We are a little more than midway through the 2012 NFL Season, and the NCAA Conference Championship Games are about to be settled, and it’s been a while since I published a 2013 NFL Mock Draft. We now have a much better feeling of which range players will be selected, and what range NFL teams will be picking, so looking back at my first mock draft it already seems comical. Let’s get into it, sportsmasher.com’s 2013 NFL Mock Draft (Version 2.0):
1 ) Kansas City Chiefs – Matt Barkley, Quarterback (6’2 220lbs) USC - Tough luck for the Kansas City Chiefs, because there is no prospect like Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III available in this draft class, but it is clear that the Chiefs need to go in a different direction at quarterback. The last time a quarterback that the Chiefs drafted started a game for them was Todd Blackledge in 1983, which is both surprising and unacceptable, the fans in Kansas City deserve better. Matt Barkley is a smart quarterback who has a great feel for the game and is a very accurate passer, and although he may not have the biggest arm, he can make every NFL throw. It will be interesting to see which direction the Kansas City Chiefs go in this offseason, do they draft the best player in college football in Georgia pass rusher Jarvis Jones and look to sign a free agent quarterback, or do they draft a Matt Barkley or Geno Smith as the quarterback of the future. I think this organization needs a new face of the franchise, and Matt Barkely has all the tools to develop into a great NFL quarterback.
2 ) Jacksonville Jaguars – Geno Smith, Quarterback (6’3 214lbs) West Virginia - Will the Jaguars finally admit that they made a mistake by drafting Blaine Gabbert in the first round of the 2011 draft, one pick before Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who is about to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year? The Jaguars are under new ownership, and it is time that they search for a face of the franchise, West Virginia signal caller Geno Smith. Smith brings athleticism, accuracy and swagger to the quarterback position. He would instantly become the face of the franchise, and may be able to do some of the same things for the Jaguars that Robert Griffin III is currently doing for the Washington Redskins. Like making the franchise relevant and their games watchable.
3 ) Cleveland Browns – Jarvis Jones, Outside Linebacker (6’3 245lbs) Georgia - The Cleveland Browns need playmakers on both sides of the ball, I think that their new regime will regret giving up an early second round draft pick to select wide receiver Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft, Gordon my develop into a nice player but I think more valuable players will be available at that draft position. The Browns pass rush has come around in recent weeks, and I actually think there is a lot of talent on this team, but defensively they could use a leader and a true “Blue Chipper”. They could do a lot worse than drafting Jarvis Jones, the best player in college football during the 2012 season, who will instantly be a double digit sack player in the pros. I tend to think that Jones translates better to a 3-4 scheme, however wherever he lines up, he will instantly be a terror off the edge in passing situations and should develop into one of the most feared defenders in the NFL. A player you need to scheme for.
4 ) Oakland Raiders – Manti Te’o, LB (6’2 255lbs) Notre Dame - The Raiders need so much help, and it is clear that they are going in a different direction as an organization, following their recent release of former first round pick and starting middle linebacker Rolando McClain. McClain was known for his lack of discipline of the field and problems off of the field, so why not replace him with a linebacker that is the exact opposite of him. Manti Te’o outstanding both on and off of the field, he is an incredible football player and a natural leader, he truly inspires people. The Al Davis Raiders were always known as brash, cocky, nasty. The new management clearly wants to go in another direction. Te’o is a guy that can come in and change the culture of the organization.
5 ) Carolina Panthers – Star Lotulelei, DT (6’4 325lbs) Utah - My favorite player in the nation to watch right now, Lotulelei is a dominant defensive tackle who commands double teams, and destroys plays in the backfield as they develop. The Panthers run defense is awful, and adding a monster defensive tackle like Lotulelei will make everyone on that side of the ball better, because of the attention that he draws on every snap. The Panthers are headed in the right direction and will be much improved if they can add Lotulelei and then a playmaker for Cam Newton in the second round.
6 ) Arizona Cardinals – Taylor Lewan, OT (6’8 308lbs) Michigan - There is no doubt that the Arizona Cardinals are desperate to acquire a quarterback, star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald must be losing his mind, because he is wasting his prime years with incompetent quarterback play. If Barkley and Smith are both off of the board, and they may not be, I think the Cardinals will attempt to acquire a veteran quarterback to lead their offense. ‘Is there a chance that North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon could have a meteoric rise like Ryan Tannehill did last year? I think he’s got a shot) However the problem is not just quarterback play, they also cannot protect their awful quarterbacks, which has lead to injuries and no consistency at the position. While Texas A&M left tackle Luke Jockel is already an excellent player who is ready to play right now, Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan has a higher ceiling and more upside. Lewan must get stronger, however, he is an excellent athlete who could develop into an All-Pro. I expect his stock to skyrocket as the draft approaches.
7 ) Philadelphia Eagles – Chance Warmack, G (6’3 320lbs) Alabama - I know you are thinking that seventh overall is too early to select a guard, however Chance Warmack is one of the best guards I have ever seen play on the college level. He is powerful and athletic, and brings the sort of attitude that the Eagles really need to change the way this unit plays. There are major changes coming in Philly this offseason, and when you are rebuilding, it is best to start in the trenches. When draft day rolls around one of the few items that will be a consensus will be that Chance Warmack is one of the best available players on the board, the question becomes, do you draft an interior offensive lineman this early? I think that Warmack is a top three player in this draft, and upgrading the offensive line will be a huge need for this team no matter who the coach and quarterback are, so I pick him here.
8 ) Tennessee Titans- Damontre Moore, DE (6’4 250lbs) Texas A&M - The Tennessee Titans defense is one of the worst in the NFL, and it is clear that they need to improve their pass rush, which has registered just 23 sacks this season. Damontre Moore is an absolute stud pass rusher, who I think can play in either standing up in the 3-4 defense or with his hand in the dirt in the 4-3 defense. We here at sportsmasher.com have been calling Moore a top prospect all year long, and everyone else is starting to catch on, he is going to translate quickly to the NFL and make a lot of impact plays early in his career. Once scouts study his film and see him work out, there is a chance that Moore is drafted before 6th overall.
9 ) San Diego Chargers – Luke Jockel, OT (6’6 310lbs) Texas A&M - Things have gotten ugly in San Diego and there is little doubt that the team will get rid of head coach Norv Turner and start from scratch in 2013. This team has several talented players, however they have more weaknesses than strengths right now, and need a lot of fixing this offseason. To me the Chargers job is the most desirable one that will be open in the 2013 offseason, they have talented players and their quarterback is already in place, and you get to live in San Diego. Philip Rivers will be the quarterback of the Chargers next season, but the Chargers offensive line is horrendous and has done an awful job of keeping him upright this season, you have to be able to protect your quarterback. Jockel is ready to play right away and would do wonders for protecting Rivers’ blindside for the foreseeable future.
10 ) New York Jets – Barkevious Mingo, DE (6’4 245lbs) LSU - It is a sad state of affairs for Gang Green, the Jets have been an embarrassment this season, and it is clear that major organizational changes need to be made. I think head coach Rex Ryan gets another year, but I have some major problems with Ryan, because for a guy who is known as a defensive whiz the Jets have absolutely no pass rush (17 sacks, 3rd fewest in the NFL). I really think that finding an edge rusher who can consistently bring pressure would do wonders for the Jets, I think their defense is good, but any defense will be exposed when a quarterback has all day to throw the football. The Jets also need playmakers on offense, but none are worth taking here, with a total lack of pass rush in New York, Mingo is an excellent fit.
11 ) Detroit Lions – Dee Milliner, CB (6’1 199lbs) CB Alabama - I truly believe that the Lions are on the cusp of being an excellent team, however I knew that they overachieved in 2011, and knew they would take a step back in 2012. If I am the Lions I am looking to improve in two places this offseason, the secondary and getting another wide receiver opposite Calvin Johnson, so when a team triples him quarterback Matt Stafford can make them pay. There are no wide receivers worth drafting here, so Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner would be an excellent pick, he is the best corner in this class due to his good size-speed combo and his nose for the football, and he could start in the Detroit secondary from day one.
12 ) Miami Dolphins – Justin Hunter, WR (6’4 205lbs) Tennessee - Ryan Tannehill had really impressed me so far in 2012, he has earned his teammates respect, and has shown a live arm with the athleticism to throw on the run. He desperately needs playmakers, more than one, to be successful. Luckily for the Dolphins, they absolutely fleeced to Colts when they shipped Vontae Davis to Indianapolis for a second round pick, so they have a lot of opportunity to get better. In 2011, Justin Hunter had 16 catches for 302 yards and 2 touchdowns through TWO games, until a torn ACL ended his season prematurely. Hunter has regained his explosiveness and has 73 catches for 1083 yards and 9 touchdowns this season, and has the size and big play ability to be a superstar on Sundays.
13 ) Buffalo Bills – Keenan Allen, WR (6’3 205lbs) California - The Buffalo Bills desperately need help at linebacker, however unless Georgia’s Alec Ogletree’s stock soars (and it might), there are none worth selecting here. The Bills could also really use a quarterback, but unless they trade up, there aren’t any worth this pick. Although the Bills just miss out on Justin Hunter in this mock, Keenan Allen is as good of a prospect, and he could end up being drafted ahead of Hunter when all is said and done. Allen has 61 catches for 737 yards and 6 touchdowns this season, before an injured PCL ended his season, and he brings great speed and elusiveness with his size.
14 ) New Orleans Saints – Dion Jordan, DE (6’6 240lbs) Oregon - The Saints defense has been absolutely horrendous this season, and while it looked like they would go on a playoff run for a few weeks, it is now very unlikely to happen. They need to think defense with most, if not all, of their draft picks this season. If I was the Saints, I would trade one of their talented running backs for a mid-round draft pick, as there are currently not enough carries to go around in New Orleans. The Saints obviously need to think defense with their draft picks, and in this scenario, there are plenty of excellent pass rushers on the board. I think that Dion Jordan’s stock is going to rise dramatically as we get closer to draft day, he is an excellent speed rusher, who should instantly rack up the sack totals in the NFL. The addition of another pass rusher would be a good place to start upgrading the Saints horrible defense.
15 ) St. Louis Rams – Eric Fisher, OT (6’7 300lbs) Central Michigan - The Rams landed a ton of draft picks from the Washington Redskins for the second pick in the 2012 Draft (which became Robert Griffin III) so they will have a lot of opportunity to improve during the 2013 Draft. The first thing that the Rams need is playmakers on offense, but with the luxury of so many draft picks, they can really take the best player available here. One of the hottest prospects in the draft right now is super-athletic offensive tackle Eric Fisher from Central Michigan, who needs to get stronger, but is very talented on his feet. The Rams offensive line played better as the 2012 season went on, however, they could still use an upgrade. They do not have a tackle on the roster who can handle speed rushers like Fisher. The best comparison for him is 49ers left tackle Joe Staley, who had a few growing pains, but is now one of the best in the league.
16 ) Dallas Cowboys – Jonathan Hankins (6’3 335lbs) Ohio State - The Cowboys have a glaring weaknesses at interior offensive line, guard and safety, but in this scenario, Hankins is simply too good to pass up. A massive nose tackle that is incredibly quick for his size, Hankins could anchor the Dallas 3-4 defense for years to come, and help a struggling unit improve quickly. Current nose tackle Jay Ratliff is a little small for the position and gets by with toughness and tenacity, but the sheer size and power of Hankins would be a huge upgrade. The Cowboys can upgrade their interior offensive line in the mid-rounds of the draft.
17 ) St. Louis Rams (From Redskins) – Robert Woods, WR (6’1 190lbs) USC - The Rams really need a playmaking wide receiver, and the bigger Allen or Hunter may fit that mold better, but both are off of the board in this scenario. Robert Woods is going to be an excellent pro. Nobody in the country runs better routes than Woods, he has incredible hands, and is shifty after the catch. The addition of Woods would finally give quarterback Sam Bradford a reliable target and safety blanket in the passing game, and he would instantly become the top pass catcher on a team that desperately needs them.
18 ) Minnesota Vikings – Sam Montgomery, DE (6’4 245lbs) LSU - The Vikings were a pleasant surprise for their fans during the 2012 NFL Draft, and while their biggest need is playmakers on the outside for quarterback Christian Ponder, none are available worth taking here. The Vikings also lacked a pass rush other than defensive end Jared Allen, who is still one of the best in the league, so they are very lucky that Sam Montgomery is still on the board in this scenario. Montgomery could instantly become a pass rushing force opposite Jared Allen, and has the talent to develop into an excellent pro.
19 ) Pittsburgh Steelers – Kenny Vaccaro, S (6’1 210lbs) Texas - The Steelers need to focus on two areas and two areas only during the 2013 Draft 1) Get younger on defense and 2) Improving the offensive line, so Ben Roethlisberger stays healthy, however the line struggled partly due to injuries. The Steelers have an excellent starting safety tandem, who are getting up there in age (Troy Polamalu is 31 and Ryan Clark is 33) and have struggled with injuries during recent years. It is time for the team to look for the next generation of ball hawk safety in Pittsburgh, and Vaccaro is just that, he has amazing range and is instinctive in coverage.
20 ) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jonathan Banks, CB (6’2 185lbs) -Mississippi State - The Buccaneers really need a starting caliber cornerback that they can count on, and Banks has excellent size and athleticism for the position, plus a knack for intercepting passes. The Buccaneers need to focus on their secondary this offseason, as they need multiple cornerbacks and likely a safety, so starting with a long corner that can match up with the big receivers on the divisional rival Atlanta Falcons would be a good place to start.
21 ) Seattle Seahawks – Alec Ogletree, LB (6’3 240lbs) Georgia - I love the young talent in Seattle, and thing that they may have the best core of young players in the entire league, and although they drafted Bobby Wagner last season they could use another linebacker that could replace Leroy Hill. Alec Ogletree is an absolute freak athlete, who chases plays from sideline to sideline, and is an excellent pass rusher. Adding another athlete like Ogletree who plays with a vicious mentality will turn an already great defense into a downright scary one.
22 ) Cincinnati Bengals – Bjoern Werner, DE (6’4 250lbs) Florida State - The Bengals need to get tougher up front, Werner is one of my favorite players in the country, he can do it all. Werner can succeed in multiple fronts and line up in several positions for the defense, and he is athletic enough to rush the passer and strong enough to hold up against the run. Great fit for a young Bengals team, which is assembling a nice level of talent, and could use toughness and versatility up front. A safety like Florida’s Matt Elam would be another strong option here.
23 ) Indianapolis Colts – Jonathan Jenkins, DT (6’5 360lbs) Georgia - The Indianapolis Colts, lead by rookie sensation Andre Luck, have been the most surprising team this season and are on the verge of a playoff berth. They need to hit a home run with their first round pick, since they traded their second round pick to the Miami Dolphins for cornerback Vontae Davis. There is no doubt that an overachieving Colts defense could use some more beef up front, and they don’t get much bigger than Jonathan Jenkins, a massive nose tackle who is athletic for his size. Head coach Chuck Pagano will love using Jenkins as the centerpiece of his 3-4 defense for years to come.
24 ) Green Bay Packers – Jonathan Cooper, G (6’3 320lbs) North Carolina - The Green Bay Packers need a running back, they also need help on defense, but in this scenario one of the top offensive line prospects in the draft falls into their laps and he is too good to pass up. Jonathan Cooper is a massive guard, who has great quickness for his size, and could really help the Packers establish a running attack (they have none) and protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers. There are no running backs worth drafting here, and they could reach for a defensive back, but the best pick for them in this scenario is Cooper.
25 ) Denver Broncos – Sylvester Williams, DT (6’3 315lbs) North Carolina - Head coach John Fox loves defensive linemen, and the Broncos could certainly use an upgrade at defensive tackle, where another young contributor could really solve a lot of their problems. Sylvester Williams is an explosive defensive tackle who is extremely quick off of the line of scrimmage, and for a big man, is relentless in pursuit of a play. Williams has been extremely impressive in recent weeks, and there is talk that he will be off the board about 15 picks higher than this, so getting a player of his caliber here would be huge.
26 ) Atlanta Falcons – Tank Carradine – DE, (6’4 255lbs) Florida State - The Falcons have a fatal flaw, and that is their absolute lack of a pass rush opposite ageless wonder John Abraham, and it will hurt them in the playoffs this year. Atlanta will focus next offseason on fixing this issue, as it is the one thing that is keeping them from winning the Super Bowl. Tank Carradine reminds me a little of a young John Abraham, and he could learn a lot about rushing the passer from playing opposite him, he’s be a great fit in Atlanta.
27 ) Chicago Bears – Barrett Jones, OL (6’5 305lbs) Alabama - The Bears have an incredible defense which gives them a shot to win a Super Bowl, but they are getting older and that window might be closing, they need to improve their offensive line quickly to give Jay Cutler and their skill position players on offense time to make plays. This is why Barrett Jones is an excellent fit, he won the 2011 Outland Trophy, given to the best offensive lineman in college football and has played center, guard and tackle at the college level. He can succeed anywhere, and they Bears may need him to fill in at multiple positions on the offensive line, plus he is ready to start from day one.
28 ) Baltimore Ravens – Eric Reid, S (6’2 215lbs) LSU - Another one of my favorite players in the country, Eric Reid would be a perfect fit in Baltimore, as they look to create their next generation of elite defenders. Reid is an instinctive safety and a big hitter, who plays well against the run and pass, he can play alongside Ed Reed and eventually replace the future Hall of Famer. I have heard a rumor that people within the Ravens organization love Alec Ogletree, the linebacker from Georgia, but it’s too early for rumors like that…isn’t it?
29 ) San Francisco 49ers – Ezekiel Ansah, DE (6’6 274lbs) BYU - It seems that the 49ers have already found their quarterback of the future internally because the career of Colin Kapernick is off to an incredible start. This team is loaded and they could go in any number of directions, but we know that the 49ers really pride themselves on defense. Ezekiel Ansah did not start playing football until later in life and lacks experience, but he is a physical freak who has a ton of versatility, and if the 49ers coaches work with him for a few years they could have a monster on their hands. He has lined up everywhere on the BYU defense, and you will be hearing about him a lot come draft time, because he is a freak athlete.
30 ) New England Patriots – Matt Elam, S (5’10 207lbs) Florida - It’s no secret that the Patriots still have major issues in their secondary, a unit that Bill Belichick is currently working on rebuilding, and I think it is the unit that will cost them the Super Bowl this season. We know when Urban Myer was at Florida, his good buddy Bill Belichick loved drafting Florida players, and they get a good one here. Elam is a gifted athlete who has a nose for the ball and is a big hitter, he would be a huge upgrade to the back end of the Patriots defense.
31 ) Houston Texans – Terrance Williams, WR (6’3 205lbs) Baylor - The Texans are excellent defensively, but really lack an outside weapon on offense for quarterback Matt Schaub across from the aging Andre Johnson, it is time to find another wide receiver. Terrance Williams is an explosive playmaker who can get open downfield and has the size and speed to excel in the Texans offensive scheme.
32 ) New York Giants – Xavier Rhodes, CB (6’2 217lbs) Florida State - When Terrell Thomas injured his knee (again) this season, the Giants secondary was exposed, and they struggled to cover opposing receiver. The unit has since improved and has some talent, however any injury to a cornerback would be devastating, and the Giants need more elite talent at the position. Xavier Rhodes is a cornerback with good size who can jam receivers at the line of scrimmage and is solid in coverage.
Just Missed The Cut: Kawann Short, DT (6’3 325lbs) Purdue, David Amerson, CB (6’3 190lbs) NC State, Corey Lemonier, DE (6’4 240lbs) Auburn, Sheldon Richardson, DT (6’3 290lbs) Missouri, Dallas Thomas, OL (6’5 300lbs) Tennessee, Zach Ertz, TE (6’6 250lbs) Stanford, Bennie Logan, DT (6’3 290lbs) LSU, Tyler Eifert, TE (6’6 250lbs) Notre Dame, Tavon Austin, WR/KR (5’9 175lbs) West Virginia, Mike Glennon, QB (6’7 225lbs) NC State, Shariff Floyd, DT (6’3 300lbs) Florida, Shawn Williams, S (6′ 218lbs) Georgia, Jesse Williams, DT (6’3 320lbs) Alabama, Tony Jefferson, S (5’11 210lbs) Oklahoma