2013 NFL Mock Draft: Highlighting the Sleepers and Busts of First Round
Outside linebacker Jamie Collins is going to be a sleeper first-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft, while Barkevious Mingo could turn out to be a huge bust.
The draft is nothing if unpredictable, and every year players tagged as "can't-miss" picks turn out to be tremendous disappointments to the team that drafted them.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, some teams make picks that have "experts" scratching their heads, and they turn out to be All-Pro caliber players.
We'll take a look at some potential sleepers and busts in this mock draft, highlighting those players with italics.
1. Kansas City Chiefs—OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
The Chiefs have a chance to solidify their offensive line for years to come while drafting the best overall player in the draft. Joeckel is an easy pick for a team that has made some impressive moves leading up to the draft.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars—DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU
Mingo has the potential to become a dominant pass-rusher in the NFL, but he could also be the biggest bust of this year's draft.
An athletic freak, the 6'4", 241-pound pass-rusher has the speed and quickness that could translate well in the NFL. The biggest problem is that he's really a one-trick pony at this point. Mingo will either beat his man on the outside or get run out of plays.
He isn't particularly strong and doesn't use his hands well to gain extra separation. Even more troubling is Mingo's inability to hold down the edge on running plays, which will certainly cut into his playing time.
At this point, Mingo could be an incredible situational pass-rusher, but then again, he might fizzle out in the NFL just like he did last year at LSU, when he only totaled 4.5 sacks.
3. Oakland Raiders—DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida
The Raiders desperately need to fill the void left after losing Desmond Bryant to the Cleveland Browns in free agency (h/t Pro Football Talk). Floyd is a disruptive defensive tackle who will be a cornerstone player for the Raiders for years to come.
4. Philadelphia Eagles—OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon
The Eagles need to bring in young pass-rushers to fit with Billy Davis' 3-4 scheme, and Jordan is the top 3-4 outside linebacker in this year's draft. He's also a player Chip Kelly is familiar with, and he's a player on the rise.
5. Detroit Lions—OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
Now that the Lions have secured Reggie Bush (h/t DetroitLions.com's Tim Twentyman), the team needs to focus on keeping Matthew Stafford clean in the pocket. Fisher is a dominant pass-blocker with plenty of upside, and Detroit would be foolish to let him slide down the board.
6. Cleveland Browns—CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
Adding Milliner to the Browns defense to play opposite Joe Haden would give new defensive coordinator Ray Horton a dynamic duo on the perimeter of his 3-4 scheme. This would allow him to send exotic blitzes, which would inevitably lead to turnovers.
7. Arizona Cardinals—OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
The Cardinals gave up 58 sacks last year—easily the worst mark in the NFL. No matter who's playing behind center this year, Arizona needs better protection. Johnson is an athletically gifted tackle who has the potential to become one of the NFL's top left tackles in short order.
8. Buffalo Bills—QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
After the Bills cut Ryan Fitzpatrick (h/t ESPN's Adam Schefter), adding a quarterback in Round 1 seems even more likely than it did before the team made the move.
Smith is widely considered to be the top quarterback coming out of college in 2013, and he does have the physical tools to succeed. That said, he struggles with touch on short-to-intermediate passes and tends to really lock on to his primary target, which will lead to turnovers galore in the NFL.
Perhaps the immediate success of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson has ruined rookie quarterbacks this year, but Smith could easily be a big bust in the NFL.
9. New York Jets—OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
Jones has reportedly been medically cleared by leading orthopedist Craig Brigham (h/t National Football Post's Dan Pompei), and if the team's doctors agree with that assessment, he's a no-brainer pick here for the Jets.
10. Tennessee Titans—S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
After the Titans wrapped up a deal with guard Andy Levitre (h/t Schefter), the team should focus on shoring up its secondary with its first-round pick. Vaccaro is a talented, do-it-all safety who will give the team a big boost in that department.
11. San Diego Chargers—OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
The Chargers desperately need to fill the void at guard since Louis Vasquez left via free agency to play with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos (h/t USA Today's Mike Garafolo). Chance Warmack is higher on my board, but Cooper will be a better fit in San Diego, pass-blocking for Philip Rivers.
12. Miami Dolphins—CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
With the signing of receiver Mike Wallace (h/t CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora), the Dolphins can focus on other areas of need. Rhodes is a big, strong, fast corner who will lock down one side of the field and allow safety Reshad Jones more leeway to attack the middle.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
Lotulelei missed the opportunity to work out at the combine after doctors discovered an abnormality in his heart, but USA Today's Mike Garafolo reported that his condition could have been due to dehydration. If he falls to the Bucs here, as long as his heart checks out, he'll be a steal at No. 13.
14. Carolina Panthers—DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
The only thing missing for the Panthers to feature a dominant front seven is a dynamo defensive tackle, which is exactly what Richardson will be in the NFL. He's a disruptive player who will force opposing offensive linemen to pay close attention, leaving Luke Kuechly and the other linebackers with more room to run.
15. New Orleans Saints—OLB/DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
Rob Ryan needs pass-rushers to give his 3-4 scheme the best chance to succeed, and the Saints don't have many on the roster as of now. Ansah could potentially go in the top 10, so landing him in the middle of the first round will make this an easy selection for the Saints.
16. St. Louis Rams—WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
Patterson will be a dynamic weapon for Sam Bradford, who just picked up an athletic freak of a tight end in Jared Cook (h/t Rams' official Twitter account). Offensive line will be the team's next priority, and luckily, it has another first-round pick coming up shortly.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers—OLB Jamie Collins, Southern Miss
Collins is a sleeper who has the look of a superstar outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.
Before the combine, this young man wasn't getting any love from the likes of ESPN or NFL Network, but after he blew away the competition in nearly all the drills, scouts went back to take a look at his tape.
Lo and behold, not only is Collins an athletically gifted phenom on the track, but he's an absolute beast on the field.
The Steelers need to get younger on defense, and after the team cut veteran linebacker James Harrison, it needs to find his replacement in a hurry. Collins will be an instant starter for Pittsburgh in 2013, provided he stays healthy.
18. Dallas Cowboys—DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State
With DeMarcus Ware aging, the Cowboys must bring in young pass-rushers to spell him and Anthony Spencer. Werner didn't test as well as some of the other top pass-rushers at the combine, but his quick first step and repertoire of moves will serve him well in the NFL.
19. New York Giants—OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama
Protecting Eli Manning needs to be a huge priority for Jerry Reese and the Giants in 2013, and adding a mammoth right tackle like Fluker to pair with Will Beatty would do that. Not only can Fluker lock down the right side in pass-protection, but he's a certifiable road-grader in the running game.
20. Chicago Bears—OLB Arthur Brown, Kansas State
The Bears need to get younger and faster at linebacker, and Brown is a phenomenal prospect who flies from sideline to sideline with ease. He isn't adept at shedding blocks, but he'll be a stud as a weak-side linebacker in the NFL.
21. Cincinnati Bengals—S Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International
The Bengals have a strong defensive unit in place, but the team really needs another safety to pair with Reggie Nelson this year. Rising star Cyprien will be a perfect fit in Mike Zimmer's attacking defense.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins)—S Eric Reid, LSU
With all the top offensive linemen off the board, the Rams will look to upgrade on defense by picking rangy safety Reid, who will step in and start from Day 1. He's not quite as instinctive as Vaccaro or Cyprien, but his size and athleticism help him make up for what he lacks in that area.
23. Minnesota Vikings—WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
After trading Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks for picks (h/t Fox Sports' Jay Glazer), the Vikings can easily pick up his replacement in Austin, who has the potential to become great in the NFL.
24. Indianapolis Colts—DE Datone Jones, UCLA
The Colts need to continue upgrading the defensive line as they transition into the 3-4 defense installed in 2012. Jones is a strong, quick player who can fit any scheme, and he'll be a powerhouse as a 3-4 defensive end.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle Seahawks)—DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina
After drafting one of the most dangerous offensive players in the draft, the Vikings will shore up a need on the defensive line and draft one of the biggest sleepers of Round 1.
Williams isn't being talked about in the same breath as guys like Sharrif Floyd, Sheldon Williams or Star Lotulelei, but he's a sleeper pick who has the potential to become one of the NFL's dominant interior linemen.
While Sylvester Williams isn't as big a threat as a pass-rusher as Sheldon Williams, he is a dominant run-stuffer who is adept at using his hands to shed blocks, which leads to devastating tackles near the line of scrimmage.
26. Green Bay Packers—Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
Moore is an accomplished pass-rusher who racked up 26.5 sacks in three seasons for the Aggies, and he'll be a welcome addition to the Packers linebacking corps. Nick Perry may not be a bust, but the Packers can't count on him to produce, either.
27. Houston Texans—ILB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
The Texans have an excellent inside linebacker in Brian Cushing, but the team needs to bring in another athletic linebacker to play next to him. Ogletree would be a terrific addition to the Texans front seven, and his ability to flow from sideline to sideline will allow Wade Phillips to engineer more blitz packages in 2013.
28. Denver Broncos—CB Desmond Trufant, Washington
With Champ Bailey's retirement looming in the near future, John Elway would be smart to bring in his replacement sooner rather than later. Trufant is a skilled man-to-man defender who fits in perfectly with the Broncos attacking style of defense.
29. New England Patriots—CB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State
Aqib Talib has yet to sign anywhere, but even if he re-signs with the Patriots, the team needs to continue stocking its secondary with young corners. Banks is a ball-hawk who has some issues with discipline, but a year under Bill Belichick will cure what ails him in that department.
30. Atlanta Falcons—DE Corey Lemonier, Auburn
Atlanta needs to upgrade its pass-rush in 2013, especially after releasing John Abraham. Lemonier is a talented—and underrated—pass-rusher who would have a chance to start right out of the gates for the Falcons in 2013.
31. San Francisco 49ers—DE Margus Hunt, SMU
After acquiring Glenn Dorsey in free agency (h/t Schefter), the 49ers would be wise to continue stocking up on talented defensive linemen. Hunt is an intriguing prospect who projects as a potential stud 3-4 defensive end, and he'll have a chance to learn behind one of the game's best in Justin Smith.
32. Baltimore Ravens—ILB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
With Dannell Ellerbe gone (h/t to the Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson), the pressure is on for Ozzie Newsome to bring in young middle linebackers. Te'o is a good fit inside for the Ravens, as he'd be somewhat protected by the massive defensive linemen the Ravens feature.
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