2013 NFL Mock Draft: Which Late-Round Picks Will Surprise?
There are some great late-round picks who are being overshadowed by some of the more hyped prospects of 2013.
The history of the NFL draft has shown that it isn't always the top picks that make the biggest impact. Teams can almost always find a hidden gem later on in the draft that other teams may have overlooked.
Let's take a look at some players who will go late in the first round but still have great careers in the NFL.
*Note: Players piece focuses on are in italics.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Smith is the No. 1 quarterback in this year's draft class and while he's no lock to be the top pick, a strong showing at the combine would change that. The Chiefs have a mess at the quarterback position and new head coach Andy Reid might feel signing or trading for one is far too risky a proposition.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Jags ranked dead last in the league with 20 sacks during the 2012 campaign and that certainly won't help their defense stop opposing quarterbacks. Werner is the pass-rusher on the edge that this team needs and he could help pull Jacksonville out of the sack cellar.
3. Oakland Raiders: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Thanks to his spinal stenosis condition, Jones can be seen as a risky pick at this spot in the draft. Still, he's one of the better defensive players on the board. Jones' athleticism and strength at the position makes him a great pass-rusher and tackler, so this is a chance the Raiders should take.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The Eagles allowed 48 sacks as a team last season, the fifth-highest total in the NFL. That can't continue to happen if this team wishes to have any semblance of a passing game, so taking the best tackle on the board in Luke Joeckel is the best bet to fix that issue.
5. Detroit Lions: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Detroit only notched 34 sacks as a team last season, which was good enough for 20th in the NFL. The lack of pressure—along with poor secondary play—is the reason this team wasn't very good against the pass last season. Moore has the goods to be a solid pass-rusher in the NFL and would help the Lions gain some respectability in regards to putting pressure on the quarterback.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Browns were unable to stop their opponents from throwing the ball this past season. Drafting Milliner would give the Browns a near NFL-ready cornerback who has the potential to be a shutdown defensive back at the next level.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Head coach Bruce Arians' new team has already proven it can stop the ball through the air, as evidenced by Arizona's fifth-ranked pass last season. However, the Cards ranked No. 28 against the run and desperately need a big, strong body like Lotulelei's to shore up the middle of their line.
8. Buffalo Bills: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Buffalo isn't going anywhere anytime soon, so there is ample time to develop a young quarterback the next few seasons. Ryan Fitzpatrick has not been the answer for the Bills thus far and new head coach Doug Marrone could look to groom a new franchise signal-caller. If Barkley wants to get drafted this high, he must show up in a big way at the combine.
9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
When the Jets were at their best a few seasons ago, they were playing great defense and putting pressure on the quarterback. If they ever hope to get back to that winning recipe, they need a pass-rusher like Mingo to help take them there.
10. Tennessee Titans: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
It looks like the Titans are planning on keeping their No. 1 running back, Chris Johnson. With that being the case, Tennessee must help him by building up its offensive line and Warmack's big frame would be the best bet to do that.
11. San Diego Chargers: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
With Phillip Rivers behind center and great weapons like Antonio Gates and Danario Alexander, it's a bit surprising that the Chargers didn't have more success throwing the ball last season. The real problem lies in the offensive line as San Diego allowed the fourth-most sacks in the NFL last season. It would make a ton of sense for the Chargers to go with Fisher for their first pick.
12. Miami Dolphins: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
A lack of options in the passing game certainly made things tougher for rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Despite that fact, Tannehill didn't look all that bad behind center, so adding a deep threat with speed and size like Patterson would be a great benefit.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The Bucs will never get back to their old ways as a great defensive team if they can't stop the pass. Last season was dreadful for this team's pass defense and they could use a versatile safety like Vaccaro who can play both positions.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Carolina found themselves a gem in linebacker Luke Kuechly last season, as evidenced by his leading the NFL in tackles. However, the middle of the Panthers' defensive line needs to get stronger and if Richardson performs as advertised, opponents will be hard-pressed to get anything going up the gut.
15. New Orleans Saints: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Defense is the first of many holes the Saints need to plug before the start of next season. New Orleans compiled 30 sacks as a team last season and that ranked them No. 25 in the NFL. If the Saints hope to stop opposing quarterbacks from picking them apart, they must draft a pass-rusher like Jordan to create some pressure that otherwise doesn't exist for this team.
16. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Injuries have been a major problem for the Rams' offensive line in recent years. If this team wants to put Sam Bradford in the best position to succeed, as well as build a solid rushing attack, they must get stronger up the middle and Cooper is just the lineman to get it done.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
Te'o was a tackling machine during his time at Notre Dame. The star of the Irish defense notched over 100 tackles in each of the past three seasons and could become an elite player in the NFL under the tutelage of the Steelers' defensive coaches.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Cowboys ranked No. 22 against the run last season and could use a fresh young body to help fill out their defensive line. Floyd is the big guy that Dallas needs to stuff opposing running backs, but he can also get to the quarterback now and then.
19. New York Giants: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Giants ranked No. 28 and No. 25 against the pass and run, respectively, last season. That can't continue if this team hopes to compete moving forward and the biggest necessity to reviving this defense is in the secondary. Rhodes will be the best cornerback left on the board in this spot and could help the Giants become respectable against the pass again.
20. Chicago Bears: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
In a draft filled with solid offensive line prospects, Johnson has been overshadowed a bit and would be the stud the Bears are looking for.
The emphasis for Chicago this offseason will be offense and while this team has several weapons to go to, the offensive line needs some major rebuilding at almost every position.
Johnson is about as NFL-ready a lineman as the Bears will find this late in the first round. Among his strengths, Johnson explodes off the line to gain an edge on opposing defenders and his long arms will no doubt be an asset in keeping pass-rushers away from Jay Cutler.
The Oklahoma product has only been an offensive lineman for a few seasons, so he's still learning the position. However, he is already an impressive prospect and his size and strength will help him make an impact right away.
He should become a dominant force for Chicago upfront once NFL coaches get their hands on him.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia
If the Bengals can draft Ogletree and pair him with Vontaze Burfict, there will truly be no place to run for their opponents.
The most impressive thing about Ogletree is his athleticism, which is a huge asset against the run. The Georgia product has excellent speed and covers a ton of ground, so chasing after and catching running backs is never an issue.
That same athleticism makes Ogletree extremely versatile, so he is a candidate to play on the inside or on the edge if necessary.
As a former safety, Ogletree has the ability to drop back into coverage and can certainly keep up with opposing tight ends. There are so many things this talented linebacker can do and that will have him making plays all over the field for years to come.
22. St. Louis Rams (From Washington): Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
The jury is still out on whether or not Eifert can be a solid blocker in the NFL, but he has shown some improvements during his time at Notre Dame. Even so, the more important thing here is that the Rams are getting a tight end who can make things happen in the passing attack and Bradford could use all the weapons he can get for next season.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR, California
An injury late during the season has made Allen's status in this draft relatively unknown. But that doesn't change the fact that Allen is one of the better receivers when healthy and the Vikings need all the help they can get in the passing game.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Banks is such a versatile cornerback and could be one of the hidden gems in this year's class. For starters, Banks has great size (6'2'') that will no doubt make it tough for quarterbacks to throw over him much like they do with some of the shorter corners in the NFL.
Banks also has a nose for the ball after notching 15 interceptions during his college years and even took three of them to the house. His explosive ability with the ball in his hands also makes him a candidate to return kicks when needed.
This talented corner is also a solid tackler and can even get into the backfield to make tackles for loss against the run. But Banks doesn't just tackle well, he can also get his hands in there and poke the ball loose when the opportunity presents itself.
The secondary is one of the biggest needs for the Colts to fill in this draft and Banks would no doubt help them in multiple ways.
25. Seattle Seahawks: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Fluker will be the lastest offensive lineman to get taken in the first round, thanks to the Seahawks and their No. 25 pick. Seattle's defense was stellar last season, but offensively they must improve their line if they hope to have Russell Wilson throwing from the pocket more often.
26. Green Bay Packers: Barrett Jones, C, Alabama
As a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide, Jones already has an incredible winning pedigree upon entering the NFL.
Although he's listed as a center, Jones has the ability to slide around on the offensive line and that is a huge plus for teams that have multiple needs upfront.
Whie he isn't the most athletic lineman, Jones is intelligent and does a great job picking up the blitz. He even has the ability to change the play at the line when given the opportunity to make such a call, which further displays his football I.Q.
Run-blocking is where Jones shines the most thanks to his explosive first step. That skill will have him pushing opposing defensive lineman backwards. With one part of his game down, there's no question that good coaching in the NFL can help Jones improve his pass-blocking abilities.
27. Houston Texans: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Austin had a monster year with the Mountaineers last season and his speed makes him a deep threat as well as a terror over the middle. However, it remains to be seen if he has the size to make an impact at the next level as he's listed at 5'9''.
28. Denver Broncos: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
The only thing missing on the Broncos' defense is a strong interior presence to make them tougher up the middle. Minter has the skill to be that guy and while he'll need some work, he figures to get plenty of it as teams look to avoid Denver's skilled defenders on the edge.
29. New England Patriots: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Hopkins could be a solid contributor on the outside for New England, but this team will look to utilize his speed over the middle as Wes Welker is all but set to depart during the offseason. No matter how they plan to use him, Hopkins can fit whatever role the Pats need.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
The one thing missing from the Falcons' defense last season was a solid pass-rusher on the edge. In college, Montgomery often lined up against bigger offensive lineman, so he should be able to adjust to the bigger, stronger offensive lineman in the NFL as long as he adds some bulk.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
With all the injuries this team suffered to their front seven near the end of the season, the 49ers have learned their lesson and will look to add some depth. Williams will be the very best defensive lineman left in the first round and that will make him a shoe-in to be picked by San Fran.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Matt Elam, SS, Florida
Whether Ed Reed returns or not next season, the Ravens would be wise to draft a safety for the future. If Reed stays, Elam will have one of the best at his position in NFL history as a mentor. If Reed goes, there are still plenty of veterans on Baltimore's defense to help Elam grow into the ball-hawking safety's successor.
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