Well, now that free agency has changed the landscape of NFL rosters, the picture becomes slightly less muddied. It’s the perfect time for another pointless mock draft. Player movement is not quite done yet, as players are still being released and signed (or extended), but for the most part, each teams’ needs going into the draft are easier to identify.
The hardest part of these is trying to determine the philosophy of each of the 32 NFL teams. Will they draft based on needs or will they simply follow their own board and take the best player available. Then trying to project what each team board will look like is the next hurdle. The bottom line, is that it’s all guess work. I know who I like and I know what each team needs so let’s see if I can marry the two.
So, with that said, away we go.
1. Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M – After all of the posturing and smokescreens, I still think the Chiefs are locked into Joeckel at the top of this draft. He’s the closest thing to a sure bet and I really think they’d welcome a trade partner for Brandon Albert. The only way I believe they don’t take him is if a team wants Geno Smith so bad that they think it’s necessary to jump Jacksonville to secure him. But I don’t see that team.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia – I wasn’t in love with Gabbert coming out of Missouri and after seeing him play, I’m even less convinced. I’m betting the new regime doesn’t want their success tied (or anchored) to Gabbert either. I still think it’s a huge gamble but I also think it’s an upgrade. They could also go with offensive or defensive line, but I think they want a QB, which could be had in the top of the second round.
3. Oakland Raiders – Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida – To me, this is a very natural fit. I know Oakland brought in Pat Sims and Vance Walker this off season, but Floyd would be an upgrade over both almost immediately. I see his best fit as a Warren Sapp-type 3-technique penetrating tackle, which is exactly what the Raiders need to free up their edge rushers.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah – This is another team that could go in so many directions but to me this kid fills a major need. Philly did sign Issac Sapoaga a few weeks back but at 32 will be a part time player at best. With few other true noses in the fold, Lotulelei would fit into a nice rotation, learning from one of the better ones in the process. He also would fit into their occasional 4-3 looks as a 3-technique tackle along side Fletcher Cox.
5. Detroit Lions – Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan – This is my number one player and he finally lands in this mock at number five. The Lions have glaring needs at tackle, defensive end, and cornerback and with Dee Milliner and Ziggy Ansah still here, they could go in any direction. But I wouldn’t be able to pass on Fisher. Mean, nasty, and very athletic. This is what I want my left tackle to look like.
6. Cleveland Browns – Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama – The addition of Paul Kruger seemingly takes the Browns out of the running for an early pass rusher. But I also believe that they would have taken Milliner regardless. Teamed with Joe Haden, Cleveland would have a great set of young corners to bank on for a long time, improving their pass rush by default.
7. Arizona Cardinals – Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma – I believe the additions of Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton take the Cards out of the QB picture at number seven. But their other most glaring need has got to be tackle. Establishing a running game and protecting the QB are important to Bruce Arians’ offenses and the current tackles don’t excite anyone. Johnson is strong enough to excel in the run game and is very underrated athletically.
8. Buffalo Bills – Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – I’ll be honest, I struggled with this pick. I’m not as high as most on Werner so I’m having trouble finding a spot for him. I think he’ll be a good DE but not explosive enough to warrant a top-15 pick. That said, adding him to the mix with Mario Williams and Mark Anderson would serve the Bills well. Then target a QB at the top of the second round, like so many other teams.
9. New York Jets – Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU – While I don’t see Ansah getting past the Jets at nine, I also am not convinced he lasts this long. This is the perfect draft for Ansah to cash in because there are so few top flight players. Normally, a one year wonder with freakish athletic ability would fall much farther than this but welcome to the 2013 NFL Draft. I really Ansah is a great fit to replace Bryan Thomas and/or Calvin Pace in the Jets defense.
10. Tennessee Titans – Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina – Do you know how close I came to mocking two guards in the top-10? Even in this draft class, that doesn’t seem possible. The value just isn’t there. The only thing keeping Cooper there (besides the Titans glaring need) is his ability to play any of the three interior line spots. Just my personal preference versus Chance Warmack.
11. San Diego Chargers – Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon – I’m not sure about this pick either. The Chargers have been looking for more pressure since the Shawn Merriman heyday but they also took Melvin Ingram in last year’s first round. It may not be the ideal landing spot, but I also can’t see Jordan falling too much farther than this. If he fills out a little and maintains his athleticism, this kid will be a legit pass rush threat. I personally like his upside more than Ingram.
12. Miami Dolphins – Xavier Rhodes, Florida State – If it’s not apparent by the 12th pick, this is the hardest draft to predict in a while. This is another pick I’m not in love with but I can see it working for Miami. Brent Grimes and Richard Marshall are on board for 2013, but having Rhodes develop behind them could pay off sooner than later. While it’s not ideal to have your 12th overall pick not start, Rhodes wouldn’t be far away from starting.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri – Could this pick belong to the Jets by the time it’s on the clock? We’ll have to see how serious these teams are about a Darrell Revis deal but picking players is hard enough, I can’t pretend to be able to predict trades as well. If they keep the pick, I’m just picturing Richardson lining up next to Gerald McCoy and imagining the impact it would have on the defense. It makes your ends better and improve the secondary immediately. I see it as a great fit.
14. Carolina Panthers – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee – I know they just brought in Domenik Hixon and still have Brandon LaFell on board but I think adding a WR at this spot would really open up the Panthers’ offense. Patterson would be a great complement to Steve Smith, much like Mushin Muhammad was for Jake Delhomme. Add a legit passing game to their running game and the Panthers start to look more menacing.
15. New Orleans Saints – Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia – This is what a poor workout will do for you. I had Jones in my top five last time, which is where I think he fits talent wise. But following a sub-par pro day, I’m betting he experiences a draft day slide. There are few teams who need a pass rushing linebacker more than New Orleans so the fit is ideal. If they can get some pressure opposite Jones, I can see it working out well.
16. St. Louis Rams – Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia – This is the complete opposite of Jarvis Jones: a workout that catapults you up draft boards. Everyone knew Austin was quick but I’m not sure we expected him to time as fast as he did at the combine. That straight line speed coupled with a natural elusiveness and short distance quickness will make Austin a dangerous weapon in the hands of a smart coordinator. With the way the Rams run their passing game, this could be scary.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU – One thing the Steelers will learn fast is that they need a presence opposite of Lamar Woodley on defense. James Harrison is gone now and the club didn’t do a good job of preparing for this day. Much like the Saints, if I’m drafting based on need then I have to go OLB. Mingo may be a bit of a project, but playing across from Woodley means less attention.
18. Dallas Cowboys – Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama – Is it even possible that Warmack drops this far? Highly unlikely. I’m sure a handful of teams would gladly trade up a few spots before this to secure his services. In a weak draft, Warmack’s mauling style places him I the top-10 talent-wise. But taking a guard early is SO taboo I can actually see this mini-drop occur.
19. New York Giants – Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M – I was looking at LB for this pick based on need but I actually think the second round will be the LB hot spot. The Giants need to restock their front four and Moore would definitely be an upgrade. Playing with Jason Pierre-Paul and Matthias Kiwanuka could be good for all parties.
20. Chicago Bears – Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia – Athletically, I think this is exactly where Ogletree belongs. His questions surround his smarts and work ethic. Plugging him in the middle of a veteran defense may not be the best plan, but it seemed to work for Bobby Wagner in Seattle in 2012. If definitely fills a need if this is the pick.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama – Here’s where I get inside the mind of the Bengals front office and say “Andre Smith who?” Smith’s market has been much softer than he expected and I’d be shocked if the Bengals opened up the checkbook that far. Fluker actually plays a similar mauling style and would be an adequate replacement for Smith.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins) – Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas – Let’s face it, the Rams’ safeties are a mess. Should Vaccaro fall this far, it’s a no brainer for the Rams to grab him. With potential openings at both safety spots, Vaccaro would certainly start right away.
23. Minnesota Vikings – Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee – Some people like Hunter better than college teammate Cordarrelle Patterson and I can see it. Hunter should certainly go within the first round and would be a fine complement to newly acquired Greg Jennings. Christian Ponder would be running out of excuses quickly.
24. Indianapolis Colts – Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State – The Colts have made over their roster quite nicely but one need they still have is a space eating interior defensive lineman. There aren’t many rookies who fit that desciption better than Hankins. Think Casey Hampton in his heyday.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle) – Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington – Even if they manage to retain Antoine Winfield, the Vikes’ corners are shaky at best. Trufant is an NFL ready prospect who will fit right in to any defense. I could also see a LB here.
26. Green Bay Packers – Keenan Allen, WR, Cal – The Packers always seem to draft the best player available and have faired well doing it. Losing Donald Driver and Greg Jennings will leave a few snaps up for grabs on the outside. Adding Allen would be a luxury but he’s a dynamite prospect.
27. Houston Texans – Margus Hunt, DE, SMU – Houston is always looking for help up front and this seems to be the spot to find one. Hunt is a raw talent but would be allowed to develop with JJ Watt garnering most of the attention. It would be fun to see these two freakish athletes together.
28. Denver Broncos – Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina – Talk about scheme versatile. Williams can play the interior in any alignment and play it well. Adding him to the middle of the Broncos defense would be a great fit, opening up lanes for an aggressive defense.
29. New England Patriots – Cornellius Carradine, DE, Florida State -This is exactly the type of pick that Bill Belichik makes. Huge upside guy with injury question marks. But this draft sets up perfectly for it. I mean how often do you see a guy go in the first who can’t work out for teams?
30. Atlanta Falcons – Robert Alford, CB, Southeastern Louisiana – The bottom line is that Atlanta needs to add some pieces on defense. I’d be shocked if they didn’t take a CB or an end here. With the elite rushers gone in this exercise, I’d grab the top corner left on my board.
31. San Francisco 49ers – Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame – I just don’t see Vernon Davis being a Niner forever. Adding Eifert now might be a bit confusing for his development but he would be a tremendous add to an already potent offense.
32. Baltimore Ravens – Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU – Just insert your favorite remaining LB here. I’m not sure I’ve seen a mock that didn’t have one here. I’m a follower!
Thanks everyone for reading. Please comment below and don’t forget to follow Chris on Twitter at @ChrisLaBarge.
Now that free agency has cooled off, it’s a perfect time to crank out a new mock draft.
Fortunately there’s still another month before the draft takes place and now that free agency has begun to slow down, it’s the perfect time for version 2.o of the NFL Draft season.
MOCK DRAFT DISCLAIMER: Once again, the following picks are not how I have these players ranked and it is definitely not how I would pick for these teams.
A good mock draft should be the most accurate prediction of how NFL GMs/Teams will be thinking and which players they will be targeting when the end of April is upon us.
The following is my attempt to place as many correct players into the 1st round as I can with their corresponding team if possible.
Issues/Problems? Please hit me up at @RookieDraft on twitter for any questions you might have.
2013 Mock Draft
Kansas City Chiefs
New York Jets
San Diego Chargers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New Orleans Saints
St. Louis Rams
New York Giants
St. Louis Rams * (via Redskins)
Minnesota Vikings * (via Seahawks)
Green Bay Packers
New England Patriots
San Francisco 49ers
North Carolina State
* - Trades will be marked with an *asterisk to indicate the original pick being changed.
Thanks a ton for reading and please bang out some feedback or comments below. You can always e-mail me questions, comments, and even complaints to email@example.com
My first assignment at RookieDraft.com: crank out a one round mock draft. Sounds simple enough. But when you really start digging into this draft class, there may only be 15-20 first round talents, if that. But since they won’t stop the first round until all 32 picks are made, the show must go on.
As most of you know, these are for fun. I take them half serious, but mostly use them as an exercise of “what if”. There’s always a curveball or two thrown in the first round so I try to figure out where those may occur. Then the fun is seeing how those curves affect the next set of selections. As the draft season develops, my mocks will update and I’ll try to find new spots for the curveballs.
Early mocks are also almost pointless. With free agency still to come, knowing what teams are going to do in the draft in nearly impossible. Hell, we don’t even know most of the players that will hit free agency. Again, as things develop the mocks will be updated. I’m sure my final mock will look very little like what you are about to see.
One final warning, I’m a little behind on my research of the ‘tweeners this year. It looks like another good crop of hybrid 4-3 DE/3-4 OLB are available this year and I need to review their combine workouts and such to be able to separate them all in my own head.
So, with that said, away we go.
Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M – Forget everything you just read above. In my eyes, there is no way the Chiefs can take anyone other than Joeckel with the first pick. Not even sure commentary is needed.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan – Is this a curve? Maybe, but personally, I like Fisher more than Joeckel. He’s got the tools to be a great pass blocker and can run block as well. Jacksonville is always looking for pass rushers and offensive skill guys but to me you can’t let this guy pass by.
Oakland Raiders – Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia – Here’s a curveball. I just feel that the Raiders are getting by with Carson Palmer while looking for the “next guy”. Palmer can be cut with a small cap hit and the reigns could easily be handed to Smith. Young developing receivers and a strong running game are exactly what he needs to succeed. This would be a good fit for him, although a bit early for my taste.
Philadelphia Eagles – Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia – Word is still that the new look Birds will be running with much more of a 3-4 look in 2013, meaning a lot of holes to fill. One of them is an edge rusher to pair with Brandon Graham. Trent Cole and Vinny Curry have been mentioned as possibilities but Jones would be a much better fit. His medicals seemed to pass the smell test at the combine, opening him up to a high draft status.
Detroit Lions – Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – Most mocks I’ve seen have Dee Milliner here but with Cliff Avril likely leaving the Lions will need a pass rush from somewhere. I’m not sure Werner is the man but he’ll do an admirable job. Dion Jordan was another consideration.
Cleveland Browns – Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon – I thought about Milliner here as well, but with Cleveland’s switch back to a 3-4, they need to revamp the front seven. Moving Jabaal Sheard outside will help but pairing him with Jordan could be lethal.
Arizona Cardinals – Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma – I’m thinking the Cardinals are hoping Geno Smith makes it here but if not, offensive line is an even longer standing need. With the top two tackles gone in my exercise, I’m betting the Cards nab Johnson. Maybe a little bit of a reach, but Johnson has had a great off season to date and won’t last much longer if he’s not taken here.
Buffalo Bills – Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida – OK, here’s my first indicator that this can’t be taken seriously. Floyd shouldn’t still be here. But if he is, the Bills would do well to grab him here. Floyd is scheme versatile and would pair well with Mario Williams and Marcel Dareus. I had Cordarelle Patterson here for a long time by the way.
New York Jets – Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU – Ansah is one of the wild cards of this draft and could go anywhere. I’m betting someone falls in love with his size/speed skill set and takes him VERY early. Detroit wouldn’t shock me at #5 but I’m thinking he doesn’t get past the Jets, who need pressure desperately.
Tennessee Titans – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah – A medical red flag (heart) came out of nowhere at the combine, which may have Lotulelei tumble down some mocks early, but if it comes out that it’s not a concern he could shoot back up. In the end, I expect Lotulelei to go earlier than this but if not, the Titans would be making a great pick. They like to build up the middle and Star would be another player in that mold.
San Diego Chargers – Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama – Is there a team that needs offensive linemen more than San Diego? Maybe but they haven’t been able to replace Kris Dielman and here is there chance to fill a hole along the interior line. Lane Johnson would be another choice if things fall differently.
Miami Dolphins – Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama – Another indicator that this is for fun. I’d be surprised if Milliner is still around at #12 but if he was, this is a no brainer. Richard Marshall was good but there wasn’t much else to get excited about at CB. Milliner would step right in and impact the defense immediately.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington – If everything would play out like my “what if” game, I’m fully expecting the Bucs to take a CB here. Xavier Rhodes is an option, but at this point I like Trufant slightly more. He has the size, speed, and attitude to be a good one too.
Carolina Panthers – Cordarelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee – Mark it down now, the Panthers are taking a WR or a DT with this pick. Just a hunch. If Patterson makes it here, I think it’s a great fit for their offense. A “height, weight, speed” guy is exactly what they need opposite of Steve Smith.
New Orleans Saints – Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU – Here’s where doing my homework on the hybrid DE/OLB’s may alter my mocks. I think it’s obvious the Saints need this type of player, the question is just which one they take. I’m not sure Mingo has had the off season he wanted but he’s a damn fine athlete. If he fills out a bit, this could work out well.
St. Louis Rams – DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama – As many linemen as the Rams take, they always still seem to need them. I think Fluker is the road grader type OT that they need to finally check it off of their shopping list. I don’t think he’s an elite pass protector but should be serviceable enough for the Rams short passing game.
Pittsburgh Steelers - Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina – I love this kid. After seeing him move at the combine, I was convinced Cooper is a future star in the NFL. Pair him with Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro and the interior offensive line will be set for 10+ years in the Steel City.
Dallas Cowboys – Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas – Have the Boys had a decent safety since Darren Woodson retired? The back end always seems to be a need and this might be a spot to try to fill it. With Vaccaro’s mix of size, speed, and leadership, he would be an ideal fit in Dallas.
New York Giants – Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M – It wasn’t too long ago that the Giants strength was their front four but that wasn’t the case in 2012. With Osi Umenyiora likely gone and Justin Tuck invisible, they need to restock the front to help Jason Pierre-Paul return to his dominant ways. Moore may not be the ideal 4-3 end but has some room to grow and can be a disruptive pass rusher.
Chicago Bears – Keenan Allen, WR, Cal – There are so many ways the Bears can go and I’m not sure they will go WR here, but “what if?”. Allen is very much of a Brandon Marshall clone, although not quite the deep threat, and would provide another great weapon for Jay Cutler’s offense.
Cincinnati Bengals – Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia – Ogletree is easily the best interior LB in this draft in my mind, but carries some off field baggage, some very recent. With Rey Maulauga likely seeking a new team, what better team to take on a talented player with character concerns than the Bengals? Pairing Ogletree with Vontaze Burfict could provide the Bengals with a solid core for a number of years.
St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins) – Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia – Perhaps the only need more repeated for the Rams than offensive line is wide receiver. And again, it’s not for lack of quantity. Austin really helped himself at the combine and in this scenario would be a nice deep compliment to the Rams underneath passing attack.
Minnesota Vikings – Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri – Of all of my picks in this mock, this is the one I like the least. I can see Minnesota taking a DT here, but I’d suspect it to be more of a Jonathan Hankins or John Jenkins space-eater type. Richardson is an athletic big man who offers a lot of scheme versatility. He would fit in nicely in Minnesota but it’s not where I think they’ll go.
Indianapolis Colts – Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State – As good as the Colts were in 2012, there are still some holes to fill, and in my eyes CB is one of them. With limited options left at offensive line, addressing either CB or OLB would be ideal. Rhodes is a good combination of size and speed who would fit nicely across from Vontae Davis for a number of years.
Seattle Seahawks – Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State – Seattle is one of the few teams I see with limited holes to fill. I’ve never been a big fan of their OLBs and think it’s time to find a replacement for Leroy Hill. Brown is one of my favorite players in this class. Wherever the ball goes, he’s there. He and Bobby Wagner is a pairing I would love to see.
Green Bay Packers – Datone Jones, DE, UCLA - The Packers are another “Wild Card” team to me. They could go in so many different directions. In a deep DE class, they may not go that route here but should they choose too, Jones is a solid option. He offers the size to play either 3-4 or 4-3 DE and has shone an ability to play in the opponents’ backfield.
Houston Texans – Kevin Minter, LB, LSU – Like many of the teams picking this late, there are many directions the Texans can go. If it was me, I’d be looking for Bradie James’ replacement. In Minter, you’re getting a LB with very good size who can cover a lot of ground. This might also be a landing spot for Matt Barkley if he can show teams his arm strength is NFL caliber.
Denver Broncos – Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame – With few holes to fill in Denver, the Broncos have the luxury of selecting the best available player, which is what I did with this pick. Can you provide Peyton Manning with too many weapons? I don’t think so. And I see Eifert as a Dallas Clark type receiver who can also run block better than you think.
New England Patriots – Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Miss – I’m not sure where, but I think this kid sneaks into the first round this April. This mock has him landing in New England, where they are always looking for a little more pass rush. Collins will be more of a pure 3-4 OLB and would show well when the Patriots use these fronts, which is still pretty often.
Atlanta Falcons – Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State – This is another young man I think needs to be in the first round. Carradine has proven to be a very disruptive pass rusher along with Bjoern Werner. I actually believe Carradine may wind up as the better NFL player. With the failed Ray Edwards experiment and recent release of John Abraham, a pass rusher like Carradine could be a nice fit.
San Francisco 49ers – Matt Elam, S, Florida – Speaking of having very few holes to fill, what’s not to like about the Niners? For me, it’s safety. Donte Whitner has always struck me as overrated and Dashon Goldson will just be too expensive to keep around. Enter Elam, a big hitting safety with solid size. He may not be the best tackler or coverage safety, but when he gets there he makes noise.
Baltimore Ravens – Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame – I’m far less convinced about Te’o than others but we shall see. With Ray Lewis’ retirement and a sketchy cap situation, LB may be an urgent need for Baltimore in 2013. Te’o reads and reacts very quickly and could prove to be a quality NFL LB.
So, there’s my one round mock. Far from perfect but this draft is going to be tough to predict. The top level talent is just not that deep and the team needs are not clearly defined yet. So, please feel free to comment below, as long as you go easy on me