NFL Mock Draft 2013: Boom or Bust Players Who Aren't Worth the Risk

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2013

MORGANTOWN, WV - NOVEMBER 17:  Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers drops back to pass against the Oklahoma Sooners during the game on November 17, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

While nothing is certain in the NFL draft, some players are riskier than others.

Teams love to draft players based on potential. Prospects who are big, strong and fast could end up being stars in the NFL. Then again, there are plenty who never pan out in the next level.

This draft class features plenty of men who could be considered boom-or-bust prospects. Here is a full mock, with extra emphasis on those who might end up not being worth the risk. 

Note: Highlighted players are shown in italics.

1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia 

There are safer picks to take in the draft, starting with left tackle Luke Joeckel. However, the Chiefs need a quarterback to turn things around on offense. 

Geno Smith is very accurate and can take care of the football, something that would be a major change in Kansas City.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M

Jacksonville needs a lot of help on the defensive side of the football. Damontre Moore can not only improve the pass rush, but he is very good at defending the run for his position. 

3. Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

With an inconsistent run defense, the Raiders need someone to clog up the middle and solidify the defensive line. Star Lotulelei could do that immediately.

4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

Even when Jason Peters returns, the Eagles could still use someone like Luke Joeckel to improve both the passing and rushing attack.

5. Detroit Lions: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

Now that Kyle Vanden Bosch is off the team, the Lions need a big-time pass-rusher to replace him. Bjoern Werner has the size and athleticism necessary to get double-digit sacks with consistency.

6. Cleveland Browns: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia 

Jarvis Jones is the ultimate defensive playmaker. He has been one of the top pass-rushers in college football for the past few years, and he is ready to take his talent to Cleveland, where they could use more game-changing type players.

7. Arizona Cardinals: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan 

Few players have improved their stock since the end of the regular season more than Eric Fisher. The strong tackle would instantly improve the offensive line in Arizona and possibly give quarterbacks a chance to succeed.

8. Buffalo Bills: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas

The Bills need a new franchise quarterback, and they will likely take one in the first round of this draft.

While Mike Glennon and Matt Barkley will be under consideration, Tyler Wilson is the best player available at the position.

Unfortunately, he still comes with a great deal of risk. He has a strong arm, but he often came short in big games.

It is also tough to blame others for five multi-interception games.

In a good situation, Wilson could end up being a very capable starter. However, he will need a lot of help around him to succeed.

9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU 

Before they can fix the quarterback situation, the Jets need to get back to being the strong defense that carried them for years.

Barkevious Mingo is an excellent pass-rusher with the skill to cause a lot of disruption in the backfield.

10. Tennessee Titans: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama 

There are not many safer picks in this draft than Chance Warmack. The mauling guard will open up holes for the running game and help take pressure off Jake Locker.

11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

The biggest need for the San Diego Chargers is the offensive line. Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut pick at this point.

This will make Lane Johnson a bit of a risky pick this early in the draft.

Johnson has solid size for the position, but he is a tad slow and is prone to mistakes. He is also inexperienced on the offensive line after spending the first few years in college at different positions on both sides of the ball.

He is a solid pick, but the Chargers might be better off trading back to get their guy.

12. Miami Dolphins: Keenan Allen, WR, California 

With good size, speed and catching ability, Keenan Allen is the top receiver in this class. Miami needs someone who can be a big-play threat on the outside, and Allen provides that.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama 

This is a pick that the Buccaneers would likely have to trade up to make, but there are not too many teams in front of them with a pressing need at cornerback.

Still, Dee Milliner is an incredible talent who will go a long way toward helping Tampa Bay's pitiful pass defense.

14. Carolina Panthers: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State 

Carolina has two solid defensive ends and a very good middle linebacker. A defensive lineman like Johnathan Hankins will make all of them better.

15. New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri 

For a team that needs help at almost every spot on the field on defense, Sheldon Richardson could make a big difference. His ability to take on blockers will open up his teammates to make plays. 

16. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina 

The St. Louis Rams need to upgrade the offensive line. Jonathan Cooper will be the best lineman available and will get the run game back to where it should be.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon 

Although the offensive line for the Steelers is not great, the team invested a lot in last year's draft. Now they must focus on making the defense younger.

The first spot is to find a talented pass-rusher who can stay healthy throughout the season.

Dion Jordan fits that description and is very quick. However, he is relatively skinny for the position and could get pushed around at the next level.

He can put on strength and learn from some of the best in the league on Pittsburgh. However, he is the type of player who will drop down boards after the combine, making him a risk.

18. Dallas Cowboys: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU

Sam Montgomery benefited from Barkevious Mingo in college, as teams focused on the other side of the field. If he goes to the Cowboys, he will continue to have this advantage with DeMarcus Ware playing opposite of him. 

19. New York Giants: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State 

The Giants had the No. 28 pass defense last year, and a lot of it was the cornerbacks' inability to cover receivers. Johnthan Banks can do just that and will make an impact right away.

20. Chicago Bears: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama 

Although the Bears would like a safe left tackle like Luke Joeckel, there are simply none available at this point. However, they still need a lot of help on the offensive line, and that could come in the form of D.J. Fluker.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Matt Elam, S, Florida 

The Bengals had a solid defense last year, but the defensive line masked a lot of problems in the secondary. Matt Elam will help in pass coverage and has the ability to come up and make tackles against the run.

22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins): Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia 

With a pick that the Rams got from the Washington Redskins for the rights to Robert Griffin III, they cannot afford to make a mistake. Alec Ogletree is a very safe pick as someone who can make 100 tackles per year from either the middle or outside linebacker positions.

23. Minnesota Vikings: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

Adrian Peterson was by far the best running back in football this season. When healthy, Percy Harvin is an elite receiver.

However, the team still needs more weapons.

There is no one else in the entire 2013 class with as much big-play ability as Tavon Austin. He is incredibly quick and can turn short routes into big gains and possibly touchdown.

He could be incredibly productive, but his small stature could also hurt him in the NFL. Any big cornerback could bump him off his route as soon as the play starts.

Austin can be a huge addition to any team and could sneak into the first round, but chances are that he will struggle.

24. Indianapolis Colts: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State 

The Colts have a lot of young talent on offense, but they need defensive help before next season. Xavier Rhodes is an athletic player who has the size to stick with the bigger receivers in the NFL.

25. Seattle Seahawks: Zach Ertz, TE Stanford 

There is little reason to improve the top scoring defense in the NFL. Instead, the team should provide help for Russell Wilson by giving him a big target near the end zone.

26. Green Bay Packers: Eric Reid, S, LSU 

Green Bay could trade up for offensive line help but otherwise would do well by drafting Eric Reid. The ball-hawking safety is a good long-term option for the secondary.

27. Houston Texans: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

The Texans need to add depth to the secondary, and Kenny Vaccaro would provide some good value with this pick. He can play either safety spot and can even cover players in a nickel formation if he is needed.

28. Denver Broncos: John Jenkins, DT, Georgia 

Defensive tackle is one of the deepest positions in this class, which is good news for the Broncos. This is the biggest on a short list of needs for the team that went 13-3 this season.

29. New England Patriots: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

Ezekiel Ansah fits into the classic argument of potential versus production.

The BYU defensive end had not put up big numbers during his time in college, but he has the speed and athleticism that lets scouts believe that he can be a big-time player in the NFL.

New England got a lot of production out of Chandler Jones last season, but you can never have too many pass-rushers. Ansah could put the opposing quarterback under pressure and make things easier for the young secondary.

That is, if he lives up to his potential, which might take years.

30. Atlanta Falcons: Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina 

Michael Turner was unproductive all year. The Falcons need someone to be an every-down back, and Giovani Bernard is the most well-rounded player in the class at his position. 

31. San Francisco 49ers: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida 

The entire defense for the 49ers is solid, but there is not enough depth on the defensive line. Sharrif Floyd has great versatility and will be able to fill in at any spot in the 3-4 defense.

32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame

Although Manti Te'o's stock is falling, he still put together a great career at Notre Dame and has every tool you look for in a middle linebacker. He will provide depth for the Ravens and could replace the departed Ray Lewis


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