April 25th marks the official beginning of the 2013 NFL Draft (April 26 in Australia). That will be the day when combine times, pro days and individual practices will all mean little to nothing.
Enough with all the mumbo jumbo, it’s time to get these guys on teams to really show what they can do.
Here is a mock draft of the 1st round:
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Luke Joeckel should be the No. 1 pick when the commissioner steps to the podium. Joeckel is a beast on the ground and through the air. Upgrading the offensive line is never a bad idea especially with a first round draft selection.
When you draft No. 1 overall you want somebody who can step in right away and play at a high level. Joeckel is that guy.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Geno Smith, QB, West
Jacksonville needs a quarterback. It starts and ends there.
Blaine Gabbert hasn’t worked out the way they wanted him to, they don’t want Tim Tebow and there is nobody on the roster that is capable of being a top NFL quarterback.
Is West Virginia’s Geno Smith capable of being THAT guy? For a decent portion of this past college football season, yes, but what about the other portion?
Smith has unbelievable talent but this would be a reach, but it’s a reach Jacksonville will think about because they need a talented quarterback.
Best case scenario for Jacksonville would be trading down and acquiring more picks. They still may have a chance for Smith if they decide to go that route.
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Oakland needs help on its defensive line. Sharrif Floyd may be the best defensive player in the draft.
It seems pretty logical that Oakland would go this direction.
Also, with the loss of Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour’s voided contract, getting younger and deeper on the line should be how Oakland approaches the draft.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher, OT, Central
No. 4 could potentially be a great landing spot for Geno Smith because of the way he plays and new head coach Chip Kelly’s offensive flare. However, Smith could very well be gone before this pick.
If he is gone, Eric Fisher from Central Michigan would be a solid option to upgrade Philadelphia’s depleted and need-of-an-upgrade offensive line. He is the second best tackle prospect in the draft.
5. Detroit Lions: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU
No Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril means Detroit will and should be looking for an upgrade on the defensive side of the ball.
Ezekial Ansah from BYU would be a great fit. He is one of those hit-or-miss type of players so taking him this high could be a risk but he’s a talent you just can’t pass up if you’re the Lions.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Cleveland’s defense is top-of-the-league talented. They have the youthful pieces together to be a strong group for years to come. Why not improve upon that talent?
Drafting arguably the best cornerback in this year’s draft class, Dee Milliner, seems like a pretty good option.
Milliner played on Alabama’s rugged championship defense and looked fantastic in the process. He is a big 6’1” corner who is steady. He won’t blow you away with his play-making ability but he will continue to excel in the NFL with his consistency and fundamentals.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
Arizona needs somebody who is versatile on the defensive side of the ball. Enter Dion Jordan from Oregon.
He can play on the line or as an outside linebacker.
8. Buffalo Bills: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Buffalo, are you confident in Kevin Kolb as your future quarterback? You can’t be. He was overpaid in Arizona, lackluster when he was on the field and, more often than not, was injured. You have to either get a backup later in the draft or, if you believe in your scouting, take the best quarterback available at the time.
Matt Barkley isn’t expected to go this high but he would be the next best quarterback option. Once a possible No. 1 pick, Barkley has the talent to be a high, first round draft pick.
Buffalo should pull the trigger with Barkley or trade down, gather picks and select Barkley or Ryan Nassib later in the draft.
9. New York Jets: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Jarvis Jones in a New York Jets uniform just seems right. We all know what Jones can do after his demolishing hit against Michigan.
Jones can rush the quarterback (14.5 sacks last season) and play the run. He is a high production kind of guy with a ceiling that is to the sky.
10. Tennessee Titans: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Tennessee is still missing cornerback Cortland Finnegan. Tennessee allowed 247.8 yards per game through the air last season which was 26th in the league.
Improving upon its secondary has to be a priority in the draft. It will all depend on when they want to do the improving.
Why not in the first round? Xavier Rhodes is a solid option at No. 10 with Milliner off the board. He is an active, big corner who is first round worthy.
11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
San Diego will jump all over the opportunity to add Lane Johnson to its roster. From a fit perspective, it clearly makes sense.
12. Miami Dolphins: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Miami won’t be thrilled about not seeing Milliner or Rhodes; however, they will be happy to select Desmond Trufant.
Bottom line: they need to upgrade the secondary because of the loss to Sean Smith and Trufant will be the best option. It’s either select him with the pick or trade down, gather picks and select him at a lower selection.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Lotulelei, DT, Utah
How do you not pass on Star Lotulelei if he’s available at this point of the draft? He had a great combine and is a freakishly athletic big man.
Tampa Bay’s best years came when Warren Sapp was plugged in the middle of the defense. Lotulelei could be that type of figure on the defensive line.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Carolina could use a force on the defensive line and Sheldon Richardson might be its best option at this time of the draft.
Any time you can add a dominating defensive tackle, you have to take the risk.
15. New Orleans Saints: Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas
New Orleans will take a hard look at Kenny Vaccaro at the No. 15 position of the draft. If he is on the board, which I suspect he will be, don’t be surprised to see New Orleans upgrade its secondary in a big way.
With the recent defensive lapses in New Orleans, this pick would make sense for the future.
16. St. Louis Rams: Chance Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Sam Bradford and St. Louis have been looking for an upgrade on the perimeter. Now, after losing Danny Amendola to New England, this pick is even clearer.
If Tavon Austin is on the board, expect him to be the selection.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
Who knows what the Pittsburgh Steelers are doing this offseason. However, you have to trust Kevin Colbert and the front office, right?
All he has done for most of his tenure is produce quality draft classes. At the same token, we haven’t seen the same type of zip recently.
Without James Harrison on the roster, maybe the Steelers will go with Barkevious Mingo from LSU. He would be a solid fit but judging by the history of Pittsburgh, they will certainly add linebackers later in the draft.
But judging by the Steelers’ offseason, who knows how they’ll approach the draft.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Dallas will be happy to select one of the best guards in the draft class, Chance Warmack.
19. New York Giants: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida
Jerry Reese put together two teams that won Super Bowls. How you ask? He started by collecting fierce pass rushers on the defensive front-four.
If they see a talent like Bjoern Werner, it will be difficult to pass on the defensive end from Florida State. You can never have too much depth on the defensive line.
20. Chicago Bears: Jonathan Cooper, G/C, North
Protecting quarterback Jay Cutler has been a priority since he came to Chicago. That theme must continue because the Bears are still allowing a lot of pressure.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Matt Elam, S, Florida
With Vaccaro off the board, Cincinnati will draft the next best safety and that is arguably Matt Elam from Florida.
The Bengals have a youthful defense with studs littered across the field. They have and will continue to make additions to that defense in order to compete in a defense-first AFC North.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins) Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
With the drafting of Tavon Austin in this mock, St. Louis, who has two selections in the first round, will select a linebacker.
Alec Ogletree would be a nice fit for the Rams.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
With Tavon Austin off the board, the next logical option for Minnesota is Cordarrelle Patterson.
They already signed Greg Jennings, what better way to prove if Christian Ponder is legit than picking up another wide receiver?
24. Indianapolis Colts: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Indianapolis must upgrade the defensive line. If it’s not Damontre Moore, it has to be the next best defensive end option.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
Minnesota will be looking to upgrade its defensive line, especially at the defensive tackle position.
Sylvester Williams will be the most logical option.
26. Green Bay Packers: Keenan Allen, WR, California
With Greg Jennings out of the picture, Green Bay will eye a wide receiver with this pick. He won’t be the same mold as Jennings but Keenan Allen will receive a big look from Green Bay at No. 26.
His 40-time might be slow, 4.7 seconds, but the kid can play at a high level.
27. Houston Texans: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Andre Johnson can’t be the lone, big-time weapon in Houston if they plan on winning a Super Bowl. This is a passing league and the Texans need more options outside who can beat their defender 1-on-1.
DeAndre Hopkins has that type of skill set, and he should be available with the No. 27 selection.
28. Denver Broncos: Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State
With Elvis Dumervil now in Baltimore, Denver must use a high pick on a quality defensive end. Preferably one who can find the quarterback more often than not.
Tank Carradine is that type of player and he would be a great fit to replace Dumervil.
29. New England Patriots: Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
New England’s secondary has been the real major concern for the past several years. Last year, the Patriots ranked 29th in the NFL in passing yards allowed.
Just imagine how great they would be if they corrected that area. Maybe they win two more Super Bowls.
Instead, they continue to get burned. They must fix the problem now by drafting a cornerback. Jamar Taylor is getting some interest in the first round and the Patriots will be one of those teams with interest.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Atlanta could go multiple directions with this pick but it will be essential to upgrade the secondary.
Johnthan Banks seems like the best option on the board at No. 29.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
San Francisco is a front-runner to win the Super Bowl. They have the offense, the defense and now the experience in the big games.
They need to go for the best impact player possible with this selection.
They may think Jonathan Cyprien is the right guy with this pick because of his ability to do multiple things in the secondary.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Baltimore needs to replace Anquan Boldin. Justin Hunter is creating a lot of buzz with his 40-time and other impressions.
Hunter may be a second round option but his skill set does suggest that he could slip into the end of the first round.