T-minus one day until arguably the biggest day of the offseason: the 2013 NFL Draft.
This year's draft shapes up as one of the most unpredictable drafts in quite some time. Many trades could go down just in tomorrow's first round alone. Plenty of teams are intrigued by the depth of this year's class and may try to take advantage and acquire more picks in the later rounds.
It will be also be fun to watch teams try to move up and grab the top three left tackles in this year's draft: Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel, Central Michigan's Eric Fisher and Oklahoma's Lane Johnson.
By all accounts, Joeckel is likely donning a Chiefs draft cap tomorrow night as the No. 1 overall pick. After him, it's anyone's guess.
I don't proclaim myself a draft expert by any stretch of the imagination, but mock drafts are the cool thing to do this time of year.
This mock is a mix of needs, reports and my own intuition. I know many of you may not agree with some of these picks. But, hey, isn't that the fun of mock drafts?
With that being said, here's is my crack at mocking the 2013 NFL Draft.
Note: I am not projecting trades, even though they are likely to happen. The draft is too unpredictable without them. This is just an attempt at mocking players to teams. Also, any depth chart notes I make come from ourlads.com.
No. 1: Kansas City Chiefs-Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Joeckel looks to be the consensus top prospect in this draft, and with the Chiefs likely on the verge of sending Branden Albert to Miami, Joeckel is poised to be the new left tackle for new quarterback Alex Smith.
No. 2: Jacksonville Jaguars-Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
Gus Bradley is a defensive mind and he inherits, arguably, the worst pass-rushing team in 2012. Jordan would bring an instant upgrade to such a pass rush, particularly against QBs Matt Schaub and Andrew Luck.
No. 3: Oakland Raiders-Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Let's be honest: the Raiders need just about anything they can get. If they can trade down and acquire more picks, that would be excellent for a team with no second or fourth-round picks. But if they stay at three, Floyd adds a much needed roster boost on the defensive line.
No. 4: Philadelphia Eagles-Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Fisher's stock has definitely risen since the Senior Bowl. Before then, Fisher was likely outside the top 20. Now, he's almost guaranteed to be selected in the top five, maybe even the No. 1 pick.
With Fisher, the Eagles finally address their offensive line. Jason Peters is returning from injury, but a healthy Peters certainly helps. Fisher would allow Todd Herremans to move back to his natural position of guard with Evan Mathis at left guard and a returning Jason Kelce at center. Danny Watkins would be the odd man out.
No. 5: Detroit Lions-Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU
I strongly considered Lane Johnson here, because Detroit doesn't seem set on Riley Reiff at left tackle. But their pass rush is also a major need with Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch leaving. Don't forget, Lions coach Jim Schwartz was coach of the South team at the Senior Bowl, meaning he coached Ansah that week.
No. 6: Cleveland Browns-Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Cleveland would likely go with Dion Jordan if he were available to add to their new 3-4 defense under new defensive coordinator Ray Horton. Instead, they grab the top cornerback in this class to pair with Joe Haden. Buster Skrine is currently listed as the No. 2 CB. That needs to be upgraded. The shoulder injury should be no worry going into training camp.
No. 7: Arizona Cardinals-Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The Cardinals would be thrilled to add Johnson to what looked like a pretty bad offensive line in 2012. They have their quarterback for this year, and maybe next year, in Carson Palmer. He needs protection because he could perform well under new coach Bruce Arians.
No. 8: Buffalo Bills-Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
The first surprise! (Sort of.)
Nassib, not Geno Smith, is starting to look like the first quarterback off the board, and the connection is obvious. Buffalo's new head coach, Doug Marrone, was Nassib's coach at Syracuse. I mean, really, can Buffalo really feel good going into the season with Kevin Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson No. 1 and 2 on the depth chart? Didn't think so.
No. 9: New York Jets-Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
This pick almost makes too much sense. The Jets either really like Mingo or they are masters of the smokescreen. But the Jets need to improve the pass rush, as it's a shell of its former self. Mingo has tons of upside.
No. 10: Tennessee Titans-Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
The Titans added Andy Levitre on the first day of free agency, but a hole still exists on the other side. Tennessee is a perfect team to be "hangin' with Mr. Cooper".
No. 11: San Diego Chargers-Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
When King Dunlap is listed as your starting left tackle, you have a problem. In fact, San Diego has problems all across the offensive line. Philip Rivers is likely still having nightmares. So, in this case, either Warmack or D.J. Fluker would be an upgrade.
No. 12: Miami Dolphins, D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Miami adds depth on the offensive line and would likely kick Fluker inside to guard if they land Branden Albert, which would keep Jonathan Martin on the right side.
No. 13: New York Jets (from Tampa Bay)-Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
With the pick they acquired from the Buccaneers for Darrelle Revis, the Jets add a much needed playmaker in Austin. 2013 is likely Santonio Holmes' last in a Jets uniform, and there's not much after him and Stephen Hill.
No. 14: Carolina Panthers-Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Lotulelei could very well go top five, maybe No. 4 to the Eagles. In this case, the Panthers are estatic to grab someone who instantly upgrades the interior defensive line which, quite frankly, isn't that good.
No. 15: New Orleans Saints-Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The secondary was pretty darn bad in 2012, and Roman Harper isn't getting any younger. The consensus top safety in the class lands with Sean Payton and new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
No. 16: St. Louis Rams-Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Two of the Rams' top options are gone in Vaccaro and Austin. However, the depth chart at outside linebacker looks pretty thin. Teams may be scared off by his 40 time, but his film is outstanding and could give the Rams one of the top front sevens in the league.
No. 17: Pittsburgh Steelers-Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Jarvis Jones would be a great fit for the Steelers—it's just too bad he was taken one pick before. So instead, the Steelers go after what looks to be a big hole, and that's wide receiver. Mike Wallace is gone to Miami, and they nearly let Emmanuel Sanders leave for New England. Patterson would a nice complement at 6'2, 216 pounds to Antonio Brown.
No. 18: Dallas Cowboys-Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
Big D was gashed by the run in 2012, and Sly can come in and help stop the run for the Cowboys as they transition to a 4-3 under new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
No. 19: New York Giants-Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
This was certainly a tough call. I considered some corners, as well as Bjoern Werner. I decided on Jones because he has some nice upside and this Giants team could use a defensive end. Osi Umenyiora is gone, and Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka both just turned 30. Jones would add length and good pressure opposite Jason Pierre-Paul. The Giants need someone to take pressure off of JPP.
No. 20: Chicago Bears-Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
Brian Urlacher is gone, and thus Chicago should be looking for a new middle linebacker. While some people aren't thrilled with the Notre Dame product's stock, in all likelihood, he is going in the first round. Teams shouldn't be totally scared off by the Alabama game and the whole "fake girlfriend" fiasco. Concerning, yes. But not enough to drop him to Round 2.
No. 21: Cincinnati Bengals-Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
This is where we should start looking for the first running back off the board. But, instead, the Bengals look to upgrade their secondary, which currently lists Taylor Mays and Reggie Nelson as the starters. Those are decent players, but the Bengals may be potentially looking at Cyprien to possibly replace Mays.
No. 22: St. Louis Rams (from Washington)-Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Cordarrelle Patterson's running mate lands in the Show Me State. The Rams continue to try to add weapons for Sam Bradford as he finally enters a season with the same offensive coordinator as he did the previous season.
No. 23: Minnesota Vikings-Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
It was quite a fall for Richardson, but I think he lands in a pretty good spot here. Kevin Williams won't be around forever, so Richardson will add some young interior help. Minnesota was the No. 1 rush defense in terms of yards-per-game. But the value here looks good.
No. 24: Indianapolis Colts-Kyle Long, OG, Oregon
The Colts' offensive line was pretty bad, which makes what Andrew Luck did even more impressive. Long certainly has the pedigree; he's the son of Howie and the brother of Chris. The Colts are currently listed with three undrafted players on the interior. Long would be a starter from day one.
No. 25: Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle)-Kevin Minter, LB, LSU
There is very little chance the Vikings go into camp with Tyrone McKenzie as their starting middle linebacker. Minter should slide right inside of Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson. With the additions of Richardson and Minter, the Vikings front seven starts to shape up pretty nicely.
No. 26: Green Bay Packers-Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
I expect the Packers to start preparing for life after Jermichael Finley. And with Aaron Rodgers throwing to him, Eifert should settle quite nicely at Lambeau.
No. 27: Houston Texans-DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
It's pretty well-known by now that the Texans would like a wide receiver opposite Andre Johnson, who is on the wrong side of 30. Hopkins would slide right in and take pressure off of AJ, making things a bit easier for Matt Schaub and Arian Foster.
No. 28: Denver Broncos-Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Say hello to your new Elvis Dumervil. He may not be at Dumervil's level, but Werner gives Denver a strong pass-usher to replace Dumervil and allow Derek Wolfe to play inside.
No. 29: New England Patriots-Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Back-to-back Seminoles off the board. Aqib Talib is on a one-year deal, and Alfonzo Dennard will spend part of next offseason in jail. Rhodes would be a great addition to a pretty thin secondary.
No. 30: Atlanta Falcons-Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State
So it's three straight Seminoles and both of their defensive ends in three picks. But this is about the need for a pass-rusher for the Falcons. Yes, the injury is worrisome, but Carradine has a ton of upside. Margus Hunt could also be an option here.
No. 31: San Francisco 49ers-Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
It's time for the 49ers to start looking at a replacement for 33-year-old Justin Smith. Plus, when Justin Smith was out for the final few games of 2012, Aldon Smith practically disappeared, going six straight games without a sack, including the playoffs. Williams should clog up the line and allow Aldon to regain his form.
No. 32: Baltimore Ravens-Matt Elam, S, Florida
Elam would come in and compete with James Ihedigbo and Christian Thompson for the starting strong safety spot opposite Michael Huff. Baltimore would probably like to have Cyprien, but they take Elam as the next best option.
Although it's been a bit of a guessing game, but that's what makes mock drafts so fun. You never know who is going where. Voice your opinions on what you think will happen, then enjoy the draft.