2013 NFL Mock Draft: Teams Whose New Hires Will Affect April Selections
In an offseason full of extreme flux in many front offices and coaching staffs around the NFL, there is sure to be a shakeup of philosophies and decisions to be made in the 2013 draft.
There is so much to still be determined between now and April, whether it be key free agents hanging in the balance, showcase games for prospects or the NFL Scouting Combine, among other things. But what is certain is that this class is stacked on the defensive side of the ball.
That makes the draft strategies particularly interesting for those with new coaches, as all but one of the recent hires is known for their offensive prowess.
Here is a breakdown of the new hires that are most likely to have the biggest influence on the decision-making in the war room.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): Luke Joeckel, LT, Texas A&M
Andy Reid holds the top overall pick in the draft to kick off his tenure in Kansas City. As a fantastic evaluator of talent and with the knowledge of quarterbacks that he possesses, he will see no signal-caller worthy of being selected at the very top.
Therefore, the best player on the board who can most immediately help the Chiefs in a position of need is Luke Joeckel.
Some are questioning whether Reid can still get it done as a personnel man after the disastrous end in Philadelphia. However, the Hunt family has put the final say on decisions into his hands.
Short of overreaching for a quarterback, he can't mess this up. Joeckel is an immediate franchise left tackle with the ability to dominate in both dimensions of the offense.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Damontre Moore's stock has taken off after an exceptional junior season in which he registered 12.5 sacks. As a player who has had experience in the 3-4 and 4-3 at Texas A&M, Moore is versatile and has the potential to be an immediate impact player for new head coach Gus Bradley.
The decision to go defense here isn't based on Bradley's hiring, it is simply based on the Jags' need for a legitimate pass-rusher.
3. Oakland Raiders (4-12): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
There are no two ways about it: The Raiders defense last season was putrid. Although the lackluster running game from the Oakland offense did keep the defense on the field for long stretches, there is no question it needs to get better.
As the No. 1 player on Scouts Inc.'s big board (h/t ESPN), Lotulelei is the logical choice here for the Raiders.
4. Cleveland Browns (5-11): Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The Browns are not going to pull any punches with this new ownership regime of Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner, who just recently hired Michael Lombardi as VP of player personnel.
Cleveland simply doesn't have enough true impact players on the team right now, and Jones has the ability to step in immediately and become one of those types of players.
Adaptability to any defensive will be critical in the diverse looks that newly hired defensive coordinator Ray Horton is sure to have planned. With his ability to stuff the run, rush the passer and drop back into coverage, Jones is the complete package.
Depth in the linebacker corps is a problem, as is pressuring the quarterback for the Browns. The return of Chris Gocong is sure to help, yet Jones definitely has more upside.
Jones faced elite competition in the SEC in college and will be better suited to make the jump to the pros. Bjoern Werner would be a fan favorite at No. 6 overall, but it would be a huge risk for a player who doesn't have all that much experience on the gridiron, relatively speaking.
5. Detroit Lions (4-12): Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The trio of DeAndre Levy, Stephen Tulloch and Justin Durant gives the Lions a solid linebacker corps, but they probably would jump on Jones if he were there at No. 5—hence the trade up by Cleveland.
Cornerback is still a problem spot, though, and Detroit really doesn't have a long-term answer at the position in terms of a No. 1-caliber player. Milliner was impressive in the national championship game, and he has the potential to be a lockdown corner.
6. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Injuries were part of the Eagles' problems up front in 2012—most notably the season-ending injury to All-Pro LT Jason Peters. But with Chip Kelly coming on as the head coach, offense is going to be the point of emphasis.
In order for his innovative schemes to work, the Eagles have to be able to block. Warmack is easily the best offensive lineman on the board here, and he has both the power and athleticism to start from day one.
The Eagles have plenty of playmakers, although it will be interesting to see what Kelly does about the quarterback situation with Michael Vick. He seems like an ideal fit in Kelly's schemes, but carries a heavy price if the Eagles don't cut him.
Either way, the offensive line's struggles are at least partially to blame for all the turnovers the Eagles let up last season. Kelly needs a player who can dominate immediately at the point of attack, and the massive, 322-pound Warmack provides that.
7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11): Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
New head coach Bruce Arians is a QB guru who has mentored the likes of Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck. Now, he will encounter a situation in Arizona where there is no viable quarterback of the future this side of Kevin Kolb.
Enter Wilson, a hard-nosed quarterback who endured an extremely tough season with the Razorbacks, facing fierce defenses with a banged-up supporting cast.
There are plenty of tools for Wilson to succeed in the NFL, and Arians is the type of coach that can maximize his potential. With plenty of weapons around him including the admirably loyal Larry Fitzgerald and last year's first-round pick Michael Floyd, Wilson would walk into a good situation.
Being thrown into the fire against defenses like those of St. Louis, Seattle and San Francisco in the NFC West would be a tall order for a rookie, but Wilson is as cut out as anyone to do it.
Luck won games in Arians' offense last year despite shoddy pass protection and digesting the pro game. Perhaps Wilson could do something similar with just a little help up front and continued improvement from his talented defense.
8. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
The defensive front is solidified in Buffalo, and a talented secondary featuring Jairus Byrd and last year's first-rounder Stephon Gilmore gives the Bills hope for the future. But a lacking spot is linebacker. Who better than the leader of one of the premier defenses in the nation to fill the void?
9. New York Jets (6-10): Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
Even if his college production isn't eye-popping, the plays Mingo makes sure are.
With so much instability at quarterback and not a lot of playmakers, offense should be a priority. Yet there really aren't any skill players or quarterbacks at this juncture worth taking a plunge on. Don't be surprised to see the Jets trade down here.
10. Tennessee Titans (6-10): Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Given how much of a freakish athlete Werner is, the Titans would be silly to pass on him here. The offensive line was decimated by injuries in 2012 and should get better on its own with improved health.
Werner would give the league's 32nd-ranked scoring defense a definite boost. His 3.5 sacks against the Florida Gators highlighted an uneven but intriguing final year of his collegiate career.
11. San Diego Chargers (7-9): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Philip Rivers needs some help, and the addition of offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt should help. He won't be asked to throw the ball vertically as frequently, which isn't really his true strength anyway.
The more run-based philosophy of Whisenhunt and the selection of the best tackle on the board at this point in Fisher should help matters significantly.
12. Miami Dolphins (7-9): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Since declaring for the draft, Patterson has begun to emerge as the consensus No. 1 receiving prospect—and rightfully so. QB Ryan Tannehill needs a top target outside of Brian Hartline, and Patterson has the upside to be that type of player.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9): Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
At 6'2" and 217 pounds, Rhodes is a physical specimen whose stock should rise immensely based on his workouts.
With the departure of Aquib Talib and the debacle of signing Eric Wright, Tampa Bay needs serious help at cornerback. This may be a reach, but it is a necessary one—and one that could pay huge dividends.
14. Carolina Panthers (7-9): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Ron Rivera will be thrilled to see Ansah fall into his lap at No. 14. The Panthers defense definitely improved from a season ago, but it needs another versatile impact player to make it all come together.
Although Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson are solid defensive ends, Ansah has the ability to play inside at 270 pounds and absolutely wreak havoc. It would be exciting to see him on that Panthers defense, especially if All-Pro LB Jon Beason can stay healthy.
15. New Orleans Saints (7-9): Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
There is no question which side of the ball the Saints will be looking to improve. Under the direction of Steve Spagnuolo, the Saints defense was a disaster this past year.
Richardson has some off-field concerns, but he has too much upside to pass on here and could strengthen the team's run defense immediately.
16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
RB Steven Jackson may be on his last legs as he hits the age-30 plateau, so giving him better run blocking would be the least that St. Louis could do after years of fighting behind mediocre units and spotty quarterback play.
Cooper has adequate size but awesome explosiveness and quickness to lead Jackson to the second level and also prevent the interior pass rush from getting to QB Sam Bradford.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau can do pretty much anything he wants with a player as elastic as Jordan, who will translate to either an outside linebacker or rush defensive end in the pros.
Should he go to Pittsburgh, he will likely be a 3-4 linebacker and would learn from some of the best in the business in LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison.
18. Dallas Cowboys (8-7): Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
A rangy linebacker who can cover and pack a punch in the running game, Ogletree may have been overlooked due to the prowess of his teammate Jones. But the Cowboys need a versatile, playmaking linebacker to meet the demands of Monte Kiffin's Tampa 2 scheme.
19. New York Giants (9-7): Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Thanks to the horrific play by Corey Webster in 2012, cornerback is suddenly a big need for the Giants. Kenny Phillips can't seem to stay on the field, either, which makes it all the more vital to have a good cover guy. Banks is the best the board has to offer at this point.
20. Chicago Bears (10-6): Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
Former CFL coach Marc Trestman may be just what Jay Cutler needs to save his career, which seems to be plagued by inconsistency in both schematics and pass protection that continually land him on the sideline.
Trestman's West Coast-based offense should get the ball out of Cutler's hands quickly, but he could definitely use some help at the tight end position.
That's where Ertz comes in. He can make any type of catch and is a versatile route-runner, providing Cutler with a vertical threat down the seam to draw coverage away from top WR Brandon Marshall.
Ertz could also be a security blanket for Cutler, and he has proven himself as an exceptional blocker, with experience in a pro-style offense with the Cardinal already under his belt. There aren't many factors to prevent Chicago from snatching Ertz in this spot.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
Just the sheer power of Lacy makes him an intriguing prospect. He destroyed the Notre Dame defense for 140 yards and a touchdown on just 20 carries and has the physique to immediately contribute in the NFL.
Lacy may be regarded as a reach at this juncture, but running back depth is definitely something the Bengals should be in the market for.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins): Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Giving Bradford more weapons wouldn't be the worst thing thing, as he will finally be in the same offense for the second consecutive season. Eifert could really open up underneath routes for Danny Amendola, and he would give the Rams another big-play threat along with speed rookie Chris Givens.
23. Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
So, even without Robert Griffin III under center and with Kendall Wright gone, Williams still put up monster numbers catching passes from Nick Florence as the Bears' No. 1 receiver.
All the Vikings have is essentially Percy Harvin, who is better in the slot and is even used out of the backfield. Williams is a necessary pick here with plenty of ability to be a playmaker for years to come in Minnesota.
24. Indianapolis Colts (11-5): D.J. Fluker, Alabama
Andrew Luck certainly lived up to the hype, despite getting his clock cleaned every Sunday and seemingly running for his life on a lot of passing plays.
The fact that he was able to stay upright long enough to push the Colts to lead the NFL in 3rd-and-long conversions speaks for itself. Fluker provides a legitimate bookend to the offensive line to protect the 2012 No. 1 overall pick.
25. Seattle Seahawks (11-5): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
There is simply too much explosiveness for the Seahawks to pass up. If not for Chris Clemons' season-ending ACL injury, Seattle may still be playing in the postseason. While pass-rusher has been expressed as a need, the offense could definitely use another playmaker.
With the pro game shifting toward college concepts and spread tendencies, Austin could plug in right away either taking hand-offs or becoming a shifty slot receiver.
26. Green Bay Packers (11-5): Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas
Suddenly, there are a lot of question marks surrounding Dom Capers' defense. With Charles Woodson likely retiring soon, it would be wise to pick up Vaccaro. He is the best free safety in the draft and could start immediately if necessary in 2013.
27. Houston Texans (12-4): Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
It never hurts to give J.J. Watt a little more room, and that is exactly what Hankins could do for the Texans on the interior. An inconsistent motor could drop his draft stock come April, and Wade Phillips could plug him into the rotation as a rookie.
28. Denver Broncos (13-3): Matt Elam, SS, Florida
The hard-hitting safety should be strongly considered in light of Rahim Moore's debacle in the divisional round. Current strong safety Mike Adams has the versatility to switch over to Moore's position and could serve as a mentor for Elam in understanding coverages.
29. Baltimore Ravens (10-6): Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
Linebacker should be a priority with Ray Lewis retiring, but Hunt could allow the Ravens the luxury of not having to pay Paul Kruger. He is 6'8" and 280 pounds and will simply be a workout wunderkind leading up to the draft.
30. Atlanta Falcons (13-3): Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
One thing that hurt the Falcons in 2012 was a lackluster pass rush, and Montgomery has the size at 6'5" and 260 pounds to be a factor immediately off the edge. This pick especially makes sense with the aging of Pro Bowler John Abraham, who will be 35 before the beginning of next season.
31. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): Eric Reid, FS, LSU
The contract situation of standout safety Dashon Goldson is still up in the air, and that's really the only question mark surrounding this San Francisco team moving forward. Reid would provide nice insurance in that regard while still having the upside to start in year one.
32. New England Patriots (12-4): Keenan Allen, WR, California
He may not be here for the Pats, but Allen would be a huge asset for New England to build its receiving corps. The team seemingly refuses to sign Wes Welker to a long-term deal, and Brandon Lloyd is the only other weapon on the outside.
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