2013 NFL Mock Draft: 5 Players Who Will Benefit from Combine
We see it every year before the NFL draft.
Prospects soar up draft boards at the combine as scouts rave about their athleticism and potential at the next level.
This year will be no different, as several prospects have the kind of blinding athleticism and explosiveness to make believers out of NFL teams.
Here's my latest 2013 NFL mock draft, complete with prospects who will benefit from the combine (in italics).
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
It's basically between Joeckel and West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith at this point. In the end, I see the Chiefs going with Joeckel, who has the potential to be an All-Pro.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Jaguars need pass-rushing help badly. While Bjoern Werner is raw, he possesses the quickness, instincts and strength to be a dynamic player at the next level. His ceiling is sky-high.
3. Oakland Raiders: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
The Raiders need a pass-rushing threat and Damontre Moore can be just that. He has the length, explosiveness, speed and agility to be a nightmare off the edge. When the combine comes around, Moore will undoubtedly boost his already-soaring stock.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Eagles would love to land a defensive tackle like Star Lotulelei who can stop the running game in its tracks. The Utah product has the combination of strength and quickness that rarely comes around with a player his size. He will only soar higher at the combine.
5. Detroit Lions: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
The Lions have a need for a pass-rusher off the edge in their 4-3 defense. Barkevious Mingo still needs to improve against the run, but he's an explosive, lightning-fast end who can get to the quarterback in a hurry. Despite being a bit raw, his pure athleticism could make him a top-five pick by the time the combine has ended.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Browns need a cornerback they can plop opposite Joe Haden. Dee Milliner is widely regarded as the best corner in the class. He's not only displayed elite coverage skills and is a physical, aggressive defender against the run.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
This would be a dream come true for Arizona. While Geno Smith doesn't have the potential of a Robert Griffin III, his dual-threat ability still could make him a very good starter in the NFL. He figures to be an instant upgrade to what the Cardinals currently have under center.
8. Buffalo Bills: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
While there are rumors that the Bills are interested in Syracuse's Ryan Nassib, I find it hard to believe they would pass up on Tyler Wilson. While Wilson's decision-making was questionable last season at Arkansas, he has the tools to be a solid starter in the NFL.
9. New York Jets: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Rex Ryan and the Jets' prayers would be answered here. They desperately need a pass-rusher who can single-handedly disrupt offenses and Jarvis Jones' combination of explosiveness and surprising strength could make him a Pro Bowler. Jones is another prospect who should dazzle at the combine. The Jets will be lucky if he lands here.
10. Tennessee Titans: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
The Titans could use an upgrade at the guard position and Chance Warmack has the potential to be an All-Pro down the line. He's a fantastic prospect who has not only displayed elite run-blocking ability, but proven he can anchor in pass protection.
11. San Diego Chargers: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Philip Rivers and the Chargers are desperate for a standout left tackle and Eric Fisher could be that guy. He has the athleticism, strength, length and technique to step in right away and make life easier for Rivers.
12. Miami Dolphins: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The Dolphins need a playmaker in the receiving corps for Ryan Tannehill, and Cordarrelle Patterson has an impressive blend of physicality, strength, speed and burst to be a No. 1 receiver at the next level.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Buccaneers need someone who can add punch to their secondary. Xavier Rhodes is a physical corner who can stand up against the bigger receivers in the NFL and inject some attitude into the team.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Possessing the size, athleticism and motor to bring it all together, Sheldon Richardson would be a welcome sight in the middle of Carolina's defensive line.
15. New Orleans Saints: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
There is no question that Ezekiel Ansah is raw, but his combination of size, explosiveness and blinding quickness has many comparing him to Jason Pierre-Paul. He does have bust potential, but his ceiling is through the roof and he will undoubtedly turn heads at the combine.
16. St. Louis Rams: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The Rams need to protect Sam Bradford better and Lane Johnson has steadily risen up draft boards based on his size, length and impressive mobility. He reminds a lot of people of San Francisco's Joe Staley.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: John Jenkins, DT, Georgia
With a need for a replacement in the middle of the defensive line, the Steelers would welcome a player like John Jenkins. The Georgia standout has recently risen up draft boards based on his blend of overwhelming strength and agility.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
The Cowboys need someone to help bolster the interior of the line. Johnathan Hankins would actually be a steal here. His ability to stop the running game in its tracks would bring great joy to Dallas.
19. New York Giants: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
You would think the Giants would be looking at an edge rusher in this draft. If Dion Jordan falls to them, he will be hard to pass up. There are some durability concerns with the 6'6", 243-pounder, but his athleticism and fluidity makes him an eye-opening prospect. He appears to glide on the field at times.
20. Chicago Bears: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
The Bears need a replacement for Brian Urlacher. While Arthur Brown is a bit undersized for an inside linebacker in the NFL, his toughness and physicality combine to give him substantial punch. You add his sideline-to-sideline ability, impressive instincts and tackling skills and you have a player who could be a very good pro.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
The Bengals would like to add an edge rusher to pair up with defensive tackle Geno Atkins and defensive end Michael Johnson. Imagining a prospect like Alex Okafor in the mix with those guys gives me goosebumps. Okafor likely won't be a Pro Bowler, but he has the strength, length and motor to play above expectations.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Redskins): Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas
The Rams would like nothing more than to add an offensive tackle and a safety in this year's draft. If they can land Kenny Vaccaro (widely considered to be the best safety in the class), it would be a boon for Jeff Fisher and company.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
I expect Keenan Allen to drop a bit in the draft, but that has more to do with Cordarrelle Patterson than anything. After the commotion about Percy Harvin, the Vikings are going to need a standout receiver more than ever this year. Keenan Allen doesn't have the elite quickness or elusiveness to compare to Harvin, but he does have solid speed when he gets going and the size and hands to become a No. 1 receiver in the pros.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
The Colts need to improve in the secondary and Johnthan Banks is a top-three corner in the draft. Banks has displayed the technique, fluidity and ball skills to be a disruptive defensive back in the NFL.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
I'm sticking with Sam Montgomery here. He's a road block against the run and is just scratching the surface of his potential when it comes to rushing the passer. Combined with Bruce Irvin, he could provide a complementary one-two punch for the Seahawks.
26. Green Bay Packers: Barrett Jones, C, Alabama
The Packers' troubles in the middle of the line were well-documented in 2012. Barrett Jones is arguably the best center in the class and would be an instant upgrade at the position for Green Bay.
27. Houston Texans: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
The Texans need a difference-maker at inside linebacker. Kevin Minter possesses the instincts and tackling ability to complement the collection of athletic defenders in Houston's front seven.
28. Denver Broncos: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Shariff Floyd could very well go earlier in the draft, but if he lands here, he would be welcomed with open arms in Denver. There are some questions about Floyd's consistency, but you can't ignore his combination of athleticism, strength and versatility.
29. New England Patriots: Matt Elam, SS, Florida
The Patriots were beat deep more than a few times last season. They need to patch up the back end of the secondary. This may be a bit of a reach for Matt Elam, but his ball-hawking ability can change games.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
With Tony Gonzalez on his way out, the Falcons need to find their next tight end. Zach Ertz isn't an elite athlete, but he has enough burst with the toughness and strength to go up for balls and out-muscle defenders.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Desmond Trufant soared up draft boards after Senior Bowl week. He's a very athletic defender with impressive footwork, fluidity and toughness. This is a kid who isn't afraid to get physical and has the temperament to fit in perfectly with Jim Harbaugh's 49ers. After Chris Culliver's dreadful performance in the Super Bowl and the declining play of Carlos Rogers, cornerback is a position of need for San Francisco.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
When have the Ravens ever cared about character concerns? Manti Te'o may not display elite range, but he's a wall on the inside and he's just the kind of fiery defender to succeed Ray Lewis in Baltimore.
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