2013 NFL Mock Draft: Breaking Down Where Top WRs Will Land in First Round
Few positions are more fun to speculate about, and harder to actually project, than wide receiver.
We love these flashy players, who amaze as with acrobatic catches and amuse us with half-hearted attempts to run block. We scrutinize tenths of seconds in their 40-yard dashes, analyze how quickly they come out of breaks and wonder if they'll hold up against press coverage.
It can be hard to accurately project. For every Calvin Johnson, there are that many more players like Charles Rogers.
This year, however, there don't appear to be many top-tier wideouts. That being said, there is still enough talent at the position to see several wideouts taken in the first round. Let's take a closer look at those players.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
I have a hard time believing Andy Reid won't select the future quarterback of this franchise in the first round. And I have a hard time believing Geno Smith won't be that quarterback.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Jags could reach slightly for a player like Damontre Moore or Bjoern Werner to fill a need at defensive end. Instead, I think the team would be better off picking Lotulelei, who very well could go down as the best player in this draft.
3. Oakland Raiders: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Sometimes, a player trumps scheme. Jones is one of those players. While his best fit is probably in a 3-4 scheme, I think the Raiders will find unique ways to utilize his skill set. If Lotulelei drops to No. 3, he's the pick.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
As obvious a pick as there is in this draft. Since Joeckel declared for the draft (and if he drops to this spot), the Eagles will snatch him up. He'll either slot in as the immediate starting left tackle or shift to right tackle if the Eagles keep Jason Peters.
5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Here's how I know Dee Milliner will be successful in the NFL—he found himself lined up against Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert on several occasions on Monday night, and his strength and positioning was very impressive. He's going to be a very good NFL cornerback.
6. Cleveland Browns: Damontre Moore, Texas A&M, DE
There's no question Cleveland needs to add another end to pair with Jabaal Sheard. It's possible this pick could also be Bjoern Werner.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
Let's do some word association. When I type "Kevin Kolb," what word comes to mind?
Nope, my word wasn't "franchise" either. Time for Arizona to address the quarterback position in this draft.
8. Buffalo Bills: Manti Te'o, Notre Dame, LB
It's possible that Te'o's draft stock will plummet after he played poorly against Alabama. It's also possible that his body of work and leadership skills will be too enticing for a team like the Bills to pass on.
9. New York Jets: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
I'm not saying Matt Barkley should be drafted in the first round. All I'm saying is, it's very possible the New York Jets will make the funniest selection of all time and pick him in the first round.
10. Tennessee Titans: Bjoern Werner, Florida State, DE
This pick could very well be an offensive tackle or even a cornerback. But I think, if Bjoern Werner drops to this slot, the Titans will gladly snatch him up and improve the pass rush.
11. San Diego Chargers: Taylor Lewan, Michigan, OT
If Taylor Lewan declares for the draft, there isn't a chance in hell he'll drop past the Chargers. If Lewan doesn't declare and, say, Jake Matthews does, there isn't a chance in hell Matthews will drop past the Chargers. Are you sensing a theme here?
12. Miami Dolphins: Keenan Allen, WR, California
This draft has a very good chance of being very dull, since the best drafts are marked by intriguing prospects at the quarterback, wide receiver and running back position. This draft is weak at all three positions.
Still, Keenan Allen may be the most dangerous offensive playmaker available. He's a versatile receiver that should instantly cause defenses problems in the slot. He has good hands, runs solid routes and is very dangerous after the catch.
There's no question the Dolphins need an upgrade at wide receiver. Ryan Tannehill's top option in the passing game is Brian Hartline; that's not going to cut it.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
It's very possible that Jake Matthews will be snagged far earlier than this (if he even declares for the draft). But if he drops to No. 13, the Bucs will do a happy dance in the war room, as finding a starting right tackle has to be one of the team's top priorities this offseason.
14. Carolina Panthers: Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State, DT
There is a crazy amount of depth at defensive tackle this year, so this could end up being any number of players. For now, I've got Hankins as the best remaining defensive tackle on my board.
15. New Orleans Saints: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB LSU
The Saints' offense is fine. The defense, however, needs a ton of work. Mingo is a versatile, athletic defensive end that would dramatically improve this team's pass rush.
16. St. Louis Rams: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Rams are going to come away from this draft with a suitable right tackle. Luckily for them, they'll be able to snag Fisher with the first pick they have.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
At some point, Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark will need replacements. Vaccaro might be a surprising pick, but it will be just another example of the Steelers wisely stockpiling the defense with talented players.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Could the Cowboys be getting the safest player in the draft, and all the way down at No. 18? Warmack absolutely mauls people in the running game, and could be the next Larry Allen for this team. Also, if Vaccaro drops to this pick the Cowboys will consider him.
19. New York Giants: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Yup, another first-round cornerback. Banks is a nice value pick here, and the Giants really need to upgrade the secondary.
20. Chicago Bears: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
The Bears would do well to upgrade every offensive line position, it's true. But I think it would be a reach to select an offensive lineman at this point, especially with the dynamic Ogletree available. Yes, he's going to be Brian Urlacher's replacement. No, he'll never be Urlacher, but he should be very good.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Matt Elam, S, Florida
Elam led Florida with four interceptions and was second on the team in tackles. He's a playmaker from the safety position, and I would expect him to immediately start for the Bengals.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Redskins): Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Look, I love Danny Amendola as much as the next guy, but it doesn't take a sharp football mind to notice the perils of building a passing attack around him. The Rams already got Sam Bradford some help on the offensive line—now, they need to give him a wide receiver he can get excited about.
A year after missing most of the 2011 season to an ACL injury, Hunter caught 73 passes for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns during his junior campaign. He's a 6'4" receiver who will provide Bradford with a big target and can stretch the field so Amendola has room to work underneath.
By draft day, this pick could also be for Cordarrelle Patterson or Terrance Williams.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia
And thus begins the run of defensive tackles. The Vikings could use a big body to fill the void left after the decline of the Williams Wall. Enter Jenkins.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
Jesse Williams is huge and will fit the team's 3-4 scheme perfectly. He'll instantly upgrade one of the league's more porous run defenses.
25. Baltimore Ravens: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
Jordan just feels like a Raven. He's a tall, athletic marvel who will likely become a pass-rushing specialist at the next level. One thing the Ravens will learn from this season—you can never have too many talented options on defense.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
You might not think the Seahawks need to address the defensive side of the ball, but in fact adding a solid defensive tackle makes a lot of sense, especially given all of the talented options available at this point in the draft.
27. Green Bay Packers: Johnathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
You can never go wrong protecting Aaron Rodgers. Needing upgrades at both guard and center, the Packers will gladly select Cooper to secure the interior. This could also end up being Alabama's versatile Barrett Jones.
28. San Francisco 49ers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Hey, Justin Smith could use a break now and again. Richardson looks like the ideal fit as a 3-4 defensive end.
29. Houston Texans: Eric Reid, S, LSU
Major need, meet solid value. For a team really needing an upgrade at free safety, Reid will look like a water fountain in the desert.
30. New England Patriots: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Could Tavon Austin end up being Wes Welker's replacement?
It's highly possible that Welker will bolt in free agency this year, as I would guess the team would avoid using the franchise tag on him again. And if that happens, I don't know that it would be wise for the team to solely entrust the slot receiver role to Julian Edelman.
Austin would thus be a perfect fit. Although just 5'9", Austin is incredibly shifty and nearly impossible to bring down in the open field. He would bring a Percy Harvin-like dynamic to the Patriots' offense, adding just another mismatch for defenses to deal with.
He may not be an upgrade over Welker, but he would certainly give the team a new dimension.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Tony Gonzalez was so good this year it's hard to imagine replacing him. But that day will come, and I really like the way Eifert's game translates to the NFL. I think he'll be a bigger, stronger version of a wide receiver, causing plenty of matchup issues.
32. Denver Broncos: Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina
Is this a bit of a luxury pick? Sure. Wouldn't you like to see the Broncos bring in a young, well-rounded running back they could trust on all three downs? Absolutely.
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