It's that time again, with the football season now in full swing, it's time to update the ever changing Mock Draft. Matt Barkley remains at No. 1, but after that, anything and everything could happen. See who's going where, and who your team will take, in our latest Mock Draft update!
Nolan Vasan: NFL Draft Geek
This was Matt Cassel's "Do-or-Die" year in Kansas City, and it looks like it might already be dead.
t's time to pull the plug on the experiment, and get somebody in there who Kansas City fans can actually put some hope in. The Chiefs have a lot of talent on their roster, but just need somebody to instill some energy and be a leader, neither of which Matt Cassel can do.
If they are picking anywhere near the top 10 this year, there is no question they should take one of the fine QB prospects available in the 2013 draft. And if they are going to be picking anywhere near the top 10, they might as well tank all the way and get superstar Matt Barkley. He's everything you look for in a franchise QB, and is ready to play now.
If I were running the Cleveland Browns for the 2013 NFL Draft, I'd just cut the cord with Brandon Weeden and take a QB like Wilson, Barkley or Murray. However, don't expect that to happen, and if they do keep Weeden, they should at least give him some weapons.
Cleveland has been dying for a playmaker at Wide Receiver ever since Braylon Edwards had his one standout season, and what do you know, that was the last time the Browns were decent.
Robert Woods is a playmaker, deep threat and possession receiver all wrapped into one. He has the ability to be a dynamic receiver right off the bat for Cleveland. They could opt to go for the best available player on defense, but with what Cleveland currently has on offense, a sure-fire star like Woods is tough to pass up.
Oakland was close last year, just barely missing the playoffs, but they once again decided to fire their coach, and look where they are.
Oakland will essentially have spent two first-round picks, and a second-rounder on QBs, as they traded for Carson Palmer, and would be stupid to pass on one of the QB prospects early in the 2013 draft.
Oakland needs to start over with a real franchise QB, and Tyler Wilson could certainly be the man for the job. He has the arm strength, accuracy, decision-making ability and is extremely tough, making him capable of leading a team.
This situation would be almost identical to the Broncos' draft in 2011. They could have gone any number of directions, but decided to go with who they considered to be the top defensive playmaker, and went with Von Miller.
Another similarity is that Von Miller, like Jarvis Jones, was thought (by us as well) to be a 3-4 OLB exclusively. However, Denver knocked that pick out of the park, and Von Miller is a huge reason why the Broncos are where they are now.
Jarvis Jones is just a phenomenal athlete, and while he may be best suited for a 3-4 edge spot, like he's currently playing in, there's no reason this athlete can't do the same thing Von Miller did. He's got the size and strength to play the run, and if used correctly, Jones could be a dominant defensive player quickly for the Jaguars.
What Miami really needs is a playmaker at the WR position, but with Robert Woods off the board and no other WR really worth a top-five draft pick, the Dolphins will have to address another position.
Getting a top pass-rusher wouldn't be a bad option for Miami.
When Miami moved from a 3-4 to a 4-3, having guys that can play the DE spot was a need, with Cameron Wake as the only legit pass-rusher on roster, they need more help.
Luckily for them, this draft class is loaded with elite pass rushers, and they'll have a chance to get one of the best in Sam Montgomery.
He's everything you look for in an edge rusher, powerful and explosive, offers schematic versatility and has been battle tested at the highest level in college football.
With the state the Vikings are in, this pick could go any number of ways, but when you're a bad team, it's never a bad strategy to just take the best available player.
Star Lotulelei would be just that, here with the No. 6 selection.
A dominant defensive tackle, Lotulelei has the potential to make a Suh/Ngata type impact. Not to jump the gun too early and compare, but the ability is definitely there. He's got the perfect size at 6'3", 325, possessing the ability to simply overpower his defenders while also displaying uncanny quickness and explosion for a man of his size.
Back when Minnesota was really going good a few years ago, they were stellar at the DT spot with Kevin and Pat Williams. Running on the Vikings was not effective, but now teams look forward to running on them. Getting Lotulelei would be a step in getting stronger up front, and making the Vikings a lot tougher.
One of the biggest struggles the Saints have had the past couple of years on defense has been a lack of pass rush from their defensive line.
Now with Steve Spagnuolo as their defensive coordinator, they won't want to rely on the blitz as much, and want more production out of their front four. In the past, the Saints always preferred bigger defensive ends, however under Spagnuolo, he'll take versatile guys who can be slid around the defensive line to take advantage of mismatches.
Mingo had a big year last season with 15 tackles for losses and eight sacks and is looking even better so far this year. Mingo uses his speed and brute strength to dominate offensive lineman and get into the backfield. He's exactly the player the Saints are looking for.
All resources the Titans have next off season should be dedicated to fixing their horrific O-line. What they most need is an interior lineman, but it's tough to see anybody taking a guard or center with the eighth overall pick.
Tennessee has had one of the best LTs in the league in Michael Roos, but he is getting up in age. Finding somebody that can replace Roos in a couple of years would be ideal.
One player that would really help them is Taylor Lewan.
Lewan is a monster at 6'7", but is an extremely fluid athlete, with above average power as well. Lewan might be better off if he could start at RT to get his feet wet before moving over to the left side when Roos is gone
Jeff Fisher has this team on the up and up, but to take the next step, they need to get some weapons and playmakers.
Amendola, Gibson, and Brian Quick are nice players, but adding a talent like Keenan Allen would really open things up for Sam Bradford.
Allen right now is being used as a possession Receiver, as an outstanding route runner who never drops a pass. However, in the NFL where he won't be double and triple teamed (or playing with his brother at QB), he has the athleticism and speed to be a deep threat as well.
If the Rams can add a guy like Allen here, and then add offensive line help with their next first-round pick, St Louis could really make some serious noise.
Buffalo faces a fork in the road, do they decide to sink or swim with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB, or do they cut their losses, and get a big time franchise QB?
If it was up to us, we've seen enough of Fitzpatrick to know he just can't take the Bills to the next level. Another factor is, do they like the guys available enough to pull the trigger on a QB in the draft? At this point, Tyler Bray, Aaron Murray and Geno Smith will garner consideration.
We like Bray the most because not only does he possess the highest upside of any the aforementioned, but he's been a three-year starter in the SEC and continues to improve with each year, if not each game.
He's got the size and arm strength you love, is a leader, and is a very smart kid who has the mental ability to play quarterback at a high level in the NFL.
For Chuck Pagano's defense to be successful, he needs corners that can hold up in man-to-man coverage. Right now, the only one that can do that is Vontae Davis.
If Indy wants to be successful on defense, they will at least two guys, and should have a very good shot to add one on the 2013 draft, as the class is loaded at cornerback.
Amerson is one of the top players in this draft and the No. 1 cornerback. Only because of needs does he slides down to the Colts. He'd be a perfect fit for the defense and would give Pagano the two corners he needs to run the defense. Great value, and a steal here.
Carolina has the athletic playmakers on offense and defense to be successful, but to take the next step, they need to get stronger in the trenches, both on offense and defense.
Either an offensive or defensive lineman would be fine here, but the best value resides with the defensive tackles. With guys like Lotulelei, Short and Hankins, the Panthers should be happy to scoop up any one of them.
After Lotulelei, we like Short just a bit more, as he seems to be the more well-rounded player. He's got the size (6'3", 310 lbs.) and power that you love, proving to be very difficult to run at.
It's a tough call here between linebacker, Manti Te'o or safety, Eric Reid. Both are excellent prospects, and both would fill needs for the Bengals. In the end though, Manti Te'o is just so close to a "sure-thing" that it would be very tough to pass on him.
When you're looking at linebackers, Manti Te'o is the prototype.
He has all the measurables, but what makes him stand above the rest is his instincts, technique and football IQ. He always seems to know where the play is going ahead of time, does a great job shedding blocks and almost never misses a tackle. Te'o is also an exceptional athlete, who excels in coverage as well. Te'o is a guy the Bengals can build around on defense.
It seems like the Rams are always a team that are mocked an O-lineman, and for good reason, because their offensive line has been awful recently.
This past year, they didn't take anybody because they have some faith in Rodger Saffold. However, he isn't a top-flight LT in this league, and they will be better off drafting a left tackle and moving Saffold to RT,or guard.
A route the Rams could go here is to take Alabama tackle DJ Fluker. Fluker is a big tackle, but very athletic for his size. He has played RT for the Crimson Tide, but he has the athletic ability, and length that you would need to be a successful LT in this league.
He could start out at RT if the Rams want to give Saffold another shot, but eventually you would see Fluker moving over to the left side.
All the talent is there for the Seahawks to be serious contenders in the NFC, it's all up the QB and how Russell Martin plays in crunch time.
With all the pieces in place on offense, the 'Hawks can afford to go for the best available player on defense. At this point, William Gholston would look like a perfect pick for Seattle.
Some will question this, and point to Seattle taking Bruce Irvin in the first round last year, but even people in Seattle will tell you that Irvin was not taken to be a building block on that defense.
He's a defensive "weapon" who will see less that 50 percent of snaps more often than not.
William Gholston on the other hand, is the type of defensive end who can be a dominant force on all three downs. At 6'6", 275, with outstanding athleticism, he's fits the overused cliche of "freak". He can play in any defensive scheme, stop the run, while bringing consistent pressure with his blend of size and athleticism.
We think this is the year everything implodes for the Jets, and it's possible they might even consider taken a quarterback if they are picking this early, but if not, they'd be ecstatic to get a talented guard that could really help them get back to the running game that they want.
Warmack fits right into that same category that David DeCastro did last year. He's an elite run-blocking guard. They don't come around very often, and when they do, they're usually taken early.
Warmack is a big physical mauler that punishes defenders. The guard play for the Jets has been very poor over the past two years, so Warmack would be able to step in right away and be the Jets' right guard for years to come.
Just a couple years ago, Tampa expected to be set at DT for years to come, unfortunately, Brian Price just did not work out, and the jury is still out on Gerald McCoy.
This is a value pick more than anything, as you just cannot pass up a talent like Hankins as this point in the draft. Because this is such a deep draft class, Hankins gets bumped down just a few pegs, but Tampa would be thrilled to this mammoth defensive tackle.
He would do well as a nose tackle in any defensive scheme, as he simply overpowers blockers, using his strength to collapse the pocket up the middle, leaving no room to be run on. As a nose tackle, he would fit perfectly next to Gerald McCoy. Hankins could plug up the middle while McCoy could use his athleticism to make plays.
Just because Dallas spent this past offseason improving their cornerbacks, it doesn't mean they're done with the secondary. Safety has been a big issue for the Cowboys for a long time, and they've been left untouched for far too long.
Getting a talented safety like Reid would do wonders for the 'Boys. Reid has the athletic ability of a free safety and the power of a strong safety. This will allow the Cowboys to give Reid free reign, playing all over the field, using his instincts to make plays.
Combining Reid with Claiborne and Carr could elevate the Cowboys into the discussion for one of the best young secondaries in the NFL.
There's no possible way the Lions will use this pick on anything other than a defensive player.
Well, don't we say that every year? It's always impossible to tell with the Lions.
You'd think, since the Lions offense feasts on opposing teams mismatches in the secondary, that they'd realize that opposing teams do the exact same thing to them. In today's NFL you can never have too many corners, so Chris Houston and Bill Bentley are not nearly enough.
Johnthan Banks is a player we really love. He could have been a first round pick had he entered the draft last year, but chose to stay in school, and looks even better this year. He's an incredibly fluid athlete, but is 6'1", and can play physical as well.
Add in exceptional instincts and ball skills, and this kid has all the makings of a No. 1 shutdown cornerback.
Arizona would be remiss to pass on a quarterback with their first pick of the 2013 NFL draft. With five or six first-round prospects, whether the Cardinals are great, bad or mediocre, they will have the chance to draft a signal caller with significant upside. At this point, Aaron Murray, Geno Smith and Landry Jones will garner consideration.
We personally would go with Aaron Murray, but "Geno-Cide" seems to have the higher draft stock and seems likely to go early in the draft.
It's hard to knock what Geno Smith is doing right now, completing over 85 percent of his passes, surgically carving up defenses. Whether that will translate to the NFL or not is going to be one of the bigger stories of the 2013 draft.
For now, Cards fans can simply be excited knowing the have a good football team, and don't have to totally tank to get a good QB.
The 2013 NFL draft is loaded with outstanding pass-rushers There is a legitimate possibility that there could be seven or eight pass-rushers taken in the draft so picking late in the first round, teams will have a chance to take a guy who normally would go in the top 10-15 picks.
Denver already has an established pass rush, led by Von Miller, but taking another supreme talent like Jackson Jeffcoat could allow them to be even more creative.
Jeffcoat is such a smooth, explosive athlete, with the ability to play all over the D-line. He's at his best when trying to turn the corner, but has the size and strength to fight in the trenches and be on the field for all three downs.
Can't go wrong with a pick like this.
It doesn't take an expert to see that the Bears offensive line isn't very good. Especially at LT, the most important position on the offensive line.
The Bears have chose to ignore it, thinking that J'Marcus Webb would finally develop into an LT for some reason. Instead, Webb hasn't gotten any better, and it's taking a toll on Jay Cutler.
Chicago can't ignore the position any longer and this is a good draft to get somebody. There is plenty of good tackle prospects and teams picking in the 20s can still get top-level talent.
One such player is Luke Joeckel from Texas A&M.
Joeckel has started at LT since his Freshman year, showing the athletic ability needed to play in the NFL and the power to move defenders off the ball. He'll fit in perfect for the Bears, and hopefully move Webb to a spot where he will be better utilized.
San Diego used to have one of the best run-blocking units in the league, led by Marcus McNeil and Kris Dielman, but both players had their time in San Diego cut short, which has resulted in the Chargers really struggling to run the ball.
It's so rare to see a guy like Barrett Jones, who literally could play ANY position on the offensive line and pretty much has. He's started games at left tackle, guard and center, the epitome of versatility
Jones has near-perfect footwork, enabling him to guard the edge in pass protection while also mirroring defenders. Jones also has the size, strength and mean streak to play the interior. There isn't a team in the league who wouldn't love to have Barrett Jones, and the Chargers would be lucky to get him here.
Every year we are dumb enough to project the Giants to take an offensive lineman or a linebacker in the first round. Every year those seem to be their two weakest positions, but they refuse to do it, and to their credit, stick to their strategy.
They just don't feel those positions are worth the value early in the draft, and you can't knock them with the success that they've had. And who knows, they might just go ahead and take another D-lineman, but I just can't see a talent like Demarcus Milliner falling too far on draft day.
He's yet another Nick Saban-coached cornerback who excels in bump and run coverage. Like Dre Kirkpatrick, like Kareem Jackson, Milliner profiles as a physical cornerback, which paired up with his elite athleticism, makes him an outstanding cornerback prospect.
Last year Philadelphia had some of the worst safety play in all of the NFL, and was a huge reason why they were such a disappointment. It will be interesting to see if Nate Allen has a bounce-back year for them, but even if he does, Kurt Coleman just doesn't cut it next to him.
T.J McDonald would be an absolute steal at this point!
McDonald really is a special athlete, who makes plays all over the field, whether it's making a play near the line, hammering a receiver over the middle or ranging in coverage, there is nothing that this guy can't do. He would be an instant starter for Philly, and give them the playmaker at safety they've lacked since Brian Dawkins.
New England did a great job last year using their resources in the draft to get much needed help on defense, they'd be wise to do the same again this year.
When the Patriots were at their best, Richard Seymour and Ty Warren were doing damage up the middle, and then when they added Wilfork to the rotation, they became a nightmare. Now, only Wilfork remains, and next to him, they have nothing more than "bodies".
While Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo get most of the credit for LSU's stellar defensive line, Bennie Logan does the dirty work, and is a big reason why Montgomery and Mingo have room to do their thing. Logan is a load in the trenches, who anchors in so well, allowing him to plug the middle and drive his man into the backfield when he wants to.
When the Ravens drafted WR Torrey Smith, many thought they were drafting a WR that was purely a deep threat. However, everybody is starting to learn that Smith is developing into an elite all around WR.
As Baltimore transitions into an offensive team, they need a few more pieces to help out., mainly another WR.
Sure the Ravens have Anquan Boldin, but he is at the end of his career, and would be better off working in the slot. Justin Hunter has enjoyed a very productive career at Tennessee and would give the Ravens another receiver to provide a deep threat, but yet still help move the chains.
Ray Edwards was a big free agent signing for the Falcons last year, and was supposed to help propel their pass rush that had become stagnant. However, he didn't live up to the free agent hype in year one, and along with an aging John Abraham, Atlanta could add some juice to their pass rush.
Now that the Falcons are back in the first round, they could look to add somebody to the mix.
Bjoern Werner is a guy many people are just getting introduced to, as he really has burst onto the scene. He's increased his sack total each year, with three as a freshman, seven as a sophomore and now a whopping seven through four games as a junior.
He possesses a tremendous blend of power and quickness, while also proving to be very savvy as a technician. If available at this point, he'd be an outstanding value.
All the excitement for David Decastro was deflated early this year when the outstanding rookie was done in by the evil preseason. Hopefully Decastro isn't out too long, but even when he is fully healthy, he isn't going to solve the major problems the Steelers still have on the offensive line by himself.
Dallas Thomas, I feel, is one of the more underrated players in the 2013 draft. He started all 25 games his sophomore and junior seasons, and now as a senior, Tennessee has opted to move him to guard, in an effort to get, who they feel, are the best five O-linemen on the field for them.
Thomas has been just as effective at guard as he was at tackle, if not more so. For Pittsburgh, he could definitely slide in and start immediately at left or right tackle. He's got outstanding athleticism to go along with his 6'5", 310 lbs. frame, and his technique is as good as it gets for a big man. He'd be a great pickup here.
It's safe to say that the Packers haven't had a consistent presence at RB since Ahman Green. Sure they've had guys come in and have good seasons (Ryan Grant and James Starks), but nobody that they have been able to count on year after year.\
They've spent some mid-round picks on guys, but nobody has panned out. They've been able to cover up for their lack of rushing with the passing attack, but it's starting to catch up with them. Maybe it's time to invest a high pick in somebody they won't have to worry about.
Marcus Lattimore would be a steal, and perfect fit at this point. After suffering a torn ACL last year, Lattimore has bounced back rather quickly, and doesn't show any ill effects from the injury. He's a tough runner that has the speed and explosion to make people miss and hit the home run.
The transformation that Houston's defense has taken is truly remarkable. Once what was thought to be a liability not too long ago is now one of the biggest reasons that the Texans could find themselves in the Super Bowl.
Arguably the biggest reason has been the addition of DC Wade Phillips, but they've also benefited from hitting on some really good draft picks and signing CB Jonathan Joseph.
It would be easy for the Texans to shift their focus back to the offense, but they still have some concerns at safety. Right now they have Glover Quinn (converted CB) and Daniel Manning as their two safeties. Both are nice players, but neither is going to be mistaken for an impact player.
Houston would benefit from adding Robert Lester from Alabama to the mix. Lester is a talented safety who has played both the free and the strong safety spots while at Alabama and has excelled at both. He has the range to play center field and the power to come up and make a tackle.
This is a tough pick to project, as the 49ers really don't have any holes at all on their roster. Obviously it's great news for them, they can just take whoever they feel is the best player available, and at this point, in our fictional scenario, it's Xavier Rhodes.
The 2013 draft is very strong at three main positions, QB, DE/OLB and cornerback. There are four cornerbacks in this year's draft, who I would feel comfortable taking in the top 15 if I was looking to take a corner.
Rhodes is such a phenomenal athlete, he has speed, agility, acceleration, leaping ability, and overall, is very smooth. He does great in man-to-man coverage and is a guy who you can feel comfortable leaving on an island. Definitely a first-round pick, but depending on the order the CBs go, he go possibly even go around the top 10.
Nolan Vasan: NFL Draft Geek