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NFL

2013 NFL Mock Draft

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2013 NFL Mock Draft

NFL
Jerry Lal-US Presswire

It may only be October, but for the NFL, there is no offseason. The NFL season is taking shape, and holes in teams' rosters are becoming more evident. Even better, we are neck deep in the college football season, which means that the top college prospects are hitting their stride. So while some think it is way too early to talk about the draft, for folks like me, it is exactly the right time.

This draft class, which like all of them, is driven by talented underclassmen who may or may not declare. Some positions, such as quarterbacks, offensive tackles, and hybrid rush DE/LB types are loaded. Other positions like cornerback and wide receiver aren't as deep. While running back might be a solid position, it is currently lacking a ton of elite talent.

When an NFL franchise looks at the draft, they must weigh making a pick based on need or on value. When you are a bad team picking near the top of the first round, the needs are typically many. In that case, some teams will designate what their greatest team need is and draft based on that need. In other cases, they simply draft the highest player on their board, regardless of position, and try and get the most bang for their buck.

When I put together a mock draft like this, I look at several factors. First I look at the positions on each team that seem to be performing the most poorly at this point in the season. I don't consider free agency, because it is impossible to predict. I also look at aging players on the roster, even if they are playing well. I then look somewhat at a team's previous draft history, not for positions or players, but philosophy of drafting "need" versus "best player available" or BPA.

There is some bad football being played this season and much of that can be attributed to the quarterback position, so once again, the quarterback position in this mock will be coveted at the top of the round. Don't be shocked if by next April there are even more quarterbacks drafted in the first round.

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1-Cleveland Browns-Geno Smith, QB University of West Virginia

NFL
Rob Christy-US Presswire

I understand that the Cleveland Browns just spent a first-round pick on a quarterback last year with Brandon Weeden. However, if things don't improve, you can almost be assured that the new ownership in Cleveland is going to want to change the head coach; with a new head coach comes a new quarterback. Smith has really started to create a buzz and seems to be pulling away from the other players in this draft for the top overall pick. I don't put him in the same league as Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, but he's still a tremendous prospect.

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2-Kansas City Chiefs-Tyler Wilson, QB Arkansas

NFL
Brett Davis-US Presswire

The Kansas City Chiefs are another team that looks to be on a downward spiral. Tyler Wilson has to show he's 100 percent healthy, but you can't deny his skills. Considering all the turnover and problems his team has had, his performance has been tremendous so far. However, there isn't another quarterback in this draft who elevates the players around himmore than Wilson. Great mechanics, excellent footwork, and a high football IQ make Wilson a great prospect, and the Chiefs would be lucky to have him.

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3-New Orleans Saints-Jarvis Jones, DE/LB Georgia

NFL
Daniel Shirley-US Presswire

The New Orleans Saints have a high-powered offense, but they have had a real problem setting the edge on defense. Teams are able to get the corner on them far too often. Jarvis Jones is a tremendous athlete in the mold of Jason Pierre-Paul and can play the pass and the run with his combination of speed and strength. Jones can do it all and is an excellent on-field leader and dynamic personalty that teams love to have leading their defense.

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4-Carolina Panthers-Star Lotulelei, DT Utah

NFL
Russ Isabella-US Presswire

Whether or not this pick ends up being Star Lotulelei or Johnathan Hankins, the Carolina Panthers have to get stronger in the middle on defense. I was tempted to plug a wideout into this spot, but I think the Panthers can find depth in the later rounds. Lotulelei is a low-center-of-gravity 0 technique who can slide to the one gap on either side of the center and wreak havoc.

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5-Jacksonville Jaguars-Barkevious Mingo, DE/LB LSU

NFL
Derick Hingle-US Presswire

The Jacksonville Jaguars continue to struggle with being able to generate anything that approaches an NFL quality pass rush. Barkevious Mingo is raw, and while his production doesn't always matchup up to what you would expect from a player like him, his ceiling is high and he has the look of a Bruce Irvin type of pass-rush specialist. In the draft, there are a couple of other hybrid players similar to Mingo who could overtake him for this spot, but for now, I love how he uses his length and explosion and never seems to take a play off.

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6-Tennessee Titans-Johnathan Hankins, DT Ohio State

NFL
Greg Bartam-US Presswire

Johnathan Hankins is a giant mauler on the insid, who can use a quick first step to beat the double team or simply over power an offensive lineman one on one. The Tennessee Titans have lots of problems, but several could be fixed if they can get a dominant interior defensive lineman. I admit I need to do more film work on Hankins as some have him rated much higher than I do.

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7-Oakland Raiders-Kawann Short, DT Purdue

NFL
Sandra Dukes-US Presswire

The Oakland Raiders would probably be reaching a little here by taking Kawann Short this early, but you can't discount the value of a huge, wide body like Short who can stuff the run and get into the backfield, but can also be a player that can allow the Raiders to cut loose defensive lineman Tommy Kelly. I would consider short a top-32 football player, and if he continues to improve, could make this pick seem a little more reasonable. On a very average defense like his in college, he faces constant double teams and continues to make plays, and that says a lot to NFL teams.

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8-Tampa Bay Buccaneers-DeMarcus Milliner, CB Alabama

NFL
Marvin Gentry-US Presswire

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are so thin at corner, that unless they throw huge money at some free agents, they will have to draft one early. Dee Milliner is the most physical corner in the draft and would be a starter from day one. Milliner is a big play corner in the mold of Morris Claiborne who's going to wow the fans of whichever team drafts him, while at times frustrating them with his aggressive nature.

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9-Detroit Lions-Marcus Lattimore, RB South Carolina

NFL
Jeff Blake-US Presswire

The Detroit Lions have had terrible luck trying to find a running back to help balance out their high-powered passing offense and it's causing them lots of problems. Marcus Lattimore is a special player, and assuming he can stay healthy, he'll be a top-10 back in the league very early in his career. Any time a team can get a back who doesn't have to come off the field on third-and-long or short yardage plays, their value goes up so much compared to all the talented backs who can't do it all like Lattimore.

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10-Denver Broncos-Johnthan Banks, CB Mississippi State

NFL
Spruce Durden-US Presswire

This is probably a little too soon for Johnthan Banks, but the only real position of need for the Denver Broncos at this point is cornerback, where an injection of youth and athletic ability is much needed. Banks is a superb talent and plays with tremendous confidence which is so important for a cornerback. And with all due respect to this young man, at some point I will probably misspell your first name.

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11-Buffalo Bills-Matt Barkley, QB USC

NFL
Kirby Lee-US Presswire

It's time for the Buffalo Bills to realize that the Ryan Fitzpatrick experiment is not going to work. While I don't share the enthusiasm for Matt Barkley that many do, this is still a must pick for the Bills. Buffalo has some nice young skill players, and Barkley is excellent at distributing the football to his units and allowing them to make plays. He's a very smart player with a decent arm, good footwork and an excellent resume. That is unless you hold against him he is a quarterback at USC.

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12-St. Louis Rams(from Washington)-Taylor Lewan, OT Michigan

NFL
Kevin Jalraj-US Presswire

Instead of showing the green room during this pick, they should televise St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford when Taylor Lewan's name is called, because he'll be seriously excited to finally have a real franchise tackle to protect his blind side. Lewan sets up quick, has a great punch, and never gives up on a play. Go back and watch him against Alabama this year where he stonewalled everything they threw at him.

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13-Miami Dolphins-Robert Woods, WR USC

NFL
Kirby Lee-US Presswire

The Miami Dolphins are putting together a nice offensive group, but they do not have a top-end threat at wide receiver. Robert Woods is incredibly talented and his ability to get yards after the catch, making defenders miss and powering through tackles really makes him a special talent. There are few wideouts in the draft who can turn a short throw into a long run like Woods.

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14-New York Jets-Tyler Bray, QB Tennessee

NFL
Daniel Shirley-US Presswire

There might not be a worse quarterback in the NFL than Mark Sanchez. And let's not even get into the whole Tim Tebow thing. This New York Jets team gets criticized for the play of the quarterbacks and wideouts, but in the right hands, this group can be more than effective. Tyler Bray is a gunslinger with a big arm and lots of confidence. He's going to throw a pick or two, but he's got a winner's mentality and thinks he can make every throw.

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15-Green Bay Packers-Sam Montgomery, DE/LB LSU

NFL
Jake Roth-US Presswire

The Green Bay Packers have really struggled on defense this year due in part to a lack of a pass rush. Linebacker Clay Matthews is a tremendous player, but if they could get a player like Sam Montgomery to line up across from him, it would cover up so many of the problems this team has had. Montgomery is very similar to his teammate Mingo, but with more polish and a little less potential. No matter, because as the no. 2 rusher for the Packers, he'd be tough to contend with.

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16-Indianapolis Colts-Jackson Jeffcoat, DE/LB Texas

NFL
Christopher Hanewinckel-US Presswire

The Indianapolis Colts are making what seems to be a successful transition to the 3-4 defense this season, but on some level they are still trying to piece things together. Their rush OLBs are aging, so pulling Jackson Jeffcoat in to learn behind them and eventually take over would be a nice steal for the Colts. Jeffcoat is an explosive but undersized defensive end who uses a quick first step and his ability to pin the corner on rush and finish with power.

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17-Dallas Cowboys-Alex Okafor, DE/LB Texas

NFL
Brendan Maloney-US Presswire

Alex Okafor is a hero in the state of Texas, so allowing him to play his NFL career there with the Dallas Cowboys makes a lot of sense. Not to mention, Okafor lining up across from DeMarcus Ware would be a very formidable duo rushing the quarterback. Okafor is bigger and stronger than his teammate Jeffcoat and could easily convert to playing linebacker full time. Some consider Jeffcoat a more explosive player, but Okafor is a much better all around player, especially against the run.

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18-Seattle Seahawks-Justin Hunter, WR Tennessee

NFL
Daniel Shirley-US Presswire

The Seattle Seahawks have so many pieces in place. A nice young quarterback, a strong running game, and physical, aggressive defense, so why not get the passing game up to par with a big, fast target like Justin Hunter. I love Hunter's skill set, and he has shown he can really make a quarterback better. His size and speed are exceptional and I love how he's running better routes this year and having much more lively hands.

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19-New York Giants-Chance Warmack, OG Alabama

NFL
Sam Sharpe-US Presswire

The New York Giants like to stock up on linemen on both sides of the football, and Chance Warmack is a road grading guard who could really help bolster the Giants run game. If a top corner slips to this point, the Giants would be hard pressed to pass on them, but Warmack is a best-player-available type of pick.

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20-St. Louis Rams-Keenan Allen, WR Cal

NFL
Greg Bartam-US Presswire

The Rams have really made efforts to get Bradford some weapons, but between age and injury, it just seems like he can never count on who's going to be on the field every Sunday. Keenan Allen is so dynamic and can make plays all over the field and be Bradford's new security blanket; he would also bring some real big play ability. If the other young wideouts they have drafted in recent seasons continue to develop, the Rams would have a very formidable unit.

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21-Pittsburgh Steelers-Luke Joeckel, OT Texas A&M

NFL
Brett Davis-US Presswire

If the Pittsburgh Steelers can get a player like Luke Joeckel this late in the first round, they must pull the trigger, even if they drafted an offensive lineman in the first round last year. Joeckel is a mauler at left tackle and excellent in pass protection. If Joeckel is gone, you can expect the Steelers to go with the best value at the pick. But if Joeckel is here, he'd be a perfect fit for what the Steelers want to do.

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22-San Diego Chargers-Jake Matthews, OT Texas A&M

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Thomas Campbell-US Presswire

Back-to-back Texas A&M Aggies go to teams that need to upgrade their offensive line. I think Jake Matthews can move to left side and be an excellent starter, but on the right side he can be elite. San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has been playing under some serious pressure this year, so Matthews could really help out. He's a strong, downhill blocker who finishes his blocks with no regard for his opponent. And that's a good thing.

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24-Philadelphia Eagles-Eric Reid, S LSU

NFL
Crystal LoGludice-US Presswire

The Philadelphia Eagles are in a tough spot because they really don't have a lot of holes on either side of the football, but could stand to upgrade at several. Eric Reid is a special player in the mold of Earl Thomas, but doesn't get the recognition he deserves because his college defense makes so many plays in front of him.

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25-New England Patriots-Barrett Jones, OG/C/OT Alabama

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Matthew Emmons-US Presswire

Few teams do better with multi-purpose players than the New England Patriots. And Barrett Jones is one of the most talented and versatile players in the draft. He can literally play every position on the offensive line at a high level. I considered a wide receiver here, but it seems they don't need to draft wide receivers early to be successful. Jones makes perfect sense here.

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26-Baltimore Ravens-Bjoern Werner, DE FSU

NFL
Melina Vastola-US Presswire

The Baltimore Ravens do an excellent job at identifying talent and even if they aren't a top priority, they choose that talent for the sake of better value. Bjoern Werner has developed quickly this season and found his way firmly onto my radar. At the start of the season, I had him as a firm second-round pick, but at this point, I have a hard time thinking he'll make it out of the first round.

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27-Chicago Bears-Manti Te'o, LB Notre Dame

NFL
Matt Cashore-US Presswire

Linebacker Brian Urlacher has been fabulous during his career, but the Chicago Bears must start thinking of the future and there's not a better player in this draft who is better suited to take that spot than Manti Te'o. He's so good at everything he does, he's smart, and he has all the physical tools you could ever ask for. By next April, I expect some team to get a big man crush on Te'o and go up and get him well before this pick. There's nothing he can't do from the linebacker position and he's an excellent leader on and off the field.

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28-Minnesota Vikings-TJ McDonald, S USC

NFL
Kirby Lee-US Presswire

In this scenario, the Minnesota Vikings are able to maintain their momentum from the start of the season throughout the year and should be in a position to draft the best player available; TJ McDonald is easily that player. He can play either safety spot at a very high level, and excels in run support. Today's NFL calls for their safeties to be big and strong and able to do a lot of things; McDonald fits the bill.

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29-San Fransisco 49ers-David Amerson, CB North Carolina State

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Rob Kinnan-US Presswire

David Amerson has had a rough go of it this season after being absolutely dominant last season. I don't think he's somehow less talented this season, but you can tell as you watch him play, he doesn't play with the confidence he did last season. Now, this could be due to something with Amerson or something related to the scheme and his teammates, but either way, a team like the San Fransisco 49ers would be perfect for him. The pressure would be off him to make every play, and he could just do what he does best. Don't be shocked if he moves to free safety either.

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30-Arizona Cardinals-Andre Ellington, RB Clemson

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Joshua Kelly-US Presswire

The Arizona Cardinals are shocking the league this season, winning with a smothering defense and a whole lot of good luck. If they can keep it up, they will be picking here at the bottom of the round. One spot they are lacking at talent is at running back, where they just can't keep players healthy. Andre Ellington might be be most explosive back in the draft and would instantly improve a very average Cardinals rushing attack. A pick like this makes perfect sense for this team at this point in the first round.

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31-Atlanta Falcons-Tyler Eifert, TE Notre Dame

NFL
Matt Cashore-US Presswire

I'm not entirely convinced that Tony Gonzalez is really going to retire any time soon, but assuming he is, drafting Tyler Eifert to be his heir apparent would be a good move. He is physical and athletic and an excellent receiver and in-line blocker. Don't expect him to be the next Gonzalez, but there's no doubt the kid can play. The Atlanta Falcons could go more for need here and draft a defensive end as well.

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32-Houston Texans-DJ Fluker, OT Alabama

NFL
Tim Helton-US Presswire

When you are picking last it means you won the Super Bowl, and that means there isn't a whole lot wrong with your team. For the Houston Texans, they have the luxury of drafting for both depth and the future. If DJ Fluker can play up to his potential, especially as a run blocker, he will end up the biggest steal of the first round.