That’s right readers, it’s “Mock Draft Time” here at N.P.C.. As the title states, today’s 2013 NFL Mock Draft will be a full 1st and 2nd Round edition (all 32 teams), and will feature zero trades. The next installment will contain 3 full Rounds along my projections for the Steelers’ selections in Rounds 4-7.
Don’t worry though, I’ll begin to add trades at the beginning of next month once the Free Agency period has started and the big moves have been made. But for now, let’s get on to the Mock:
1. Kansas City Chiefs: DeMarcus Milliner CB (Alabama)
Now that Branden Albert has been designated the Chiefs’ “Franchise Player,” it is becoming more and more likely that Kansas City will try to trade the 1st overall pick. If Kansas City’s brass are unable to trade the pick, I could see them going with either a Cornerback or a Defensive Lineman in Round 1. DeMarcus Milliner solidified his status as a Top 5 pick after a great showing at The Scouting Combine, and could be in contention to be taken at the very top of the Draft. The 6′ 200 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.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Sharrif Floyd DT (Florida)
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 from the Interior of their Defensive Line. Jacksonville’s pass-rush was so anemic that Defensive Tackle Tyson Alualu led the team with 3.5 Sacks. Floyd (6’3″ 297 lbs.) has become of the Draft’s hottest commodities as of late, and he played both Defensive End and Defensive Tackle at Florida. Last year he 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.
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 (6’2″ 311 lbs.) 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. Concerns will likely surround Lotulelei and a heart condition which could drop him down draft boards, but for now I will keep him at #3 because he is that talented of a player.
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″ 306 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: Ezekiel Ansah DE (Brigham Young)
Detroit will likely need some serious help at Defensive End if they fail to do anything in Free Agency. Cliff Avril will likely be on his way out of town, and Kyle Vanden Bosch was just released as well. Ezekiel Ansah has turned heads throughout the offseason, and could inevitably find himself in the Top 5 when Draft Weekend rolls around this April. Although he is newer to the game of football, the 6’5″ 271 lb. Defensive End had a fine 2012 season as he made 62 Tackles, 13.0 TFL’s, 4.5 Sacks during his first year as a starter.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dion Jordan OLB (Oregon)
New Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton will 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 a numerous amount of prospects when Cleveland goes on the clock in Round 1. Jabaal Sheard (7.0 Sacks) and Juqua Parker (6.0) could use some help attacking the passer, and the Browns could definitely use a more formidable pass-rush when they face Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, and Ginger Spice six times per season. Overall, Jordan put up 44 Tackles, 10.5 TFL’s, 5.0 Sacks, and Forced 3 Fumbles in 2012, has a unique frame (6’6″ 248 lbs.), and an athletic skill-set (surprisingly in pass-coverage) which could make him an attractive option for the Browns to target at #6 if he recovers well from his recent shoulder surgery.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Eric Fisher OT (Central Michigan)
Arizona’s Offensive Line surrendered a League high 58.0 Sacks last year, and Bobby Massie and D’Anthony Batiste looked lost at the Right and Left Tackle positions numerous times in 2012. If Eric Fisher falls to the Cardinals, they will try their best to snap him up at #7. The 6’7″ 306 lb. 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 even if Fisher doesn’t pan out on the blind-side, the Cardinals could find another place for him along their porous Offensive Line.
8. Buffalo Bills: Geno Smith QB (West Virginia)
Kansas City’s decision to trade for Alex Smith is huge for Buffalo, as they will likely be able to select a Quarterback in Round 1 without having to give up a large amount to acquire one by moving up from #8. In the event that Geno Smith (6’2″ 218 lbs.) falls to Buffalo, I believe that the “Ryan Fitzpatrick Experiment” will be over and the Bills’ new Head Coach Doug Marrone will have a talented signal-caller to turn to during his first year. The strong-armed, accurate, and athletic former Mountaineer (2012: 369 for 518 (71.2%), 4,205 Yards, 42 TD’s, and 6 INT’s) would be a solid fit in Marrone’s Offense as the Bills begin the long process of rebuilding.
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 (6’2″ 245 lbs.) who racked up 24.5 TFL’s and 14.5 Sacks during his Senior season.
10. Tennessee Titans: Sheldon Richardson DT (Missouri)
If the Titans elect to not find upgrades at Cornerback and Offensive Guard in Round 1, then I believe that they will try to draft a Defensive Tackle at #10 overall 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. After he spent 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. Overall, Sheldon racked up 75 Tackles, 10.5 TFL’s, and 4.0 Sacks over Missouri’s 11 Games and is one of the Draft’s quickest and most agile 3-Techniques.
11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson OT (Oklahoma)
Philip Rivers was bludgeoned last season as an assortment of backups did their best to stop the opposing pass-rushers. 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 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. The Chargers need a long-term solution at Left Tackle instead of Jared Gaither, and I believe that the athletic Johnson would be a perfect fit at #11.
12. Miami Dolphins: Cordarrelle Patterson WR (Tennessee)
Do not get me wrong, Davonne Bess is a fine slot Wide Receiver, and Brian Hartline (UFA this month) 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 6’2″ 216 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: Bjoern Werner DE (Florida State)
Da’Quan Bowers’ recent arrest hurts the Buccaneers as they will be looking to improve their pass-rush in 2013. Last year, Tampa Bay’s Defense ranked tied for 29th in Total Sacks (27.0), and they definitely will need more pressure from the outside. Bjoern Werner’s stock could be falling after his pedestrian showing at The Combine, but if he falls to Tampa Bay I would have to believe that they would take him. Although the German-born Werner (6’3″ 266 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 last year.
14. Carolina Panthers: Kenny Vaccaro FS (Texas)
If the Panthers elect not to go the Defensive Tackle route in Round 1, and do not believe that Cordarrelle Patterson is a legitimate answer at Wide Receiver, then I could see them targeting Kenny Vaccaro (6′ 214 lbs.). Carolina’s Secondary could stand to use more play-makers, and the Panthers only registered 11 Interceptions over the course of the entire 2012 season. 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 is adept at helping with coverage in the slot in Big Nickel packages as well.
15. New Orleans Saints: Desmond Trufant CB (Washington)
The Saints could stand to acquire a 3-4 pass-rusher this offseason, but the could also look to bolster their Secondary too. New Orleans’ Pass Defense ranked 31st in Passing Yards allowed last year, and could stand to use some depth and a future starter at Cornerback. Desmond Trufant (6′ 190 lbs.) was a three-year starter for the Huskies and emerged as the program’s “shut-down” guy during his time in Seattle also. (4 Interceptions and 23 PD’s over said span). Trufant has impressed scouts during The Senior Bowl practices, and could see his stock continue to rise over the coming weeks.
16. St. Louis Rams: Chance Warmack OG (Alabama)
Sam Bradford possesses all of the tools to be a good starting Quarterback for the Rams. Unfortunately, Bradford has been protected by some porous Offensive Lines’ throughout his career and been Sacked a total of 105 times over his first three seasons (42 Games). If St. Louis wants Bradford to flourish, they would be wise to go Offensive Line early and often in this year’s Draft. Thankfully for them, they should have a chance to instantly upgrade their O-Line’s interior if they select Chance Warmack (6’2″ 317 lbs.) out of Alabama. Warmack started 40 games during his collegiate career with the Crimson Tide and is a fantastic road-grading mauler with some nice pass-protection skills to boot.