A NFL Mock Draft is an uneducated guess. I’ll cop to that.
My first 2013 NFL Mock Draft starts with a name you would probably expect to see there and ends with a name that you might not. In between, there is plenty of variation.
There are about two months between now and the NFL Draft and this mock draft will change quite a bit between now and then. For now, consider this a mock draft if the NFL Draft were held immediately after the NFL Scouting Combine. I’ll bring you my next mock draft around March 15. A good mock draft should be a prediction of what you think that particular team will take. That takes some doing, so this story represents my best guess.
Who’s No. 1?
No. 1: Kansas City: OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
The Chiefs are locked and loaded to trade for San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith. If that’s the case, that’ll hold the Chiefs for a couple of years and they can go after the blind side protector they’ll need for the next 10. Don’t buy the Eric Fisher hype. He’s great, but Joeckel is still No. 1.
No. 2: Jacksonville: DE Bjoren Werner, Florida State
This is a bad team with a plethora of needs. New head coach Gus Bradley is a defensive guy. The Jags will keep it local here and take Werner. However, I’m not entirely sure Texas A&M’s Damontre Moore wouldn’t be a better selection here. Florida’s Shariff Floyd is being slotted here in other mocks.
No. 3: Oakland: DE Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
Pick a defender, any defender. The Raiders need everything. A pass rusher like Moore makes sense here, though the Raiders could go with Floyd here, too. Some mocks have Moore dropping into the 20s because of his combine workouts, but he has more than two months to correct that.
No. 4: Philadelphia: OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
The Eagles are making the move to the 3-4 formation and Jones thrived in it at Georgia. The Eagles won’t be able to pass on him, as long as his medical checks out. Some have him dropping to No. 15 because of that. But I need to hear more before I drop him out of this spot.
No. 5: Detroit: CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
For now, we’ll stick with defense, and Miller fills a need. But don’t be surprised if the Lions flirt with wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. The Lions have next-to-nothing to take the heat off Calvin Johnson.
No. 6: Cleveland: WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
With a new offensive-minded coaching staff the thought is they’ll get quarterback Brandon Weeden another toy to play with. The hope is that a better receiver will make the quarterback better. We’ll see.
No. 7: Arizona: OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
I don’t think new coach Bruce Arians is going to get fooled into taking a quarterback that isn’t a lead-pipe lock to make his team better. Fisher, who is rising up draft boards with his speed and strength, makes more sense.
No. 8: Buffalo: QB Mike Glennon, North Carolina State
The Bills are going to reach to give their offensive-minded new head coach, Dave Marrone, a new toy. Some have Geno Smith here, but is Smith really a fit for what Marrone wants to do?
No. 9: New York Jets: DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
Assuming all is good with Lotulelei’s heart, I can’t see the defensive-minded Rex Ryan passing on this guy. Lotulelei is one of those guys you find room for when he falls this far.
No. 10: Tennessee: OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
The Titans could be all over the place here. Safety Kenny Vaccaro is an option. So is Alabama guard Chase Warmack. The Titans want to shore up the inside of their offensive line and I think they’ll see Cooper as a slightly better option.
No. 11: San Diego: OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
The Chargers need better protection for QB Phillip Rivers. Johnson is on a nice upward tick, thanks to a good overall performance in the NFL Scouting Combine. He can play either side of the line.
No. 12: Miami: CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State.
The expectation is that Miami will spend plenty in free agency. So I think they’ll draft where they don’t spend. I think Miami will spend money on OT Jake Long and a wide receiver, so the smart pick here is Rhodes, the No. 2 corner on the board. He addresses a real need in Miami’s defense.
No. 13: Tampa Bay: DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
Ansah is soaring up draft boards, so this isn’t out of the question. The Bucs are in flux at defensive end, and if Michael Bennett leaves in free agency the Bucs won’t go into 2013 without a way to rush the passer.
No. 14: Carolina: DT Shariff Floyd, Florida
In a draft full of talented tackles, the Panthers will be tickled that the player some consider to be the No. 1 defensive tackle in the draft falls to them. Note: Many mocks have Floyd going sooner, but I’m not convinced yet.
No. 15: New Orleans:OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU
It’s nice when you don’t have to go far to find talent. With the move to the 3-4 defense, coached by new coordinator Rob Ryan, the Saints need a pass-rushing linebacker. Well there you go.
No. 16: St. Louis: FS Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
The Rams have practically nothing at this position with the impending free agency of Ryan Dahl. Offensive line is a priority, too, but Vaccaro can step in immediately.
No. 17: Pittsburgh: DE Dion Jordan, Oregon
Jordan, at 248 pounds, isn’t big enough to be a traditional 4-3 end. He has to go to a team that plays the 3-4 and be a pass rushing outside linebacker. This is like landing in 3-4 heaven and Pittsburgh will love life if Jordan falls to this point.
No. 18: Dallas: DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
The Cowboys have to address both lines, and they’ll start with defense because they had to identify an under tackle for the future. Richardson knows how to get behind the line of scrimmage, both against the run and pass. If Floyd falls he’s a possibility here. So is Purdue’s Kawaan Short. So is an offensive lineman like Alabama’s Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker. If the Cowboys decide to part ways with Doug Free, this could change to offensive line quickly. But given the commitment the Cowboys are making to defense, it almost demands a first-round pick to address the Cover 2’s key position.
Check out my latest Mock Talk article at RattleandHumSports.com to see what other experts are having the Cowboys select at No. 18.
No. 19: New York Giants: DE Datone Jones, UCLA
The Giants are probably hoping that Ansah falls to them here. He won’t, unless he has a horrible pro day. Jones is a nice consolation prize for a team that could use a little more fuel up front on the defensive line.
No. 20: Chicago: OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama
I don’t see how the Bears pass on Fluker, as they need help to protect QB Jay Cutler. Fluker is massive and could actually stand to lose a few pounds to start immediately in new head coach Marc Trestman’s offense.
No. 21: Cincinnati: DE Sam Montgomery, LSU
The Bengals could lose up to three defensive linemen to free agency, including two ends. Montgomery could help replenish their stash immediately. This was the best defensive line in football last season. Montgomery can fit right in.
No. 22: St. Louis: TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
Think about this for a second. Would you rather have a player like a Tavon Austin, who at 5-foot-9 could be a bit of a reach, or a more reliable, more predictable player like Eifert? The Rams need some help at tight end and Eifert is by far No. 1 on the board. He’ll create space on the edge for whomever the Rams have at receiver.
No. 23: Minnesota: WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
Percy Harvin is on his way out the door. I don’t think Austin has quite Harvin’s talent, but at least he doesn’t have a history of migraines. I’m not a fan of Austin’s size. I think it limits him. But the Vikings have nothing outside of Adrian Peterson and Kyle Rudolph, and QB Christian Ponder needs more weapons.
No. 24: Indianapolis: CB Desmond Trufant, Washington
The Colts clearly need an upgrade on the outside of their pass defense. Plus, they could lose both their starting corners in free agency. Trufant can step on the field from Day 1 and contribute.
No. 25: Seattle: DT Kawaan Short, Purdue
Seattle’s already stout defense would get a lot better with Short, who can rush the passer and get behind the line of scrimmage from the inside. Short may go earlier than this, but if he doesn’t don’t blame Seattle for pulling the trigger.
No. 26: Green Bay: C Barrett Jones, Alabama
I’m having a hard time with the way the Outland and Rimington Trophy winner is being treated. Most scouts are looking at the three-time national champion as a second-round pick. I disagree. His versatility and ability make him a first-round pick and once it’s clear his foot problem isn’t a long-term issue, the Packers will use this pick to select their successor to Jeff Saturday at center and groom him for a position change later.
No. 27: Houston: WR Robert Woods, USC
The Texans may go after a free agent to put opposite Andre Johnson. If not, Woods is a great choice with a great track record. He’ll take some of the heat off the veteran and be a great candidate to be the man in that offense one day.
No. 28: Denver: ILB Kevin Minter, LSU