2013 NFL mock drafts prevent depression.
At this point in the season, fans of cellar dwellers have nothing to root for. Hope to make the playoffs this season is long gone. But if their team lands a star in the upcoming draft, hope for the future will be restored.
Here’s an early 2013 mock highlighting the class’ biggest names.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith (QB, West Virginia)
Geno Smith may not be No. 1 on many big boards, but quarterbacks have a tendency to climb on draft day and the Chiefs can’t go another season with Matt Cassel under center.
Smith has the physical tools at 6’3”, 214 pounds with above-average athleticism. And he definitely has the production after racking up 4,004 passing yards, 40 touchdowns, just six interceptions and a completion percentage of 71.4.
He isn’t to blame for WVU’s five straight losses and if KC doesn’t select him first overall, it’s crazy.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Star Lotulelei (DT, Utah)
Unlike KC, the Jags should tough it out with their quarterbacks—Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne—for another year and fix their abysmal 31st-ranked run defense.
3. Oakland Raiders: Jarvis Jones (OLB, Georgia)
Oakland surrenders more points than anyone in the league, it ranks in the bottom half in the league in sacks, and Jones is the draft’s best pass rusher.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Matt Barkley (QB, USC)
If Andy Reid keeps his job, Philly will likely go O-line and select Luke Joeckel out of Texas A&M because it allowed a whopping 105 QB hits this season, more than any other line in the NFL and 30 more than the Chicago Bears’ front.
But if Reid is brought back, it’d be absolutely shocking. And that new head coach will want his guy under center and not a 33-year-old Michael Vick.
Barkley’s stock plummeted this season, but so did Jake Locker’s his senior season and he was still taken sixth overall by the Tennessee Titans. He started in a pro-style offense for four years at USC, and so he’s NFL-ready.
5. Carolina Panthers: Johnathan Hankins (DT, Ohio State)
If the Panthers didn’t just spend a first-round pick on Luke Kuechly, Manti Te’o would be perfect to fix their 20th-ranked run defense, but the 335-pound Hankins does the job, too.
6. Tennessee Titans: Damontre Moore (DE, Texas A&M)
If the Titans were smart, they’d select Chance Warmack to fill a huge need on the offensive line, but they aren’t and will likely select the best defensive end available in a stacked class.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Luke Joeckel (OT, Texas A&M)
Zona’s O-line allowed more sacks than anyone this season so with no worthy QB available, keeping Kevin Kolb upright is its best option.
Should Te'o go top five?
Detroit lives by the best-player-available philosophy and not only is Te’o the most talented on the board, but he’s exactly what the Lions need in their locker room.
Te’o isn’t just being compared to Ray Lewis because he’s a linebacker—his leadership ability is invaluable. Since this past summer, Detroit has attracted negative attention for things other than poor football far too many times.
Te’o would change the Lions’ culture and on a stacked football team, that may be the only thing standing between them and Super Bowl contention.
9. San Diego Chargers: DeMarcus Milliner (CB, Alabama)
San Diego’s pass defense is mediocre in the first place and on top of that, Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason are scheduled to become free agents at season’s end.
10. Buffalo Bills: Tyler Wilson (QB, Arkansas)
Buffalo has way too much talent in C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson at running back to allow Ryan Fitzpatrick to hold them back.
11. Miami Dolphins: Taylor Lewan (OT, Michigan)
Jake Long’s mammoth contract could lead to his departure from Miami and if that’s the case, the Dolphins must draft his replacement.
12. Cleveland Browns: Barkevious Mingo (DE, LSU)
Not a single Browns pass rusher has more than five sacks this season.
13. New Orleans Saints: Bjoern Werner (DE, Florida State)
New Orleans fields the worst defense in the league and its pitiful pass rush, which is ranked 27th in sacks this season, is part of the problem.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Johnthan Banks (CB, Mississippi State)
Tampa Bay has surrendered more yards through the air than every other team in the NFL and it just traded Aqib Talib.
15. New York Jets: Tyler Bray (QB, Tennessee)
16. St. Louis Rams: Chance Warmack (G, Alabama)
St. Louis’ rushing attack was once one of the NFL’s best, but it’s fallen to mediocrity.
17. Cincinnati Bengals: Kenny Vaccaro (S, Texas)
Cincinnati should wait at least one more season for Mohamed Sanu to develop and strong safety is one of the only positions on its defense that’s upgradable in Round 1.
18. St. Louis Rams: Tyler Eifert (TE, Notre Dame)
Eifert would be an instant upgrade to Lance Kendricks, who hasn’t progressed much in his sophomore season.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Sheldon Richardson (DL, Missouri)
Dallas' defense is greatly improved this season, but its run stopping ability is still mediocre.
20. Minnesota Vikings: Justin Hunter (WR, Tennessee)
Minnesota has the worst passing attack in the league, and with no worthy QB on the board, the Vikings might as well draft a wideout to help Christian Ponder.
21. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dion Jordon (OLB, Oregon)
James Harrison is injury-prone, aging and is getting paid too much money to be injury-prone and aging.
22. Chicago Bears: Jonathan Cooper (G, North Carolina)
23. Seattle Seahawks: Keenan Allen (WR, California)
Seattle found its franchise quarterback in Russell Wilson, but now he needs a major arsenal upgrade.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Sam Montgomery (DE, LSU)
The good old days of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis wreaking havoc in Indy are long gone as the Colts rank 26th in the league in sacks.
25. New York Giants: Alec Ogletree (ILB, Georgia)
New York’s run defense is ranked 22nd in the league, and its weakness begins in the middle with Chase Blackburn.
26. Green Bay Packers: Eric Fisher (OT, Central Michigan)
Green Bay has allowed the third-most sacks in the NFL this season—that shouldn’t happen to a quarterback who’s arguably the best in the league.
27. Baltimore Ravens: C.J. Mosley (ILB, Alabama)
Baltimore needs to draft Ray Lewis’ replacement because the backers currently filling in are leading a defense ranked just 26th in yards allowed.
28. Denver Broncos: Jonathan Jenkins (DT, Georgia)
Denver is a top-notch interior defensive line away from fielding an elite run-stopping unit.
29. San Francisco 49ers: Alex Okafor (OLB, Texas)
San Francisco is stacked enough to select the best player available and that also just happens to fill its need for outside linebacker depth.
30. New England Patriots: Ezekiel Ansah (DE, BYU)
Outside of Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones, New England doesn’t have a pass rusher with more than three sacks this season.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Barrett Jones (OL, Alabama)
Part of the reason that Michael Turner’s yards per carry average dropped from 4.5 to 3.7 this season is because the Falcons offensive line isn’t a huge strength anymore.
32. Houston Texans: Terrance Williams (WR, Baylor)
Houston’s offense may or may not be unstoppable if it had a legitimate No. 2 wide receiver across from Andre Johnson.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.