21 April 2013

2013 NFL Mock Draft: 15th Edition

This is a special Sunday edition of my 2013 NFL Mock Draft. We've only got a few days until the action kicks off at Radio City and I've mixed it up in this edition. Let's take a look.

1. Kansas City Chiefs - Luke Joeckel, T, Texas A&M
This selection is going to be an offensive tackle, especially as the team cut Eric Winston and they appear to be working on a deal with the Dolphins for Brandon Albert, so there is a clear need for a tackle. The only question is if this will be Joeckel or Eric Fisher. Personally I prefer Joeckel, I simply do not think he has any serious flaws and he has excelled against top competition, but I do think that Fisher may have a higher ceiling.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
Jacksonville needs talent across the board, and I am not buying the Geno Smith talk just yet, 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 - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
I do know that the Eagles just signed Issac Sopoaga from San Francisco but they still need help along their defensive front as they are moving to a 3-4 defense. Plus, Lotulelei would fit Chip Kelly's desires to find athletic big guys. 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.

5. Detroit Lions - Eric Fisher, T, Central Michigan
It has been a while since the Lions have a good offensive line and there are needs at both tackle spots, particularly at left tackle with the retirement of Jeff Backus as well at right with Gosder Cherilus moving to the Colts. Last year's first round selection Riley Reiff could fill one of the spots but he may end up at guard and thus, why not take a local prospect? Fisher could very well end up as the first overall selection. 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.

6. San Diego Chargers (projected from Cleveland) - Lane Johnson, T, Oklahoma
First big trade that I have and I think San Diego will move up for Johnson. The Dolphins and the Chargers were the two favorites among teams likely to move up to take Johnson but with the rumors that Miami is working on a deal for Brandon Albert, I think that would leave the Chargers as the team to move up. They really need to find some offensive line help if they want Philip Rivers to recover from a disappointing 2012 we know that they love the Oklahoma prospect.

7. Arizona Cardinals - Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU
There is no question that the Cardinals desperately need help with their offensive line but with the clear top three tackles already off the board, I do not think they will reach for D.J. Fluker nor do I think they will take Chance Warmack, as I have mocked before. If Ansah is on the board, I think they would pull the trigger because a pass rusher may not be as big of a need as the offensive line is, but it is up there. And you could make the claim that Ansah would be the top player on the board, which is the draft strategy the Cardinals often use.

8. Buffalo Bills - Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
GM Buddy Nix is pretty frank with what he plans on doing in the draft historically as he has said that he would be down to go quarterback here and that it would be too high for a guard. While I do think that they are very interested in Ryan Nassib, if Smith is available here I have a hard time thinking that they would pass him up. Smith has ideal size, a good arm, strong accuracy and mechanics and has plus athleticism and I think it is pretty clear that he is the best quarterback in what is a mediocre quarterback crop.

9. New York Jets - DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
Darrelle Revis is now a Buccaneer. Therefore, the Jets are going to have a very big hole to fill (literally) at corner opposite Antonio Cromartie and if the best corner is available on the board with their first selection, they should pull the trigger. Milliner probably will not be a shutdown corner as he does not have great ball skills and he's probably been a little overhyped. He did still have an awesome 2012 and Alabama produces quality, physical cornerbacks.

10. Tennessee Titans - Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
I have decided to mix it up with the Titans 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. Cleveland Browns (projected from San Diego)  - Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
I think it makes a lot of sense for the Browns to move back and collect some more picks, they addressed much of their top needs in free agency. However, they could still add a pass rusher opposite Paul Kruger as it appears that the club may shop Jabaal Sheard and Mingo is one of their top targets, according to sources. Mingo is pretty raw and he disappointed last year in Baton Rouge but he has tremendous speed off the edge and is a great athlete. He does have high bust potential, in my opinion.

12. Miami Dolphins - Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida 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. New York Jets (from Tampa) - Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Now that the Darrelle Revis went through, the Jets have another first round selection, Tampa gets the corner they crave and everybody is happy. Meanwhile, the Jets desperately find some weapons for whatever clown is under center because while it would be disingenuous to blame the wideouts for Mark Sanchez's failings, he wouldn't get the job done with Carter and Moss, but it didn't help matters. Austin is the guy everybody wants, absolutely electric with the football in his hands no matter how it gets there.

14. Carolina Panthers - Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
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 - Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
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. 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.

16. St. Louis Rams - D.J. Fluker, T, Alabama
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 has the ability to play guard as well. He has seen his stock rise late in the process and this could be on the later side of his draft window. The Rams, if they want Sam Bradford to develop into a franchise quarterback are going to have to improve their pass protection and they made a big step in addressing that issue by signing Jake Long, but there is still more to do.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers - Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Troy Polamalu may very well be the man, and he is, but he is also on the wrong side of 30 and had an injury plagued 2012, only playing in seven games. The team should not be afraid of looking towards a potential replacement and if Vaccaro is on the board, I would pull the trigger if I were them. What Mike Tomlin will appreciate from Vaccaro are his instincts in both the run game and against the pass as he has a good head for where the ball is. He also has the ability to cover tight ends and running backs.

18. Dallas Cowboys - Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
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. The Cowboys could really use a guy like him in their interior offensive line considering that part really disappointed a year ago.

19. New York Giants - Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida 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 - Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
I do realize that the Bears just gave Martellus Bennett a nice contract, but who says that they are done at tight end? After all, we know the trend in the NFL towards multiple tight end packages, something that new coach Marc Trestman is a fan of. Plus, rumor has it that the club is interesting in this talented tight end. Eifert has all the tools to be a real weapon in the passing game as he has got great hands, can take a hit and runs good routes. And taking a local guy is never a bad call in my book.

21. Cincinnati Bengals - Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
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) - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
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 Hopkins looks to be a good fit. 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.

23. Minnesota Vikings - 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.

24. Indianapolis Colts - Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
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, and if they can get it from the line, even better. 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. He is a little raw but his talent is undeniable.

25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle) - Cordarelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
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. 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.

26. Green Bay Packers - Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
This is a club that is rather tough to project for the draft because Ted Thompson and the Packers' front office often love to take the top player on their board, often regardless of need. However in this scenario, Cyprien could be a guy that is at or near the top of their board and he would also help fill a need at safety, which is rather thin right now behind Morgan Burnett and M.D. Williams after they cut Charles Woodson. Cyprien has been making a big jump up many draft boards and he could very well go here. He has tremendous ability in pass coverage and he can cover a lot of ground thanks to his speed. Cyprien is also very good in run support as well and he does hit hard, which Dom Capers would appreciate.

27. Houston Texans - Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Hunter has seen himself get overshadowed by the man taken right before him, but he is a prospect that has been on the rise of late in his own right. Hunter is a tall wideout at 6'4" that is very good at making catches in traffic. The only question is what happens with his speed at the next level after he tore his ACL a couple years back. 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 - Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State
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 in their 4-3 defense and they should look to address it with one of their early selections in the draft. 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.

29. New England Patriots - Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
Taylor was a late bloomer in Boise but he is a tough and physical corner that can play both man and zone. He has solid ball skills and helped his cause with solid performances in Mobile and Indianapolis. And it has become clear that the Patriots are interested in him as many have reported that they have been all over him during the pre-draft process. New England seemingly always needs help at cornerback considering how often the team puts up a lot of points and especially with Alfonzo Dennard being found guilty of assaulting a cop.

30. Atlanta Falcons - Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Many folks are looking for the Falcons to go tight end with this selection but with such a big need at cornerback, they have to address that position early and it must be a priority. The team lost both Brent Grimes and Dunta Robinson in free agency, which leaves them with Asante Samuel and some scrubs in the mix. Trufant has made himself some money with brilliant performances in Mobile and Indianapolis and has shown tremendous coverage skills in man-on-man situations.

31. San Francisco 49ers - Matt Elam, S, Florida
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 - Roberts Woods, WR, USC
As I have made clear at the time, I was not exactly a fan of the Ravens trading away Anquan Boldin, especially as the goal of using his money to re-sign key free agents didn't exactly work out considering many guys left town. Ozzie Newsome and friends would be wise to target a wideout early and Woods makes a lot of sense. He would bring that physical, posession wideout skill-set that Boldin brought and while he is not exactly the most talented wideout, he is a very solid player.

For even more (and likely better) mocks, check out the database at the great WalterFootball.com.

2 comments:

  1. Geno Smith does not fit the West Coast offense Buffalo is installing. Nassib or Barkley is where they are likely to go.

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    Replies
    1. I could see him in the West Coast, but I am feeling the winds that they could go for Nassib, more so than Barkley, and potentially at 8.

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