2013 NFL Mock Draft | January Edition
The playoffs have started, and we are still awaiting a National Championship game between Alabama and Notre Dame to start off 2013.
However, that will not stop NFL Soup from churning out NFL Draft content in addition to our playoff coverage.
It is still very, very early in the NFL Draft process as we have yet to even play the Shrine Bowl, let alone the Senior Bowl, but it is time to start getting idea of who the first round talents are and where players could fall come April.
1. Kansas City Chiefs - Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Say what you want to about Barkley’s struggles in 2012, but he’s still my #1 overall quarterback, partially due to a class that hardly compares to the 2012 quarterback class.
Still, Barkley is a legit pocket passer who would come in with weapons in Dwayne Bowe, Jonathan Baldwin, Steve Breaston and Dexter McCluster. Barkley would immediately compete with Matt Cassel, and could even benefit from sitting for a bit.
He has until the end of April to get his draft stock back up and prove himself to Andy Reid and the Chiefs, and I’m 100% confident that he will do just that.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Jaguars just cannot get to the quarterback, having just 14 sacks on the season. That’s an embarrassing statistic that they must improve if they expect to win any football games.
Werner is a ruthless defensive end that could put up double digit sacks in any given season. When you think Werner, you see a play style comparable to Minnesota’s Jared Allen.
3. Oakland Raiders - Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
Jones can rush the passer and he can contain in the run game. He’s a special linebacker that can also put his hand in the ground. Whether the Raiders want to move out outside to a strong-side position, or place him at RDE, they’ll have a significant upgrade.
Jones is an athlete that has the ability to be a game changer defensively and will make an impact early in his career.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
This is a no-brainer here as the Eagles offensive line has been in shambles. Injuries to the tackle position have seemingly ruined the offense, and getting a franchise left tackle for the new coaching staff is going to help get this offense back to where it was.
5. Detroit Lions - Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Kyle Vanden Bosch has had a very solid career and he has instilled an exceptional attitude in the youth of the defense.
However, it’s time for a youth movement at the position by getting one of the more fearful pass rushers in this draft class in Moore. The Lions are just a few key pieces to being a playoff team on a consistent basis and this pick puts them a step in the right direction.
6. Cleveland Browns – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The Browns missed out on Julio Jones with pick six two drafts ago after trading down with the Falcons. Now they get a receiver in Patterson who could step in and be a number one from the first day.
Patterson is just a plain play maker and he would compliment Josh Gordon and Greg Little quite well, giving the Browns a wide receiver corps filled with play makers to add to Trent Richardson’s rushing attack.
7. Arizona Cardinals – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan (Update: Returning to school)
Quarterback is the way to go with this pick, but I don’t see Geno Smith in Arizona and the Cardinals need to be able to protect the quarterback before they try and grab their future.
Lewan is still improving on a game by game basis and would be the number one tackle in this class if it weren’t for Joeckel.
I’m not fully sold on Geno Smith, but I think he has the right tools to be a legitimate quarterback. It’s time for the Bills and Ryan Fitzpatrick to part ways as he has held that team back more than anything else.
Smith would have weapons in Buffalo with Stevie Johnson, Donald Jones, C.J. Spiller, and Fred Jackson.
9. New York Jets – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Talk about a monster, Lotulelei is still a candidate to go top five, if not number one overall.
The Jets defense just hasn’t done half of what it was supposed to under Ryan, partially because their front seven can’t get off blocks and the defensive line fails to take up space. Enter the 330 pound Lotulelei to help solve that issue.
The entire Titans defensive line could really use an improvement, but grabbing a terrorizing defensive tackle in Richardson would be a great first step.
Richardson is agile and has great lateral ability when shutting down running lanes. This guy is everywhere seemingly, including disrupting the back field consistently.
The Chargers have to solve their left tackle position. Getting more play makers offensively is important, but so is keeping Philip Rivers alive.
Rivers would have had the quickest release in the league to have put together a winning season because he did not get help from his offensive line. Fisher is a very smooth prospect that could stay on the left side for 10+ years.
Losing Brandon Marshall clearly hurt this season, and while Brian Hartline has shown some promise, there is currently no number one receiver on that team.
Hopkins has enjoyed a dominant season catching 18 touchdowns, partially due to suspensions and injuries to Sammy Watkins. Still, his ability as a down field play maker has improved big time over the course of the last 10-12 months.
If Ryan Tannehill is to succeed, he’s going to have to throw the ball to somebody that can consistently catch it.
The Buccaneers secondary is even worse than it was to start the season after getting rid of Aqib Talib.
Why not grab a solid press cover corner in Rhodes who can also help out a bit in run support? Rhodes has unlimited potential, but hasn’t fully developed yet.
The Panthers still can’t shut any running lanes down in the middle of the defensive line, and they have to address it if the defense wants to stop losing football games.
Hankins is a big, big body that is surprisingly athletic for his size. He can clog up lanes and establish himself as a legit run stuffer, while offering some pass rushing ability.
Like the Panthers, the Saints could not stop the run, but they were even worse. In fact, they were the worst in the league.
The bookend defensive edge rushers are set with Cam Jordan and Will Smith, but they need to address the interior line by getting a run stuff in the middle. Williams has endured both a 3-4 NT role and 3-4 DE role, and would have no problem filling running lanes for the Saints in 2013.
The Rams have to sustain some sort of consistency inside of the offensive line. Warmack may be the best guard prospect in the last few years outside of David DeCastro.
With two first round picks, the Rams can afford to spend a pick on an ugly position while working to give Steven Jackson, Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead rushing lanes.
This is simply a best pick available situation. The Steelers opt to pass on Te’o for the sexy edge rusher with big time potential.
His stock has dropped a bit, but he has too much upside to last this long and not be drafted by a team that is legendary in creating exceptional pass rushers.
The Cowboys need a coverage safety that can take away the big plays down field, and Vaccaro is that man.
What he lacks in proper tackling, he more than makes up for in range and the ability to size up with slot receivers as well as bigger tight ends and receivers.
Another best pick available situation, the Giants somehow manage to get the talented Te’o to toss in the middle of the defense instead of Chase Blackburn.
Te’o is big, physical and can shed blockers with ease.
Brian Urlacher has been bothered by injuries and age, as his run as a top defender has pretty much run its course.
Ogletree can afford to beef up about 8-12 pounds, but his athleticism and sideline to sideline ability will help make it feel like Urlacher never left in a couple of seasons.
Lance Kendricks had a fair season, but he’s just not the play maker at the position that Sam Bradford needs.
Tyler Eifert is the best tight end in the draft, having big hands to match his size and being a fantastic red zone target. Bradford needs weapons that can be consistent and Eifert is special.
Jerome Simpson coming back helped Christian Ponder out a bit, and Percy Harvin is legit, but staying healthy is still an issue for both.
Allen is a receiver with good size and down field ability, and can also make plays underneath if need be. Christian Ponder had a very solid season, and needs more weapons to take the pressure off of Harvin and tight end Kyle Rudolph.
Michael Johnson is a free agent and is not guaranteed to come back. Jordan is one of the most athletic players in this draft and has excellent ability as a pass rusher.
Jordan is a bit raw, which is why he slips a bit, but Mike Zimmer should have no problem developing him into a legit play maker defensively.
With how poor the defense played at times, it’s amazing how the Colts made the playoffs.
They could use a big body in the middle of the defense, but it’s too hard to pass up on a talented cover corner like Banks who could step in almost instantly.
Ties to USC and Pete Carroll, Woods is a potential number one receiver at the next level if utilized properly.
His ability to make plays underneath and run after the catch makes him special, but he can also make plays vertically down field despite not being the biggest receiver.
Depth at corner is a must for the Ravens who have battled injuries throughout the last few seasons.
Cary Williams has done a fine job and could man the number two corner spot for a season or two as Milliner learns the ropes in the nickel.
You can never have too much depth on the defensive line, and the opposing run game is still haunting the Packers at times.
Floyd fits the mold of a 3-4 defensive end that can eat up space and attack in the five technique.
Jenkins is a big body who should have no problem converting to a 3-4 nose tackle full time.
He won’t have to start right away, but giving Isaac Sopoaga breathers would help out an already very tough defense.
Ben Jones just seems out of position at guard and Wade Smith is just a stopgap guard for the time being.
Cooper could play both guard positions, but could become a starter immediately next to Duane Brown.
Wes Welker may not be back, and we know that the Patriots love speed.
Austin has solid hands, but even better play making ability after the catch. He can stretch the field and could be an asset to Tom Brady and the Patriots high powered offense.
Depth on the offensive line would be ideal for the Broncos, among a few other positions. One of the better picks available at the moment is Jones who is so versatile playing guard, tackle and center at Alabama.
Not only did he play those positions, but he played them at a very high level.
32. Atlanta Falcons – Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
Tyler Eifert would be preferred here, I’m sure, but Ertz is a big, physical tight end with soft hands and very good route running ability.
Ertz was heavily used in a two tight end system with Andrew Luck and started after replacing the departed Coby Fleener in 2012. He replaced a good one in Fleener and would be set to replace one of the best in the history of the NFL in Tony Gonzalez.