2013 NFL Draft Projections: Playing Matchmaker for Top Prospects
Sometimes, an NFL draft prospect seems meant for a specific team. A top prospect fulfilling a team's biggest need is a scout's dream, but it just happens so rarely. Sometimes, projecting a team to make the right pick is a fool's errand.
This year's crop of talent, though, has a few matches that just need to happen. Let's play a game of matchmaker to see just what those matches are.
Luke Joeckel, OT Texas A&M—Arizona Cardinals
Sadly, the Arizona Cardinals have the seventh pick in the draft, virtually guaranteeing they'll miss out on the best offensive tackle prospect in years. That has to sting for a team that surrendered 247 total pressures this season.
Though it might cost an arm and a leg, the Cardinals should trade up for Luke Joeckel. Seriously, Joeckel is that good. Check out his tape. Joeckel is a brick wall in pass protection, as his beatdown of LSU's vaunted defensive line shows.
With Bobby Massie actually showing some growth in the latter half of the season, the Cardinals are a left tackle away from big improvement.
Joeckel and Massie would pair to give Kevin Kolb or whoever is the Cardinals' quarterback a fighting chance, all the while providing a big boost to the ground game as well.
An improved offensive line would ensure that the Cardinals can improve on their league-worst offense. Joeckel is the guy the Cardinals need to do that.
Damontre Moore, DE Texas A&M—Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders are in serious need of a defensive spark, especially in the pass rush. They are in luck: Damontre Moore will be available with the third pick in the draft, and he would instantly upgrade the Raiders' pass rush.
Moore is completely one-dimensional as a prospect. He struggles badly in stopping the run, as his tape against Florida shows.
The one dimension that Moore excels in, though, is rushing the passer—and what a dimension that is. Moore is incredibly polished as a rusher, with excellent patience and athleticism. The Raiders could use that pass-rushing ability, as they only had 25 sacks on the season.
I would describe Moore as an extremely raw prospect, but the Raiders don't mind that. They will be enamored with his natural ability, and that will be enough to take him and hopefully mold him into a feared pass-rusher.
Jarvis Jones, OLB Georgia—Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars are a franchise in disarray. They need not one, but several home runs in the draft to make this a competitive football team.
Jarvis Jones has the ability to be that home run, and he does it at a position of utmost need for the Jags—pass-rusher. The Jaguars only had 20 sacks in a 16-game season, Jones had 13.5 in 14. Needless to say, Jones would immediately be the best pass-rusher on the Jags.
This young man throws his body around with reckless abandon, always attacking the football with an array of pass-rushing moves. In the course of his tape against Florida, Jones displays an excellent rip move, a nice push-pull move and excellent hand use in general.
Paired with elite explosion and strength, Jones really is a once-in-a-generation talent.
Well, almost. Jones is extremely similar to superstar linebacker Von Miller. That's a good thing, though, as Miller is one of the most dynamic players in the NFL.
The only hesitation with Jones is a spinal condition that had some doctors arguing against Jones playing football. He's shown no ill effects in his play, though, and with a good medical report, Jones is the best player in this draft.
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