2013 NFL Mock Draft: Evaluating the Top QB Prospects on This Year's Board
2012 was the year of the rookie quarterbacks in the NFL.
If we were convinced that Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and the others would never pan out—or would at least need a couple of years to mature—we were proven wrong.
But objectively, it doesn't seem as though 2013 is once again going to be the year of the rookie quarterbacks. The talent just isn't there.
Here is a complete 2013 mock draft with a special emphasis on the rookie QBs and whether they'll thrive or flop.
Highlighted players in italics.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Chiefs once again are going to need a quarterback, and Geno Smith is the best one on the board. The question is, will he pan out?
He gives KC a better shot than anybody else who will be available this year. The fact that Smith's Mountaineers embarked on a disturbing midseason slide is a bit of a red flag, but he's been consistent over the last two seasons, and that's encouraging. He has thrown for over 4,000 yards in each of the last two years, and he threw a career-high 42 touchdown passes in 2012.
By all indications, Smith seems as ready as he'll ever be to be an NFL success. The Chiefs, however, have a lot of rebuilding to do and shouldn't depend on him to fix everything.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Jaguars picked up some offense with their top pick last season, and now it's time to bolster the defense. Jacksonville's unit ranked 30th in the NFL in 2012, and Lotulelei should at least give them a building block for improvement.
3. Oakland Raiders: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Jones is one of the top five prospects available in this year's draft, and he's the top-rated outside linebacker overall. The Raiders have a plethora of problems, but their defense is actually improving—and Jones gives them one more missing piece.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
One of the reasons Johnny Manziel was able to have such a spectacular season was because he had a great offensive line, and Joeckel was one of the premiere elements of it.
5. Detroit Lions: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Lions completely fell apart in 2012, but one thing they can hang their hats on is that their defense wasn't awful. With the addition of Werner—who was a staple of FSU's fierce defensive unit this season—the Lions may even be able to sneak into the top 10 in the NFL on that side of the ball.
6. Cleveland Browns: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
The Browns are about to embark on a bit of a franchise overhaul, and they're going to need strong leadership in order to succeed. Te'o gives them that—as well as one of the top defensive players in college football and a probable future Hall of Famer.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Much like the Chiefs, the Arizona Cardinals are going to need a quarterback, and Matt Barkley is going to be available.
The Kevin Kolb/John Skelton experiment didn't work out this year. The Cardinals were terrible, and they need to start building toward the future. Regardless of how poorly USC quarterbacks have fared in the NFL over the last several years, the Cards won't be able to resist Barkley, who entered his senior year as the projected top pick in this year's draft.
Things didn't work out too well for Barkley this season—for one, he got injured at the very end, but even before that, the Trojans were far from being a national championship contender. His numbers, however, have been gaudy over the last two years, and Arizona will see potential in him.
8. Buffalo Bills: Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State
And if the Cardinals snatch up Barkley, that leaves Glennon for the Bills, who could finally be moving on from the Ryan Fitzpatrick era after a fourth straight season of futility.
NC State was nothing to brag about in 2012. It finished third in the ACC's Atlantic Division, but it went just 4-4 in conference play. Still, over the last two years, Glennon has been very consistent—and that's something. He has thrown for over 3,000 yards and 30 or more touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons, and he led his team to a huge win over then-No. 3 Florida State in October.
One big win does not an NFL superstar make—that's for sure—but he has the ideal size for an NFL QB, and though he needs a bit of work, the Bills will see potential in him.
9. New York Jets: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
You can't blame the Jets' 2012 futility entirely upon Mark Sanchez—some of the fault has to fall onto the shoulders of his offensive line. Perhaps Lewan, the second-ranked offensive tackle prospect, can help to get things moving in the right direction.
10. Tennessee Titans: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
The All-American led A&M in tackles this season and could drastically improve a Titans defense that ranked 27th in the NFL in 2012.
11. San Diego Chargers: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
It's rebuilding time for the Chargers, and step one is beefing up the protection for Philip Rivers. Better go with one of the guys who protected the NCAA's best quarterback in 2012.
12. Miami Dolphins: Keenan Allen, WR, California
Allen's numbers weren't the best of all wide receivers in 2012, but at 6'3" and 206 pounds, he has great size and speed for an NFL wideout and could give second-year QB Ryan Tannehill the kind of weapon he needs to succeed.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Crimson Tide's stellar defense made another strong showing in 2012, and Milliner—who finished the year with two picks, a fumble recovery, a forced fumble and 51 tackles—was a big part of it.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Last year, the Panthers picked up Luke Kuechly, who helped this defense tremendously. Now, they'll pick up the Missouri product—rated fifth in the nation among all defensive tackles—to improve even further.
15. New Orleans Saints: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
The Saints would love it if Manti Te'o fell to them, but since that's not going to happen, they'll have to settle for Mingo, the nation's second-best linebacker prospect.
16. St. Louis Rams: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
At almost 6'8", size is one of Fisher's biggest assets, and he can make a big impact on a middling St. Louis offense that ranks 23rd in the NFL.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
The vaunted Steel Curtain fell far short in 2012, so Pittsburgh will be looking to this draft for an upgrade. Hankins—who finished his junior season with 55 total tackles—fits the bill.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The Cowboys would be thrilled if Warmack was still on the board when it was their turn to pick. The Crimson Tide guard ranks as the best one on the board and is durable, too—he has started 26 consecutive games.
19. New York Giants: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
The Giants will go for an offensive upgrade this year, taking a gamble on Eifert, who finished his senior season with 624 total yards and four touchdowns.
20. Chicago Bears: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
In 2012, the Bears ranked 28th in the league in total offense—and given the fact that they just barely missed the playoffs, think of what a little bit of line improvement could do. Johnson is very versatile and physically imposing.
21. St. Louis Rams: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
The Rams will use one of their draft picks from the RGIII trade to upgrade on defense. Banks is the second-best cornerback prospect out there.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Just when the Vikings offense seems to have hit its stride, it will upgrade once again with the addition of Patterson, who finished 2012 with 1,086 yards and eight touchdowns.
23. Cincinnati Bengals: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
The Bengals defense is already one of the best in the NFL—and now, they'll add a versatile and imposing defensive end from one of the nation's top collegiate defenses.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
This is right around where the Colts were hoping to be picking in 2013 after taking Andrew Luck with the first pick a year ago. Now, they'll add some depth on defense with Rhodes, who finished 2012 with three picks and 35 total tackles.
25. Baltimore Ravens: Matt Elam, S, Florida
The normally stellar Ravens defense took a hit in 2012, mostly due to injury, but it's time to add some young talent. They'll look to Elam, who had four interceptions, one forced fumble and 65 tackles in his junior season.
26. Seattle Seahawks: John Jenkins, DT, Georgia
The Seahawks are on the upswing, and Jenkins would be an excellent addition to an already excellent defense. He finishes his Georgia career with 78 total tackles, 4.0 sacks, an interception and a pass deflection.
27. San Francisco 49ers: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
The 49ers defense is solid; it's time to think about adding depth to their offensive line. Cooper gives San Francisco the second-ranked guard on the board.
28. Green Bay Packers: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
Coming from one of the nation's best collegiate defenses, Williams could immediately help a Packers team that is close to boasting one of the top professional defenses.
29. New England Patriots: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
With Wes Welker possibly heading out of town after this season and some other veteran wide receivers nearing retirement, the Pats need to get younger, so they'll look to Austin, one of the top wideouts available.
30. Denver Broncos: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Offensively, the Broncos are set. Defensively, they're pretty much set, too, but Floyd has great size and durability with excellent mobility. He'll be a great asset to them for a long time.
31. Houston Texans: Robert Woods, WR, Southern California
There were times this season when the Texans offense just fell asleep, so Woods will be an appealing and exciting pickup for them. He finished his USC career with 3,042 yards and 32 TDs.
32. Atlanta Falcons: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
Many of the best defenses in the league are in the NFC, and Atlanta's is not one of them. Minter, who finished 2012 with 111 tackles, an interception, six pass deflections and a forced fumble, can help.
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