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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, January 3, 2013

2013 NFL Mock Draft: 1/3/2013



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 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 (4-12): 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 (4-12): 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

The best player available is Star Lotulelei, but the Lions certainly aren’t lacking at defensive tackle. Instead, they use this scenario to draft Damontre Moore, the second-best DE/OLB in the draft behind Jarvis Jones. Detroit’s defense couldn’t stop anyone this year, so there are certainly plenty of ways Moore could make an impact as a rookie.

6) Cleveland Browns (5-11): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

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

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

If Arizona goes in a direction besides QB, Geno Smith could potentially wind up here. However, I don’t think that’s the case, so the Bills instead grab the pass-rusher they need on defense. Their front seven was atrocious at times this year, and Mingo is a guy who knows how to wreak havoc in the backfield.

9) New York Jets (6-10): Matt Barkley, QB, USC

Another USC quarterback? Well, if this scenario plays out this way, the Jets have three options: Take Barkley, reach for a pass-rusher since Mingo was the last one who made sense in the top-10, or trade down. I think trading is the sensible option (maybe with Carolina so they can grab Johnathan Hankins before Tennessee or Miami so they can take Taylor Lewan before San Diego), but since I can’t predict trades, I’ll mock them Barkley for the time being.

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): 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 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 Lewan, who gives them fresh life on the offensive line, one that's struggled at times this year.

12) Miami Dolphins (7-9): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

Fisher may be a reach, but he’s the last bonafide first-round left tackle prospect in the draft, so someone will likely overvalue him. To be fair, though, the Dolphins will likely part ways with Jake Long, and as such need a replacement for him. Provided none pop up in free agency, using a draft pick on Fisher isn’t a bad idea.

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, which is still up in the air. 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): Bjoern Werner, DE/OLB, Florida State

New Orleans has some gaping holes on their defense. A defensive tackle would be ideal, but anyone after 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.

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): Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon

Jordan is the best rush linebacker available, and James Harrison isn’t getting any younger. They could also take an offensive lineman here, but none are a good enough value for me to consider mocking them one.

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.

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): 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 (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)): Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee

St. Louis could go with Barrett Jones, and I wouldn’t be too shocked if that happened, but they could also use a dynamic wide receiver. Hunter is an excellent value at this spot, and he gives Sam Bradford a downfield threat that he may not have right now.

23) Minnesota Vikings (10-6): 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) 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. Vaccaro could learn from Ed Reed while also bringing great instincts and a ton of talent.

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

You can run on the Colts, whose front seven ranks 29th 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.

26) Seattle Seahawks (11-5): Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor

The only thing missing from Seattle’s resurgence has been a top-tier receiving threat for Russell Wilson. Williams put up fantastic numbers at Baylor, and was part of an offense that really came on late in the year.

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): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

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 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 (13-3): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

Atlanta’s coming off a great regular season, but their defense really hasn’t been that great. That’s especially true in the front seven, where teams have run on the Falcons this year. Ansah is raw, but is extremely athletic and has sky-high potential. He’s getting comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul, and as a late-first round flyer, the Falcons can’t pass him up.

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.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taking a DT simply does not make sense for the Browns no matter how you spin it. Werner would be the pick here.

January 4, 2013 at 6:19 AM 

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