2013 NFL Mock Draft: How Each Team Can Make the Most of Round 1
After all the rumors and blabbering, the 2013 NFL Draft is almost upon us.
Free agency and trades have shaken up the NFL this offseason, with some teams addressing clear concerns and others losing valuable players.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' acquisition of former New York Jets star cornerback Darrelle Revis on Sunday was an example of a team addressing a pressing need. It also means the Jets now have two draft picks in the top 15 to help strength a team that went 6-10 last season.
Here's my latest 2013 NFL mock draft, complete with my blabbering.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Athleticism schmeticism. Central Michigan's Eric Fisher may be more athletic than Luke Joeckel, but Joeckel is the better overall prospect. The Chiefs take Joeckel to protect Alex Smith's blind side.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
The Jaguars could go a number of different ways here, but I still like Dion Jordan filling the "Leo" position in Jacksonville, given his athleticism and versatility.
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
With a need at defensive tackle, Sharrif Floyd makes a lot of sense for the Raiders. The all-around interior lineman has the ability to both stuff the run and rush the passer.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
After being medically cleared by the Eagles this month following the news of a possible heart condition, Star Lotulelei may just end up in Philadelphia. The multi-dimensional defensive tackle fills a clear need in the interior of the line for the Eagles.
5. Detroit Lions: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Adding an offensive tackle to give quarterback Matthew Stafford more time in the pocket would be a good move for the Lions. Some draft experts actually have Fisher ahead of Joeckel in their rankings.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Dee Milliner is widely considered to be the top cornerback in the class. Plopping him opposite Joe Haden in the secondary would be a step in the right direction for Cleveland, especially in a division that features quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
After acquiring Carson Palmer, I don't expect the Cardinals to spend a first-round pick on a quarterback. Instead, they would do well to add a high-caliber offensive tackle like Lane Johnson. Giving the quarterback time is the first step in developing an ailing passing game.
8. Buffalo Bills: Jonathan Cooper, G/C, North Carolina
There's a possibility the Bills go with a quarterback here, but after signing Kevin Kolb, I expect them to wait until the second round where they could still draft someone like Syracuse's Ryan Nassib. In that case, drafting a versatile interior lineman like Jonathan Cooper who could play either guard or center (both positions of need in Buffalo) makes sense for the Bills.
9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
The Jets desperately need a pass-rusher off the edge who can scare opponents. Barkevious Mingo is raw, but one thing he does possess is outstanding athleticism and explosiveness. As long as the Jets simply unleash him on passing downs, he's a great fit.
10. Tennessee Titans: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU
The Titans would love to add an explosive pass-rusher like Ezekiel Ansah at defensive end. Ansah may need to develop his game a bit, but there's a reason he's been compared to Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants.
11. San Diego Chargers: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
With the top offensive tackles off the board, I'd expect the Chargers to address the interior of the line with Chance Warmack. Warmack has the potential to be a Pro Bowler in the NFL.
12. Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Dolphins may have inked former Atlanta Falcons top cornerback Brent Grimes, but why not complete the picture? Adding a physical corner like Xavier Rhodes would be prudent in a division that includes Mr. Tom Brady.
13. New York Jets (via Buccaneers): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Jets could add a cornerback here after trading away Darrelle Revis, but if Geno Smith is available you are potentially passing up on a franchise quarterback at No. 13 overall. Rex Ryan may love Mark Sanchez, but at some point it has to stop...right? Smith possesses the arm and mobility to make an impact at the next level.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
It would actually be a shock if the Panthers didn't add Sheldon Richardson at this point. He possesses a great combination of athleticism, length and agility and fills a clear need in Carolina. Plus, veteran receiver Steve Smith even said he would be a good pick back in February.
15. New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
With a need for an edge rusher, the Saints could do a whole lot worse than Jarvis Jones at No. 15 overall. Some are disenchanted by Jones' lack of elite speed, but he knows how to set an edge and his agility is impressive. I think Jones surprises in the NFL.
16. St. Louis Rams: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Let me put it this way: If Tavon Austin falls to the Rams, and they don't select him, I'd be shocked. They lost dependable slot receiver Danny Amendola during the offseason and quarterback Sam Bradford needs more weapons. Austin, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds at the combine, would be an instant replacement for Amendola.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The Steelers can't hide the fact that the loss of deep threat Mike Wallace in the offseason was huge. Patterson is raw and he needs work on his route-running, but he has the speed to succeed Wallace and potentially become Ben Roethlisberger's favorite target.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
With the switch to the Tampa 2 system, the Cowboys couldn't do much better than the rising Sylvester Williams at No. 18 overall. Williams has skyrocketed up draft boards based on his combination of strength and quickness.
19. New York Giants: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
After losing Martellus Bennett to the Chicago Bears in the offseason, the Giants would be wise to draft a tight end of the future. Tyler Eifert possesses the athleticism, hands and route-running to be an instant starter in the NFL.
20. Chicago Bears: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
I'm not the biggest fan of Manti Te'o (I don't believe he possesses the second-level speed to consistently chase down plays on the edge), but there's no denying the whispers that he won't make it past the first round. The Bears need someone to take over for Brian Urlacher.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Andy Dalton was inconsistent last season. Adding a talented offensive tackle like the rising D.J. Fluker would aid in the young quarterback's development.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Redskins): Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas
This would be a dream come true if the Rams could nab Austin and Kenny Vaccaro. Vaccaro is not only considered the most talented safety in the class, he's considered the best all-around safety in the class. He figures to have a long career in the NFL.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
After the departure of cornerback Antoine Winfield, the Vikings would do well to add a cornerback who could start right away. Desmond Trufant has caused a commotion throughout the NFL ever since Senior Bowl week. His combination of size, athleticism, coverage ability, toughness and pedigree figure to make him a strong starter in the pros. You can't fool around when you're in the same division as quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
The versatile Datone Jones figures to be a nice fit in Indianapolis as the Colts switch to a new defensive scheme. Jones has an intriguing combination of strength, burst and length.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seahawks): DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Signing veteran Greg Jennings was a nice move, but the Vikings could use someone to stretch the field after losing Percy Harvin in the offseason. DeAndre Hopkins may not have elite speed, but he's been compared to Reggie Wayne and Roddy White because he's a great route-runner who knows how to separate from the defense.
26. Green Bay Packers: Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
With a need on the back end, Jonathan Cyprien could be just the ticket for the Packers. Not only is he one of the hardest-hitting prospects in the class, he's displayed the range to be a strong cover safety. A lot of people are high on this kid, including me.
27. Houston Texans: Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
You hear it again and again: The Houston Texans need a complement to Andre Johnson. Keenan Allen possesses the athleticism, leaping ability and agility to be that guy.
28. Denver Broncos: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Broncos could do a whole lot worse than Bjoern Werner at No. 28 overall. There are concerns about Werner's lack of elite athleticism, but his technique is excellent, he's a very cerebral player and he anticipates well off the line. Like Jarvis Jones, I think he surprises in the NFL.
29. New England Patriots: Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
The Patriots could stand to add some depth in the secondary, especially after struggling against the pass last season. Jamar Taylor is a name that is gaining steam throughout the league, given his athleticism and physicality.
30. Atlanta Falcons: D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston
After losing starting corner Brent Grimes to free agency, the Falcons would be wise to add a potential starter to the secondary. D.J. Hayden, who survived a life-threatening injury in his senior season at Houston, has the quickness, fluidity, speed and tackling ability to be a dynamic player in the NFL. Mike Mayock of NFL.com recently ranked Hayden as the No. 1 corner in the class, ahead of Dee Milliner.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Eric Reid, FS, LSU
I can't believe the 49ers would make former Ram Craig Dahl their starting free safety to replace the departed Dashon Goldson. You can only hope Dahl was signed to offer depth at the position. Eric Reid is well known for his run-stuffing ability, but he showed at his pro day that he also can be an asset in pass coverage.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
To round things out, I have the Ravens drafting Kevin Minter to slot in at inside linebacker after Ray Lewis retired and Dannell Ellerbe signed with the Miami Dolphins. Minter's toughness, sideline-to-sideline range and tacking ability could make him a solid starter in the pros.
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