Rant Sports 2013 NFL Mock Draft: First-Round Collaborative
Welcome to the Rant Sports 2013 NFL Mock Draft
In less than one week, the 2013 NFL Draft will commence. As a final lead-up to draft day, Rant Sports has decided to put together a group of NFL writers to mock the first 32 picks, starting with the Kansas City Chiefs and ending with the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens at the end of the first-round.
Like just about any mock draft, there are some interesting picks and questionable slides that you’ll find as you make your journey from end to finish. While a few players come off of the board way too early, others tumbled down the draft in ways that are hard to understand, even when it actually happens during the real deal.
Keep in mind that, like the real NFL teams, many players are valued differently by different teams. While one team may see a particular player as an elite prospect worthy of a Top 5 selection, others might see that same player as a second-round talent. The same rings true for our writers, who did their due diligence in preparing for this mock draft. That doesn’t excuse all of them, though…
Just for sanity purposes, no trades were allowed during this mock draft. You best believe, though, that on draft day, there will be several moves that make fans gripe and groan. Then again, those blockbuster deals have paid off in recent years – just look at the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins.
At the bottom of each slide is a link to the writer’s analysis of the pick, so make sure to check out their own thoughts. Don’t be afraid to give them your thoughts, too.
So here it is. After hours of hard work, I give you the Rant Sports 2013 NFL Mock Draft. Enjoy!
1. Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Joeckel
The consensus No. 1 pick this year, Joeckel makes plenty of sense for the rebuilding Chiefs. Especially with left tackle Branden Albert on the trading block and a decent quarterback under center, Kansas City needs a blindside protector to build their offensive line around. Enter Joeckel.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Geno Smith
What a bust quarterback Blaine Gabbert has turned out to be for the Jaguars. The team, already an annual disappointment, needs a quality quarterback who can do more than create turnovers. By drafting Smith, they take the top passer in the 2013 class who has the potential to ignite the Jacksonville offense.
3. Oakland Raiders – Sharrif Floyd
With the worst roster in the NFL, the Raiders need to start adding some significant talent if GM Reggie McKenzie wants to keep his job. Although I’m a bit skeptical about Floyd’s elite-ness, he has the potential to be a disruptive force at defensive tackle. Either way, he’s an instant upgrade for Oakland.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – Dee Milliner
The departure of Nnamdi Asomugha this offseason left the Eagles short at cornerback. Even with the addition of Cary Williams, Philadelphia still needs to add some young talent to the mix. Milliner is the top cornerback of the class and will contribute from Day 1. A bit of a reach, though, for a corner.
5. Detroit Lions – Eric Fisher
For years, Matt Stafford’s development has been stunted by the lack of capable pass blocking. While there are plenty of directions for the Lions to go with the No. 5 overall pick, nabbing arguably the top talent in this draft class while giving Stafford an elite blindside blocker makes plenty of sense.
6. Cleveland Browns – Chance Warmack
With Trent Richardson in the backfield, the Browns are ready to implement a power running game that features the former first-round pick. What better fit than Warmack, a power blocking guard who resembles a bulldozer. It’s a stretch for a guard, but the talent warrants the high draft pick.
7. Arizona Cardinals – Matt Barkley
You found it! It’s the first major reach of the Rant Sports 2013 NFL Mock Draft. Especially with so many holes in the roster and Carson Palmer in the fold, I’d think the offensive line would be the primary concern. Still, if the Cardinals like Barkley, they’d be better off reaching than letting him go elsewhere.
8. Buffalo Bills – Cordarrelle Patterson
While wide receiver is far from their biggest needs, the Bills could use some extra playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. There’s a good chance that Buffalo goes quarterback at No. 8, but adding an electrifying pass-catcher like Patterson would definitely help, too.
9. New York Jets – Dion Jordan
It’s been quite some time since the Jets have had a dynamic playmaker on defense. Considered by many to be a Top 5 talent, Jordan would be a tremendous steal for Gang Green at No. 9. The Jets fielded one of the worst pass rushes in 2012, but Jordan would provide a quick turnaround in that department.
10. Tennessee Titans – Ezekiel Ansah
Personally, I think Jonathan Cooper is a much better fit right here considering how awful the Titans’ run blocking was in 2012. But the pick is Ansah, who is also an intriguing prospect. Despite his rawness, the BYU product has enough upside to solve Tennessee’s problems at defensive end.
11. San Diego Chargers – Lane Johnson
It’s do-or-die for Philip Rivers, who has one more year to prove that he can still be a franchise-caliber quarterback. One way that the Chargers can help him is by adding an elite blindside blocker. Johnson can be that type of left tackle, but might not slide this far down the draft considering his talent level.
12. Miami Dolphins – Xavier Rhodes
While the Dolphins upgraded at just about every position this offseason, there’s still plenty of room for improvement at cornerback. Rhodes has the potential to be the best corner to come out of the 2013 draft class, using his physical playing style and instincts to make his presence felt. Rhodes is a steal at No. 12.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Desmond Trufant
Even though the Buccaneers are still trying to work out a deal for Darrelle Revis, they could choose to just use their first-round pick to draft a new, healthy cornerback. Tampa Bay fielded the worst pass defense in the league, and need to add some better pieces to the secondary. Trufant could do the trick.
14. Carolina Panthers – Sheldon Richardson
Even with the recent additions at the position, defensive tackle has been a huge sore thumb for the Panthers. It’s promising for the team that the 2013 draft class is so deep at the position, meaning that an elite talent should still be available at No. 14. In this case, Richardson falls into their laps.
15. New Orleans Saints – Barkevious Mingo
This pick is more common than Joeckel to the Chiefs at No. 1. The Saints have remade their defense, and Mingo appears to be a perfect fit at outside linebacker in Rob Ryan’s 3-4 attack. The athleticism is there, but the boom-bust potential should be concerning since the defense is still on the mend.
16. St. Louis Rams – Tavon Austin
Ever since Sam Bradford has been the Rams’ starting quarterback, St. Louis has failed to surround him with capable receivers. While their depth is solid, they need a top-flight pass-catcher who can be Bradford’s go-to guy on a weekly basis. Austin has all of the talent they could want in a slot receiver.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jarvis Jones
If Jones gets all the way down to the Steelers at No. 17, Pittsburgh will rejoice as their representative sprints up to the podium with pick in hand. Jones is a tremendous fit for the Steelers’ 3-4 defense, and would help them get over the departure of James Harrison. Two thumbs way up.
18. Dallas Cowboys – Jonathan Cooper
For years now, the Cowboys’ offense has been inconsistent at best, due in large part to a lack of blocking. If Tony Romo is to make the most of his new, overpriced contract, Dallas would be wise to add the best offensive lineman available. At No. 18, Cooper is a huge steal.
19. New York Giants – Bjoern Werner
At once considered a Top 5 talent, Werner’s stock has slipped a bit. Don’t be fooled, though; Werner has the skills to be an immediate impact defensive end in the NFL. His production was phenomenal in 2012 and he still has plenty to learn. Werner’s ceiling is really high, which makes him ideal for the Giants.
20. Chicago Bears – D.J. Fluker
Trust me when I say that the addition of Jermon Bushrod is not going to be enough to keep Jay Cutler upright consistently in 2013. With Gabe Carimi turning out to be a bust, Chicago needs to add a right tackle like Fluker who can protect the quarterback and help the Bears establish a running game.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Tyrann Mathieu
If you were looking for a James Carpenter-sized reach, here you go. The Bengals went slot cornerback with Mathieu, who many believe won’t come off of the board before the third round. He hasn’t played football in some time and is far from a polished product. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen on April 25.
22. St. Louis Rams – Kenny Vaccaro
With both of their starting safeties from 2012 no longer on the roster, Vaccaro makes a ton of sense for the Rams. Many believe that he’s the top safety in the 2013 draft class, so landing him at No. 22 is a dream come true. The Rams get away off with two huge steals in the first round.
23. Minnesota Vikings – Alec Ogletree
The most glaring need on the Vikings’ roster right now is middle linebacker, a spot that has almost no starting experience available at the moment. Adding a player like Ogletree, however, would be a huge step in the right direction. He’s an NFL-caliber linebacker who also excels in coverage, a fit for the Vikings’ Tampa 2 defense.
24. Indianapolis Colts – Star Lotulelei
I admit that I kind of overlooked Lotulelei at No. 23, but the slide ends here with the Colts. Lotulelei has the potential to be an elite defensive tackle and is arguably one of the top defensive talents in the 2013 draft class. The Indianapolis front gets an immediate upgrade and Star joins a young, on-the-rise team.
25. Minnesota Vikings – Keenan Allen
The signing of Greg Jennings didn’t make up for the loss of Percy Harvin, leaving Christian Ponder little to work with in the passing game. Especially with two first-round picks, Minnesota needs to add some more arrows to the unproven passer’s quiver before he lands in the “bust” category. Allen fits the bill.
26. Green Bay Packers – Eddie Lacy
The Packers haven’t had a reliable running game since Ahman Green. Wow, that says a lot. If they ever hope of taking some of the pressure off of Aaron Rodgers and the passing game, Green Bay needs to add a legitimate runner via the 2013 NFL Draft. Lacy is the workhorse and No. 26 isn’t a huge reach.
27. Houston Texans – Terrance Williams
Andre Johnson is no longer a spring chicken. It won’t be long before he won’t be able to carry the Texans’ passing attack. If Houston hopes to make the transition as painless as possible for Matt Schaub and Co., adding a talent like Williams to the mix would be smart.
28. Denver Broncos – Kawann Short
Do you get it? Good, I don’t either. While Short is one of the better defensive tackle prospects of 2013, the Broncos left several more-worthy talents on the board with this pick. They ignored Sylvester Williams and Johnathan Hankins, instead reaching for Short, who is still an unfinished product.
29. New England Patriots – Damontre Moore
I’m not sure that I fully understand this pick, but I’ll give it a try. Since the start of pre-draft activities, Moore has gone from a Top 10 to second-rounder round talent. He doesn’t have the athleticism, quickness around the edge or versatility to fit Bill Belichick’s defense. Okay, well that was a fail.
30. Atlanta Falcons – Johnthan Banks
The Falcons have a big need at cornerback, and will likely be targeting the best one still available at No. 30. While there are some other candidates still on the board, Banks is an intriguing option who fits their scheme and has the physical tools to develop into a No. 1 corner. Maybe Trufant will fall on draft day…
31. San Francisco 49ers – DeAndre Hopkins
It looks like the 49ers could use another wide receiver to add to logjam at the position. The team already used their 2012 first-rounder to reach for A.J. Jenkins, who was a non-factor throughout his rookie season. There’s already solid depth at the position, but more definitely makes sense, right?
32. Baltimore Ravens – Manti Te’o
The loss of Ray Lewis will have a ripple effect on the franchise for years to come. Even with several replacements on the roster, the Ravens still need a leader type who can fill the void and be the defensive field general. Te’o has the leadership skills and experience with hardship to be the new voice of Baltimore.