DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon
The Super Bowl is in the books, the draft order is set, the major college All Star games are over and underclassmen have declared. What better time to update the old mock draft? I last attempted one just before the New Year, and it consisted of one lonely round. This time? How about three rounds? It’s sure to go wrong once we learn more info at the scouting combine, and once free agency and trades start up. But with teams having filled most of their coaching vacancies, and draft boards taking shape, there is enough information available to get a feel for what positions and types of players teams will target now that games are over. So here’s an attempt to guess the first 96 picks of the 2013 NFL Draft ( well, 94 picks thanks to Cleveland’s selection of Josh Gordon in the Supplemental Draft and Bountygate) before player transactions and compensatory draft picks muddy the waters…
1. Kansas City Chiefs – Geno Smith QB West Virginia: Smith skipped the Senior Bowl and it seems to have actually helped his draft stock. While his primary competitors for the top quarterback spot labored through some uneven practices in front of scouts, coaches and front office types, Smith worked out on his own. Like many top QB prospects before him, Smith is likely to skip the combine throwing drills as well. So, unless he struggles with familiar receivers at his Pro Day, he has set himself up to be drafted Number One.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Barkevious Mingo* DE/OLB LSU: If the Chiefs pass on Smith the Jags will scoop him up. But assuming Smith is off the board, the Jags will probably grit their teeth and hope to land a quarterback to compete with Blaine Gabbert with a later pick. Mingo is an explosive athlete with tremendous potential to rush the passer. Something Jacksonville desperately needs.
3. Oakland Raiders – Star Lotulelei DT Utah: This scenario plays out well for the Raiders. With Carson Palmer still under contract they have no need to gamble on a quarterback early. Instead they can allow Richard Seymour to leave in free agency and replace him with a player some consider the top prospect in the draft.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – Eric Fisher OT Central Michigan: Fisher generated a great deal of buzz with a strong week of practices at the Senior Bowl. It would be no surprise if he has passed Luke Joeckel as the top offensive tackle prospect on more than a few team draft boards. With Jason Peters’ health still a question mark, new head coach Chip Kelly knows he has to fortify a porous offensive line.
5. Detroit Lions – Bjoern Werner* DE Florida State: Unchanged from my first mock, Werner fills the need for a productive pass rusher. The Lions may prefer Mingo, but they’d need to trade up for him in this scenario. Ezekiel Ansah, who the Detroit staff coached at the Senior Bowl, is a strong possibility here as well.
6. Cleveland Browns – Damontre Moore* DE/OLB Texas A&M: This pick remains unchanged as well, but the Browns may also have their sights set on Mingo. If Mingo is gone as predicted, Cleveland may attempt to trade back out of the top ten once again. If they stand pat, Moore is a scheme-diverse player who would start right away under new defensive coordinator Ray Horton.
7. Arizona Cardinals – Mike Glennon QB North Carolina State: The hiring of Coach of the Year Bruce Arians opens the door for this pick. The Cardinals have a couple of strong-armed backups with scattershot accuracy, and a starter in Kevin Kolb who doesn’t really fit the Arians’ ideal. Look for Arians, in his first real head coaching gig, to lobby to bring in his “own guy” to compete at quarterback, rather than stake his reputation on a holdover from the previous regime.
8. Buffalo Bills – Tyler Wilson QB Arkansas: Many people will immediately connect the Bills to Ryan Nassib now that Buffalo has hired former Syracuse coach Doug Marrone. But, simply put, Wilson is the better prospect, and a long term upgrade from Ryan Fitzpatrick.
9. New York Jets – Sheldon Richardson* DT Missouri: It would be tempting to give the Jets a quarterback here, but with so much money earmarked for Mark Sanchez, and three QBs already off the board, they will have a hard time passing on the ultra-athletic Richardson. Rex Ryan can never have enough talented defensive linemen.
10. Tennessee Titans – Ezekiel Ansah DE Brigham Young: Another repeat from my first mock, Ansah starred during the Senior Bowl, and may even be drafted higher than this. The Titans will probably consider Alabama guard Chance Warmack here, but in the end, positional value and potential upside will make Ansah impossible to resist.
11. San Diego Chargers – Luke Joeckel* OT Texas A&M: Will Joeckel fall this far? Maybe not. The Chargers may need to trade up to make this pick. But two things remain unchanged: San Diego needs help on the O-line, and my belief that Joeckel will be the second tackle drafted.
12. Miami Dolphins – Cordarrelle Patterson* WR Tennessee: Patterson to Miami – a pick I made in my previous mock – is a selection that’s gaining traction in the draft community. The ‘Phins need a playmaker to help second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and Patterson has the highest ceiling of any receiver in the draft. Even with more polished receivers available, a player like Patterson, who has drawn comparisons to Julio Jones and Percy Harvin, would be tough to bypass.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Dee Milliner* CB Alabama: Milliner appears to have passed Johnthan Banks as the top cornerback on most draft boards. The Bucs desperately need help in the defensive backfield, so even if Milliner is off the board at 13, look for Tampa to select a corner.
14. Carolina Panthers – Sharrif Floyd* DT Florida: A month ago I had the Panthers taking Johnathan Hankins, so the position they are targeting hasn’t changed. Floyd is picking up steam in rumor mills as a potential top ten pick, and offers a more athletic skill set than the massive Hankins.
15. New Orleans Saints – Dion Jordan DE/OLB: The Saints’ search for a defensive coordinator indicates interest in moving to a 3-4 base defense. Jordan offers unique versatility, having lined up all over the field in college, making him an enticing prospect at this slot. Questions about Jordan’s ability to maintain an effective playing weight might push him down on some draft boards, but New Orleans seems like an organization willing to gamble on his talent.
16. St. Louis Rams – Keenan Allen* WR California: The Rams used a high draft pick on Brian Quick last year and he rewarded them with 11 receptions and two touchdowns. While it would be way too early to declare Quick a failure, the fact remains that the Rams still lack a true Number One receiver. On top of that, Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson are both free agents, so the position could end up being especially thin. Many believe that Allen is a top ten talent, so St. Louis would be getting good value with this selection.