2013 NFL Mock Draft: Dee Milliner and Superstars Who Will Start Right Away
Some teams can afford to bring their prospects along slowly. If the roster is fleshed out from previous classes, rookies shouldn't be counted on to contribute right off the bat.
But in other, more numerous situations, rookies are counted to come in and make and impact from Day 1.
Some prospects are more NFL-ready than others too, and when said players find themselves in those immediate-impact situations, we see rookie seasons like those we saw from Andrew Luck or Luke Kuechly.
Let's take a look at four guys who might do the same in 2013:
Note: Highlighted players are pictured.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
Andy Reid loves drafting linemen early, but in this rare case, that just happens to be a coincidence. He won't take Joeckel because of that penchant; he'll take Joeckel because, quite simply, the Aggies' standout is the best player on the board.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
The similarities between Moore and former teammate Von Miller are too vivid to ignore. They both carried Aggies defenses during their time in College Station, and they both get to the passer with reckless abandon. Come April, they'll also both be No. 2 overall picks.
3. Oakland Raiders: DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
What more can you say about Lotulelei? No other player from this year's class jumps out on film quite like the big Samoan from Utah, but need drops him down to No. 3. Unless, of course, the Raiders find a way to screw things up.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
"But wait, the Eagles just re-signed Michael Vick and picked up Dennis Dixon. No way they'd splurge on another quarterback!" Not so fast. If Smith wows scouts in pre-draft workouts, as I expect he will, there's no way Chip Kelly will be able to resist this potential new weapon.
5. Detroit Lions: CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
The Lions regressed in almost every conceivable way last season, so it's hard to pinpoint just one area of needed improvement. But the secondary was particularly weak.
Dee Millner sticks out as the best cornerback in the draft, and it's not even close. Though others below him are decent prospects, none compare with his rare combination of tools.
Detroit will plug him in as a starter from Day 1.
6. Cleveland Browns: DE Bjoern Wener, Florida State
Werner is actually a high-ceiling prospect, given that he hasn't played the game for his entire life. But his NFL-readiness is what really sticks out.
While some struggle to transition from the size of college opponents to the size of pros, Werner will have no such problems. He is built like an NFL player and has the motor of one too.
Cleveland had a surprisingly plucky defense in 2012, and by adding Werner, they only continue to work toward that cause.
7. Arizona Cardinals: OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
Fisher is shooting up draft boards, and after his performance in Mobile for the Senior Bowl, it's hard to argue with why. He quickly shed the label of "small school wonder," and is almost a lock to go in the top 10.
8. Buffalo Bills: ILB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
DUI arrest notwithstanding, Ogletree has done nothing but help his draft stock this past season. The recent run-in with the law doesn't help, but it won't be enough to stop him from going this high.
9. New York Jets: OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
Jones was born to play in Rex Ryan's system which, despite its fall-off in 2012, usually excels at getting to the passer. The Jets' divisive boss will love having this new toy in green.
10. Tennessee Titans: DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU
Scouts are split on Mingo, but no one has the nerve to deny his potential. If the rest of his game catches up with his frame, he could become a steady Pro Bowler for years to come.
11. San Diego Chargers: OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
We'll talk about value picks later in the draft, but this is the opposite—pure need. Johnson is a promising prospect in his own right, but even Chargers fans admit that this is strictly a move to plug the hole at tackle.
12. Miami Dolphins: WR Keenan Allen, California
Ryan Tannehill was overwhelmed by his rookie QB peers last year, but we don't know how good he really is yet. With a receiver like Allen on board in Miami, he'll have no more excuses.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Jonathan Banks, Mississippi State
Tampa was a playoff team in three of the game's four phases last season. But the one where it wasn't, pass defense, was malignant enough to keep the team out of the postseason. Jonathan Banks is capable of remedying that.
14. Carolina Panthers: DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida
The Panthers' hole at defensive tackle might be more pressing than every other team need in football. They desperately need a guy like Floyd to come in and provide solid snaps up the middle.
15. New Orleans Saints: DE/OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon
Is anyone hotter than Jordan right now? Perhaps not. NFL.com's Mike Mayock ranked him the top OLB of the class, which I don't quite agree with, but it's certainly close.
16. St. Louis Rams: OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
On talent and sheer talent alone, most agree Warmack is a top-five guy in this draft. But guard, for whatever reason, aren't sought-after commodities, so he might drop this low.
The Rams have problems all over the offensive line, and perhaps need a tackle more than an interior guy. But Warmack at No. 16 is too good of a deal to pass up.
He'll be plugged in as a starter from the get go.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: DT John Hankins, Ohio State
The old guard has run its course in Pittsburgh, where big changes are sure to occur this summer. Casey Hampton could be one of the guys who gets ousted, making Hankins a much-needed solution up the middle.
18. Dallas Cowboys: OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
Value and need couldn't meet much more beautifully. The Cowboys desperately need help at guard while Cooper would go much higher at another position. He's going to be a piece to build around up the middle.
19. New York Giants: TE Zach Ertz, Stanford
Martellus Bennet was good, at times, for the Giants in 2012. But Eli Manning, who has always relied heavily on the position, needs more consistency. Ertz has the chance to provide that elite kind of production.
20. Chicago Bears: ILB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
Could there be a better home for such a contentious prospect? Brian Urlacher doesn't have much left in the tank, but as a mentor for Te'o, he could make an indirect impact for years after his egress.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
Reggie Nelson looked great on one side of Cincinnati's secondary, but the strong safety position was a big of a nightmare.
Enter Kenny Vaccaro.
The steely Texan with linebacker-esque tackling range will come in and immediately help a unit that, on the whole, was already quite good. He's better in run support than coverage, but Nelson should be able to hide him on the back end.
22. St. Louis Rams: WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
The talent is there, and despite unimpressive numbers, so is the tape. Now all we need to see is consistency and Patterson could become a unique NFL weapon.
23. Minnesota Vikings: DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
The Vikings have long been defined by their big, nasty defensive lines. But the pieces aren't getting any younger, so Richardson becomes an important pick for their future.
24. Indianapolis Colts: DE Sam Montgomery, LSU
The Colts made the playoffs in 2013, but don't let that fool you; they need as much help as just about anyone. Sam Montgomery comes from a dominant defensive tradition, so he's a great piece to add to a soft unit in Indianapolis.
25. Seattle Seahawks: DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina
Kind of the opposite of Indianapolis; they didn't make the Super Bowl or anything, but Seattle is just as stacked as any other team. Defensive line depth is a small concern, though, so Williams becomes a smart, safe selection.
26. Green Bay Packers: DT John Jenkins, Georgia
Jenkins certainly has the size to backup (and one day maybe replace) B.J. Raji. But does he have the unrelenting work ethic? Something tells me being in the locker room will help foster it.
27. Houston Texans: DE/OLB Ezekiel Ansah
There's been a little backlash on Ansah's stock, which isn't buzzing the way it once was, but he's still pretty much a consensus first-rounder. After the way Houston's defense fell apart this season, they better hope they're right on him.
28. Denver Broncos: DT Kawann Short, Purdue
Short lacked hustle and motivation at Purdue, but the parts of his tape that stood out really stood out. Should Denver be able to culture more consistency in him, Short could become a valuable steal this late.
29. New England Patriots: WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
Austin was tailor-made to be a Patriot. The diminutive speedster was a jack of all trades in college, and Bill Belichick loves players of that ilk. Even if Wes Welker comes back, Austin will be tough to pass up.
30. Atlanta Falcons: TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
Tony Gonzalez can waffle all he wants in Atlanta; God knows he earned it. But whether or not he returns, the Falcons need to replace him eventually. Eifert is as safe of a bet as you can find at the position.
31. San Francisco 49ers: CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
The back-end of San Francisco's defense got exposed in a big way during their last two playoff games. Xavier Rhodes is a tier below someone like Milliner, but he's got loads of potential. That's too much for the Niners to pass up.
32. Baltimore Ravens: LB Kevin Minter, LSU
Ray Lewis retired this offseason (just in case you didn't hear) and based off the early returns from his injury, Baltimore doesn't have a good in-house replacement. Minter is a bit of a reach, but he fit the Baltimore mold to a tee.
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