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Thoughts, news and notes from the sports staff of The Saratogian newspaper, located in historic Saratoga Springs, New York. The gang in the corner office on Lake Avenue give you the post-game wrap-ups, news and notes from the games we cover and opinions about the sports we read about every day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

2013 NFL Mock Draft: 11/21/2012

1) Kansas City Chiefs (1-9): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

The combination of Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn has been awful. The Chiefs actually have a few playmakers, but it doesn’t mean much if you can’t get those playmakers the ball in big situations. I’ve had Matt Barkley here for a while, but his recent shoulder injury knocks him down a peg.

2) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9): Matt Barkley, QB, USC

Blaine Gabbert is awful, and the Jaguars won’t waste a third year on him. The Jags will likely clean house in the front office, and new regimes generally mean new quarterbacks. Barkley may end up sliding some more if his shoulder injury lingers, but for now, I can’t put him lower than the #2 pick.

3) Cleveland Browns (2-8): Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame

I had Cleveland taking a wide receiver here, but with how well Manti Te’o has been playing, I can’t keep him on the board longer than here. Cleveland’s defense needs a leader and someone to replace Scott Fujita, who may end up retiring due to a neck injury. Te’o fills both voids, and provides a strong nucleus along with D’Qwell Jackson.

4) Carolina Panthers (2-8): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

Probably the most dominating lineman in the draft this year, Lotulelei has emerged as a force in the PAC-12. Carolina’s defense is inconsistent, especially late in games, and this selection gives them stability up the middle as well as one of the best players in the draft.

5) Oakland Raiders (3-7): Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia

Bottom line is that the Raiders can’t stop anyone, including, apparently, the Baltimore punter. Jones is the top pass-rusher in the draft, and instantly upgrades the Oakland front seven.

6) Philadelphia Eagles (3-7): Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

Philadelphia let Michael Vick get massacred behind the line, and without reinforcements, the same thing will happen to Nick Foles. You need to protect quarterbacks, and here, the Eagles are in position to take the best offensive lineman in the draft.

7) St. Louis Rams (3-6-1): DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama

The Rams may make a move to trade up for Joeckel, because O-line is a pretty big need. They could also trade this pick if Joeckel is off the board, especially since they’ve also got Washington’s first-round pick. However, you can never have too many corners in the current NFL. Janoris Jenkins hasn’t really panned out yet (though he’s still very young), and here, St. Louis can potentially get the top defensive back in the draft.

8) San Diego Chargers (4-6): Robert Woods, WR, USC

As iffy as Philip Rivers has been, it’s not like he’s had much help from his receivers. Woods is the top wide receiver prospect in the draft, and if the organization stays with Rivers as opposed to drafting Landry Jones (which may be more possible if Norv Turner gets fired), he’d be a nice fit here.

9) Buffalo Bills (4-6): Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M

As is the norm, the Bills wind up a pick or two too late for anyone with sky-high potential. Their defensive line, which the Bills spent a ton of money to try and fix, hasn’t been great, and Moore is among the best players available.

10) Miami Dolphins (4-6): Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

Miami is 27th against the pass this year, and that needs to change in this pass-happy era of football. Rhodes is the second-best cornerback prospect in the draft behind Milliner, and definitely fills a need in the defensive backfield.

11) St. Louis Rams (3-6-1): Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

This is a little bit of a reach, but St. Louis does need a tackle, as outlined earlier. They don’t get Joeckel, but if they hang on to both picks, they could easily snag Taylor Lewan, the #2 lineman in this year’s crop.

12) New York Jets (4-6): Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

If the Jets are picking this high, chances are Rex Ryan is a goner. New regimes usually mean new quarterbacks, and I’m much, much higher on Landry Jones than most are. He’s a prototype quarterback that can make all the throws, and he’d give Jets fans a chance to get excited about the man under center.

13) Tennessee Titans (4-6): Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU

Tennessee needs a ton of defensive help. With the exception of their win over Miami, that unit has played really badly this year. They get some assistance with Mingo falling to #13. He’s a versatile player who can work wonders in Tennessee’s pass rush.

14) Arizona Cardinals (4-6): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

Arizona needs offensive line help in the worst way. Fisher’s probably the last first-round caliber tackle available in a bad year for offensive linemen, and while he’s a reach at #14, he definitely fills a need.

15) Detroit Lions (4-6): Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU

Detroit usually drafts the best player available, and in this case, that’s Montgomery. Kyle Vanden Bosch may not be with the team next year, so this would also potentially fill a need next to Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.

16) Cincinnati Bengals (5-5): Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

Originally, I had the Bengals taking a running back, but Werner is too good to pass up at #16. He needs to get a little bigger, but if he does, he’ll give Geno Atkins relief on the defensive line. There’s a surprising amount of depth at running back in this draft, and the Bengals may go that route in rounds two and/or three.

17) New Orleans Saints (5-5): Johnathon Hankins, DT, Ohio State

New Orleans’s porous defense has been a big problem all year, and they can’t get pressure on the quarterback, either. Hankins can fill plenty of holes on the defensive line, and his 6’4”, 325-pound frame gives him plenty of leverage.

18) Dallas Cowboys (5-5): Giovanni Bernard, HB, North Carolina

Part of Dallas’s inability to run the ball has to do with DeMarco Murray’s injury. However, even when Murray was healthy, it’s not like he was a game-changer (just one touchdown in five games). Bernard has the potential to be that kind of a player. He’s averaging over seven yards per carry, and could give the Cowboy backfield a big boost.

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4): Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State

Tampa Bay traded Aqib Talib, and their cornerback situation wasn’t rosy to begin with. Banks and Xavier Rhodes are very close to each other in terms of talent, and with Ronde Barber possibly retiring after the season ends, it’s highly likely the Bucs take one or the other.

20) Minnesota Vikings (6-4): Keenan Allen, WR, Cal

The Vikings could really use an upgrade opposite Percy Harvin. Allen is a bonafide playmaker, and one that could have gone way before this. Instead, he goes to Minnesota, giving Christian Ponder another downfield weapon.

21) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4): Eric Reid, S, LSU

Troy Polamalu isn’t getting younger or healthier, and it may be time to start grooming a replacement in the defensive backfield. Safeties don’t usually go early, but Reid presents a solid value at #21 and could fill a need if Pittsburgh’s determined Polamalu has lost a step.

22) Indianapolis Colts (6-4): Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia

You can run on the Colts, whose front seven ranks 22nd in the NFL. Their defensive tackle situation isn’t promising, and while the defense as a whole has overachieved this year, they need reinforcements, which Jenkins helps provide.

23) Seattle Seahawks (6-4): Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee

Seattle needs someone to grow with Russell Wilson, who’s been improving steadily in his rookie season. Hunter’s not as good as Allen, but he’s still a solid value pick this late in the first round for a team in need of an impact wide receiver.

24) New York Giants (6-4): Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama

The Giants only have two guards on their roster, and several of their offensive linemen are getting older. Warmack could go much earlier than this, and he provides necessary depth at the interior line spots.

25) Denver Broncos (7-3): Joseph Randle, HB, Oklahoma State

Willis McGahee just suffered a bad MCL injury, and Ronnie Hillman, while explosive, may not be an every-down back. Randle is a do-it-all back who can catch passes out of the backfield, something that’s traditionally been a sizable part of Peyton Manning’s offenses over the years.

26) New England Patriots (7-3): Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor

Wes Welker is in a contract year, and an over-the-hill Deion Branch is playing a ton of snaps. This could be a real need position for the Patriots this coming offseason, and Williams is the best wideout available at this point. I could also see the Pats taking a defensive lineman, but that position is very deep.

27) Chicago Bears (7-3): Barrett Jones, OG/OT, Alabama

As good as Chicago is when everything is clicking, their offensive line is still a question mark. Jay Cutler needs time to throw, and Matt Forte could use better blocking. Jones is the most versatile lineman in the draft, and can fill in anywhere he’s needed.

28) Green Bay Packers (7-3): Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma

Green Bay needs help in defending the pass, especially with Charles Woodson getting older. The cornerback depth isn’t there, but Jefferson is a versatile safety who plays both the run and the pass pretty well. He’s a little undersized, but he plays with a high motor and has good fundamentals.

29) San Francisco 49ers (7-2-1): Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington

San Francisco relies very heavily on their front seven, but their defensive backs could stand to improve. I’m a fan of Trufant, who has played very well the past two seasons in establishing himself as a shutdown corner, and he fits here.

30) Baltimore Ravens (8-2): Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia

Baltimore needs to find a replacement for Ray Lewis, who may end up retiring following his season-ending injury. Ogletree has some character issues, and could go from anywhere between the middle of the first round to the beginning of the second, but he’s a great fit here at #30.

31) Houston Texans (9-1): Kawann Short, DT, Purdue

Short has a rare blend of size and athleticism. Unlike some defensive tackles, he can get to the quarterback pretty well, and that’s an asset from the nose tackle scheme the Texans run.

32) Atlanta Falcons (9-1): Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri

Atlanta’s run defense hasn’t been good, especially in the last several weeks. Richardson is the best defensive lineman remaining, and has been stellar this season. He can slide in next to Jonathan Babineaux and make an instant contribution.


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