Monday, April 22, 2013

2013 NFL MOCK DRAFT - Round 1

We are just about a week till the real thing, and I have really slacked off.

Usually, I have 1, if not 2, published mock drafts out by now, but I just didnt' get it done.  For that, I apologize, but I have something to share finally.

Luke Joekel OT, Texas A and M

Picking a premier talent at left tackle is the right move for the Chiefs, regardless of what happens with Branden Albert.  I lean towards Joekel because he looks to be ready to play, having faced premier pass rushers in the Big-12 and then moving over to the SEC and dominating against what is regarded as the premier conference in the country.  He is athletic, smart, and mean, and should be the first pick. 

The only question that comes to my mind with the Branden Albert thing is whether they should look for a second tackle as well, but that may depend on what they think of the players from last year's draft.

Eric Fisher OT, Central Michigan

The only concerns about Fisher is that, at 6'7" and 305lbs, he is relatively lean for an Offensive Tackle.  He is a natural athlete who is well conditioned for an athlete his weight.  If he can put a handful more pounds of "good weight", he has a chance to be special.

As it is, he could step in and start for half the teams in the league at LT.

Dee Milliner CB, Alabama

The  Raiders have been quietly remaking their roster with less ego, and more flexibility.  They still need to replenish their ranks out at corner though after having a formerly strong cornerback depth chart ravaged by free agency over the past few years.  Milliner has all the tools and showed well on film as well.  He is fast, running a sub 4.4 40-yard dash, but still tackles well and has shown a knack for separating the ball from a runner.  His best skill however, is probably his nose for the ball when it is in the air. 

If he can be the lockdown defender that teams think he is, it will make a tremendous difference for a rebuilding Raider franchise and it opens up their defensive scheme tremendously.  But, when it comes down to it, there is no position that the Raiders are set at, and Milliner was the top player on my board at this point.

Star Lotulelei NT, Utah

Earlier this off-season, I would have thought the Eagles would have been targeting Milliner, but they have rebuilt their secondary this off-season, so it didn't really matter that he was off the board.

What did matter was that they are moving to a 3-4 and that scheme requires big-time space eaters to play up front.  They did pick up Isaac Sopoaga from the 49ers who is serviceable, but he is not a star (pun intended).  Star Lotulelei has the potential to be special, and is mobile enough to play the end in a 3-man front if the Eagles really want to go big.  I tend to think that is something we will see out of them, with Fletcher Cox and Star flanking Sopoaga.  

The Eagle have had another off-season with a lot of free agency pickups, but they took a different tack this time, signing solid veterans who have something to prove, rather than big egos.  Star could be the last piece to a very good defense, but I expect it will take a little time to come together.....if it does.

Ezekiel Ansah DE/OLB, BYU

Ansah may have highest ceiling of any player in this draft.  He had never played football...hell he had never seen it in person, before going to BYU.  That said, he is one of those freak athletes who can flat out do it, even though he is still learning to play.

He has the size to play D-End in any scheme and the speed to play OLB in any scheme....If we are being honest, he has the speed to play free safety.  Stop, go back, and read that last sentence again.  

The Lions have the best pair of young D-Tackles in the game and Ansah has a chance to be that player that gives OC's fits when they try to game plan for him.  The best part is that he is likely to continue getting better as he adds even more muscle to a big frame and continues to get coached up.  Oh, and with Fairley and Suh, there is no way that a team will be able to double him.

Jarvis Jones OLB, Georgia

Jones was the talk of college football for a good chunk of this past season as he tore up the SEC.  Come draft eval time, the talk about his spinal problems in the past came back to the forefront.  I tend to think that all that talk is a lot of smoke to screen teams from taking him early, because this guy didn't give teams any reason to worry after he got to Georgia.  All he did was dominate in the Dawgs 3-4 scheme.

He plays fast off the edge, and with the Browns working to populate their 3-4 defense, another edge rusher to pair with newly signed Paul Kruger would be just the thing.

Chance Warmack OG, Alabama

The Cardinals need to run the ball while they sort out their issues are QB, and they need a premier O-Line to do that.  With the top tackles off he board, they should go to Warmack who, along with Barrett Jones, and DJ Fluker, blasted open holes for Eddie Lacy all year long.

Warmack is an explosive blocker who dominated everyone he faced, and he will plug in as a leader for the line in the desert from day one.

Cordarrelle Patterson WR, Tennessee

Patterson is a tremendous open field talent, but he is still a bit raw a receiver. 

He could easily be implemented akin to how Percy Harvin has been.  Just get him the ball and let him make people look bad.  He has that kind of talent, and the Bills need explosive talents in a bad way.

There will be quarterbacks available later, and they would smart to wait.

Lane Johnson OT, Oklahoma

Johnson is probably the most athletic of the tackles at the top of this class.  He was a high school QB, and college Tight End, who grew into a Tackle.  He has the foot speed and coordination in space that will allow for his drafting team to do things with him that other teams will not have the option to do.

He is still a little raw at the position however, and a team will be best served if they can start him off at Right Tackle.  With D'Brickashaw on the left, Johnson would give them the solid edge on the other side that they have been missing.

Margus Hunt DE, SMU

Hunt's story is reminiscent of the one we got from Ezekiel Ansah's life.  They are both track athletes who found their way onto the football team when life presented the opportunity.

The difference is that Hunt was a world class thrower, and stands in at 6'8" 277 lbs which makes him a hybrid D-Lineman rather than a hybrid edge guy.  The part of his is that he has the speed (4.53 40 yard dash) and agility to play OLB if a team really wanted to be nasty about things. 

He is still raw, and needs to develop more pass rush moves, but that is just a matter of coaching.  This is a potential pro-bowl talent that will fill a need for the Titans who have been looking for an improvement at D-End for the last few years.

Xavier Rhodes CB, Florida State

With Antoine Cason leaving to play for the Cardinals, the Chargers need help at cornerback.  They had never really replaced Antonio Cromartie after he left a few years ago. 

Rhodes is a physical corner with good speed who likes to work in press coverage.  He has the size and speed to play at any position in the defensive backfield, while providing good run support as well.

He should be a starter from day one in San Diego.
Bjoern Werner DE,OLB, Florida State

With Miami projecting to a 4-3, they need to find a better pass rush off the edge from the D-End position.  Werner is a 3-down End who has a tremendous motor though he is relatively new to the sport.

Has a knack for making plays in big spots and has shown a great 'get-off' with strength and a handful of moves which should make him a player early in his career.  He will be an upgrade for the Fins.
Sharrif Floyd DT, Florida

Floyd is a disruptive Tackle who stresses the gaps being protected by blocking schemes.

The Jets, as long as Rex Ryan is the coach, are going to be a team predicated on a physical offense and a vicious, attacking, defense.  They need help and depth all over, so the call here is to take the best available player.  Floyd is a penetrating tackle, who will probably project best to an end for the Jets hybrid defense.  He is a load to handle, who may actually get better from where he is at now, and it the best player on the board.
Robert Woods WR, USC

Woods reminds some people of DeSean McCoy, but that sounds like reaching for a comparison to me. 

Woods is a fairly small receiver with good speed who has shown game-breaking ability both as a receiver and as a returner, but he is not Jackson.

He is a hair slower, but much more polished as a receiver, and has shown much better hands.  He has a chance to be a better receiver than Jackson, and the Panthers need a running mate for Steve Smith something terrible.

Eric Reid FS, LSU

I am a big dumbfounded by the way Reid has fallen down draft boards after being universally regarded as the top FS in college football over the past few years.  He is a big, fast safety who can over a lot of ground and has proved himself to be a disruptive player when he gets there.

The Saints tend to find themselves in shootouts, so they need to be solid on the back end of their defense.  They can also stand to improve their pass rush, but with Reid on the board, they just upgraded the secondary in a big way.

Sheldon Richardson DT/DE, Missouri

The Rams got a dynamic young talent for the middle of their line last year in Michael Brockers, and would love to have 4th member for a power starting D-Line to along with Brockers, Robert Quinn, and Chris Long. 

They want to win with defense, and Richardson has the potential to be moved up and down the line, which is true of Brockers and those Ends as well.  They could really wreak havoc on offenses if they start shuffling them around on passing downs.
Barkevious Mingo OLB, LSU

The Steelers got old at Outside Linebacker and need to restock the shelves.  Mingo is just the kind of disruptive edge rusher that they have used to chew up the AFC for the last 2 decades. 

He is fast and hungry, and he has a nose for the ball.  He could be the next great pass rusher in Pittsburgh.

Barrett Jones OL, Alabama

Jones started national championship games at 3 difference O-Line positions, won the outland and remington trophies, and was an all-american twice.  He is a top five tackle, top 3 guard, and top overall center in this draft.  So, can someone tell me why on earth this guy is not getting talked about in the first round?  Nothing, yeah, me neither.

So, here he is at the 18th pick.

The Cowboys have been patching their O-Line together for a few years now.  They like the talent that they have at left tackle in Tryon Smith, and Doug Free has shown flashes.  I don't think Free is a starter though, I think he is better as a swing tackle.  Regardless, Jones can probably start at 4 positions for the Cowboys right now, so this will allow them to identify their weakest spot and make it better.

Tyler Eifert TE, Notre Dame

The Giants have talent all over the field, but they do not have an intermediate receiving threat to help Eli out.  Eifert is a weapon at Tight End.  He has enough speed to be split out for a mis-match, and is polished as are receiver. 

Will make the tough catches, and with Eli's penchant for streaky accuracy, that could be huge.

Kevin Minter MLB, LSU

The Bears vaunted linebacking corp is not what it was.  Urlacher is gone and his replacement (DJ Williams) is a stopgap.  Minter is the best Middle Linebacker in this draft and will play early and often for the Bears.

Desmond Trufant CB, Washington

The Bengals depth chart is quite healthy, but they are looking a bit old at corner, outside of Dre Kirkpatrick.  Trufant sets them up to have one of the best pairs of corners in the leagues for years to come if he and Kirkpatrick play anywhere near their projections.

As for Trufant, he is a fast corner will good size who is best used in zone and off coverage.  He will not get run by often with sub 4.4 speed and has the ball skills to be a hawk for the Bengals.

Justin Hunter WR, Tennessee

Sam Bradford needs weapons.  Justin Hunter was regarded as one of the top receiver in college for his entire time at Tennessee, but has been pushed down the list by projections of less productive receivers. 

Hunter is 6'4" and runs a sub 4.4 40 yard dash.  He is a bit on the slight side, but does a good job on 50-50 balls, making sure that he is the only one who will catch the ball and coming down with his fair share.  Will likely be the #1 from day for the Rams.

Dion Jordan DE/OLB, Oregon

Jordan is just too good to let pass at this spot.

He will give the Vikings the bookend pass rusher they have been looking for and other teams will pay for double-teaming Jared Allen.  His athletic ability will also allow the Vikings to move him around between linebacker spots and End, which gives the possibility for some very aggressive schemes.
Manti Te'o MLB, Notre Dame

Te'o needs a quiet location to play at, after the media firestorm he was at the center of this last year, and the Colts needs studs on defense. 

Te'o is a smart player with a great motor, and he is universally reported to be a great teammate.  And, he will not be the star in Indy.  He will be able to go to work, and I expect that the Colts' faithful will embrace him.
David Amerson CB, NC State

The Vikings needs secondary help, and it is immediate with Antoine Winfield no longer on the roster.

Amerston was lost a bit at NC State, playing on a mediocre team, but he is a premier talent at corner.  He is big, fast, and physical, having come into college as safety.  He needs to be coached up a bit to better diagnose patterns as he was beat on double moves a few times in big games, but the size, speed, and tackling ability make him a good risk for the Vikings.
Tavon Austin WR, West Virginia

Austin is a dynamic talent who is explosive with the ball in his hands, and it's the Packers' turn to draft.

I really don't think I need to say more.  He is custom-made for what they do, and it's time to replenish their receiver corp a bit.

John Jenkins NT, Georgia

The Texans have never found a dominating nose tackle to lead their 3-4.  Jenkins is a monster of a man, who played the Nose for Georgia.  At worst, he will be in the rotation immediately.

If they can make him just a bit leaner, he could be a pro-bowl player.

Kiko Alonso LB, Oregon

Alonso is an intriguing prospect at linebacker.  He is projected as a Middle Linebacker, but he has the size and speed to play any spot in any system, including some time at End if needed. 

He seems to have left character concerns in the past which dogged him early in his years at Oregon, and is a nice depth pick as the best available player on the board.  Has the potential to start over either Joe Mays (ILB) or Wesley Woodyard (OLB) in Denver if he can pick up the schemes fast enough.
Jonathan Cooper OG, North Carolina

Cooper is a huge man, though not quite the mauler that Chance Warmack is.  What he is though, is supremely agile for a man his size. 

That mobility will support the scheme flexibility that New England leans on every year to re-invent themselves.  With Logan Mankins getting a big gray in the beard, this is a great value, as well as a need pick.

Sam Montgomery DE/OLB, LSU

The Falcons need a pass rush and that is what Sam Montgomery does.

He has fallen a bit as other prospects measured better, but if you can find tape on an LSU game in the last 2 years that he was not the best player in their front 7, I will be shocked.  He has a great motor, speed, and get-off.  Toss in his relatively lean frame, and you could have a star in 2 years, and a starter next year.
Kenny Vaccaro FS, Texas

With Dashon Goldson gone, the Niners need a talent infustion at FS, and Vaccaro is full of talent.

He is a physical safety, with good skills, whose aggressive nature would seem to fit what San Francisco does on defense.  He does need to temper his downhill approach in run support, unless they move him to free safety, but he brings the speed to cover down the field and go sideline to sideline, both of which are huge in today's NFL.
Arthur Brown LB, Kansas State

Arthur Brown is an excellent athlete at Linebacker who is knocked too often for being slightly undersized.  Does that sound like anyone who just retired from Baltimore.

Brown is not likely to make anyone forget Ray Lewis, not being the best to ever play your position is no great slight against a player.  Brown does a great job of diagnosing plays, covers a lot of ground, and is a sure tackler.

He is exactly what the Ravens need right now.
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