2013: NFL Mock Draft Picks 1-17
The NFL Draft is always a fun time of the NFL Off-season as it brings hope to fans that the draft picks could help turn around their teams misfortune or continued success. It is exciting but looking back three years from this point, as a fan, we often realize how wrong we are in thinking "Oh this guy is going to be a star, just trust me!" As a fan, realistically, how often are we actually right in making a bold statement like that? Answer is, not often at all. That is after all the fun in the draft though as it brings hope and intrigue. Everyone loves the NFL, and the off-season can often be a very boring part of the year to fans. Thus the draft is just a deterant from their boredom in hopes that they are seeing the start of bigger and better things with their beloved franchise. The other part that is fun in the time leading up to the actual draft is seeing all the mock drafts in the meantime, so up until the day of the draft I will continue to update my own mock draft.
1. Kansas City Chiefs - DT Shariff Floyd, Florida
The Chiefs have done an excellent job of addressing needs throughout free agency, it remains to be seen whether or not those picks will workout but Andy Reid and the new regime deserve credit for what they have done to their roster. The defense looks to be rather formidable, but they have a glaring to add toughness and talent to their defensive line. Shariff Floyd ranks as one of the best prospects in the draft and would add a presence to their defensive line with his speed and power. Floyd would pair well with Dontari Poe, Tyson Jackson and Mike Devito. It is a tough and very talented group of defensive lineman for their 3-4 front.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars - OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
This pick could go in any direction as the Jaguars have more holes then Swiss cheese. They lack a quarterback, but there isn't a quarterback in the draft that really warrants a top ten pick. They lack a pass rush and also any quality starting cornerbacks. With a new head coach in the fold in the form of Gus Bradley, you can expect him to focus on building a defense similar to the one he helped create in Seattle. However, his offensive line could use an upgrade as well. Luke Joeckel has been widely regarded as one of the top players in the draft for a long time as his game projects well to the NFL and would provide the Jaguars a perennial All-Pro tackle for many years too come.
3. Oakland Raiders - OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
The Raiders are very often one of the most difficult teams to gauge going into a draft. It is clear that they need an upgrade to their pass rush, and one way or another this draft pick will be spent on a defensive lineman. The Raiders are expected to release Richard Seymour leaving a hole at the defensive tackle position that Floyd could step into from day one and be an impact player for them for many years to come. So if Floyd falls here, he would be the pick. Eric Fisher would provide the Raiders a Pro Bowl caliber offensive tackle for many years, which is a commodity you can never really pass up.
4. Philadelphia Eagles - DE/OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon
Chip Kelly will be coming into Philadelphia and his first draft pick will be a tough one. His offense will improve under his tutelage but it will be interesting to see if he uses this pick to draft his stud pass rusher from Oregon to help build the new 4-3/3-4 hybrid defense that he is implementing or help shore up the offensive line. During the free agent period the Eagles have done a tremendous job of addressing their needs on the defensive side to the point that they don't exactly have to draft for need. However, in drafting a player of the likes of Dion Jordan, it gives the Eagles defense a ferocious pass rusher in the vein of Aldon Smith. It is surely a tough decision that with either pick, Kelly will be helping either side of the ball.
5. Detroit Lions - DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
The season is over and yet the Lions defense is still giving up yards, too soon? In order for the Lions to continue to improve and stop being a lottery team they need to add pieces to both sides of the ball and not just on offense. The Lions offense will be solid year in and year out with Stafford and Calvin Johnson but the defense needs a consistent pass rush and solid secondary play. When you look at the division they are in, that should be an immediate concern for them considering they play Aaron Rodgers twice a year. With Cliff Avril gone in free agency and Kyle Vanden Bosch gone via retirement, the Lions will look to Anzah to upgrade their pass rush.
6. Cleveland Browns - CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
It may just be strange to hear, but the Browns are a team on the rise. It may have not shown in this previous season but they have slowly been putting together a solid team. They are making a change to a 3-4 defense to be much more physical and considering the division they are in, why not. Dee Milliner is a physical corner and pairing him alongside Joe Haden will give the Browns the best duo of cornerbacks in the AFC North. The Browns have done a terrific job of addressing needs through free agency in their transition to a 3-4 defense. They have added players like Paul Kruger and Desmond Bryant who fit perfectly into the scheme. Milliner will also fit into their new physical scheme
7. Arizona Cardinals - OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
Yes, the Cardinals could use a quarterback but frankly none of the quarterbacks in this draft class really warrant a top ten pick. It is also seems that new coach Bruce Arians is set to go into camp with Drew Stanton (who knows his system) and Brian Hoyer at the position. This pick is made easier though because the best player left on the board fits a huge need for the Cardinals as they have lacked an adequate offensive line even back in their relevant years. Lane Johnson may not be getting the hype that Fisher or Luke Joeckel is getting but in terms of talent he isn’t too far off. Johnson projects to being a very good pro with the potential of being an all-star level tackle in the league.
8. Buffalo Bills - QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
Granted, I have said that no one quarterback deserves to be picked in the top ten of this draft, it’ll still happen. It would have happened with the first pick if Andy Reid did not make a trade for Alex Smith. The Bills need a change at quarterback as Ryan Fitzpatrick has regressed ever since they gave him a contract extension, and not to long after the free agent period had begun, he found himself cut from the team. Geno Smith may not be worthy of a top ten pick, but he fits a need that the Bills are a bit desperate for. It wouldn't even shock anyone if the Bills attempt to trade up to make sure they do indeed draft Geno.
9. New York Jets - WR Cordarelle Patterson, Tennessee
This pick is really a coin toss. It wouldn't surprise me if they pick a pass rusher as they cut the only relevant outside linebacker on their roster or Cordarelle Patterson. The Jets have no weapons to work with Mark Sanchez and as a whole their offense is a joke. The same can be said about their defense as well though as both sides of the ball need an overhaul of talent. It is surprising to see considering how they were just at the AFC Championship two years in a row not too long ago. Patterson will be a tough prospect for them to pass up on over someone like, say Barkevious Mingo or even Jarvis Jones. No one would blame them if they go either direction, but the more glaring need is on the offensive side of the ball.
10. Tennessee Titans - DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State
The Titans filled a need at the guard position by signing Andy Levitre on the opening day of free agency and if they hadn't I would project them to pick either Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper here. Instead, the Titans fill a different need a defensive end. The Titans have missed quite a bit on that position as of late but Werner is the best fit for the scheme they run and quite frankly he projects to be the best 4-3 defensive end in the draft. With the way the league is changing, you could never have enough pass rushers as the position is constantly a need for most teams.
11. San Diego Chargers - DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
Philip Rivers has regressed ever since the abrupt retirement of Marcus McNeill two years ago. Go figure, a legitimate left tackle retires, and the quarterback he was protecting suffers. The Chargers failed to fix that problem by giving Rivers a competent starting left tackle. However, the top tier offensive lineman are taken in the draft. It wouldn't surprise me to see them attempt to move up in the draft. If not and they stand pat on this draft pick then Lotulelei makes a lot of sense for them. Before his heart condition came up at the draft combine he was projected as a top five pick.
12. Miami Dolphins - CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
The Dolphins have lost Vontae Davis and now presumably Sean Smith in the span of a year. That leaves a glaring hole at the corner back position. Rhodes is an extremely physical corner much in the vein of a Brandon Browner in fact. He has quite the talent at jamming a wide receiver at the line and considering the Dolphins are in a division with the Patriots, that is a welcome commodity. If the Dolphins did not sign Mike Wallace then you could have seen them possible draft Keenan Allen or Tavon Austin here. The wide receiver position is set, rather quickly seeing the signing of Wallace and now Brandon Gibson. Tannenhill will have plenty of weapons now with Wallace, Hartline, Gibson and even Dustin Keller. The defense and offensive line should be the focus of their draft.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
The Buccaneers made strides this season under new head coach Greg Schiano but in order to continue to get better the defense needs to improve. Albeit, the offense too, but with this pick they can solidify the interior of the defensive line as Gerald McCoy has made significant improvement but they lack a starter next to him. In drafting Richardson, they will have a tackle that complements McCoy’s talents as Richardson is a big body but as very agile for his size. This combination gives him a tremendous ability at getting after the quarterback, which is something the Buccaneers lack.
14. Carolina Panthers - OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
Cam Newton needs help. The defense needs players just in general but Newton is the franchise. In order to keep the franchise running (minor pun there) then the need to be able to have him better protected. The Panthers offensive line is not a great group of guys outside of a regressing but still good Jordan Gross and Ryan Kalil. Warmack enters the draft as a top flight prospect but falls this low due to how undervalued his position is. Warmack has the potential to become one of the best offensive guards in the NFL as his game projects to that of Steve Hutchinson and Brian Waters. He is a big physical man that possesses strong arms that frequently keep defenders at bay. Whoever runs the ball in Carolina next season will love running behind Warmack much like Trent Richardson, Mark Ingram and Eddie Lacy did in Alabama.
15. New Orleans Saints - DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU
Now another NFC South team will draft. The Saints are surprisingly making a switch to a 3-4 scheme when on paper as of now, they don’t have the pieces to make a switch. Granted, making a move like that takes time to implement the Saints make their first move in drafting a pass rusher in the vein of Mingo. New defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will instantly fall in love with Mingo’s size and skill set. He has an incredible first step and tremendous speed off of the edge. Even more surprising despite his build (6’4, 240) he is not an easy man to bully from opposing offensive lineman and he does not shy away from contact. Some have compared Mingo's skill set to DeMarcus Ware, if you ask me that is a best case scenario, but in Ryan's scheme he fits like a glove.
16. St. Louis Rams - WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
Jeff Fisher needs to supply his quarterback with some new weapons on the offensive side of the ball. With Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson gone, that makes this pick all the more obvious. The Rams have a few needs but are lucky to have a good amount of draft picks this year. Sam Bradford’s number one target had left the team via free agency thus leaving a glaring hole at the position. Tavon Austin has been skyrocketing up draft boards and would provide Sam Bradford an over the top speed threat that would open up the rest of the field. Austin would go along well with newcomer Jared Cook at the tight end position as well. The team, however, still lacks that number one wide receiver.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers - OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
With James Harrison gone, the Steelers may look to bolster their aging front seven. Jarvis Jones would be a top five pick if it were not for his health concerns. He projects to be the best outside linebacker in the draft and his pass rushing skills would be a welcome addition to the blitz happy Steelers. This also fits the bill of the organization as they have made it into a habit to draft players who have seen the stock in the draft plummet due to various reasons. With Jones on board, the Steelers could have yet again a fearsome duo of pass rushers. The Steelers could also look at the wide receiver position with the absence of Mike Wallace.