2013 NFL Mock Draft (2 Full Rounds, Steelers Picks in Rounds 3-7, Potential UDFA Pickups)

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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, Pittsburgh’s selections from Rounds 3-7, some thoughts on potential UDFA pickups, 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 my final 2013 NFL Mock Draft:

 

Round 1

1. Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Fisher OT (Central Michigan)

Kansas City’s brass could instantly upgrade their situation at offensive tackle with the former Central Michigan standout.  The large-framed (6’7″ 306 lbs.) blind-side protector was a 1st team All-MAC performer last season, and also possesses some versatility to his overall game.  Although he played most of his collegiate career at left tackle, Eric did start games at right tackle and right guard at the college level.  So even if Fisher doesn’t pan out on the blind-side, Kansas City’s coaching staff could find another place for him along their offensive line.

 

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan DE/OLB (Oregon)

Although the Jason Babin signing helped towards the end of the 2012 season, Jacksonville’s brass would be wise to bolster their pass-rush at some point tomorrow.  The Jaguars ranked dead last in the league with a total of 20.0 sacks last fall, and their defense could not create consistent pressure off of the edges.  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 5 pick.

 

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: Luke Joeckel OT (Texas A&M)

If the athletic Luke Joeckel falls all the way to #4 for Chip Kelly, I’ll bet he will be do cart-wheels in Philadelphia’s war room.  The Eagles are in desperate need of help at the offensive tackle position, and Joeckel would be a perfect fit in Philadelphia’s up-tempo offense.  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.


5. Detroit Lions: Ezekiel Ansah DE (Brigham Young)

Detroit will likely need some serious help at defensive end position if they want to create any pressure off of the edges in future seasons.  Cliff Avril left for a new deal in Seattle, and Kyle Vanden Bosch was just recently released too.  If Fisher and Joeckel are no longer available, I would have to believe that the Lions would take Ezekiel Ansah.  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.

 

6. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson OT (Oklahoma)

(Trade w/Cleveland: Swap 1st Round picks (#6 overall) and (#11 overall), San Diego sends 2nd Round pick (#45) to Cleveland to complete deal)

San Diego’s offensive line surrendered 49.0 sacks last year (4th most in the entire league), and the Chargers need to upgrade their situation at offensive tackle.  If Lane Johnson is available at #6 overall, San Diego should definitely try to broker a trade with Cleveland.  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 on the left or the right side.

 

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 Arizona to complete deal)

The Titans might trade up a few spots just to make sure that San Francisco and Atlanta don’t swoop in ahead of them if they want to go after a cornerback.  Currently, the Titans have issues at in terms of depth at cornerback, and it would likely only cost them a 3rd round pick to ensure that can they acquire the best one of the 2013 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. Buffalo Bills: Tavon Austin WR (West Virginia)

I really hope that Buffalo does not consider Ryan Nassib at #8.  I mean, late in Round 1 he would be a good choice, but taking a player of his caliber at #8 overall would be an enormous reach, even if this draft class is not “top heavy.”  If Buffalo opts to pass on Nassib, they could try to upgrade their receiving corps with the shifty Tavon Austin of West Virginia.  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.

 

9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo OLB (Louisiana State)

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.  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.

 

10. Arizona Cardinals: D.J. Fluker OT (Alabama)

(Trade w/Arizona: Swap 1st Round picks (#7 overall) and (#10 overall), Tennessee sends 3rd Round pick (#70) to Arizona 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. Cleveland Browns: Star Lotulelei DT/DE (Utah)

(Trade w/San Diego: Swap 1st Round picks (#6 overall) and (#11 overall), San Diego sends 2nd Round pick (#45) to Cleveland to complete deal)

Although the Browns signed Paul Kruger this offseason, their defense could stand to add another pass-rusher as well as a developmental 5-technique defensive end.  If Star Lotulelei is in play for the Browns, especially after a trade, I am sure that they will probably give him a long look. 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 teams shy away from Lotulelei due his heart issue, Cleveland might snatch him up in a “Best Player Available” scenario.

 

12. Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes CB (Florida State)

Although the Dolphins recently signed Brent Grimes, their defense could still stand to acquire a talented cornerback.  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.

 

13New York Jets: Jonathan Cooper OG/C (North Carolina)

The Jets could go in a number of different ways at #13 overall, but it would not shock me in the least if they made Jonathan Cooper their pick.  Now that Brandon Moore is gone, the Jets could instantly upgrade their offensive line with the versatile Cooper (6’2″ 311 lbs.) who might even stand in for some reps as Nick Mangold’s backup at center.  The former Tar Heel was a 4-year starter at North Carolina (48 games), and possesses tremendous agility for an interior offensive lineman.


14Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson DT (Missouri)

Although the Panthers’ 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, the agile and powerful Richardson (6’3″ 295 lbs.) burst on the scene in 2012 when he racked up 75 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, and 4.0 sacks over Missouri’s 11 games.

 

15. New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones OLB (Georgia)

The Saints could stand to acquire a 3-4 pass-rusher this offseason.  New Defensive Coordinator Rob 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.  At least to me, Jones 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.

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