With the Super Bowl finished, it’s time for a 2013 NFL Mock Draft.
This year, it’s harder, because there aren’t as many star quarterbacks. However, there are a lot of great players, and it should make for an interesting draft. So, how will it go? Well, I can’t read the minds of the general managers, but I can predict the draft.
So, without further ado, here’s my 2013 NFL Mock Draft:
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OL, Texas A&M
Geno Smith was thought of as the consensus pick here, but I believe that Alex Smith, who is set to leave San Francisco after this year, will be on the Chiefs. They have a good supporting cast, but a pass protecter would help. Joeckel is thought of as a very safe, experienced pick, and I think he can do a great job protecting the blindside starting from his rookie season. I can see Geno Smith being picked here, but it’s very doubtful. I see Kansas City taking Joeckel.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
Jacksonville was one of the worst defensive teams (30th in total defense) and they have a new, defensive-minded coach in Gus Bradley. And there is a talented linebacker from Georgia who can help out a lot, especially with pass-rushing. Jones needs to get bigger and better against the run, but he can play and has lots of potential. I would say that he has the best upside, and I would say he’s going to be picked here.
3. Oakland Raiders: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Aldon Smith almost had as many sacks as the Raiders defense, so they need a pass-rusher. Werner had the third-most sacks this year in the NCAA, and he has gotten a lot better this year. Werner could make an immediate impact for the Raiders, and he is 6’4, 256 pounds. Oakland’s going to take a pass-rusher, and Werner is the best one (with Jones off the board).
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dee Millner, CB, Alabama
There aren’t many good secondary players in this years draft class, and because Nnamdi Asomugha has been a complete failure for the Eagles and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is far from elite, they need someone else to bolster the depleted secondary. Millner is the best in the draft, and he can help improve the secondary for sure. Philadelphia could take a quarterback, but I see Michael Vick staying and getting another chance with Chip Kelly.
5. Detroit Lions: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
The best player available at this point is Star Loutelei out of Utah, but Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh are both very good defensive tackles for the Lions, and they don’t need another one. However, Moore could help out with rushing the passer and creating a deadly pass rush. He needs to work on stopping the run, but he will get better over time while still helping out the defensive line immediately.
6. Cleveland Browns: Star Loutelei, DT, Utah
The Browns need a linebacker here more, and they could reach a bit for Oregon’s Dion Jordan here. But I think they will take the best player available here to further upgrade their defensive line, and they could try and steal a linebacker in the second round. They could even try and trade for one, although I think that if Loutelei falls down here, he will be picked.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Geno Smith doesn’t appear to be the next Tom Brady, but in 2012 with West Virginia, he threw for an incredible 40 touchdowns and a meager six interceptions. He had Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin there, and would have another dynamic receiver in Larry Fitzgerald with Arizona. Smith can move but can also throw, and he has big-play potential and a chance at changing the Cardinals’ fortunes. If the best quarterback in the draft falls to Arizona, they will take him.
8. Buffalo Bills: Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
If Nassib is available here, which I’m sure he will be, I can’t see Nassib’s former, offensive-minded coach passing on him. Nassib is a talented quarterback who is probably the second-best in this draft class, and the Bills need a replacement for the inconsistent Ryan Fitzpatrick. Nassib is a hard-worker and has good size, and he’s accurate as well. If I were the Bills, I would definitely take Nassib here.
9. New York Jets: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
The Jets are in need of a quarterback, as Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow are not enjoying the media circus in New York. Mike Glennon was thought of as a fit here, but he’s been struggling in pre-draft workouts and did not look good in the Senior Bowl, so I see Wilson being picked here. Wilson can be very effective when protected, and if his decision-making improves, he can run the Jets offense well, something Sanchez and others have struggled to do.
10. Tennessee Titans: Barkevious Mingo, OLB/DE, LSU
If any other player like Loutelei, Moore, or even Werner falls here, the Titans will snatch them in a second. However, Mingo comes from a defensive-minded school and will likely be picked here, as the Titans need to get some pressure on the quarterback opposite Derrick Morgan. Mingo is very athletic and can help out the defensive line immediately, and I see him doing the same thing. A quarterback could even be picked here, but Jake Locker will probably get another shot.
11. San Diego Chargers: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
San Diego needs Phillip Rivers to be protected to be effective, and their offensive line isn’t good at all. Fisher is, in my opinion, the best offensive tackle on the board, and he will be selected here if he is available. San Diego has a good offense, but they don’t have a good offensive line. Jared Gaither is probably going to be gone before the 2013 season, and Fisher can fill that void and help the offense.
12. Miami Dolphins: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Coradarrelle Patterson is the best receiver in this draft class, as he has the tools to be a top receiver, as he possesses speed, athleticism and great hands, just like every star receiver. Brian Hartline and Davone Bess are not elite receivers, and Miami is very thin in this department. If Patterson is off the board, I would expect Keenan Allen to be picked here. Miami could sign Greg Jennings and go elsewhere, but at the moment, Patterson is the most realistic pick.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
Tampa Bay is in need of a linebacker, and it doesn’t look like Manti Te’o fits the bill here, with his poor play in the BCS Championship and his fake girlfriend controversy. After a four-game suspension to start the season, Ogletree recorded a massive 111 tackles and 11.5 sacks, and he definitely is a fit here. Ogletree has speed and can cover the pass, and he’s definitely the best middle linebacker and a good fit here for the Buccaneers.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Carolina has a very solid defense, but they allowed 11 rushing touchdowns this year and Richardson can help out with that. He’s good at penetrating and stopping the run, and the best defensive tackle at this point. The Panthers will probably look to upgrade the defensive line here, and Richardson would be the ideal pick. Carolina doesn’t have great running backs, but there are no star backs in the draft, so I see them trying to add a bit to their defense.
15. New Orleans Saints: Dion Jordan, OLB/DE, Oregon
If Barkevious Mingo is gone here, the Saints, who will be switching to a 3-4 defense to try to improve on their historically bad defensive season, should pick Jordan and use him as an outside linebacker. Jordan has speed and can definitely help out in pass coverage, and he will be looking to help what may have been the worst defense in NFL history. He is very tall and can get by offensive lineman, and I see him being picked here easily (if he is available).
16. St. Louis Rams: Keenan Allen, WR, California
The Rams could go for an offensive lineman here, but I see them trying to bring back all of the pieces on the offensive line and taking a chance on Cal’s Allen. Allen can get open and has some great hands, and he shines in all weather (Allen is very good in the rain, so he will be good in cold road games, as the Rams play in a dome). St. Louis doesn’t have any great receivers, and while Danny Amendola is good, a compliment to him would be nice.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Terrence Williams, WR, Baylor
The Steelers had the best total defense all year, so I see them trying to upgrade on offense. They have Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown on offense, but I see them trying to add another receiver. If Allen is here, they will take him, but Terrence Williams is a very good wideout as well. He’s got the tools to succeed at the next level and I think NFL success can definitely happen for him. Pittsburgh may not bring back Wallace, and if they don’t, a wideout is a no-brainer here.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Chance Warmack, OL, Alabama
Dallas needs offensive lineman, as Tony Romo has never really been protected, which has contributed to him not taking the next step with Dallas. The offensive line can definitely be upgraded here by the Alabama product, who can definitely help with run blocking in addition to helping out his quarterback. Alabama players tend to succeed at the next level, and I expect Warmack to be the same as a lot of other Alabama players.
19. New York Giants: Ezekeil Ansah, DE, BYU
The Giants had the 31st best defense in the league, and a lot of the blame for that falls on the shoulders of Jason Pierre-Paul’s lackluster season. Osi Umenyiora has brought up some questions too, and the Giants pick the best player available a lot. So, I could see them taking Ansah easily to help bolster what used to be an intimidating pass rush, when New York won Super Bowl 46.
20. Chicago Bears: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Jay Cutler has never been protected in Chicago, and Lane Johnson can help change that. He is athletic and dynamic, and he could bring a different element to a terrible offensive team and help protect Cutler. Protecting Cutler will help him out a lot, and it can change the dynamic of the whole offense. So, the need for a middle linebacker to replace Brian Urlacher (in the near-future) can wait.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
Cincinnati could go after a running back like Eddie Lacy, but I see them sticking with BenJarvis Green-Ellis there and Andy Dalton at QB.
They could use some help at linebacker, and Manti Te’o can help out, especially against the run. He can be the final piece in an already strong run defense, which would help take out running-based teams like the Vikings.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington): D.J Fluker, OT, Alabama
With Keenan Allen already being in St. Louis’ possession, they will go for an offensive lineman. As I said, Alabama players tend to be very successful in the NFL, and I think Fluker can help an offensive line that allowed 35 sacks in 2012. St. Louis isn’t desperately in need for a lineman, and they could even go for a QB. But with the lack of talent and the question marks on the offensive line, Fluker makes the most sense.
23. Minnesota Vikings: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Minnesota seems to run only on Adrian Peterson when they have the ball, but a quarterback is not the solution here. Adding playmakers around Christian Ponder will help him, and the whiny Percy Harvin isn’t enough. Hopkins is athletic and has great hands, and I see him being underrated and I think he can be a star. Minnesota could have a diamond in the rough here. After all, Hopkins did have 1,405 receiving yards and 18 touchdown catches in 2012.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
If Vaccaro does drop this far, expect the Colts, a team that struggled mightily on defense in 2012 and couldn’t stop even the worst offenses in the league, to take him. Vaccaro had 87 tackles in 12 regular season games and four games with double-digit tackles, and he has decent size and athleticism. Vaccaro could and is expected by most people to be gone at this point, but I see him slipping and the Colts snatching him.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
Seattle has a great defense, but they need a replacement for star defensive end Chris Clemons (ACL injury), and SMU’s Margus Hunt is too raw to make an immediate impact. Montgomery attended a school that specializes in defense and success at the next level (forget JaMarcus Russell), and he is underrated and a good run-stopper. He can fill in for Clemons, which would make a defense that allowed just over 15 PPG in 2012 just as good.
26. Green Bay Packers: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
DuJuan Harris did a stellar job in the playoffs, running for two touchdowns and catching a lot of passes in two playoff games. However, he isn’t a definitive number one back, and Lacy can be. He is a power back who will fight for every yard and rarely go down on first contact, and he is a bruising back with lots of potential. If he is available here, expect Green Bay to try and balance their explosive offense by taking him and complimenting Aaron Rodgers.
27. Houston Texans: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
On paper, the Texans look like a great, complete team, but it isn’t always that way in the games. Houston dropped three of their last four games, barely beating the Bengals in the first round of the playoffs in a sloppy game and getting thrashed by the Patriots. Quarterback Matt Schaub has been the main problem, and I see a quarterback being picked here to give them depth. As I mentioned, Mike Glennon has struggled in the offseason, so I see Barkley as the pick here.
28. Denver Broncos: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Some Broncos fans want a future replacement for the aging Champ Bailey or some depth at offensive line, but I think those needs can be addressed later in the draft or in free agency. Defensive tackles Justin Bannan, Ty Warren and Kevin Vickerson are free agents, and the Broncos need to add depth there. Hankins has progressed a lot and can be an immediate starter, like Derek Wolfe was last year, for Denver, and he is a reasonable pick here.
29. New England Patriots: Jonathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
In 2012, the Patriot defense took major strides towards assisting the explosive offense, as Aqib Talib stepped up in pass coverage to help out a demoralizing pass rush. However, Talib may not re-sign, and even if he does, the Patriots could add depth and help for Alfonzo Dennard. Banks looks like a long-term starter and a good fit for New England.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
Tony Gonzalez will be retiring, so Atlanta is left with nothing at tight end. However, Zach Ertz has good size and incredible hands, making him like a wide receiver and a very good replacement for Gonzalez. Tight end isn’t a top priority for most teams, so expect him to fall here. Atlanta’s defense looked good in the playoffs, so I think they will opt to upgrade the offense here instead. If Gonzalez chooses to stay, this changes, but I think it’s safe to say we’ve seen the last of him.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Chris Culliver was burned left and right in the Super Bowl, and Carlos Rogers was a liability in 2012 after a Pro Bowl campaign in 2011. So, the secondary, which surrendered an average of 341.5 yards per game and three touchdowns per game to Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco (in the Super Bowl and NFC Championship), needs an upgrade, and Rhodes’ size and coverage ability makes him a realistic pick here. He will see lots of playing time, and could make a huge impact on the defense.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Kevin Minter, LB, LSU
With Ray Lewis, one of the greatest players of all time, retiring, the Ravens have a gaping hole at middle linebacker. Manti Te’o would be a fit here, but I see him being picked by the Bengals. So, the Ravens will reach for Minter here, to fill a hole they desperately need to fill. ESPN.com’s Mel Kiper Jr. sees Minter as a good fit, and the tackling pro is a realistic pick for sure. He will have Dannell Ellerbe to help, but if Minter could make an impact, it would be huge for the Super Bowl 47 champions.