Mel Kiper Jr. 2013 Mock Draft: Latest Projections from ESPN's Draft Guru
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Although plenty of moves from free agency and prospects' performances at the combine and pro days have already impacted teams' draft plans, the grand scheme of Round 1 won't be drastically affected.
It's finally draft week, and the suspense of Kiper's projections will be exciting to watch. To that end, let's breakdown the guru's recent first-round mock (ESPN subscription required) with the real draft on the horizon.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, Tackle (Texas A&M)
Unsurprising selection here. Kansas City takes advantage of the top pick and Luke Joeckel adds impressive balance to the Chiefs. At the very least, Jamaal Charles' fantasy football value skyrockets.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ezekiel Ansah, DE (BYU)
This is a slight reach despite Ezekiel Ansah's proven athleticism. Jacksonville does itself a favor by adding to the front line of defense, but Ansah's one legit season is a risk in the top five. Nevertheless, the Jaguars have to find a way to stop the run and increase quarterback pressure in 2013.
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT (Florida)
As long as the Raiders opt for defense they'll win in the draft. Sharrif Floyd definitely brings the talent to collapse the interior walls of the pocket, which certainly complements anyone rushing the outside.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Geno Smith, QB (West Virginia)
Geno Smith definitely fits Philadelphia's quick-hitting offense under Chip Kelly. That said, the Eagles won't threaten anyone unless the pass protection receives an upgrade. Eric Fisher here would be a better pick, but Smith's entire skill set is still capable of developing quicker than anticipated.
5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB (Alabama)
Great pickup here for Detroit. The Lions need that standout No. 1 corner, especially if they want to contend for the division title.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dion Jordan, DE (Oregon)
Dee Milliner would be ideal here, but with him off the board taking Dion Jordan certainly helps bolster the pass rush. He's a great complement for the pass defense, not to mention Jordan's lateral quickness will help against the run.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Eric Fisher, Tackle (Central Michigan)
Eric Fisher is definitely a great selection by the Cardinals, that is, if he's here at No. 7. Arguably the top offensive lineman, Fisher's entire skill set gives needed balance to Arizona's offense.
8. Buffalo Bills: Jonathan Cooper, Guard (North Carolina)
Solid pick here for Buffalo. Jonathan Cooper helps maintain the punishing ground attack of C.J. Spiller, and he also supplies the agility to pass protect consistently. Establishing a physical offense is certainly to the Bills' advantage.
9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, DE/LB (LSU)
Barkevious Mingo's versatility suits the Jets well. He'll upgrade the pass rush and his assignment discipline transitions nicely against the run.
10. Tennessee Titans: Star Lotulelei, DT (Utah)
Star Lotulelei is a huge value at No. 10 overall for Tennessee. The guy has top-five potential, so the Titans getting him here is an enormous boost to the defensive line. The Titans will be able to close lanes quicker and find interior quarterback pressure for an all-encompassed rush.
11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, Tackle (Oklahoma)
An expected, yet much needed pick for San Diego at No. 11 overall. Philip Rivers committed too many turnovers last year and Lane Johnson establishes a safe blind side. Plus, his incredible athleticism provides extended running lanes to develop balance as the season progresses.
12. Miami Dolphins: D.J. Fluker, Tackle (Alabama)
The Dolphins definitely have to address the offensive tackle position for Ryan Tannehill. That said, D.J. Fluker isn't a dominant pass-blocker. Despite helping create a tougher ground game, Fluker is too much a reach here as he is a liability when pass protecting. Should he be available in Round 2 then that's perfect, otherwise, expect Miami to address its defense.
13. New York Jets (via Tampa Bay): Chance Warmack, Guard (Alabama)
Since the Darrelle Revis trade, the Jets took over this pick from Tampa Bay:
Yes! It's officially a done deal: Darrelle Revis is a Buccaneer! Bucs trade 2013 1st-rounder and conditional 2014 4th or 3rd to Jets.— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) April 21, 2013
Landing Chance Warmack creates a dominant interior presence for New York's line. Possessing the talent to run and pass block, Warmack's add easily helps Gang Green generate balance.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT (Missouri)
Carolina has to spruce up its defense and Sheldon Richardson does just that. With his pass-rushing tenacity, Richardson's presence is a great counterbalance to the high-powered offenses in the NFC South.
15. New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones, LB (Georgia)
It doesn't matter where New Orleans improves its defense, just as long as the team addresses its defense. Jarvis Jones significantly enhances the pass rush and his ability to create turnover opportunities is one favorable advantage.
16. St. Louis Rams: Tavon Austin, WR (West Virginia)
Sam Bradford needs an explosive receiving target and Tavon Austin is the perfect prospect. Supplying excellent versatility, Austin's short-area quickness and top speed allows St. Louis to keep defenses off balance for controlling the tempo.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Tyler Eifert, TE (Notre Dame)
Tyler Eifert is an interesting selection for Pittsburgh. Without question, Eifert is one of the draft's best overall athletes and would help give the Steelers a higher-powered attack. However, the Steelers need to get younger defensively and improve at forcing turnovers. Other than trading up for a guy like Jarvis Jones, taking Alec Ogletree is an option at No. 17.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Sylvester Williams, DT (North Carolina)
Good add here for Dallas, because Sylvester Williams is a force within the trenches. Given the established presence of DeMarcus Ware, Williams could produce consistently against single-block situations. Also, once he begins to develop, blocking schemes will gear his way and Big D's linebackers will see more playmaking opportunities.
19. New York Giants: Desmond Trufant, CB (Washington)
The overall talent of Desmond Trufant will emerge as a sound pick by the Giants. New York struggled to lockdown in man coverage last year, and Trufant's top speed is capable of isolating one-on-one.
20. Chicago Bears: Manti Te’o, LB (Notre Dame)
Manti Te'o's instincts and quickness within the box will benefit Chicago. He's well-versed in coverage and brings the field awareness to make plays between the tackles. Provided he sheds blocks more consistently and gets a bit more explosive, Te'o's potential impact will increase for the Bears.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Alec Ogletree, LB (Georgia)
Completing the front seven for Cincinnati is Alec Ogletree. He's a good draft choice here, because Ogletree can pass rush when needed, fill running lanes and cover nicely at the intermediate level.
How will the Rams' 2013 campaign finish?
22. St. Louis Rams (via WAS): Kenny Vaccaro, Safety (Texas)
With two stellar cornerbacks in Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins, St. Louis pitting Kenny Vaccaro at safety fields one impressive secondary. Vaccaro has top-15 talent and is likely to come off the board before No. 22. Owners of two Round 1 picks, it would not be surprising to see the Rams try to move up if they want Vaccaro.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR (Tennessee)
Christian Ponder needs a receiving threat to stretch defenses. Cordarrelle Patterson has this ability and can also take a quick slant the distance. If anything, the Vikings also need Patterson's talent to draw attention away from Adrian Peterson.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Xavier Rhodes, CB (Florida State)
Although the Colts need defense, the secondary has already improved. Xavier Rhodes is a good talent to develop as a No. 1 corner, but Indianapolis won't sniff a division title without addressing the pass rush.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via SEA): Kevin Minter, LB (LSU)
Kevin Minter helps address Minnesota's need for another linebacker, but he's quite a reach at No. 25. His impact was heightened because of LSU's solid defensive front, so anticipate a total package player such as Kansas State's Arthur Brown. Minter would be a strong get in Round 2, but Minnesota is better off with Brown at this spot.
26. Green Bay Packers: Eddie Lacy, RB (Alabama)
Green Bay does need a running back, but every back this year is a risk in Round 1. Eddie Lacy wasn't the complete ball-carrier for Alabama like Trent Richardson or Mark Ingram. Plus, the Packers have to upgrade the defensive line as they allowed 4.5 yards per carry in 2012.
27. Houston Texans: Robert Woods, WR (USC)
A receiver in Round 1 for Houston simply gives way to explosive balance. A No. 2 sidekick in Robert Woods to pair with Andre Johnson displays great potential. By the same token, his impact forces linebackers to worry about the second level in coverage, which will take some focus away from Arian Foster.
28. Denver Broncos: D.J. Hayden, CB (Houston)
The Broncos have to look at defense, but either the defensive line or safety is a greater need than cornerback. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was added in free agency—per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com—whereas Elvis Dumveril bolted for the Ravens (via Mike Klis of the Denver Post). So, expect a perimeter defender in the front seven or playmaking safety in Round 1.
29. New England Patriots: Justin Hunter, WR (Tennessee)
A deep-threat receiver for Tom Brady would take New England's offense to a seemingly unstoppable level. Already featuring the ground game to punch the gut of a defense, adding Justin Hunter out wide raises the total impact of play action.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Long, Guard/Tackle (Oregon)
Atlanta doesn't need offense; it needs defense. The Falcons failed to apply quarterback pressure or stop the run last season. Ultimately, it cost Atlanta a trip to the Super Bowl. Kyle Long is a dynamic talent, but the Dirty Birds won't make an NFC title run unless the front seven improves.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Margus Hunt, DE (SMU)
The size and athletic combo of Margus Hunt bodes well for San Francisco. However, the 49ers already have the front seven to control the line of scrimmage. It will limit big plays by drafting for pass defense. Given that John Cyprien and Matt Elam are still available here, expect the 'Niners to go with a safety.
32. Baltimore Ravens: John Cyprien, Safety (Florida International)
Provided San Francisco elects for its front seven or another safety, John Cyprien is an immense boost to Baltimore's secondary. The Ravens supply the defensive front to stuff the run and get pressure. Therefore, Cyprien will capitalize on more turnover opportunities to win the field-position battle.
Round 2 (Updated on April 4)
33. Jacksonville Jaguars: Matt Barkley, QB (USC)
34. San Francisco 49ers (via KC): Matt Elam, Safety (Florida)
35. Philadelphia Eagles: Menelik Watson, Tackle (Florida State)
36. Detroit Lions: Bjoern Werner, DE (Florida State)
37. Cincinnati Bengals (via OAK): Shamarko Thomas, Safety (Syracuse)
38. Arizona Cardinals: Datone Jones, DE (UCLA)
39. New York Jets: Zach Ertz, TE (Stanford)
40. Tennessee Titans: Keenan Allen, WR (California)
41. Buffalo Bills: Ryan Nassib, QB (Syracuse)
42. Miami Dolphins: Tank Carradine, DE (Florida State)
43. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jamar Taylor, CB (Boise State)
44. Carolina Panthers: D.J. Swearinger, Safety (South Carolina)
45. San Diego Chargers: Arthur Brown, LB (Kansas State)
46. St. Louis Rams: Montee Ball, RB (Wisconsin)
47. Dallas Cowboys: Justin Pugh, Tackle/Guard (Syracuse)
48. Pittsburgh Steelers: Cornelius Washington, LB (Georgia)
49. New York Giants: Sio Moore, LB (Connecticut)
50. Chicago Bears: Jesse Williams (DT) Alabama)
51. Washington Redskins: Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB (Connecticut)
52. Minnesota Vikings: Kawann Short, DT (Purdue)
53. Cincinnati Bengals: Johnthan Banks, CB (Mississippi State)
54. Miami Dolphins: Robert Alford, CB (South Eastern Louisiana)
55. Green Bay Packers: J.J. Wilcox, Safety (Georgia Southern)
56. Seattle Seahawks: Johnathan Hankins. DT (Ohio State)
57. Houston Texans: John Jenkins, DT (Georgia)
58. Denver Broncos: Damontre Moore, DE (Texas A&M)
59. New England Patriots: Tyrann Mathieu, CB (LSU)
60. Atlanta Falcons: Khaseem Greene, LB (Rutgers)
61. San Francisco 49ers: Gavin Escobar, TE (San Diego State)
62. Baltimore Ravens: Terron Armstead, Tackle (Arkansas-Pine Bluff)
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