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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 27, 2012

2013 NFL Mock Draft: 12/27/12


Thanks to Walter Cherepinsky for listing this draft on his database. If you want to take a look at a ton of different mocks, check out . Also check out , as they were kind enough to link to us as well.

With that, on to the latest mock!

1) Kansas City Chiefs (2-13): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

For a little while, I considered not mocking a quarterback to the Chiefs at #1. Then they played the Raiders and couldn’t move the ball against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Change needs to come to KC’s offense, and if they like Geno Smith, I think they’ll pull the trigger on him with the top pick.

2) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13): Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia

The Jaguars are apparently a lock to acquire Tim Tebow, so taking a quarterback here doesn't make too much sense. Plus, I think Jones is too valuable to pass up. He gives Jacksonville another piece on a defense that the front office has put a priority on improving (see the acquisitions of Jason Babin and Paul Posluszny as examples).

3) Oakland Raiders (4-11): 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 (4-11): 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. This seems to be one of the more agreed-upon picks in the mock draft universe, so there’s no reason to change it at this point.

5) Detroit Lions (4-11): DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama

The best player available is Star Lotulelei, but the Lions certainly aren’t lacking at defensive tackle. If they want to improve their front seven, they could reach for Barkevious Mingo or Damontre Moore, but Milliner isn’t a reach and improves a below-average secondary. He should be able to step in and contribute right away.

6) Buffalo Bills (5-10): Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M

The best player available is Star Lotulelei, but the Bills are set at defensive tackle with Mario and Kyle Williams. The next best thing is Damontre Moore, a rush end a lot of teams are extremely high on. Some sources think Moore could go as high as #2 to Jacksonville.

7) Cleveland Browns (5-10): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

This is a huge break for the Browns. One commenter said that Cleveland was actually pretty strong at defensive tackle. That said, Lotulelei is just way too talented to pass up at #7 for a team that needs star power.

8) Tennessee Titans (5-10): Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU

Tennessee’s run defense is near the bottom of the NFL at 23rd overall, and they can address that in a big way here. Mingo could have gone several spots before this to either Buffalo or Cleveland, but in this scenario, he heads to Tennessee, where he can fill plenty of holes on a defense in desperate need of playmakers.

9) Arizona Cardinals (5-10): Matt Barkley, QB, USC

Larry Fitzgerald is wasting one of his prime seasons thanks to three quarterbacks that can’t get him the ball, and Ken Whisenhunt may be gone at the end of the year. New regimes usually mean new quarterbacks, and if Barkley puts forth a good showing at the Combine, he'll silence any worries about his late-season arm injury and likely get picked highly in the first round.

10) San Diego Chargers (6-9): Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

As much as I'd really like to mock Landry Jones to San Diego, I can't do it. Philip Rivers is somehow going to throw for well over 3,500 yards this year, and despite being a turnover machine for much of the year, I don't think they replace him. Instead, I'll give them Lewan, who gives them fresh life on the offensive line, one that's struggled at times this year.

11) New York Jets (6-9): Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

Meanwhile, Jones would fit here. Tim Tebow is gone, and Greg McElroy and Mark Sanchez both shouldn't be starting anywhere in the league. The Jets will probably stick with Sanchez, but that doesn't mean they can't draft a quarterback and give him a year to develop.

12) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-9): 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 is the second-best defensive back in the draft, and he’d be a welcome addition to Greg Schiano’s squad.

13) Carolina Panthers (6-9): Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State

Carolina probably saved Ron Rivera's job with their late-season surge, but they also cost themselves a shot at Star Lotulelei. However, Hankins is also a very good prospect. He enjoyed a great junior year at Ohio State, and he’s one of the best players available at this point in the draft.

14) Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

By contrast, Pittsburgh's losing got them the last true first-round quality tackle in the draft. The Steelers need young blood on their offensive line, and that's what they get with Fisher, whose stock soared in his final year at Central Michigan.

15) Miami Dolphins (7-8): Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee

Miami could use an offensive tackle, but Fisher was the last one that wouldn't be a colossal reach. Instead, I'll mock them Justin Hunter, who gives a team without much at wide receiver a quality downfield threat.

16) New Orleans Saints (6-8): 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.

17) St. Louis Rams (7-7-1): Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama

St. Louis needs some help on the offensive line. Warmack isn't just the best guard available, he's probably the best offensive lineman left, period. He's assumed a leadership role with the Crimson Tide, and should be a very good pro.

18) Dallas Cowboys (8-9): 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.

19) New York Giants (8-7): Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon

The Giants love drafting defensive players who can get into the backfield, and that’s exactly what makes Jordan so effective. He’s a tweener, but the Giants have had success with players like him, and he presents a very good value at #19.

20) Chicago Bears (9-6): Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia

Brian Urlacher is one of the best to ever play his position, but he’s getting older and is a free agent at the end of the year. With his health now in question, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Bears take Ogletree, the consensus #2 inside linebacker behind Manti Te’o, if he’s still on the board.

21) Cincinnati Bengals (9-6): Alex Okafor, DE/OLB, Texas

Okafor isn’t quite the “wreak havoc” player Jordan is, but he’s a safe, experienced, and versatile player. The Bengals could use a presence like him to take some pressure off of highly-regarded defensive tackle Geno Atkins.

22) St. Louis Rams (7-7-1, from Washington (9-6)): Barrett Jones, OT/OG/C, Alabama

I've been mocking two offensive linemen to the Rams for a while, mainly because the team may trade up. However, this is the first mock where the Rams get two who have starred for Alabama. What Jones doesn't have in pure talent, he makes up for in versatility. He can line up everywhere on the line.

23) Minnesota Vikings (9-6): Keenan Allen, WR, Cal

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 Allen quickly adds a quality #2 threat.

24) Indianapolis Colts (10-5): Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia

You can run on the Colts, whose front seven ranks 30
th 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) Baltimore Ravens (10-5): C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama

The Ravens probably want Ogletree, but he’s not available in this mock. Still, if they’re searching for a replacement for the injured Ray Lewis, Mosley could be it. He’s a talented player who has helped lead one of the best defenses in college football.

26) Seattle Seahawks (10-5): 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.

27) San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1): Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

Safety Donte Whitner has been a rare weak link in a defense that doesn't have many of them. Vaccaro's stock has been steadily rising during a 100-tackle season, and he's certainly an upgrade in the defensive backfield.

28) New England Patriots (11-4): Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor

Wes Welker is in a contract year, Brandon Lloyd has only recently heated up, 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.

29) Green Bay Packers (11-4): Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State

I dropped Banks out of this mock because of a knee injury that affected his play late in the year. Still, if he rebounds with good showings in his bowl game and at the Combine, he's probably a first-round talent. In terms of pure skill, he brings a lot to the table.

30) Denver Broncos (12-3): Giovani 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 he’s probably the best back in the draft class. Despite the improved play of Knowshon Moreno, we don't know if he can maintain that yet.

31) Houston Texans (12-3): 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 (13-2): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU 

Atlanta’s coming off a huge win over the Giants, but in previous weeks, their front seven hadn’t been impressive. 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.


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