2013 NFL Mock Draft: Final Landing Spots for College Studs
The 2013 NFL draft is rapidly approaching, with the biggest question being just where the top stars of college football are going to end up for the year ahead.
Teams will no doubt have scouted and graded their most likely picks following the combine and various pro days, and it'll have been the players that made the biggest impression there that will have their draft stock counted the highest come draft day.
Read on for a full first-round mock draft to see where the top college studs will fall.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, LT
Yes the Kansas City Chiefs signed Branden Albert and, yes, the Chiefs would therefore be doubling up at left tackle, but taking Joeckel is still the right move here.
Alex Smith's signing (when it happens officially) makes him the long-term starter in Kansas City, whilst Albert is only on a one-year deal. It's unlikely that the Chiefs sign him on a long-term contract—otherwise they would have done that this year—and they'll need a new LT once Albert goes.
So passing up Joeckel, who is as good as promised, seems crazy for Andy Reid to do—meaning the Texas A&M star will be heading to KC this season.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Bjoern Werner, DE
The Jaguars ranked dead last in pass rush last season, and for a team that has had a somewhat strong defense over the last few years, that really is pretty poor form, Jacksonville.
The Jags will be looking to add in some new assistance to their front seven on defense, and thus taking Werner is a move that makes perfect sense here.
Given Werner's ability to play coverage on tight ends as well as rush the man under center, he's simply too good of a player for the Jags to pass up.
3. Oakland Raiders: Geno Smith, QB
The Raiders do not have a quarterback other than Carson Palmer at the moment, and with a strong combine under his belt, Geno Smith will get the nod here.
Yes, it's a stretch for Oakland to make—picking Smith with the third pick—but the reality is if the Raiders ever want to get better, they need to get a decent QB.
Smith has the potential to evolve throughout the years, and his dual-threat ability could be a serious success in an otherwise lethargic Raiders offense.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dion Jordan, OLB
Former Oregon linebacker moving to where his former Oregon coach Chip Kelly is makes perfect sense at the moment—especially given the Eagles' needs.
The Eagles' struggled to get any momentum on defense last season—especially from their front seven—and the addition of a versatile, agile and fast linebacker in Jordan could be the catalyst that Philadelphia need to improve drastically in 2013.
5. Detroit Lions: Eric Fisher, OT
The very fact that Eric Fisher is available at pick No. 5 here for the Detroit Lions is incredible given how strong and solid the left tackle will be in the NFL.
Matthew Stafford is proven to have good arm and can throw the ball well, and with Calvin Johnson running down the field with his mega-contract in hand, the Lions would be simply crazy not to pick the guy most likely to help that connection continue.
Cornerbacks can be picked up in the second round for Detroit.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB
Cleveland desperately needs somebody to play across from Joe Haden, and Milliner is the perfect solution for the Browns here with the No. 6 pick.
The Alabama corner is a perfect shutdown man who can simply blanket receivers. Moreover, he can hold his own in one-on-one coverage and doesn't necessarily need safety help every single time that a star wide receiver lines up ahead of him.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Matt Barkley, QB
There's no doubting that the plethora of players that have played under center for the Arizona Cardinals in the past 12 months have been horrendous. John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley—all struggled to move the ball downfield with any success whatsoever.
And that's with Larry Fitzgerald available out wide.
The selection of Barkley here then makes perfect sense for the Cardinals, in that they have a need for a strong quarterback heading into 2013. The former USC man is getting drafted too high, but this is about Arizona filling a hole with a guy that they need.
And Barkley is that man for Arizona.
Text I received from a scout this morning: Matt Barkley will not get past the Arizona #Cardinals at No. 7 overall.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 24, 2013
8. Buffalo Bills: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR
Again, I'm not sure that Patterson is a legitimate top-10 receiver in the draft this year, but Buffalo need to find a strong guy who can compete opposite Stevie Johnson, and Patterson is the man most likely to bring that change for the Bills in 2013.
Yes, a new quarterback makes sense, but Ryan Nassib could still be around in the second round if Buffalo is lucky and its other biggest needs can also be picked up later. The Bills need a strong competitor out wider and Patterson can be that guy in 2013.
9. New York Jets: Jonathan Cooper, OG
Offensive guards never go this high in the NFL draft—it just doesn't happen—but given the ludicrous decisions that New York have made in the past 12 months, it wouldn't at all be surprising to see them try and fix their offensive line with a top 10 pick.
Cooper is a strong and versatile guard who would help Mark Sanchez throw the ball better—something every Jets fan will be wanting to see in 2013. And with no other standout selections remaining in the first round this year, it wouldn't be at all surprising to see a guard indeed to this high in 2013.
10. Tennessee Titans: Sharrif Floyd, DT
The very fact that Floyd has slipped this far down the draft means that Tennessee will jump at the opportunity to bring him into its side for 2013.
Floyd could line up at whatever hole that the Titans' biggest need for the new year is, and be a day-one starter that has an instant success in Tennessee.
Regardless of what other needs the Titans might have, it's hard to pass up a guy like Floyd, who really should have gone somewhere inside the top 10.
11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, OT
Only a couple of months ago it seemed that Eric Fisher was a reach for the Chargers at No. 11, but it's unlikely he'll still be on the board once San Diego is on the clock now—meaning that another offensive tackle is likely to be picked up here.
With a strong Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine that highlighted both his strength and athleticism, this is a great pick for the Chargers to be making—and one that Philip Rivers will no doubt be applauding greatly from whenever he is on the night.
12. Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes, CB
The reality is that Miami would love to draft an offensive tackle here, but with Fisher and Johnson off the boards, it's defense that needs the biggest work here.
If Sean Smith goes, this one becomes a lock, but even if they don't, expect the Dolphins to bring in someone to try and help them against Tom Brady twice a year. Rhodes, with his great size and athleticism, is the perfect man to fill that need.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Star Lotulelei, DT
Lotulelei was a top-five pick not that long ago, but with news about a heart condition, the defensive tackle is likely to see a fall down the draft boards.
The Buccaneers would no doubt love to pick up a cornerback here to help their secondary, but with both Rhodes and Milliner gone—and no standout guys behind them—picking up a great run-stuffer who can allow a more effective pass rush to take place.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT
With Lotulelei off the boards, the move for Carolina to pick up Richardson is the most logical move, given their need for some defensive assistance.
The Panthers find themselves in the same position as Tampa Bay does with a tough division on hand, and desperately need help to allow Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy a more effective pass rush. And whilst it hasn't invested a top-50 draft pick on a defensive tackle since Kris Jenkins over a decade ago, expect Carolina to head that way in 2013.
15. New Orleans Saints: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB
There is little doubting that New Orleans has a huge need for some new pass-rushing material in 2013, and Mingo still being on the board now is a win-win for everyone.
Mingo is a raw but incredibly talented athlete who has the potential to develop into a real star in the future—something that the Saints will be looking for here. The move to the 3-4 defense suits Mingo even further, with the biggest question being whether New Orleans take him or Jarvis Jones.
I say Mingo wins that head-to-head.
16. St. Louis Rams: Chance Warmack, OG
Sam Bradford is a guy that can throw the ball well downfield when given the opportunity—something that his offensive line didn't do at all last year.
The Rams desperately need help along their offensive line, and the fact that Warmack is still available here is a lottery for St. Louis—something that it can thank the declining draft stock of offensive guards on draft day for. Warmack is a genuine star who won't get picked high, but will have an immediate impact on a Rams' line that is bleeding itself dry.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Damontre Moore, DE
The Steelers' defense is a real weapon when they're firing, but the reality is that due to age and agility, it didn't do that as well as it should have in 2012.
Look for Pittsburgh to add in some serious speed and agility in its pass rush this year with someone who has the versatility to play at either defensive end or linebacker for the Steelers. Which, for me, is enough to give him the nod here over someone like Jarvis Jones.
18. Dallas Cowboys: DJ Fluker, OT
Ideally, Dallas would most likely have loved to bring in a new defensive tackle to fit with its 4-3 scheme change, but the reality is that a first-round pick player probably isn't going to be around now and the Cowboys are better of waiting until the later rounds of the draft.
That means that they look to their next biggest need—protecting Tony Romo—and Fluker springs into the frame here as a logical and sensible pick.
Doug Free won't be around forever, and the Cowboys do need help at right tackle, which makes Fluker a non-sexy but smart pick nonetheless by Dallas.
19. New York Giants: Sylvester Williams, DT
With Dallas passing on a defensive tackle, the New York Giants will gladly pick up one up with the very next pick, and create one awesome defensive line in the process.
Jerry Reese loves to get pass-rushers and the presence of Williams on the board will provide a similar response in 2013—fulfilling a need for a pass-rushing defensive tackle and allowing the Giants to truly get the best out of Jason Pierre-Paul once more.
His presence inside allows the Giants to produce well on the outside.
20. Chicago Bears: Tyler Eifert, TE
It's hard not to see the Chicago Bears picking up some sort of an offensive weapon here, and given his strong combine, Eifert is a great pick here.
The tight end fits well with Marc Trestman's offensive scheme, and his great hands as a receiver make him a viable option for Jay Cutler to target going forward. Which, given the lack of anyone other than Brandon Marshall for him last year, makes for a smart pick here by the Bears.
Eifert has the potential to be a genuine star at tight end.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB
Ansah is a phenomenal athlete who has the potential to be a star in whatever defensive scheme and lineup he finds himself in at the end of the draft.
His raw athleticism is a great pick for a team that already has a dominant pass rush, and he'll definitely be a hit with the Bengals' defense as a result.
It's certainly a strength that they already have, but in a tough division that they have the potential of challenging for next season, will be a real plus going forward.
22. St. Louis Rams: Tavon Austin, WR
With the first part of their plan to help Sam Bradford done in signing some offensive line help, the Rams will now look to their second part—giving the quarterback some options down the field with legitimate speed and ability to make big plays.
Danny Amendola is likely to head off in free agency, which leaves the Rams with just Brandon Gibson as their go-to-guy—something they'll fix here.
Austin impressed greatly at the combine with his athleticism and speed during catching drills, and he's a first-round pick here because of it.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR
The Vikings would have no doubt loved to get Austin ahead of the Rams, but the acquisition of Keenan Allen here isn't a bad one either.
With Jerome Simpson flopping, Allen is a much-needed commodity across from Percy Harvin—who isn't exactly a lock to stay with the franchise. If he does go, expect this pick to be even more of a sure thing from the Vikings who are desperate to find an offense outside of Adrian Peterson.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Desmond Trufant, CB
Trufant is exactly what the Colts will be looking for in the draft this year—someone to play opposite Vontae Davis—and the speedy but strong cornerback is a perfect pick here at No. 24.
He shouldn't slide this far but he will given the myriad of lineman on both sides that are likely to get picked ahead of him. With the right preseason work, Trufant has the skills to be a day-one starter for the Colts in 2013 and have some real success in the secondary as a result.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Datone Jones, DE
The Seahawks already have a very strong defense as it is, but with Colin Kaepernick emerging as a dual-threat quarterback, Sam Bradford likely to get better in 2013 and the Arizona Cardinals surely drafting a new quarterback, defense should still be a priority in the draft this year.
Jones gives the 'Hawks a good pass-rushing body that could end up replacing Chris Clemons—depending on what the franchise choose to do there. Pete Carroll loves athleticism and given how much Jones has, he's a good pick here.
26. Green Bay Packers: Jarvis Jones, OLB
Jarvis Jones' neck injury makes him a genuine slider in this year's draft, but I can't see Ted Thompson allowing talent like his to go past them at No. 26.
He might not be a star player right away, and his injury might take time, but there is little doubting that Jones has skill and talent, and would be a great fit at Lambeau Field. Their defensive line needs more speed and threats outside of Clay Matthews, and with Nick Perry returning, Jones becomes yet another asset into a dominant pass rush once more.
27. Houston Texans: DeAndre Hopkins, WR
Hopkins isn't the fastest wide-reciever in the draft class this year, but he does provide a great pair of hands for Matt Schaub to target and someone that will help spread the field away from Andre Johnson.
His ability to play in the slot would be a huge threat for the Texans in 2013, who will replace Devier Posey (torn Achilles) well with Hopkins here.
28. Denver Broncos: Alec Ogletree, ILB
Granted there are some off-field issues that Ogletree brings to the table, but it's hard to pass up here if you're the Denver Broncos—especially given the division you're in.
Both Kansas City and Oakland will be working with new quarterbacks under center in 2013, and the ability to throw them off quickly will give the Broncos a real chance at success here. Philip Rivers too is known to a moment of craziness as well, so adding in some more pass rush isn't a bad pick at all here from a team that has much more to offer next season.
29. New England Patriots: Johnthan Banks, CB
The Mississippi State cornerback here is just another strong cornerback in the draft this year, but he's one that could be a great pick for the Patriots here late in the first round.
New England bled badly at times in the secondary, and without depth out wide, will struggle to keep pace with the offensive threats that the AFC is quickly producing. Expect the Patriots to address that and fix that here with a very solid and potentially devastating corner in Banks.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Alex Okafor, DE
The release of Ray Edwards and John Abraham make the selection of a new defensive end a no-brainer for the Atlanta Falcons late in the first round.
It's who to pick that's the real question, with Okafor coming in here as a very interesting prospect given his explosiveness and speed. The Texas star impressed greatly at the Senior Bowl and was very solid moving around there, and he could just sneak into the first round here because of it.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Margus Hunt, DE
What better to give a side that has arguably the most potent defense in the league than one of the more raw athletes and stars of the 2013 draft.
Hunt is a phenomenal athlete who would add even further depth to the Niners' pass rush—something that might not seem like it needs help, but really does. Justin Smith's injury showed last year that this team isn't complete defensively—as strong as they might be—and the addition of Hunt could help with versatility right across the line dependent on what needs Jim Harbaugh feels he has.
The SMU man is a freakish talent and one that could be a big success in the NFL—especially when under a strong coach and playing personnel like the 49ers.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te'o, ILB
Whatever you make of Manti Te'o, there's no doubting that he is a great athlete who has the potential to have great success in the NFL. The Notre Dame star had one bad performance in the BCS title game and a poor 40-yard dash time, but other than that, this is a guy that has some serious talent on hand.
Ray Lewis' departure leaves a massive hole in this defense, and given the smarts that Te'o has regarding run defense, he makes for a great replacement here.
Harbaugh runs a tight ship in Baltimore, and getting alongside experienced players and personnel will be a huge boost for Te'o's confidence and effectiveness.
Where do you see the top college studs falling in the 2013 NFL draft?
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