2013 NFL Mock Draft: Projecting Pro Bowlers and Busts from First Round
Fans always want to see how their favorite teams did immediately after the NFL draft. However, it takes a while to know who really did well each April.
Just because a player is great in college or is an incredible athlete does not mean that he will excel in the NFL. In the same way, someone like Russell Wilson could be considered a reach on draft day and then end up being an absolute steal.
The draft would certainly be much easier if we knew ahead of time which players were going to make the Pro Bowl and which were going to underachieve. Unfortunately, it does not work that way.
Still, there are certain factors that can lead you to predict which picks will pan out well. Here is a full first-round mock draft with extra emphasis on the players that will either be Pro Bowlers or busts at the next level.
Note: Highlighted Pro Bowl players in italics, and highlighted bust players underlined.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Kansas City has plenty of options for the No. 1 pick, especially considering it filled the need for quarterback by acquiring Alex Smith from the San Francisco 49ers this offseason.
Still, the best decision would be Luke Joeckel. The tackle would immediately become one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL, and he would help Smith remain as comfortable in the pocket as he was in San Francisco.
Even though the Chiefs placed the franchise tag on left tackle Branden Albert, this is only a one-year commitment. The team could shuffle him along the offensive line and then let him go next offseason if things do not work out.
On the other hand, Joeckel will be an excellent blindside blocker for years to come. He is the most solid pick in the draft, and he is certain to reach the Pro Bowl within a few short years.
With what pick will Geno Smith be drafted?
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
One of the biggest question marks in the draft is where Geno Smith will end up. Most agree that he is the best quarterback available, but many teams with needs at the position have looked in other places for a new starter.
However, the Jaguars have little security at the sport's most important spot. Grabbing Smith with the second pick would be the smartest long-term move for the organization.
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Sharrif Floyd is the type of player that might not get a lot of credit in the NFL, but he will absolutely be a valuable member of any team. He has enough versatility to play anywhere on the defensive line, and his selfishness with taking on blockers will make everyone else better.
On a Raiders defensive line that desperately needs an upgrade, Floyd would be a huge addition.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
If there is anyone that can utilize Dion Jordan to the best of his ability, it is his former coach Chip Kelly. The athletic pass-rusher can play on either the defensive line or linebacker and will be able to get to the quarterback from either position.
5. Detroit Lions: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
As good as Joeckel is as a blocker, Eric Fisher is not too far behind him. Even though he faced relatively weak competition at Central Michigan, he will be ready to play from Day 1.
That is exactly what the Lions need to hear as they look to replace Jeff Backus.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
This selection is all about position scarcity. There is plenty of talent at other positions to select later in the draft, but there are no cornerbacks anywhere close to Dee Milliner.
The Alabama player has great speed for the position and the instincts necessary to succeed at the next level.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
After the NFL scouting combine, Ezekiel Ansah became one of the hottest prospects in the entire class. He showed good athleticism for a defensive lineman and enough quickness to be able to handle playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 if needed.
Unfortunately, Ansah is incredibly raw as a football player, and he will be selected on potential alone.
Without refined technique, the end is likely to struggle early on at the next level. This could lead to a loss of confidence and even worse play as time progresses.
Arizona could choose to grab this potential Pro Bowler instead of a lineman if one of the top two do not fall, but Ansah should still end up being a bust.
8. Buffalo Bills: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
The Bills need a quarterback, and they must take one in this draft. While they can get "cute" and hope to land someone in the second or third round, the smarter move is to select the best available and not take chances with the future of the franchise.
After Geno Smith, many view the next-best quarterback as Matt Barkley. He has great accuracy and the intelligence necessary to succeed in the NFL.
Unfortunately, this past season showed a lot of flaws. Most importantly, his poor decision-making led to six multi-interception games and several losses.
Without elite arm strength, his mistakes will also lead to a lot of turnovers at the next level with defenders jumping routes.
Every young quarterback has flaws, but Barkley has "bust" written all over him.
9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
While Barkevious Mingo did not put up huge sack totals last season at LSU, he forced opponents to focus on him almost every play.
This is one of the most athletic players in the entire draft, and he can bring the Jets some much-needed pass-rushing ability next season.
10. Tennessee Titans: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Tennessee has a decent amount of talent at the skill positions, but the team suffered last year because it struggled to win the battle in the trenches.
Star Lotulelei will change that in a hurry. He will instantly improve the defensive line and will give the rest of the squad a chance to succeed.
11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Only three teams allowed more sacks last season than San Diego, and this was a big reason for Philip Rivers' struggles. With a couple of emerging weapons, the quarterback has the ability to succeed if he can get time to throw.
Lane Johnson is a bit of a project at tackle, but he has the raw ability to excel at the position.
12. Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Few teams in the league have a weaker secondary than the Miami Dolphins. Trading Vontae Davis at the beginning of last season left a gaping hole at cornerback.
Xavier Rhodes has shown in his career that he can handle the position as someone who is both great at pass coverage and can also help against the run.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
The first thing you notice with Desmond Trufant is his speed. The cornerback has the ability to stick with the top receivers in the game, or he can use that quickness to make up for mistakes.
Either way, his addition will make a huge difference for the worst passing defense in the NFL last season.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Carolina has two talented young defensive ends and the leading tackler in the NFL at middle linebacker. A great defensive tackle can bring it all together, and that is exactly what Sheldon Richardson is in the middle.
He can penetrate into the backfield with ease and disrupt opposing plays with regularity. This would be a great value pick for the Panthers.
15. New Orleans Saints: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Malcolm Jenkins had a lot of tackles last season for the Saints, but it seemed like those were always over 20 yards down the field.
Kenny Vaccaro is quicker in the defensive secondary and will be able to make plays on the ball while it is still in the air. This will make things tougher on opposing quarterbacks and make the entire defense better.
16. St. Louis Rams: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
If position value had nothing to do with the draft, Chance Warmack would be one of the top three picks. However, interior linemen do not often get selected this high.
Still, Warmack is as good as it gets and will provide any team value wherever he is selected. He is a mauling guard who can use his strength and technique to clear up space for running backs.
For the Rams, he can help solidify the offensive line after struggling to get consistency from the big men up front.
Regardless of who is running the ball behind him, Warmack will become a perennial Pro Bowler at the guard position.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
While the teams in the top half of the first round overanalyze picks due to poor performances at the combine and pro days, the smart teams will draft the best football players available.
Jarvis Jones might slide on draft day, but he is the type of defensive playmaker that can affect games when he is on the field, and it will make things easier on everyone else on the roster.
The Steelers need to get younger on the defensive side of the ball, and Jones will help do that.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Cooper, OG, UNC
Like Chance Warmack, Jonathan Cooper is worth a bit of a reach for an interior lineman. He is one of the strongest players in the class and can move around well if he needs to get to the second level for blocks.
Dallas can use help on the offensive line wherever it can get it.
19. New York Giants: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Bjoern Werner saw his stock drop dramatically after the NFL scouting combine. He ran slow in the 40-yard dash and did not excel in any drill.
However, this freefall could lead to good things for the Giants.
The Florida State star finished tied for third in the nation with 13 sacks last season and showed the technique and strength that will allow him to replicate that success in the NFL.
Although he might be a one-trick pony, the ability to rack up sacks is always helpful in this league. Playing opposite of Jason Pierre-Paul and others will make it easy to get to double digits and possibly reach a Pro Bowl.
20. Chicago Bears: Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia
Whether Alec Ogletree suits up in the middle or outside of a 4-3 system, he will be successful at the next level.
It is impossible to replace Brian Urlacher, but he can step in and rack up over 100 tackles from anywhere in the linebacking corps. His addition could help the Bears compete with the great defenses already in the NFC North.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Matt Elam, S, Florida
The Bengals have been making a lot of good picks in the draft in recent years, and that has reduced the number of holes on the depth chart. However, safety is still a big position of need.
Matt Elam has the experience to play right away and the versatility to help almost anywhere in the secondary, making the Bengals that much better defensively.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Although Cordarrelle Patterson is raw as a receiver, he is definitely worth the risk for the Rams. The receiver is an excellent pass-catcher and could be a No. 1 target for Sam Bradford down the line.
Who is the best receiver in the draft?
While St. Louis would prefer a safer choice with this pick, Patterson's upside is too big to ignore.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
After trading Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota needs multiple playmakers at wide receiver.
Tavon Austin can be one right away as one of the most elusive players to come into the draft in years. He can be dominant as a slot receiver and would quickly become Christian Ponder's new favorite target.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Damontre Moore is not only a good pass-rusher, but he is also someone who can defend the run as well and rack up plenty of tackles. While he does not have great speed, he is usually in the right position on the football field.
This will help the Colts improve the defense after revamping the offense in the past year.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle Seahawks): Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
If Minnesota adds a receiver with its first pick, it must upgrade at linebacker with the second.
Kevin Minter has the experience of leading an elite defense at LSU, and he has all of the intangibles a team could want in a middle linebacker. His presence would help keep the defense among the toughest to run against in the NFL.
26. Green Bay Packers: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
The Packers struggled to stay healthy last season, but the larger issue is a lack of depth on the defensive side of the ball.
Datone Jones would not only create depth on the defensive line, he would also become one of the team's top pass-rushers. On a team contending for a Super Bowl every year, you can never have too many guys who can get to the quarterback.
27. Houston Texans: Keenan Allen, WR, California
When Andre Johnson was covered last season, the best receiving option was still Andre Johnson. The Texans need someone to take the pressure off the Pro Bowl receiver and give the offense more versatility.
Keenan Allen has prototypical size for a wide receiver and should help the Texans immediately.
28. Denver Broncos: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
There are not many needs on this squad, which went 13-3 last season. Still, adding a defensive tackle would make the already good defense that much stronger.
If Sylvester Williams is still available, this would be a no-brainer pick for Denver as someone who can clog up the middle of the field on the defensive line.
29. New England Patriots: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
The Patriots learned last season how much physicality matters in the secondary. Johnthan Banks will continue that tradition as someone who can play with the bigger receivers around the league.
Even if he is a step slower than other top cornerbacks, Banks' strength will keep him around for a long time.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Heading into the 2001 NFL draft, the Baltimore Ravens had a Future Hall of Fame tight end in Shannon Sharpe, but they still decided to use their first-round pick on Todd Heap.
The two tight ends overlapped one year, and then Heap went onto have a very good career in Baltimore.
With the 30th pick of this year's draft, the Atlanta Falcons would be smart to make the same move. Tyler Eifert has the size and skill to be a Pro Bowler in the future, and he could take over for Tony Gonzalez in this high-powered offense.
There are obviously bigger needs on this roster, but grabbing a value pick in Eifert will end up being a better long-term decision than reaching for someone less deserving.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
One place where the 49ers really need depth is on the defensive line. This was apparent when Justin Smith was sidelined a few games last year with a triceps injury.
Jesse Williams will not put up big numbers, but he is a great fit in the team's 3-4 system.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
With Manti Te'o not helping himself out at his pro day, it leaves the door open for Arthur Brown to take over as one of the top linebackers on the board.
The Kansas State standout has great speed and should be able to play right away in place of the departed linebackers from the Super Bowl champs.
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