2013 NFL Draft Mock: Pre-Playoffs Edition
The NFL Playoffs are upon us, which means 20 NFL teams and their loyal fan bases don’t give a crap and can’t wait to see their team get better in 2013. That means that a crazy amount of people are already thinking about the 2013 NFL Draft, and what their favorite team might be planning to do in it.
We’re right there with you (although we do like the NFL playoffs), and we don’t think it’s too early to start mocking the NFL Draft. We know the selection spots aren’t final and we know there is still four months to sort player stock, injuries, and perfect fits. But it’s too much fun and there are too many teams not involved in post-season play to skip it.
With all that said, here’s my personal first take on the 2013 NFL Draft. Feel free to tell me how wrong I am in the comments below:
1. Kansas City Chiefs - Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
KC has run through Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn this year, and they can’t endure that horror again. One way or another, they need to make a significant upgrade under center. Drafting Geno Smith with the top overall pick is a step in the right direction. He has good size, is accurate, and can make all the throws at the next level. Unless Matt Barkley shows he should be here (even though I kind of think he already should), the Chiefs would be silly to pick anyone else but Smith.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
The Jaguars could draft Matt Barkley or another quarterback and no one would complain really, but with Tim Tebow possibly coming to town, I think they wait at quarterback. If they aren’t going after a passer, then defense makes the most sense. Jones can be an impact pass-rusher, something the Jags sorely need.
3. Oakland Raiders - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Lotulelei is raw and inexperienced, but he has size and athleticism you don’t often find from a defensive lineman. Oakland is either aging or inconsistent on the d-line, so this is a move that needs to happen eventually, anyways. Lotulelei may look like a project, but the good news is he’s just scratching the surface and has a ceiling that is nowhere in sight.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Michael Vick got abused behind an atrocious offensive line in 2012, and whether it’s him or Nick Foles under center in 2013, the Eagles need to make sure they don’t see the same results. They simply stink on the outside in protection, and an elite tackle like Joeckel would go a long way in turning that around.
5. Detroit Lions – DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
Is this a bit of a reach? Yeah, maybe a big one. However, Detroit needs help in the secondary and I can’t justify another defensive lineman or pass-rusher when this need is greater. They need help at receiver, too, but Milliner could be a lockdown corner and the Lions really don’t have one at the moment.
6. Cleveland Browns – Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
Cleveland’s defense has grown a lot over the past year, and it should only be getting better. However, for them to continue the trend, they are going to need some fresh legs. Scott Fujita is probably done, and he was slipping, anyways. Moore is a versatile pass-rusher who should be able to help out right away.
7. Arizona Cardinals – Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Kevin Kolb will be cut and Ryan Lindley and John Skelton have proven they’re hardly worth-while bench warmers. The Cardinals are going to bring in a veteran upgrade and/or completely start over at the position. Barkley could fall further, but he really shouldn’t. He’s possibly the most pro-ready passer in this draft class and is vastly underrated because of a weak senior year.
8. Buffalo Bills – Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
Make that back to back reaches at the QB position. I personally think Barkley and Wilson are top-10 talents, though, so I don’t think these are crazy reaches. Buffalo isn’t high on Ryan Fitzpatrick, and unless they land Michael Vick (and they might), they have to take a stab at the future with a quality passer. Wilson is just that, and I can’t see him falling very far with several quarterback-needy teams in the top-10.
9. New York Jets – Manti Te’o, MLB, Notre Dame
The Jets would love to nab a quarterback here, but the top three are gone and they won’t reach here – not when Rex Ryan can get his own Ray Lewis via Te’o. They’ll have a new leader for their defense, and it’ll allow the Jets to get back to what they do best. Besides, they’ve already expressed interest in bringing in Vick, while Alex Smith could also be a possibility.
10. Tennessee Titans – Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Tennessee needs to get better on both sides of the ball, and judging by a lot of their struggles, the help they need is going to come out of the trenches for the most part. They need to beef up both lines, and since they have a lot of talent and potential on offense, they might as well take a stab at defense first. Hankins is a man-eater in the middle and gives them a presence they haven’t had sine Albert Haynesworth.
11. San Diego Chargers – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Philip Rivers struggled in 2012, and a lot of that had to do with losing several quality offensive linemen and the Chargers struggling with protection in general. The team is going to make a lot of changes, but one needs to be a re-dedication to keeping him a little more comfortable. Matthews is an elite tackle that should be able to step in and start from day one.
12. Miami Dolphins – Keenan Allen, WR, California
I like Brian Hartline, but he’s better suited as a #2 in Miami’s offense. The addition of a big-time receiver like Allen would let him slide over, and it’d still allow Davone Bess to effectively manage the slot. Ryan Tannehill needs more weapons too, which has this pick making a ton of sense.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Tampa Bay’s secondary is atrocious and their only consistent player, Ronde Barber, is 80 and getting closer to retirement. They should get a corner and may also think about adding another safety to pair with Mark Barron (if Barber leaves). Banks is a quality corner who might be a slight reach here, but the Bucs don’t really have a choice.
14. Carolina Panthers – Bjoern Werner, DE/OLB, Florida State
I know, I’m not sure how Werner got here, either. With the Bills and Cardinals taking quarterbacks, though, things got shaken up a bit. One way or another, Werner finds himself falling to Carolina, who could really use him on the outside of their defensive line. They could use a stud defensive tackle a bit more, but just like last year with Luke Kuechly, they can’t pass up this kind of value.
15. New Orleans Saints - Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
New Orleans got gashed against the run routinely in 2012, so something has to be done. Richardson is a space-eater who can get up the middle and disrupt both the run and the pass, so he should be able to slide in and compete for a spot in the rotation right away. He does need to get stronger, but he should make an impact for this poor defense from day one.
16. St. Louis Rams – Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Rams still haven’t found a way to protect Sam Bradford consistently, so they have to remain steadfast in trying to do so. They really don’t need much else on offense, so this move makes the most sense, while they’ll be lucky to land such a solid tackle prospect like Fisher.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
James Harrison is in decline and Pittsburgh can never have too many pass-rushers. Mingo can make his presence felt from day one, and the better the Steelers’ pressure is, the better their defense as a whole usually is. Secondary to this pick could be some offensive line help, as well as another fresh running back to throw into the mix.
18. Dallas Cowboys - Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Dallas needs safety help. Vaccaro might be a reach, but he has the talent to be a starter at the next level, and Dallas needs a bigger presence at the top of their defense. They have too much talent on that side of the ball to keep giving up big plays and be beat against the run. Vaccaro has a nose for the ball and isn’t afraid to get physical.
19. New York Giants - Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
New York has rolled with mediocrity in their linebacker corps for too long. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them try to trade up to land Te’o, but if they stand pat they’ll still have a shot at Ogletree, who is a fine inside linebacker in his own right.
20. Chicago Bears - Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
Chicago has serious problems on the offensive line, but they invested an early pick in Gabe Carimi not too long ago and any other tackles here might be too much of a reach. Why not add to their stout defense? Jordan is a versatile pass-rusher who can get down or drop back, and would make for a nice rotational piece right away in 2013.
21. St. Louis Rams (via Redskins) - Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU
St. Louis could really use another active body in their linebacking corps, and Van Noy is athletic and explosive to the ball. Their defense is a strong suit, but after nabbing a quality tackle with an earlier selection, they can afford to take a luxury pick here.
22. Minnesota Vikings - Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
Percy Harvin might be on his way out of town, but even if he’s not, we all know the Vikes need help at receiver. What they have just isn’t cutting it, while Williams has the size and skills to be a big-time player at the next level. He’ll help open this one-dimensional offense right away.
23. Cincinnati Bengals – Sam Montgomery, DE/OLB, LSU
The Bengals were an elite pass-rushing group in 2012, and there’s no sense in sliding away from that. They’re very well balanced on both sides of the ball, and short of adding a running back here (which they could do), grabbing a great value like Montgomery is the best move. If they’re even remotely considering allowing Michael Johnson to walk, this pick makes a ton of sense.
24. Indianapolis Colts - John Jenkins, DT, Georgia
The Colts could grab a guard to help with their weak ground game, but I think their run defense is more important. Jenkins can eat up space with the best of them, and his presence could free up Indy’s pass-rushers a lot more. They could also chase after a more traditional 3-4 outside ‘backer than they have, but they can’t pass up Jenkins if he’s here.
25. Seattle Seahawks - Jason Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Seattle has some solid receivers in place, but Sidney Rice seems to always be dealing with some sort of injury, while Golden Tate isn’t the most consistent option in the world. The Seahawks could afford to give Russell Wilson another weapon, either at receiver or tight end. I just don’t think Hunter can be passed on if he’s here.
26. Baltimore Ravens - Matt Elam, S, Florida
Ed Reed’s replacement? Elam has good instincts and isn’t afraid to get dirty, so it only makes sense to bring him on board while they still have one of the best at the position. They also need help at linebacker and possibly at receiver, but I like Elam and think this move makes sense for them.
27. Green Bay Packers - Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina
Green Bay has a few spots to shore up this year, but I don’t think they can afford to pass on a potential star running back here. Bernard is one of the best backs in the draft, if not the top one, and he’d finally give Green Bay a game-changer at the position. It’s beyond clear that this team is lacking balance, and Bernard would go a long way in making their offense even tougher to defend.
28. San Francisco 49ers – Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
The 49ers are known for their ability to stop the run, but they actually slipped in that department at times in 2012. They would be wise to get some reinforcements, and one could be Short. He’ll be depth for 2013, but could end up being a starter down the road. Great defenses only stay great if they keep adding more talent and depth at key positions. If they don’t make this move, they could opt for another receiver with Randy Moss possibly leaving and Mario Manningham coming off a torn acl.
29. Houston Texans - Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Houston loves to pound the rock, so why not keep that theme going by adding a tough, hard-nosed guard? They don’t have a ton of holes on either side of the ball, so I can see them beefing up a strength here. If not o-line, they could take a shot at another receiver here, or try to get another pass-rusher to add to the mix.
30. New England Patriots - Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Wes Welker is probably gone and Brandon Lloyd had mixed results in 2012, so the Pats will likely be looking to make a move at receiver. Austin was quite the catching-machine in 2012, so he could step in and play a Welker-like roll. Either way, he’s a heck of a talent that would be put to great use in a potent offense that needs fresh legs.
31. Denver Broncos - Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Denver’s defense has improved in two straight years, so it makes sense to keep adding talent to that side of the ball. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them take Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert here, either, but for the most part they’re all set on offense. Ansah is a freak with awesome size and seemingly limitless potential. Denver also should start thinking about life after Champ Bailey, but not yet when Ansah is ripe for the plucking.
32. Atlanta Falcons - Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Tony Gonzalez is headed for retirement this year or next, and the Falcons don’t have a backup plan. Matt Ryan loves his safety net, so you know ATL needs to find him a new talent at the TE position. Eifert has excellent size and hands, and is actually a solid blocker. It just makes a ton of sense for the Falcons if he can fall to this spot.
Come back next week as we mock again with some teams eliminated from post-season play, and follow me on Twitter @NFLSoupKevin as I talk NFL Draft and fantasy football during the off-season!