Friday, January 25, 2013

2013 Mock Draft 1.0

Ok friends... I do apoligize for falling off the wagon after the third week of the season this year.  I had some personal issues to deal with and then a small advertising dispute that had to get fixed before I could get back to posting.  So, now I'm back, and we are back onto football again.

This is the fist mock draft for the 2013 NFL draft.  This week has been the practices for the Senior Bowl, and some players, including Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson have really helped themselves out.  So without further discussion, onto the picks.

1.       Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Joeckel, OT, TAMU
Andy Reid is the new boss in town, and this team needs some rebuilding.  I am not sold on Matt Cassell as a starter in the league, but there is no one in this draft at the QB position worthy of the first overall pick.  There are however a few players who could go here.  I think in the end, Reid chooses Joeckle, who is currently the top OT on my board.  Remember that all QBs look the same on their back, so keeping whomever is behind center upright has got to be a priority.

2.       Jacksonville Jaguars – Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
The Jags are also going to be under new leadership in 2013.  Gus Bradley earned his stripes as the DC in Seattle.  There, he was fond of putting pressure on the QB with speed off the edge.  This cuts the decision down to Demontre Moore from TAMU or Jarvis Jones from Georgia.  I think Jones is more flexible than Moore, and I think he can line up either in the dirt or upright. Although both will be good, and both are rated highly on my board, I think Bradley pushes for and gets Jarvis Jones to anchor is new defense.

3.       Oakland Raiders – Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Raiders have themselves a few holes to be filled this offseason, but I see none as a higher priority than at corner.  Dee Milliner was the best corner in the nation this year, on the best defense in the country, against the best competition anywhere. Milliner can do everything you want from a corner, and I think he will be a great addition to the Oakland secondary.

4.       Philadelphia Eagles – Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Eagles struggled again this year, and it resulted in Andy Reid's dismissal.  Now, the exciting Chip Kelly has arrived from Oregon, and many are expecting this team to light up the scoreboard.  Oh boy, the Eagles and their expectations.  I think the best move for this team would be to get sturdy up front.  The points can't come if the offense is stuck in neutral, and without a strong front, it will be.  Eric Fisher is 6-7, and he is flying up draft boards after a fantastic season, and a very strong senior bowl.

5.       Detroit Lions – Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Am I crazy?  A guard at 5 overall?  I know it's a bit nuts, but Warmack could be the best guard to ever come out of college football.  EVER.  I rarely notice guards on the field, unless of course they screw up, ut Warmack makes his presence known on every snap.  The Lions we good two years ago, but they allowed too much pressure on Stafford this year, and that needs to change.  Warmack has the right makeup to lead this o-line for the next dozen years.

6.       Cleveland Browns – Demontre Moore, DE, TAMU
Moore is a beast of a ball player, and I think he has the potential to be a boom or bust type player.  The Browns are another team in need of an overhaul.  The front office and coaching staff has turned over, and they need to bring some excitement to this club.  "De Monster", as he is known, will fit that bill.  He could be exactly what this defense needs to turn it all around.

7.       Arizona Cardinals - Matt Barkley, QB, USC
The Arizona Cardinals are one of a few QB hungry teams this year wishing they got in on the action in the QB class of a year ago.  As of this writing, I am seeing a lot of experts calling for West Virginia QB, Geno Smith to be the first signal caller off the board.  I don't think Smith will cut it as a pro.  To me, he is a lot more Pat White than RG3, and this doesn't bode well for him.  Barkley is still my top signal caller in the draft, and although there are some questions, I think he could end up being a good, solid starter.  He probably wont be a superstar, but I'm not sure any from this class will be.

8.       Buffalo Bills - Bjoern Warner, DE, Florida State
The Bills are one of those QB needy teams I referred to earlier.  In fact, I suspect they will try to leap the Cards in the draft order to grab Barkley on draft day.  However, this is not a trade draft, so in this mock, they stay put and address their defense instead.  Warner is a very solid all around player, who really came into his own this season.  With the addition of Super Mario last offseason, and then Werner here, I think the Bill defense will be in good shape for the next decade or so.

9.       New York Jets - Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
My goodness are the Jets a mess.  They kept Rex Ryan at the helm, but replaced Mike Tannenbaum.  Then they dropped both coordinators too.  This team needs to get a new leader under center, but there is no one worth grabbing here, and I am not convinced the franchise is ready to give up on Sanchez.  Last year the looked to Quentin Coples early, but he has not emerged as the leader they have hoped.  This year, they go with the safer Barkevious Mingo, who has great upside, without as much risk.  I see them looking hard at DJ Fluker too, but this team doesn't seem to think the o-line is an issue.

10.  Tennessee Titans - Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
The Titans are a team that is making progress.  It may not be as fast as some would like, but I do think this team is moving in the right overall direction.  Jake Locker is emerging as the leader of the future for this franchise, and to help him along the team needs to do a better job at protecting him.  Although they do have some needs at the tackle spot, I see the need inside to be greater, and with Jonathan Cooper still available, I think this make sense.

11.  San Diego Chargers - Manti Te'o
The night before the National Championship game, this pick was a no brainer.  The Chargers need matched so perfectly with the west coast native and his big game play.  Then came the poor play in the title game, followed by what might just be the most bizarre story to have ever happened to a college football player.  Now we have a guy with talent, but some real personality / ethical questions to answer.  Still, I think football wins out, and soon enough, we will all forget about Manti Te'o and the catfish story.

12.   Miami Dolphins – Robert Woods, WR, USC
Miami took some steps forward in 2012, but they have some holes still to be filled.  The two most noticeable right now are at wide out and corner.  I hear the Phins are going to push to land Mike Wallace on the free agent market, but they also need help beyond him.  Robert Woods has fallen down many boards with the subpar season the Trojans had this year, but he still is ranked as the number one receiver on my board (barely).  He also projects a smidgen higher than the top corner remaining, Xavier Rhodes, so he gets the call.

13.   Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
A year ago the Bucs opted not to fill their hole at corner, and they paid for it big time this year.  Now, it is an absolute must for this franchise to come away from the offseason with two new starters at the corner position.  An additional OLB, S, and RT are also needed.  Plus the team could be in the market for a QB too.  Of all of those needs, corner is clearly the most significant, and the talent Xavier Rhodes will be the man to get the call.  He can run, cover, and tackle, all of the things the Bucs currently struggle with in the secondary.

14.   Carolina Panthers - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Cam Newton struggled a bit early in his second season, but then came back to show his rookie season was not a fluke. Still for him to reach his full potential, he will need a target besides the aging Steve Smith.  Patterson is a big play receiver who made a name for himself early in the season, and kept up his good play throughout.  Putting him opposite Smith could give Newton some more options to make plays, and help Carolina win some more games.

15.   New Orleans Saints - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
So the disaster that was the Saints 2012 season is now finally over.  Payton is back on the New Orleans sideline with a new contract in hand.  He also made some changes to the defense, firing Steve Spags and will be installing a new 3-4 defense designed to pick up the speed.  To make this transition successful, they are going to need the right player to put in the middle of the defensive front, and Star Louulelei is that guy.  He can dominate at the point of attack, and this will serve New Orleans well.

16.   St Louis Rams - DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama
The Rams made some strides from a year ago, but now they need to capitalize on another draft to continue to rebuild.  Sam Bradford has talent, but it is difficult for him to showcase that talent when he gets hit on every play.  DJ Fluker was one of the cornerstones of the Alabama o-line which may have been the best college o-line ever.  He can be an impact player in the NFL, and the Rams are counting on it.

17.   Pittsburgh Steelers - Johnathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Pittsburgh was hit very hard by injuries this past season, so their record is not really reflective of their talent level.  The secondary, was the worst hit of the areas, and this draft will give them an opportunity to reinforce this unit, and build some real depth.  Johnathan Banks is a quality defender, who cut his teeth in the tough SEC.  He will bring a speed and mentality to this defense that will be welcome.

18.   Dallas Cowboys - Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Last offseason, the cowboys spent a lot of money to try and improve the secondary.  They also traded up to add corner Mo Claiborne.  Despite all of this, the biggest hole for the Boys is still in the secondary.  This year I expect them to look a few hours south, to Austin, where the top corner in this draft, Kenny Vaccaro has played his college ball. Adding the Longhorn product will not only be well received by the fans, but could really help on the field too.

19.   New York Giants - Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The Giants disappointed many this year when they failed to make the playoffs only one season after winning the Super Bowl.  One of the biggest issues was the inconsistent play of star QB Eli Manning.  One of the biggest reasons for his play was the inconsistent play of the o-line in front of him.  Lane Johnson has been flying up boards recently, after really shining at the Senior Bowl practices.  He has nice upside, but is already a guy who could be a solid contributor.

20.   Chicago Bears - Chris Faulk, OT, LSU
The biggest issue the Bears have faced over the last three seasons is the porous o-line they have.  This has created erattic play from Cutler, and thus, inconsistent results.  Lovie Smith has been let go, and now Marc Trestman will try and help Cutler reach his potential.  To do this, they need to protect him better.  They also need targets not named Brandon Marshall, but that will have to come in the next few rounds.  Chris Faulk was the best player on one of the better o-lines in the SEC.  He has good power, and can both run and pass block well.

21.  Cincinnati Bengals - Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
The Bengals continue to improve.  They still have some holes though.  I think another RB and WR will both be drafted this year, but I see that happening in later rounds.  Here, I think the Bengals would be best served adding some speed to the defense.  Dion Jordan is very fast and talented.  He can play either up or down, and I see him filling an Aldon Smith type role for Cincinnati.  This is a great pick at this point.

22.   St Louis Rams via Washington - Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Thanks to the RG3 deal a year ago, the Rams have another pick here in the first round.  After addressing the o-line with the previous selection, now they can focus on the d-line.  Getting a sturdy edge rusher would be a great addition for this team.  Ansah does not ave the most polished game, but he is loaded with raw talent and upside.  It worked out well a few seasons ago for the Giants with Jason Pierre Paul, so now I expect Jeff Fisher to role the dice.

23.  Minnesota Vikings - Keenan Allen, WR, Claifornia
Minnesota was considerably better than I expected this year.  I still don't care for Ponder as a starter, but if the Vikes are to continue to improve, he will need more weapons.  Matt Kalil added the presence up front they needed.  Now they need a target other than Percy Harvin. Keenan Allen is in the top tier of WRs in this years class, and will be a good addition to this offense.  Minnesota is luck he is still available at this point.

24.   Indianapolis Colts - Barrett Jones, C, Alabama
I said it on the day of the national championship, but no one seemed to believe that Alabama could have three first rounder all from the o-line.  Barrett Jones is one of the most versatile o-linemen around.  He can, and has played center, guard, and tackle, all at an exceptionally high level.  Andrew Luck was hit more times than any other QB last year, so the Colts have to protect their budding superstar.  Having Jones gives them a great player, and all kinds of options.

25.  Seattle Seahawks - Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
This Seattle club is getting close.  In fact, despite the success of the Niners this year, they could go in as one of the favorites in the NFC next season.  DC Gus Bradley has left, but I expect this team to continue to play great defensive football.  Adding a player like Johnathan Hankins would provide them the stregnth and size in the middle of that defensive line to help occupy blockers and clog running lanes.  This could help make a good defense even better.

26.   Green Bay Packers - Alec Olgletree, LB, Georgia
The Pack was a little disappointing to me this year, as they began the year my favorite for the Super Bowl.  Despite not winning it all, they are still a very good team, who only needs a few pieces for it to all come together. Adding a stud RB should be their top priority, but there is not a RB worth taking at this point.  Eddy Lacy could get consideration though.  Adding some depth at corner and linebacker would be their next look, and Alec Ogletree would be the pick.  He was a standout for a very goo Bulldogs team, and I think he would add a lot to this Green Bay defense.

27.  Houston Texans - Kevin Minter, LB, LSU
Despite coming into the season as everyone's favorite "under the radar" pick, the Texans still had a lot of expectations placed on them.  When they didn't make the AFC title game, many were disappointed.  This is a good team, that still needs a few pieces. Trading away Demeco Ryans hurt this defense and they need to try and replace him.  Kevin Minter was outstanding at LSU, and the Texans are going to hope he can bring it with him to the NFL.

28.  Denver Broncos - Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Peyton Manning is the man.  He comes to Denver after "career threatening" injuries, and propels this team to the top of the AFC.  Sure, they lost a close one to the Ravens in the AFC Championship, but man does this Manning fella make a difference.  Now to take some final steps before next season's run at the crown.  One of the most used weapons by Manning during his Indy days was his TE.  Currently, the Broncos TEs are serviceable  but not great.  Adding a weapon like Eifert could make this offense even more dangerous, and just watch out then.

29.   New England Patriots - Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
It appears that this offseason, the Pats are going to lose one of Tom Brady's most reliable weapons, Wes Welker. Sure the pats have some talent to fill in that gap, but adding a dynamic playmaker on the outside could push them right back to the top of the AFC.  They brough in Brandon Llyod to be that guy.  Fail.  Now they can look to Justin Hunter who has some serious upside.

30.   Atlanta Falcons - Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
Last year, Stanford TE Coby Fleener was the top name in the NFL draft amongst TEs.  Good for him, because although he was an Andrew Luck favorite, he was not the best TE on that Cardinal team. That honor belongs to Zach Ertz.  Ertz would be joing a team that Hall-of-Famer to be Tony Gonzalez just retired from.  This team has some real dynamic weapons, and played good football this year. If Ertz can come in and mostly replace Gonzalez, this team could push again.

31.   Baltimore Ravens – Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
I called the Ravens being the AFC Champs at the beginning of the season, and they did not disappoint.   Ray Lewis has announced that this is going to be the end to his Hall-of-Fame career, and the Ravens will need to find a replacement for him.  Unfortunately for them, they are picking too low to get their hands on Ogletree or Minter.  They may also look at center with likely retirement of Matt Birk.  Travis Frederick will get some consideration with this pick, but in the end, they will goo with best available.  At this point, that honor will belong to Sam Montgomery.  He is a very talented DE who can come in and learn.

32.   San Francisco 49ers - Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
So the NFC Champs are the NFC Champs because they are a very good team, without many holes to fill.  This pick at the end of the first round is really a luxury pick.  Sharrif Floyd is a big boy who can clog up the middle, and be a significant presence in the defense.  There will be a lot of contenders for the Niners crown next season, so adding a talent like Floyd will be good thing for this team.