The NFL Scouting Combine takes place from Wednesday, February 20th to Tuesday February 26th, and by the end of that process we will have enough information to really hone in on the 2013 NFL Draft. Players will rise and players will fall on team’s big boards based on their performances at the combine and Pro Day workouts. We here at SportSmasher.com love to speculate though, so it is time for 2013 NFL Mock Draft (Version 4.0) Pre-Combine Edition:
1 ) Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Jockel, OT (6’6 310lbs) Texas A&M – Tough luck for the Kansas City Chiefs, because there is no prospect like Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III available in this draft class, and if the team decided to draft the best player available based on value, their pick will undoubtedly be Jockel. An absolute stud left tackle prospect, Jockel started every game since arriving at Texas A&M and is a true technician who is consistently praised for his work ethic. Although the Chiefs offensive line was not horrible this season, by sliding Jockel into the lineup at left tackle, they can move Branden Albert to guard (or let him leave in free agency, he is unrestricted), giving them one of the better offensive lines in the league to protect whoever is starting at quarterback. There is a chance that the Chiefs reach for West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, but he has a lot of convincing to do, between now and late April. Smith has elected to throw at the combine, so teams will get a chance to nitpick him later this month.
2 ) Jacksonville Jaguars – Bjoern Werner, DE (6’4 250lbs) Florida State – The Jaguars had the worst pass rush in the NFL last season, and while the addition of defensive Jason Babin will help, they need more than one player who can get to the quarterback and disrupt plays. Werner will be an instant impact player in the NFL, he is athletic enough to rush the passer and strong enough to hold up against the run. He has a little J.J. Watt to his game, although he has not as big, he has a similar blend of strength, relentlessness and athleticism for the position. I’ve had Damontre Moore mocked here for a while now, but am beginning to cool on him a bit due to the fact that he does not leap off of the tape, which Werner does.
3 ) Oakland Raiders – Star Lotulelei, DT (6’4 325lbs) Utah – Lotulelei is a dominant defensive tackle who commands double teams, pushes the pocket, and destroys plays in the backfield as they develop. The Raiders run defense was awful this season, 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. He is violent with his hands and plays with great leverage, although he will never be an explosive interior pass rusher, he will make rushing the passer much easier for his teammates by dominating the interior line. He is the kind of player that centers and guards dread going up against, and he is ready to start from day one, which is what the Raiders need. Oakland will likely part ways with veteran defensive linemen Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly this offseason, Star Lotulelei will be a great addition to the Oakalnd defense.
4 ) Philadelphia Eagles – Jarvis Jones, OLB (6’3 245lbs) Georgia – The Eagles have decided to bring back Michael Vick for another year, and he and Nick Foles will be competing for the starting quarterback position, so Geno Smith is out as an option here. The offensive line needs an overhaul, but the Eagles get left tackle Jason Peters back from an Achilles injury which cost him the 2012 season, so tackle is not a huge need. They need interior offensive linemen, and while some very good ones are available, the fourth pick is too early to reach for a guard. The Eagles are switching to a 3-4 defense, and they desperately need players that fit that scheme, and Jones is an excellent one. The best defensive player in college football during the 2012 season in my opinion, Jones will instantly be a double digit sack player in the pros. 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. He does have a back issue (spinal stenosis) but I have heard encouraging reports that this will not be an issue.
5 ) 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. He plays both the run and the pass well, and would instantly be the best player in the Detroit secondary.
6 ) Cleveland Browns – Barkevious Mingo, DE (6’4 245lbs) LSU – The Browns need playmakers on both sides of the ball, and new general manager Mike Lombardi knows the value that a blue chip pass rusher brings to a defense, and while the Browns have a good one in Jaabal Sheard they need another terror off of the edge. Mingo may have a higher ceiling than any player in the draft, the problem is, he has not played a ton of football and has not put all of his talent together yet. A long armed pass rusher with an explosive first step, Mingo has the frame to get stronger, and although it make take him longer than others to develop he could be a superstar. I am hearing rumors that Mingo will rise after the combine, that he is up to 260lbs and that he is faster than ever before, it this is true he could be selected even higher than sixth.
7 ) Arizona Cardinals – Geno Smith, Quarterback (6’3 214lbs) West Virginia – 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. Geno Smith actually reminds me a lot of Tony Romo, which is not an insult, he reminds me of Romo because they do the same things well. They both have a quick release, are very athletic in the pocket and have great feet, they both use their athleticism to extend plays. I have discussed this at length in this piece, Smith is not a running quarterback, he is a pocket passer. If Smith shows a strong arm and his excellent accuracy while throwing at the NFL combine, maybe new head coach Bruce Arians becomes convinced that he can succeed in the NFL.
8 ) Buffalo Bills – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR (6’3 205lbs) Tennessee – Another player who is quickly rising up draft boards, and a player that you like more and more every time you watch him on film, Paterson is a hot prospect right now. He possesses excellent size, great speed and hands, but his best attribute is his body control. He can adjust in the air or on the fly to make catches, and while Buffalo has some nice wide receivers on the roster, their closest thing to a true number one threat on the roster is Stevie Johnson. Johnson is a nice player, but you cannot win the Super Bowl if he is your best guy, the addition of Patterson will help to open up the Bills offense.
9 ) New York Jets – Damontre Moore, DE (6’4 250lbs) Texas A&M – It is a sad state of affairs for Gang Green, the Jets were an embarrassment this past season, and it is clear that major organizational changes need to be made. 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 (30 sacks, tied for 25th 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, Moore is an excellent fit. Moore is a long and explosive pass rusher who has a natural feel for pressuring the quarterback and who really came on strong in 2012 at Texas A&M, he should be able to upgrade the Jets pass rush right away, and can develop alongside recent first round picks on the defensive line, Quinton Coples and Muhammad Wilkerson.
10 ) Tennessee Titans – Ezekiel Ansah, DE (6’6 274lbs) BYU – The Tennessee Titans defense is one of the worst in the NFL, and it is clear that they need to improve their pass rush, and their defensive line as a whole. Ezikiel Ansah is a physical freak, he’s a project, but he is one of the fastest rising players in this draft. He gets favorably compared to New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who is one of the best in the NFL, so he may be gone long before this draft slot when all is said and done.
11 ) San Diego Chargers – Chance Warmack, G (6’3 320lbs) Alabama – I know you are thinking that eleventh 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 Chargers really need to change the way this unit plays. If new head coach Mike McCoy wants to rebuild this franchise quickly, it is best to start in the trenches, and keep quarterback Phillip Rivers upright. 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 go a long way towards fixing the issues on offense in San Diego.
12 ) Miami Dolphins – Keenan Allen, WR (6’3 205lbs) California – I have had the Dolphins picking Cordarrelle Patterson in this slot for weeks, but in this scenario he is gone, so the Dolphins move to the next wide receiver on their board. If the Dolphins want to give Ryan Tannehill a chance to develop, giving him a true number one wide receiver is a must, and the addition of a player like Allen will instantly open up the offense for Tannehill. Allen brings a great combination of size and speed that will be a deep threat, opening up the running game and the many possession receivers that Tannehill has in the Dolphins offense. I thought about giving Miami Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro here, but it is a deep safety class, and they are armed with two second round picks to find help.
13 ) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Dion Jordan, DE (6’6 240lbs) Oregon – The Buccaneers seem to be headed in the right direction, and they desperately need help at cornerback, but in this scenario there is none worth drafting on the board. Dion Jordan is a long, athletic pass rusher, who I think will start his NFL career as more of a situational guy who will bring pressure on third downs. It will be interesting to see how a torn labrum will hurt him on draft day, we know it will force him to miss the combine, but will he heal in enough time to show his potential before the draft. Jordan needs to add strength, but he is an excellent speed rusher right now, who could help the Bucs lack of a pass rush. While the Bucs have some good defensive ends, they lack a pure speed rusher, and Jordan brings that to the table.
14 ) Carolina Panthers – Sheldon Richardson, DT (6’3 290lbs) Missouri – The Carolina Panthers found a gem in middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, who led the NFL with 164 tackles as a rookie, but who could really use some help in front of him. If you want an active defensive tackle who has a great motor and never takes a play off, Richardson is your man, he is a hot prospect right now. He has great awareness, good strength, and knows how to shed blocks inside to make a play. The Panthers could really use more weapons in the passing game for quarterback Cam Newton, but there is not a lot of value here, and Richardson brings a lot more to the table at this juncture.
15 ) New Orleans Saints – Jonathan Hankins (6’3 335lbs) Ohio State – The Saints had a rough season in 2012 thanks to “Bountygate” and their defense was the worst in the NFL, allowing almost 900 yards more than the next closest team. Now they are switching to the 3-4 defense, and in this scenario, massive Ohio State nose tackle Jonathan Hankins is the pick. Hankins is a massive nose tackle that is incredibly quick for his size, and his size and power will be an excellent addition to sure up the middle of the Saints defense.
16 ) St. Louis Rams – Eric Fisher, OT (6’7 300lbs) Central Michigan – The Rams were a much improved team in 2012 and since they traded the second overall pick to the Washington Redskins, who paid a hefty price to draft quarterback Robert Griffin III, they have a lot of room to improve again in the 2013 draft. Fisher is rising up draft boards very quickly, he was excellent at the senior bowl, and he is a solid top ten selection at this point. He possesses good feet and athleticism for the position and plays with power and leverage. The Rams would be surprised to find Fisher still on the board with the sixteenth pick, he is one of the fastest rising prospects in the draft, but I expect that to level out a bit after the combine.
17 ) 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.
18 ) Dallas Cowboys – Sharrif Floyd, DT (6’3 300lbs) Florida – One of the hottest names in draft circles right now is Sharrif Floyd, he is a strong and athletic defensive lineman that will shine at the combine, in fact I think he will be one of the combine stars. He can play the run and rush the passer, he is also very versatile, and can line up all over a defensive line. Dallas is switching to a 4-3 defense, and getting Floyd will be a home run for the Cowboys defense, he is a rising prospect that may be gone by this time in April.
19 ) New York Giants – Alec Ogletree, LB (6’3 240lbs) Georgia – The Giants allowed the second most yards in the NFL this season, and while they were known for linebackers like Lawrence Taylor and Carl Banks in the 1980’s their recent teams have been based much more around defensive linemen. It’s time they get a sideline-to-sideline, athletic linebacker, who can lead the league in tackles. Alec Ogletree is an absolute freak athlete, who makes plays all over the field, and is an excellent pass rusher. He sees plays develop and seems to be in on every tackle, in fact eh lead the Georgia Bulldogs in tackles, despite being suspended for the first four games of the season. The Giants could really use an upgrade at inside linebacker, and players as productive as Ogletree are hard to find.
20 ) Chicago Bears – Lane Johnson, OT (6’7 303lbs) Oklahoma – There is no doubt the first order of business for Chicago Bears head coach Mark Trestman should be to upgrade the offensive line, both to protect quarterback Jay Cutler and to open holes for running back Matt Forte, the Bears struggled mightily in both of these areas last year. The Bears could use a true left tackle, and Oklahoma’s Lance Johnson would be a perfect fit on Cutler’s blindside. Johnson has the frame of a prototype NFL left tackle, with long arms and a knack for dealing with speed rushers. He has strong technique and good feet, which makes him excellent in pass protection, and he would fit nicely on the left side for a team that likes to throw the ball. He needs to add bulk and get stronger, and his run blocking is decent, but needs improvement. Lots of potential.
21 ) Cincinnati Bengals – Matt Elam, S (5’10 207lbs) Florida – The Cincinnati Bengals are a team on the rise, and as long as Andy Dalton and their young offensive weapons continue to improve, they are a few roster tweaks away from one of the best cores in the NFL. One of the Bengals starting safeties is 32 year old Chris Croker, and while he had a decent season, they could really use an upgrade there. Matt Elam is the kind of player that all NFL fans want on their team. Has a knack for the big play, will deliver punishing hits, he forces fumbles and makes interceptions. I know that you can find safeties in the later rounds, but not ones like Elam, this sounds like blaspheme to Philadelphia Eagles fans but he reminds me of Brian Dawkins.
22 ) St. Louis Rams – Zach Ertz, TE (6’6 250lbs) Stanford – In this scenario the Rams have already drafted a left tackle of the future, and while they need weapons at wide receiver, there are not a lot of options available. I considered Alabama running back Eddie Lacy here, but getting quarterback Sam Bradford targets in the passing game has to be priority number one for the Rams, and they get a good one here. Zach Ertz is a huge target with wide receiver type hands that can really run for his size. A matchup nightmare, he can line up tight, in the slot or split out wide to create mismatches. The Rams have promising tight end Lance Kendricks, but he is more of an H-Back type, and is nowhere near the threat that Ertz is. Keep an eye on him at the combine.
23 ) Minnesota Vikings – Terrance Williams, WR (6’3 205lbs) Baylor – The Vikings desperately need a wide receiver with size who knows how to get behind a defense, and who will open things up for both Adrian Peterson in the running game and their other targets like Percy Harvin or Kyle Rudolph. Terrance Williams is an explosive playmaker who can get open downfield and has the size and speed to make the Vikings offense much more explosive. I feel like Williams is a bit of a reach here, and although they could look at a defensive tackle with this pick, wide receiver is a big enough need that they can reach.
24 ) Indianapolis Colts – D.J. Fluker, OT (6’6 335lbs) Alabama – The Indianapolis Colts, lead by rookie sensation Andre Luck, have been the most surprising team of the 2012 season. 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. In this scenario, they get a massive right tackle, who will be able to keep their superstar quarterback upright for the next decade. Fluker is an absolute an absolute mauler in the run game, who plays with a nasty streak. He will struggle at times with speed rushers, but he is athletic for his size, and can hold his own in pass protection. The fact that I do not think he is light on his feet enough to play the blindside knocks him down a bit, but make no mistake, he is going to be a good one.
25 ) Seattle Seahawks – Sam Montgomery, DE (6’4 245lbs) LSU – The Seahawks are absolutely loaded with young defenders who hit hard and have a ton of speed, however they lost leading pass rusher Chris Clemons (11.5 sacks) to a knee injury in the playoffs, and he could miss considerable time in 2013. Sam Montgomery has a ton of potential, he is a bit of a project as he needs to improve his consistency and bulk up, but he will be an excellent addition to a Seattle defensive line that will miss Clemons. Combined with their 2012 first round pick Bruce Irvin, the addition of Montgomery will give the Seahawks a scary pass rush going forward, which will help out their amazing secondary. I am hearing that Montgomery has added a lot of bulk and should blow people away with his combine numbers, his tape is still inconsistent, but he may rise again as a prospect if he blows scouts away at the combine.
26 ) Green Bay Packers – Jonathan Cooper, G (6’3 320lbs) North Carolina – The Green Bay Packers offensive line suffered a lot of injuries in 2012, and it seems like the unit has major durability issues, as it has been depleted by injuries for the last few seasons. Jonathan Cooper is a powerful guard prospect who is ready to start right now, he is strong, and holds up against the pass while plowing open holes in the run game. He has Pro Bowl potential down the road, and will help keep Aaron Rodgers on his feet.
27 ) Houston Texans – Quinton Patton, WR (6’2 198lbs) – Louisiana Tech – 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. Patton is a player that is just starting to generate draft buzz, he is coming off of a monster season, and he will be a star in the pass heavy NFL of today. He has great hands, runs sharp routes, and knows how to get open. Has a great feel for the game, confuses defensive backs, has them shaking their heads after plays. Against Texas A&M this season, Patton had 21 catches for 233 yards and 4 touchdowns. Read that back to yourself. He is just gaining momentum now, his climb is just getting started, expect it to continue.
28 ) Denver Broncos – Jonathan Banks, CB (6’2 185lbs) – Mississippi State – After watching the Broncos secondary get absolutely shredded by Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens wide receivers in the playoffs, there is no doubt that the number one area that they need to upgrade this offseason is the secondary, especially cornerback. Jonathan Banks is an athletic corner with a great size/speed combination, who can match up with bigger receivers like and run with faster receivers. The Broncos are close, and with the addition of a player like Banks, they could win it all next season.
29 ) New England Patriots – Eric Reid, S (6’2 215lbs) LSU – The New England Patriots need to focus on upgrading their pass defense if they are going to make another run at the Lombardi Trophy in the Tom Bray Era, and Eric Reid is a hard hitting safety, who has big game experience. At times, reminds me of a young Rodney Harrison, who as we know played his final years with the Patriots. An athletic safety, who can both play the run and the deep ball, Reid is also a big hitter who makes receivers think twice about coming across the middle of the field.
30 ) Atlanta Falcons – Eddie Lacy, RB (6′ 220lbs) Alabama – The Atlanta Falcons will not win the Super Bowl until they fix their pass rush, but in this scenario, there is nobody worth drafting, and they address defensive end in the later rounds or free agency. They move on from longtime tailback Michael Turner, and get a younger, cheaper and more explosive version of Turner by selecting Eddie Lacy. I expect Lacy to put up very impressive numbers at the NFL combine, and increase his stock, putting him at the top of a deep running back class. He has good burst, vision and the power to gain tough yards.
31 ) San Francisco 49ers -Jonathan Jenkins, DT (6’5 360lbs) Georgia – What do you get the team that has everything? The 49ers are the deepest team in the NFL, they are absolutely loaded, and stumbled in stud quarterback Colin Kaepernick who has lead them to a Super Bowl. They do have some aging players on their roster, including defensive end Justin Smith, and they could use some beef in the trenches to keep their defense the force that it currently is for the foreseeable future. Jonathan Jenkins is an absolutely massive defensive lineman, who can line up at nose tackle or at end in the 49ers 3-4 defense, and will give that unit some much needed youth.
32 ) Baltimore Ravens – Manti Te’o, LB (6’2 255lbs) Notre Dame – So this is where he ends up in my mock draft, Manti Te’o has fallen from a top five pick in this draft, all the way to the end of the first round due to his “Fake dead girlfriend hoax” (and if you don’t know about this, you have been living under a rock, click the college football tag on this site for more info.) We know that Manti Te’o is an extremely productive player and an excellent leader, and the Ravens will be an defensive leader following the retirement of one of the greatest middle linebackers of all time, Ray Lewis. He will not be able to replace the intensity of Ray Lewis, but the Ravens need a leader and a middle linebacker, and Te’o is both.
Missed The Cut: (for more info. on these players check the 2013 NFL Draft Big Board)
Montee Ball, RB (5’11 215lbs) Wisconsin
Alex Okafor, DE (6’5 263lbs) Texas
Desmond Trufant, CB (6′ 185) Washington
Kawann Short, DT (6’3 325lbs) Purdue
Datone Jones, DE (6-4, 280) UCLA
Sylvester Williams, DT (6’3 315lbs) North Carolina
Justin Hunter, WR (6’4 205lbs) Tennessee
Barrett Jones, OL (6’5 305lbs) Alabama
Xavier Rhodes, CB (6’2 217lbs) Florida State
DeAndre Hopkins, WR (6’1 200lbs) Clemson
Corey Lemonier, DE (6’4 240lbs) Auburn
David Amerson, CB (6’3 190lbs) NC State
Dallas Thomas, OL (6’5 300lbs) Tennessee
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
Shawn Williams, S (6′ 218lbs) Georgia
Jesse Williams, DT (6’3 320lbs) Alabama
Tony Jefferson, S (5’11 210lbs) Oklahoma
Matt Barkley, Quarterback (6’2 220lbs) USC
Robert Woods, WR (6’1 190lbs) USC
Tank Carradine, DE, (6’4 255lbs) Florida State
Kevin Minter, LB (6/2 245lbs) LSU
Ryan Nassib, QB (6’2 230lbs) Syracuse
Kyle Long, Oregon, OG (6-6, 304) Oregon
Margus Hunt, DE (6’8 280lbs) SMU
Tyler Wilson, QB (6’2 218lbs) Arkansas
Larry Warford, OG (6-3, 333) Kentucky
Khaseem Greene, OLB (6′ 235lbs) Rutgers
Le’Veon Bell, RB (6’1 244lbs) Michigan State
Blidi Wreh-wilson, CB (6-0 189 lbs) UConn
Gavin Escobar, TE (6’6 255lbs) San Diego State
William Gholston, DE (6’7 280lbs) Michigan State
Stedman Bailey, WR (5’10 193lbs) West Virginia
Arthur Brown, LB (6’1 230lbs) Kansas State
Giovani Bernard, (5’10 206lbs) North Carolina
SportSmasher 2013 NFL Draft Content:
2013 NFL Draft: Ranking The Pass Rushers (02.15.2013)
2013 NFL Draft Big Board (Version 1.0) (02.08.2013)
2013 NFL Mock Draft (Version 3.0) (01.24.2013)
Geno Smith: Dispelling The NFL Draft Myths (01.17.2013)
2013 NFL Mock Draft (Version 2.0) (11.30.2012)
2013 NFL Mock Draft (Version 1.0) (10.19.2012)
Other NFL Draft Links:
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