With the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine ending this week, draft stocks will have altered to a certain extent.
Not every prospect saw their status completely skyrocket or flop terribly, but there were some fascinating numbers put up over these past few days. It is also important, however, to not forget about how these athletes produced in real games last fall.
Shining at the combine definitely helps, although it never guarantees anything in pro football. By that token, let's check out another Round 1 NFL mock draft for 2013.
Note: Highlighted players are in italics.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB (West Virginia)
A person briefed on the Chiefs' thinking in regard to Matt Cassel said the veteran quarterback has not been offered a pay cut from his slated salary of $7.5 million. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team hasn't talked about Cassel's contract situation in detail, said it seems Cassel is destined to be released soon.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Bjoern Werner, DE (Florida State)
Jacksonville needs a complete defensive end and Bjoern Werner a reliable solution. Although he's not the most freakishly athletic end, Werner brings keen field awareness and excellent reactionary skills to the Jaguars.
Over the past two seasons he defended 17 passes and accounted for 20 sacks. Werner provides the size to contain the edge against the run, as well as the lateral balance to widening sweeps, counters and tosses to his side.
The Jaguars were atrocious against the run last season, plus the pass rush struggled with minimal consistency. Factor the AFC South featuring running backs in Arian Foster and Chris Johnson, and Werner's addition will get the defense to control the line better.
Doing so will assist the coverage, generate more turnovers and help the offense regarding field position. Werner's not going to wow opponents with athleticism by comparison to this draft's other defensive ends, but he'll simply get the job done.
3. Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei, DT (Utah)
While the Raiders are aging along the defensive line, they also need a top-talented defensive tackle to dominate the trenches. Star Lotulelei is the perfect answer, as he possesses excellent strength and quickness. There is a health concern, however, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com:
Star Lotulelei, one of the elite prospects for the 2013 NFL draft, will not be allowed to work out Monday at the scouting combine after an echocardiogram revealed that the former Utah defensive tackle has a heart condition that requires more testing, according to league sources.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, Tackle (Texas A&M)
Philadelphia has the offensive tools to field a high-powered attack. But quarterback protection and a more consistent ground game are needed. Well, Luke Joeckel provides excellent pass-blocking and the ability to quickly extend running lanes.
5. Detroit Lions: Damontre Moore, DE (Texas A&M)
The Lions have to upgrade the pass rush and run defense. Damontre Moore has the size and quickness to contain the edge and apply pressure. His impact is a solid complement to Ndamukong Suh and Detroit gets back into the postseason mix.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB (Alabama)
Cleveland has a better front seven that at first glance. Therefore, getting Dee Milliner to play with Joe Haden in the secondary ensures better lockdown coverage. The end results are more forced turnovers and quarterback pressure in 2013.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Chance Warmack, Guard (Alabama)
The NFC West is a defensively tough division. Arizona lacked quarterback protection and a ground game last season, so Chance Warmack is the perfect fit. He'll form an interior wall of the pocket and drive defenders at the snap to create immediate running lanes for reliable balance.
8. Buffalo Bills: Ezekiel Ansah, DE (BYU)
One of the most incredible combines this year came from BYU's Ezekiel Ansah. Measuring at 6'5", 271 pounds, Ansah ran 4.63 seconds in the 40-yard dash and leaped to 34.5 inches on the vertical jump.
Buffalo gave up five yards per rush in 2012 and a talented complement is required opposite Mario Williams. To go with the supreme acceleration, lateral explosiveness and power, Ansah also produced quite well for the Cougars.
In collecting 62 tackles last year, Ansah had 13 for loss and defended nine passes. Despite that being his lone productive college campaign, the wherewithal against the run and strength to close gaps is impressive.
The Bills didn't present a dominant pass rush last fall, and Ansah's size and length will significantly benefit Williams. His impact bolsters Buffalo's front seven, which gives the Bills top 10 defensive potential.
9. New York Jets: Jarvis Jones, LB (Georgia)
New York must get a more impacting pass rush and run defense. The addition of Jarvis Jones does just that, because applying pressure and creating turnovers are his specialty. At the same time, his athleticism will develop to improve against the run.
10. Tennessee Titans: Johnthan Banks, CB (Mississippi State)
Tennessee will not become an AFC playoff contender until it shuts down against the pass. Johnthan Banks is the answer here, because he can press at the line and shield targets consistently in zone. Plus his lateral agility and top speed allows him to effectively change directions for man-to-man.
11. San Diego Chargers: Eric Fisher, Tackle (Central Michigan)
Philip Rivers still possesses the talent to make the Chargers postseason contenders. However, he can't be efficient without protection. Eric Fisher supplies the balance and body control to seal the edge, and he'll also help establish a dependable ground game.
12. Miami Dolphins: Keenan Allen, WR (California)
Keenan Allen is a deep-threat receiver and the Dolphins need a downfield target for Ryan Tannehill. With the leaping ability and body size to make plays over the middle and against Cover 1, Allen bolsters Miami to playoff contention.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kenny Vaccaro, Safety (Texas)
Tampa Bay was horrendous against the pass in 2012, so landing Kenny Vaccaro suits well in the NFC South. As a guy that can shift smoothly in coverage and also fill running lanes, Vaccaro helps the Buccaneers force more punts and blanket back deep or by rolling down.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT (Missouri)
The Panthers have the potential on defense to make significant improvements in 2013. Still, a punishing controller in Sheldon Richardson will be needed to stuff the run and get more quarterback pressure. Not to mention that is a competitive advantage in the defensively suspect NFC South.
15. New Orleans Saints: Sharrif Floyd, DT (Florida)
The Saints obviously need defense, but the good news is any one prospect will help. To that end, Sharrif Floyd will immediately impact by getting into the backfield and drawing blockers. Ultimately, New Orleans stuffs the run more and controls the line of scrimmage.
16. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper, Guard (North Carolina)
The Rams are on the verge of becoming annual NFC playoff contenders. Selecting Jonathan Cooper presents a more powerful ground game and helps set up the pass. He's also athletic enough to slide inside the pocket and pull outside for bootlegs, counters and sweeps.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dion Jordan, DE/LB (Oregon)
Without question does Dion Jordan possess top 10 talent, but not every team ahead of Pittsburgh needs a hybrid defensive end/outside 'backer.
So, fortunately for the Steelers, Jordan drops here after a solid combine where he darted to 4.6 seconds on the 40-yard dash and hit 122 inches on the broad jump. Jordan certainly possesses the athleticism to contribute anywhere along the line, but his power and size will suit Pittsburgh's best on the outside.
Dick LeBeau's defense needs some youth and speed; Jordan obviously provides each. After accounting for 86 tackles and 23.5 tackles for loss between 2011 and 2012, Jordan proved he can make plays in pursuit or to his side.
Additionally, his pass-rushing talent bodes well, as Jordan forced four fumbles the past two seasons. Pittsburgh must upgrade this aspect to return as AFC postseason contenders.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Barkevious Mingo, DE/LB (LSU)
Barkevious Mingo possesses the size and speed to impact as an outside 'backer or defensive end. Dallas needs an explosive complement to DeMarcus Ware, and Mingo's ability to get in the backfield and squeeze against the run will be a sound investment.
19. New York Giants: John Jenkins, DT (Georgia)
New York failed to consistently control the line of scrimmage in 2012. So, drafting John Jenkins establishes a stronger interior and he'll draw blockers to complement Jason Pierre-Paul. The Giants then clog running lanes more quickly and find their pass rush.
20. Chicago Bears: Lane Johnson, Tackle (Oklahoma)
With a dependable playmaker in Brandon Marshall and sound running game, Chicago's offense will drastically improve with Lane Johnson. His athleticism is great to wall off the edge and he'll get upfield to extend running lanes as well.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Matt Elam, Safety (Florida)
The AFC North is slowly becoming a pass-oriented division. To counteract that evolution, Cincinnati needs Matt Elam for more reliable coverage. Possessing the speed and balance to make plays all over the field, Elam's knack for finding the ball also makes him an appealing roll-down safety to help underneath.
22. St. Louis Rams (via WAS): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR (Tennessee)
St. Louis increases its postseason odds by getting Cordarrelle Patterson. The man provides the deep threat needed to stretch defenses, which helps balance out the offense. With improved balance the Rams will now control the ball nicely in the NFC West.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Terrance Williams, WR (Baylor)
Adrian Peterson hit over two grand without a consistent passing game to keep defenders out of the box. Now picture Peterson's impact with Terrance Williams pushing defenses back. His big-play ability will prevent opponents from constantly loading up front, which allows the NFL's best back to dominate on an unforeseen level.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Alex Okafor, DE (Texas)
Alex Okafor's size and athleticism will impact anywhere for the Colts. In strict passing situations he can line up at defensive tackle or nose man for quicker interior pressure, and he'll be a solid playmaker on the outside. Regardless, Indy needs defense and Okafor enhances the front seven.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Jesse Williams, DT (Alabama)
Seattle is nearly a complete team, but Pete Carroll's defense must suffocate better against the run. Jesse Williams brings the toughness and strength to control the interior, and his quickness will draw blocks to clog lanes. A byproduct of this are Seattle's pass-rushers also getting more edge pressure.
26. Green Bay Packers: Barrett Jones, Center (Alabama)
As long as the Packers address the offensive line early, Green Bay will increase its odds for a Super Bowl run. Barrett Jones brings the versatility to contribute anywhere, as his lateral balance and footwork will keep Aaron Rodgers upright. In addition, the Packers rushing attack also improves.
27. Houston Texans: Xavier Rhodes, CB (Florida State)
Houston must spruce up its pass defense to become stronger AFC title contenders. Xavier Rhodes is the answer, because he's capable of getting physical at the line and rerouting receivers in zone. Plus he'll be dependable assistance with perimeter run support.
28. Denver Broncos: Alec Ogletree, LB (Georgia)
Alec Ogletree's dynamic skill set makes him an appealing prospect. The Broncos have to get a younger and more athletic linebacker to control the interior, and Ogletree is quite capable of dominating. Include the presence of Von Miller and Denver crushes more against the run and shields better in coverage at the intermediate level.
29. New England Patriots: DeAndre Hopkins, WR (Clemson)
Providing Tom Brady with a young and explosive receiver will keep the Patriots atop the AFC East. DeAndre Hopkins brings the quickness and jump to make plays downfield, and rack up yards after the catch. And he'll constantly face single coverage because of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, TE (Notre Dame)
Atlanta needs to solidify its future at tight end, as we wait on Tony Gonzalez per Ed Werder of ESPN.com
Ed Werder @Edwerderespn
Source says Tony Gonzalez wavering on retirement. A player close to him: "I think if the circumstances are right, Tony will come back.''2/19/2013, 4:50:35 PM
Well, Tyler Eifert is the solution and his plamaking abilities will complement the rest of Matt Ryan's offense to an incredible degree. The guy can draw and defeat double coverage, but Eifert will also never face it with the Falcons, courtesy of Julio Jones and Roddy White.
Given that Eifert also glided to 4.68 seconds on the 40-yard dash at the combine, as well as leaping to 35.5 inches vertically, his potential is unlimited. Along with snagging 140 receptions for 1,840 yards and scoring 11 times during his career, Eifert also helped Notre Dame present a sound rushing attack.
The Falcons must enhance in the trenches and the threat of such an explosive passing game will set up the run. The Irish in 2012 had its three main rushers combine to average 6.1 yards per carry, and extending running lanes doesn't always occur from the offensive line.
In short, the Falcons remain high-powered and get a tight end that can also run block to field impressive balance.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Kawann Short, DT (Purdue)
The 49ers have the aging defenders up front, so taking Kawann Short allows San Francisco to sustain a dominant front seven. His ability to wreck designed plays will force offenses to block his direction, and the linebackers simply make more plays as a result.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te’o, LB (Notre Dame)
The NFL combine doesn't tell nearly the whole story of a prospect, so Manti Te'o's stock isn't going to dramatically plummet. Baltimore is also a great fit, because he won't be the lone defender that needs to make plays. The Ravens have talented pass-rushers and a defensive line to quicken his development. Te'o will just be put in a limited role, which allows him to read and react more easily because of sound instincts.
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