That’s right readers, it’s “Mock Draft Time” here at N.P.C.! With The N.F.L. Scouting Combine ready to begin tomorrow, I thought that it would be a great time for me to unveil an updated version of my 2013 N.F.L. Mock Draft. Just for prefacing purposes, today’s Mock will be a Rounds 1 & 2 edition with zero trades.
Don’t worry everybody, I’ll add trades and move prospects up and down the draft board once The Scouting Combine, Pro Days, and Free Agency periods begin. But for now, let’s get started on this fourth installment:
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith QB (West Virginia)
This pick will gain much more clarity once we see what the Chiefs do during the Free Agency period. If Left Tackle Branden Albert leaves as a UFA, and the Chiefs trade for/sign a Quarterback (Nick Foles), then Luke Joeckel will be an obvious choice at #1 overall. If Kansas City is unable to trade for a Quarterback, and do hold onto Albert long-term, new Head Coach Andy Reid could try to work his QB magic with Geno Smith. The accurate former Mountaineer (2012: 369 for 518 (71.2%), 4,205 Yards, 42 TD’s, and 6 INT’s) would be a solid fit as the Chiefs begin the long process of rebuilding.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Bjoern Werner DE (Florida State)
Although the Jason Babin signing helped, Jacksonville would be wise to bolster their pass-rush early in this year’s Draft. The Jaguars ranked last in the League with a total of 20.0 Sacks last year, and had their fair share of issues putting consistent pressure on opposing Quarterbacks. Jacksonville’s pass-rush was so anemic that Defensive Tackle Tyson Alualu led the team with a measly 3.5 Sacks. Although the German-born Werner (6’4″ 256 lbs.) is relatively new to the game football, he continued to improve his pass-rushing skills as he logged 18.0 Tackles For Loss (TFL’s) and 13.0 Sacks from his Defensive End position.
3. Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei DT (Utah)
Without Al Davis running things, General Manager Reggie McKenzie will be able to upgrade the interior of Oakland’s Defensive Line with the best Defensive Tackle in this year’s class. Tommy Kelly has proved to be an absolute disaster since he signed his 7-year $50.125 million dollar contract, and the Raiders could also lose Desmond Bryant to Free Agency this offseason as well. Despite being double-teamed and keyed on for much of the season, Lotulelei was a 1st Team All-Pac-12 performer in 2012 as he amassed 42 Tackles, 5.0 Sacks, 11.0 TFL’s, Forced 3 Fumbles, and Recovered 4. McKenzie used a Top 10 selection on B.J. Raji when he was in Green Bay, and if Lotulelei falls to Oakland, I could see him going in that direction once again this April.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel OT (Texas A&M)
The Eagles’ Offensive Line was an injury-plagued “dumpster fire” last year, and help is needed at multiple positions including Left and Right Tackle. Demetress Bell and King Dunlap played horribly, and Jason Peters suffered another season-ending injury. Joeckel falling would be a dream scenario for the Eagles, and the team would definitely benefit from the addition of the Aggies’ blind-side protector over the last three years (39 Games, 39 Starts). The 6’6″ 310 lb. Joeckel was the 2012 Outland Award winner, a 2012 consensus All-American, and a solid fit in an Offensive system which values athleticism from the Offensive Linemen.
5. Detroit Lions: DeMarcus Milliner CB (Alabama)
Detroit’s Defense is in need of some play-makers at the Cornerback position. If the Lions, who had the 4th fewest Interceptions in 2012 are not interested in any of the pass-rushers who fall to them in Round 1, DeMarcus Milliner would be an appropriate and heady choice. The 6’1 198 lb. Milliner had a terrific 2012 season with the Crimson Tide as he put up an incredible 22 Passes Defended over the team’s 14 games, and added 54 Tackles and 2 Interceptions to his statline as well. Milliner fits well in man and zone schemes, and should be a solid N.F.L. Cornerback.
6. Cleveland Browns: Ezekiel Ansah DE/OLB (Brigham Young)
New Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton will probably want to improve the Browns’ pass-rush as the team transitions to a 3-4 scheme. Luckily for Horton, he will likely get to choose from Ezekiel Ansah, Barkevious Mingo, and Jarvis Jones once Cleveland is on the clock. Jabaal Sheard (7.0 Sacks) and Juqua Parker (6.0) could use some help attacking the passer, and the Browns need a more formidable pass-rush when they face Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, and Ginger Spice six times per season. Although he is newer to the game of football, Ansah had a fine 2012 season as he made 62 Tackles, 13.0 TFL’s, 4.5 Sacks during his first year as a starter.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Mike Glennon QB (North Carolina State)
If the Cardinals do not elect to take Eric Fisher at #7, or he does not fall to them there, then I can see the franchise going in the direction of a Quarterback with their 1st Round selection. Because the Quarterback cupboard is basically bare for new Head Coach Bruce Arians, Arizona could take a chance on the massive Mike Glennon (6’7″ 220 lbs.). The tall yet surprisingly athletic North Carolina State prospect did a fine job during his two years as a starter (4,031 Yards Passing and 31 TD’s in 2012) after he took over for Russell Wilson in 2011. Although Glennon’s Completion Percentage from last season (58.4%) might be a cause for concern, Glennon’s rifle-arm is sure to drive him up draft boards around the League.
8. Buffalo Bills: Damontre Moore DE (Texas A&M)
If both Glennon and Smith are gone by the 8th overall pick, the Bills might be enticed to bolster their ailing Defense early, then either trade up to grab a signal-caller or wait until Day 2. Buffalo could select Kenny Vaccaro at #8 if Jairus Byrd leaves, but it wouldn’t hurt the Bills to amp up their pass-rush (2012: 36.0 Sacks ranked 18th) if a player like Damontre Moore falls to them. At 6’4″ 250 lbs., Moore led the Aggies last year in Tackles (85), TFL’s 21.0, Sacks (12.5), and even blocked 2 Kicks as he emerged as one of the S.E.C.’s best pass-rushers.
9. New York Jets: Jarvis Jones OLB (Georgia)
2013 could be Rex Ryan’s “Last Stand” in New York, and I believe that if Jarvis Jones falls to him and the pass-rushing-needy Jets, he will be more than willing to take a chance on the former Georgia Bulldog whose “spinal stenosis” could scare teams away early. 2012 1st Round pick Quinton Coples (5.5 Sacks) and 2011 1st Round pick Muhammad Wilkerson (5.0 Sacks) were very productive last season as they supplied heat from their 5-Technique Defensive End spots, positions I might add which are not supposed to generate many Sacks. Thus, the Jets might benefit from a player like Jones (6’4″ 242 lbs.) who racked up 24.5 TFL’s and 14.5 Sacks during his Senior season.
10. Tennessee Titans: Shariff Floyd DT (Florida)
Sen’Derrick Marks is an impending UFA and Tennessee could stand to use another stout Defensive Tackle to add to the mix with Jurrell Casey and Mike Martin if Marks indeed leaves. Floyd (6’3″ 303 lbs.) played both Defensive End and Defensive Tackle at Florida, although he probably played his best football last season on the interior as he displayed a surprising combination of agility, power, and quickness for a man his size. Overall, Floyd notched 46 Tackles, 3.0 Sacks, and a team-leading 13.0 TFL’s during his Junior season, and could garner interest from teams who employ 3-4 and 4-3 Defensive schemes this offseason.
11. San Diego Chargers: Eric Fisher OT (Central Michigan)
San Diego gave up 49.0 Sacks last year (4th most in the League), and could definitely use as many talented Offensive Linemen as they can get as Rivers enters his 10th season in the N.F.L.. The 6’7″ 305 lbs. Fisher was a 1st Team All-MAC performer last year, and also possesses some versatility to his game. Although he played most of his collegiate career at Left Tackle, he did start games earlier during his time with the Chippewas at Right Tackle and Right Guard, so the Chargers could find another place for him if the blind-side is not a great fit. If Fisher falls to San Diego at #11, I cannot see them selecting any other player.
12. Miami Dolphins: Cordarrelle Patterson WR (Tennessee)
Do not get me wrong, Davonne Bess is a fine slot Wide Receiver, and Brian Hartline is a solid #2 target. But if the Dolphins are serous about taking Ryan Tannehill’s game to the next level, they could stand to draft their franchise Quarterback an explosive and play-making #1 pass-catcher. The 6’3″ 205 lb. Junior was a phenomenal Kick Returner and Wide Receiver at the Junior College level before he came to Knoxville this past year, and boy did he make a splash in 2012. Over 11 Games, Patterson caught 42 passes for 690 Yards and 4 TD’s, he rushed for 270 Yards and 3 TD’s, and returned 1 Kickoff and 1 Punt for TD’s. Although his skill-set is still very raw, Patterson just makes plays when he has the football in his hands, and teams must respect his speed.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kenny Vaccaro FS (Texas)
If the Buccaneers look to draft another Safety early, they might be wise to target the talented Kenny Vaccaro (6’1″ 218 lbs.) to begin the rebuilding process in their Secondary. Vaccaro was the Longhorns’ leading Tackler last year (104) and added 4.0 TFL’s, 2 Forced Fumbles, and made 2 INT’s last year. A two-and-a-half year starter at Texas (31 Starts, 50 Games), the physical Vaccaro played both Free and Strong Safety during his collegiate career, and can help out with coverage in the slot too. Pairing Vaccaro with Mark Barron would give the Buccaneers two of the game’s best young Safeties.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson DT (Missouri)
Although the Panther’s Defense improved this past year, issues still exist along the interior of their Defensive Line. Carolina’s Run Defense could be helped by an impact player like 3-Technique prospect Sheldon Richardson from Missouri. After two years at the Junior College level, and one year in a non-starter role with the Tigers, Richardson (6’3″ 295 lbs.) burst on the scene in 2012 when he racked up 75 Tackles, 10.5 TFL’s, and 4.0 Sacks over Missouri’s 11 Games. Drafting a player like Richardson would be a solid move for Carolina as Dwan Edwards will be a UFA after the 2013 season, while Sione Fua and Frank Kearse could be pushed for playing time as well.
15. New Orleans Saints: Barkevious Mingo OLB (Louisiana State)
The Saints will be employing a 3-4 Defense this year, and the biggest task for them to accomplish this offseason will be acquiring players who can fit the system. New Orleans’ Defense tied for 25th in the League in Sacks last year with 30.0, and they might target a pass-rusher with their 1st Round pick. Barkevious Mingo (6’4″240 lbs) could be just the player that the Saints need to make the 3-4 transition, and could develop into one of the most electrifying pass-rushers in the League three years from now. Although his stats last season were not “eye-popping,” 4.5 Sacks, 8.5 TFL’s, Mingo has the athletic ability to turn into a terror off of the edge.
16. St. Louis Rams: Lane Johnson OT (Oklahoma)
Lane Johnson of Oklahoma could be the Left Tackle prospect the Rams are looking for to protect Bradford’s blind-side. Johnson’s selection would allow the Rams’ current Left Tackle, Roger Saffold, to take the place of soon-to-be UFA Right Tackle Barry Richardson, or kick in to Left Guard to replace the soon-to-be UFA Robert Turner. The former Sooner (6’6″ 303 lbs.) is an intriguing prospect who played Quarterback in High School and at Junior College, and spent time at Tight End and Defensive End in Norman as well. For the last two years though Johnson has manned both the Right (12 Starts) and Left (11 Starts) Tackle spots, and has the potential to be a fantastic pass-protector down the road.