Sunday, April 21, 2013

2013 NFL Mock Draft, Three Rounds of Hell

By Matt Thomas

Round One

1. Kansas City Chiefs – OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan — It's been Luke Joeckel for weeks now, but during the week leading into the draft, it has become evident that KC prefers Fisher's athleticism and his should be the first name called.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars – OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M — Another shift that has occurred in the days (and even hours) before the draft is that Jacksonville is now very likely to take the remaining OT of the two highest ranked offensive tackles on the board. OLB Dion Jordan is still a possibility here, but not likely.

3. Detroit Lions (via Oakland) – OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma — The Lions are hot to trot for the third top rated OT, Lane Johnson. Johnson grades out well on paper and it has been reported that review of his tape has left front office personnel feeling really good about his versatility, strength at the point of attack, and attitude. Look for Oakland to recoup the second round pick they lost to Cincy in the Carson Palmer deal by dangling their #3 pick to a team like Detroit who covets an offensive tackle.

4. Philadelphia Eagles – DE/DT Star Lotulelei, Utah — QB Geno Smith is a possibility here, but it just doesn't seem like a smart move for new coach Chip Kelly in his first draft as the Eagles head man. Vick did struggle at times last year (okay, that was generous, he struggled constantly last year), but he is still very popular as a player than you can sense that the Eagles faithful are excited to see their ultra-mobile QB in an offense that suits his frantic style, at least on paper. They also have an adequate backup QB in Nick Foles, though admittedly he isn't nearly the fit for the up-tempo style Kelly promises to bring to town.

But more than those two factors, the availability of similarly mobile quarterbacks later in this draft (such as Florida State's E.J. Manuel, who Philly is reported to love) tells me that reaching for Smith would be a tough sell for the PR department to make. Lotulelei, who has received all the medical clearances he needs to settle those who have him on their radar (Star had a scare at the NFL Combine where tests should an irregularity in his heart, but later tests revealed it was likely caused by dehydration and a virus he was fighting at the time), is a safe pick and a good fit as a five-technique DE in Philly's new 3-4 scheme.

5. Oakland Raiders (via Detroit) – DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida — Floyd has been the guy all along for Oakland, and that they will still get him after trading down a few spots and gaining a second round pick speaks volumes about the new leadership in Oakland.

6. St. Louis Rams (via Cleveland) – WR Tavon Austin — Okay, here is where the draft gets really interesting. Cleveland has been rumored to want to trade out for weeks. They are now being rumored to want to trade up, but I just don't know where they'd get the ammo to do so with their bag of draft picks relatively empty this year. So, I'm going with they will, indeed trade down.

St. Louis, for their part, loves Tavon Austin, along with about 31 other teams. They also don't like Cordarrelle Patterson as much as many previously thought, which makes the WV receiver a real target for them. The Rams have some extra picks to fool around with, so I expect them to trade up to get ahead of Buffalo and the Jets, who both also are known to covet Austin's potential.

7. Arizona Cardinals – OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon — I'll keep this simple: the Cardinals need a pass rusher. Jordan is good at that. No more tackles that would warrant a pick this high remain. Done and done.

8. Buffalo Bills – QB Ryan Nassib, Syracuse — Surprised? Don't be. There is strong intel that Nassib could be the first QB off the board, even if Buffalo doesn't pull the trigger on him. But the x-factor for Buffalo is that he can run new OC (and ex-Syracuse coach) Doug Marrone's offense, he has mobility, a strong arm, and smarts. Will he be the next Andrew Luck? Not likely, but what he can be is a 10-year starter on a winning team and bring stability to Buffalo's consistently inconsistent QB play.

9. New York Jets – OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU — The Jets love Mingo, and with Rex Ryan calling the shots this year on defense, you know he'll be pounding the table for an impact player on that side of the ball. Mingo is widely considered one of the two best edge rushers in the draft, and his availability here for the Jets will be tough to ignore.

10. Tennessee Titans – OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina — There have been rumblings that the Titans absolutely love Cooper. He is perfectly suited for and experienced in the zone blocking scheme and he has a nasty streak that plays well with offensive linemen. Even with the signing of arguably the best free agent offensive lineman in Andy Levitre — who happens to also play guard — Bruce Matthews and Mike Munchak know a little something about the value of a strong offensive line and with the offensive weapons they already have, shoring up that unit to this level makes good business sense.

11. San Francisco 49ers (via San Diego) – DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU — San Francisco is pretty much a lead pipe lock to trade up in this draft. While they really could land anywhere, they likely will want to get in the 10-15 neighborhood to have access to whichever is available in a group of Star Lotulelei, Sharrif Floyd, Ziggy Ansah, and Sheldon Richardson. In this version of my mock, Ansah falls and since SF is one of the few teams that can afford to wait on his mind to catch up to his athletic ability, he makes a lot of sense here.

12. Miami Dolphins – CB Dee Milliner, Alabama — Though his stock is slipping a bit due to some lingering injury concerns, I hear Miami loves Milliner and they will not hesitate to call his name if he's still remaining on the board at #12. Hell, Miami may even be the ones spreading the negative rumors about Dee's health to help make sure he drops!!

13. Atlanta Falcons (via Tampa Bay thru NY Jets) – TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame — The Jets will likely trade back with one (if not both) of their two top 13 picks. I see them trading this one, which they acquired by trading CB Darrelle Revis to the Bucs, to a team from the back end of the draft looking to make a splash (think Baltimore or Atlanta). The Falcons make the bold move to trade much of the early part of their draft to take the successor to Tony Gonzalez.

14. Carolina Panthers – DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri — Richardson going in this spot is one of the few picks that I feel really, really good about. He plays a position of need, is someone that has definitively been on their radar throughout the offseason, and he is a very safe selection for a team that needs to spend some time solidifying the front of their defense.

15. New Orleans Saints – OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia — With WR Cordarrelle Patterson's stock dropping, the Saints may not be able to find a suitable trade partner to get them out of this slot. If they do stay put and draft here, the only two options are really Jones, who offers the rush dimension they currently don't have, and S Kenny Vaccaro, who would help improve the worst passing defense in NFL history. I think Jones is the name they call, but it really could go either way.

16. Cleveland Browns (via St. Louis) – QB Geno Smith, West Virginia — While Cleveland may also be looking defensive back and pass rusher, I just think Geno is too high on their board for them to pass on him, based on everything I've heard. Smith is a solid pick at this point in the draft and the Browns will get their CB help in round two using the pick they gained by sliding back in the trade with St. Louis.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers – OG Chance Warmack, Alabama — Warmack is the value play here. The Steelers are so concerned about their guard issues that they floated the idea of moving Pro Bowl C Pouncey into one of those slots. Drafting a player of Warmack's stature and skill makes much better sense.

18. Dallas Cowboys – S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas — It took me a few weeks, but I finally have convinced myself that the Cowboys are not going to trade out of this spot. It is quite clear that they love Vaccaro, so they will most certainly call his name if he is there for them at #18.

19. Minnesota Vikings (NY Giants) – ILB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame — Don't be shocked when this goes down on draft night. The Vikings are very excited about the prospect of bringing Te'o to town due to his natural leadership ability and his instincts. The Chicago Bears are equally jazzed about such an idea, which is why I see the Vikes trading up to get ahead of the Bears in making this pick. One thing to watch: the Bears may trade up to the Cowboys' spots at #18 to ensure that they don't get leapfrogged and get their guy.

20. Chicago Bears – OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama — Popular opinion would be for the Bears to go with Georgia's Alec Ogletree should Manti be gone, but word is the Bears are not even considering Ogletree due to his past indiscretions and his inconsistency on the field. The Bears will continue to make improving their pass rush and pass protection their priorities as they draft Alabama's massive and talented offensive tackle.

21. Cincinnati Bengals – WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee — The Bengals will be tickled to have Patterson fall in their laps. While there are certainly questions about the Tennessee wide out's passion for football, work ethic, and versatility, the fact remains that he is very talented and was very productive at Tennessee against quality defenses. He should help improve a Bengals offense which bogged down at times last year due to its lack of depth.

22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington) – S Matt Elam, Florida — Elam has fallen off many teams' radars in recent weeks. If that had been a result of his tape not showing well or bad interviews, I'd be worried, but it has been more closely tied to attention lesser known prospects like Shamarko Thomas, D.J. Swearinger, and Jonathan Cyprien have been getting. Elam remains as solid a pick at safety as there is in this draft and he plays very similarly to Blaine Bishop, a favorite of head coach Jeff Fisher at Tennessee.

23. Minnesota Vikings – CB D.J. Hayden, Houston — No player has shot up draft boards as quickly in the past two weeks as Hayden. Once the doctor's reports came back clean on Hayden (after a scare last season where a main artery was severed during a collision at practice nearly killed him), his film and raw ability took over. Personally, I think even this is too late for Hayden, who for me, is a top 15 talent.

24. New York Jets (via Indianapolis) – CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State — The Jets now need to add “replacement for Darrelle Revis” to their ever growing list of team needs, and the Florida State CB is a good start at plugging that specific need. Rhodes is great in aggressive, press coverage so he'll be a nice fit in Ryan's defense.

25. New York Giants (via Seattle thru Minnesota) – DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State — Another simple one, the Giants always pick the best available player and Werner is exactly that. Add to that he plays a position that the Giants put a premium on, and this is pretty much a slam dunk.

26. Baltimore Ravens (via Green Bay) – WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson — Baltimore will be looking to draft to fill specific needs, and Hopkins is a solid Anquan Boldin analog. He runs precise routes, can get separation in traffic, and has very good hands, all attributes that Flacco appreciated in Boldin.

27. Philadelphia Eagles (via Houston) – QB E.J. Manuel, Florida State — If you were paying any attention earlier in this article, you will have seen this coming. The Eagles are big Manuel fans and Houston is a team that is likely to drop down a few spots to ensure better value in their first pick.

28. Denver Broncos – DE Tank Carradine, Florida State — Carradine is recovering very well from his injury last season. Had he not been hurt, he would most likely have been a top-15 or even a top-10 selection. He's quick, he's strong, and he knows how to get to the passer and he will help account for the loss of Elvis Dumervil in the Mile High city.

29. New England Patriots – DT Jesse Williams, Alabama — Pat's head man Bill Belichick annually farms intel from his network of coaches in the college ranks, most notably Urban Meyer and Nick Saban. I have no reason to believe that this trend won't continue, and this year's beneficiary will be Williams, a defensive lineman who can play in the five-technique defensive end role, or as an interior tackle in either a three-man or four-man front. The Pats need to find the eventual replacement for the aging, but still productive Vince Wilfork, and Jesse Williams could well be that player.

30. Indianapolis Colts (via Atlanta thru NY Jets) – CB Jamar Taylor, Boise State — The Colts should be drafting a cornerback and Jamar Taylor is a player who is getting a lot of good press of late. Taylor is very fast, a sure tackler, and extremely smart on defense.

31. San Diego Chargers (via San Francisco) – DE Datone Jones, UCLA — Can you say "value pick?" Jones is very talented and plays a need for the Chargers. After trading down this far, San Diego will be very happy to see both Jones and a couple of good offensive tackles to choose from, particularly since the second part of that trade will be the #34 pick early in round two. There is a slight risk that the Packers would draft Jones, so calling his name here makes more sense than waiting and calling for an OT here instead.

32. Green Bay Packers (via Baltimore) – RB Eddie Lacy, Alabama —In the entire 49-year history of the modern NFL draft, there has never been a first round that did not include a running back. While this year is lighter than most in the area of top end running backs, 2013 will not be the year that trend ends. Lacy is the total package and while he doesn't necessarily excel in any one facet, he can run, catch, block, and score touchdowns. As an aside, this pick will result in a whole lot of hand-wringing amongst NFC defensive coordinators.

Round Two

33. Jacksonville Jaguars – QB Matt Barkley, USC

34. San Diego Chargers (via Kansas City thru San Francisco) – WR Justin Pugh, Syracuse

35. Houston Texans – DE Margus Hunt, SMU — I love the idea of this pick for the Texans. Pairing Hunt – a 6'8” defensive end with speed and power – with J.J. Watt would be a ridiculously difficult combo for offensive lineman to deal with. Should Hunt remain on the board at this pick, I just don't know how DC Wade Phillips couldn't talk the powers that be into making this selection.

36. Oakland Raiders (via Detroit Lions) – OLB Alec Ogletree, Georgia

37. Cincinnati Bengals (via Oakland) – ILB Kevin Minter, LSU

38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via Arizona) – OLB Arthur Brown, Kansas State

39. Cleveland Browns – NO PICK — Forfeited by virtue of 2012 Supplemental Draft selection of Josh Gordon.

40. New York Jets – QB Mike Glennon, North Carolina State — Look for the Jets to get their QB in round two, and Glennon is the best remaining option.

41. Minnesota Vikings (via Tennessee) – DT Sylvester Williams

42. Buffalo Bills – WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee

43. Kansas City Chiefs (via Miami) – OLB Jamie Collins — The Chiefs should get this pick by trading OT Branden Albert to the Dolphins.

44. Arizona Cardinals (via Tampa Bay) – OT Menelik Watson, Florida State — Missing out on OTs in round one, the Cardinals will make this a round two priority.

45. Carolina Panthers – WR Keenan Allen, California

46. New Orleans Saint – NO PICK — Forfeited as a penalty for the "Bountygate" scandal.

47. Houston Texans (via San Diego thru Cleveland) – WR Robert Woods, USC

48. Cleveland Browns (via St. Louis) – CB Desmond Trufant, Washington — Cleveland gets their guy to pair with Joe Haden.

49. Miami Dolphins (via Dallas) – TE Zach Ertz, Stanford — Miami trades up to get another valuable target for QB Ryan Tannehill, particularly in the red zone.

50. Pittsburgh Steelers – OLB Damontre Moore, Texas A&M

51. San Francisco 49ers (via NY Giants) – S Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International

52. Chicago Bears – ILB Kiko Alonso, Oregon — They don't like him as much as they like Te'o, but they do like him.

53. Washington Redskins – CB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State — Washington's first pick in this draft comes late in round two and should be used to address a secondary that was exposed on multiple occasions last season. Banks is a good, aggressive corner with a nose for the ball.

54. Tennessee Titans (via Minnesota) – DT Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State

55. Cincinnati Bengals – RB Giovani Bernard, North Carolina

56. Dallas Cowboys (via Indianapolis thru Miami) – OT Terron Armstead, Arkansas Pine Bluff

57. Green Bay Packers – OG/C Brian Schwenke, California

58. Seattle Seahawks – DE Sam Montgomery, LSU — The Seahawks make a value pick with their first selection of the '13 draft. Montgomery was once considered a solid first round talent, but his stock has stayed steady during the offseason while other players saw considerable bumps, dropping him down most teams' draft boards.

59. San Diego Chargers (via Houston) – WR Terrance Williams, Baylor — QB Phillip Rivers gets a new target, something he sorely needs.

60. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Denver) – OLB Khaseem Greene, Rutgers

61. Baltimore Ravens (via New England) – S Eric Reid, LSU

62. New York Jets (via Atlanta) – TE Gavin Escobar, San Diego State

63. New York Giants (via San Francisco) – OT David Bakhtiari, Colorado — The word is the Giants love the Colorado offensive lineman.

64. New England Patriots (via Baltimore) – CB Tyrann Mathieu, LSU — The Patriots make a lot of sense for the troubled but super talented defensive back.

Round Three

65. Arizona Cardinals (via Kansas City) – QB Matt Scott, Arizona

66. Denver Broncos (via Jacksonville) – S Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse

67. Detroit Lions – DE Alex Okafor, Texas

68. New York Giants (via Oakland) – CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut

69. Philadelphia Eagles – OT/OG Kyle Long, Oregon

70. Cleveland Browns – OG/OC Barrett Jones, Alabama — A significant injury hurts his value, but Jones is a stud and could start immediately for the Browns.

71. Kansas City Chiefs (via Arizona) – NT Jonathan Jenkins, Georgia

72. Tennessee Titans – WR Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech

73. Buffalo Bills – OLB Michael Buchanan, Illinois

74. New York Jets – RB Jonathan Franklin, UCLA

75. Cincinnati Bengals (via Tampa Bay) – C Travis Frederick, Wisconsin

76. San Francisco 49ers (via Carolina) – TE Vance McDonald, Rice — The Niners will want to get some depth at TE with the departure of hybrid TE/FB Delanie Walker. McDonald is one of those "best kept draft secrets" kind of guys and will can play the H-back position Walker excelled at.

77. Seattle Seahawks (New Orleans) – TE Travis Kelce, Cincinnati

78. San Diego Chargers – ILB Kevin Reddick, North Carolina

79. Miami Dolphins – RB Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina — After a gruesome leg injury temporarily derailed his dream, the Dolphins will give Lattimore every opportunity to show the league he's back and as good as ever.

80. Cleveland Browns (via St. Louis) – WR Stedman Bailey, West Virginia — Why not draft your new QB one of his favorite receivers?

81. QB Tyler Bray, Tennessee — Pittsburgh should be looking for a backup and long term replacement for Ben Roethlisberger, and they have gone on record in saying they believe Bray offers as much upside as any QB in this draft.

82. Arizona Cardinals (via Dallas) – ILB Jon Bostic, Florida

83. Oakland Raiders (via NY Giants) – CB B.W. Webb, William & Mary

84. Miami Dolphins (via Chicago) – DT Kawann Short, Purdue

85. Pittsburgh Steelers (via Minnesota thru Tennessee) – RB Knile Davis, Arkansas

86. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via Cincinnati) – WR Markus Wheaton, Oregon State

87. Washington Redskins – S D.J. Swearinger, South Carolina — Mike Shanahan is said to be very high on the playmaking safety.

88. Indianapolis Colts – RB Stepfan Taylor, Stanford — Another ex-Cardinal will provide additional familiarity to franchise QB Andrew Luck.

89. New Orleans Saints (via Seattle) – OT Brennan Williams, North Carolina

90. Kansas City Chiefs (via Green Bay) – QB Landry Jones, Oklahoma

91. San Diego Chargers (via Houston) – OLB Corey Lemonier, Auburn

92. Denver Broncos – RB Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State — Bell will bring some tough inside running ability to team that lacked that with any consistency last season.

93. New England Patriots – OLB Sio Moore, Connecticut

94. Atlanta Falcons – CB Tharold Simon, LSU

95. New York Giants (via San Francisco via Indianapolis) – OLB Zavier Gooden, Missouri — The Giants have had a need at LB for several seasons.

96. Green Bay Packers (via Baltimore thru NY Giants) – OT David Quessenberry, San Jose State

97. Houston Texans (Compensatory Pick) – TE Jordan Reed, Florida

98. Kansas City Chiefs (Compensatory Pick) – RB Kenjon Barner, Oregon

99. Tennessee Titans (Compensatory Pick) – CB Jordan Poyer, Oregon State — The last player projected in my three-round mock is an underrated defensive back who tackles well.

Contents copyright © Sports Central 1998-2009