2013 NFL Mock Draft: Players That Will Make the Biggest Immediate Impact
The 2013 NFL Draft has the potential to be one of the oddest in recent memory. Look at the draft order—when's the last time you could make a legitimate case that nine of the first 11 teams picking could use a QB?
That being said, there are holes to fill across the board and there are some key players in the first round of this draft that will step into the starting lineup from the time their name is called at the Radio City Music Hall this April.
From highly touted QBs like Geno Smith and Matt Barkley to the pass-rushing phenoms like Damontre Moore and Barkevious Mingo, this draft is littered with talented athletes that will make immediate impacts for the teams that take a chance on their talents.
Here's a look at an updated 2013 mock draft, keeping in mind the guys that are poised to step into the limelight and produce right away.
Note: Draft order courtesy of Pro Football Talk, and is subject to change with the following stipulations:
(A) The winner of the Super Bowl will select last and the other Super Bowl participant next-to-last, regardless of their regular-season record.
(B) The Championship Game participants not advancing to the Super Bowl will select 29th and 30th, according to the reverse order of their standing.
(C) The Divisional Playoff participants not advancing to the Championship Games will select 25th through 28th, according to the reverse order of their standing.
(D) The Wild Card participants not advancing to the Divisional Playoffs will select 21st through 24th, according to the reverse order of their standing.
(E) Non-playoff clubs will select first through 20th, according to the reverse order of their standing.
1. Kansas City Chiefs—QB Geno Smith
While I don't think QB is the way to go with this pick, Smith is the top prospect on the board. His accuracy and mobility remind scouts of RG3, and with that kind of comparison he's not long for the draft board world.
Like most first overall selections, Smith would be the starter from day one and be the new face of a franchise that booed its starting QB while he was on the ground with a concussion.
Never did a team need a star more.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars—DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State
Although this team is somewhat stalled with Blaine Gabbert, defense is an area of need and one of the nation's best all-around defensive ends would be a great pick here. He's a seasoned vet and a real candidate to come into his own once the NFL world gives him a chance.
That chance would come right away with a Jags defense that allowed 141.0 yards per game on the ground.
3. Oakland Raiders—LB Jarvis Jones, Florida
You never know where the Raiders are at when it comes to the draft—this year is no exception. They could surprise us all and draft Matt Barkley.
But Jones is a true playmaker and his talent in the middle of the defense would help ease some concerns about only collecting 25.0 sacks in 2012 and being one of the league's worst on D. Jones is another candidate to play big minutes and plays each game for the Raiders.
4. Philadelphia Eagles—OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
If the Eagles decide Michael Vick and Nick Foles are to battle it out for the QB job in 2013, they'll need someone to protect the blind side long enough to determine who is better for the new head coach.
For that to happen, a guy like Joeckel is the obvious choice, if he is still available. He's also a strong candidate to be an immediate impact guy, especially with King Dunlap still on the roster.
5. Detroit Lions—DE Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
The defensive tackle positions are seemingly set, but look for Moore to have a Von Miller-type combine and really impressive some scouts over the next few months. You might not know his name right now, but this guy is a speed rusher with some pop, and could bolster a D-line that's suddenly old on the outside.
6. Cleveland Browns—DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
It's a wide consensus that the nation's top DT doesn't fall this far. But with the kind of talent in front of him, this would be a welcome drop for the Browns. This defense could use all the help it could get, and while outside pass rusher is an option here, Lotulelei is a disruptive force that's graded out extremely high.
He's the closest thing to an impact player in this draft.
7. Arizona Cardinals—QB Matt Barkley, USC
This seems too perfect, but Barkley staying in the West while taking over for a franchise that has literally been in shambles at the QB position since Kurt Warner retired is as close as it gets. Whoever the coach/GM is will have a hard time passing up on one of the Pac-12's most decorated passers.
8. Buffalo Bills—QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
Someone's going to emerge here as the QB of the future for the Bills. Whether that's Tyler Bray, Mike Glennon or Wilson remains to be seen, but my money is on this kid to have a great combine and remind people of the 2011 Bobby Petrino version of his abilities and not the 2012 John L. Smith type.
9. New York Jets—CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
The Jets found out how hard life is without Revis Island.
Even though they'll get Darrelle Revis back and still have other corners on the roster, Rex Ryan (if he's still the head coach come April) knows the importance of a strong secondary. Defensive end is certainly an option, but this guy is a ball-hawking corner and made plays for Nick Saban all season.
10. Tennessee Titans—LB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
The Heisman runner-up stops falling at No. 10, where the Titans scoop him up and use his leadership and passion to fix a defensive unit that lacked both in 2012.
Te'o could come in and start right away, or he might play selective downs while he adjusts to more pass-covering responsibilities. Either way, the guy had 7 INTs in 2012, so I doubt the gap will be enough to keep him off the field. He's a no-brainer pick if available this late; someone is going to get a dang good linebacker for the future and right now.
11. San Diego Chargers—OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
Lewan had his moments against Jadeveon Clowney, but he also succumbed to the nation's best pass rusher a time or two. Still, that won't be enough to persuade teams to not take a chance on his ability. He's a quality tackle that could start or be a swing guy right away.
12. Miami Dolphins—WR Keenan Allen, Cal-Berkeley
This might be a little high for a guy that is coming off a major injury, but that's how badly Miami needs receivers. Allen would almost immediately threaten for the No. 1 job in Miami, and give Ryan Tannehill some much-needed support on a roster full of journeyman wideouts.
The combine will be huge for seeing where Allen fits in scouts' minds.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU
Mingo might not be around here, but if he is, the Bucs can afford to wait on a cornerback in a later round. Pass rushing is a premium in the NFL—why do you think the Giants take one every year?
Mingo is raw, and he'll need some skill development going against bigger tackles, but you can't teach speed, and you certainly can't teach the ability to get sacks. Mingo has both.
14. Carolina Panthers—DT Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State
It's a general consensus that the Panthers will take a DT. It's just a matter of figuring out which one. Hankins had a nice year in the Big Ten, and bolstered a defense that went undefeated. He's a prospect to keep an eye on.
15. New Orleans Saints—CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
Saints fans won't like this one, but they're in an oddball spot here with some of the top talent gone and the other talent not what they're looking for. Rhodes is a cover corner that would help the D, but I can certainly see New Orleans trading up or down out of this pick.
16. St. Louis Rams—OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
The Rams need offensive line help. If Matthews declares, it won't help Johnny Manziel, but it will help the St. Louis Rams protect Sam Bradford and keep their franchise QB healthy.
It wouldn't be a sure thing with Jeff Fisher at the helm, but Matthews would certainly get a crack at starting the minute he arrived with the Rams.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers—DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
Again, pass rusher is a need here. But this is a nice value pick, and Richardson was one of the SEC's most underrated DTs at 6'4", 310 pounds. Look for him to get a chance to make an impact early on—Mike Tomlin doesn't mind playing rookies if they are mature enough to handle the load.
18. Dallas Cowboys—DT John Jenkins, Georgia
There have been character concerns with Jenkins, but his talent is so great that many are prepared to overlook his off-the-field issues. Mark the Cowboys down for that commitment to troubled athletes (see Dez Bryant).
With Jay Ratliff hurting and Josh Brent now awaiting a manslaughter trial, the Cowboys need a defensive tackle. This guy could be a great fit if available at No. 18.
19. New York Giants—DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
A huge bowl game has bolstered Ansah's draft stock, and a weak season by the vaunted Giants pass rush has solidfied the need to replace Justin Tuck and prepare for a two-man tag team that will include Jason Pierre-Paul.
Enter Ansah. He's a huge athlete, quick off the ball and showed some nice versatility while at BYU. Watch for his 40-yard dash time and other speed drills at the combine to really cement his status as a first-rounder.
20. Chicago Bears—TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
Greg Olsen, where art thou?
Jay Cutler misses his security blanket from several seasons ago, and Eifert is the perfect candidate to fill that void after doing much of the same for Tommy Rees and Everett Golson this year with the Irish.
A big, physical target with good hands, he's one of the best TE prospects to come out in the past few years. Someone will scoop him up early.
21. Cincinnati Bengals—DE Dion Jordan, Oregon
Jordan is a pass-rushing beast from Oregon, and after Geno Atkins lit the world on fire with his late-season play, why not compliment the Bengals' new weapon with another? You know more double teams will be coming Atkins' way in 2013.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington)—G Chance Warmack, Alabama
Two offensive linemen in St. Louis? It's not a stretch.
That's how important Sam Bradford is to the success of this group and how much faith I think the front office has in some of the receivers and defensive talent brought in over the past two seasons, as well as how good of a talent Warmack is at his position.
23. Baltimore Ravens—WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
The only weapon Baltimore doesn't boast is a speedster/possession guy in the slot.
Austin is both, and can return kicks alongside Jacoby Jones to form a fearsome tandem on special teams. Line him up all over the field, and watch things open up for Ray Rice in the running game and Torrey Smith deep down the field. This is a weapon Joe Flacco needs and would love to have.
24. Minnesota Vikings—WR Terrance Williams, Baylor
This is really high for Williams, but after watching Adrian Peterson carry the load all season without any help from receivers or his QB, one must be addressed. It isn't going to be QB, so that leaves WR, where Williams might be the No. 1 by the end of training camp. Whoever this team drafts at WR is going to get a fair shot to be the No. 1 guy on the outside.
25. Indianapolis Colts—S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
Secondary is a major concern for the Colts, even after winning 11 games and making the postseason a year after finishing with just two wins.
Vaccaro, the tackling machine from Texas, would be a nice fit on any roster looking to add some side-to-side playmaking ability to its roster.
26. Seattle Seahawks—DT Jesse Williams, Alabama
Knowing Pete Carroll, this pick won't be known before it happens. But hey, Bruce Irvin has turned out just fine, and Williams would be the same kind of under-the-radar pick that would bolster a defense already near the top of the league in many categories.
27. Green Bay Packers—WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
With Greg Jennings now probably gone—see sister's Twitter rant—the Packers could use some more depth at WR. Depending on who drops to No. 27, we could see a different name here, but Patterson is raw and talented. He's not the traditional blue-collar receiver Aaron Rodgers makes great, but he'd be a work in progress while adding depth.
28. San Francisco 49ers—S Matt Elam, Florida
Elam was flying around the field and making big plays in the Sugar Bowl, and by the end of this process, it wouldn't surprise me if he's moved up draft boards enough to be taken in the top 15 or so. As it is, he's a quality safety that would start on quite a few teams.
29. Houston Texans—LB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
This is a drop for Ogletree, who showed off his speed when taking back a blocked kick against Alabama in the SEC championship. He's a great value pick for a roster that's a little thin at linebacker. WR is another option here, depending upon who is available and who isn't.
30. New England Patriots—S Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma
Even with Elam and Vaccaro gone, the Patriots need help at safety. Jefferson isn't the best coverage guy, but he hits hard and has been a force at OU for the past few years. The Patriots are also once again in a position where they might trade up or down for a better fit.
31. Atlanta Falcons—DE Sam Montgomery, LSU
John Abraham isn't getting any younger, and the Falcons appear set on offense for now. Montgomery has top 10 talent, but questions of his motor and work ethic are starting to arise. Will he drop out of the first round because of it?
32. Broncos (13-3)—DT Bennie Logan, LSU
Last but not least, the Broncos address a real need with a value pick in Logan, yet another SEC DT to go off the board in this Round 1 mock. I could see management trading down or addressing running back or offensive line here, but defensive tackle is a good way to go, too.
Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team.
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