NFL Mock Draft 2013: Current Predictions for Entire First Round
With the combine over, prospects' stocks are soaring and sliding left and right, based on their workouts (or lack thereof), interviews and medical evaluations. Teams are re-evaluating their needs based on the weekend's events, and have revamped their big boards based on concerns and surprises they found..
So, who's rising up boards, and who's stock is in deep trouble?
Let's take a look at the latest predictions for the first round, highlighting a few of the bigger names on the board.
*Highlighted players are in italics and have pictures under subheadlines.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Now that the Chiefs have their franchise QB in Alex Smith, head coach Andy Reid will turn his attention to fixing that porous offensive line, and Luke Joeckel is the perfect guy to fill their needs. He's big, athletic and a good blocker, and while tackles don't have a great track record this high recently, Joeckel has the skills to buck the trend.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Dion Jordan, DE/LB, Oregon
Jordan really impressed scouts at the combine with his speed, and everyone knew the young pass rusher was a phenomenal athlete. He's not the biggest edge rusher in history, but that won't stop him from blowing past linemen with ease chasing the QB.
He has some shoulder issues, but given his showing at the combine, I'm not concerned. He's an elite pass rusher, someone that will find success coming off the edge in the pros, even if he's not great at shutting down the run.
If there's a team who needs his skills, it's the Jags. Jacksonville's defensive line is an absolute disaster right now, and Jordan's skills could have an impact similar to Elvis Dumervil's did in Denver. He'll fit right into their new defensive scheme, and will definitely wreak havoc.
3. Oakland Raiders (4-12): Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Floyd's stock is skyrocketing right now courtesy of a strong showing at the combine, and he has the skill set to be a star in the NFL. He's got the size, strength and all of the essential skills in the middle to wreak absolute havoc on opposing lines.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Eagles' offensive line has been an issue for years, and if Chip Kelly wants to fix it, Fisher is the perfect man for the job. He's got the skill set to immediately bolster Philly's line, and the physical gifts to have considerable upside. In other words, he's the perfect guy to fix what ails the Eagles.
5. Detroit Lions (4-12): Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Detroit is certainly lacking defensive depth and will add the best cover corner in this draft by taking Alabama’s Dee Milliner. He has true shutdown cornerback potential and is the most polished of this class of defensive backs.
6. Cleveland Browns (5-11): Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The only thing holding Jarvis Jones back from being a sure-fire top-10 NFL draft pick were concerns about spinal stenosis. He was recently cleared by doctors, though, and will fall here to a team who will get the steal of the draft.
Jones isn't just the best pure pass-rusher in this draft—he might be the best overall player. He has an explosive first step that is unparalleled by his peers. It's the type of ability that leaves offenses cringing and game-planning around him during weekly game preparations.
Cleveland desperately needs a pass-rusher like Jones, too, as there is a huge hole in the Browns' new 3-4 defensive front at the impact pass-rusher position.
7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11): Matt Barkley, QB, USC
USC quarterback Matt Barkley will have a lot of challenges ahead of him in transitioning to the NFL game. There’s no denying his ceiling, though. Arizona desperately needs a signal caller it can build around, and they'll take that chance on the Southern California standout.
8. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
This may be a questionable selection at No. 8 overall, but I’m sticking with it until I can make a case for another QB going in this slot. Matt Barkley reminds me too much of Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Buffalo needs an upgrade over him.
9. New York Jets (6-10): Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
New York’s toughness and attitude were put in question after a shaky season defensively in 2012. Rex Ryan kept his job, somehow, and is going to come back with a vengeance. His first move will be petitioning for a player like Jarvis Jones to bring back some of that fire on defense.
10. Tennessee Titans (6-10): Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
It's hard to rate Bjoern Werner below Damontre Moore, as both defensive ends will have immensely successful careers. Werner's propensity to get into opposing backfields and create problems was a staple of football in the ACC in 2012.
He exhibited nearly all of the same key attributes as Moore with an added ability to hone in on opposing QB passes and make plays for his defense.
Getting into the backfield was never a problem for the strong and powerful Werner. He pushed, sidestepped and did everything he could to get off of blockers and onto ball-carriers and quarterbacks.
11. San Diego Chargers (7-9): Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The Chargers' offensive line was a mess, and left Philip Rivers running for his life all of last season. With two of the top tackles already off of the board, the new Chargers' management will turn to Lane Johnson here to be the team's answer to keeping Rivers upright.
Johnson's impressive combine performance, in which he ran a 4.72 40-yard dash, put up 28 reps on the bench and leaped to a 34-inch vertical, may be enough to get teams interested in him this early. He won't solve all of San Diego's protection issues himself, but he's a great start.
12. Miami Dolphins (7-9): Keenan Allen, WR, California
With Brian Hartline set to hit free agency and the team lacking any other reliable outside receiving threats, the Miami Dolphins could select multiple receivers in this draft. Keenan Allen is a big, physical and quick receiver that would give them back a lot of what they lost when they let Brandon Marshall go to Chicago.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9): Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were by far the worst pass-defending team in the NFL in 2012. Ronde Barber is aging and has been relegated to safety duty, and former first-round CB Aqib Talib was dealt to New England. That leaves little left in the cupboard for the Tampa secondary. Xaiver Rhodes is a 6’1” and 217-pound cornerback who will help the team compete in the pass-heavy NFC South.
14. Carolina Panthers (7-9): Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Johnathan Hankins has huge potential if he can realize it at the next level. The imposing defensive tackle will contribute immediately to a rapidly improving Carolina Panthers defense.
15. New Orleans Saints (7-9): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Anyone who watched the Saints last season could diagnose the problems here; the defensive line got zero pressure on the quarterback. They could chase a pass rusher like Ezekiel Ansah or Alec Ogletree, but I see them taking a chance on the risky upside of Lotulelei. The big man from Utah has no character issues or performance issues, he was rated as a potential top overall pick earlier in the offseason.
So, why is he risky? To put it bluntly, it's his health. The heart condition that he was diagnosed with at the combine that kept him out of workouts has caused his stock to slide considerably, and some experts think he could fall out of the first round entirely.
However, the Saints have needs at every single defensive line position, and if Lotulelei's condition proves to be nothing serious, he's an absolute steal and the kind of playmaking talent that the Saints desperately need.
16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Last year St. Louis added Janoris Jenkins, who did nothing short of impress everyone who watched him on the field in his rookie season. A secondary with Jenkins, Cortland Finnegan and Kenny Vaccaro may be good enough to contend and win the competitive NFC West.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
If Chance Warmack makes it this far in the draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers will spend no time on the clock before sending this pick in.
18. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Ezekiel Ansah has the potential to be a disruptive and dominating pass-rusher at the next level. There is some risk here, but having DeMarcus Ware on the opposite side will take some pressure off Ansah and allow him to really shine.
19. New York Giants (9-7): Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
The New York Giants ranked 28th in the NFL in passing yards allowed in 2012, surrendering over 4,000 yards through the air. Johnthan Banks is a promising young corner who will help them make strides on defense from day one.
20. Chicago Bears (10-6): Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson reported about the uncertainty surrounding franchise centerpiece Brian Urlacher. With the big man set to depart, the Chicago Bears will bring in a huge name in the Midwest and potential perennial Pro Bowl linebacker Manti Te’o.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
Ray Maualuga could be on the way out via free agency. The Cincinnati Bengals will need a big and physical freak in the middle of their defense in order to contend in the AFC North division—Alec Ogletree is that freak.
22. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1) (from Washington): D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
St. Louis seems to be solidifying its roster with young and promising talent. What it needs is a bookend right tackle to help reestablish a successful rushing game in a division full of big and physical defenders. D.J. Fluker performed okay while opening up running lanes at Alabama.
23. Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Cordarrelle Patterson is somewhat of an unknown commodity, but there’s no doubting the physical tools he brings to the table. Minnesota has an upcoming contract struggle with Percy Harvin and has no reliable options behind him. Wide receiver is the only option for the Vikes here.
24. Indianapolis Colts (11-5): Damonte Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
If the Colts are smart, they'll snag the sliding Moore to replace the departing Dwight Freeney. Moore has a similar skill set to Freeney, and while he didn't work out well, it's hard to argue with his on-field resume. He has definite star potential.
25. Seattle Seahawks (11-5): Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Sheldon Richardson is a versatile and tough defensive lineman who the Seattle Seahawks can utilize all along their defensive line.
26. Green Bay Packers (11-5): Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
Rush defense has been the fatal flaw for the Green Bay Packers, especially during the team’s playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Alex Okafor is no savior, but he’s a smart addition to help lock down the edges and keep teams from running amok against their defense.
27. Houston Texans (12-4): Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
Offensive balance is key to success in this league, and the Houston Texans have been solely reliant on Arian Foster for too much of their offensive production. Terrance Williams will add another element to the Texans' offense, opposite Andre Johnson, that may help them reach the next level.
28. Denver Broncos (13-3): Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Peyton Manning will be dangerous in 2013 with his current targets and the top pass-catching tight end in this draft added to the fold.
29. New England Patriots (12-4): Matt Elam, S, Florida
Free agency is certainly a good place to find a placeholder at the safety position. Whether the New England Patriots pursue Charles Woodson or Ed Reed remains to be seen. Matt Elam is the team’s best option here regardless of whether they choose to sign a veteran.
30. Atlanta Falcons (13-3): Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
Atlanta will likely need to find a replacement for Tony Gonzalez, who will probably retire. Still, pass-rusher is and continues to be a question mark. Sam Montgomery is an exceptional front-line defender to find this late in the draft and could prosper playing in the Falcons’ 4-3 front across from John Abraham.
31. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Adding another offensive playmaker like Tavon Austin will make this San Francisco offense one of the most feared in the league in 2013.
32. Baltimore Ravens (10-6): Kevin Minter, LB, LSU
Ray Lewis’ final stand ended in epic fashion when the Baltimore Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII. Retooling through free agency will not likely be an option for the defending champs, making this a critical pick for the future of the team’s defense. Kevin Minter has the potential to be an imposing interior linebacker and would be the perfect pick here at the end of the first round.
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