As we inch closer and closer to the 2013 NFL draft, the buzz is growing throughout the league.
As always, we have the "elite" prospects, the prospects with character concerns and the prospects who don't have the athleticism, but have the football IQ and knowledge of the game to make a difference at the next level.
More prospects have completed their pro days at this point, but several players—including those with injury concerns—still have some work to do to convinced teams they're worth a high draft pick.
Here's my latest 2013 NFL mock draft.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher has a leg up on Luke Joeckel in terms of agility (fully displayed at the combine), but I like the overall package Joeckel provides. The Chiefs take the 6'6", 306-pounder out of Texas A&M.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
Not only does Dion Jordan's combination of athleticism and versatility make him a great fit for the "Leo" linebacker position in Jacksonville, he's expected to visit the Jaguars before the draft.
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Vance Walker and Pat Sims offer depth, but Sharrif Floyd has a ton of potential. His combination of strength and athleticism is hard to pass up here.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Eagles need to protect the quarterback better. According to Tim McManus of Philadelphia Magazine, the Eagles are expected have Eric Fisher for a visit. Fisher 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.
5. Detroit Lions: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU
The Lions softened the blow of losing Cliff Avril by signing former Seattle Seahawks defensive end Jason Jones, but Ezekiel Ansah has the potential to be a Pro Bowler. Why not start Jones and allow Ansah to develop at a comfortable pace?
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
After signing former Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Paul Kruger, it would be surprising to me if the Browns don't select Dee Milliner if he is available here. Dee Milliner fits opposite Joe Haden in Cleveland, and he's widely regarded as the best and most complete cornerback in the class.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
I know there hasn't been a whole lot of buzz connecting Arizona to Geno Smith, but, then again, teams generally don't show their hands before the draft, either. After releasing Kevin Kolb, I find it hard to believe the Cardinals wouldn't take a chance here. And, no, I don't think Carson Palmer is the answer for Arizona.
8. Buffalo Bills: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Yes, the Bills acquired Kevin Kolb, but he could just be insurance. He didn't exactly show a lot in Arizona. Matt Barkley's pro day drew mixed reviews, but I think he's a good fit in Buffalo's system. As long as he isn't placed in a vertical passing game, I like his chances in the NFL.
9. New York Jets: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
There are concerns about Jarvis Jones' 40-yard dash time at his pro day (some believe it exhibits a lack of closing speed). First of all, I think he played faster than his 40-yard dash time would suggest, and that's what matters. Secondly, the Jets are looking for a pass-rusher off the edge first and foremost. Even if Jones is a one-dimensional player, he fits what the Jets need.
10. Tennessee Titans: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
Barkevious Mingo is scheduled to meet with the Titans. As a weak-side pass-rusher, he makes a lot of sense for the Titans, especially after they signed veteran guard Andy Levitre to shore up their offensive line.
11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
It's looking more and more likely that the Chargers won't come away with Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher in the draft. But Lane Johnson isn't a bad consolation prize. 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. For a 6'6", 303-pounder, that's impressive.
12. Miami Dolphins: Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
The Dolphins signed Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson and re-signed Brian Hartline, then they signed former Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes. Bolstering the offensive line could be the next step. Jonathan Cooper not only displayed the balance and agility to be a standout player in the NFL at North Carolina, the fact that he ran the 40-yard dash in 5.07 seconds at 311 pounds has teams interested.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
After questions arose about Star Lotulelei's possible heart condition, how he does in teams' tests will ultimately decide where he lands. But if he passes teams' tests, this could be the spot for him. His 38 reps on the bench press on his pro day on March 20 would have tied him for first among defensive linemen at the combine.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Sheldon Richardson has the size (6'2", 294 pounds), strength and athleticism to fill a need on the line for Carolina. Veteran receiver Steve Smith even thinks the Panthers should select him.
15. New Orleans Saints: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The verdict appears to be split on Bjoern Werner around the league. Some believe he doesn't have the elite athleticism to be a game-changer at the next level. Others believe his pass-rushing repertoire, football IQ and motor will make him a fine player. I'll split the difference and put him in the middle of the first round. The Saints need a pass-rusher off the edge.
16. St. Louis Rams: Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas
The Rams lost Craig Dahl and cut Quintin Mikell during free agency, so it's only logical that they would go after safety Kenny Vaccaro. Jeff Fisher pass on a safety with the range and hitting ability to bolster against the pass and the run? Yeah, right.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
If Xavier Rhodes falls here, I find it hard to believe that the Steelers wouldn't add to their secondary. Rhodes possesses the size, physicality and leaping ability to go up against the bigger receivers in the NFL. He would fit nicely opposite Ike Taylor in Pittsburgh.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
The Cowboys could see either Jonathan Cooper or Chance Warmack fall here. Either prospect would be welcomed by Tony Romo and company in Dallas. The Cowboys are in serious need of some help on the interior of the line.
19. New York Giants: Alec Ogletree, OLB, Goergia
Yes, Alec Ogletree has certainly had his fair share of brushes with the law, but there's also a concern about his ability to stack up against the run. On the other hand, his explosiveness and athleticism make him a great fit in coverage in the Giants' scheme.
20. Chicago Bears: Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State
Some may question Arthur Brown's size at the inside linebacker position (6'0", 241 pounds), but he plays much bigger than his size. His physicality, combined with his tackling skills, instincts and range could make him a nice successor to Brian Urlacher in Chicago.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
D.J. Fluker's stock has risen since he lost 16 pounds from the Senior Bowl to the combine (via Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com). He makes sense for the Bengals, who need to add talent to the offensive line.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Redskins): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson may be widely regarded as the No. 1 receiver in the class, but—after losing Danny Amendola—I could see the Rams replacing him with Tavon Austin in the slot. Austin has a fantastic combination of speed (he ran the 40-yard dash at the combine in 4.34 seconds) and agility.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
Kevin Williams is due $7.5 million next year and he's declining. The Vikings need to think about a successor, like Sylvester Williams. The Tar Heels' standout has an eye-opening combination of burst and strength, making him a nice choice to fill in.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
After releasing Dwight Freeney, the Colts would be wise to add a 4-3 defensive end. Datone Jones fits the bill, displaying the length, burst and strength at UCLA to translate nicely to the pros.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seahawks): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Even with the signing of veteran receiver Greg Jennings, the Vikings did lose Percy Harvin. Adding a talented youngster opposite Jennings would be a wise move. Cordarrelle Patterson is raw and needs to develop his route-running, but his athleticism and size could see him star at the next level, especially under the tutelage of Jennings.
26. Green Bay Packers: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
The Packers may have kept Jermichael Finley for another year, but that doesn't mean they'll keep him beyond next season. Tyler Eifert possesses the athleticism and hands to succeed Finley. Giving him a year to gain chemistry with Aaron Rodgers would be a wise move.
27. Houston Texans: Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
This could end up being a steal for the Texans. There are questions about a PCL injury Keenan Allen suffered last season with Cal, but his pro day on April 9 should be a better indicator of his status. He has the size, athleticism and hands to be make a big impact at the next level.
28. Denver Broncos: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
When you run the 40-yard dash in 5.31 seconds and your frame is described as "extremely sloppy," that tends to lower your draft stock a bit. Still, Johnathan Hankins does have the combination of quickness and strength to be a multi-dimensional defender. I'm guessing having a poor motor isn't going to fly in Denver and Hankins will shape up.
29. New England Patriots: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
The Patriots "replaced" Wes Welker with Danny Amendola and cut Brandon Lloyd in the offseason. There is a need in the receiving corps. DeAndre Hopkins' ability to create separation with his route-running and knowledge of the game has some comparing him to Reggie Wayne and Roddy White. Tom Brady wouldn't mind a weapon comparable to those two.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State
Before tearing his ACL last season, Tank Carradine was outshining former Florida State teammate Bjoern Werner. He has a personal workout coming up. If teams are comfortable with his progress since the injury, there's no question he's a first-round talent. He has a nice blend of athleticism, agility, footwork and instincts. Not a bad replacement for John Abraham if he checks out.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
It's very possible that Desmond Trufant goes earlier than this, but if he falls here, the 49ers would be wise to pick him up. Chris Culliver's struggles in the Super Bowl last season were evident and Carlos Rogers is aging. Trufant has the potential to be the complete package at the next level.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
After losing Ray Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe via retirement and free agency respectively, the Ravens need to find an inside linebacker. Kevin Minter has the instincts, tackling ability and demeanor to be a good fit in Baltimore.
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