We are now up to pick No. 13 in the 2013 Niners Nation NFL mock draft. Just a reminder that I will be attempting to post three picks every day until we get through round two. This will likely take us into the week of the 2013 NFL Draft, so feel free to consider this a sort of countdown.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on the clock and their Niners Nation GM is germinator. With the thirteenth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Bucs select Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State.
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 Darrelle 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 Darrelle 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 first 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 Goldson, 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
Trevor Woods: It appears the Bucs will be the frontrunners for Revis, if they decide to trade for him. They have not made the trade yet though, and Rhodes makes the most sense out of the picks available. Rhodes to the Buccaneers is one of the more common picks you will see in mock drafts, but that is with good reason. They need a cornerback and Rhodes is the best one on the board.
Nick Chiamardas: I'm not sure there is really anything more to add after geminator's precise breakdown. Should the Bucs hold onto pick No. 13, there is little doubt they'll be addressing the defensive side of the ball. Rhodes gives them a tall, lanky corner with tremendous athleticism and physicality. For a team that desperately needs cornerback help, the second-rated corner in the draft is a logical selection. I wouldn't be surprised if the Bucs also looked at Rhodes' FSU teammate, Bjoern Werner. Werner would be a perfect replacement for the departed Micheal Bennett.
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
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State