28 March 2013

2013 NFL Mock Draft: 11th Edition

One of the more interesting topics considering the 2013 NFL Draft is where will the clear top quarterback in this class, Geno Smith, land? He seems to be a lock for the top ten, actually the top eight as there is no chance that the Bills let him slip, but will the Bills get a chance to take him? Will he go in the top five? I've got a new idea in my new mock, so let's take a look.

1. Kansas City Chiefs - Luke JoeckelTTexas A&M
I am going back to Joeckel for the top selection for the Chiefs. Yes they did franchise Brandon Albert but they did also cut right tackle Eric Winston, opening a hole at one tackle slot. And considering Albert is now only signed for next year, if he were to depart, the Chiefs would have a franchise left tackle in place. Joeckel has every skill that you want out of a franchise left tackle and he was brilliant this past season, playing a key role in Johnny Manziel's Heisman campaign. I think he is a little bit better of a prospect than Eric Fisher and thus he is the top pick as of right now.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Dion JordanDE/OLBOregon
Jacksonville needs talent across the board, particularly on defense and especially on the line with the team finishing last in the league in sacks. Jason Babin was a late addition and he showed he still has some juice but with Jeremy Mincey disappointing and nobody else, the team needs more help at end. Remember when we all thought that Jordan's shoulder injury would make him drop his stock? Well his shoulder checked out just fine and he absolutely tore up the combine across the board. He may still be raw and should put on some weight but his stock is on the rise big time.

3. Oakland Raiders - Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Raiders desperately need reinforcements along the defensive line. They were gashed on the ground multiple times (Doug Martin, anyone?) and finished with a paltry 25 sacks on the season. Look for Oakland to address their line with this selection and you know they would be excited to get a player with the caliber of Lotulelei with this pick. It looks like Floyd can play either the 4-3 or the 3-4, which coach Dennis Allen will appreciate as he likes to feature multiple defensive looks. Floyd is a very disruptive presence from the interior of the line and he showcased tremendous athleticism for a lineman.

4. Philadelphia Eagles - Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
I think that the Eagles will be the club that will pull the trigger on Smith, even after they restructured Michael Vick's deal and brought in Dennis Dixon. I think the fact that team owner Jeff Lurie was at Smith's workout, which is certainly something that does not happen with any frequency, was a sign the team is interested and if the team wants to do big things under Chip Kelly, they need a franchise quarterback. Smith has ideal size, a good arm, strong accuracy and mechanics and has plus athleticism, which Kelly will enjoy, and I think it is pretty clear that he is the best quarterback in what is a mediocre quarterback crop.

5. Detroit Lions - Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
The Lions have invested money and draft picks into building a good defensive line but it disappointed a year ago as they only tied for 20th in sacks. Not only that, both of their defensive ends from a year ago, Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch, are both gone. Therefore, even though they will certainly consider Eric Fisher and possibly DeMarcus Milliner even after re-signing Chris Houston, I have them taking Ansah. He is pretty raw and only started one year in Provo but he is drawing comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul due to his freakish athleticism, which was on display in Indianapolis, and his high ceiling and we all know how that combination has tantalized personnel guys before.

6. Cleveland Browns - DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
Milliner may not be Joe Haden, who Cleveland knows very well, nor is he Morris Claiborne, but he is still an excellent cornerback prospect. He likes to play physical with receivers and can effectively play in man and in zone, as well as shut down the run on the edges. I think the Browns would be excited to team up Milliner and Haden and put together a potentially great cornerback tandem for a defense that saw a lot of money being invested in it this offseason.

7. Arizona Cardinals - Eric Fisher, T, Central Michigan
You want to hear a joke? The Cardinals' offensive line. You want to hear another joke? No you don't, but anyways, the Cardinals have themselves a truly pitiful offensive line that was statistically speaking the worst in the league with allowing the most sacks in the league with 58 and having the worst rushing attack as well. And you know if Fisher falls into their laps at seven, they would be thrilled. His stock was on the rise going into the Combine and he looked better than Luke Joeckel in Indianapolis. Fisher has the athleticism and the flexibility needed for a big guy at tackle and he has got the skills you look for out of your blindside protector.

8. Buffalo Bills - Cordarelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
There is no question that the Bills desperately need a franchise quarterback as they have not had one since Jim Kelly (although Alex Van Pelt was close), but let's be honest, there is not another quarterback besides Smith that should be taken this high, and I'm not buying Matt Barkley. Yes, teams always overdraft QB's but the Bills can fill another need of a big wideout opposite S. Johnson with this selection and still find a quality quarterback in the second round or trade up into the first. Patterson may be raw but he is the most physically gifted wideout in the draft, with some folks comparing him in that regard to Julio Jones.

9. New York Jets - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Lotulelei saw his draft stock drop after a heart issue was discovered at the Combine but he has tested out to be fine, with the result likely an effect of a virus, and he kicked butt and took names at his Pro Day. There is no denying his skill set and his tape at Utah is impressive. I have him creaking back into the top ten and the Jets, with Patterson off the board, are a solid fit. One of the few bright spots for the club in recent years has been Sione Pouha at nose tackle but he is no longer on the team and they have no replacement in the mix. We all know how important the nose tackle is for a 3-4 defense and Lotulelei could be a great nose guy.

10. Tennessee Titans - Chance WarmackGAlabama
I have decided to mix it up with the Titans and move away from them going defense with this selection and go with Warmack. A key reason why Chris Johnson has been a disappointment of sorts these past two years has been the deterioration of the Tennessee offensive line. Steve Hutchinson was a big disappointment last year and the team has nothing opposite him. And wouldn't you think that Mike Munchak, a Hall of Fame guard, would love to have a talent like Warmack to build his line around? Warmack should immediately help the Titans' run game because he is an absolute mauler in the run game and he is athletic enough to pass block well.

11. San Diego Chargers - Lane JohnsonTOklahoma
Among the reasons why Philip Rivers has seemingly regressed, probably the biggest has been the decline of a once-stout offensive line, which this past season gave up the fourth most sacks in the league. The retirement of Marcus McNeill really wounded this line before the season and they never recovered and they really have to address the issue early in this draft. Johnson's stock soared after the Senior Bowl and it has continued to do so in Indianapolis after he showcased his impressive athleticism and agility. He also had a really good senior campaign in 2012 in Norman.

12. Miami Dolphins - Xavier RhodesCBFlorida State
Miami was very aggressive in attacking their needs at the start of free agency but one spot that is still a big concern is at cornerback. Sean Smith was the corner on the club who was really any good, and he is now a Chief. Therefore, why not take a (somewhat) local guy to fill a big need? Rhodes is another guy that helped himself at the Combine as he overcame fears that he lacked speed with a strong 40-yard dash time of 4.43 seconds and a strong 10-yard split of 1.47 ticks as well. He has impressive size and is physical against not just the pass but against the run as well.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
You know who had a great secondary last year? The Buccaneers. After all, they were 32nd in opposing passing yardage and were that far away from allowing the most passing yardage of all time. They had to get rid of the malcontent Aqib Talib but that left them worse off, especially since Eric Wright was awful, as expected. So they really have to address the cornerback position and thus, Trufant makes sense here, even if they end up making the move for Darrelle Revis Trufant has made himself a lot of money with brilliant performances in Mobile and Indianapolis and has shown tremendous coverage skills in man-on-man situations.

14. Carolina Panthers - Sheldon RichardsonDTMissouri
A reason why I was not as bullish on the Panthers as others were this year was because I knew that the defense was not very good. One key problem with the defense was in the interior of the line, which has not been good since Kris Jenkins left town and they got gashed on the ground multiple times this year, Bryce Brown's performance being first on my mind. Richardson, he of the infamous "old man football" quote regarding Georgia, truly was awesome in 2012 for the Tigers with 75 tackles, four sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss. He is an athletic big guy who moves well in the trenches and has the arms to bat down passes as well.

15. New Orleans Saints Barkevious MingoDE/OLBLSU
The Saints were at their best on defense when they will attacking the opposing quarterback with aggressive blitz schemes and thus they were not a good fit for Steve Spagnuolo's scheme. Now as the team will switch to a 3-4, they need to bring in some edge rushers as they make the transition and it is a very good draft for that. Mingo came back after a great 2011 with a disappointing 2012 but thanks to his great speed and athleticism, he has a high ceiling.

16. St. Louis Rams - Tavon AustinWRWest Virginia
The Rams just lost Danny Amendola in free agency to the Patriots and that leaves their already weak receiving corps in a bigger hole. The team really has to find some help for Sam Bradford at receiver, particularly in the slot, and the rising Austin looks to be a good fit. Austin smoked it in the 40-yard dash with a very impressive 4.34 40 and he quelled fears about his small frame by looking tremendous in the drills. Therefore, there is a reason why he was considered to be one of the winners of the Combine. His Pro Day was considered to be excellent, with some thinking this may be the low-end to where he goes.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers - Jarvis JonesDE/OLBGeorgia
In a stat that may surprise you considering their history, the Steelers only sacked opposing quarterbacks 37 times this year, tying for only 15th in the league. In fact, their disappointing pass rush was one reason why the Steelers missed the playoffs. Pittsburgh should look to find some youth for their pass rush and taking the talented Jones would be smart. Many folks are thinking that Jones will fall due to the fact that his medical tests did not go very well at the Combine and while I think his stock will fall a little right now, the tape for Jones is simply too good for him to fall out of the first. Of course, that could change but I wouldn't count on it.

18. Dallas Cowboys - Kenny VaccaroSTexas
In a good draft for safeties, Vaccaro is the cream of the crop. The Texas native has the ability to play both safety positions who has a good combination of athleticism and strength. He has great instincts, is aggressive and is good in both coverage, particularly man, and run support. The Cowboys could really use a talent like him as they have some major holes at safety as Gerald Sensabaugh was inexplicably cut a few weeks ago to save a little bit of money and Barry Church is coming off an Achilles tear. Monte Kiffin will love this kid.

19. New York Giants - Bjoern WenerDEFlorida State
If there is one thing that the Giants have shown a tendency to do in the draft, it is to select talented pass rusher and quite frankly, in such a passing league, why not. And now more so than in years past, with Osi Umenyiora's contract expiring and Justin Tuck coming off a season with only four sacks, look for New York to draft a pass rusher. I think Werner's stock may drop a little because he showed in the Combine that he would be a poor fit for a 3-4 and he isn't an amazing athlete. However, you cannot deny this guy's talent for rushing the passer.

20. Chicago Bears - Arthur BrownOLBKansas State
For years, the linebacking unit of the Bears could have been considered to be the class of the league but now, it is time to find some reinforcements at multiple spots. Brian Urlacher has struggled with injuries and is a clear shell of himself, that is why the team will not bring him back. Outside linebacker Nick Roach signed with the Raiders, leaving two holes at the position. Brown has seen his stock soar of late after an awesome Pro Day performance and save for his relatively small frame, he has everything you want out of a linebacker. He is a true sideline-to-sideline guy who is an excellent tacklers and can shed blockers relatively well.

21. Cincinnati Bengals - Alec OgletreeOLBGeorgia
Would you look at what Vontaze Burfict did last year, coming out after a disastrous draft process and developing into a solid linebacker for the Bengals. Good stuff. Meanwhile, the team has questions at the other two linebacker spots and thus they should look to find some help early in this draft. And they will not be scared by Ogletree's off the field issues. He had himself a great season and was a key reason why Georgia came pretty close to getting to the national championship. He is a great athlete who can cover the field from sideline to sideline and he is sound in coverage and in run support.

22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington) - Jonanthan Cooper, G, North Carolina
Sam Bradford has been beaten and battered around during his NFL career by defenses because he has continually been behind awful offensive lines and if Jeff Fisher wants him to realize his potential, he needs to upgrade the five in front. And taking the talented Cooper would be a great start towards protecting Bradford and building a stronger running game. Cooper is another draft prospect that has been on the rise and I think that this could end up being lower than where we will go in a couple of months. He looked very good in the field drills at the Combine and he ran a very good 40. Cooper is very experienced and has started every year in Chapel Hill. He is quick when blocking in the run game and is athletic enough to pass protect as well.

23. Minnesota Vikings - Keenan Allen, WR, California
Christian Ponder is still a ways to go to become a good NFL quarterback, but to be fair, who the hell is he throwing to? Particularly now that the club traded Percy Harvin, their only threat at receiver, to the Seahawks. They really need to use their early picks for some receivers and could even double dip at the position with their two first rounders. Allen has a nice combination of good size and quality speed and is a guy that loves to attack passes in the air, which Ponder would appreciate. Also, Allen can help contributed in the return game.

24. Indianapolis Colts - DeMontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
The Colts' transition to a 3-4 defense did not result in a great pass rush as the team finished tied for 23rd in the league with 32 sacks. Robert Mathis has eight of those sacks and he was the only guy that could consistently apply any pressure on quarterbacks, and Dwight Freeney was recently cut. If the team wants to build a strong 3-4, they need some juice on the edge of their defense. Moore is a guy that did not helped himself at the Combine and he hurt himself with his awful bench press total of 12 reps, which was the worst of any defensive lineman.

25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle) - Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
Kevin Williams may be getting older but he still provides very solid production at tackle and is still the anchor of their defensive line. Unfortunately, the team has absolutely nothing besides him at the tackle position. Addressing the position is a must this offseason and they can do that with their second selection in the first round. Any defensive coordinator will appreciate Williams's versatility along the defensive line and he will also like Williams's stoutness in the run game as well as his underrated pass rush ability.

26. Green Bay Packers - D.J. Fluker, T, Alabama
It appears that the Packers have had struggles with their offensive line for years now, going back to the Brett Favre days (and they seem so long ago). And I always say, the Packers are fortunate that Aaron Rodgers is pretty mobile. But they also have lacked a consistent running game and bringing in a guy like Fluker will immediately help in that regard. Fluker may not be the greatest pass protector in the world but he is an all-out mauler in the run game. Plus he is also versatile and he should be able to be a pretty good guard as well, and we all know Green Bay needs depth on the interior as well.

27. Houston Texans - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Hopkins can help stretch the field with his good downfield speed and he also gets good separation on defensive backs. He runs very good routes and knows how to catch, which you would think would be important for a wideout. He makes sense for the Texans, who have seemingly been in pursuit of a threat at receiver opposite Andre Johnson for many years and they do not seem so willing to bring back free agent Kevin Walter. It is time they used a high selection to fill the need.

28. Denver Broncos - Datone Jones, DE/OLB, UCLA
There is no way around it, the Elvis Dumervil situation was a fiasco and a complete embarrassment for the organization and his agent. For them to lose a key player on their club because they were late with their paperwork, that's a joke. Now they have a hole opposite Von Miller in their 3-4 defense and they should look to address it with one of their early selections in the draft. Jones is a very athletic end who has a great motor from the point of the snap and he has a very good first step but he is a little raw.

29. New England Patriots - Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
Remember when the Patriots traded away Richard Seymour to the Raiders way back when and nobody really knew why. Well, the team has struggled since to apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks from their defensive front and they never really found an adequate replacement for Seymour, which they can find here. Short may be the best pass rushing tackle in this draft class as he uses his strength and athleticism very well to press the pocket. He is also a not too shabby run defender, which means he could he use on all three downs.

30. Atlanta Falcons - Tank CarradineDEFlorida State
It really should be a prerogative for the Falcons this offseason to find some pass rush, because they were really awful rushing the passer in 2012. They only sacked opposing quarterbacks 29 times this past season and the only guy that could provide any consistent pressure, John Abraham, who had a third of the team's sacks, is no longer on the club. Even though he tore his ACL back in November, Carradine's store is soaring right now and he looks like he may go in the first round. Carradine is a end of solid size at 275 pounds and he is faster than you think. Plus, he may be one of the top pure pass rushers in this draft class.

31. San Francisco 49ers - Matt ElamSFlorida
The 49ers may have themselves one of the elite defenses in football, but they currently have a big need at the safety position. Dashon Goldson, who was very good in 2012, signed with the Buccaneers for big money and opposite him, Donte Whitner struggled last year. They signed Craig Dahl, which means nothing. In a draft deeo with safeties, I highly doubt that Kenny Vaccaro will be available but there are quality prospects on the board, like this one. Elam may not be a huge guy but he plays bigger as he is very good in run support and also good playing in coverage, and does good work covering tight ends.

32. Baltimore Ravens - Kevin MinterMLBLSU
The Super Bowl champions are going to have rebuild their defense as they suffered a lot of losses in free agency across the board, but nowhere bigger, and probably more important, than at linebacker. Baltimore has to replace both of their inside linebackers as Ray Lewis retired and Dannell Ellerbe signed with the Dolphins. Given how crucial the position is to their 3-4, look for the Ravens to address it early and if Minter is available, he will be the guy. Minter is a guy that John Harbaugh will love as he is very physical and plays with a lot of intensity that his fellow players feed off of, not unlike a certain notable Ravens linebacker.

Check out more mock drafts courtesy of the great Walter Football.

2 comments:

  1. This is one of the best mock drafts I have seen. Nice job.

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    Replies
    1. I agree. Definitely well thought out.

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