DLD Editor: Jeff Risdon
As all of Detroit celebrates the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and Lions game, here is a 2013 NFL Mock Draft to set the table for next season as well.
Before you get to the mock, a few words about my methodology and mindset with mock drafts…
–I am presenting a single scenario at each spot of hundreds of potential ways this could play out. At this early juncture every single pick is pure and rampant speculation. Anyone who tells you otherwise is quite literally incredible.
–This is a projection for April. It’s November. Some of the prospects here are players who I think will rise or fall to the levels I have them at. Trust me, I’ve done this for years now; changes happen.
–These picks should in no way be construed as what I would do with the given pick. This is my attempt at predicting what the regimes at the given teams might do at the given slot.
–This does not necessarily represent a draft rating board. There are players listed in the first 32 picks here that will not be in my top 75 overall players in terms of draft grades.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia. When the options available at QB are Matt Cassel, Brady Quinn, and Ricky Stanzi, there is simply no hope. The Chiefs have to prominently address the quarterback situation. Smith has the precision, field awareness, and athleticism develop into a legitimate franchise quarterback, though there is more risk involved than with other recent top 10 QBs.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M. The junior has emerged as a dominating all-around presence on the front line for the Aggies. Moore leads the team in both tackles and sacks, and he is always around the football with a great motor and closing ability. The Jaguars need impact talent on the defense, and Moore offers the best chance at getting that quickly and less one dimensionally than any other player in this class.
3. Cleveland Browns: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia. When I look at edge pass rushers, one of the key attributes I want is the ability to flatten around the edge and finish with controlled burst. Jones possesses that ability in spades. The Browns would pair him with Jabaal Sheard to give them a pair of outside pass rushing threats that can compare nicely to their strong AFC North counterparts.
4. Carolina Panthers: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah. The massive senior is a disruptive interior force, capable of defeating double teams with a rare combination of power and agility. He offers some scheme versatility as well, which could be important if the Panthers make some coaching changes. They desperately need a player of his ability along the defensive front.
5. Oakland Raiders: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama. Oakland is in dire need of secondary help with all the recent departures and chronic injury issues. Milliner is a playmaking corner with a definite aggressiveness with the ball in the air. He will remind GM Reggie McKenzie of Tramon Williams from his Packers days, and the Raiders would happily take that here.
6. St. Louis Rams: Luke Joeckel, T, Texas A&M. This is a strong year for offensive line prospects, and no tackles stand taller than Joeckel. The Aggies junior is a confident brick wall on the blindside and plays with great technique. St. Louis needs at least two new OL starters this offseason. At least…
7. Philadelphia Eagles: Taylor Lewan, T, Michigan. There are lots of different directions the presumed new regime in Philly can go here. In this scenario they opt for the desperately needed OL help. Lewan is an aggressive behemoth who is used to playing on an island in front of a mobile QB, a plus if Vick somehow returns. He might be better on the right side in the NFL, but the Eagles need one of those too.
8. New York Jets: Matt Barkley, QB, USC. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. The cliché applies here to the Jets, who missed with their last top 10 USC quarterback. Barkley has enough “Q” factor that he will go at least this high even though his performance has not come close to matching the hype. I make this pick with the presumption that Tebow will not be in the mix at QB next season.
9. Miami Dolphins: Jonathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State. The motor doesn’t always run hot, but Hankins is a very good pocket collapsing force when on top of his game. He has rare quickness for a man of his considerable girth. This is more of a “best player available” pick for Miami, adding more force to an inconsistent defensive front.
10. Buffalo Bills: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor. I slot Williams here with the thinking that GM Buddy Nix has always stuck to his guns about taking the top talent on his own personal board no matter the slot or expected draft value. He will love Williams’ speed, downfield ability, and speed. Did I mention Williams is fast? The fact that similarly raw/speedy former Baylor teammate Josh Gordon is doing well in Cleveland ameliorates some of the concern that Williams only runs about a quarter of a NFL route tree.
11. St. Louis Rams (from WAS): Chance Warmack, G, Alabama. As mentioned with their own pick above, the Rams desperately need upgrades across the offensive line. Warmack is a devastatingly effective run blocker who plays with great physicality and pad level. It’s more common than you might think for a team to take linemen with their first two picks, and the Rams would be wise to strongly consider the strategy.
12. Tennessee Titans: Sam Montgomery, DE LSU. The rangy Tigers end is quick off the snap and quick to close on the ball. He offers the ability to play multiple spots and attack gaps, and he plays bigger than his size when in the trenches. Tennessee has a host of options here, including corner, but in this scenario they opt for the impact pass rusher from a big-time program.
13. Detroit Lions: Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame. The Lions potentially face a tremendous defensive upheaval, with all four projected starters in the secondary and all three linebackers not under contract after the season ends. Some will be retained, but holes need to be filled. Te’o adds needed size and oomph to the middle of the defense, and his improved range and fluidity in space make him a pretty safe pick.
14. Arizona Cardinals: Eric Foster, T, Central Michigan. The Arizona offensive line just might be the weakest positional unit on any team in the league. Improving the pass protection can only help whomever is playing quarterback next year (Shaun Hill? Mike Vick?). Foster needs some technical polish but has as high a ceiling as any tackle in this draft.
15. San Diego Chargers: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State. There could (should!) be a major regime change in San Diego, so forecasting a pick is serious guesswork. Werner is arguably the top player left on the board and is the sort of solid all-around player that would endear to a new coaching staff that knows they cannot miss on their first pick.
16. Cincinnati Bengals: CJ Mosley, LB, Alabama. The rangy junior has the type of athleticism and football smarts that might send him shooting up draft boards, and the Bengals could certainly use a player like Mosley. I could see a WR or RB here as well, but better value at those spots should present itself later in the draft.