2013 NFL Mock Draft: Projecting Entire First Round
After six weeks of college football, the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft is starting to take shape.
Some players, like Matt Barkley, are falling faster than a penny off the Empire State Building. Others, like Manti Te'o, continue to impress pro scouts and are rising up the board.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller had this to say about Te'o:
Doubt anyone was on the fence here, but Manti Te'o is twice the prospect Luke Kuechly was. #NFLDraft— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) October 7, 2012
Taking into consideration team needs, let's take a look at how the draft may play out next April at the Radio City Music Hall in New York.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
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Geno Smith, Quarterback, West Virginia
Behind Cassel on the depth chart, neither Brady Quinn nor Ricky Stanzi inspire much confidence. If either one of them were capable of taking the reins, it would have already happened.
The Chiefs won't win many games this year with their current quarterback conundrum, and they'll happily take Smith with the No. 1 overall pick.
With their stockpile of offensive weapons, Smith has an opportunity to make as big an impact for the Chiefs as Robert Griffin III has had in 2012 for the Washington Redskins.
2. Cleveland Browns
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Johnathan Hankins, Defensive Tackle, Ohio State
The Cleveland Browns have a solid foundation on defense, but the team could use another big man to stuff up the middle—Phil Taylor and Billy Winn notwithstanding.
Hankins is a big man with quick feet and an explosive first step. He's agile and disruptive, and he'd be a terror on the line next to Taylor and Jabaal Sheard.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
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Luke Joeckel, Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M
Blaine Gabbert was sacked 12 times in his first four games in 2012, and it's clear that the Jacksonville Jaguars need to give their young quarterback better protection.
Joeckel is a big man with athleticism who possesses outstanding lateral movement. He's a phenomenal natural pass-blocker, and he is also a capable run-blocker who uses good technique and pad level to drive his man back.
He's the best offensive tackle in this year's draft, and he's the most logical choice for the Jags here.
4. Oakland Raiders
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Barkevious Mingo, Defensive End, LSU
The Oakland Raiders have more needs than any other team in the NFL, but they'll be happy to take the best pass-rusher in the 2013 NFL Draft here at No. 4 overall.
Mingo has an explosive first step, and his ability to get around bigger, athletic men is truly impressive. The Raiders have a desperate need for a pass-rusher, so this marriage of need vs. best player available makes sense all the way around.
5. New Orleans Saints
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Star Lotulelei, Defensive Tackle, Utah
The New Orleans Saints have been unable to stop the run so far this year. The biggest reason for this is that the team is lacking any real beef in the middle of its defense.
Lotulelei, at 6'3" and 320 pounds, is just the man this team needs to plug up the middle on defense. His strength, agility and initial burst demands that teams double team him, and he'd be a huge upgrade over Brodrick Bunkley and Sedrick Ellis.
6. Tennessee Titans
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Sam Montgomery, Defensive End, LSU
The Tennessee Titans are struggling on defense, and one of the biggest reasons this team can't stop anyone's passing game is because nobody's getting pressure on the opposing quarterback.
It's crazy to think that two of the best pass-rushers in college are on the same team, but Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo are surely going to go in the Top 10 this upcoming spring.
Montgomery looks really explosive this year, and it's clear that he's fully recovered from the knee injury that he suffered a couple of years ago. He's put on a ton of muscle in the past couple of years, and I'd expect him to continue getting stronger and more explosive as he gets older.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Jarvis Jones, Outside Linebacker, Georgia
Greg Schiano is dedicated to running the ball and playing solid defense, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need talented defenders to make his vision into a reality.
Jones is the best player on the board at this point, and the Bucs have a need at outside linebacker.
While Jones plays in a 3-4 scheme at Georgia, his skill set translates well for a 4-3 alignment. He is fast, athletic and runs well in space, and he'd be a handful for opposing offenses playing behind the studs on the Bucs defensive line.
8. Carolina Panthers
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Keenan Allen, Wide Receiver, California
While the Carolina Panthers have needs across the board, Allen will be too tempting to pass up here at this point in the draft. Steve Smith won't be around much longer, and the Panthers don't have a ton of depth at the wide receiver position.
Allen is a tremendous threat with the ball in his hands, and he does his best work after the catch. He has good size, speed and hands, and he'd be a welcome addition to Cam Newton's offense.
9. Detroit Lions
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David Amerson, Cornerback, North Carolina State
The secondary of the Detroit Lions is a mess.
Opposing quarterbacks have had their way with this unit, and they have combined for a passer rating of 101.3 with five touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Amerson is a legitimate cover cornerback, and he's the best of this year's draft class. At 6'2" and 194 pounds, he has the size, speed, strength and hands to shut down many of the NFL's top receivers one on one.
10. Indianapolis Colts
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D.J. Fluker, Offensive Tackle, Alabama
Andrew Luck is already an incredible quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, and once he starts getting some protection, he's going to blossom into one of the league's best.
Fluker is better known as a mauling run-blocker for Alabama, but he's just as much of a standout in the passing game. He's growing by leaps and bounds in his junior season, and his unique blend of nasty and athleticism will make him into a cornerstone player for the lucky team that drafts him next April.
11. Miami Dolphins
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Justin Hunter, Wide Receiver, Tennessee
Ryan Tannehill has already shown himself to be a capable starting quarterback in the NFL. Imagine how good he'd be with a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver on his side.
Hunter is going to be a special receiver in the NFL. At 6'4" and 200 pounds, he is an excellent route runner with terrific hands and the ability to leap for balls and snag them at the highest point. He'd help turn a burgeoning young offense into a powerhouse, given a couple of years to mesh with Tannehill.
12. New York Jets
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Matt Barkley, Quarterback, USC
Mark Sanchez's days with the New York Jets are numbered. He may not be finished as a pro quarterback, but he's taken too many negative hits in New York to make it work.
Barkley is eerily similar to Sanchez in how they play the game. Both are highly accurate when allowed to run quick timing patterns unmolested, and both have the ability to get the ball deep when needed.
The time to draft a new franchise quarterback is now for the Jets.
Barkley's the right man for this situation.
13. Seattle Seahawks
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Ricky Wagner, Offensive Tackle, Wisconsin
Despite their best attempts to amend a porous offensive line in Seattle, the Seahawks are still without the answers they've been seeking at offensive tackle.
Wagner isn't as well known at this time as guys like Luke Joeckel or D.J. Fluker, but he will be by the time the NFL draft combine takes place next spring.
At 6'6" and 320 pounds, Wagner has ideal size and agility to compete with NFL defensive ends from day one. He's going to be an instant starter for any team in need of an offensive tackle, and the Seahawks would be foolish to pass on him here.
14. Minnesota Vikings
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Manti Te'o, Middle Linebacker, Notre Dame
Te'o is by far the best middle linebacker prospect of this year's draft class.
He's mean, he's physical, he's big, he's fast and strong, he's instinctive and he's a true leader.
The Minnesota Vikings have been impressive thus far to start the 2012 season, but they're bound to come crashing down to earth as the season wears on. They need a top-flight middle linebacker to run their defense, and Te'o is the perfect man for the job.
15. Dallas Cowboys
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Bjoern Werner, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, Florida State
The Dallas Cowboys have a desperate need to provide more pressure opposite DeMarcus Ware.
Werner is a raw prospect who's used to playing with his hand in the dirt, but his athleticism, agility and quick burst make him an ideal 3-4 outside linebacker prospect.
He may take half of a season to get acclimated to the duties of that position, but at the least Werner will be a viable pass-rusher in nickel situations until he's ready to take over full time.
16. Arizona Cardinals
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Tyler Wilson, Quarterback, Arkansas
Wilson is making pretty good lemonade out of the lemons he's been given this year at the University of Arkansas. Not only is the program in turmoil after losing Bobby Petrino, but the team's best receivers left last year via the 2012 NFL draft.
Although the Arizona Cardinals won their first four games of the season, it was only a matter of time before Kevin Kolb's inability to throw accurately under pressure was exposed. The Cards need a legitimate franchise quarterback to run their offense, and Wilson will be a good one.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers
Jake Matthews, Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M
If you've watched a Pittsburgh Steelers game any time this decade, then you know this team needs help on its offensive line.
Ben Roethlisberger gets sacked more often than the city of Rome.
Matthews isn't as heralded as his teammate, Luke Joeckel, but he's nearly as good. In fact, while Joeckel is slightly better in pass protection, Matthews may well be a better all-around prospect.
This is one of those picks that should be easy to make.
18. Buffalo Bills
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Robert Woods, Wide Receiver, USC
This is simply a situation of the Bills taking the best player available at this point in the draft.
Woods is one of the best receivers in the nation, and if he falls this far on draft day, the Bills would be wise to take him.
Blessed with decent speed and size, Woods' best attribute is his ability to make yards after the catch—exactly the kind of receiver that Chan Gailey needs for his quick-hitting passing offense.
19. Cincinnati Bengals
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Baccari Rambo, Safety, Georgia
The Cincinnati Bengals have the makings of an impressive secondary with their strong contingency of cornerbacks, but this team desperately needs safety help.
You know it's bad when the Bengals are forced to start Taylor Mays at strong safety.
Rambo is an excellent pro prospect who has the talent to play both safety positions, if needed. He is a powerful tackler who can take on running backs at the line of scrimmage and win. Additionally, Rambo is a rangy center fielder who has good ball skills—a significant upgrade over the players the Bengals currently have on the roster.
20. St. Louis Rams
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Marcus Lattimore, Running Back, South Carolina
The St. Louis Rams recently gave Steven Jackson an out next year so he can test free agency, according to StLouisRams.com.
And, although Isaiah Pead is a capable running back, he's not anywhere close to being in the same league as Lattimore—this year's clear-cut No. 1 running back.
Lattimore's specialty is his nose for the end zone. In 25 career games, Lattimore has rushed for 35 touchdowns. He's a powerful runner with a nice burst and excellent vision, and the Rams wouldn't skip a beat with him in the lineup should they lose Jackson after this year.
21. Chicago Bears
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Barrett Jones, Offensive Guard, Alabama
Jones is listed as a guard, but he's so much more than that. Jones can play all five offensive line positions with skill, and the Chicago Bears are in desperate need of a guy like that on their roster.
Jones isn't just versatile. He's as technically sound as any offensive lineman I've seen in the past few years, and he'll be a plug-and-play left guard for the Bears from the start of training camp in 2013.
22. Philadelphia Eagles
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Jackson Jeffcoat, Defensive End, Texas
The rich get richer.
The Philadelphia Eagles don't necessarily need another pass-rusher, but given their propensity to collect them, and given the fact that Jeffcoat is the best player left on the board, the team won't be able to resist.
Jeffcoat is still raw and his frame is begging for another 20-25 pounds of muscle. That said, his quick first step and natural pass-rushing prowess makes him an attractive player here toward the end of the first round.
23. San Diego Chargers
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Xavier Rhodes, Cornerback, Florida State
The San Diego Chargers are loaded on defense except for the cornerback position. This team has other needs, specifically on the offensive line, but they'd be reaching for any offensive lineman at this point.
Rhodes, at 6'1" and 217 pounds, is a massive man for a cornerback. He also possesses excellent speed, agility and instincts—not to mention a knack for getting his hands on the football. He is a press-corner who loves a physical challenge, and he'd be an instant upgrade over Antoine Cason.
24. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins)
Da'Rick Rogers, Wide Receiver, Tennessee Tech
Rogers was indefinitely suspended from Tennessee back in August (h/t Yahoo! Sports), and he has some personal baggage that he'll have to answer for in the interview process at the NFL Scouting Combine next spring.
That said, his physical abilities rival that of Julio Jones, and we've already seen Jeff Fisher take on one project in Janoris Jenkins.
Rogers would give Sam Bradford the legitimate No. 1 wide receiver he's been missing ever since joining the team a few years back.
25. New England Patriots
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Chance Warmack, Offensive Guard, Alabama
The New England Patriots have had trouble filling the void Brian Waters left when he decided to call it quits in 2012, and Warmack is the right man to fill that void.
Warmack, at 6'2" and 322 pounds, moves extremely well for a man of his size, and he's adept at pulling in both the running game and on screens to the outside.
Plus, we all know how much Bill Belichick loves drafting Nick Saban's players. This makes too much sense not to happen.
26. New York Giants
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Johnthan Banks, Cornerback, Mississippi State
The New York Giants' chances for a Super Bowl repeat may well be hindered this year by their porous secondary.
Prince Amukamara can't seem to stay healthy, and if his struggles continue the rest of the way in 2012, it might be time to move on.
Banks has good size, speed and physicality to challenge the NFL's top receivers, and his tendency to intercept passes makes him a steal here at the bottom of the first round.
27. Denver Broncos
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DeMarcus Milliner, Cornerback, Alabama
Champ Bailey isn't going to last much longer, and the Denver Broncos would be smart to look to the future before it's too late.
Milliner, at 6'0" and 185 pounds, possesses good speed to go along with his size, and best of all, he's really quick to react when he sees a play develop and has the hands to make difference-making plays on defense.
28. Green Bay Packers
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Taylor Lewan, Offensive Tackle, Michigan
It's clear after five games this season that Marshall Newhouse isn't going to cut it as Aaron Rodgers' blind-side protector going forward. In fact, it isn't a stretch to say that Newhouse has been a disaster so far this year—not to mention the entire offensive line of the Green Bay Packers.
Lewan is a strong, stout lineman with decent lateral movement and a nasty attitude. He'll relish the chance to protect Rodgers' blind side, and even if he's not ready for that role immediately, Brian Bulaga could always slide over to the left side while Lewan mans the right side for a while.
29. Atlanta Falcons
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Tyler Eifert, Tight End, Notre Dame
It's not often in the NFL that a team gets to draft a player worthy of replacing a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but the Atlanta Falcons will be able to do just that when they take Eifert.
Tony Gonzalez is still going strong at the age of 36, but he's going to retire soon.
Eifert's blend of size, speed, athleticism, agility and hands makes him this year's clear-cut No. 1 tight end, and he's the perfect player to take over when Gonzalez is gone.
30. Baltimore Ravens
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Eric Reid, Free Safety, LSU
The Baltimore Ravens have been fortunate to have Ed Reed play for as long as he has, but the end is nigh for this superstar.
Thankfully, they can turn to another Reid for their salvation in the years to come.
This talented safety from LSU can't be compared to Reed, but he has the size, speed, instincts and big-hit abilities to take over when Reed is gone.
31. San Francisco 49ers
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Alex Okafor, Defensive End, Texas
Okafor is a rare player who combines speed and power in a body that is bound to get much bigger in the years to come.
At 6'5" and 265 pounds, he played some defensive tackle in his sophomore year—acquitting himself quite well in the process.
I see him being able to play as a 3-4 defensive end with a bit more strength and weight, and in the meantime, he'd be a terror on the outside in obvious pass-rushing situations, spelling Ahmad Brooks.
32. Houston Texans
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Terrence Williams, Wide Receiver, Baylor
I keep waiting for the Houston Texans to find a second receiver to take pressure from Andre Johnson, and I keep on getting disappointed.
Williams, at 6'2" and 205 pounds, has the physical traits you look for in a No. 1 receiver, and though he's a bit raw right now, he will flourish with Matt Schaub tossing him balls on a regular basis.
He has enough speed to get separation downfield, and his hands are nice and soft. Williams will help the Texans take their offense to the next level in 2013—as if this team needed any more help right now.
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