That’s right readers, it’s “Mock Draft Time” at N.P.C.. As the title states, today’s 2013 NFL Mock Draft will feature each and every selection in Rounds 1 and 2, and some projected trades. I should mention that these trades are pure speculation on my part, and the values exchanged are based on the “Draft Pick Value Chart” from CBS.Sportsline.
For now though, let’s get on to the Mock:
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel OT (Texas A&M)
Kansas City’s brass could instantly upgrade their situation at offensive tackle with Texas A&M’s former blind-side protector. The 6’6″ 306 lb. Joeckel was the 2012 Outland Award winner, a 2012 consensus All-American, and a three-year starter for the Aggies (39 Games, 39 Starts). While the nimble Joeckel is not a “road-grading” type of tackle, his quick feet and sound blocking technique will help him develop into a fantastic blind-side pass-protector for years to come.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Geno Smith QB (West Virginia)
If the Jaguars are done with the “Blaine Gabbert Experience,” then they might want to target a quarterback on Day 1 or Day 2 of the Draft. The strong-armed, accurate, and athletic former Mountaineer (2012: 369 for 518 (71.2%), 4,205 yards, 42 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions) would give the franchise at least some hope at the quarterback position. Jacksonville sent a large amount of people to Smith’s workouts, and it would not shock me if they made him their choice in Round 1.
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd DT (Florida)
Tommy Kelly and Desmond Bryant are no longer with the Raiders, so an enormous hole exists at defensive tackle. 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, Floyd 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, Sharrif notched 46 tackles, 3.0 sacks, and a team-leading 13.0 tackles for loss during his junior season, and should garner interest from teams who employ 3-4 and 4-3 defensive schemes in Round 1.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Star Lotulelei DT (Utah)
Now that the Eagles are switching to a 3-4 defensive scheme, they would best served to acquire an athletic 5-technique who can also chip in for some gap-clogging in the trenches between the guards too. 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 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles, and 4 fumble recoveries. If the Chiefs, Jaguars, and Raiders shy away from Lotulelei due his heart issue, the Eagles might still snatch him up in a “Best Player Available” scenario.
5. Detroit Lions: Eric Fisher OT (Central Michigan)
Gosder Cherulis left for Indianapolis as a free agent, and veteran Jeff Backus just recently retired. If the Lions want to rebuild their offensive line accordingly, they might be wise to target Eric Fisher at #5 overall. The 6’7″ 306 lb. Fisher was a 1st team All-MAC performer last season, and also possesses some versatility to his game. Although he played most of his collegiate career at left tackle, Eric did start games at right tackle and right guard earlier in his career with the Chippewas. So even if Fisher doesn’t pan out on the blind-side, Detroit’s coaching staff could find another place for him along their porous offensive line.
6. Miami Dolphins: Lane Johnson OT (Oklahoma)
(Trade w/Cleveland: Swap 1st Round picks (#6 overall) and (#12 overall), Miami sends 2nd Round pick (#42) to complete deal)
The Dolphins need a tackle to take the place of Jake Long, and Miami could opt to trade up into the top 10 for Lane Johnson. 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 stable pass-protector down the road at either the left or right tackle positions.
7. Tennessee Titans: Dee Milliner CB (Alabama)
(Trade w/Arizona: Swap 1st Round picks (#7 overall) and (#10 overall), Tennessee sends 3rd Round pick (#70) to complete deal)
The Titans have issues at in terms of depth at cornerback, and it might be wise for them to trade up a couple of spots to ensure that can they acquire the best one of the draft class. Milliner (6′ 200 lbs.) had a terrific 2012 season as he logged 22 passes defended over the team’s 14 games, and added 54 tackles and 2 interceptions to his statline during the Crimson Tide’s national championship season. DeMarcus also is more than willing to mix it up in the run game, and has the size, speed, and man-coverage skills to be a solid starting cornerback.
8. San Francisco 49ers: Dion Jordan DE/OLB (Oregon)
(Trade w/Buffalo: Swap 1st Round picks (#31 overall) and (#8 overall), San Francisco sends two 2nd Round picks (#34 & #61) to Buffalo in exchange for 5th Round pick (#143) to complete deal)
The 49ers have 13 draft picks, and are primed to make a move up into Round 1 this month. San Francisco could use another athletic pass-rusher to compliment Aldon Smith, and their front office might be interested in Dion Jordan if he falls this far down the draft board. Last year, Jordan (6’6″ 248 lbs.) put up 44 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks, and forced 3 fumbles. In addition to his ability to rush the passer, Jordan is extremely competent in pass-coverage and playing in space as well. As long as he recovers well from his recent shoulder surgery, the former Duck will be a top 10 pick.
9. New York Jets: Ezekiel Ansah DE/OLB (Brigham Young)
2012 1st Round pick Quinton Coples (5.5 sacks) and 2011 1st Round pick Muhammad Wilkerson (5.0 sacks) did a fine job last season as they supplied heat from their 5-technique defensive end spots. Unfortunately, the Jets lack speed outside of Coples and Wilkerson, and desperately need a pass-rushing threat at outside linebacker. Ezekiel Ansah has turned heads throughout the offseason, and should be a top 10 pick when “Draft Weekend” rolls around next weekend. Despite the fact that Ansah 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 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks during his first year as a starter with the Cougars.
10. Arizona Cardinals: D.J. Fluker OT (Alabama)
(Trade w/Tennessee: Swap 1st Round picks (#7 overall) and (#10 overall), Tennessee sends 3rd Round pick (#70) to complete deal)
Arizona’s offensive line surrendered a League high 58.0 sacks last year, and tackles Bobby Massie and D’Anthony Batiste looked lost at multiple points during the 2012 campaign. If the Cardinals want to shore up the right tackle position, they could take D.J. Fluker in Round 1. Fluker started 36 games during his three years with the Crimson Tide, and is one of the more experienced offensive tackles in this year’s draft class. Keeping Carson Palmer healthy is a high priority, and the addition of a massive 6’5″ 339 lb. road-grader should help to do just that.
11. San Diego Chargers: Barkevious Mingo OLB (Louisiana State)
The Chargers need to improve their pass-protection, and their pass-rush. If Lane Johnson is not available at #11, look for San Diego to try and upgrade their pass-rush. Sporting a 6’4″ and 241 lb. frame, Mingo possesses a tremendous amount of speed (4.58 40 yard dash) and agility (6.84 3-cone drill) off of the edge which should help him translate well to the professional level. The biggest issues with Mingo however deal with how raw his skill-set is, as well as his limited production (4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss) with the Bayou Bengals last season. Questions aside, Mingo’s athletic ability and upside should make him a lock to go somewhere in the top 15.
12. Cleveland Browns: Tavon Austin WR/SB/KR (West Virginia)
(Trade w/Miami: Swap 1st Round picks (#6 overall) and (#12 overall), Miami sends 2nd Round pick (#42) to complete deal)
The Browns need a speedy pass-catcher to team with Greg Little and Josh Gordon, and they might be wise to take a long look at Tavon Austin in Round 1. Not only did Austin top the 100 catch mark during his junior season, he had an even more productive senior campaign last fall as he recorded 114 grabs for 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns. An accomplished ball-carrier as well, Tavon also was effective in the run-game as he rushed for an incredible 643 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2012.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Xavier Rhodes CB (Florida State)
Even though the Buccaneers are bringing back Eric Wright at a discounted price, the team’s secondary is still a bit of a mess. If Darrelle Revis does not head to Tampa Bay, the Buccaneeers’ brass will probably look for a cornerback early in this year’s draft. Xavier Rhodes (6’1″ 210 lbs.) was a 1st Team All-ACC cornerback as he racked up 39 tackles and 3 interceptions during the 2012 season as the most talented player in the Seminoles’ defensive backfield. A team can never have too many effective cornerbacks in today’s N.F.L., and Rhodes is terrific in man-coverage situations because he can use his physical stature to his advantage.
14. Carolina Panthers: Cordarrelle Patterson WR (Tennessee)
Cam Newton could use more weapons, and the Panthers might take Cordarrelle Patterson if he falls all the way to #14 overall. 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 did Cordarrelle ever make a splash in 2012. On the year, Patterson caught 46 passes for 778 yards and 5 touchdowns, rushed for 308 Yards and 3 touchdowns, and returned 1 kickoff and 1 punt for touchdowns. Although his skill-set is still developing, Patterson’s upside will undoubtedly be too high for some team in the top 15 to pass on him.
15. New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones OLB (Georgia)
The Saints could stand to acquire a 3-4 pass-rusher this offseason. New Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan could be intrigued to take former Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones. Although Jones’ “spinal stenosis” condition and poor Pro Day workout could scare scouts away, some teams in need of an athletic pass-rusher are sure to be willing to gamble on the former Bulldog. Last season, Jones (6’2″ 245 lbs.) racked up 24.5 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks, and would be a bargain for the Saints if he falls all the way down to #15 overall.
16. St. Louis Rams: Kenny Vaccaro FS/SS (Texas)
The Rams lost Craig Dahl in March, thus a replacement at the free safety position must be found, and found quickly. Vaccaro (6’1″ 218 lbs.) was the Longhorns’ leading tackler last year (104) and added 4.0 tackles for loss, forced two fumbles, and made 2 interceptions as well. A two-and-a-half year starter at Texas (31 Starts, 50 games), Vaccaro played both free and strong safety during his collegiate career, and is also adept at helping with coverage in the slot in “big nickel” packages too.