2013 NFL Mock Draft: First-Round Studs Sure to Shine Immediately
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
Players taken in Round 1 of every NFL draft are expected to make an immediate impact.
There are, however, those who obviously stand out brighter than others. These are the prospects we will primarily focus on in this 2013 NFL mock draft.
Take Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III for example from 2012.
Each went to a non-playoff team from 2011 and led their respective teams to the postseason as rookies. This is simply the standard level when a top college player makes the pro football transition.
And when we see those that end up busting, well, that's when criticism arises.
Note: Highlighted players are in italics.
What should KC do at No. 1 overall?
Believe it or not, but the Chiefs aren't that far off from returning to AFC playoff contenders. With a strong ground game, selecting Geno Smith improves the passing attack for a balanced offense.
Smith's solid arm and accuracy bodes well to stretch and spread defenses, which translates into better ball control and more points.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jarvis Jones, LB (Georgia)
Jacksonville has plenty of issues, but fielding a more impenetrable front seven is needed for them to get competitive.
The offense brings skill position talent, and the defense taking Jarvis Jones will upgrade the pass rush and run defense. Since he'll create more turnover opportunities and make plays in the backfield, the secondary benefits and blankets better in coverage as a result.
3. Oakland Raiders: Bjoern Werner, DE (Florida State)
Oakland was horrendous across the defensive spectrum in 2012.
Adding Bjoern Werner establishes a much more consistent pass rush, plus he brings the reactionary skills to knock down quick passes and defend against the run. Also, given the Raiders' aging defensive linemen, Werner is the future.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, Tackle (Texas A&M)
The Eagles gave up 48 sacks in 2012, and the NFC East still presents some of pro football's best pass-rushers.
Therefore, drafting Luke Joeckel will immediately solidify the blindside.
Joeckel faced the fastest defensive fronts in college football from playing in the SEC last season, and his quarterback won the Heisman Trophy. In short, the guy is capable of walling off any rusher to his side.
5. Detroit Lions: Damontre Moore, DE (Texas A&M)
The Lions have to get a younger complement for Ndamukong Suh coming off the edge.
Demontre Moore is that guy, because his size and top speed will dominate outside. Detroit gave up 4.5 yards per rush in 2012, and fielding Moore will significantly reduce that average.
Factor in his pass-rushing ability, and the Lions enter the NFC playoff contender mix.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB (Alabama)
Last season, the Browns gave up a 63-percent completion percentage along with 27 touchdown passes. Dee Milliner would be the perfect complement to Joe Haden.
Milliner has proven to take on bigger receivers and tight ends in man coverage, and he can also get physical at the line. Doing so helps with run support, and he's a reliable tackler as well.
Just over the previous two seasons, Milliner defended 33 passes, recorded five picks and made 81 tackles. The guy is reliable in press coverage and has the wherewithal in zone to bait quarterbacks. Considering the Browns have improved their pass rush, the tandem of Haden and Milliner will benefit with more turnover opportunities.
At the same time, the rush will be provided with that little extra amount of time to apply quarterback pressure from better coverage.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Chance Warmack, Guard (Alabama)
Lacking pass protection and a running game all season, Arizona's greatest vulnerability is up front.
Chance Warmack, though, solves each of these issues. He's a force when run-blocking, because Warmack's quickness gets him downfield to extend lanes. As a pass-blocker, the lateral agility exists to work fluidly between the center and tackle.
In a defensively tough NFC West, Warmack's physical nature helps the Cardinals find some balance.
8. Buffalo Bills: Dion Jordan, DE (Oregon)
That said, the Bills' other dire need is to improve against the run.
Allowing an average of five yards per rushing attempt last season, Buffalo was not consistently controlling the game tempo. Drafting Dion Jordan, though, helps the Bills squeeze the edge and close running lanes from the outside in.
In turn, the linebackers fill more quickly, and Jordan's size becomes an advantage.
He's laterally quick and possesses the length to prevent anyone from sealing the edge. With 12.5 sacks, 86 tackles and four forced fumbles between 2011 and 2012, Jordan can rush and stifle the run at will.
The ultimate impact of his addition results in Mario Williams producing extensively better in 2013.
9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, LB (LSU)
The Jets struggled mightily throughout 2012 because they failed miserably against the run.
Allowing 4.3 yards per rush, that inability seeped to the pass rush, which recorded only 30 sacks. Barkevious Mingo quickly fixes each aspect with his acceleration and overall athleticism.
Considering Gang Green fielded a sound pass defense, Mingo's impact up front gets New York back to playing fast and fierce.
10. Tennessee Titans: Johnthan Banks, CB (Mississippi State)
Aside from a halfway-decent pass rush, Tennessee was constantly exploited against the run and the pass. The coverage gave up 31 passing touchdowns—tied for the second most—and, unsurprisingly, was just as bad when defending inside the red zone.
Enter Johnthan Banks, who is reliable against the run and quick in coverage to take away half the field. He's a sound playmaker who possesses the instincts to jump passes in zone and get physical in man-to-man.
11. San Diego Chargers: Eric Fisher, Tackle (Central Michigan)
An immense amount of turnovers was a key weakness of the Chargers last year.
At the same time, Philip Rivers' turnovers also occurred because of unreliable pass protection. Well, Eric Fisher is the best option at No. 11 overall.
He's a patient pass-blocker who presents the size to wall off the edge against anyone. In addition, Fisher is a great athlete who maintains a low center of gravity. This allows him to move even faster laterally and get downfield when needed.
12. Miami Dolphins: Keenan Allen, WR (California)
Miami was a rather prolific offense when it reached the red zone in 2012.
The problem, however, was actually getting into scoring position consistently. The Dolphins can speed up Ryan Tannehill's development process, though, with Keenan Allen.
His athleticism alone is a competitive advantage on third down, and Allen will make plays inside the red zone. Include his sure hands over the middle at each field dimension, and Miami moves the rock efficiently next season.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Star Lotulelei, DT (Utah)
Star Lotulelei certainly has top-10 potential, but Tampa Bay gets fortunate and greatly enhances its defensive line here. Lotulelei will dominate when blocked one-on-one, and his strength and power combo will control the point of attack.
The Bucs then get more edge quarterback pressure and generate more turnovers.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT (Missouri)
Carolina's defensive front seven is nearly complete.
Already fielding reliable playmakers in Luke Kuechly and Charles Johnson, Sheldon Richardson takes care of the interior. His addition will quickly clog running lanes and draw double-teams to free up the linebackers.
Richardson is also a good pass-rusher, which bodes well with Johnson in a pass-first division.
15. New Orleans Saints: Johnathan Hankins, DT (Ohio State)
Opponents were able to keep Drew Brees off the field in 2012 because the Saints had no clue how to defend the run.
In turn, Brees saw limited possessions and New Orleans struggled throughout 2012.
Taking Johnathan Hankins makes this weakness a quick fix. Possessing impressive size, strength and explosiveness, Hankins is a menace to quarterbacks and running backs. The results are more stuffed runs and forced punts to get Brees on the field.
16. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper, Guard (North Carolina)
Possessing the lateral balance to move quickly when pulling and getting upfield, Cooper also flows well as a pass-blocker across the line. The Rams need a physical athlete in the trenches, because the NFC West is only getting tougher defensively.
Cooper's impact gives St. Louis greater balance and, ultimately, more control of the line of scrimmage.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ezekiel Ansah, DE (BYU)
Youth is required within the Steelers' defensive front.
Fortunately, Ezekiel Ansah brings versatility to impact as a 4-3 defensive end, 3-4 defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker. His size and tenacious attitude for wrecking the backfield is a style appealing to Pittsburgh.
Not to mention, Pittsburgh uncharacteristically lacked at generating turnovers and dominating like its normal self up front. Ansah gets the Steel Curtain immediately back to AFC playoff contenders.
18. Dallas Cowboys: John Jenkins, DT (Georgia)
Dallas gave up 4.5 yards per carry and 17 rushing touchdowns, and it ranked No. 22 in rush defense. All this makes John Jenkins incredibly more appealing. For one, Jay Ratliff will be 32 before next season, and he appeared in just six games in 2012.
Jenkins, on the other hand, is a beast in the trenches. Not only is his size dominant, but Jenkins can bulldoze into the backfield and get quarterback pressure. He won't accumulate many sacks, but Jenkins will force the signal-caller out of the pocket.
After collecting 78 tackles and four sacks the past two years, Jenkins' impact would escalate in Big D. Assisted by playmakers in Sean Lee and Demarcus Ware, Jenkins will control two interior gaps and restrict the running lanes.
As the 2013 campaign unfolds, Dallas suffocates against the run and gets even more quarterback pressure.
19. New York Giants: Lane Johnson, Tackle (Oklahoma)
The Giants offered Eli Manning consistent pass protection throughout the 2012 campaign.
His offensive line, though, is also aging. With the NFC East still fielding sound pass-rushers, selecting Lane Johnson walls of Manning's blind side for the future.
Johnson has the size to take on the stronger bull-rushers and the feet to seal away the quicker defenders. New York also needs to keep its ground game working, and Johnson supplies the athleticism to extend lanes and pull inside to reach linebackers.
20. Chicago Bears: Tyler Eifert, TE (Notre Dame)
Possessing one of pro football's best two-back tandems, Chicago proved to move the rock better than given credit for in 2012. It was scoring touchdowns when inside the red zone that was an issue.
That ineffective scoring will improve with Tyler Eifert. No defense will double-cover him, thanks to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery out wide.
Factor in Jay Cutler's strong arm, and Eifert will be making all kinds of plays for the Windy City.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Kenny Vacccaro, Safety (Texas)
The greatest vulnerability of Cincinnati in 2012 was not generating turnovers. Despite a reliable pass rush and run defense, the Bengals managed only 14 picks and gave up a 61.8-percent completion percentage.
Kenny Vaccaro, however, takes care of this by playing fast and possessing keen coverage awareness skills. He can roll down into the box or sit back deep and read to make plays all over. The Bengals are also older in the secondary, so taking a young safety with great potential solidifies the immediate future.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR (Tennessee)
The Rams need a big-time receiver who will stretch opponents downfield and draw the occasional double-coverage.
Also, St. Louis needs this guy to take a slant, quick screen upfield for yards after the catch. Patterson brings each to the table and is capable of going over the middle for possession yards as well.
In catching 46 passes for 778 yards and scoring five times, Patterson averaged 16.9 yards per reception. Another area of Patterson's ability is the horizontal running game. He racked up 308 rushing yards on 25 attempts and scored three times, which brings his totals to eight scores and 1,086 yards.
The guy even compiled 772 return yards and scored twice on special teams. St. Louis is getting the entire package of a contributor, and his impact complements the addition of Jonathan Cooper for fielding a balanced attack.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Terrance Williams: WR (Baylor)
Minnesota needs one deep-threat playmaker to complement Adrian Peterson and tight end Kyle Rudolph.
Terrance Williams should be the answer, as Percy Harvin is planning to hold out. According to Mike Florio of NBC Sports:
Per a league source, Harvin currently is expected to stay away from offseason workouts and training camp absent a new deal.
And while it’s also unclear whether Harvin wants to stay in Minnesota, whether the Vikings will pay him what he wants surely has a lot to do with whether he’ll want to stay.
So, combine the elements of this situation with Williams' complete skill set, and the Vikings need Baylor's deep-threat target.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Alex Okafor, DE (Texas)
The Colts have two veteran pass-rushers in Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. Still, each are obviously getting older and combined for just 13 sacks last season.
Without question, Indianapolis must get younger here, which brings us to Alex Okafor. A big athlete with extreme versatility, Okafor can line up at end or outside 'backer in a 3-4.
His strength is a force up front, and Okafor's acceleration suits nicely in bolting around the edge for quarterback pressure. Either way, Indy improves its pass rush and run defense.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Sam Montgomery, DE (LSU)
“We need another pass-rusher,” Carroll said. “We really do. That’s why we went out and got Jason (Jones) last year. And we’re going to have to double it up. We need a couple of guys.”
Enter Sam Montgomery, who is a raw pass-rusher and capable of significantly enhancing Seattle's rotation. Given how solid the Seahawks already are defensively, fresh pass-rushers when needed only make this team even tougher to block.
26. Green Bay Packers: Barrett Jones, Center (Alabama)
The long-time Indianapolis Colts center announced his intention to retire after 14 seasons today during an appearance on 1070 The Fan.
“We’ll finish it with sunsets in Hawaii and call it a much better career than I would have anticipated,” Saturday said on the “Grady and Big Joe Show.”
Green Bay needed to address the offensive line anyway, but this makes Jones all that more relevant of a selection. Aaron Rodgers was sacked 51 times in the regular season and still put up sick numbers.
Just imagine his efficiency when provided better pass protection.
Well, Jones is the draft's most versatile offensive lineman and enters pro football having won three BCS Championships. Not to mention, Jones also blocked for Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson—each were Heisman Trophy finalists.
The Packers need to establish a more dependable ground attack, as the best ball-carrier averaged 3.6 per attempt (James Starks).
Jones' dynamic skill set, field awareness and cerebral approach to the game is just what Titletown needs. And his ability to immediately contribute propels Green Bay back into the Super Bowl contender discussion.
27. Houston Texans: Xavier Rhodes, CB (Florida State)
Houston is really close to becoming an annual Super Bowl contender. This past year was a facade because of its lack of pass defense against elite quarterbacks—as well as Chad Henne torching them in Week 11.
Drafting Xavier Rhodes addresses the dire need for better coverage.
Rhodes' size is an advantage for getting physical, and he'll also help with edge run support.
28. Denver Broncos: Alec Ogletree, LB (Georgia)
Going to the secondary here is obviously a good idea for the Broncos. But given that Keith Brooking is 37 years old and Wesley Woodyard has proven to play inside, selecting Alec Ogletree completes the front seven.
Ogletree is a great fit opposite of Von Miller, and his coverage skills will blanket the intermediate level.
He's also a reliable pass-rusher and will never face a dominant blocker courtesy of Miller and Elvis Dumervil. Upgrading the secondary later will help the pass defense, as the mid-rounders possess solid talent.
What is the Pats' biggest area of need?
New England must find a way to get more dependable coverage back deep.
Matt Elam provides the skill set to correct this, because his field awareness and acceleration makes plays in Cover 1, 2 or 3. If needed, Elam also possesses the ability to fill an underneath zone for a blitzing linebacker and help with run support.
He is a complete defender, and Bill Belichick needs Elam to remain AFC title contenders.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Jesse Williams, DT (Alabama)
Jesse Williams is a stout run defender with pass-rushing capabilities.
Atlanta needs his services, because the Falcons remain suspect against the run and need to upgrade the rush. Additionally, the Dirty Birds play in an offensive-oriented division, so controlling the line of scrimmage required much emphasis.
Williams is a rock up front, and offers the toughness to draw double-teams and cause piles to close running lanes. As a result, the Falcons defense improves and the team remains NFC title contenders.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Kawann Short, DT (Purdue)
Along with aging defenders in Justin Smith and Isaac Sopoaga, the 49ers need Kawann Short for depth and talent.
Short constantly finds himself smashing in the backfield, and he brings the instincts to draw multiple blockers. Despite being undersized, his relentless turbulence caused behind the line forces opponents to isolate him.
Because of that impact, the linebackers and edge rushers get more favorable mismatches to make plays.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te’o, LB (Notre Dame)
Manti Te'o producing like Lewis is asking a lot, but Baltimore provides the front-seven talent for him to develop quickly. Other playmakers such as Terrell Suggs and Courtney Upshaw will control the edge, so all Te'o needs to focus on is the interior.
Presenting the size capable of filling running lanes and taking on blocks, Te'o can also sink into coverage. Factor in his instincts and effort, and the Ravens will remain AFC title contenders in 2013.
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