2013 NFL Mock Draft: Projected Top 10 Picks and Analysis
The 2013 NFL Draft will be here soon enough and it's never too early to start talking about it.
As teams' playoff hopes slowly diminish, the NFL Draft always helps provide a little bit of hope. Drafting the right guy can potentially turn around a team's fortunes for the short and long term.
The 2013 NFL Draft includes several very intriguing prospects at all positions.
The draft order is my opinion on where the teams will end up at the end of the season. So here are my early season projections for the top 10 picks of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Jacksonville Jaguars: USC QB Matt Barkley
USC QB Matt Barkley will be the top pick even though he has gained some criticism after his performance against Stanford.
Barkley has all the looks of a franchise quarterback. He has shown throughout his college career that he is accurate, has a good enough arm, and is a leader. He has also played in a pro-style offense his whole career and that will only help him.
Jacksonville QB Blaine Gabbert has shown marginal improvement this season, but there is no way they can be comfortable saying he is a franchise quarterback to this point.
While Gabbert doesn't have many weapons to help him out and a very questionable offensive line, he will have a big enough sample size of two full seasons to where the Jaguars should know if he is the answer or not.
Gabbert is 30th among starting QBs in yards thrown. He has a mediocre 85.8 QB rating and only a 50.6 completion percentage (via ESPN.com).
The 2013 draft class has very good potential at the QB position and the Jaguars need to cut their losses with Gabbert and make sure they get the right guy this time around.
St. Louis Rams: Cal WR Keenan Allen
The Rams need a true No. 1 receiver for QB Sam Bradford and Allen has all the physical tools to be a stud receiver at the NFL level.
Allen has a tall, thick frame, at 6'3 and 210 pounds. He possesses good hands with above-average speed. He is very explosive after the catch with the power to run through defenders and the agility to make people miss.
St. Louis has one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL and rank 29th in the league in receiving offense (via ESPN.com).
WR Danny Amendola is the only receiver that QB Sam Bradford trusts and it shows as he has 25 catches for 296 yards and the next best receiver, Brandon Gibson, has only eight catches for 123 yards (via ESPN.com).
The Rams drafted WR Brian Quick in the second round last year but he doesn't have any catches so far this season and it is apparent he is still really raw. He isn't a true No.1 anyway if he does develop.
In order for the Rams offense to go to the next level, the Rams severely need to get some legitimate outside receivers for QB Sam Bradford.
Miami Dolphins: Georgia OLB/DE Jarvis Jones
While Miami's biggest need is to get some legitimate weapons around QB Ryan Tannehill, they can't pass up a player of Georgia OLB Jarvis Jones' caliber.
The Dolphins do have a major need for a pass rusher opposite of Cameron Wake, so they should be thrilled to draft a player that many draft analysts, such as Mel Kiper Jr., have at the top of their big board.
Jones has the same attributes as Broncos LB Von Miller. Jones is a big-time pass rusher who has the speed, power, and burst to explode off the edge.
Jones is an all-around defender as he does more than just pass rush. He has proven to be a sure tackler against both the run and pass with good football instincts.
Jones does have a body type that would make him a better fit in the 3-4 than 4-3 defense, but a player of his caliber can play in any defense.
A duo of Wake and Jones will give the Dolphins a scary pass rush that will help them compete against an offense like the Patriots.
Cleveland Browns: DE Barkevious Mingo
It is possible that the Cleveland Browns will look for yet another quarterback if owner Jimmy Haslam decides to replace both GM Tom Heckert and head coach Pat Shurmur.
A new coach and GM might want a younger QB, not a 30-year-old QB who is still developing.
QB Brandon Weeden has shown a lot of promise through his first four games and drafting another young QB will not help the team win in the short term.
The Browns have a lot of other needs and a pass rusher opposite of DE Jabaal Sheard should be a high priority.
DE Barkevious Mingo is a freak athlete (6'5", 240 lbs), who is a dominant lineman in the SEC. He has an excellent first step off the line of scrimmage and great closing speed getting to the quarterback.
His only real weakness at this point is that he struggles at times in the run game as he gets pushed around and is not able to maintain his assigned gap.
Some draft experts are comparing him to retired DE Jevon Kearse and he certainly has the potential to live up to that hype.
New Orleans Saints: Alabama CB DeMarcus Milliner
The Saints defense has been absolutely terrible this season and they will definitely look to add a playmaker on that side of the ball in the draft.
They are 30th in total defense and 25th in passing defense (via ESPN.com). They are extremely thin in their secondary and adding an elite cover corner in Milliner will provide a big boost to their defense.
Milliner is a big physical corner who shuts down the opposing receiver every game. He is a sure tackler who has good football instincts and is considered a better prospect than CB Dre Kirkpatrick, drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals.
It seems like every top prospect coming out of Alabama under Saban comes into the NFL extremely prepared and ready to start right away.
Milliner seems like a logical option for the Saints.
Indianapolis Colts: LSU DE Sam Montgomery
The Indianapolis Colts focused on getting Andrew Luck some help in last year's NFL Draft, so this year's draft they should focus on shoring up the defensive side of the ball.
The Colts could go many directions in regards to what position they decide to address on their defense. They are in desperate need of linebacker and secondary help.
Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o is a legitimate option here, but I feel that Montgomery is the best overall player left at this position and they can't go wrong with an outside linebacker of Montgomery's stature.
Montgomery has shown great pass rushing skills, as well as holding his own against the run. He is still a work in progress as he relies too much on his speed. He needs to work on adding more pass rushing moves along with a more explosive first step.
They do have the two OLB spots filled with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis but good outside linebackers are hard to find and they can't pass on a talent like Montgomery.
Tennessee Titans: N.C. State CB David Amerson
The Tennessee Titans are 28th in the league in passing defense (via ESPN.com).
After losing CB Cortland Finnegan in free agency, they are thin in the seconday.
CB Alterraun Verner is a decent corner but they really need a true No.1 corner opposite of Verner.
They could also use an offensive linemen and Alabama OL Barrett Jones is a possibility.
N.C. State CB David Amerson has No.1 corner ability. Amerson and Alabama CB DeMarcus Milliner will be competing against each other to see who will be the first corner taken.
Amerson has elite ball skills, great size, and length. Amerson would be a great fit for the Titans.
Kansas City Chiefs: West Virginia QB Geno Smith
The Kansas City Chiefs should now know that QB Matt Cassel is not a franchise caliber QB and they will be looking hard at the QB position in this year's NFL Draft.
West Virginia QB Geno Smith has propelled himself this season to a potential top 10 pick.
Smith is a very interesting prospect. He has already proven to have very good athleticism, but this year he has shown off his accuracy, especially on the deep ball.
He reminds me of a young Donovan McNabb.
If he can keep showing off his much improved pocket passing, teams might have to trade up to get him like the Washington Redskins did for QB Robert Griffin III last year.
Oakland Raiders: USC WR Robert Woods
The Oakland Raiders need to start looking at quarterbacks in the upcoming NFL Draft. However, after USC QB Matt Barkley and West Virginia QB Geno Smith, the quarterback class drops off.
Unless another quarterback starts to establish himself later on in the college football season, the Raiders will look to add playmakers to the offense.
USC WR Robert Woods is a polished, NFL ready receiver. Woods' best attribute is his speed. He separates easily from his defender, a good runner after the catch, and runs crisp routes.
The Raiders don't have any reliable receivers as Darrius Heyward-Bey hasn't proven much up to this point.
Woods would give QB Carson Palmer a legitimate weapon in the passing game.
Carolina Panthers: Tennessee WR Justin Hunter
The Carolina Panthers need a young No.1 receiver to grow with QB Cam Newton.
Tennessee WR Justin Hunter is tearing it up early on in the season and if he keeps this pace up, he could pass Cal WR Keenan Allen and USC WR Robert Woods as the best receiver in the country.
The Panthers don't have any wide receivers besides an aging Steve Smith that can stretch the field.
Hunter specializes in making big plays and has shown reliable hands.
He is almost impossible to cover when he is in one-on-one coverage. He knows how to use his height and is very good at the jump ball.
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