Chances are if you are an NFL scout you've been wrong once or twice before. But the extremity of that mistake is never amplified as much as it is when it results in first-round NFL draft bust.
Despite extensive scouting departments, NFL teams still whiff on first-round draft picks every season. This 2013 NFL mock draft is no different.
There are bound to be misses, whether it's a player's clash with a team's system or just a misjudgment of a player's ability that contributes to it.
A bust is a bust.
And it's impossible to avoid it.
Take a look at a couple of guys we think will be busts but will still be picked in the first round of April's draft.
*Highlighted players are in italics and have pictures under subheadlines.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Andy Reid knows how to groom quarterbacks and the Kansas City Chiefs clearly don’t have the guy he needs on their roster. Geno Smith has the tools to step in to Kansas City’s offense and be a productive player from day one.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
The Jacksonville Jaguars were dead last in sacks in 2012, dropping opposing quarterbacks a mere 20 times. Damontre Moore is a big, fast and physical pass rusher that should help rectify that right away in 2013.
3. Oakland Raiders (4-12): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Oakland Raiders defense got better up front as the season wore on. Adding a piece like Star Lotulelei could help continue that improvement into 2013. He’s a big guy—huge even—who can absorb double-teams and clog running lanes. That’s perfect for Oakland because teams ran through them at times last season.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Philadelphia is a bad place to play quarterback. Taking Luke Joeckel—the top offensive tackle prospect in this draft—is a no brainer for the Eagles.
5. Detroit Lions (4-12): Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
There aren’t very many “can’t miss” prospects in any NFL draft, but Alabama’s Dee Milliner looks like he’s one of them. Detroit has depth issues in its secondary and would benefit immensely from adding the unchallenged top cornerback in this class.
6. Cleveland Browns (5-11): Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
Cleveland will make the transition to the 3-4 defense this season and needs a dynamic and athletic pass-rusher in order to make new defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s scheme work. The Browns have some young and talented players on defense already but need to add a talent like Mingo here because they do not have a second-round pick.
7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11): Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State
Quarterbacks in this class have a lot of question marks and N.C. State’s Mike Glennon is no different. Glennon has a cannon of an arm and looks the part, possessing a prototypical build and arm strength that NFL teams are looking for in a quarterback.
But looks can be deceiving. As we witnessed in the Senior Bowl, he struggles with pressure. Pass-rushers force errant throws and his accuracy is lacking even when not pressured.
One of the biggest concerns is his athleticism, which he demonstrated was well under par during the Senior Bowl and the practices leading up to it. This is due to his slow feet that make him a sitting duck in the backfield in the NFL.
If you can’t throw under pressure and can’t scramble to escape it, you’re doomed to bust in the NFL.
8. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
Buffalo may be reaching here, but new head coach Doug Marrone developed Ryan Nassib himself. If they don’t take him here he may not be available after the first few picks in the second round.
9. New York Jets (6-10): Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
New York’s toughness and attitude were put in question after a shaky season defensively in 2012. Rex Ryan kept his job, somehow, and is going to come back with a vengeance. His first move will be petitioning for a player like Jarvis Jones to bring back some of that fire on defense.
10. Tennessee Titans (6-10): Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Florida State’s Bjoern Werner is a steal here at No. 10. He’s possibly the best pure defensive end in the draft—along with Damontre Moore—with the physicality to not only hang, but to beat the large and bruising offensive lineman at the next level.
11. San Diego Chargers (7-9): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Philip Rivers isn’t very good under pressure and it showed in 2012. Without a steady tackle keeping him upright, the Chargers will be disappointed again next season.
12. Miami Dolphins (7-9): Keenan Allen, WR, California
The 6’3” and 210-pound receiver is arguably the top prospect in this draft. Miami shipped Brandon Marshall to Chicago and have been missing his presence and ability to stretch defenses and make plays on the ball down the field. Keenan Allen could very easily turn into a Marshall-like player.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9): Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Xaiver Rhodes, a 6’1” and 217-pound cornerback, will be an ideal pick here for the Tampa Bay Bucaneers. He’s got the size and ball skills that the Bucs desperately need in order to contend with the high-flying offenses of the NFC South.
14. Carolina Panthers (7-9): Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Ohio State’s Johnathan Hankins is a big man and is an intriguing prospect. But there are several things that might contribute to his busting at the NFL level.
First off, he wore down as the 2012 season progressed and had to be rotated a lot in order to stay fresh. A rotational defensive line player at No. 14 overall is a big mistake.
Next, as a one-technique he’ll be asked to absorb double-teams—something he struggled with at times in college. If he struggled with getting off of blocks and maintaining his gap in the trenches at that level, he isn’t going to get any relief in the NFL.
Hankins also isn’t an explosive pass-rusher and doesn’t shoot gaps to break up many plays behind the line of scrimmage.
15. New Orleans Saints (7-9): Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
The New Orleans Saints are switching back to the 3-4 defense next season and could use a player like Dion Jordan who can rush the passer from the edge and also drop into coverage.
16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
St. Louis made some big strides defensively in 2012 but they’re not done yet. Adding a ball-hawking and tough safety like Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro is exactly what they need in order to continue to close the gap in the NFC West. It’s a tough challenge as the division sent two teams to the playoffs.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Offensive guards don’t typically gain as much notoriety during this process as Alabama’s Chance Warmack has. Warmack, though, is a road grader who has the size and quickness to perform well as a pulling guard at the next level. He will definitely help the Pittsburgh Steelers with their rushing woes.
18. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Monte Kiffin is shaking things up, bringing the 4-3 Tampa Cover-2 defense to Dallas. Ezekiel Ansah is a freakish athlete and will form a formidable duo with fellow pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware.
19. New York Giants (9-7): Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Jerry Reese has a lot of questions to answer during this draft. His defensive line is aging and his quarterback is coming more and more under fire. But the Giants need help in their secondary most of all. Johnthan Banks could be a guy that will come in and help from day one.
20. Chicago Bears (10-6): Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
The Chicago Bears need to find a replacement for Brian Urlacher, who is no longer reliable or as dominant as he once was. Manti Te’o has his question marks, but the Midwest team could do worse than bringing in a big-name guy with his level of talent.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
Alec Ogletree is an absolute monster and could step in initially and replace free-agent linebacker Rey Maualuga. Maualuga was under fire for his performance in the playoffs and didn’t fare too well in the regular season either. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed 35 first downs—the most of any linebacker in the league.
22. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1) (from Washington): D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
The St. Louis Rams will benefit from having a second first-round pick this season by adding top talents to both their secondary and offensive line. Alabama’s D.J. Fluker isn’t the headliner of the school’s draft class, but he is a solid option for the Rams at right tackle moving forward.
23. Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Cordarrelle Patterson is one of the biggest risk vs. reward picks of this mock draft.
Justin Hunter—who is also immensely physically gifted—has been the more productive college player, but Patterson is the Tennessee Volunteer who is rapidly rising. ESPN’s Mel Kiper (Insider) has him as the first receiver off of the board, despite Hunter’s talent.
Patterson relies strongly on his ability to run after the catch in order to make plays. The Vikings have a guy like that in Percy Harvin and need a player more like Hunter, who can run all of the routes and make the big and tough catches.
Overall, he has some question marks around his strength and size. At 6’3” and 205 pounds, he will need to add some mass and get stronger in order to deal with the hard-nosed press coverages he will meet in the NFL.
24. Indianapolis Colts (11-5): John Jenkins, DT, Georgia
At 6’4” and 359 pounds Georgia’s John Jenkins could be the missing piece to the Indianapolis Colts’ 3-4 defense. Nose tackles need to be big, strong and capable of absorbing double teams while fighting to get into the backfield. Yes, yes and yes for Jenkins.
25. Seattle Seahawks (11-5): Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
If Sheldon Richardson falls this far, the Seattle Seahawks would be wise to jump on him. He’s not as big as some defensive ends, but he would fit nicely in either technique for the Seahawks as he has a good ability to get penetration into opposing backfields.
26. Green Bay Packers (11-5): Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
Green Bay needs to get better in stopping the run and Texas' Alex Okafor could be the guy for them, depending on how well he transitions to the 3-4 defense. The Packers can get after the QB, so concerns about Okafor's pass-rush ability aren't too worrisome. His main roles would be sealing the edge, preventing runners from breaking contain and getting to the outside.
27. Houston Texans (12-4): Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
The Houston Texans need to find more ways to score the football, and they’ll need to do it by passing more. Running the ball has worked, but it alone won’t carry a team to the Super Bowl. That much is apparent in today’s NFL. Terrance Williams has the ability to stretch the field and would help take some of the focus off of Owen Daniels and Andre Johnson.
28. Denver Broncos (13-3): Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Tight end might not be the biggest need for the Denver Broncos, but a talent like Tyler Eifert is hard to pass on here. Peyton Manning will appreciate it, too, as he will again have an elite outlet player to dump it off to in times of duress.
29. New England Patriots (12-4): Matt Elam, S, Florida
The New England Patriots need a long-term solution at safety and Florida’s Matt Elam is their guy at No. 29 overall. Elam plays with the type of awareness and fluidity that it takes to succeed in an NFL defensive backfield.
30. Atlanta Falcons (13-3): Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
Sam Montgomery will help fill a big need for the Atlanta Falcons. They swung and missed on free agent Ray Edwards, as they ended up releasing him. This time they’ll grab a highly talented pass-rusher at the bottom of the first round.
31. *Baltimore Ravens (10-6): Kevin Minter, LB, LSU
Kevin Minter will have big shoes to fill if the Baltimore Ravens pick him here, just one spot after his teammate Sam Montgomery. Ray Lewis’ departure means the Ravens will need a strong and motivated individual in the middle of its defense and Minter could definitely be that guy.
32. *San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
San Francisco doesn’t have very many holes, giving it the luxury of freedom with its pick. Tavon Austin has been the fastest player on the field for most of his career and could continue to make big plays with that speed at the next level. He’s worth a shot for San Francisco here.
*Picks are TBD, pending the result of Super Bowl XLVII.
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