2013 NFL Mock Draft: December Edition
2013 NFL Draft
The NFL season is three quarters complete. Teams are starting to shape the playoff seeds and see whether they will be heading to the postseason matchups. For teams not making the playoffs, it is time to start getting ready for free agency and the NFL Draft to come back in 2013 with a stronger squad.
The 2013 NFL Draft, which is the 78th in the league’s history, takes places April 25th through April 27th. ESPN and the NFL Network will air all seven rounds of the draft. Radio City Music Hall will be the home of the 2013 NFL Draft.
One of the notable weaknesses of the 2013 NFL Draft seems to be the running back position. Three running backs were taken in the first round in the 2012 NFL Draft, including third overall pick Trent Richardson. This year could mark the first time a running back is not taken in the first round since 1963. Will a running back step up during a bowl game or the Scouting Combine to move into the first round or will this year break a 49 year streak.
The 2013 quarterback class is not expected to be as deep as last year’s class that saw four arm slingers taken in the first round and 11 overall. Matt Barkley and Geno Smith are both potential number one picks, depending on who has the first pick. Several teams could be looking at quarterbacks in the first or second round, including: Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers. Potential free agents Michael Vick and Alex Smith could also determine whether some of these teams use a high pick on a quarterback.
The draft order was determined by team’s ranking heading into Week 14 and does not include the Thursday Night Game. The order will surely change over the course of the next four weeks. Trades before and on draft day will also change this order and selection names. In the 2012 NFL Draft there were 16 first round trades.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith
The Kansas City Chiefs need a quarterback In the last six seasons, seven different quarterbacks have started. In 2012, Smith passed for 4004 yards with an impressive 71% completion rate. Smith had 31 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. In the 2011 season, Smith passed at a 66% completion rate for 4385 yards.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jarvis Jones
JuniorDid the Jacksonville Jaguars find the quarterback of the future in Chad Henne. The Jaguars have been using the Dolphins second round pick as their starter. Will they continue to use Henne, or will they look to take a quarterback with their most likely top five pick? I'm guessing the Jaguars take a quarterback later in the draft or in free agency. Jacksonville will look to strengthen their defense with Jones, a day one starter. While at Georgia, Jones has been more than impressive. In the 2012 season, Jones has 77 tackles, 22 tackles for a loss, 12.5 sacks, 1 interception, 7 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries.
3. Oakland Raiders: Manti Te'o
The Oakland Raiders need a lot of help to improve their team in 2013. I think Heisman Trophy finalist Te'o fits in well at this pick. Te'o won the Butkus Award in both high school and college and will have an immediate impact on defense. Te'o had amazing speed in high school, playing both linebacker and running back. Te'o is ranked third all time in tackles at Notre Dame and led the team in 2010 (133) and 2011 (128).
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel
Joeckel is one of the key reasons Texas A&M has had a successful year. The offensive line helps quarterback Johnny Manziel and the offense average over 300 passing yards a game and put up 44 or more points on average. Joeckel has been a consistent starter while with the Aggies. If Joeckel decides to leave school early he could easily be a top five pick.
5. Carolina Panthers: Star Lotulelei
Lotulelei has impressive size at 6'4" and 325 pounds. Despite his size, Lotulelei moves quick off the ball and gets to the quarterback or running back. Carolina needs to strengthen its defense to help take some of the pressure off of Cam Newton and the high powered offense. Lotulelei could start right away and could actually be taken higher than pick five.
6. San Diego Chargers: Jake Matthews
Like teammate Luke Joeckel, Matthews has an important decision of whether he should leave early for the 2013 NFL Draft. Matthews is the son of Bruce Matthews, who played 19 seasons in the NFL. Father Bruce also had a record setting 14 Pro Bowl appearances while in the league. Jake is the cousin of Clay and Casey Matthews and comes from an impressive bloodline. Several teams in the top ten need offensive lineman. However, if Matthews falls to the Titans at number ten, offensive line coach Bruce could persuade the team to draft his son.
The San Diego Chargers have not had a top ten first round pick since the 2004 NFL Draft. Back in 2004, the Chargers took quarterback Eli Manning with the number one overall pick and then traded him to the New York Giants for fourth overall pick Phillip Rivers and two 2005 draft picks. Manning has gone on to win two Super Bowls, while Rivers has made it as far as the AFC Championship Game. The Chargers need to make sure they make the most of their top ten draft pick.
7. Cleveland Browns: Damontre Moore
Moore has used his size to help the Aggies, who ranked third in the league in total rush defense. With his 6'4", 250 pound frame, Moore is able to get to the quarterback as well. Moore had 12.5 sacks this season and is one of the best defensive linemen in the country. Moore switched from linebacker and could easily go back to his starting role for whoever drafts him.
8. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner
Several NFL teams need a cornerback. The problem is the Detroit Lions have needed a cornerback for several years, but alwasy seem to pass on them to take the best avaiable player. The Lions should have blinders on and take whatever corner is on the board with their pick. Milliner has been impressive for Alabama and should fit in a starter within two years in Detroit.
9. Arizona Cardinals: Matt Barkley
Three years ago, NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper predicted Barkley would one day be the number one pick overall. Barkley's stock has slipped a little, but it is still entirely possible that the USC quarterback could go first overall instead of Geno Smith. The 2007 Gatorade Player of the Year played all four season at USC, after being a highly recruited player. A quarterback coach once called Barkley a combination of Joe Montana and Tom Brady, which could still have NFL scouts drooling over Barkley's upside potential.
10. Tennessee Titans: Bjoern Werner
German born Werner has been impressive for a Florida State defense that ranks seventh in the league in points allowed. Werner has 40 tackles and 13 sacks in his current junior season. In the state rivalry game with Florida, Werner had 3.5 sacks and 6 tackles.
11. Buffalo Bills: Chance Warmack
Warmack has helped lead Alabama to the BCS National Championship game once again. The junior guard is the best at his position in the 2013 NFL Draft. The Bills need a quarterback, but could worry about protecting their potential franchise qb with this pick and take Warmack or an offensive tackle like Taylor Lewan or Jake Matthews. Warmack was named to the first team All-SEC by both coaches and the media.
12. Miami Dolphins: Keenan Allen
In 2012, the Miami Dolphins spent a first round pick on quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The team must now spend a first round pick on a wide receiver target for Tannehill or an offensive lineman to protect his passing pocket. The team may lose former first round pick Jake Long and could replace him with another Michigan Wolverine in Taylor Lewan. I see the Dolphins taking Allen, with several teams picking behind them in need of a wide receiver. Allen had 61 catches for 737 yards and 6 touchdowns in his senior season. In 2011, Allen caught 98 passes for 1343 yards. The junior has already declared himself eligible for this year's draft.
13. New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Richardson
Junior defensive lineman Richardson has already declared himself eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft. The Saints need to replace several players in their weak defense.
14. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo
Several NFL teams will be looking to take a defensive end in the 2013 NFL Draft.Mingo fits the body of a professional defensive end and could excel in the NFL.
15. St. Louis Rams: Taylor Lewan
After redshirting his freshman season, Lewan has to decide if he will enter the draft. He has several offensive lineman ranked ahead of him, but should still be taken in the front end of the first round. Lewan recently won the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year Award. Lewan would be a big help to a team looking at protecting their quarterback.
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Xavier Rhodes
As mentioned in previous slides, there are many teams looking for a cornerback in this year's NFL Draft. Rhodes will likely skip his senior season at Florida State.
17. Minnesota Vikings: Sam Montgomery
In his junior season at LSU, Montgomery had 32 tackles and 7 sacks. LSU had the 11th best defense in the country this season, allowing only 16.9 points per game. Montgomery is one of several defensive ends that will be taken in the first round.
18. St. Louis Rams: Tavon Austin
Geno Smith's favorite target will likely go in the first round with the West Virginia quarterback. Austin had 1259 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in his senior season. Austin was also over 1000 yards in his junior season. Tavon will be one player hoping NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn't get rid of the kickoff. Austin returned kicks all four seasons in college, scoring on them four times. Austin returned punts as well and could be a great pick for the Rams, who are the only team to have two first round picks.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Johnathan Hankins
After helping the Ohio State Buckeyes to an undefeated record, Hankins will have to decide if he wants to come back for his senior season. Hankins, at 6'3" 317 pounds, has good size for a defensive lineman and could be a steal for someone in the first round, as his stock seems to be falling. Without being in a bowl game, scouts will have to wait awhile to get a good look at Hankins again.
20. Cincinnati Bengals: Jesse Williams
Williams, orginially from Australia, was a transfer to the University of Alabama two seasons ago. Lucky for the Crimson Tide, Williams has helped the team to back-to-back BCS National Championship appearances. Alabama ranks second in the nation with only 10.7 points allowed. Williams is rising up many draft boards from a late first round pick to a middle selection. An impressive showing in the title game could send Williams up even further.
21. Pittsburgh Steelers: John Jenkins
The Pittsburgh Steelers defense is getting old and the team needs to replace several key positions. A cornerback is also a possibiltiy depending on how many others are taken in front of them. Jenkins was part of a Georgia defense that was ranked in the top 20 in points allowed.
22. New York Giants: Tyler Eifert
Eifert is moving up draft boards and could be one of the biggest benefactors of a strong showing by Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship. In 2012, Eifert caught 44 passes for 624 yards and four touchdowns. The New York Giants added Martellus Bennett last year, but could look for another Eli Manning target here.
23. Seattle Seahawks: Justin Hunter
Russell Wilson was selected by the Seattle Seahawks last year as the quarterback of the future. The team now needs to add a wide receiver for the future to throw into the mix that includes Sidney Rice and Golden Tate. Justin Hunter is the man the Seahawks will add here, depending of course on other receivers like Keenan Allen and Robert Woods. Hunter had 1083 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in his junior season.
24. Indianapolis Colts: C.J. Mosley
Mosley plays for an impressive Alabama defense. The Indianapolis Colts have several holes to fill, but the offense seems to be rolling along with Andrew Luck under center. The Colts should look to add Mosley, who had double digit tackles in four games this season, including 14 in Alabama's loss to Texas A&M. Mosley added four sacks during his junior season for the Crimson Tide.
25. Chicago Bears: Eric Fisher
Back in the 2007 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers took offensive tackle Joe Staley from Central Michigan University in the first round. The Chicago Bears could find themselves following a similar path as Fisher, from the small MAC Conference school, is one of the top offensive lineman. The Bears have struggled to find consistency on their line and quarterback Jay Cutler has even gotten into shoving matches with several. The Bears defense is winning games, but if the team had a line, they could be putting up even more points. I could also see the Bears moving up the draft to take a offensive lineman from a bigger conference.
26. Green Bay Packers: Giovani Bernard
If a running back is taken in the first round, I see one going with the last couple of picks and potentially here to the Green Bay Packers. Bernard is currently the top pick at his position, but is up in the air on whether he will declare for th 2013 NFL Draft. Bernard has over 1200 rushing yards in both his college seasons. In his 2012 sophomore season, Bernard posted an impressive 6.7 yards per attempt. Out of the backfield, Bernard also had five receiving touchdowns and 490 yards.
27. San Francisco 49ers: Dion Jordan
Jordan is 6'7" and 241 pounds. The senior at Oregon is one of several defensive ends expected to go in the first round and could see his stock rise with a tough matchup against Kansas State in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Barrett Jones
The Baltimore Ravens need a center to replace fourteen year NFL veteran Matt Birk. Since 2000, Birk has been the starting center for the Ravens. Barrett Jones is the best avaiable center in the draft. The problem is he might not make it to the Ravens if they have a pick towards the end of the draft. Jones has played guard, tackle and center at Alabama. With his versatility, Jones could move up draft boards based on needs and best available.
29. New England Patriots: Johnthan Banks
Banks had 59 tackles and four sacks in his senior season at Mississippi State. Banks recently won the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the best defensive back in college football. The award could send Banks further up the draft board, but should secure his place in the first round.
30. Denver Broncos: Matt Elam
Champ Bailey is 34 years old and will someday need to be replaced by the Denver Broncos. The question is whether the Broncos look to solidify their cornerback or safety positions with their late first round pick. With several cornerbacks taken before the Broncos get to pick, Elam could be a good safe pick here if he declares for the 2013 NFL Draft. Elam had 65 tackles in his junior season with the Gators. Elam was also responsible for four interceptions and numerous pass deflections.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Zach Ertz
With the potential retirement of Tony Gonzalez, the Atlanta Falcons need to be thinking about the tight end position. If Tyler Eifert is available here, he could also be the Falcons selection. Ertz had 66 catches for 837 yards and six touchdowns in 2012.
32. Houston Texans: Robert Woods
The Houston Texans need to take a wide receiver to pair with Andre Johnson and begin thinking about replacing the NFL star. In 2011, Woods caught 111 passes for 1292 yards. This junior season has been a slight decline of 814 yards. The Texans should find themselves with a late pick and could have Woods fall into their lap. Other receivers like Keenan Allen and Tavon Austin are higher up on draft boards and will be taken by teams in need of a receiver. If Woods makes it out of the first round, he could be a steal for someone.