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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.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

2013 NFL Mock Draft: 4/2/13 (TWO ROUNDS)


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

Don't buy KC's interest in Geno Smith for a second. That's a smokescreen to see if they can get a gigantic offer for the #1 pick by a team in desperate need of a quarterback. I've had Luke Joeckel here for a while now, and there's no reason to change that at this point.

2) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon

This is the first wild card pick of the draft, as the Jags have needs pretty much everywhere. I wouldn't be surprised with anyone else I have in my top five, but for now, Jordan is the guy. He's the most versatile defender in the draft, with the physical ability to both rush the passer or cover slot receivers, and he's got the potential to be a building block for Jacksonville's defense going forward.

3) Oakland Raiders (4-12): Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida

This has been a pretty popular pick for pretty obvious reasons. Tommy Kelly has been released, and the defensive line was in shambles even when he was there. If Floyd gets taken by Jacksonville, I could see the Raiders going in a number of different directions, but for now, he goes to Oakland.

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

I wouldn't be stunned if the Eagles took Eric Fisher, but Chip Kelly and company have put a priority on revamping their defense. There's still a need at cornerback despite the signing of Cary Williams, and they can fill it with the top defensive back in this year's draft class.

5) Detroit Lions (4-12): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

I'm a little torn between Fisher and Ezekiel Ansah, as both fill huge needs. This is based solely on the current draft class, one that's rich in defensive talent but not in quality offensive linemen. The Lions lost Gosder Cherilus to free agency and Jeff Backus to retirement, so Fisher obviously fills a pretty big gap.

6) Cleveland Browns (5-11): Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU

The Browns have made a couple of moves in free agency to shore up their defense, including signing Paul Kruger away from the Ravens and bringing in Quentin Groves as a backup. Still, Ansah has sky-high potential, and may be the best pure athlete left in the draft at this point. Cleveland has made a concerted effort to build up their defense, and I think that continues here.

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

NOTE: If Arizona acquires Carson Palmer, I could easily see the Cardinals trading down to a team that wants Smith. However, as of Tuesday morning, the trade with Oakland had hit a snag, so for now, Smith is still the pick, one that makes tremendous sense for all involved considering Kevin Kolb is now a Buffalo Bill.

8) Buffalo Bills (6-10): Cordarelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

I hate myself for mocking this pick, because I firmly believe Jarvis Jones is the best player available and could fill a huge need for the Bills. However, his stock is dropping due to concerns about his spinal condition, and I need to reflect that. It's not like Patterson doesn't fill a huge need across from Stevie Johnson, but he's raw and could use time to develop.

9) New York Jets (6-10): Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

The Jets have a huge need at safety after losing both Laron Landry and Yeremiah Bell. Vaccaro has been rising up draft boards, and while safety prospects generally don't go this early in the draft, this is a weird draft, and you can't say the Jets don't have a history of surprising draft picks.

10) Tennessee Titans (6-10): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

We still don’t know just how severe Lotulelei’s heart problem is. For now, I’ll slot him here, simply because the Titans desperately need an impact player in the middle of their defensive line. There’s no denying Lotulelei has a ton of talent. He’s also generally thought to be a high-character guy, so if the heart condition turns out to be fairly minor, this could be a steal.

11) San Diego Chargers (7-9): Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

Lane Johnson wowed scouts at the Combine with his athleticism. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s going to be a fantastic player (remember scouts fawning over Robert Gallery’s 40 time?), but there’s no doubt that he’s climbing up draft boards and that San Diego has needs on their offensive line.

12) Miami Dolphins (7-9): Bjoern Werner, DE/OLB, Florida State

This pick is between Werner and Jarvis Jones, who previously hadn't been available outside the top 10. Werner is generally considered one of the safer picks in the draft, though, and in a year where the Dolphins have gone to great lengths to revamp their defense, I think they'd lean that direction with this pick.

13) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9): Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington

Trufant’s stock is at an all-time high after big performances at the Senior Bowl and the Combine. He’s performed well enough to emerge as the #2 cornerback option in the draft class, and there’s no doubt the Bucs need help in the defensive backfield. The Aqib Talib trade created a huge hole, and Ronde Barber has to retire at some point, right?

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

There are people saying Richardson could go even earlier than this. He certainly has the athletic ability to, and this is probably as low as he’ll go. Carolina’s defensive line is porous, and the Panthers gave up several big games to opposing running backs in the 2012-13 season.

15) New Orleans Saints (7-9): Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia

Jones's slide stops here, as the Saints are in desperate need of playmakers in their new 3-4 defense. At one point, Jones was the top front-seven player in the draft class, and I still think he may be that kind of a player. Here, he can step in right away and be a factor in Rob Ryan's aggressive attack.

16) St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

St. Louis added Jared Cook, but lost several weapons in the passing game, most notably Danny Amendola, who signed with New England. Austin's stock is on the rise after stellar workouts, and with slot receivers at a premium, he could be an impact player from day one.

17) Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama

Warmack could easily go long before this; Buffalo and St. Louis would be very logical destinations for him as well. Still, Pittsburgh added David DeCastro with a recent first-round pick, so you know they won't shy away from taking an interior lineman if he's the best player available. In this case, Warmack is certainly near the top, and he can replace longtime stalwart Willie Colon, who spent some time at guard the past few years.

18) Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU

Both LSU edge-rushers have seen their stocks fall as of late. Mingo was once a top-10 pick, but now it looks like he’ll go in the middle of the first round. The Cowboys have a ton of holes on defense, and could certainly use someone to draw attention away from DeMarcus Ware. Mingo could easily be that kind of complementary player.

19) New York Giants (9-7): Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia

The Giants may be searching for a defensive end, and could have jumped on Mingo if he was available (or selected Alex Okafor or Damontre Moore with this pick). In this mock, though, they’ll zero in on Ogletree, probably the top inside linebacker prospect in the draft. There are some character issues here, most notably his pre-Combine arrest, but the Giants released Michael Boley and have depth issues at that position.

20) Chicago Bears (10-6): Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State

I've had a wide receiver here for a while, and they may still look at Keenan Allen or Terrance Williams. However, Brown's stock is soaring, and with the Bears having parted ways with Brian Urlacher, there's a need in the middle.

21) Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Xavier Rhodes, CB/S, Florida State

Rhodes is a physical defensive back that can play either corner or safety. Cincinnati's pass defense isn't bad, but they also weren't all that great a year ago, and you can never have too many quality defensive backs, especially in the current pass-happy era of football.

22) St. Louis Rams (7-8-1, from Washington (10-6)): Jonathan Cooper, OG/C, North Carolina

Jake Long coming to town is huge for the Rams, but they still have needs up front. Cooper is getting looks by teams before St. Louis's second pick, and he'd be a natural fit for the Rams as they look to give Sam Bradford more time in the pocket.

23) Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Keenan Allen, WR, Cal

For some reason, Terrance Williams's stock has dropped. While I don't see anything wrong with him at this stage of the first round, I'll drop him and give the Vikings Keenan Allen. If this pick is anything other than a wide receiver, I would be shocked. Besides the newly-acquired Greg Jennings, there's nothing there, and that needs to change.

24) Indianapolis Colts (11-5): Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State

Hankins fell with a horrid performance at the Combine. He looked heavy, and he ran like someone who was out of shape. However, Indianapolis has a big need in the middle of their defensive line, and if Hankins gets back in shape and plays like he did this past season at Ohio State, he’s a steal at #24 overall.

25) Minnesota Vikings (10-6, from Seattle (11-5)): Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

On the surface, this may seem like a puzzling pick. However, the Vikings have a huge need at linebacker, as their only proven starter there is Chad Greenway, and the team as a whole struggled against the pass last season, an area Te'o can instantly improve. Te'o suffered at the Combine, but Adam Schefter reported that he would not drop out of the first round, and he did improve his 40 time at Notre Dame's pro day.

26) Green Bay Packers (11-5): Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State

Banks didn’t do himself any favors at the Combine, but his game tape is solid and there’s no doubt Green Bay has voids to fill in the secondary. Charles Woodson is moving on, and the unit wasn’t anything special this past year anyway.

27) Houston Texans (12-4): Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina

Houston has long needed a defensive tackle, and here, they get a guy who's been rising up draft boards as of late. I've had Kawann Short here for a while, but Williams has been getting rave reviews and could be just as effective.

28) Denver Broncos (13-3): Alex Okafor, DE/OLB, Texas
The Broncos have brought in a ton of quality players in free agency, but they lost Elvis Dumervil thanks to an error in paperwork. They need to find someone opposite Von Miller, and Okafor could be that guy. He's a low-risk player who doesn't take plays off, and he turned heads with his performances at the Alamo Bowl and Senior Bowl.

29) New England Patriots (12-4): Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
Williams has seen his draft stock go way up, and it's likely he now goes at the back end of the first round. The Patriots are lacking in the middle of the defensive line, and Williams can take up a ton of space while learning from Vince Wilfork.

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

Tony Gonzalez is not retiring despite doing his annual tap-dance around the subject. Still, he's not getting younger, and Tyler Eifert is easily the top tight end in the draft.

31) San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State
The Niners may have a need behind Justin Smith, who turns 34 and is going into the final year of his contract. Carradine is a bit of a risk coming off a knee injury, but all signs are that he's healthy, and when he is, he's a first-round caliber player.

32) Baltimore Ravens (10-6): Kevin Minter, LB, LSU

Minter is an old-school, run-stopping inside linebacker that may have trouble fitting into some new-age defensive schemes. However, an old-school, run-stopping inside linebacker just retired from Baltimore’s Super Bowl-winning team, so Minter would be a pretty nice fit for the Ravens.


33) Jacksonville Jaguars: Matt Barkley, QB, USC

Anyone who still thinks Blaine Gabbert can be an effective starting quarterback needs to have their head examined. The Jags need to address that position in the draft, and if Matt Barkley is still on the board in the second round, this is a no-brainer.

34) San Francisco 49ers (from Kansas City): Datone Jones, DE/DT, UCLA
This is a luxury pick for the Niners, who can pretty much take the best player available at this juncture. In this case, Jones is in the mix, and he may also fill a need on the defensive line if new signee Glenn Dorsey doesn't fill the shoes of the departed Isaac Sopuaga at defensive tackle.

35) Philadelphia Eagles: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
I had Barrett Jones going here, and he still might, but on the thinking that true offensive tackles tend to rise on draft day, I'll give Fluker the nod. The Eagles need to give Michael Vick time to make decisions in Chip Kelly's offense, and they can't do that with their current tackle situation.

36) Detroit Lions: Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
I originally had Damontre Moore as a top-five pick. My, how times have changed. Is he a steal at this point? Absolutely, but he's not without his red flags. He bombed at the Combine and has legit character concerns, but the Lions have huge needs on their defense and Moore does have excellent game tape.

37) Cincinnati Bengals: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama

I still like Giovani Bernard a lot, but Lacy has become the consensus top back in the draft. He’s a powerful runner that could compete for time immediately in Cincinnati. BenJarvus Green-Ellis isn’t anything special, and if Cincy’s line continues to be one of the top run-blocking units, Lacy has a chance to be an impact player.

38) Arizona Cardinals: Barrett Jones, OG/C/OT, Alabama
So Fluker and Jones wind up flip-flopping. This is far from a bad pick-up for Arizona, which has needs all over the offensive line. They can experiment with Jones and find out where he fits best while gaining an unquestioned team leader with tons of intangibles.

39) New York Jets: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee

Pretty good scenario here for the Jets, who need wide receivers in the worst way possible. Justin Hunter had a great Combine, and I'd been mocking him in the first round for a while, but he slips here through no fault of his own.

40) Tennessee Titans: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
Tennessee has needs all over the defense, and they'll probably use the draft to fill as many voids as possible. This pick was originally Matt Elam from Florida, but with the signings of Bernard Pollard and George Wilson, safety is no longer a need. Hunt has limited football experience, but he's a freak athlete who has the potential to take over games at times.

41) Buffalo Bills: Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee

I like Bray much more than Ryan Nassib, who is the cliché pick because Doug Marrone coached him at Syracuse. Bray has a big arm and was impressive at the Combine. The Bills could very well trade up for either Geno Smith or Matt Barkley, but for now, Bray is the pick.

42) Miami Dolphins: Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State
Watson's stock is on the rise, partially due to his talent and partially due to the “tackles rising on draft day” principle. At any rate, there's no doubt Miami needs reinforcements up front. Jake Long left, and Watson could start from day one out of need.

43) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
I'm an unabashed fan of Williams, who caught nearly 100 passes this past season at Baylor and was one of the reasons RG3 won the Heisman in 2011. Tampa Bay could use weapons outside of Vincent Jackson, and this gives them some help in the intermediate game with a guy I see as a possible first-round talent.

44) Carolina Panthers: Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky

While some of Carolina’s non-Cam Newton rushing woes were injury-related, it’s also true that the team’s offensive line has struggled at times. Warford is the best lineman available, especially after a very solid performance at the Senior Bowl.

45) San Diego Chargers: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Danario Alexander is a restricted free agent and could very well leave in free agency. Philip Rivers needs more to work with in the passing game, and Hopkins proved to be a reliable wideout in college.

46) St. Louis Rams: Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina

Daryl Richardson was very good in spell duty as a rookie, and he'll likely see a bigger role with Steven Jackson's move to Atlanta. However, Isaiah Pead is an unknown quantity, and Bernard is a playmaker who can also impact a game as a kick and punt returner.

47) Dallas Cowboys: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
Short is a great fit for Monte Kiffin's 4-3 defense. He's not the biggest guy, but he can rush the passer from the defensive tackle spot and provide a legitimate presence in the front seven. I've had him going in the first round for a while, but this is a great spot for him to shine.

48) Pittsburgh Steelers: Jon Cyprien, S, Florida International
Troy Polamalu is starting to become injury-prone, and it's not like he's young anymore. Cyprien has been rising in the eyes of many close to the draft, and he's among the best players available.

49) New York Giants: Khaseem Greene, DE/OLB, Rutgers
The Giants love drafting pass-rushers, and they've got a need there now with Osi Umenyiora's defection to Atlanta. Greene has been rising quickly, and plays both the run and the pass very well.

50) Chicago Bears: Dallas Thomas, OT/OG, Tennessee
We say it every year: Chicago's offensive line needs to get better. Linemen have been going like crazy, but Thomas is a decent value who can play three or four different positions up front, so this is a pretty good “need” pick for the Bears.

51) Washington Redskins: Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
Taylor was a reach several weeks ago, but after a great Combine where he ran a sub-4.4 40, he's easily a second-round pick. It doesn't hurt his cause that Washington is sorely lacking in their back seven, and because of it, Taylor will have every opportunity to play from day one.

52) Minnesota Vikings: Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut
As I mentioned earlier, Minnesota was very bad against the pass last year. In their division, they have to worry about Aaron Rodgers, the Matt Stafford-Calvin Johnson duo, and a Marc Trestman offense, which means they need to find cornerback help.

53) Cincinnati Bengals: Corey Lemonier, DE/OLB, Auburn
This may be a bit of a reach, but Cincinnati has questions about their depth at linebacker. They took Arthur Brown in round one, and here, they get someone who can rotate between the line and the outside linebacker spot. Lemonier is a bit raw from a technical standpoint, but he had a great Combine that included a 4.6 40 time.

54) Miami Dolphins: Robert Alford, CB, Southeastern Louisiana

Alford comes from a small school, but he hinted at big talent during the Combine, where he posted a sub-4.4 40 time. The Dolphins are in need of help in their back seven, and they’ll likely use an early pick to address that need.

55) Green Bay Packers: Kyle Long, OG/OT, Oregon

Green Bay’s offensive line is aging, and they need to protect Aaron Rodgers. Like many other top offensive line prospects, Long can play a number of different positions up front, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s got fantastic NFL genes.

56) Seattle Seahawks: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
A huge, huge fall continues for Montgomery, but Pete Carroll hasn't shied away from taking players with character issues. If he coaches Montgomery up and gets all his talent out of him, this may wind up being the steal of the draft.

57) Houston Texans: Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech

Houston has long been searching for a #2 receiver behind Andre Johnson. Patton didn’t play against great competition at Louisiana Tech, but made the most of his opportunities at both the Senior Bowl and the Combine.

58) Denver Broncos: Eric Reid, S, LSU

Reid slipped in this mock through no fault of his own, and he may be a welcome addition in Denver. Their secondary was awful against Joe Flacco, and 37-year-old Champ Bailey may finally be showing his age.

59) New England Patriots: Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State
New England struggled against the pass last year, and again, you can never have too many quality corners. Aqib Talib is a very good player, but Alfonzo Dennard has off-the-field baggage and the rest of their secondary isn't great.

60) Atlanta Falcons: Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State
Atlanta signed Osi Umenyiora, but that doesn't mean the Falcons are done upgrading their front seven. They had huge depth issues at defensive end last year even during their stellar season. Jenkins has some injury concerns, but at his best, he's an impact player.

61) San Francisco 49ers: D.J. Swearinger, S, South Carolina

San Francisco’s front seven is fantastic, but their group of safeties is a question mark, especially after the defection of DaShon Goldson. Swearinger, a captain for the Gamecocks and a physical presence, hits hard and covers well, so he should be an instant upgrade.

62) Baltimore Ravens: David Amerson, CB/S, N.C. State
Baltimore's secondary is a huge question mark. Lardarius Webb suffered a bad season-ending injury, and Ed Reed signed with Houston. Amerson adds versatility to a group that could have plenty of needs when it tries to defend its Super Bowl title.


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