2013 NFL Mock Draft: Elite Prospects That Won't Live Up to Hype
As the 2012 NFL season winds down with the Super Bowl less than two weeks away, it's time to start looking at the NFL draft. As is the case with all drafts, there are some prospects in this class that won't live up to the hype.
While some players seem like a sure thing, there are others that don't fit the same description yet teams will take a chance on them nonetheless.
Let's take a look at all the projected first round picks and which players won't live up to expectations.
*Note: Players that won't live up to the hype are in italics.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
There aren't many experts picking Smith to be the No. 1 overall pick of the 2013 draft, but that could all change rather quickly if the West Virginia star breaks through at the combine. Not to mention, new head coach Andy Reid could be looking to start with a fresh quarterback in his first season.
At the beginning of the college football season, Smith looked like a surefire future No. 1 pick thanks to his demolition of opposing defenses through the first five games of West Virginia's schedule. Smith even scorched Baylor for 656 yards through the air in a single game.
But that momentum was quickly turned upside down thanks to a five-game losing streak for the Mountaineers. In that stretch, Smith began to look human and was unable to beat quality opponents.
After not throwing a single interception in the first six games of the season, Smith's accuracy took a nosedive after tossing six picks in his last six games leading up to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. And in that bowl, Smith was only able to muster up 201 yards through the air against Syracuse en route to a loss.
The luster has certainly faded in regards to Smith's potential in the NFL and the fact that he could be the No. 1 overall pick will only make it more difficult for him to fulfill expectations. Based on his disappointing play to end his college career, it's doubtful he has what it takes to make it in the NFL.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Jags' best days in the NFL occurred when this team was playing great defense and punishing opposing offenses with their toughness. Those days are long gone now, but a solid pass rusher like Werner could return Jacksonville to its defensive roots.
3. Oakland Raiders: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Oakland has several needs on both sides of the ball after a 4-12 season, so they can afford to take the best player on the board in this spot. Jones will be that guy and the NCAA's sack leader should make a huge impact on a defense that lacked playmakers last season.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Philly has a ton of talent on the offensive side of the ball, but it's hard to utilize such weapons with a poor offensive line. Joeckel is a big, strong offensive lineman who would be a huge step in the right direction for the Eagles' offense.
5. Detroit Lions: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
We already know the Lions have a ton of talent on the offensive end, but defense remains an issue for this team.
Moore should still be available with this pick and while he does have some potential in the NFL, his lack of athleticism is the most troubling thing about his game at the moment. Still, that hasn't changed the fact that Moore can still get to the quarterback.
However, the NFL is a different story from the college game and athleticism can be the difference between a draft success or bust.
Moore has plenty of room to improve his overall pashing-rushing skills and it remains to be seen if he is athletic enough to be an elite pass rusher on the edge. Those concerns make Moore a bust in the making and the Lions may suffer as a result.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Browns are no strangers to drafting busts in their history, but Milliner seems like a solid pick in this spot. Cleveland ranked No. 25 against the pass last season, so adding a potential shutdown corner like Milliner is a necessity.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Cardinals are entering a new era after the firing of Ken Whisenhunt, so why not start this new era by drafting a potential star on the defensive line. Many experts have Lotulelei higher than the No. 7 pick, so if this big, strong defensive tackle falls to this spot, Arizona must jump all over him.
8. Buffalo Bills: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Remaining in college for his senior season didn't really help Barkley's draft stock. If anything, staying hurt his potential position in the draft.
Barkley was thought to be a surefire No. 1 pick before the college football season began, but thanks to a lackluster season from he and the Trojans, Barkley will be fortunate if he ends up in the first round.
The Trojans started out as the No. 1 team in the nation, but finished unranked at 7-6. While Barkley did show flashes of brilliance, throwing picks became a huge problem for the USC star.
Barkley threw 15 interceptions on the season, but what's more troubling is that he threw nine of them in his last four games before going down to injury. It was a nightmare ending for what was once a prized draft prospect.
The more we see Barkley, the more it seems he might not have what it takes to be an elite passer in the NFL.
9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
Head coach Rex Ryan loves him some defense, so Mingo makes sense in this spot. Defensive players from LSU are often considered as NFL-ready as you can get in the draft and there's no question Mingo's speed on the edge will help make an immediate impact on a pass rush in desperate need of a shot in the arm.
10. Tennessee Titans: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Warmack is by far the best guard in this draft and his incredible size could help clear some space for the Titans' rushing attack on the inside immediately.
11. San Diego Chargers: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Chargers need an improvement to their offensive line, namely at the tackle position. Fisher will be one of the best tackles left on the board at this point, so the fit seems perfect for San Diego.
But Fisher did play for Central Michigan in his college career and the Chippewas don't exactly play a bruising schedule. In fact, Central Michigan only played one ranked opponent this past season and it resulted in a 41-7 loss at the hands of Michigan State.
The Senior Bowl will be a great opportunity for Fisher to show that he can hang against elite talent, but until that happens, the jury is still out on this tackle.
For now, Fisher looks like the beneficiary of a weak schedule and could be in for a harsh wake-up call when he enters the ranks of the NFL.
12. Miami Dolphins: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
If the Dolphins are going with quarterback Ryan Tannehill for the long haul, they must surround him with elite receivers who can make plays. Patterson is the best receiver on the board and is a great combination of size and speed with an ability to make big plays.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Ronde Barber won't be around forever, so the Bucs should take a shot on Vaccaro with this pick. The former Longhorn has the ability to play both safety positions and looks to be an elite prospect with his immense skill in coverage and tackling.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Panthers have several needs to fill, but none more pressing than the defensive line. Richardson will be the best at his position at this point in the draft and his pass-rushing abilities as well as a never quit attitude on the field will make him an impact player on every down.
15. New Orleans Saints: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
New Orleans' 2012 campaign was an utter disaster and putting aside its issues with the head coach, defense was a huge reason why. The Saints looked soft on the defensive end the entire season, but Jordan could easily add some much needs toughness with his incredible size and athletic ability on the edge.
16. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Sam Bradford needs some help and if the Rams want to get the best return out of their former No. 1 pick, the team must build up what has become a dreadful offensive line. Cooper is a big lineman with the ability to put defenders on their backs, yet he is athletic enough to get to the outside when necessary.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
If there's any team in the NFL that can turn Te'o into an elite NFL linebacker, it is Steelers. Te'o's draft stock has fallen after a depressing performance in the National Championship Game against Alabama, but that doesn't erase the fact that he is a tackle machine with an ability to create turnovers for his team.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Dallas would love to make an impact addition on the defensive line and Floyd is the player who can help up the middle. With a new defensive coordinator in town, the Cowboys will be switching to a 4-3 defense, so a stud like Floyd would be a perfect fit.
19. New York Giants: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
A glaring weakness for the G-Men was their secondary last season. Corey Webster is not an elite cornerback by any means and it's time the Giants take a chance on a guy like Rhodes, who has the speed and ability to surpass Webster as this team's best corner rather quickly.
20. Chicago Bears: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
If the Bears want to keep Jay Cutler on the field for the entirety of the 2013 season, they must improve their offensive line in this draft. With the Sooners, Johnson played some of the toughest teams in the nation, so he's no stranger to facing elite talent and could improve Chicago's offensive line right away.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia
Ogletree could potentially play either inside or outside linebacker in the NFL, but the Bengals would likely use him on the outside, creating one of the most feared linebacking corps when combined with Vontaze Burfict.
22. St. Louis Rams (From Washington): Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
The next step in helping Bradford in 2013 is to add another playmaker on offense. Eifert is the best tight end by far in this draft and his speed as well as great hands make the former Notre Dame star a reliable option. On top of that, Eifert's blocking ability has improved drastically over the past few seasons.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR, California
Percy Harvin could be on his way out of Minnesota and considering he is one of the few playmakers on the Vikings' offense, he must be replaced immediately. Allen's draft stock has fallen thanks to injury, but if he can remain healthy, it's very possible his former expectations can be met.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
The Colts were one of the worst teams in the NFL at stopping the pass and could use some reinforcements for next season. Banks will be the best corner on the board at this point in the draft and while he doesn't classify as a shutdown corner, he can still be an impact player for years to come.
25. Seattle Seahawks: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
If the Seahawks wish to keep Russell Wilson healthy for the long term, they must beef up their offensive line. Wilson was often on the run thanks to opposing pass rushes and the more he leaves the pocket, the better the chance he gets hurt. Fluker isn't the most talented lineman on the board, but his size and strength make him a NFL-ready prospect.
26. Green Bay Packers: Barrett Jones, C, Alabama
The Packers' biggest needs are on the defensive end, but Jones will be too good to pass up on at this spot in the draft. Jones' versatility on the offensive line makes him a perfect fit with almost any team, especially the Packers.
27. Houston Texans: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Houston could use some help in its secondary, but there isn't a cornerback worth taking in this spot. Instead, the Texans will go with Austin, who will provide some much needed depth at the receiver position. Austin's abilities as an outside or slot receiver could go a long way towards taking the pressure off Andre Johnson.
28. Denver Broncos: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
With Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller roaming the edge, the Broncos could use a linebacker on the inside to shore up the middle of the field. Minter has the ability to do just that and can also drop back into coverage against opposing tight ends.
29. New England Patriots: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
If the Patriots find Hopkins waiting for them with the No. 29 pick in the first round, it would be quite the steal. Wes Welker could be on his way out of New England during the offseason and Hopkins' versatility as both an outside threat and slot receiver makes him a perfect fit for Bill Belichick's squad.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
If there's anything Atlanta is currently lacking, it's a solid pass-rusher. Montgomery, an LSU product, has quick feet and is explosive enough to get around the edge and punish opposing quarterbacks.
31. Baltimore Ravens: Matt Elam, SS, Florida
The Ravens are an aging group on the defensive side of the ball and Ed Reed's future with the team is uncertain at the moment. It's time for the Ravens to start planning for their future on defense and Elam could be the guy to get that going, as he is an effective player against both the pass and run.
32. San Francisco 49ers: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
San Francisco has immense talent in every facet of its team, so adding depth to those positions will be the goal here. Williams is a versatile defensive lineman who can play anywhere, but his services will be needed at nose tackle if he joins the Niners.
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