2013 NFL Mock Draft: Projections for Entire the Entire 1st Round
The 2012 NFL Draft has come and gone, and training camps are right around the proverbial corner.
However, while fans of some teams get to look forward to a possible Super Bowl run and others yearn for a return to the postseason, supporters of some squads are already trying to figure out where in the Top 10 their favorite teams will pick next year.
With that said, it's never too early to look ahead to 2013 (especially if you're not afraid to wildly speculate).
So, here's an early look at where this season's collegiate stars will end up beginning their professional careers once the 2013 NFL Draft rolls around.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Matt Barkley, QB (USC)
Blaine Gabbert struggled mightily as a rookie last season,
And after drafting a punter in the third round this year, it wouldn't appear that the Jacksonville Jaguars have an overwhelming amount of faith in the quarterback's ability to move the offense in 2012.
Another dismal season from Gabbert may lead the Jaguars to hit the reset button under center. USC quarterback Matt Barkley, who topped 3,500 passing yards and tossed 39 touchdown passes a year ago, is the early favorite to be the first overall pick next year.
2. Indianapolis Colts: D.J. Fluker, OT (Alabama)
The Indianapolis Colts are in the midst of a full-on rebuild, jettisoning a number of veterans—including franchise icon Peyton Manning—in preparation for the selection of Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
It's almost certainly going to be a rocky first year for Luck in Indy.
The team's best bet for next year is improving Luck's pass protection with the 335-pound Fluker, who is one of the top prospects at his position in the 2013 class.
3. Cleveland Browns: Robert Woods, WR (USC)
The Cleveland Browns addressed the running back and quarterback positions early in the 2012 draft, with the selections of Alabama running back Trent Richardson and Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden.
However, the team somewhat puzzlingly all but ignored a wide receiver corps that is among the worst in the NFL.
Mike Holmgren generally doesn't like to draft wide receivers early, but next year may prove the exception to the rule. USC's Robert Woods is an elite talent who reeled in more than 110 passes for the Trojans last year.
4. Miami Dolphins: Jackson Jeffcoat, DE (Texas)
The Miami Dolphins hope they found their franchise quarterback of the future by choosing Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill with the eighth overall pick this year.
However, offense isn't the only problem facing new head coach Joe Philbin in South Beach.
Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat racked up eight sacks for the Longhorns in 2011, and the 253-pound junior would help Miami continue their transition to a 4-3 defensive front.
5. Minnesota Vikings: David Amerson, CB (N.C. State)
The Vikings added Central Florida's Josh Robinson in the draft, but no matter how good Robinson may be, he's not going to single-handedly fix a Minnesota secondary that allowed the most touchdown passes in the NFL last season.
North Carolina State cornerback David Amerson was a first-team All-ACC performer after posting 59 tackles and a ridiculous 13 interceptions last year. The 6'3", 194-pounder has the size in the secondary that makes NFL scouts drool.
6. St. Louis Rams: Ricky Wagner, OT (Wisconsin)
No team in the National Football League allowed more sacks than the St. Louis Rams did in 2011.
Given that the Rams did little to address this problem in the offseason, Sam Bradford likely has another season of running for his life to look forward to.
Wisconsin offensive tackle Ricky Wagner was All-Big Ten honorable mention last year as a junior, and the 6'6", 320-pound beefeater comes from a school that cranks out quality blockers like Ford cranks out cars.
7. Oakland Raiders: Tyler Wilson, QB (Arkansas)
Carson Palmer is one of the last vestiges of the "old way" of doing things in Oakland.
By that, I mean the Raiders paid too much to acquire the 32-year-old quarterback, and soon enough, Oakland will wish they had never done so in the first place.
That will leave the Raiders with the options of either starting Matt Leinart or drafting a quarterback next year, which should send general manager Reggie McKenzie scrambling to the podium to select the 6'3" signal-caller from Arkansas.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tyrann Mathieu, CB (LSU)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers presently have one starting cornerback who is old enough to run for president of the United States and another who may one day need a presidential pardon to get out of prison.
That makes the secondary something of an area of need for the Bucs.
Tyrann Mathieu was a first-team All-American for the LSU Tigers in 2011, and while "Honey Badger" doesn't possess ideal size at only 5'9", the junior more than makes up for it with outstanding coverage ability.
9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB (LSU)
If you thought last year was a disappointment borne of controversy and discord, you ain't seen nothing yet.
LSU defensive end/outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo tallied 46 tackles and seven sacks playing with his hand down for the Tigers in 2011. The 6'5", 240-pound sophomore has the quickness to kick to outside linebacker in a 3-4 defensive front.
10. Arizona Cardinals: Tyler Bray, QB (Tennessee)
The Arizona Cardinals failed in their pursuit of Peyton Manning during free agency this year, and if starter Kevin Kolb struggles again in 2012, the Redbirds will probably address the quarterback position early in the 2013 draft.
Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray didn't post big numbers as a sophomore in Knoxville a year ago due to a broken thumb that cost him five games. However, the 6'6", 210-pound signal-caller has the size NFL teams covet, plus a strong arm.
11. Buffalo Bills: Marcus Lattimore, RB (South Carolina)
The Buffalo Bills recently inked starting running back Fred Jackson to a two-year contract extension, but Jackson remains a 31-year-old running back coming off an injury.
Should Jackson struggle this year, the Bills may be forced to look to the future at the position in the 2013 draft.
South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore racked up 1,000 total yards in only seven games last year before tearing his ACL. If the 6'0", 232-pound junior can return to form in 2012, Lattimore should easily be the first ball-carrier off the board next April at Radio City Music Hall.
12. Seattle Seahawks: Jake Matthews, OT (Texas A&M)
To say that Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews comes from a football family would be something of an understatement.
The 6'5", 305-pound junior is the son of Hall of Fame center Bruce Matthews and nephew of former Cleveland Browns linebacker Clay Matthews, Jr.
The Seattle Seahawks allowed the fourth-most sacks in the National Football League in 2011. After doing very little to upgrade the offensive front this year, improving the pass protection for new quarterback Matt Flynn will likely be a priority for the team in 2013.
13. St. Louis Rams (from Washington): Keenan Allen, WR (Cal)
The St. Louis Rams were woefully thin at the wide receiver position entering the 2012 draft.
The Rams did upgrade the position with the addition of Appalachian State's Brian Quick, but the team still needs to bolster their corps of pass-catchers.
Cal wide receiver Keenan Allen had nearly 100 receptions for more than 1,300 yards and six touchdowns last year for the Bears. A similar 2012 season for the 6'3", 205-pound wideout would probably spur Allen to forgo his senior season and enter the 2013 draft.
14. Carolina Panthers: Kawann Short, DT (Purdue)
The Carolina Panthers ranked toward the bottom of the National Football League in run defense last year due in part to shaky defensive tackle play.
But for whatever reason, the Panthers' brain trust chose to eschew that position in this year's draft.
Kawann Short accrued 54 tackles and 6.5 sacks for the Purdue Boilermakers in 2011, and the 6'3", 310-pound senior would provide a much-needed boost for the interior of the Carolina defensive front.
15. Tennessee Titans: Sam Montgomery, DE (LSU)
The selection of Michigan defensive tackle Mike Martin was a nice pickup for the Tennessee Titans in the 2012 draft, but the Titans still desperately need to upgrade a defense that amassed a paltry 28 sacks as a team in 2011.
Junior defensive end Sam Montgomery had 49 total tackles and nine sacks last year in Baton Rouge. At only 245 pounds, Montgomery could stand to bulk up a bit, but he should be in for a very productive 2012 campaign playing opposite Barkevious Mingo at LSU.
16. San Diego Chargers: Johnathan Hankins, NT (Ohio State)
The San Diego Chargers brought back starting nose tackle Antonio Garay on what is, for all intents and purposes, a one-year contract in 2012.
However, Garay is 32, and the Bolts may well look to get younger at the position next offseason.
Johnathan Hankins posted 66 tackles and two sacks as a sophomore for The Ohio State University last year, and at a robust 335 pounds, Hankins is just the sort of mammoth defensive lineman 3-4 teams love to have plugging the middle of the defensive line.
17. Kansas City Chiefs: Landry Jones, QB (Oklahoma)
The Kansas City Chiefs appear to have done an excellent job filling holes through the draft and free agency this year.
One of the biggest question marks facing the team in 2012, though, is whether or not quarterback Matt Cassel will finally start earning all that money the Chiefs paid him when they acquired him from the New England Patriots.
Another subpar season from Cassel could send the Chiefs looking to upgrade at the position in the draft, possibly with Oklahoma signal-caller Landry Jones, who threw for nearly 4,500 yards as a junior a year ago.
18. Chicago Bears: Chris Faulk, OT (LSU)
Of all the needs the Bears had entering the 2012 draft, the only one the team failed to address with any success was the offensive front, so that will undoubtedly be a priority for Chicago next season.
LSU offensive tackle Chris Faulk was a second-team All-SEC performer for the Tigers in 2011. After another year of seasoning and trying to hold some of the best defensive players in the nation at bay, the 6'6", 325-pound junior should be more than ready to make the leap to the National Football League.
19. New Orleans Saints: DeMarcus Milliner, CB (Alabama)
The New Orleans Saints have suffered though an offseason filled with more turmoil than any NFL team has seen in recent memory.
Even with all the talent the Saints possess, the countless distractions this team will face all season long make it a very real possibility that New Orleans will miss the playoffs in 2012.
Should that prove to be the case, one of the Saints' first priorities next year should be upgrading an aging secondary that lost cornerback Tracy Porter in free agency.
The 6'1" Milliner would be a step in the right direction in that regard.
20. Cincinnati Benglas: Barrett Jones, G/C (Alabama)
The addition of Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler was a welcome upgrade to the interior of the offensive front for the Cincinnati Bengals, but the team could still stand to get both better and younger in that area.
Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones is a versatile player with solid technique. And given the fact that the 6'5", 310-pound Jones is capable of manning both the guard and center spots, he would—at the very least—provide the Bengals with some much-needed depth up front.
21. Denver Broncos: Manti Te'o, LB (Notre Dame)
Expectations for the Broncos are a Mile High in Denver this year, with the arrival of quarterback Peyton Manning.
However, the team has issues at linebacker, where Nate Irving has been woefully slow to adjust to the NFL and D.J. Williams continues to find himself in hot water with the league.
Notre Dame inside linebacker Manti T'eo was a tackling machine for the Fighting Irish last year, piling up more than 150 total stops. The 250-pound thumper would be a huge help for the Broncos in run support.
22. Dallas Cowboys: Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB (Georgia)
The Dallas Cowboys franchise tagged outside linebacker Anthony Spencer in 2012.
However, if Spencer doesn't turn it on this season, Dallas may be forced to look to the draft to improve the pass-rush around DeMarcus Ware.
Georgia defensive end/outside linebacker Jarvis Jones racked up 70 tackles and a gaudy 13.5 sacks for the Bulldogs in 2011. If Jones can carry that production over to the pros, then he and Ware could form a formidable duo of sack masters for the Cowboys.
23. Atlanta Falcons: Michael Dyer, RB (Arkansas State)
Starting running back Michael Turner is 30 years old and has tallied more than 300 carries in three of the past four seasons.
At some point, the Atlanta Falcons are going to have to look to the future in their offensive backfield.
Auburn running back Michael Dyer was the 2011 BCS National Championship Game MVP while at the University of Auburn before being dismissed from the team.
Even if Dyer is forced to sit out the entire 2012 season due to his transfer to Arkansas State, his immense talent could still make him a first-round prospect if he can show that he's put his troubles behind him.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Tom Wort, ILB (Oklahoma)
The Steelers chose to pass on selecting James Farrior's replacement in this year's draft, and while Larry Foote can hold down the fort for a bit, it's a temporary fix that will probably have to be addressed next season.
Oklahoma inside linebacker Tom Wort tallied 71 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 2011. While the 6'0", 229-pound junior needs to add some bulk, the hard-nosed big hitter is just the sort of linebacker that appeals to Pittsburgh.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Johnthan Banks, CB (Mississippi State)
This may be Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's last season in Philadelphia, which would leave the Eagles looking to address the defensive backfield and potentially acquire a cornerback who can actually tackle.
Not only does Mississippi State cornerback Johnthan Banks possess that ability, notching more than 70 total stops for the Bulldogs in 2011, but the 6'2", 185-pound senior will surely appeal to professional scouts with his size.
26. Detroit Lions: Khaled Holmes, G/C (USC)
The Detroit Lions found whom they hope will be a replacement for left tackle Jeff Backus in the 2012 draft with Iowa tackle Riley Reiff.
In order to continue protecting their significant investment in quarterback Matthew Stafford, the Lions need to address the interior of the offensive front.
USC center Khaled Holmes was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2011, and the 6'4", 310-pound senior would be an excellent heir apparent for Dominic Raiola, who is well on the wrong side of 30.
27. Baltimore Ravens: Devin Taylor, DE/OLB (South Carolina)
The Achilles injury suffered by 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs was a crushing blow to the Baltimore Ravens defense. If the tendon is completely torn, then the Ravens may have to seriously begin considering the unfortunate possibility of life after the 29-year-old star pass-rusher.
South Carolina defensive end Devin Taylor is a "tweener" type, with the speed to play outside linebacker and the strength to play with his hand down. If the 6'7", 260-pound senior can build on his 2011 stats (42 tackles, six sacks), Taylor could vault himself into first-round consideration.
28. San Francisco 49ers: Star Lotulelei, NT (Utah)
The San Francisco 49ers had one of the most imposing defenses in the National Football League in 2011, ranking fourth in total defense.
However, if there's a hole along the defensive unit that could stand to be addressed, it's in the middle of the defensive front.
At 325 pounds, Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei has the bulk to hold up at the point of attack in the middle of a 3-4 line, and after tallying 43 tackles and 1.5 sacks as a junior, Lotulelei would be a fine run-plugger for the 49ers.
29. New York Giants: Jeremiah Sirles, OT (Nebraska)
Although the New York Giants had a fine 2012 NFL Draft (as they usually do), the team somewhat questionably didn't do much to address an offensive line that lost Kareem McKenzie in free agency and is beginning to show its age.
At 6'6" and 320 pounds, Nebraska offensive tackle Jeremiah Sirles possesses prototypical size for an offensive tackle. If he can continue his development into his junior season, Sirles could easily work his way into the tail-end of the first round of the 2013 draft.
30. Houston Texans: C.J. Mosley, ILB (Alabama)
However, the team suffered a couple of significant personnel losses in linebackers DeMeco Ryans and Mario Williams.
The team addressed the loss of Williams with the addition of Whitney Mercilus in the 2012 NFL Draft, and the Texans may look to find a permanent replacement for Ryans a year from now.
Linebacker C.J. Mosley would seem to be an excellent choice, especially given his experience playing in a 3-4 defense.
31. New England Patriots: Sharrif Floyd, DT (Florida)
The New England Patriots took a buzz-saw to their defense in this year's draft, using six of their first seven picks on that side of the ball.
However, that doesn't mean that a defense that was 31st in the NFL last year is suddenly going to morph into the 1985 Bears, so there's still work to be done.
Sophomore defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd tallied 46 tackles and 1.5 sacks for the Gators in 2011. With the size and quickness to play both defensive tackle in 4-3 fronts and defensive end in 3-4 looks, Floyd is the sort of versatile player who could appeal to head coach Bill Belichick.
32. Green Bay Packers: Eric Reid, S (LSU)
The Green Bay Packers had the worst defense in the National Football League, statistically speaking, in 2011.
With the release of safety Nick Collins and the retirement of cornerback Charles Woodson slowly coming sometime soon, the defensive backfield is a definite area of need for the Packers.
LSU safety Eric Reid racked up 76 tackles and intercepted two passes for the Tigers last season. The 6'2", 208-pound junior would provide a badly needed infusion of youth and talent at the back-end of the Green Bay defense.