NFL Mock Draft 2013: Underrated Players Whose Stock Will Soar at Combine

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2013

No event leading up to the NFL draft makes as big of an impact as the combine. For the players that take part in the process, a few days can make or break their future.

The top prospects in the country travel to Indianapolis in order to let scouts and general managers judge everything about them. 

However, the fastest and strongest players love this time because it allows them to show off their raw athleticism.

This mock draft focuses on the players that will rise the most following the combine.

Note: Highlighted players in italics.


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

Geno Smith will be the top quarterback selected. The only question is whether the Chiefs believe he is worth taking with the first overall pick or if they would be better off with a lineman like Luke Joeckel.

Unless they add another quarterback through free agency, Smith is the only real option here.


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

Not only would Damontre Moore provide the Jaguars with some much-needed pass-rush, but he is also a solid defender against the run. His versatility separates him from the rest of the talented pass-rushers in this class.


3. Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

Although there is not a lot of room for Star Lotulelei to rise after the combine, the event is certain to put him in high demand.

Star Lotulelei has the strength to do well in the bench press, and the speed to dominate the 40-yard dash and the cone drill which showcases agility.

This is all coming from someone that is listed at 320 pounds. 

Lotulelei's skills on the field make him a great pick for the Raiders, but the combine performance might cause a team to trade up to get him.


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

Michael Vick and Nick Foles will compete for the starting job at quarterback. However, it will not matter who is behind center if the offensive line cannot block. Luke Joeckel will help fix the biggest weakness on the team.


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

The departure of Kyle Vanden Bosch leaves a gaping hole on the defensive line. Bjoern Werner had 13 sacks this season and will be able to fill in right away.


6. Cleveland Browns: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia 

The Browns need someone to make things happen on the defensive side of the football. Jarvis Jones is the type of player that could fit into any system and make the unit better. 

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

At one point, Eric Fisher seemed like he would be a reach to be selected this early. Now, there is little chance that he slides past this point. He is a solid left tackle prospect that will start right away for the Cardinals.


8. Buffalo Bills: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas

Buffalo needs a new franchise quarterback. Ryan Nassib might be an option as well, but Tyler Wilson represents much more upside.

This team cannot afford to pass on a solid prospect like Wilson. 


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

Barkevious Mingo did not have much production this season at LSU, but his speed and athleticism make scouts believe that he could be a force at the next level. 

This will help the Jets get back to their roots as a strong defensive team.


10. Tennessee Titans: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama 

When the Titans were playing well, they had a solid offensive line that cleared space for Chris Johnson and the running game. Chance Warmack can help get the team back to that spot.


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

Like Eric Fisher, Lane Johnson has risen on draft boards a lot since the end of the college football regular season. After the combine, the Oklahoma tackle could be even higher.

Johnson has little experience at the position after playing quarterback, tight end and even defensive end during his college career.

Still, all NFL teams will want to see is that he has the potential to be a good offensive tackle. 

At the combine, he will be able to show off his strength that will make teams overlook how raw he is at the position.

12. Miami Dolphins: Keenan Allen, WR, California 

Ryan Tannehill needs someone to throw to after a successful first season with the Dolphins. Keenan Allen might not have the elite athleticism of past first-round picks, but he has everything you look for in a receiver.


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

As the best cornerback in the draft Dee Milliner will be in high demand. Tampa Bay has to do whatever necessary to secure a possible game-changer after the team struggled to defend receivers all season.


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

With a solid young middle linebacker and two good defensive ends, the Panthers need a defensive tackle to bring it all together. Johnathan Hankins is the best available and will make a big difference on this defense.


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

Sheldon Richardson is one of the more active defensive tackles in the class. He can not only take on blockers, but he can get into the backfield with consistency and blow up plays before they start.


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

St. Louis needs to play it safe with its two picks, and there are few safer selections than Jonathan Cooper. The mauling guard will instantly improve the run game and create a little more balance on offense.


17. Pittsburgh Steelers:  Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

After finishing his college career with more potential than production, scouts are very mixed in their feelings about Ezekiel Ansah.

That will change after the combine.

Ansah is an incredible athlete that will dazzle the crowd at Indianapolis with his speed in the 40-yard dash, as well as pretty much every other drill. He is big, strong, and can move as well as players half of his size.

While he still must prove he can turn into a football player, teams will be willing to take a chance on him.


18. Dallas Cowboys: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon

The Cowboys have a few needs on the defensive side of the ball, but a good pass-rusher like Dion Jordan will solve a lot of problems. Whether in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense, the Oregon end will be able to get to the quarterback.


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

New York could not stop teams on defense this year because the secondary could not guard the receivers. Johnthan Banks is one of the best skill players in the class and will improve a major weakness on the Giants.


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

D.J. Fluker is a bit of a reach at this point, but it is never a bad thing to grab a solid tackle where you know what you are going to get out of him. This is by far the team's biggest need, and it will give Jay Cutler a chance to succeed.


21. Cincinnati Bengals: Matt Elam, S, Florida 

There are a few top safeties in this draft, but Matt Elam is the strong against the run and his hard-hitting ways will prevent any opposing receivers from coming into the middle of the field. 


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

With the second pick in the first round, the Rams fill a need at outside linebacker. Alec Ogletree is versatile enough to play any linebacker position, and he will likely get over 100 tackles regardless where he starts the play.


23. Minnesota Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

Cordarrelle Patterson only played one year in FBS and was outshone by teammate Justin Hunter on the field.

However, the combine will give teams a chance to see what he can do. 

Not only should Patterson post a solid 40-yard dash time, but he should also have one of the top marks in the vertical jump.

Additionally, the non-measurable events where they watch him run routes and catch passes will boost his stock even more.

He will help add a weapon to the Vikings offense and possibly replace Percy Harvin next season.


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

Xavier Rhodes is the perfect cornerback for the new generation of NFL receivers. He has great size and will use his strength to jam the bigger players at the line of scrimmage. 

He will not be a shut-down cornerback, but he will help the Colts defense.


25. Seattle Seahawks: Zach Ertz, TE Stanford 

Imagine Russell Wilson scrambling near the goal line as the 6'6" Zach Ertz presents himself as a target in the back of the end zone. Defenses will not be able to stop them.


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

Safety is not an immediate need for the Green Bay Packers, but it is certainly a long-term issue. Eric Reid has great speed for pass coverage and will be able to make up for mistakes by the cornerbacks.


27. Houston Texans: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

Kenny Vaccaro would be a solid fit on the Texans due to his versatility. He can play either safety position, and he can even start as a nickel back in his first year to improve the already deep team.


28. Denver Broncos: John Jenkins, DT, Georgia 

John Jenkins was a reason that other players were successful on Georgia's defense like Alec Ogletree and Jarvis Jones. He can do the same for the talented players on the Broncos.


29. New England Patriots: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU

Great teams have many pass rushers that continue to give offensive lines and quarterbacks fits. Even with Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich, Sam Montgomery could make the defense that much better.


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

Some are questioning whether a running back will even be drafted in the first round this year.

Despite putting up solid-but-not-great numbers in his career, Giovani Bernard will show that he deserves to be selected in this spot.

The running back has excellent speed that will be highlighted at the combine. This was on display not only as a running back but also during special teams at North Carolina.

While there are questions about his consistency and pass-blocking ability, these will be forgotten about when he performs well at the combine. 


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

When Justin Smith got injured at the end of the regular season, it showed how little depth the 49ers had on the defensive line. Sharrif Floyd will help in his ability to play either defensive tackle or defensive end in a 3-4 system.


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

Manti Te'o struggled against a big-time offense line like Alabama's, but he would do well with the talent that would around him on the Ravens. Although no one will be able to fill Ray Lewis' shoes, Te'o can try.



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