continues his ascent into the top-10.
19. New Orleans Saints: DT John Jenkins, Georgia
A mammoth tackle (6'3", 358 pounds) who moves extremely well and is a force in both the run and pass game.
20. Denver Broncos: OT/G Barrett Jones, Alabama
Put Jones anywhere on the line (literally) and he'll do his job. The versatile lineman has played center, tackle and guard in college.
21. Detroit Lions: RB Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
In an attempt to balance a pass-heavy offense, the Lions nab the top running back.
22. Philadelphia Eagles: S T.J. McDonald, USC
You can never have too much talent in the secondary; McDonald is a steady playmaker and physical presence on the gridiron.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers: OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
The SEC continues its dominance of the first-round—Warmack is the 11th player selected from the vaulted conference.
24. Dallas Cowboys: DE/OLB Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas
The Texas product stays in his home state. Jeffcoat will be counted on to be a pass-rush threat opposite DeMarcus Ware.
25. San Diego Chargers: OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
A tall, lean left tackle with a mean streak. Lewan has added fifty pounds to his frame since high school and retained his athleticism.
26. New England Patriots: DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina
A clog in the middle who demands double teams yet still finds a way into opposing backfields.
27. Green Bay Packers: TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
The aerial attack in Green Bay just got more dangerous.
28. New York Giants: CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
A seasoned starter, Rhodes has prototypical size (6'2", 210 pounds) and the athleticism to keep up with speedy receivers.
29. Baltimore Ravens: OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
While his teammate (Joeckel) is the headline-grabber, Matthews is equally effective in pass-protection and more physical in creating running lanes.
30. Atlanta Falcons: DE Alex Okafor, Texas
A very long, versatile prospect able to excel at defensive end or outside linebacker. Okafor uses his hands well to combat blockers and get after quarterback in a hurry.
31. Houston Texans: WR Marquess Wilson, Washington State
Wilson eases the burden off Andre Johnson's shoulders.
32. San Francisco 49ers: DE Corey Lemonier, Auburn
The lone bright spot for Auburn so far—already ten tackles and three sacks. Imagine this: Aldon Smith and Lemonier rushing off the edge. Scary.
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