NFL Mock Draft 2013: Big Names with Huge Bust Potential
The NFL draft and busts go hand in hand. We all see and hear about the ceilings and expectations for a young college stud, but we never know what they really are capable of at the next level until they get that first taste of it.
People will always label a player a bust based on where he is taken, rather than looking at the scouting reports to see if maybe the team reached on a player it falsely believed could make a difference.
As the college football bowl season begins, the 2013 NFL draft is inching closer. So what better time to look at players who will be high on a lot of draft boards that aren't going to justify their selection?
Note: Draft order is for games played before Week 15. Furthermore, all potential busts are pictured.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Chiefs don't have the luxury of choosing from a quarterback class like the one we saw last April, so they will have to decide if Smith is worthy of this spot, or if they have other needs that should be addressed. When in doubt, always go with the quarterback.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Moore is a do-it-all defensive end. He is very good against the pass thanks to his speed and quickness off the edge, and can play the run because of his underrated strength. He is not an elite prospect, but should be a strong starter for the next decade.
3. Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Raiders get arguably the best and safest player in this draft, which is exactly what they should be going after. Too often this franchise feels the need to be flashy, rather than finding players who will do little things to win games.
Lotulelei struggles to get after the quarterback like most of the elite defensive tackles, but he clogs up so much space that he can make other edge-rushers better and is a stout defender against the run.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Joeckel will step into Eagles' camp and be the best offensive line the team has. He is as consistent as any player in this draft, and will make the Eagles a more dynamic offense just by giving Nick Foles (or whoever the starting quarterback is) time to throw.
5. Tennessee Titans: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Titans need a spark on the defensive line to upgrade their anemic pass-rush and putrid run defense. Werner will slot in nicely as a versatile end who can stuff the run or get after the quarterback.
6. Arizona Cardinals: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Since we all over-rated Barkley coming into the year, it makes sense that he is our first big-name bust in this draft class. Some people will talk about him having success in the USC system, others will point to the fact that he had Marqise Lee and Robert Woods to throw to.
All of those are valid points for why he had success, but do we really know how good or bad Barkley is?
Considering what the options are for the Cardinals right now, Barkley probably is the best quarterback for them. But until he proves that he can make an accurate throw into a small window, he is always going to be more trouble than he is worth.
7. Detroit Lions: Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
The top two linebackers (Jones and Notre Dame's Manti Te'o) are going to intrigue the Lions at this spot. Te'o is better against the pass, while Jones is better at defending the run and getting after the quarterback.
It's hard to say the Lions would go wrong in picking either player, but Jones just fits the system a little better than Te'o.
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8. Carolina Panthers: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Hankins will make a nice complement to last year's first-round pick, linebacker Luke Kuechly. The Panthers got the upgrade they needed in the middle of the field with Kuechly, but now they need an upgrade in the middle of the line.
9. San Diego Chargers: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Warmack is the tough, hard-nosed, grind-it-out offensive lineman that Philip Rivers has been waiting to see the Chargers draft for a long, long time. Coming from Alabama, you know Warmack is going to be ready for all the challenges of the NFL right away.
10. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
I'll be the first to admit the Browns have more pressing needs than cornerback, but for a franchise with so many flaws, why not start drafting the best player available and be done with it?
Millinier would slot in right next to 23-year-old Joe Haden to give the Browns one of the best and youngest cornerback duos in the league. In this pass-happy NFL, that is a luxury most teams would love to have.
11. Buffalo Bills: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
For the Bills, this would be a dream scenario. Not only do they get one of the best college linebackers in recent years, but Te'o also provides them with a name and someone they can build a lot of the marketing for the 2013 season around.
Te'o also provides the Bills with a toughness and aggression at the linebacker position they desperately need. All that money they have invested will start to pay off when Te'o is added to the mix.
12. Miami Dolphins: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
Mingo is the perfect draft player for a team to take, though I am skeptical about what his eventual ceiling will be.
The LSU star has yet to really play up to his full potential, which is both good and bad. You want to see a player who still has plenty of upside and growth, but at the same time you want to see them performing at their best against college competition.
Since Mingo has such great speed and power off the edge to get after the quarterback, teams are going to fall in love with him. His size (just 240 pounds) and inconsistent play at LSU make me nervous that he is going to fall victim to his own hype.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
There is something to be said for going after a safe, solid player at this spot in the draft. The Buccaneers are desperate for help in the secondary, but would be better off trading up, or down, to get the most bang for their buck.
Montgomery is solid against the run and pass, so there is little risk in getting him to perform right away at the NFL level. He just won't be an elite defender.
14. New Orleans Saints: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
The Saints are as dull as a 50-year-old butter knife on defense right now. They need playmakers, but they could also use some versatility. Jordan fits both descriptions, as he is a disruptive force on the line and can shift to multiple positions.
15. New York Jets: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Since the Jets seem to be infatuated with Mark Sanchez, at least as long as Rex Ryan is there, they need to get an offensive line that will give him time to throw the ball and open holes for the running game.
Lewan specializes in run-blocking, which is exactly what the Jets need, and has the size and strength to be great in pass protection.
16. St. Louis Rams: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Sam Bradford has had a nice bounce-back season following an injury-plagued 2011, but he is still one or two weapons short of being able to play at his full potential.
Hunter is a potential monster-in-the-making at 6'4" and his production at Tennessee improved by leaps and bounds over the last two years. The Rams have the possession receiver they need in Danny Amendola. Now it is time for the franchise to add a true down-field threat.
17. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
Like the Rams, the Vikings are desperate for playmakers on the outside. Christian Ponder is not getting it done, though some of that can be attributed to the fact that he has no one to throw to with Percy Harvin out.
Allen won't run by any NFL cornerbacks, but he has the size and hands to steal the ball out of the air. His speed might play up on Minnesota's turf.
18. Cincinnati Bengals: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Matthews is still learning how to use his size and athleticism in pass protection, so the Bengals will have a lot to work with. But he is as safe as anyone in this draft at run-blocking.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia
The Cowboys don't go for the sexy pick, choosing instead to fix their porous run defense. Jenkins is a monster and nearly impossible to contain with just one defender, so even though he won't get credit for sacks, he will also drastically improve their pass-rush.
20. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins): Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
Defensive tackles who are NFL-ready and able to make plays against the run and pass are invaluable in today's game. Williams will make a great defensive complement to Justin Hunter, whom I had the Rams taking with their first pick.
21. Pittsburgh Steelers: Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
A former running back, Barr is quickly moving up draft boards thanks to his explosiveness, speed and power as a pass-rusher. The Steelers still have one of the best defenses in the league, but it wouldn't hurt to add more youth and upside on that side of the ball, especially since he can learn without being asked to do too much right away.
22. Chicago Bears: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Above all else, the Bears just need to find an offensive lineman who can play in the NFL. Fisher is a pass-blocking specialist, which is just what the team needs. Jay Cutler gets into trouble when he is trying to move around and create plays.
23. Indianapolis Colts: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
As mentioned with Barkevious Mingo, Ansah is one of those high-risk, high-reward players who could be thought of as a steal based on where he was taken five years from now. But there is a LOT of projection involved with him right now.
Considering where we thought the Colts would be, drafting more young, high-upside talents, particularly on defense, would be a smart move. Ansah has all the skills in the world, though he needs to improve his strength and technique so that he isn't getting knocked around by bigger, more physical players at the next level.
I would wholly understand the pick if the Colts made it, I just don't see enough from Ansah right now that makes me think he will turn into the star that his raw talent suggests he can become.
24. Seattle Seahawks: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
Pete Carroll has built an incredible defense in just a few short years, so why not keep adding to the wealth of talent with the immensely-talented Ogletree?
Considering where Ogletree was at the start of the year and where he finished with Georgia, he has improved dramatically. He still has a long way to go before reaching his ceiling, but I trust him more than some other high-risk defenders because of how great he was in 2012.
25. New York Giants: Johnathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
The Giants have a lot of problems on defense, despite having a defensive line that can get after opposing quarterbacks better than any team in the NFL. They need to find a balance up front and in the secondary that takes some pressure off the front four.
Banks needs to work on a lot in coverage, but he has incredible instincts and hands to go after the ball.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The main job of a safety in the NFL today is to help in pass coverage and make huge hits when a player is coming towards him. Vaccaro has an incredible knack for finding the ball, as well as punishing anyone in his way.
27. Denver Broncos: Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina
The Broncos do need to upgrade their running game. Bernard is the best back in this class, with great field vision, hands, speed and power. He can also help in pass protection, which is a must for any Peyton Manning-led offense.
28. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Eifert's size and hands will make a simple, easy transition for the Falcons whenever Tony Gonzalez decides to hang up the cleats. He is a matchup nightmare, particularly in the red zone. Considering the Falcons also have Roddy White and Julio Jones, good luck stopping this offense.
29. Green Bay Packers: Dallas Thomas, OT, Tennessee
Unless the Packers are prepared to reach for a young defensive back, the offensive line isn't a bad spot to upgrade. Their problems in the running game stem from not having enough pure run-blocking offensive linemen.
Thomas is a safe option for the Packers to use in order to save their pathetic running game. He isn't a star-level talent, but this team is already loaded in that department. They need more toughness up front.
30. Houston Texans: Robert Woods, WR, USC
Woods has the speed, hands and smarts to make an instant impact at the next level. He will fit right in with a team that is ready to compete for a championship and needs more weapons.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Richardson will slot in nicely on a loaded defensive line. Justin Smith is getting up there in age, so the 49ers need to start thinking about contingency plans. Richardson has the athleticism to play at defensive tackle in a 3-4, but he can also move to the edge.
32. New England Patriots: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The Patriots don't seem to like using first-round picks on the offense, but Austin's versatility as a receiver, both on the outside and in the slot, as well as his special teams ability make him a perfect player for Bill Belichick.
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