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Rant Sports 2013 NFL Mock Draft

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2013 NFL Mock Draft

Mock Draft
James Lang-US Presswire

If anyone doing an NFL mock draft tells you it's never too early to do a mock draft, do not believe them. As we sit a quarter of the way through the 2012 NFL season, I can say with almost certainty it is too early.

But, and there is always is one, wouldn't it be fun as fans to gaze into the crystal ball and predict who might go where? Isn't that part of what makes sport interesting? Debating future outcomes?

In the spirit of such banter, here are the college players that have distinguished themselves enough to deserve a first round selection. Based on team needs, prospect quality, and throwing darts at a wall we can make a near perfect prognostication of how exactly the 2013 first round will end up.

One of the biggest assumptions we must make is the order of finish for the 2012 NFL season. Personally I like the Atlanta Falcons. As for their competition in the Super Bowl, how about the Houston Texans. After that the rest of the playoff field, the average squads, and the bottom of the barrel.

Who will win the sweepstakes for the coveted (or dreaded) first pick? What team has the talent (or lack thereof) to finish last in the NFL standings? Let's make that part the surprise along with the first draft pick.

Keep in mind this is a projection. If you notice something you disagree with feel free to include your reasoning. Keep your comments entertaining and original. Unless you already know what is going to happen. In that case please opine.

We begin with pick 32 and work our way all the way to first pick in the 2013 draft.

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32. Atlanta Falcons - Pick: Jesse Williams DT Alabama

Marvin Gentry-US Presswire

From Australia, to Arizona, to Tuscaloosa, this defensive tackle has made an interesting trip to professional football. No program prepares its players for the NFL like Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide. This combination of size and speed is going to add some serious depth and help in the run D.

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31. Houston Texans - Pick: Kawann Short DT Purdue

Andrew Weber-US Presswire

Looking for ways to improve the Houston Texans is not an easy exercise. This is a team that is built to win championships right now. Running the 3-4 defense, a strong defensive tackle is always desirable. Enter this specimen from West Lafayette, Indiana.

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30. San Francisco 49ers - Pick: Terrance Williams WR Baylor

Jerome Miron-US Presswire

Randy Moss was not the receiver you were looking for. In an effort to try once again at adding a playmaking wide out, Jim Harbaugh selects a pass catcher to make an immediate impact. If Alex Smith is going to be the man, you might as well surround him with down field talent besides Vernon Davis.

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29. Baltimore Ravens - Pick: Robert Lester S Alabama

Marvin Gentry-US Presswire

Year in and year out, the Baltimore Ravens set the standard for defense. Even though Terrence Cody isn't playing at the level they expect, he will get another year to prove himself. Instead the Ravens make a play for the secondary.

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28. Philadelphia Eagles - Pick: Jake Matthews OT Texas A&M

Thomas Campbell-US Presswire

At this point in the first round, selections get dicier than a bad neighborhood after midnight. Overall the Philadelphia Eagles are talented up and down the lineup. Andy Reid is still in town and knows Michael Vick is fragile. A big guy up front should help the cause.

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27. New England Patriots- Pick: Johnthan Banks CB Mississippi State

Spruce Derden-US Presswire

What if Bill Belichick wanted to shore up that pass defense? Offensively Tom Brady and company are humming. Adding a cover corner is smart play late in the first. Belichick is smart.

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26. Chicago Bears - Pick: Corey Lemonier DE Auburn

Daniel Shirey-US Presswire

Old at defensive end, Isreal Idonije and Julius Peppers should be replaced and soon. Late in the first round Lovie Smith has an option from the SEC. My guess is the front office pulls the trigger now because elite ends go quick.

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25. Denver Broncos - Pick: T.J. McDonald FS USC

Gary A. Vasquez-US Presswire

This is a total need pick for the Denver Broncos. Peyton Manning provides stability at QB for the next couple years, the rest of the offense is mostly set as well. The biggest hole for Denver is the safety position. John Elway thinks out of the box and does a slight reach that could pay off.

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24. Cincinatti Bengals - Pick: Barrett Jones OC Alabama

Matthew Emmons-US Presswire

Jeff Faine has been in the league for over a decade. If the Cincinnati Bengals have the next ten years locked up at quarterback, and wide receiver, a stud center to replace Faine would be a smart play.

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23. Arizona Cardinals - Pick: Joseph Randle RB Oklahoma State

Mark D. Smith-US Presswire

At this point in the season the Arizona Cardinals are on pace to win the Super Bowl. Well, maybe that's an overreaction, but the Cards are built on defense. If this team has turned it around and found a starting QB in the process, they'll try to replace an often injured Beanie Wells.

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22. Dallas Cowboys - Pick: Jackson Jeffcoat DE Texas

Kirby Lee-US Presswire

How awesome would it be to put an elite pass rusher opposite DeMarcus Ware? The answer if you have to think about it is very. Jerry Jones looks left and right then goes south to Austin for the next great speed end.

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21. San Diego Chargers - Pick: Eric Reid S LSU

Derick Hingle-US Presswire

Eric Weddle has been a cornerstone of the San Diego Chargers secondary for years now. He could use some immediate help and a younger more athletic future replacement. Reid provides both as he heads west.

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20. Minnesota Vikings - Pick: Le'Veon Bell RB Michigan State

Mike Carter-US Presswire

Football is a brutal game. As dynamic as Adrian Peterson is, he really can't keep running All Day. How this talent fell to 20 I do not know. The Minnesota Vikings don't care, they wast no time in making a selection that keeps an elite back in North Star State for years to come.

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19. New York Giants - Pick: David Amerson CB NC State

Rob Kinnan-US Presswire

This position is a problem for the New York Giants who know the time is now to look for a lock down corner. In back to back picks, a pass defender is selected in the first round.

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18. Seattle Seahawks - Pick: Dee Milliner CB Alabama

Marvin Gentry-US Presswire

Everything is working out with Russell Wilson at quarterback. Time for Pete Carroll to add to an already studly defense with a cornerback that could put the Seattle Seahawks over the top. I hear Nick Saban develops defenders nicely.

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17. Green Bay Packers - Pick: Taylor Lewan OT Michigan

Andrew Weber-US Presswire

I may have a doctorate in football prognostications but that doesn't make me a football expert. I would like to add I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. I can't believe the Green Bay Packers would pass on a chance at an offensive lineman. Aaron Rodgers will be all smiles if he get an extra second to make a throw.

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16. St. Louis Rams (Trade from WSH) - Pick: Robert Woods WR USC

Gary A. Vasquez-US Presswire

Now that the St. Louis Rams have taken a less than sexy pick with a defensive tackle, look at their surprise when they see who is still on the board at 16. With an opportunity to give Sam Bradford one of the coolest toys in the chest, the Rams take a stud receiver.

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15. New York Jets - Pick: Justin Hunter WR Tennessee

Jim Brown-US Presswire

Anyone watching the 2012 season has to see that the New York Jets could use a couple weapons. How about one weapon by the name of Justin Hunter. When Santonio Holmes returns a rookie will be there to draw some coverage away from his side of the field.

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14. Pittsburgh Steelers -Pick: Bjoern Werner DE Florida State

Kim Klement-US Presswire

The Steel Curtain builds on the legacy by drafting a defender in 2013. The best on the board by this point in the first round comes from Tallahassee, Florida. AFC quarterbacks beware, a new weapon has been added to the squad in western Pennsylvania.

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13. Detroit Lions - Pick: Keenan Allen WR California

Kelley L Cox-US Presswire

I have no doubt the Detroit Lions are tempted to go defense with their first pick of 2013. What could be more tempting is adding a receiver that could really take advantage of the Calvin Johnson double team. An aging Nate Burleson will be pushed with this one.

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12. St. Louis Rams - Pick: John Jenkins DT Georgia

Kevin Liles-US Presswire

After spending a first round pick in 2012 on defensive tackle Michael Brockers, the Rams look to build the most formidable interior of the future, with another first round pick spent on a tackle. Remember these guys get another first rounder.

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11. Kansas City Chiefs - Pick: Tyler Bray QB Tennessee

Daniel Shirey-US Presswire

Apparently Matt Cassel isn't the answer. Stacked at nearly every position except quarterback the Kansas City Chiefs take the biggest arm left on the board. Rocky Top's star under center leaves early for this reason.

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10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Pick: Star Lotulelei DT Utah

Russ Isabella-US Presswire

Early draft picks have been spent on defense and the skill positions in recent years. Tough minded Greg Schiano wants to add some spice to the trenches. Hard to believe he drops this far as Star Lotulelei is too good to pass up. Think Ndamukong Suh and you get an idea of what Star is capable of.

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9. Carolina Panthers - Pick: Luke Joeckel OT Texas A&M

Brett Davis-US Presswire

With Cam Newton's development at stake, the Carolina Panthers should seriously consider doing what they can to protect him. With that being said, tackle Luke Joeckel is a nice addition.

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8. Buffalo Bills - Pick: Manti Te'o ILB Notre Dame

Matt Cashore-US Presswire

With both the two QBs off the board, the Buffalo Bills target the best football player left. Buffalo will use later picks or free agency to build strength at QB as Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to underwhelm.

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7. Oakland Raiders - Pick: Geno Smith QB West Virginia

Rob Christy-US Presswire

Always going for a flashy pick, a new regime heading the Oakland Raiders will take the smart pick instead of the sexiest. Funny thing is, the silver and black could use a QB with the aging Carson Palmer holding down the current gig. Ironically the athletic signal-caller makes sense.

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6. Tennessee Titans - Pick: Marcus Lattimore RB South Carolina

Jeff Blake-US Presswire

While I wouldn't be surprised to see the Tennessee Titans go defense, I have a suspicion the higher ups are concerned with Chris Johnson's performance. You count fantasy owners in that as well. This pick not only pushes Johnson, but adds a legitimate play-maker to the offense.

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5. Miami Dolphins - Pick: Johnathan Hankins DT Ohio State

Greg Bartram-US Presswire

The Miami Dolphins already went after their future signal-caller in Ryan Tannehill. South Beach could use some help in the interior line nabbing a top level talent in the draft. That is exactly what they do.

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4. Indianapolis Colts - Pick: Sam Montgomery DE LSU

Derick Hingle-US Presswire

Quarterback? Check. Left tackle? Check. Check-down tight end? OK, I like saying check. How about an elite pass rusher to check off? If the front office thinks Corey Redding is the answer than the Indianapolis Colts could target an interior lineman. I have a feeling Indy leans toward disrupting the oppositions passer.

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3. New Orleans Saints - Pick: Jarvis Jones OLB Georgia

Daniel Shirey-US Presswire

Remember when the New Orleans Saints were good? With all the turmoil surrounding the team off-the-field, 2012 was a throwaway season. Defensively the Saints need help, and what better place to go looking than the SEC.

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2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Pick: Matt Barkley QB USC

Gary A. Vasquez-US Presswire

What do the Jacksonville Jaguars do? They already have their future quarterback in Blaine Gabbert. Or do they? This franchise needs help and needs it quick. My guess, after another ugly year, Jacksonville jumps ship on Gabbert and goes after Matt Barkley.

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1. Cleveland Browns - Pick: Barkevious Mingo OLB LSU

Derick Hingle-US Presswire

Maybe I'm being harsh assuming the Cleveland Browns will be the first pick overall. Two reasons I'm going with Barkevious Mingo as the top draft pick, 1: Dude is a freak 2: The Browns already invested too much into Branden Weeden to be their QB of the future. This game is all about having a good quarterback and sacking the other one. Mingo brings the latter.


James Gomez is a Pac-12 and Mountain West columnist for Rant Sports and member of the Football Writers Association of America. You can follow James on Twitter as well.