NFL Mock Draft 2013: Defensive Playmakers Who Will Make an Instant Impact
Leading up to Super Bowl XLVII, most of the 2013 NFL draft order has been determined, with the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens set to play out the final two positions of the draft.
This year's draft class offers a lot in terms of defensive prospects, particularly in the front seven. A plethora of future stars could come from this class.
Here's a look at my latest 2013 NFL mock draft, complete with defensive playmakers who will make an instant impact (in italics).
1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Geno Smith may not be a worthy No. 1 overall pick, but the Chiefs are desperate at this point under center and Smith has the arm strength and pocket mobility to make a difference at the next level.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Not only are the Jaguars in great need of a 4-3 defensive end who can get to the quarterback, Bjoern Werner figures to be a high-impact player right from the start. Werner's stats last season with the Seminoles (13 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, eight pass deflections, one forced fumble) show just how complete a defensive end he can be.
3. Oakland Raiders (4-12): Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The Raiders need a dynamic pass-rusher and Jarvis Jones could be that guy. Jones is not only a force rushing the passer, he can stand up to the run as well.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
This is the dream pick for Philadelphia. Before the Eagles can get adequate production out of the quarterback spot, they have to add protection to the line. Joeckel's assistance in the careers of Ryan Tannehill and Johnny Manziel at A&M shows just how good he can be at the next level.
5. Detroit Lions (4-12): Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
With a strong need for a big-time 4-3 defensive end, nabbing Damontre Moore would be a dream come true for the Lions. Possessing great speed off the edge and length, Moore also has the awareness and versatility on the line to create havoc in the NFL.
6. Cleveland Browns (5-11): Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Dee Milliner has the skill-set to be a shutdown cover corner in the NFL and he's aggressive against the run as well. Adding him opposite Joe Haden in Cleveland would be a solid move for the Browns.
7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11): Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
The Cardinals may have several holes they need to fill, but nothing can be more pressing than finding a quarterback of the future. There are concerns about Tyler Wilson's decision-making, but he has the arm strength and accuracy to step in and be a starter for Arizona.
8. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Matt Barkley, QB, USC
There are concerns about Matt Barkley's rise in interceptions in 2012 for USC, but he has all the tools to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, including excellent arm strength. Ryan Fitzpatrick has not performed at the level Buffalo expects and I could see the Bills going a different direction this year.
9. New York Jets (6-10): Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
Having an elite cover corner in Darrelle Revis is one thing, but a lacking pass rush still hurts a pass defense. Barkevious Mingo has the skills, size and explosiveness necessary to be an impact player rushing off the edge in the NFL.
10. Tennessee Titans (6-10): Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
You would have to think the Titans would jump at the chance to grab Chance Warmack if given the opportunity. He projects to be an elite guard at the next level and Tennessee is in great need of a standout player at the position.
11. San Diego Chargers (7-9): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Tenacious and athletic, Eric Fisher could put an end to the merry-go-round that has become the left tackle position for San Diego. Perhaps Philip Rivers' struggles aren't completely on the shoulders of the offensive line, but the o-line certainly has helped matters.
12. Miami Dolphins (7-9): Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
Virtually everybody in the nation has the Dolphins drafting a wide receiver, and for good reason. There are no standout players at this position for Miami. What's more, they have a young quarterback who needs help. Size, athleticism and impressive ball skills, Keenan Allen could be the best receiver to come out of the draft class.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9): Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas
The Buccaneers need help all over the secondary, but while Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes may be a reach here, Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro isn't. Vaccaro is a complete player, with strong coverage skills, tackling and ball-hawking ability. He would be a welcome sight in Tampa.
14. Carolina Panthers (7-9): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Star Lotulelei is a legit top-five prospect in this year's draft, and he would be received with open arms in Charlotte. He's not only a guy who can occupy double teams, he has the burst and motor to blow up plays in the backfield.
15. New Orleans Saints (7-9): Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Possessing real quickness, strength and awareness, Sheldon Richardson would be a welcome sight for a Saints defense that has had trouble stopping the run.
16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
St. Louis needs help at the other guard position opposite Harvey Dahl, and Jonathan Cooper has the strength, balance and quickness to be a starter for years to come.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
Nose tackle Casey Hampton will have to replaced in Pittsburgh and Jesse Williams has the strength and length to be a run-stopper in the NFL.
18. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Sharrif Floyd is a bit underrated at this point in the draft process in my opinion, but his strength, size and burst off the line makes him a great fit as Dallas transitions to a 4-3 scheme.
19. New York Giants (9-7): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Ezekiel Ansah was a bit overshadowed by teammate Kyle Van Noy in the Poinsettia Bowl, but a closer look shows he also had an excellent game on the big stage. Tough and determined with the burst to make him an immediate impact player at the next level, the Giants would gladly add Ansah to the defensive line.
20. Chicago Bears (10-6): Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
There are character concerns surrounding Manti Te'o following the bizarre story coming out of South Bend, but his impact on the field with the Fighting Irish, combined with the instincts and tackling ability to be a starter in the NFL, could see Chicago draft him to succeed Brian Urlacher.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Dion Jordan could be a steal here as a defensive end in Cincy's 4-3 scheme. He has great athleticism, length and explosiveness and there's a chance he develops into a formidable pass-rusher.
22. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1) (via WA): Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
This may be a stretch at No. 22 overall, but the Rams need an offensive tackle, and Lane Johnson has the length, awareness and tenacity to be a starter down the line.
23. Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The Vikings would like to add a playmaker at receiver for Christian Ponder. Cordarrelle Patterson has the strength, burst, fluidity and route-running ability to be a No. 1 receiver in the NFL.
24. Indianapolis Colts (11-5): Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Colts need help in the secondary. Xavier Rhodes has the size, speed and coverage skills to be an impact cornerback in the pros. He should also fare well in press coverage given his physicality and tenacity.
25. Seattle Seahawks (11-5): Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
With a surplus of first-round prospects at defensive tackle this year, don't be surprised if the Seahawks add another to their roster. Johnathan Hankins has the size, quickness, footwork and instincts to blow up plays in the backfield and strengthen Seattle's run defense.
26. Green Bay Packers (11-5): Barrett Jones, C, Alabama
Barrett Jones not only possesses excellent fundamentals and footwork, he has underrated athleticism and he has the versatility to play at guard. With holes at the interior of the line, the Packers would love to add someone of Jones' caliber to help protect Aaron Rodgers.
27. Houston Texans (12-4): Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
Both of Houston's starters at inside linebacker will be free agents after the season concludes. Kevin Minter impressed a lot of NFL scouts this past season at LSU, showing the intelligence, burst, strength and aggressiveness to be a solid starter at the next level.
28. Denver Broncos (13-3): Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
With a need at defensive tackle, I wouldn't be surprised if the Broncos went with Kawann Short, who showed the strength and quickness to both defend the pass and the run in the NFL.
29. New England Patriots (12-4): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
I'm sure Tom Brady wouldn't mind adding another receiver to his arsenal. Tavon Austin could be an electric deep threat for the Patriots, possessing the explosiveness and speed to take it to the house.
30. Atlanta Falcons (13-3): Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
With Tony Gonzalez expected to retire, you would have to think the Falcons would look at adding a No. 3 option for Matt Ryan beyond Roddy White and Julio Jones. Tyler Eifert is the No. 1 tight end in the class, with the ball skills and body control to be another strong pass-catcher for Ryan.
31. Baltimore Ravens (10-6): Eric Reid, S, LSU
With strong coverage skills and the ability to stop the run, Eric Reid would be a fine successor to Ed Reed in Baltimore. It's hard to imagine the Ravens not nabbing Reid if he lands here.
32. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
Adding another defensive end on the line for San Francisco would create great depth and only strengthen a front seven that has been formidable. Sam Montgomery's technique, toughness and motor could make him a nice fit for the 49ers.
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