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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 25, 2013

2013 NFL Mock Draft: 1/25/13


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 and , 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): Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M

I hate dropping Jarvis Jones down, but his spinal condition, while not an issue during a stellar 2012 season, may be a red flag this high up in the draft. Jones may be a stud in the making, but Moore is also a ferocious pass rusher that the Jaguars desperately need, so he’s far from a bad pick.

3) Oakland Raiders (4-12): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

My, how times have changed. Manti Te’o was here for a while, but his off-the-field troubles cost him a decent amount of money. Meanwhile, Lotulelei may have turned down an invite to the Senior Bowl, but he’s by far the best defensive tackle prospect in the draft and he fills a massive need for the Raiders in the middle of a porous defensive line.

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 unless you’re REALLY high on Eric Fisher (he’s a good prospect, but not #4-overall good). 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. If the Eagles really want Fisher, they can trade down to grab him later in the top 10 picks.

5) Detroit Lions (4-12): Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia

Some have dropped Jones out of the top five, but I can’t do that, at least not yet. He’s just too much of a playmaker to slip more than this, and the Lions could use him opposite Cliff Avril. His spinal condition may limit how long he can play, but there’s no denying his talent, and with the cap on rookie deals, that shouldn’t factor into where he goes too much.

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

Juqua Parker-Thomas turns 35 and only had six sacks in 2012-13. Werner’s stock has gone way up for a number of reasons. 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): Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU

Geno Smith shouldn’t make it past #8 if Arizona goes in another direction, but in this mock, he’s gone. I had Mingo going here for a while, and he makes a lot of sense. Buffalo doesn’t have a top-tier edge rusher, and Mingo provides that. In a perfect world, he gives a very expensive defensive line more room to operate.

9) New York Jets (6-10): Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon

Like Buffalo, New York needs an edge rusher. Jordan is an athletic freak who knows how to wreak havoc in the backfield. The lone hesitation with him is a torn labrum, one he’ll reportedly have surgery on before the draft, but he’s a very good fit for the Jets in this spot, and it shouldn’t affect him when preparations for the 2013 NFL season begin. If Darrelle Revis gets dealt, I could also see them drafting Johnthan Banks or Xavier Rhodes, or even moving up for DeMarcus Milliner, but for now, Jordan’s the pick.

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): Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State

Word is the Bucs are extremely high on Banks, and there’s reason for that. He had an injury late in the season, but if he’s shown to have overcome it, he’s the second-best corner in the draft behind DeMarcus Milliner. That’s a welcome addition for Tampa Bay, whose secondary desperately needs playmakers.

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): Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame

I’m stopping Te’o’s free-fall here, and here’s why. Sean Payton said he wants to shift New Orleans to a 3-4 defensive scheme in the wake of firing his defensive coordinator. The Saints already have one very good inside linebacker in Curtis Lofton, and here, they solidify the middle of their new defense with a guy who has the best on-field skillset of any player left in the draft.

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): Alex Okafor, DE/OLB, Texas

Okafor’s stock is soaring. He shined in the Alamo Bowl and has been tearing it up at the Senior Bowl, and as such he’s gone from a fringe first-rounder to the #17 pick. Pittsburgh needs new blood in their front seven, and Okafor’s versatility is a definite plus.

18) Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU

Dallas could use some reinforcements on the defensive line, especially in the wake of Jay Ratliff stupidly getting arrested for a DWI months after a teammate driving under the influence killed another Dallas player. 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): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

This has become a cliché pick because people see a ton of Jason Pierre-Paul in Ansah. I don’t know if the BYU product has THAT much potential, but he’s a fantastic athlete with a ton of room to grow. Plus, Osi Umenyiora is approaching free agency and may not be back with the Giants next year.

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

Marc Trestman got the Bears job. This means a quarterback guru will be calling the shots in the Windy City, and as such, 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): Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia

Te’o should not drop further than this, and if he’s not available (as is the case in this mock), Ogletree also presents a very good value. The only problem with Ogletree are some questions about his character, but the Bengals have shown that they don’t mind those issues as much as other teams.

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

The Colts have a ton of holes they need to fill in the middle of their defensive line. Jenkins is probably the best defensive lineman left in the draft at this point. He’s a huge presence at 6’4” and nearly 360 pounds, and he also has shocking agility for a man his size.

25) 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 #25, with some outlets now projecting him as a top-15 pick, this is a value Pete Carroll and company can’t pass up.

26) Green Bay Packers (11-5): Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

Rhodes slipping this far is shocking. I personally think he might be the second-best cornerback prospect in the draft. He has good size and speed, and can also be very physical in coverage. Green Bay’s secondary isn’t getting any younger, but here, they may be able to fill that need with a tremendous value.

27) Houston Texans (12-4): Kawann Short, DT, Purdue

The Texans need to fill their need at defensive tackle with this pick. J.J. Watt is a beast, and Antonio Smith also had eight sacks, but they’ve got nothing up the middle. Short changes that, and also brings a unique ability to rush the passer from the nose tackle spot.

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

I could also see the Broncos taking a running back like Giovani Bernard, 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.

29) New England Patriots (12-4): Margus Hunt, DE/DT, SMU

The Patriots need new blood in their front seven, as several of their stalwarts are getting up there in age. Margus Hunt is a physical freak who can play everywhere on the defensive line. He only started playing football a few years ago, but his ceiling is sky-high.

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

Tony Gonzalez appears to be hanging it up following Atlanta’s loss in the NFC title game. 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.

31) 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.

32) San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson

Michael Crabtree quietly put together a very solid year, but no other wide receiver had more than 449 receiving yards. Randy Moss may retire, and Mario Manningham is coming off a knee injury, meaning that finding a high-quality wide receiver should be at the top of San Francisco’s off-season to-do list.


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