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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.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2013 NFL Mock Draft (12/13/12)


Major thanks to Walter Cherepinsky, who was kind enough to link to my drafts. If you want to take a look at a ton of other mocks, check out his database at .

On to the draft!

1) Kansas City Chiefs (2-11): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

The combination of Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn has been awful until very recently. 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 had Matt Barkley here for a while, but his recent shoulder injury probably cost him a ton of money. If Quinn continues to show competence under center, I’ll consider mocking a non-quarterback, but for now, Smith is the guy.

2) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11): Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia

I had Jacksonville taking a quarterback here for a while, but Barkley’s stock dropped and Chad Henne’s been playing surprisingly well. As such, the Jaguars grab one of the best defensive players available, and since they already have a quality middle linebacker in Paul Posluszny, Manti Te’o isn’t a great fit.

3) Oakland Raiders (3-10): Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame

The Raiders could also plug their defensive line with Star Lotulelei, but defensive line is loaded in this year’s draft class and they can address that need later. Instead, they use the #3 pick on the safest prospect around. Rolando McClain wants out, and Oakland desperately needs young leadership on defense, which is exactly what Te’o provides.

4) Philadelphia Eagles (4-9): 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.

5) Carolina Panthers (4-9): 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. I’ve had them taking Lotulelei for a while, and with their struggles defending against the run, that’s not going to change unless their record does and they pick too late to grab him.

6) Tennessee Titans (4-9): Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State

Tennessee’s defense can’t stop anyone, and Hankins’s stock is on the rise. The Titans don’t have a reliable presence on the defensive line, but that changes thanks to a draft that’s very rich in quality linemen.

7) Arizona Cardinals (4-9): Matt Barkley, QB, USC

Even if Ken Whisenhunt stays as head coach, the quarterback situation in Arizona is an absolute mess. Barkley’s slipped due to a late-season shoulder injury, but he should be fine for the Combine and his pro day, and you can’t say the Cardinals couldn’t use an upgrade under center from the likes of John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, and Ryan Lindley.

8) Detroit Lions (4-9): DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama

The Lions need help defensively, especially in their back seven. Fortunately, DeMarcus Milliner, the top cornerback prospect in the draft, is available. He could’ve gone much earlier than this, and he commands respect as the best player on one of the best defenses in college football.

9) San Diego Chargers (5-8): Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

New regimes usually mean new quarterbacks. Norv Turner is likely gone, and with Philip Rivers turning 31 this month and becoming more turnover-prone, whoever gets put in charge will likely want to draft a big prospect under center. I could easily see the Chargers trading down, possibly to one of the Rams’ spots at #16 or #18, as Jones should be available then. However, since I can’t predict specific trades, he’s the top quarterback available, and he’s a guy I’m really high on, I’m mocking him here.

10) Buffalo Bills (5-8): Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU

Mingo gives the Bills a presence at outside linebacker that they don’t have right now. Besides, an extra pass-rusher could give a talented defensive line some help in overloading offensive lines.

11) Miami Dolphins (5-8): Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

It almost pains me to mock Lewan this high. While he’s a very good offensive lineman, this draft doesn’t have many of those as compared to previous years, so he’ll go earlier than he should. Miami may need an offensive lineman, as Jake Long may not return following a season-ending injury. If Long does not return and Lewan is available, it’s a decent fit.

12) Cleveland Browns (5-8): Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M

Cleveland winning a couple of games took them out of the Manti Te’o Sweepstakes, which stinks for the Browns because he would have been an excellent fit there. Instead, they at least get a decent consolation prize in Moore, who upgrades the front seven and provides versatility. He could easily fill the void at strong-side linebacker left when Scott Fujita was injured.

13) New Orleans Saints (5-8): Bjoern Werner, DE/OLB, Florida State

New Orleans has some gaping holes on their defense. A defensive tackle would be ideal, but Sheldon Richardson may be a slight reach at this point. Werner, though, provides versatility and value at this point in the first round. He does need to get a little bigger, but he’s anchored FSU’s defense and should be a very solid pro.

14) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7): Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

Tampa Bay traded Aqib Talib, and their cornerback situation wasn’t rosy to begin with. With Ronde Barber likely retiring, they need to restock the defensive backfield. Rhodes makes two Seminoles in a row, and as the second-best defensive back in the draft, he’d be a welcome addition to Greg Schiano’s squad.

15) New York Jets (6-7): Keenan Allen, WR, Cal

If the Jets go 8-8 or better, which is very possible given their remaining schedule, they likely won’t take a quarterback. With that in mind, they need more weapons around whatever QB they go with, and Allen is the top wide receiver in this year’s group. He could instantly make an impact in New York.

16) St. Louis Rams (6-6-1): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

I could see St. Louis trading draft picks with San Diego, as there’s a drop from Taylor Lewan to the rest of the offensive linemen in this draft. I can’t predict that here, even though it makes sense, so I’ll mock Fisher here. He played at a smaller school, but has a chance to move way up the board with a good showing at the Combine.

17) Cincinnati Bengals (7-6): Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon

Geno Atkins is a stud at defensive tackle, but he could use help coming off the edge. Jordan is a bit of a tweener, but there’s no question he can get to the quarterback and wreak havoc in the backfield.

18) St. Louis Rams (5-6-1, from Washington (7-6)): Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama

Two offensive linemen? Well, first of all, there’s a very real chance St. Louis trades one of these picks to move up. Secondly, it’s not like the line couldn’t use a makeover. Sam Bradford could use time to throw, and Steven Jackson isn’t getting any younger. Warmack makes sense here from a value standpoint as well, and in this scenario, he and Eric Fisher instantly provide fresh life in the trenches.

19) Dallas Cowboys (7-6): Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU

Dallas could use some reinforcements on the defensive line. They could take a tackle and move Jay Ratliff outside, but in this scenario, Montgomery is one of the best players available and fits Dallas’s defensive schemes.

20) Minnesota Vikings (7-6): Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee

Minnesota is dead-last in the NFL in passing yardage. Part of that has to do with having arguably the best running back in the league, but Christian Ponder doesn’t have much to work with outside of Percy Harvin. That changes with this pick, as Hunter quickly adds a quality #2 threat.

21) Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6): Barrett Jones, OT/OG, Alabama

Every year, it seems like Pittsburgh needs help on the offensive line. They drafted David DeCastro a year ago, but Jones is a versatile guy who can play four different positions up front. With their offensive line seemingly a patchwork unit every year, that kind of depth would be invaluable.

22) Chicago Bears (8-5): Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor

This is a bit of a reach for the Bears, but the team could really use an underneath receiver. Brandon Marshall has 101 receptions. The rest of the TEAM has 134. Yes, Marshall is an exceptional player, but at some point, you need a dependable #2 option. That’s what Williams provides.

23) Seattle Seahawks (8-5): Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri

Sheldon Richardson’s been rising on a lot of teams’ boards. His stock is at an all-time high after a big senior season, and he provides quality defense against the run. That’s been the one issue with the Seahawks this year, so this is a nice fit.

24) Indianapolis Colts (9-4): Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia

You can run on the Colts, whose front seven ranks 19th 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.

25) New York Giants (8-5): Alex Okafor, DE/OLB, Texas

Osi Umenyiora enters free agency at the end of this year. If the Giants don’t keep him, Okafor could slide in as a replacement. Even if they do, he provides versatility and is one of the best players available.

26) Green Bay Packers (9-4): Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

Green Bay needs help in defending the pass, especially with Charles Woodson getting older. Vaccaro’s stock has gone up after a 100-tackle senior season, and he’s gotten better in playing against the pass as well. He’s not a supremely-gifted athlete, but he’s a smart player who’d fit in on a smart, experienced team.

27) Baltimore Ravens (9-4): 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 #27.

28) Denver Broncos (10-3): Giovanni Bernard, HB, North Carolina

Willis McGahee just suffered a bad MCL injury, and Ronnie Hillman, while explosive, may not be an every-down back. Bernard is a big-play threat every time he touches the football. He averaged 214 all-purpose yards per game, good for third nationally, and if he declares for the draft, he’s probably the best back in the draft class.

29) San Francisco 49ers (9-3-1): Eric Reid, S, LSU

Reid came into the year as a first-round prospect. He has plenty of experience on a high-quality defense, and he fills a need since Donte Whitner hasn’t been as solid as the rest of the Niner defense.

30) New England Patriots (10-3): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

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

31) Atlanta Falcons (11-2): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

Atlanta’s run defense hasn’t been good, especially in the last several weeks. Ansah is a high-upside player with a knack for getting into the backfield. The Falcons have had problems at defensive end, and this takes a step towards addressing them.

32) Houston Texans (11-2): 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.


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