The 2013 Niners Nation NFL mock draft is rolling along at a solid pace, having wrapped up the first round earlier today. We'll get into the second round this afternoon, but first I wanted to post all the picks. First you can view the 32 picks with links to the explanation and Nick/Trevor's analysis. Below the 32 teams, you can view each individual explanation by the community member who made the pick.
Niners Nation Mock Draft, Round 1
- Kansas City Chiefs -- Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah [Explanation]
- Jacksonville Jaguars -- Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia [Explanation]
- Oakland Raiders -- Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon [Explanation]
- Philadelphia Eagles -- Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M [Explanation]
- Detroit Lions -- Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan [Explanation]
- Cleveland Browns -- Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama [Explanation]
- Arizona Cardinals -- Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas [Explanation]
- Buffalo Bills -- Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU [Explanation]
- New York Jets -- Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama [Explanation]
- Tennessee Titans -- Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida [Explanation]
- San Diego Chargers -- Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma [Explanation]
- Miami Dolphins -- Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina [Explanation]
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State [Explanation]
- Carolina Panthers -- Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee [Explanation]
- New Orleans Saints -- Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU [Explanation]
- St. Louis Rams -- Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri [Explanation]
- Pittsburgh Steelers -- Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia [Explanation]
- Dallas Cowboys -- D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama [Explanation]
- New York Giants -- Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia [Explanation]
- Chicago Bears -- Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia [Explanation]
- Cincinnati Bengals -- Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State [Explanation]
- St. Louis Rams -- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson [Explanation]
- Minnesota Vikings -- Keenan Allen, WR, Cal [Explanation]
- Indianapolis Colts -- Datone Jones, DE, UCLA [Explanation]
- Minnesota Vikings -- Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington [Explanation]
- Green Bay Packers -- Damontre Moore, DE/OLB [Explanation]
- Houston Texans -- Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee [Explanation]
- Denver Broncos -- Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State [Explanation]
- New England Patriots -- Margus Hunt, DE, Southern Methodist [Explanation]
- Atlanta Falcons -- Tank Carradine, DE/OLB, Florida State [Explanation]
- San Francisco 49ers -- Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International [Explanation]
- Baltimore Ravens -- Matt Elam, S, Florida [Explanation]
Explanation: Hello Niner Nation! I'm from Arrowhead Pride and I'm here to bring you my pick, but before I do that I'm going to explain to you the three scenarios that most chiefs fans have agreed on, which may be different than what you hear outside of Arrowhead Pride ( "Take Joeckel!!!!" )
1. The Chiefs trade down 1-7 spots in exchange for multiple picks. Once they have traded down, IF Eric Fisher or Luke Joeckel are available, they will draft the better of the two. Once they have picked a LT, and only AFTER they have secured their LT, they will trade Branden Albert to Miami for their second round and another pick to be determined. This is the best-case scenario for the Chiefs. They will receive probably a 1st, 2 2nds, and most likely a 3rd, along with a quality LT who will cost a LOT less than Albert would. If this mock allowed trading, that's what I would attempt to do.
2. The most unpopular pick is taking Joeckel with the first pick. The reason is the Chiefs like Albert, if they didn't, we wouldn't be paying over $9 million to play for us this year. I'm fairly confident if the 1st scenario doesn't happen, we will most likely sign him to a long term deal next year. The percentage of players who are signed to a long term deal the year after they are franchised is actually very high. However, if and that's a very big if, Kansas City doesn't like Albert, then this pick makes sense, but considering we're paying him $9 million this year, I'd say we probably like him.
3. If scenario 1 doesn't happen, this is the most likely to go down. The Chiefs like Albert and it would make sense to address a position of real need, which is D-Line. The Chiefs were 27th in Run Defense this past year, and while a good chunk of that was garbage time and teams running down the clock, that's still pathetic. The LBs are fine, having 3 pro-bowl LBs is going to help a lot down the road. The Secondary has been improved this offseason through FA so Dee Milliner wouldn't make sense.(We're paying a lot for our secondary) The only position left is D-Line which we have struggled with through the years. Star is hands-down the best D-lineman available in the draft and is going to help out the Run Defense a lot. This pick makes the most sense if there is no trading.
Star is a quality player and will make immediate contributions to a D-Line in need of help. Since there is no trading, this scenario makes the most sense.
And to kick things off, the Kansas City Chiefs select Star Loutelelei DT Utah!
Explanation: New GM David Caldwell spent 10 years working for Indianapolis, during the Peyton era, and then became Director of College Scouting for Atlanta. What did he do in his first year with Atlanta? He drafted Matt Ryan with the 3rd pick of the 2008 draft.
Caldwell will want to build around a quarterback. Ok, what GM doesn't? The key is that the Panthers won't be afraid of the noise around Geno Smith. Matty Ice had "arm strength and turnover" issues, but they went ahead with him and Caldwell won't be afraid to do that again.
There are two high profile veteran quarterbacks that could easily fit into the Jaguar's plans, Matt Flynn and Tim Tebow. Both have been discounted by the Jaguars in recent news articles. In addition, In a March 20th Forbes interview, new Panthers owner Shahid Khan said this of Gus Bradley, "I want to pair [David Caldwell] up with a very high potential assistant so that they can grow together, mature together, and almost the DNA becomes one, they're entwined." That methodology can easily be extended to the third leg of that stool, the starting quarterback. They want someone new, without baggage, and they will want someone now. The timing is right.
Why Geno Smith? A good quarterback needs a number of attributes, but in my simplistic mind it comes down to three things: ability to diagnose defenses (aka "football IQ"), composure under pressure, and accuracy. Geno Smith comes across as a student of the game, worked successfully under a lot of pass rush pressure at West Virginia, and was 60 of 64 on his pro day. There is a reason he is the number 1 rated quarterback in this years draft.
Also, according to nfldraftscout.com: "West Virginia University had a whopping 28 teams in attendance for the school's pro day. The Jacksonville Jaguars brought a large contingent, including new coach Gus Bradley, owner Shahid Khan and Khan's son." There is no way Caldwell sends his billionaire boss out to a pro day if they aren't serious.
The Jaguars have so many needs that I believe there is a good chance they trade down. At least 5 of the top 10 teams in the draft need a quarterback, and Geno stands out as the top prospect. Jaguar statements supporting Blaine Gabbert are strictly to support this trade scenario. This mock assumes no trades, however, so assuming all trade deals fall through the Jaguars are going with Geno Smith. Let the rebuilding begin!
Explanation: Well that was Some curveball with the first two picks. If I'm Reggie Mckenzie and I'm taking a look at my roster I see nothing but holes, especially on defence, where any player who was kind of decent or better was let go in FA (Huff, Brayent, Wheeler, Seymour), so without the possibility to trade out of this pick and get multiple ones which player do I pick?
Well, who do I consider? QB is out of the question because this is not a good year for them and the only one who's debateable was just picked. So I can address LT with both Jockel and Fisher available or I can address the defensive line with both Dion Jordan and Sharrif Floyd available. All of them are very good players that are worthy of the 3rd overall pick. So how do I decide? I'll try to find out who will make my team significantly better
First of all, Let's take a look on the OL, while no name will jump out to you, this line was pretty good at protecting the passer with only 27 sacks allowed last year. running was a different story but you can also contribute that to Mcfadden missing 11 games (as usual). So picking Jockel or Fisher will indeed make it a better unit but this is not the weakest link in the team right now.
Now I'm taking a look at the defensive line and, well... I don't see any defensive line. So, this is by far the weakest link of the team, anyone inserted here will make a significant improvement to this unit. So why Jordan over Floyd? the answer has 2 parts, history and pass rush. Let's start with history, looking back about 10 years in the draft, for every JJ Watt, B.J Raji, Haloti Nagta or Vince Wilfork (who were all picked outside of the top 10) you have names like Glenn Dorsey, Sedrick Ellis, Amobi Okoye, Justin Harrell, Tyson Alualu, Marcel Dareus and so on. Even Ndamukong Suh who was considered as a can't miss DT and he is a very good DT in my opinion is not an impact player. So the Chance is high to get just an ok player with the 3rd pick. and getting ok players with a high pick (and Jamarcus Russell) is just what got the Raiders here over and over again. One can argue that you can have a DE bust in here as well, which is true, but then comes my second argument which is the more critical one.
The main reason I took Jordan over Floyd is pass rush. This is a passing league today more than ever, and now with the read option your DE's have to be as athletic as they come and Jordan is freakishly athletic. He sure can rush the passer, he can drop into coverage from the DE position and he could be the game changer that Von Miller and Aldon Smith were to the Broncos and us. Just 2 years ago Denver had the same dilemma between Von Miller and Marcel Dareus. They went with Miller and left Buffalo with Dareus and we all know what happened next. If Jordan becomes 10+ sacks/year pass rusher this defence gets to another level and that's what i'm looking for as a GM. So without further delay...
With the 3rd pick in the 2013 NFL draft the Oakland Raiders select Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon.
Explanation: There are other ways to go with this pick. Some of the players I wanted for the Eagles were Star Louitotieitoeitoeoti, Dee Milliner, and Sharrif Floyd. I didn't expect Star to get taken no. 1 overall. This still left me with a lot of options and I think Joeckel is a solid pick here. The two biggest areas of need for the Eagles are probably o-line and in the secondary. I see a lot of players that will be able to contribute in the secondary that will still be available in the later rounds. I think that the best way for Tom Gamble and Chip Kelly to rebuild this offense is the same way the Niners did, through the offensive line. This pick isn't particularly sexy but it gives them a franchise left tackle for the next 10-12 years.
Explanation: While many draft pundits and fans will point to the Lions poor secondary as a reason for their failures, they were decdmated by injuires, and can get secondary help at the top of round 2. Offensive line play can always be improved, and this is a pick that will do that. The Lions are team that needs a stronger foundation, that has to start in the trenches.
The other player player to consider here is Dee Millner from Alabama, but 5 is too early for a corner. Maybe if Leon Sandcastle were real, but he's not, so the pick is Fisher.
Explanation: The Browns struggled last year and I really could have gone in a number of directions here. Their offense desperately needs a play making WR (Cordarrelle Patterson) and it doesn't appear they have found the quarterback of the future yet. The only real possibility at 1.6 would have been Geno Smith, but he has been drafted. They addressed their immediate LB need in free agency (Kruger), but still need a pass rusher (Ezekiel Ansah, Jarvis Jones). Ultimately I choose Milliner who is a consensus top 5 talent. He will complement CB Joe Haden in what is becoming a good secondary. The offenses in the AFC North seem to have transitioned from run first to pass first and Milliner will provide the necessary depth at CB.
On a side note, the Browns only have 6 draft picks in this years draft (1.6, 3.6, 4.7, 5.6, 6.5, 6.7). It seems like they may be willing to trade their 2014 1st or 2nd for some additional picks this year - hmmmm.
Explanation: Rumor of trade and the two top OT off the board. Cards will most likely try for a trade or go for the BPA available. With the release of SS in the off season. They are going to rebuild the defense with the best safety in the draft. This is definitely a reach. However, I do believe that AZ would welcome a trade to gather more picks.
Explanation: While the Bills' biggest need (by a fairly wide margin) is a franchise quarterback, there are none worthy of a top-10 selection with Geno Smith off the board. Unless Kolb has improved dramatically since we last saw him, he is nothing more than a stopgap solution, and Tarvaris Jackson is, well, Tarvaris Jackson. The Bills will select a QB relatively early in this draft. But just not right now. Teams have frequently been burned by taking second or third round talents in the top half of the first round just because of pressing need (Jake Locker and Christian Ponder say hi) but we will not fall into that trap. We have too many other needs to reach that dramatically with our top pick. I ended up coming down to two guys: Ansah and Tennessee WR Cordarelle Patterson. But in the end, Ansah won out.
Around this time of year, phrases like "freak athlete" and "unlimited potential" get thrown around wantonly. Ansah is one of the few guys who might actually be worthy of them. Ansah is a 270 pound defensive end who ran a 4.6 second 40. He could be the versatile pass rusher Bills' GM Buddy Nix is looking for, having played all over the BYU defense (lining up everywhere from nose tackle to outside linebacker). He is raw as sushi, but his position coaches report that he responded very well to the coaching he received at the Senior Bowl, even dominating fellow first-round pick Lane Johnson for a stretch. Despite less than a year of starting at BYU, Ansah is considered by many to be a top-10 lock, with potential to sneak into the top-5. Despite spending a dump truck full of cash on defensive ends Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, the Bills' pass rush ranked a pedestrian 18th in sacks in 2012. Williams came on strong towards the end of the year after recovering from injury but Anderson disappointed throughout, and will be looking at the chopping block if he does not improve significantly in 2013. Ansah will need some serious attention from the Bills coaching staff, and will probably be limited to a situational pass rushing role in 2013. But if he can realize his immense potential, the rest of the league will be on high alert.
In many ways, Ansah and Patterson are similar prospects. Both are high-risk, high upside players whose lack of experience with high-level football are offset by their ridiculous athleticism and physical potential. Either would be a welcome addition to the Bills' roster. However, given the depth of WRs in this draft and the importance of being able to pressure the QB in today's pass-happy NFL, Ansah gets the nod.
Explanation: With the 9th pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, the New Jersey J-E-T-S select, Offensive Guard Chance Warmack.
1. Warmack is a chance for a mediocre offense to upgrade it's protection and run help in a single blow. Without a top tier Qb or RB the Jets need some help making those guys better. The best way to make the offensive weapons better is to protect them and make some holes for them.
2. Gang Green have been debating this for weeks, and the general consensus is an OG helps better than any other single position, and is also a move for the future to have a stronger Oline going forward. 61% of voters in a recent poll they had thinks O-line IS the best place to start, even though the #9 pick might be a little high for this pick. Most would like to trade back into the teens and still draft O-line there, but try to pick up an extra pick along the way. What they are all really hoping for is the Revis trade to go thru before the draft and get themselves another 1st rounder at (#13) where they would take the O-line player.
3. With a new OG Mark Sanchez has one more guy to help him out with those "special" fumbles!
Explanation: Titans had plenty of direction to go with this pick. They easily could have drafted local favorite Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson and had a monster trio of playmakers with Chris Johnson and Kenny Britt. That can be nightmare matchups everywhere and more I write this, the more I think I should have went that route but 2 drafts in a row drafting a WR, this is not the Detroit Lions.
Another option was to go with OG Jonathan Cooper. 10 is probably too high for a Guard and until the Jets selected Wormack the most recent Guard taken this high was in 2010 when Iupati was selected 17th overall. Add in the Titans paid big money to FA Andy Levitre and you can see why they pass on Cooper.
Finally we get to the player that somehow fell all the way to #10. Shariff Floyd. Titans will feel they hit the jackpot by having arguably the best DL prospect in this draft fall to them. Floyd is versatile to play in a 3-4 or 4-3 and if Titans stay committed to the 4-3 and add a Floyd to a rotation of Sammie Lee Hill and Jurell Casey then big production can come from DE's Wimbley and Morgan. Titans defense will improve and they can become factors in AFC South.
Explanation: There is a reason why so many people have this pick going to the chargers including myself. The Chargers O-Line is terrible and needs an infusion of young talent. Johnson is a consensus top 3 OT in the draft and where better to start when looking to improve your O-Line than the tackle spot. The Chargers Have one of the Top 10 Quarterbacks in the league in Philip Rivers and need to make sure he has the time to get a good look around the field before being hurried, hit or sacked. Johnson will be able to start from the first day and will be a great improvement over anyone else on their roster.
Explanation: An absolutely terrible spot to pick for the Dolphins. With wide receiver shored up over the offseason, the Dolphins still need a cornerback or two, but Xavier Rhodes isn't a zone corner and Desmond Trufant is a bit of a reach. So are any running backs or tight ends that Miami could use. Jonathan Cooper, who some say could challenge Warmack as the draft's best interior lineman (scoff!), is the best choice if no trades are allowed, since John Jerry at RG kind of sucks, and Richie Incognito is in his contract year. I was hoping for Lane Johnson to drop one more pick, or a top-level pass rusher as well, but this pick personifies unsexy utilitarianism. Jonathan Cooper matches the zone-blocking scheme Joe Philbin uses very well, with his amazing quickness and agility, and could form a nice interior duo for the Phins with Mike Pouncey for years to come.
Explanation: Well let's start with the most logical conclusion first. And that is by the time the actual draft happens, this pick will actually belong to the New York J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!! Of course this is assuming Tampa Bay can finally get the Jets to reason with them and pull the trigger on a trade for Darrell Revis. As a side note, and for the sake of the NFL this year, I hope this is the last time the Jets make any headlines in the 2013 season.
So assuming that Tampa Bay still has the pick and has not made the trade, then I want to first analyze why they are talking to the Jets about Darrell Revis to begin with. The feared Buccaneers defense that brought them a SB title in 2003 is no more. That defense had players like HOF'er Warren Sapp, John Lynch, a young Ronde Barber and the highly underrated (and future HOF'er) Derrick Brooks. Since then, they have not found replacements for these players.
In the 2012 season, the Buccaneers led the league in run defense. They were 1st overall in RYPG allowed at 82.5. Here's the problem though, teams found it much easier to pass on them than run thus tilting the stats that direction. The Buccaneers were last in the league in PYPG allowed at 297.4.
During the 2012 season they played nine different players at CB. Troubled CB Aqib Talib was traded on 11/1/12 following a four game suspension for substance abuse (Adderall). Eric Wright, of Cleveland Browns fame, was leaned on heavily but was then suspended four games for the same thing in November. At one point thirty-six year old CB E.J. Biggers, who was destined for a nickel role with the team at most, was starting. And being in a division that includes Julio Jones, Roddy White, Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham and Steve Smith along with their QB counterparts in Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Cam Newton, survival is dictated by pass defense. This team didn't have it.
To help address this problem the Buccaneers have signed the legendary and future HOF free safety, Dashon Goldston, to a $41M contract. He will be paired with last year's number seven pick, strong safety Mark Barron, to form the back end of that defense. The missing pieces though are still at the corner position. Luckily Xavier Rhodes falls to them in this mock draft and that's the corner they jump on. Had he been picked prior, Desmond Trufant would have then been the pick. But with the size of Rhodes, he is the preferable CB.
POPULAR OTHER PICKS:
Bjoern Werner (DE): To replace departed FA Michael Bennett
Desmond Trufant (CB): CB is a major need for this team
Tavon Austin (WR): Because he's everyone's popular pick
Explanation: Panthers have several needs...including WR, ROT, OG, DT, FS, SS and CB. At this point it is really between Richardson (DT) and Patterson (WR). They are the best athletes on the board at positions of need for the Panthers. Patterson gives Cam a big target and a deep threat as well. His size and athleticism will complement Steve Smith and open windows for him as well.
Explanation: With the acquisition of Rob Ryan, the Saints will be switching to a 3-4. Unfortunately, they do not have the personnel. They also only have 5 draft picks this year, which leads me to believe that they will trade back and grab either Jon Jenkins or Johnathan Hankins, securing the NT position and giving them a couple extra picks to work with. And with the Rams reportedly interested in Tavon Austin, they have a good shot at finding a trade partner. I, however, am not in a position to make such a trade and am unwilling to reach for a NT.
Between the aggressive style of defense that Ryan employs and the Saints' lack of a true pass rusher, Mingo became the obvious choice. He packs a lot of power in his lean frame and has an elite first-step making him an explosive edge rusher. That, combined with his ability to set the edge against the run, makes him the perfect complement to Victor Butler at OLB. If used correctly, he has the talent to impact a game and improve every level of that last place D.
Explanation: The Rams biggest need at this point is wide receiver, and with Tavon Austin available, I was torn between him and the best player available in Richardson. While DT is not a pressing need for the Rams, Richardson in my opinion is a top 10 talent, and you can make a case that he's the best DT in this class. He's an amazing athlete for his size, to the point that Mizzou actually had him drop into coverage from time to time. Consistent motor, and displays the quickness and instincts to locate the ball and change directions when not directly rushing the passer. Richardson would bolster the Rams' defensive line rotation, and would likely take snaps from Langford who seems to be a one-dimensional pass rusher. He'd fit right into their 4-3 defense as a 3-tech DT who will wreak havoc on opposing QB's for years.
Explanation: The Pittsburgh Steelers powerhouse of the 2000's has recently started to decline. Despite a glut of talent that spanned the decade, many of their core players, as well as certain high profile youngsters, have retired or moved on from the team. As they enter the 2013 season, the Steelers have several holes widening on their once-stacked roster, both offensively and defensively.
The Steelers currently have one quarterback on the roster, an aging Ben Roethlisberger. With him at the helm, their offense will always be dangerous with the ability to move the ball. This offense, however, has a glaring need at the running back position, one that I expect the Front Office to fill within the first three rounds. The loss of Mike Wallace was a major detriment to their offense, leaving Old Man Burress across from the rising young Antonio Brown - replacing Wallace will not be a simple task, but I believe that solid receiving talent can be found deep into the second day. Their offensive line is one that I would, without hesitation, call one of the best young groups of 3 offensive linemen in the league. Anchored by a world-class center in Maurkice Pouncey, their line features 2 other young players drafted near the top of their respective drafts. However, an offensive line consists of 5 big men, not 3 - and if the right player were to fall to them at either LT or LG, I could see the Steelers pulling the trigger, especially for an athletic linemen like Jonathan Cooper or Lane Johnson.
Defensively, the Steelers are but a shell of their former glory - their once fearsome Linebacking corps has crashed down unceremoniously back to average - led by returning youngsters (relatively) LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons. The loss of James Harrison, one of the great enforcers in Linebacker history, is to be succeeded by the promising Jason Worilds. While many Steelers fans are jockeying for another pass rushing OLB, they also see a need for ILB talent, presumably to spell and groom behind the Ancient One, Larry Foote. Their Safety corps is undermanned and aging, and there can never be enough CBs on a team, especially in this pass happy league, although it is unlikely that they fortify early. With Casey Hampton no longer on the depth chart, finding an anchor for their 3-4 is imperative, although this deep draft may have some gems to be uncovered on the 2nd day. Despite an underperforming Ziggy Hood, the Steelers seem to be willing to stand pat at the DE position, with some solid talent in the wings.
I have identified the Steelers' positions of need to be either an athletic Offensive Lineman to bolster their interior, or a blue-chip prospect to groom in the Linebacking corps. Since Lane Johnson and Jonathan Cooper are already gone...
With the 17th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select...
Linebacker JARVIS JONES from Georgia.
An athletic specimen with prototypical measurables and a storied & productive college career, the Steelers find value in the first round with a versatile linebacker. Being able to play either inside or outside, he will be able to involve himself in learning the system with help from Larry Foote, play spot duty for Foote or Lawrence Timmons, and provide 3rd down rusher capability from the outside.
Explanation: After researching and taking to what Cowboy fans wanted the top two choices were to either move up the draft and get Chance Warmack, Jonathan Cooper, or Kenny Vaccaro. If all three were taken before the Cowboys could move up the fans wanted to trade back for more picks in this draft or next years draft. Considering either isn't an option I would have to choose D.J. Fluker for the Cowboys as the best pick for them at this time.
The cowboys had while not the worst O line in the NFL it was in the top 10 and when they offered that big new contract to Romo they need to improve the line so that he can last till the contract expires. The Cowboys offensive line gave up 36 sacks and had 19 interceptions and while all of it can't be laid at the feet of the O line many of the questionable calls can be attributed to Romo needing to run to avoid another sack. D.J. is powerful and has very little flab in the mid section. Weight is distributed evenly throughout his entire frame and has the size to move to guard later in his career.
The Cowboys have the needed weapons on Offense for Romo now with the right help to protect him they could possibly win the division or at least make the playoffs.
Explanation: The biggest weaknesses on the Giants roster is on the offensive line, and back seven in the defense. They don't possess a true shut down CB, but if the defensive line is putting pressure on the opposing Quarterback, the current crop in the secondary should be just fine with Prince Amukamara, Corey Webster, Jaron Hosely and Terrell Thomas being apart of the depth chart. In addition to that, CB is deep in this draft and there will be opportunity to select a CB on Day 2.
This pick came down to two players for me, Alabama RT D.J. Fluker and Georgia ILB Alec Ogletree. David Diehl is currently slotted in to be the starter on the right side, with former 4th round pick in 2011 James Brewer pushing for playing time in camp. The Giants offensive line is old - with LT Will Beatty being the youngest starter at 28 years old. When you have a prize franchise QB in Eli Manning, you need to do everything possible to protect him and Fluker would of helped in that regard in addition to be a mauling run blocker in the run game. But, since Fluker was the selection right before the Giants turn, the second biggest need was help at the middle linebacker spot which has been pieced together in recent years with the likes of Chase Blackburn.
Georgia ILB Alec Ogletree has a ton of off field issues, and the Giants have always steered clear from players with any sort of red flags off the field, especially after the Plaxico Burress situation. But Ogletree is far too talented to pass up here at a position of need and fits perfectly in the Giants scheme were the middle linebacker is often used to play in coverage against opposing teams tight ends. Ogletree is a former safety and is one of the best coverage linebackers that have been scouted in a long time, in addition to having sideline to sideline speed that aids in the run game. Ogletree can immediately take over the middle linebacker spot creating competition at both OLB spots with Dan Conner, Stephon Paysinger, Keith Rivers and Jaquian Williams being the only other LB's on the roster(Mathias Kiwanuka will be a full time DE in 2013).
Explanation: Emery has openly expressed the need for speed at the WR position, and Hester obviously isn't the answer. Austin gives the Bears a much needed deep threat out of the slot with versatility to line up all over the field and create mismatch nightmares for opposing defensive coordinators. Tavon will also take attention away from Brandon Marshall enabling him to shine even brighter (if that's possible) Austin could also be the long term answer to replace the aging Hester in the return game. Tavon Austin is a homerun threat every time he gets the ball in his hands.
Explanation: The Cincinnati Bengals' three biggest needs are at middle linebacker, strong safety, and offensive center.
There are no first-round centers on the board. Travis Frederick is projects more as a guard and along with Barrett Jones, and both are late second-rounder picks. SS Kenny Vaccaro would have been the third-favorite selection here, but Arizona grabbed him a little too early. FS/SS John Cyprien is the second-favorite selection and fits Cincinnati's high need. He is still on the board and is well-worthy of their pick at number 21.
The favorite pick for Cincinnati is ILB Arthur Brown.
Arthur Brown is the second coming of NaVorro Bowman. He is a great tackler and takes advantage of his legs against the earth. He loves to make contact with ball-carriers before they reach the line of scrimmage. Brown is also good in coverage and picks up the seaming tight end nicely.
Explanation: Passing up on Austin at 16 worked out well as the Rams land my favorite, and the most complete wide receiver in this class. Hopkins was the most impressive receiver I watched in this class, and he's a guy that would fill a huge need for the Rams, giving them a true #1 WR. He doesn't have elite size or speed, but he's a very dangerous outside receiver who catches everything thrown his way. Put on the LSU game, and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about. Hopkins reminds me most of Roddy White, and with this pick, the Rams get a potential steal.
Explanation: The Vikings really need a receiver as even after signing Greg Jennings the cupboard is pretty bare. If they have any chance of Ponder developing into a productive quarterback then they are going to have to give him someone to throw to. The only player on the roster who caught more than forty passes was Kyle Rudolph and Jennings was injured for most of last year so while he is currently healthy he must be considered an injury risk this year as well. Reinforcements are required and will be expected to contribute this fall.
I was hoping to have a choice between Hopkins and Allen, which would have allowed me to select another position with the assurance that one would be available at pick 25. Both players fit the west coast scheme that the Vikings run with the size to play any receiver position and work the middle of the field.
Allen has slipped during the predraft process as he was unable to work out for scouts due to a strained knee but that shouldn't hobble him for long. Without the ability to have a team doctor look at his medical scans I'm going to assume it isn't going to linger on into training camp. I think that he represents a reasonable convergence of need and value at this spot.
Explanation: While researching the Colts I kept thinking how did this team win 11 games last year? The answer is they had a very favorable schedule: Titans, Chiefs, Jags, Jets, Dolphins. The reality for the 2013 Colts is that they can use an upgrade at every position except QB. The most glaring needs are G, DE, S, LB, RB, WR. Colts must do a better job of protecting their franchise QB- period. Their receivers led the league in dropped passes last year and they should start to consider life after RWayne. Finally their biggest need is on the defensive side which ranked in the bottom third of every defensive category: Rush yards allowed, Pass yards, Scoring , First Downs etc. The challenge is they have several holes to fill while having only 6 picks in this years draft half of which are after the 5th round. I have a suspicion the Colts will trade down to secure additional picks in rounds 2 through 4.
If they hang on to pick 1.24 Datone Jones makes sense. He is a 3-4 DE who immediately improves their pass rush. He may be better against the run. His senior year at UCLA he had 19 tackles for a loss which is 1.36 per game average. He is a big versatile athlete who is a difference maker.
Explanation: I felt that this pick could go in a number of directions as the Vikings have a playoff team where most of their players are young or in their prime. They might have to look to find replacements for Jared Allen and Kevin Williams but they also have some depth at those positions at the moment.
I'm going to try to stock the cupboard at cornerback, partly because they have to deal with Aaron Rodgers, Matt Stafford and Jay Cutler, who in this draft just received more help in Tavon Austin. Chris Cook had a good year coming back from his legal issues and they got decent production from Josh Robinson, last year's third rounder but your third corner is more of a starter than you third linebacker in the modern NFL and so I'm taking Trufant.
Trufant's draft stock has risen in the postseason as he enjoyed a good senior bowl week and performed strongly at the combine where he allayed concerns over his top end speed. He is scheme versatile and while he hasn't made a lot of interceptions this is partly because teams have thrown away from him, which happens quite often with college cornerbacks.
This might be a slight reach according to the consensus of draft pundits but in this draft I don't think that's as big an issue in this draft as in most years. I did consider Werner here but I regard him as being overrated and I'm not sure I don't prefer his Seminole teammate, Carradine so I stuck with the corner.
Explanation: With Little Free agency Transactions, Green Bay Packers (Green & Yellow ) GM Ted Thompson prefers to build the team through the draft, & trusts his coaching staff e.g. DC Dom Capers to develop young players into useful assets for the team. With Pass Rushers OLB Clay Matthews imminently due to resign his contract with The Packers , & OLB Nick Perry undergoing a full recovery from last year's injury, drafting another Pass Rusher, ready to be coached up by legendary Defensive Coaches like Dom Capers, will most definitely improve the defensive side of Green Bay's Football Team. With young & upcoming NFC Division QB's who can cause potent Rushing Threats such as Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson, & San Francisco 49er's Colin Kaepernick who played an important role of knocking out Green Bay Packers out of last season's NFC Divisional Playoff Game. Kaepernick rushed for a quarterback-record 181 yards and two touchdowns and threw two scoring passes in this game.
Therefore adding a Pass Rusher like Damontre Moore, coming from The Aggies (The 12Th. Man), whom played in the SEC, very competitive & Aggressive football, & helped the Aggies cause an upset by beating the eventual National Champions the Alabama Crimson Tide, is a big bonus. NFL.com called Damontre Moore "one of the top two or three pass rushers" of the 2013 draft in their scouting report (a report in which they compared him to Aldon Smith of the San Francisco 49ers).Damontre Moore enjoyed a very productive career with the Texas A&M football team. During his career he totaled 197 total tackles, 45 for a loss, 26.5 sacks and 8 forced fumbles. His best season came in 2012 when he totaled 85 tackles, 21 for a loss, 12.5 for a loss and 1 forced fumble. Although Damontre Moore didn't do quite as well as expected at the NFL Scouting Combine, watching him actually play the game shows his great football pass rushing abilities. As most GM's believe that ‘Film Doesn't Lie' e.g. GMs Ted Thompson (Packers) & Trent Baalke (49ers), here is a link to Damontre Moore's Ultimate Football Highlights - You'll see that this boy has got Game !
Damontre Moore is surely set to be a Packer's Fan Favourite at Lambeau Field. 'Go Pack Go' !
N.B : (Alternative Option 1) : With Heisman Trophy Finalist MANTI T'EO (5), LB, NOTRE DAME, being still available. He is arguably the Best Player Available, on the Defensive side of the ball game. It is possible that Green Bay Packers could Opt for him. The Green Bay Packer's Lady Fans, will most definitely want to be his girlfriend!
(Alternative Option 2) : ERIC REID (1), S, LSU. With the release of future hall of famer & NFL 2009 Defensive player of the year DB Charles Woodson, & DC Coach Dom Capers once saying "You can never have enough of those guys...You always have to be conscious you can get short there in a hurry." referring to defensive backs. This is a possible alternative. Eric Reid, is a safe bet, & has proved himself over the years. Playing in the SEC, & being an important team member of the Defensive minded LSU Football team. He's an all rounded solid Safety player, ready to be coached up at the next level - The NFL.
Explanation: The Houston Texans have one of the most boring offenses in the NFL. They use their zone blocking scheme to run and play action based off of it. Their running game features Arian Foster ,a great running back and the heart and soul of a well designed and very structured offense, but in order to win against other AFC powerhouses - Mainly the Patriots- they need to match them in their ability to move the ball quickly and spread the field with a vertical passing attack that is not a play action pass. To achieve that they need a fast wide receiver who can stretch the field vertically.Their primary wide receiver is Andre Johnson, who had over 1,500 yards for the Texans, the other four wide receivers accounted for only 841 most of it by Kevin Walter who was released in March and signed by the Titans.They drafted Devier Posey in the 3rd round in 2012, he caught 6 passes for 87 yards that year and injured his ACL in the playoffs game against the Patriots.
Looking at this putrid wide receiver group as general manager I have no other option but draft Justin Hunter. Justin Hunter combines the size, elusiveness and speed to become an elite WR. He is 6'4", with 4.4 speed, and he could be a big time playmaker and a constant source of mismatches. He has one of the biggest upsides in this wide receiver class and despite his inexplicable lack of focus at odd times I have to take the risk.
Explanation: After hanging out with the Mile High Report for the last week, the team needs mirror the Niners in some ways. They need DT, DE, S, CB, RB, a backup swing T, and ILB (they don't have the best two in world). In free agency they added DRC at CB, Wes Welker at WR (now all 3 of their starting WR had over 1000 yds last year!), Stewart Bradley at ILB, and DT Terrance Knighton.
That leaves CB--where Champ Bailey is starring in Geritol commercials, S--we all saw that game against the Ravens, RB--starring "I can fumble more than you" McGehee, and DE--due to "I still fax and use a rotary phone" agent for Elvis "has left the building" Dumerville.
Overall, the defense needs the most love, and they are weak up the middle. The best DT prospect left is Tank Carradine (6'4" 276 FSU) but he is coming of an ACL and won't work out for teams until April 20th. Elway is in a win now mode as Peyton's window is closing rapidly. They won't risk their 1st rounder on an injury recovery. They can look at safeties Elam (Fla) or Reid (LSU) but they need a cover safety and there is not one worthy at 28. ILB Ogletree (6'3" 242 Georgia) is one of the better options, and would be and good pick here. But there are several ILBs in the 2nd/3rd round who could do well. RB, CB, and Swing Tackle will be found later in draft.
This brings me back to replacing the DE/Rush end. Werner is the pick because he had 2 solid productive years at FSU with double digit sacks. He experienced fighting through double teams and he will benefit from Von Miller being on the other side in Denver. He is quick more than fast when you see his 40 times, and can burst through the line. He is able to fight off the hands of O-linemen and has more than one pass rushing move. With the 28th pick, Denver selects Bjorne Werner!
Explanation: The Patriots have the luxury of an exceptional offense and above average defense to allow a player such as Hunt to fit in nicely. The perfect blend of athletic ability and size will be a great addition to the Pats pass rush. The Hoody is salivating at having a player with the potential to have a JJ Watt impact. The Hood can deploy Hunt on the edge, standing in the middle of the defense at the LOS or lined up as a DE in the Nickel or 34 defense.
The Pats are ready to hoist another trophy and a wild card like Hunt is exactly the ace the cheater wants to have up his perverbial sleeve. Hunt is a towering 6'7" and weighing in at 277. After a legit workout program and some technical aide, Hunt could easily catipult to an All-Pro player under the Hoody's direction.
The biggest attribute to Hunt, is he is more raw than most players in the draft. Which means there won't be a lot of bad habits or bad teaching to mold through. Belichek will be patient with this prospect and deploy him early and often on ST's in an attempt to block kicks. Hunt is the Stud or Dud pick of the 2013 draft!!
Explanation: Atlanta puts priority on OL, but I find more need and value in their two glaring holes, i.e., CB and DE.
Atlanta lost Brent Grimes to free agency and Dunta Robinson was cut. It leaves Samuel (starter) and McClain (slot). CB is an immediate need for Atlanta and they will pick one up. However, at position 30, Dee Milliner and Xavier Rhodes are off the table. While I projected Trufant would still be open (an option now moot), he would not be the right piece for Atlanta. Atlanta runs mostly zone. There's a significant difference in skills needed to play CB in one system or the other. Robinson had difficulty adjusting and they are not likely to go down that road again. Sure Nolan likes man, but I am not privy to his game plan or priorities. By Atlanta's metric, Banks or Taylor has a better shot in its secondary.
Atlanta picked up the younger version of John Abraham, Osi Umenayiori, but he's not an every-down player. If they added a pass rusher to Umenyiori and Bierman, it would shut down a significant amount of plays. Tackling isn't what it used to be, because teams no longer practice and perfect good contact (out of fear players will get hurt during practice). Teams draft players with tackling skills before they enter the league. For this reason, I love Tank Carradine, DE and Alex Okafor, DE. Textbook tacklers. Both have the ability to fit into Nolan's scheme, easily coached to key and diagnose quickly. More importantly, they possess the square ability to tackle. Carradine tore his ACL in November. Otherwise, he would've been a top-10 pick. He toys with OLs and has considerable explosion. His potential outweighs the risk. Carradine is recovering ahead of schedule and will return to 100% (per AP's PT). Okafor is gritty and could start immediately, but he has some trouble with bigger OLs. I read Lane Johnson stated Okafor was the "best pass-rusher" in college. Tough decision, but Tank Carradine is my pick for Atlanta. He has more value and huge potential.
Explanation: Cyprien has great range, speed to close on the ball, and ball-tracking skills to make the play. He's a fierce tackler even if he needs to polish the skill a bit, and has great size for the position. He has what you can't coach, and only lacks what you can coach in cleaning up some things. Ed Donatell can't wait to turn Cyprien into a Pro Bowler and he likely starts from day 1.
The elite defensive linemen we would target here were already gone, including Margus Hunt who might have been a slight reach anyway. There are CBs here who are worthy of the selection, but Cyprien likely wouldn't last thru the next 3 picks, and even if he would, why take the chance? He's a player we believe in and we're making sure he's in Red n Gold.
32. Baltimore Ravens -- Matt Elam, S, Florida [Explanation]
Explanation: The Ravens will try and shore up their defense and receiving core through this years draft. There are a lot of different directions the Ravens can go with #32 overall but I think they use this pick on Matt Elam. Elam is a guy who can fill the shoes of Bernard Pollard and make a presence on the field from day 1. With the signing of Michael Huff to play FS, Elam is able to transition to SS for the Ravens where he is projected to be better suited in the NFL. He played in a very diverse defense at Florida lining up all over the field. His ability to make open field tackles and put his body behind the blow will help a Ravens defense which ranked 20th in rushing last year in the NFL.
He may need to work on his man coverage, but his ability to jump short routes while in zone coverage and provide the occasional safety blitz is a good fit for Baltimore. Not to mention, this is a guy with good football knowledge, leadership skills (FL Team Captain as a Junior), and someone who shows passion for the game. These are the sort of intangibles the Harbaughs look for in their prospects. Look for Elam's name to be called last on Day 1.
Other Possible Picks: Eric Reid, Manti Teo.