Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My 2013 Mock NFL Draft

With the NFL Draft coming up this week, I wanted to preview the draft by performing my own 2013 NFL “Mock” Draft.  Unlike the guys you see on the major sports networks, my mock draft is not who I think each team will draft but who I think they should draft, according to need and how I rank/value each prospect is accordance with that particular team and their system.  So here is my selections and why

1.  Kansas City Chiefs: OT Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M)
With the Chiefs opening the door for OT Brandon Albert to leave for Miami, they have an opening at Left Tackle.  Joeckel is the most NFL-ready Offensive Lineman in this year’s draft.  His footwork and blocking skills are top notch and he will only get better because how hard he works and studies. 

2. Jacksonville Jaguars:  DT Shariff Floyd (Florida)
New Head Coach Gus Johnson has a defense that works best with versatile players.  Floyd is a freak athlete who can line up on the defensive line as a Defensive Tackle, Nose Tackle or 3-4 Defensive End.  Floyd’s experience playing in the SEC also makes him an NFL ready starter who doesn’t need a lot of polishing while he also has a high ceiling talent-wise.

3. Oakland Raiders: OT Eric Fisher (Central Michigan)
The Raiders lack depth on their offensive line and with the acquisition of Matt Flynn to play Quarterback it would help if they invested in keeping their new QB’s protection.  Fisher is a talented but raw offensive tackle who has unique combination of strength and athletic ability.  For a team in “rebuilding mode” you have the luxury of being able to select a player with great potential who needs to refine their skills and Fisher fits that mold.

4.  Philadelphia Eagles: DT Star Lotuleilei (Utah)
Chip Kelly has brought a lot of change already to the Philadelphia Eagles and one of those changes is defense scheme.  A “hybrid” 3-4 requires having defensive lineman who can handle taking on offensive guards and centers.  Lotuleilei was a great defensive lineman at the collegiate level whose skills are comparable to Haloti Ngata of the Baltimore Ravens: Excellent strength, suprising speed and agility, and excellent pursuit to the ball. 

5. Detroit Lions: CB Dee Milliner (Alabama)
The Lions had one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL last year and they play in a division where they have to face Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler twice a year.  Milliner is the top defensive back in this year’s draft.  He is a great man coverage cornerback who is a good tackler and has very good instincts.  He could start right away for the Lions to start the 2013 season.

6. Cleveland Browns: OG Chance Warmack (Alabama)
While the Browns are unsure who will be their starting Quarterback for the 2013 season, one thing for sure is they need help protecting their QB.  Warmack is an NFL ready Guard who has great strength, good footwork and top level experience while playing for the National Champion University of Alabama.  Warmack can do more than protect a QB, he is also a great run blocker.

7. Arizona Cardinals: S Kenny Vaccaro (Texas)
With the Cardinals releasing Pro Bowl Safety Adrian Wilson, so to say the Cardinals have a need at the safety position is definitely an understatement.  Vaccaro is a talented safety with very good ball skills and has great football instincts.  Some have compared his style of play to Ed Reed.

8. Buffalo Bills: QB Ryan Nassib (Syracuse)
New Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone is known as a great offensive minded coach and for coaches like him they need a Quarterback who can run their offense.  Well there is no better option than to draft the last player who ran your offense.  Nassib broke Syracuse records while under the guidance of Marrone.  Nassib has good arm strength, great at looking off defenders, good athlete and knows Marrone’s system and expectation.  Just like how Ryan Tannehill had success in Miami with his old college coach I think Buffalo can have the same, if not better success, by selecting Nassib.

9. New York Jets: OLB Dion Jordan (Oregon)
The Jets need a pass rusher.  The Jets need Outside Linebackers who can play in Rex Ryan’s 3-4 defense.  Jordan fits both of those needs for the Jets.  Jordan is one of the top athletes and top defensive talents in this year’s draft.  His skill set reminds me of DeMarcus Ware although he might be quicker than Ware.

10. Tennessee Titans: OT Lane Johnson (Oklahoma)
Titans Head Coach Mike Munchack was a long time offensive line coach before become a head coach and Johnson is the type of player with great potential who needs work on his raw abilities.  Muchack has always liked to develop Offensive line and with a guy like Johnson who is versatile, very good Football IQ and open to be coached up, this selection is a perfect match for team and player.

11. San Diego Chargers: OG Jonathan Cooper (North Carolina)
Philip Rivers is among the top ten QB’s in the NFL but he does his team no good if he doesn’t have protection.  The Chargers had numerous injuries to their offensive line last season and need depth.  Cooper is an offensive guard with good leverage, great blocking footwork and has the potential to be a 10 year starter in the NFL. 

12. Miami Dolphins: TE Tyler Eifert (Norte Dame)
Coming into his second season as a starting NFL Quarterback, Ryan Tannehill needs offensive weapons.  While he already has a deep threat receiver (Mike Wallace) and a position receiver (Brad Hartline) the Dolphins are lacking a talented receiving Tight End.  Eifert is a prototype TE for today’s NFL.  He has good speed and great hands for a TE while also has good football instincts to get open for his QB.  Eifert would fit right into the offensive system the Dolphins have.

13. New York Jets: WR Tavon Austin (West Virginia)
The biggest, most glaring weakness of the Jets offensive from last season: no big time playmakers.  Tavon Austin is the most explosive offensive player in this year’s draft.  He has good hands, great speed, excellent agility, and could start game one as a slot receiver for the Jets in 2013.  Austin can also be a return specialist on kick offs and punts since he is always a threat to score with the ball in his hands.

14. Carolina Panthers: DE Barkevious Mingo (LSU)
Since losing Julius Peppers to free agency a few years ago, the Panthers have had trouble with their pass rusher and ceiling off the edges on wide running plays.  Mingo is an excellent athlete who has good ball pursuit skills.  If he is utilized correctly he can be a disruptive force on defense and draw double teams that will allow his teammates to make more plays.

15. New Orleans Saints: DE Bjoern Werner (Florida State)
New Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan runs a defensive 3-4 scheme that relies on the guys upfront to put pressure on the opposing Quarterback and create havoc in the backfield on running plays.  Werner is a unique football talent who has great strength, good agility and quickness and has a knack for being a menace for opposing quarterbacks.  Even though he has only been playing organized football for a few years he is open to being coached and has the potential to be a Pro Bowl caliber player.

16. St. Louis Rams: DT Sheldon Richardson (Missouri)
The Rams have a lot of talent and depth at multiple defensive positions except D-Tackle.  Richardson is a good tackler with great agility and footwork.  His biggest weakness in college was that he was the best defensive lineman on his team and opponents would game plan to shut him down.  With very talented defensive ends on the Rams, opponents will not be able to focus solely on Richardson anymore, opening the door for him to excel in the NFL.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: ILB Alec Ogletree (Georgia)
Steelers are in need of youth on defense, especially at linebacker.  Ogletree is one of the top inside linebackers in this year’s draft.  He is a great tackler with excellent football instincts and has great pursuit.  He will fit in great with the Steelers and in short time could be their top linebacker and lead the team in tackles.

18. Dallas Cowboys: S Matt Elam (Florida)
New Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin runs a Cover 2 defense.  That type of defense thrives when it has talented defensive backs in the secondary.  Safety is a position that is thin for the Cowboys.  Elam has a nose for the ball, whether as a ball-hawk as a pass defender or a land-shark as a run stopper, Elam can do it all.  He is an excellent athlete with great instincts and would be a great fit for the Cowboys.

19. New York Giants: LB Jarvis Jones (Georgia)
Due to the injury bug the Giants lacked playmakers on defense.  Jones is one of the top defensive players in this year’s draft.  He is a dynamic athlete with a nose for the ball.  He is a great tackler, has good instincts, and is excellent in pursuit.  He can stop the run and blitz the opposing QB.  Jones will not be expected to start immediately so there will be no major pressure on him which will allow him to excel even more in the NFL.

20. Chicago Bears: OG Kyle Long (Oregon)
A glaring weakness for the Bears in the couple seasons has been their offensive line.  While the team has upgraded the Tackle position through free agency they still need depth at Guard.  Long is a versatile OG with great footwork and was one of the top Guards in the Pac-12 the last couple seasons.  He would provide much need depth for the offensive line and if he has a good training camp could be in line to be a start week one of the 2013 season.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: OT DJ Fluker (Alabama)
The Bengals do not have any major areas they need to fill in the short term.  In the long term they need depth for the future on the Offensive Line.  Drafting Andre Smith in 2009 did not work out for the Bengals.  Fluker is different than Smith in that he has a better work ethic and better footwork than Smith.  Fluker is underrated as an offensive lineman in a draft that has many O-Line prospects.  Fluker will be a good addition to the Bengals, providing depth to a team that is trying to get back to the playoffs for a third straight season. 

22. St. Louis Rams: WR Robert Woods (USC)
With the departures of Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson via free agency, the Rams need to replace their top two wide receivers from last season.  Woods is the best all-around WR in this year’s draft and he is also the most NFL ready since he played in a pro-style system at USC.  Woods is a great route runner who has great hands and underrated speed.  He could be a starter for the Rams week one of the 2013 season.

23. Minnesota Vikings: CB Desmond Trufant (Washington)
In a division where the Vikings have to deal with a plethora of super talented wide receivers such as Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Jordy Nelson and more, the Vikings need more talent in their secondary.  Trufant is a talented Cornerback who has fluid hips, very good speed and is great at defending the deep pass.  In order to make the playoffs this season the Vikings are going to need more from their defense and Trufant will help them at least slow down their opponents.

24. Indianapolis Colts: DT JesseWilliams (Alabama)
The defensive tackle has been weak point for the Colts for over a decade.  They were able to hide their lack of depth this past season when they changed to a “hybrid 3-4” defense.  But it is time for the Colts to address this need with a play who can play either Nose Tackle or Defensive Tackle.   Williams is underrated in this year’s draft because he wasn’t a “star” at the combine or at any of the collegiate “all-star” bowls.  But Williams has the track record from his time playing at Alabama as one of the top defensive tackles in the SEC.  He has very good strength and is great at recognizing a play and reacting to it.  His football IQ is high so he can have an impact for the Colts in the 2013 season as a rookie.

25. Minnesota Vikings: WR Cordarrelle Patterson (Tennessee)
With the loss of Percy Harvin, the Vikings need a dynamic playmaker on offense and special teams.  Patterson is the perfect replacement for the Vikings.  His great speed, agility in space and knack for getting open Patterson would be a great compliment on offense to Adrian Peterson and Greg Jennings.

26. Green Bay Packers: DT Akeem Spence (Illinois)
While the Packers do not have any major needs they could use more depth on the defensive line.  Spence is listed as a Defensive Tackle but he can play all three positions on the D-Line in a 3-4 defense.  Aside from his versatility Spence is good at shedding blocks and batting down passes along with stopping the run.  He also plays well next to talented lineman; he played next to current San Diego Chargers starter Corey Liugett in college.

27. Houston Texans: WR DeAndre Hopkins (Clemson)
With the recent injury history of star Wide Receiver Andre Johnson the Texans need more talent and depth at receiver.  Hopkins is a dynamic playmaker on offense with very good speed, great hands, and excellent leaping ability.  He caught 18 touchdowns this past season so he knows how to score.  He would be a great weapon for QB Matt Schaub.

28. Denver Broncos: DE Ezekiel Ansah (Brigham Young)
The Broncos are a team set at almost every position so they have the ability to pick the best player available.  Ansah is a unique talent who played Defensive End in college but may be converted to an Outside Linebacker in the NFL.  Head Coach John Fox has a history of finding roles for talented players who may not have a specific position but can make an impact on the field.  Ansah is still raw but he is very athletic and can tackle.

29. New England Patriots: WR Terrance Williams (Baylor)
The Patriots are lacking depth and experience at Wide Receiver.  They need someone who has starting WR experience who can play both out wide and in the slot.  Williams is a great route runner with good hands and excellent change of direction speed.  He is a tall receiver compared to some of the receivers the Patriots have had over the years (i.e. Welker, Edelman, Stallworth, etc) so he is a unique fit for the Patriots offensive scheme.

30. Atlanta Falcons: CB Jamar Taylor (Boise State)
The Falcons biggest weakness is in their secondary and they need more depth at Cornerback.  Taylor is an underrated CB who has very good play recognition skills, excels in man-to-man coverage, and has the speed and quickness to keep up with most wide receivers in the NFL.  His years of experience as a starter in college also shows he has real-time game experience and has seen many different types of offensive schemes.

31. San Francisco 49ers: DT Jonathan Jenkins (Georgia)
Needing to add depth on their defensive line, you have to sign and draft the right types of defensive line who can play and excel in a 3-4 defense.  Jenkins is perfect for the 49ers as a Nose and Defensive Tackle.  He is surprisingly athletic and quick for a guy listed at 345 pounds.  He is a good tackler and can shed blocks on run defense while on passing downs he can deflect passes and take on multiple blockers opening up holes for his teammates to get to the opposing Quarterback.  Jenkins would be a good fit for the 49ers.

32. Baltimore Ravens: LB Kiko Alonso (Oregon)
With the retirement of Ray Lewis and Darnell Ellerbe leaving via free agency the Ravens need to fill depth at inside linebacker.  The NFL has become a passing league where speed and athleticism is as important on defense as play recognition skills and tackling ability.  Alonso fits those needs as he is one of the top ILB in this year’s draft against the pass while also being a very good tackler.  Alonso also has experience playing in a “hybrid 3-4” defense so he is use to lining up in different ways on defense.  Also, the Ravens are looking for “character” guys and Alonso is known as a good leader in the locker room

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