2013 NFL DRAFT PROJECTIONS
By Seamus Smith
April 19th, 2013
These predictions presuppose that the NY Jets will trade CB Darrell Revis to Tampa Bay for a package including the Buccaneers’ 13th pick overall. Also included in this mock draft are two other projected trades within the first round.
1.) Kansas City Chiefs: OT Eric Fisher (C. Michigan): New head honcho Andy Reid has made many improvements via free agency. But with Branden Albert on the trade block, a blind side protector for Alex Smith is in order. K.C. opts for Fisher over Joeckel, making him the first Chippewa taken number one overall in the NFL Draft.
2.) Jacksonville Jaguars: OLB Dion Jordan (Oregon): With the worst pass rush in football last season, the Jags need someone who can bring the pressure. The former duck is a perfect fit in the “Leo” position of new coach Gus Bradley’s defense and should make an immediate impact for a team in dire need of playmakers.
3.) Oakland Raiders: DT Sharrif Floyd (Florida): GM Reggie McKenzie would have loved to trade down but finds no one willing to move up into the top three. With a roster so full of holes it could be mistaken as a block of Swiss cheese, the Raiders get a day one starter in the former Gator to wreak havoc at the line.
4.) Philadelphia Eagles: OT Jake Joeckel (Texas A&M): New head coach Chip Kelly has been busy reshaping the Eagles roster in his likeness. The dismantled “dream team” has needs across the board. And for a new regime, if you don’t use your first pick on a QB, then you spend it on the second most important position: left tackle. Joeckel could have easily gone number one and makes for a solid cornerstone in the City of Brotherly Love.
5.) Detroit Lions: DE Ezekiel Ansah (BYU): With pressing needs on the offensive line and in the secondary, the Lions might be tempted to grab OG Chance Warmack or CB Dee Milliner. But with Cliff Avril leaving for Seattle and Kyle Vanden Bosch being released, the pass rush in Motor City needs a serious boost. Although he is new to the sport, the 6’5 Ghanaian is a quick study and may have the highest ceiling of any DE in this class.
6.) Cleveland Browns: CB Dee Milliner (Alabama): The Browns strengthened their front seven with the free agent signings of OLB Paul Kruger and DT Desmond Bryant. Their first draft move is to select the blue-chip Crimson Tide cover man, pairing him with Joe Hayden and potentially giving Cleveland the best cornerback combo in the NFL.
7.) Arizona Cardinals: LT Lane Johnson (Oklahoma): After acquiring Carson Palmer in a trade with the Raiders, new head coach Bruce Arians has found his bridge gap quarterback. Although taking Geno Smith will be tempting, the Cardinals O-line is an absolute train wreck. For anyone behind center to succeed, that issue must be addressed first and foremost.
8.) Buffalo Bills: QB Geno Smith (West Virginia University): Bill’s owner Ralph Wilson made clear a much needed franchise quarterback would be drafted this year. Although trading down and drafting his former Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib is an option, Buffalo stays in the top ten and new head coach Doug Marrone gets the top ranked signal caller in an underwhelming year.
9.) New York Jets: OLB Barkevious Mingo (LSU): The Jets roster has many holes in need of patching up and could go many directions with their two first round selections. Quarterback is without question the team’s biggest need, but none of the remaining prospects are worth taking in the top ten. So, new GM John Idzik addresses another major issue: the team’s anemic pass rush. Rex Ryan is thrilled to welcome the former Tiger to town and bring some pressure back to the Big Apple.
10.) Tennessee Titans: OG Chance Warmack (Alabama): It’s not common for a guard be taken in the top ten. But Warmack is anything but common and has the potential to be a pro bowler early in his career. Head coach (and former offensive linemen) Mike Munchak finds his counterpart to free agent addition G Andy Levitre to pound the run and get Chris Johnson another rushing title.
11.) San Francisco 49ers (Trade with San Diego): WR Tavon Austin (West Virginia University): With 13 picks to use as ammo, the Niners move way up to grab Austin and the NFC West arms race continues. The versatile 5’8 Mountaineer gives the 49ers a match up nightmare for opposing defenses and special teams ace. Likely to man the slot between Michael Crabtree and Anquin Boldin, the speedy Austin will help give S.F. an offense as explosive as its top-5 defense.
12.) Miami Dolphins: CB Xavier Rhodes (Florida St.): GM Jeff Ireland is on the hot seat and outspent everyone else in free agency to ensure a shot at keeping his job. With the loss of LT Jake Long and CB Sean Smith, the Dolphins need starters at both those positions. I expect them to trade with the Chiefs prior to the draft to acquire Branden Albert, taking care of replacing Long. The former Seminole Rhodes is big and physical and should find himself atop the depth chart going into the 2013 season.
13.) New York Jets (by way of Revis trade with Tampa Bay): DT Star Lotulelei (Utah): Due to the frenzied run on premiere offensive linemen, the extremely talented Lotulelei slips out of the top ten. The Jets are overjoyed that the five-technique tackle falls to them in the slot gained by the trade with the Buccaneers. The former Utah “star” can to be used both on the nose and the end in New York’s three-man front.
14.) Carolina Panthers: DT Sheldon Richardson (Missouri): This SEC standout is one of the most diverse defensive talents in the draft. With upgrades needed all over their defensive unit, the Panthers with find an immediate place for the 6’4 space eater up front, opening attack lanes for last year’s rookie stand out, MLB Luke Kuechly.
15.) New Orleans Saints: OLB Jarvis Jones (Georgia): The Saints are never lacking offensive firepower, but their defensive unit in the 2012 was the very worst in the NFL. DC Steve Spagnuolo was fired and Rob Ryan was hired to implement his 3-4 in the Big Easy. The former Bulldog Jones will add a ferocious bite from the outside.
16.) St. Louis Rams: S Kenny Vaccaro (Texas): The Rams are in dire need of starters at both safety positions. In the consensus best Vaccaro, need meets value and Jeff Fisher can expect the former Longhorn to step in right away and make an impact in the secondary.
17.) Pittsburgh Steelers: DE Bjoern Werner (Florida State): With the loss of Mike Wallace to the Dolphins, the Steelers might be tempted to go for a receiver here. But the Steel City tradition of drafting defense first continues with the selection of the German-born defensive end whom in two seasons at Florida State racked up 35 tackles for a loss, 23.5 sacks and 18 pass defended.
18.) Dallas Cowboys: OG Jonathon Cooper (Oklahoma): Although history tends to have Jerry Jones using his first selections on “playmakers”, the Dallas offensive line can’t afford to go without an upgrade. Otherwise, all that new money thrown at Tony Romo will be in vain. Cooper will strengthen both the pass protection and be a beast in helping the Cowboy’s run game.
19.) New York Giants: DE Tank Carradine (Florida State): With Osi Umenyiora gone and Justin Tuck in the final year of his contract, the Giants need to restock their once dominant front four to get after the quarterback. Although coming off a torn ACL, Carradine would be a devastatingly effective bookend to Jason Pierre Paul.
20.) Chicago Bears: TE Tyler Eifert (Notre Dame): The Bears had the worst tight end core in football last season. The elite former Fighting Irish Eifert will beat out any at the position currently on the roster, giving QB Jay Cutler a safety blanket underneath in Marc Trestman’s new offense.
21.) Cincinnati Bengals: S Johathan Cyprien (Florida International): The hard-hitting small school prospect has rocketed up the ranks as much as anyone leading to draft day. The Bengals have an aggressive and young defense under Mike Zimmer. But in order to take the next step, they need a safety that is rangy enough to blitz and help cover the deep ball.
22.) St. Louis Rams (via Washington): WR Condarelle Patterson (Tennessee): With Sam Bradford’s favorite target (Danny Amendola) heading to Foxbourgh, a new receiving threat tops the team’s wish list. Although needed to improve his route running, Patterson has big time speed (4.33s/40) and the 6’2 Vol is a physical specimen too good to pass up here.
23.) Minnesota Vikings: WR Justin Hunter (Tennessee): After trading away Percy Harvin and signing WR Greg Jennings away from the rival Packers, the Vikings still need more options for QB Christian Ponder. Like his Tennessee teammate, Hunter possesses prototypical size and speed and will help balance an offense that relied far too much last season on RB Adrian Peterson.
24.) Indianapolis Colts: DE Datone Jones (UCLA): The success the new coaching staff in Indy had last season, going from league worst to playoff contenders, was magical. But, the Colts still have an underwhelming roster and need young players to step in and provide immediate help. Enter the former Bruin who was one of the Pac-12’s most productive linemen and should be a solid replacement for the legendary Dwight Freeney.
25.) Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle): DT Sylvester Williams (N. Carolina): After addressing the receiver core, the Vikings upgrade the other side of the ball with the first-rounder gained in the Harvin trade with Seattle. Minnesota loves guys named Williams manning their front four and select yet another in the former Tar Heel.
26.) Green Bay Packers: ILB Alec Ogletree (Georgia): After making Clay Matthews the highest paid linebacker in the game, the Packers need to find him help in the front seven. Despite off-field issues, the former Bulldog can attack from anywhere. The Packers have a top-ten talent fall in their laps much to the displeasure of Jay Cutler and Matt Stafford.
27.) Houston Texans: WR DeAndre Hopkins (Clemson): For years, the Texans have searched for someone to line up opposite Pro-Bowler Andre Johnson. In the former Tiger, Houston finds that player in Hopkins who plays faster than his combine numbers indicate and who is considered by some to be the most complete and polished receiver coming out of college.
28.) Denver Broncos: CB Desmond Trufant (Washington): The former Huskies corner will become the third Trufant brother to play in the NFL when he’s taken by Denver. With the 34 year old perennial All-Pro CB Champ Bailey slowing down, John Elway finds his heir apparent in Mile High.
29.) Philadelphia Eagles (trade w/ New England): QB E.J. Manuel (Florida State): After locking up an offensive tackle in the top five, Chip Kelly moves back into the action of round one in a trade with the Patriots. In the dynamic Manuel, he lands “his guy” to run the Eagles up-tempo offense as a new day in Philly dawns.
30.) Atlanta Falcons: CB Darius Slay (Mississippi State): This SEC corner has shot up the rankings as draft week approaches and finds himself slide into the end of round one. The defending NFC South champion Falcons have a squad built to win now, but are sorely lacking talent at CB position. With the addition of Slay, they give themselves a chance against the high-scoring arms of Drew Brees and Matt Ryan.
31.) San Diego Chargers (from trade with San Francisco): OT/G D.J. Fluker (Alabama): With or without trading down, the Chargers get much need help along their disastrous O-line. The former Crimson Tide national champion is projected to man the right side, giving Phillip Rivers much needed time to throw and a road grader to help bolster the run.
32.) Baltimore Ravens: WR Keenan Allen (UCLA): With the retirement of Ray Lewis and the departure of Dannell Ellerbe, the defending Super Bowl champs could very well use this last pick of the round on a linebacker such as Kevin Minter or Arthur Brown. But, with the smooth route running pass catcher from UCLA falling down the board, they opt to give Joe Flacco another weapon to compensate for trading away Anquin Boldin.
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