Pre-Playoffs 2013 NFL Mock Draft
Pre-Playoff 2013 NFL Mock Draft
The 2012 NFL regular season is done and the playoffs are upon us. That means that top 20 picks of the 2013 NFL draft are locked in(for the most part) and the remaining 12 will play out over the next few weeks. What is also means is it’s time for an update of my 2013 NFL Mock Draft.
The underclassman picture is starting to clear up and that makes a mock like this both harder and easier at the same time. You of course have to pull players out, but in many cases I am able to plug in a new underclassman who’s tossed his hat into the ring. As more marquee players declare it really helps load up what is right now a less than exciting first round at several positions.
I am getting closer with every update to my actual projection of the first round, and not simply my ideal first round. I have gotten so much great feedback from fans and much of it surrounds my selection of certain players ahead of others. And I must admit at times I am known to select the player I think should go in a particular spot as opposed to who I believe the team will select, hence the differences. While this newest mock is still a mix of both, the offseason workouts and pre-draft hoopla will help shape the actual prediction of what will happen in April.
I plan to update this mock draft every 2 weeks during the playoffs, and then twice more before the actual draft. I will also be doing full 7 round team specific mock drafts for every team in the NFL and scouting reports for all the top prospects.
So sit back and enjoy this latest installment and come find me on Twitter @nfldraftboard for all my NFL draft rants.
1-Kansas City Chiefs-Tyler Wilson, QB Arkansas
With a new head coach on the way in, and possibly a new GM, the direction the Chiefs go with this pick is really up in the air. I expect them to try and trade out, but if they can't, they can go a couple of directions here. I maintain that Wilson is still the top quarterback, but not the top player in this draft, and should benefit from a strong offseason.
2-Jacksonville Jaguars-Geno Smith, QB West Virginia
The Jaguars are another team going through a transition and after a failed season centered on poor quarterback play a change there is needed. Smith, like all the quarterbacks in this draft have some flaws, but shows a lot of promise and looks to have the physical tools the Jaguars are lacking on their depth chart now.
3-Oakland Raiders-Manti Te'o, LB Notre Dame
The Raiders are a tough team to read. They appear to have a significant list of needs, so why not go with Te'o, maybe the safest player in the entire draft? Middle linebacker is certainly a need position and Te'o is a complete, 3 down linebacker who's not going to cause any problems.
4-Philadelphia Eagles-Taylor Lewan, OT Michigan
Offensive tackle and defensive end are the Eagles top needs, and so this pick is based on value. Picking this high and being able to get a player like Lewan is hard to pass up. Lewan is a personal choice for me, and I assume he won't be the first tackle off the board, but he's still my top ranked tackle.
5-Detroit Lions-Luke Joeckel, OT Texas A&M
The Lions are another team with multiple spots that need an upgrade, so again it's about a value pick here. Joeckel is a tremendous player, and would be plug and play on the left side of that offensive line for a very long time. Joeckel, like Lewan grade out as high as any tackle I've scouted in the past 10 drafts.
6-Cleveland Browns-Damontre Moore, DE Texas A&M
This group of pass rushers is a mixed bag. Moore gets the nod for me because in large part because he's stronger at the point of attack then other ends, and can play in a 3-4 or a 4-3. He goes non-stop and while he might not be a triangle freak, he's incredibly productive in a brutal conference, and gets the praise of his teammates who are the best tackles in the country.
7-Arizona Cardinals-Tajh Boyd, QB Clemson
I continue to include Boyd here until I officially hear Boyd is not coming into the draft. I am fascinated with Boyd's potential based on his physical gifts and strong arm. He needs to play with more confidence but in the right system I think he could flourish.
8-Buffalo Bills-Tyler Bray, QB Tennessee
The Bills have to be looking for a new quarterback, so it's going to happen. May as well happen in the first round. Bray is the most fascinating player in this draft for me. He's got a big arm, NFL build and plays with a gunslinger mentality that could really excite a fanbase.
9-New York Jets-Bjoern Werner, DE FSU
One area the Jets have struggled on defense is with the pass rush. Werner is incredible off the edge, plays with great leverage and a quick first step. He'd be a great fit as a rush OLB in that Jets 3-4 defense and make life easier on that secondary.
10-Tennessee Titans-Jarvis Jones, DE/LB Georgia
I think if Jones had shown more this year he can play with his hand on the ground more teams would be on board with him. But standing up, moving around among the linebackers there's not a more disruptive player in the entire draft. The Titans defense doesn't scare anyone, so adding Jones would be a step in the right direction.
11-San Diego Chargers-Jake Matthews, OT Michigan
The Chargers offensive line is the weak link in this chain. Matthews has had a great year at right tackle this year, but I see no reason he couldn't slide to the left side and play at a very high level. If he returned to school he's probably a top 5 pick in 2014, but I suspect he'll leave this year to the cheers of Chargers fans everywhere.
12-Miami Dolphins-Star Lotulelei, DT Utah
The Dolphins defense is solid, but they could really use an upgrade in the middle where they have used a rotation of players. Lotulelei is one of these 3 technique explosive pass rush tackles who can rush the passer from the inside and the Dolphins really need a player like this.
13-Tampa Bay Buccaneers-DeMarcus Milliner, CB Alabama
The Buccaneers are a team that seems to have a lot of really nice pieces in place on offense, but on defense their defensive secondary is pretty shaky. Milliner is a good player who's physical in coverage and never scared to stick his nose into the run game. His long term future may be at safety but at this point he could be a starting corner in Tampa early in his career.
14-Carolina Panthers-Keenan Allen, WR Cal
I had been giving the Panthers a defensive tackle here, but I just have to think quarterback Cam Newton would love to add a guy like Allen who is so quick in and out of his breaks, and explosive enough to keep him clean from the jam. He's also got excellent hands and offers a tremendous amount of scheme versatility as he can line up as a wide out or in the backfield.
15-New Orleans Saints-Barkevious Mingo, DE/LB LSU
There was a time where Mingo looked like a top 5 pick, but he's been a part of a rotation at defensive end and hasn't had the season I expected. But his explosion and natural athletic ability will keep him in the mid-first round mix. For the Saints they need a presence on the outside that can defend the run and can put a hand on the ground and rush the passer. Mingo can do both of those, and should only get better.
16-St. Louis Rams-Eric Fisher, OT Central Michigan
The Rams weren't quite good enough this season to make the playoffs, but they were good enough to miss out on the 3 elite tackle prospects in this draft. Instead they turn to Fisher, who had an amazing career against lesser opponents, but make no mistake, he may be the most athletic tackle in this draft. But the Rams have seen athletic tackles drafted high in the past wash out because they weren't physical enough. We'll see if Fisher can hang.
17-Pittsburgh Steelers-Kenny Vaccaro, S Texas
This season has been a real disappointment for the Steelers and part of the problem stemmed from poor play in the defensive secondary. There's a changing of the guard at the safety position and Vaccaro is a perfect fit for what the Steelers like to do from the schematic standpoint.
18-Dallas Cowboys-Chance Warmack, OG Alabama
I've heard some folks say Warmack isn't a first round pick, but as I re-watch his games, I struggle to imagine how he isn't. And when you consider how badly the Cowboys need an upgrade at guard, it makes Warmack even more valuable.
19-New York Giants-Alex Okafor, DE Texas
I never thought I'd be mocking a defensive end to the Giants, but at this point with the potential exits and diminished play, it's certainly a need. Okafor has been up and down this year but his fundamentals are sound, his pass rush moves are varied, and when he knows he has an advantage he's like a shark. Just has to maintain his intensity for a full game.
20-Chicago Bears-Dallas Thomas, OT Tennessee
Another team in dire need of an upgrade at offensive tackle. Thomas is a massive young man, and can play right tackle or guard and should help a Bears offensive line that just let opposing defensive punish them. Thomas is a big mauler who does a nice job in pass protection.
21-St. Louis(from Washington)-Sheldon Richardson, DT Missouri
Lots of Rams fans may cringe at the idea of a first round defensive tackle but Richardson is a completely different type of player. This defense is really pretty nasty especially on the edges and the back end, and Richardson impresses me more and more as a pass rusher every game I watch.
22-Minnesota Vikings-Johnathan Hankins, DT Ohio State
After going back through Hankins games this year, I have moved him down, mainly because there is such a high priority placed on pass rushers that the big run stopping tackles have to slide to make room. Hankins is a really good player, and would be a nice compliment to the edge guys in Minnesota, but he's more of a space eater than a penetrator.
23-Cincinnati Bengals-Sam Montgomery, DE/LB LSU
No player from my pre-season rankings has falled more than Montgomery on defense. Week after week I waited for that step. That surge that showed me he had taken natural ability and built on it with hard work and technique. But I never saw it. He's lazy with his hands and lets bigger players push him around, and he gives up on the play. Work to be done, but for the Bengals he could be a rush specialist where he could thrive.
24-Indianapolis Colts-John Jenkins, DT Georgia
It's been remarkable how the personnel on the Colts have moved to the 3-4 with this group. Jenkins has the look of an elite 3-4 NT. He's enormous with a low center of gravity and can swallow up 300lb offensive lineman like they are tight ends. His motor is a little up and down, but for a 360lb man that's to be expected.
25-Seattle Seahawks-Tavon Austin, WR West Virginia
The Seahawks offense is built around physical running and picking their spots in the passing game. At some point they are going to need to test defenses downfield and add some diversity to the offense, and Austin is just the guy to do it. Austin can line up as a slot wide out or as a running back and can take short play and make it into a big one in a hurry.
26-Baltimore Ravens-DeAndre Hopkins, WR Clemson
When you are thinking about a deep threat in this draft, it's hard to find a better one than Hopkins. He's lean and had great length and can get behind the secondary in a hurry. I can just picture him paired with wide receiver Torrey Smith as a truly dynamic deep duo. His production in college has been staggering and while he might not be a complete wide out, what he does, he does really well.
27-Green Bay Packers-Barrett Jones, C/G Alabama
I am going to continue to drop Jones into this spot even though I keep hearing teams have soured on Jones in the first round because he's not strong or physical enough. I am going to have to go back and confirm this, but if he's really playing soft and getting pushed around it'll mean he's either going to slide, or he may want to focus on moving back to tackle where his quickness and footwork are a benefit over raw power and rage.
28-San Francisco 49ers-Jesse Williams, DT Alabama
The 49ers don't have a lot of needs, but a 3-4 always needs more big bodies on the defensive line, and at 6-3 and 325lbs he could be a great rotational player at NT, or in a 4-3 slide over at an UT spot. This pick for the Niners is strictly value at this point in the round.
29-Houston Texans-Robert Woods, WR USC
I've tried to keep Woods in the top of the first round, but I just can't do it anymore. But let me say this, if there's a wide out who is more scheme versatile and free from glaring flaws than Woods, I don't know who it is. As a complimentary player for Andre Johnson he'll be able to work underneath and free up the deep pass to Johnson.
30-New England Patriots-Eric Reid, S LSU
I am leaving Reid here to the Patriots for now, in hopes that he really shows up big in the offseason and can hang onto a first round grade. His raw physical gifts are rare for a safety and I think he has to be judged on more than just stats, because that LSU defense made so many plays in front of him.
31-Denver Broncos-Johnthan Banks, CB Mississippi State
I had been giving the Broncos a defensive tackle here, and so a player like defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd would not at all be out of the question here, but for now I still like Banks because he can play corner or safety and shows excellent technique and good flexibility in coverage schemes.
32-Atlanta Falcons-Tyler Eifert, TE Notre Dame
I had been putting a defensive end here, but at this point it's more about value and plugging Eifert in here is a better value pick than whichever defensive end you would plug in. Eifert got better as the season went on and the offense improved. His hands are so strong and he's such a good route runner it's hard to see him falling out of the first round. I can see the Falcons making good use of his skills especially in the red zone right away.
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