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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.

Friday, January 11, 2013

2013 NFL Mock Draft: 1/11/2013



By ANDREW CHAMPAGNE
Twitter.com/AndrewChampagne

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 http://www.walterfootball.com . Also check out http://www.dcprosportsreport.com/MockDraft.htm , as they were kind enough to link to us as well.

With that, on to the latest mock!

1) Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

Much as I hate mocking an offensive tackle at the #1 spot, there’s literally nobody else that fills a glaring need for the Chiefs who also makes sense here. Geno Smith bombed royally in the Pinstripe Bowl, and while it’s unwise to weigh one game too much in evaluating one’s draft stock, his performance probably cost him the top pick and a decent amount of money.

2) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia

The Jaguars still may 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 (4-12): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

It hurts to drop Manti Te’o from the #3 spot, especially because I think he’s going to be a stud at the next level. However, his subpar performance against Alabama raised a few eyebrows, and as such I have Oakland filling their need at defensive tackle instead of their need at linebacker. This can still change, but Lotulelei’s certainly a logical pick here.

4) Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama

The Eagles desperately want to improve their offensive line, but Joeckel is off the board and no other lineman is of any value here. However, the defensive backfield could also use an upgrade, and the Eagles can address that need with the top defensive back prospect in the draft.

5) Detroit Lions (4-12): Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M

This is a toss-up between Moore and Te’o, and the Lions can’t go wrong with either considering how porous their defense was this season. For now, Moore gets a very slight nod. He’s explosive, and provides the Lions with an edge rusher opposite Cliff Avril that they don’t currently have.

6) Cleveland Browns (5-11): Bjoern Werner, DE/OLB, Florida State

This is another logical landing spot for Te’o, but the Browns could use a pass rusher. Juqua Parker-Thomas turns 35 and only had six sacks in 2012-13. Werner’s stock has gone way up. He needs to get a little bigger, but he’s got a ton of time to do that, and once he does, he could be a really solid pro.

7) Arizona Cardinals (5-11): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

Larry Fitzgerald wasted one of his prime seasons thanks to three quarterbacks that couldn’t get him the ball, and Ken Whisenhunt is gone. Matt Barkley could also play his way into this discussion with a strong showing at the Combine, but for now, Smith is the top quarterback available in a weak draft class.

8) Buffalo Bills (6-10): Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame

Te’o sees his free-fall end here. The Bills need leaders on defense in the worst way possible. They don’t have much behind their defensive line, and Te’o can also bolster a pass defense that was pretty lackluster at times this season. This is a dream scenario for new head coach Doug Marrone, and it instantly makes Buffalo’s defense much better.

9) New York Jets (6-10): Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU

To all those Jets fans who had hemorrhages when I mocked Matt Barkley here last week: It’s OK, you can breathe now. Te’o’s slip means that Mingo is suddenly available, and he’s a much better fit for New York than Barkley. He provides a young edge rusher to a defense that needs that kind of player.

10) Tennessee Titans (6-10): Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State

The Titans had some pieces on defense, but nobody fearsome up the middle. That changes with this pick, as Tennessee grabs the top defensive tackle left on the board. Hankins, who’s coming off a very strong junior year at OSU, replaces Sen’Derrick Marks and has the potential to be a game-changer.

11) San Diego Chargers (7-9): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

As much as I'd really like to mock Matt Barkley or Landry Jones to San Diego, I can't do it. Philip Rivers somehow threw for over 3,600 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 Fisher, who became the #2 tackle prospect in the draft once Taylor Lewan unexpectedly decided to return for his senior season at Michigan.

12) Miami Dolphins (7-9): Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee

The first gut-punch of the mock goes to the Dolphins, as they needed a high-quality tackle prospect in the worst way and won’t get one after Lewan took his name out of the prospect pool. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the Dolphins trade this pick for a move in either direction, but for now, I’ll give them Hunter. He’s undoubtedly a reach, but Miami needs playmakers in the passing game. Brian Hartline and Davone Bess are fine complementary players, but neither is a #1 receiver, and Hunter has the potential to be that kind of wideout.

13) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9): 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.

14) Carolina Panthers (7-9): Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri

Carolina did its best to save Ron Rivera’s job, and he’ll return to the Panthers next year. However, their 4-0 surge to end the year cost them a shot at a high-impact defensive tackle, which they sorely need. Richardson, though, has been flying up draft boards. He was all over the field this year for the Tigers, and can rush the passer from the tackle spot, a rare quality that could push him into the top half of the first round.

15) New Orleans Saints (7-9): Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon

New Orleans has some gaping holes on their defense, and any defensive player available here would likely be a major improvement. Jordan could have gone as high as #9 overall. He’s got a ton of potential, and is a freakish athlete at 6’7” and 243 pounds.

16) St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): 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.

17) Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia

Pittsburgh needs depth in the front seven. Their cornerstone players aren’t getting any younger, and at some point consideration needs to be made regarding replacements. Ogletree is the consensus #2 inside linebacker behind Te’o in the draft, and there’s a long, long way between #2 and #3 now that C.J. Mosley is going back to Alabama for his senior year.

18) Dallas Cowboys (8-8): 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. I’ve had this pick set in stone for a while, and it makes a ton of sense.

19) New York Giants (9-7): Alex Okafor, DE/OLB, Texas

Okafor had a very solid season at Texas before turning heads with a huge performance in the Alamo Bowl against Oregon State. The Giants love drafting pass rushers, and Osi Umenyiora entering free agency this offseason means Okafor looks more attractive than ever.

20) Chicago Bears (10-6): Keenan Allen, WR, Cal

A lot of this depends on who the Bears hire as their next head coach. One name being thrown around is the CFL’s Marc Trestman, a quarterback guru. If they go this route, Jay Cutler may get another young target to take some attention off of Brandon Marshall. Alshon Jeffery had his moments, but was hurt for part of the season. Allen makes sense value-wise, and gives a talented offense another weapon.

21) Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State

Cincinnati was seventh in pass defense this season, but that was mainly because of their ability to get pressure on the quarterback. No Bengal had more than three interceptions this year. Banks is the top defensive back remaining, and was a top-15 pick before rumblings of knee issues flared up. However, he’s played well enough down the stretch, and could solidify his status at the Combine.

22) St. Louis Rams (7-8-1, from Washington (10-6)): Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor

Many thought Terrance Williams would have a down year without RG3 under center at Baylor. All Williams did was catch 97 passes for 1,832 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has a ton of tools to like, and here, he gives a Rams offense that doesn’t have a big-play threat in the passing game a guy who can score any time he touches the football.

23) Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

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 Austin quickly adds a quality #2 threat.

24) Indianapolis Colts (11-5): Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia

You can run on the Colts, and that’s a big reason why Indianapolis got bounced out of the playoffs in the first round. 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 (10-6): Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

The Ravens probably want Ogletree, but he’s not available in this mock. But instead of getting a replacement for one aging future Hall of Famer, they can get another one at a different position. Vaccaro could learn from Ed Reed while also bringing great instincts and a ton of talent.

26) Seattle Seahawks (11-5): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

The only thing missing from Seattle’s resurgence has been a top-tier receiving threat for Russell Wilson. Patterson is raw from a technical standpoint, but he’s got a ton of physical gifts you look for in a wide receiver. At #26, with some outlets now projecting him as a top-15 pick if he declares for the draft, this is a value Pete Carroll and company can’t pass up.

27) Green Bay Packers (11-5): Giovani Bernard, HB, North Carolina

Green Bay doesn’t have a single playmaker in their run game. When you have Aaron Rodgers, that’s not usually a problem, but it’s the one weakness on an offense that’s among the best in the NFL, and they can address it in a big way here. I’m a huge fan of Bernard, and I think he could be an impact player.

28) Houston Texans (12-4): 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.

29) San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma

Safety Donte Whitner has been a rare weak link in a defense that doesn't have many of them. Jefferson’s been a solid player in an otherwise-weak Oklahoma defense, and he can come in and compete for playing time right away.

30) New England Patriots (12-4): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

The Patriots could trade down or reach for a wide receiver (which would make six WR’s in the first 30 picks), but Ansah makes sense. The Patriots’ front seven isn’t getting any younger, and Ansah has been getting comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul due to his athleticism and potential.

31) Atlanta Falcons (13-3): Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame

Tony Gonzalez figures to do his annual tap dance around retirement. Regardless of whether he does or not, Eifert is easily the top tight end in this year’s draft class. If Gonzalez retires, Eifert can start right away, and if he doesn’t, the Notre Dame product can learn from one of the best to ever play the position.

32) Denver Broncos (13-3): Barrett Jones, C/OG/OT, Alabama

I could also see the Broncos taking Joseph Randle, but Knowshon Moreno’s finished the year well and probably deserves a shot at the starting spot next year. Besides, Jones, the most versatile lineman in the draft, is a great value at the back end of the first round who can play every position on the o-line.

2 Comments:

Anonymous floridated said...

Finally someone with common sense Smith is not worthy of first pick. There are no franchise qb's right now entering the draft. Most should be drafted 2nd round or very late 1st if you must have a qb, Patriots will trade 1st round pick they have no 4th this year so they will be looking for multiple picks for trade.

January 12, 2013 at 8:03 AM 
Anonymous freemanator said...

I love the pick for the Pats.
Add more depth and flexibility to the front 7, with a guy who should provide great pass rush and a chance to be seriously elite.

January 15, 2013 at 8:59 AM 

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