NFL Mock Draft 2013: Best Case Scenarios for First Round's Polarizing Prospects

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NFL Mock Draft 2013: Best Case Scenarios for First Round's Polarizing Prospects
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Every NFL draft has polarizing prospects who could go anywhere from the top 10 to the second or third round. 

Whether it be due to character concerns, a lack of elite athleticism or a Lennay Kekua scandal (hint, hint), some prospects find themselves falling down draft boards despite having the potential to be high-impact players in the NFL.

This mock draft will be like any other....except, when I see a spot where a polarizing prospect could land, I'll slot him in there, and then continue as normal down the line.

This is not how I see the 2013 NFL draft ultimately unfolding. It's how it would likely unfold if teams ignored the "Mr. Hyde" of prospects (evil) and focused on the "Dr. Jekyll" side (good).

So, let's get this experiment started, shall we?

Here's a look at how the 2013 NFL draft would go down if the class' most polarizing prospects (in italics) got their way.

 

1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

Luke Joeckel is not polarizing at all. He's widely considered to be the best offensive tackle in the draft and would add talent to a Chiefs offensive line that must protect Alex Smith in 2013.

 

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

Bjoern Werner's motor, football IQ and technique were on full display last season at Florida State. Unfortunately, his lack of elite athleticism was highlighted at the NFL combine. Still, some draft experts have him landing at No. 2 overall as a 4-3 defensive end in Jacksonville's scheme.

 

3. Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

Star Lotulelei has all the tools to be a star defensive tackle in the NFL, but concerns about a possible heart condition has some teams backing off. Not the Raiders, who take a risk for a potential All-Pro at No. 3 overall.

 

4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon

Dion Jordan's raw and lacks a versatile set of pass-rushing moves, but he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.60 seconds at the combine. Given his former coach at Oregon has now joined the Eagles, it's going to be mighty difficult for Chip Kelly to critically analyze Jordan's weaknesses when so much potential is staring him in the face.

 

5. Detroit Lions: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU

Ezekiel Ansah still needs a lot of kinks worked out when it comes to technique, but his sheer explosiveness has many comparing him to New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. The Lions would gladly take an edge-rusher with that kind of potential.

 

6. Cleveland Browns: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia

Jarvis Jones comes with durability concerns (he's been diagnosed with spinal stenosis), but that didn't stop him from lighting up the SEC in 2012. His combination of speed, strength and explosiveness is hard to ignore for a team that needs help rushing the passer.

 

7. Arizona Cardinals: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

This is about as good as it can get for Geno Smith. When the Chiefs traded for Alex Smith, he lost the possibility of being nabbed at No. 1 overall. Smith is polarizing in that he has a big arm and he's mobile but can be inconsistent with his accuracy. The Chiefs hope he's their starting quarterback of the future here.

 

8. Buffalo Bills: Matt Barkley, QB, USC

Some don't believe Matt Barkley has the arm or durability to be selected in the top 10, but he does have the mechanics to be a starter in the NFL, as well as the leadership qualities. 

 

9. New York Jets: Barkevious MingoOLB, LSU

The Jets have a need for a pass-rusher off the edge. Barkevious Mingo is raw and he's not suited to be a defensive end in the NFL, but the Jets won't care if he's attacking quarterbacks as an outside linebacker in their 3-4 defensive scheme. This isn't a best-case scenario for Mingo, but he is a polarizing prospect.

 

10. Tennessee Titans: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida

After teams like the Jaguars and Raiders ignore Sharrif Floyd over polarizing prospects, Floyd's descent finally ends here. Floyd's combination of power and speed has drawn rave reviews throughout the league. He could help plug up the middle for Tennessee.

 

11. San Diego Chargers: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

The Chargers hit the jackpot here, as teams' affinity for the bright side of polarizing prospects drops Eric Fisher in San Diego's lap. Some believe Fisher could be the No. 1 offensive tackle taken in the 2013 draft. He's certainly the No. 2 tackle given his agility. He ranked second in the broad jump (116.0 inches) and tied for first in the 20-yard shuttle (4.44 seconds) among offensive linemen at the combine.

 

12. Miami Dolphins: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

It's going to be especially difficult for the Dolphins to gloss over the No. 1 cornerback in the class, Dee Milliner. Milliner's coverage skills, combined with his ability against the run, has many thinking he could be a lockdown corner in the NFL. The Dolphins luck out here.

 

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

Xavier Rhodes not only has the size (6'1", 215 pounds) to get physical with the bigger receivers in the league, he has the fierce mentality. He would be a welcome addition to a Buccaneers' secondary that was too soft after Aqib Talib's departure.

 

14. Carolina Panthers: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama

Chance Warmack's slide ends here. His elite run-blocking ability, combined with his serviceable pass-blocking, makes him a good fit with Cam Newton and company.

 

15. New Orleans Saints: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

The Saints failed to re-sign Jermon Bushrod. They are going to need someone to protect Drew Brees' blindside. Lane Johnson may not make it here in most mock drafts, but in my little experiment he does. He ranked second in the 40-yard dash, second in the vertical jump, first in the broad jump, second in the three-cone drill and fifth in the 20-yard shuttle among offensive linemen at the combine.

 

16. St. Louis Rams: Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas

It's hard to imagine Jeff Fisher and company passing up a safety with the physicality and range of Kenny Vaccaro...in any scenario. He would be a great addition to the Rams' back end.

 

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M

It tells you something that—in a mock designed to award the polarizing—Damontre Moore still falls to No. 17 overall. Moore has good burst and technique bending around edges—which makes him a decent risk at No. 17—but his lack of strength (12 reps at 225 pounds at the combine) is alarming. Still, he could be a 3-4 rush linebacker for the Steelers.

 

18. Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Cooper, G/C, North Carolina

Jonathan Cooper has the pass-blocking skills, size (6'2", 311 pounds) and athleticism (he posted an official time of 5.07 seconds in the 40-yard dash) to be a starter in the NFL in his rookie season. The Cowboys need a presence on the interior line.

 

19. New York Giants: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri

The Giants aren't expected to re-sign Rocky Bernard and Chris Canty was cut, so landing a defensive tackle prospect like Sheldon Richardson would be a boon for the franchise. He not only has an outstanding motor, his athleticism stands out for his size.

 

20. Chicago Bears: Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia

In a shocker, the Bears ignore Alec Ogletree's character concerns and draft him to succeed Brian Urlacher in Chicago. Ogletree's range, athleticism and surprising power for his size could make him an impact player in the NFL.

 

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA

Datone Jones needs to work on his technique, but he has the athleticism and versatility to attack the opposition from different angles. The Bengals could conceivably take Jones here in the draft.

 

22. St. Louis Rams (via Redskins): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

Cordarrelle Patterson is a legit top-20 prospect, but in this scenario he falls to No. 22 overall. He ranked sixth in the 40-yard dash and fifth in the vertical jump among receivers at the combine, despite weighing in at 216 pounds. He'll need to work on his route-running, but he certainly has the tools to excel at the next level.

 

23. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR, Cal

The Vikings' trade of Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks highlighted their need at receiver. Keenan Allen has the height and athleticism to make a difference for Christian Ponder and company.

 

24. Indianapolis Colts: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington

Desmond Trufant has all the tools you want in a starting corner: athleticism, size and strength. He also displayed his toughness and physicality during Senior Bowl week. He would be a welcome addition to the Colts' secondary.

 

25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seahawks): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

Hey, why not get two receivers for the price of one? Jerome Simpson and Michael Jenkins aren't going to get it done in Minnesota and the Vikings need a complete overhaul. Drafting the speedy Tavon Austin to plug into the slot—combined with Keenan Allen—gives Christian Ponder two dynamic weapons to use alongside Greg Jennings.

 

26. Green Bay Packers: Arthur Brown, OLB, Kansas State

Arthur Brown not only has the sideline-to-sideline ability and instincts to add a threat to Green Bay's front seven, he possesses the versatility to play at either inside or outside linebacker for the Packers. 

 

27. Houston Texans: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU

Possessing the tackling skills, athleticism and instincts to be a starting inside linebacker in the NFL, Minter would push Bradie James, Darryl Sharpton and Tim Dobbins for the starting slot next to Brian Cushing in the Texans' 3-4 defense.

 

28. Denver Broncos: Johnathan HankinsDT, Ohio State

At 335 pounds, Johnathan Hankins has the strength and surprising mobility to be an asset for the Broncos at defensive tackle. He should face plenty of one-on-one matchups given Denver's spectacular edge rushers.

 

29. New England Patriots: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State

If you look at Johnthan Banks' game tape, you come away rather impressed. He's displayed the coverage skills and ball-hawking ability to be a starter in the NFL. But if you look at his combine performance, you see a player who may get blown away by the more athletic receivers in the league. The Patriots see the good in Banks and draft him to help out their ailing secondary.

 

30. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame

Tyler Eifert falls all the way to No. 30 overall in this scenario and the Falcons can't wait to draft him to potentially succeed Tony Gonzalez in Atlanta. Eifert's combination of speed, strength and athleticism was on full display at the combine.

 

31. San Francisco 49ers: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama

The 49ers obviously have Justin Smith manning the defensive line, but not much depth behind him. Plus, Jesse Williams played defensive end in Alabama's 3-4 scheme last season. Williams' size, motor and toughness would make him a favorite in San Francisco.

 

32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame

C'mon, you saw this coming, didn't you? Manti Te'o has been critiqued across the board, from his IQ to his range as a linebacker, but he's one of the best downhill tacklers in the draft. The Ravens find the good in Te'o and prevent him from slipping to the second round.

 

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