Mock Draft, Version 3.0

Western Kentucky v LSU

If you follow me on twitter (@FirstRoundGrade), you know that I was very reluctant to put together a Mock Draft until after the NFL Free Agency signing period commenced. It’s difficult for any Draft analyst to project who a team will select when we don’t even know what their roster will look like in April. But after many requests for an updated Mock, I decided to give it a whirl.

Take a read and I welcome all comments, positive, negative, and downright brutal! What’s the point of having a mock draft if it isn’t torn apart, right? Feel free to share, too! And with the first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select…

1) Kansas City Chiefs Geno Smith, QB, WVU: Smith’s stock has gone up without him doing a thing. Following lackluster performances from the other Senior QB’s during the Senior Bowl practices, Geno Smith looks like the odds on favorite to be the first QB selected in April. Tyler Wilson will challenge him a bit, but if the Chiefs are going to select a passer, it’s likely to be Smith. With that said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kansas City sign a veteran free agent and address their QB depth chart at the top of the 2nd round. There aren’t many quality free agent QBs in this year’s crop, with Joe Flacco (Bal) leading the way. It’s unlikely that Kansas City will make a serious play for Flacco, so a name like Matt Moore (Mia) is worth watching. (Geno Smith)
2) Jacksonville Jaguars Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU: Mingo entered the 2012 season as FirstRoundGrade’s top player. And while his production dipped a bit (arguably because he wasn’t “let loose”), his film simply doesn’t lie. Mingo has the most upside of any pass rusher in this Draft, and with the Jaguars needing all the help they can get in getting to the QB, Mingo fits the bill. He will be a riser once the Combine and his Pro Day roll around, and his name could end up getting mentioned as a possible #1 overall selection.
3) Oakland RaidersRaiders Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah: The Raiders could go in a number of directions this April, but the value of Star Lotulelei will be too much to pass up. Lotulelei presents the Raiders with a disruptive interior defensive lineman who plays stronger than any other prospect in the Draft. Lotulelei will be a starter from day one and be a mainstay in the Black Hole.
4) Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan: My followers on Twitter (@FirstRoundGrade) know that I’m not sold on Luke Joeckel (OT, Tex A&M) as an elite, can’t-miss OT prospect. Add in the performance of Fisher during the Senior Bowl practices, and I can’t help but think that Fisher will end up catching, and surpassing, Joeckel as the top lineman in the Draft. And it’s not just his Senior Bowl performance, folks. Fisher’s film doesn’t lie. He’s a premier talent at the Tackle position. The Eagles need help up front, and with Jason Peters’ health a big question mark, there’s no way they can pass up a Tackle in the 4-spot.
5) Detroit Lionslions Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State: Aside from Mingo, Werner might have the most upside as a pass rusher in the NFL. Werner’s film does have some warts (he doesn’t exactly play through the whistle), but his athleticism and speed around the edge suggests that he will be an impact player on the next level. The need for a DE will be all the more pressing if the Lions fail to bring back Cliff Avril. Add in an aging Kyle Vanden Bosch, and Werner fits the bill. (Bjoern Werner)
6) Cleveland Brownsbrowns Jarvis Jones, OLB, UGA.: Part of the problem with doing a Mock Draft at this time of year is that it is so early in the Draft process. Jones is the perfect example of a player who could be slotted in the top-10, but by the time the Draft rolls around? He’s not even in the top-20. If Jones slips, it won’t be because of his talent. There are some serious injury concerns (neck), and it will be interesting to see how he measures-in at the Combine (specifically arm length). If both issues are “non-issues”, then Jones is the perfect pick for the OLB-needy Browns at #6 overall. Jones is an instinctual player who consistently finds himself in the backfield disrupting a running play or getting to the QB. Instant upgrade. (Jarvis Jones)
7) Arizona Cardinalscardinals Luke Joeckel, OT, Tex A&M: Talk about need meeting value! The Cardinals are in desperate need of help along the offensive line, and Luke Joeckel (who is widely-considered the best player in the entire Draft) is sitting here at the 7th pick. The Cardinals would take all of 30 seconds to hand in their card to select the talented and athletic left tackle. While I have questions about his functional strength and how it could impact him on the next level, there’s no denying Joeckel’s technique and athleticism. He’s a starting quality rookie as early as week 1 of the 2013 NFL season. (Luke Joeckel)
8) Buffalo Bills Keenan Allen, WR, Cal: Sorry, I’m simply not buying the Ryan Nassib (QB, Syr) hype as it pertains to the Bills and the 8th pick in the Draft. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Nassib is still on the board for the Bills in round 2; a spot that would make much more sense as it pertains to Nassib’s overall value and talent-level. If the Draft falls the way it has here, I see the Bills being strategic and taking the best WR available, followed by a 2nd round QB (to add to CJ Spiller and Stevie Johnson). If the Bills go the Nassib route, there won’t be a WR of Allen’s stature in round 2. However, by taking Allen here, they are all but assured of getting a Nassib-level QB at pick 40. Allen is a nice, nice player. He’s big, he’s physical after the catch, and he is explosive enough to stretch the defense. He and Stevie Johnson would become a formidable match-up problem for opposing secondaries and would help advance the learning curve for the QB who selected in round 2.
9) NY Jetsjets Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas: The Jets desperately need to move away from the Mark Sanchez-era, and they’ll have the chance to in this year’s Draft with Tyler Wilson available at the 9th pick. Wilson might not present with a superstar’s resume, but he is a tough QB that understands the nuances of the game. FirstRoundGrade had Wilson as the top QB to enter the 2012 season, and while his performance this year left something to be desired, I still believe in his overall skill set. The Jets will finally have a QB that they can build consistent success around.
10) Tennessee Titanstitans Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama: Warmack would be a no-brainer for the Titans if he is available at the 10th spot. Tennessee needs to get younger and more talented along the interior of their offensive line. Warmack might end up with the highest overall grade of any offensive lineman in the Draft, but his value will be on the cusp of the top-10 because of the way in which the guard position is viewed. The Titans will be thankful for the Draft trend. Warmack is a nasty, physical, athletic road grader of a prospect. CJ2K (do we still call him that?) will be the happiest person in Tennessee after this pick is announced.
11) San Diego Chargerschargers Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma: It’s no secret that Philip Rivers (QB, SD) hasn’t looked the part of “franchise QB” over the last two seasons. But a lot of the blame has to do with the lack of quality pass protection. Jared Gaither (OT, SD)? Jeromey Clary (OT, SD)? Really? Well, not too much longer. Lane Johnson is a legitimate starting NFL tackle that has the versatility to play on either the Left or Right side. He is long and athletic, and with an extra 15lbs of bulk, he could develop into a pro bowl type player. (Lane Johnson)
12) Miami Dolphinsdolphins Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama: Miami was hoping that one of the three offensive tackles would still be on the board here at 12, but with San Diego grabbing Johnson at 11, the Dolphins will address their next biggest need: CB. Milliner isn’t the most athletic corner to enter the NFL, but he is long, has good range, and is a physical player. If the Dolphins fail to re-sign Sean Smith (CB, Mia), it makes the pick all the more likely.
13) Tampa Bay Bucstampa Damontre Moore, DE, Tex A&M: The Bucs were hoping to see Milliner fall to #13, but with Miami grabbing the Crimson Tide corner at 12, Coach Schiano and company will happily gobble up Moore. A lot has to be cleared up in free agency, but if Michael Bennett (DE, TB) isn’t resigned, the Bucs will bring in Moore and pair him with Adrian Clayborn to form one of the better, young DE duos in the NFL.
14) Carolina Pantherspanthers Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri: Richardson is one of FirstRoundGrade’s highest value players and will likely end up with a final grade equivalent to a top-5 prospect. It wouldn’t surprise me if Richardson is long gone by this point in April, but for purposes of this Mock Draft, he’s Carolina’s pick. The Panthers need help at the defensive tackle position, and Richardson presents as a borderline elite 3-technique prospect for the NFL. He is the quickest defensive tackle available in the 2013 Draft, with movement skills that will rival some of the linebacker prospects. He’s a penetrating, disruptive force that will pay immediate returns by collapsing the pocket in pass rushing situations. (Sheldon Richardson)
15) New Orleans Saints Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas: The Saints are going to have to start drafting players in an effort to stop Matt Ryan and the rising Falcons. Vaccaro offers great value as New Orleans game plans against players like Roddy White and Julio Jones. Now, I’m not advocating that a team draft in response to one divisional opponent’s skill set, but the reality is the Saints need help in the secondary AND need to figure out a way to stop Atlanta’s passing attack. Vaccaro is a good coverage safety and will immediately upgrade the backend of the Saints defense. The Saints need to get away from Roman Harper (S, NO) and Malcolm Jenkins (S, NO) has to display more consistency in his play. Vaccaro will put pressure on the veterans and should advance the group’s play not only with his talent, but with the competition he will bring to the practice field.
16) St. Louis Rams Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee: FirstRoundGrade has a higher value on Tavon Austin (WR, WVU), but the Rams already have one of the NFL’s best slot WRs in Danny Amendola. There’s no way they would be in play for Austin. But they are in need of another WR. I’m a fan of Chris Givens and believe he will evolve into one of the better playmakers in the NFL. But Brian Quick was a disappointment last year and I question whether he will ever be able to make the transition from small school WR to a team’s go-to-guy in the NFL. Enter Patterson. The dynamic playmaker from Tennessee is a bit of a projection, as there isn’t a ton of film to go from. But his size/speed measureables, combined with his electric season of film, will make him a top-20 pick in April. He seems like the perfect fit for the Rams.
17) Pittsburgh Steelerssteelers Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon: Jordan could see his stock drop a bit after reports of his playing weight (under 230lbs) recently surfaced. He’s also been battling some injury issues, so he needs to right the ship to maintain mid-1st round consideration. Assuming he checks out OK, Jordan presents as a player that could excel as a 34 OLB. Jordan is still an evolving player, but his athletic skillset is far more intriguing than the rest of the pass rushing OLB/DE’s still on the board.
18) Dallas Cowboyscowboys Jonathan Cooper, OG, UNC: It’s no secret that the Cowboys need help along the interior of their offensive line. Watching Demarco Murray (RB, Dal) continually try to make something out of nothing frustrated Cowboy fans across the Country. Fortunately for Dallas, Jonathan Cooper could be sitting there for them at the 18th selection. Cooper will be one of the highest graded players for FirstRoundGrade, and may even end up grading out higher than Chance Warmack (OG, Alabama). He is a rare specimen. His ability to get to the second level and complete his blocking assignment has no peers in this Draft. If you want to look at how a guard can instantly help his running back produce, just pop in some film of Gio Bernard (RB, UNC). You’ll quickly see Cooper’s impact in paving the way for one of this year’s top RB prospects. Cooper has the potential to be a 10+ year starter and pro bowl caliber player. (Jonathan Cooper)
19) NY Giantsgiants Alec Ogletree, OLB, UGA: Had the catfish scandal not rocked the world of Manti Te’o (MLB, Notre Dame), he might have been the pick here. But there’s no way that the Giants will select the PR nightmare that Te’o would create in New York. That said, the Giants still need to address the linebacker position in round 1. Ogletree is the kind of athlete the Giants tend to be drawn to, and he would have a chance to start from day 1 in his rookie season.
20) Chicago Bearsbears Kevin Minter, MLB, LSU: The Bears will be devastated that Jonathan Cooper (OG, UNC) went two spots earlier, and with no viable offensive linemen available at the #20 pick, they will turn their attention to the LB position. Specifically, the Bears need to add youth to the middle of the defense with the expected departure of Brian Urlacher (MLB, Chi). Minter might be a bit of a reach here, but he was the heart and soul of the LSU defense in 2012. If Urlacher isn’t brought back, Minter would line up as the new starting MLB for the Bears…a position with a lot of history and a lot of pressure. If the Draft falls this way, don’t be surprised to see Phil Emery trade back (possibly even out of the first round).
21) Cincinnati Bengalsbengals Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama: The Bengals offense is on the cusp of being one of the better units in the NFL. They have all the pieces in place in the passing game, but are lacking a true feature-back to lean on. Enter Eddy Lacy. The big-bodied, light-footed runner is just what the Bengals need when looking to protect a lead and wear down a defense. Lacy is a tough runner who is hard to tackle in space. He’d be an instant upgrade from Benjarvus Green-Ellis (RB, Cin) and would challenge to be one of the best offensive rookies in 2013.
22) St. Louis Ramsrams DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama: In this Mock, the Rams addressed their need at WR with their first selection in the first round, but it won’t do them any good if they don’t start strengthening their offensive line. While the premier prospects are all off the board, the Rams can treat this selection as an “address the need” pick. Fluker won’t grade out as a top-20 player, but he will be the best available/remaining tackle in the Draft. If they decide that the need is great enough, Fluker could be pleasantly surprised at #22.
23) Minnesota Vikingsvikings John Jenkins, DT, UGA: The Vikings are in need of some help at WR, but I think they’ll go defense in round 1. Jenkins is one of the premier defensive players in this Draft, and much like Sheldon Richardson (DT, Missouri), could hear his name called much higher than this Mock Draft suggests. However, if it falls this way, the Vikings will take the mammoth 350+ pound defensive tackle. Paired with Kevin Williams (DT, Min), Jenkins will provide stability against the run while presenting with enough quickness to scare the daylights out of opposing QBs. (John Jenkins)
24) Indianapolis Coltscolts Xavier Rhodes, CB, Fla St.: Vontae Davis (CB, Ind) played pretty well for the Colts last year and has secured himself as a fixture in the secondary for the foreseeable future. However, there’s much to be desired across from him, and Rhodes offers the most upside of the remaining corners on the board. Rhodes has to perform well at the Combine and his Pro Day, as players like Desmond Trufant (CB, Washington) and Jordan Poyer (CB, Oregon St) are fast risers.
25) Seattle Seahawksseahawks Tavon Austin, WR, WVU: We all know how unbelievable Russell Wilson’s (QB, Sea) rookie season was. And what makes it that much more impressive is that outside of Sidney Rice (WR, Sea), he didn’t have many elite options to throw to in the passing game. Golden Tate (WR, Sea) took a nice step forward this year, but he doesn’t present as a big-time playmaker in the NFL. Enter Tavon Austin. Austin is FirstRoundGrade’s highest rated playmaker available in 2013. Line him up in the slot and let Russell Wilson work his magic to get him the ball. If you factor in Wilson’s ability to move around in the pocket and buy time, Austin will become virtually uncoverable. There will be very few corners that can stick with Austin for an extended period of time. Wilson to Austin would become a lethal combination for years to come.
26) Green Bay Packerspackers Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford: With Jermichael Finley’s (TE, GB) play in decline, the Packers will look to maintain their offensive diversity by adding the best tight end in this year’s class. Ertz has firmly surpassed Tyler Eifert (TE, Notre Dame) as FirstRoundGrade’s top player at the position. He combines mismatch measurables with plus athleticism and plus hands. In fact, he will be an upgrade from Finley (even at Finley’s best). The Packers could also consider running back here, but Ertz presents the best value to upgrade their roster.
27) Houston Texanstexans Manti Te’0, ILB, Notre Dame: As I said earlier, it’s very early in the Draft process to do a Mock Draft with a high level of accuracy. Manti Te’o, and his Draft positioning, is something that we won’t really get a firm grasp on until after the Combine when he’s had a chance to talk to all 32 teams. But putting the catfish saga aside, Te’o would fill the need for an upgrade at inside linebacker. Te’o is an instinctive and hard-working player. And while he isn’t the perfect prospect, he is a starting quality ILB/MLB who could lead a defense for many years to come. **This would have been my evaluation if Catfish never happened. If I’m a GM in the NFL, I’m not touching Te’o, at least not this early. He will have a hard time ever gaining respect in the lockeroom, and is unlikely to ever become the vocal leader of his defense. His value was largely placed in the intangibles he brings to the table. Those intangibles are gone.** (Manti Te’o)
28) Denver Broncosbroncos Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio St: The Broncos will be completely re-tooling their defensive tackle position, with both starters scheduled to hit the free agent market in March. Enter Johnathan Hankins, who looked like he was en route to hear his name called in the top-10 of this year’s Draft. FirstRoundGrade is still very high on Hankins, as he presents as a quick, light-footed interior defensive lineman who can shed blockers well. He has been criticized for not giving 4 quarters of effort on a consistent basis, but I think he has a lot of upside and will be a nice value pick for the Broncos late in round 1. (Johnathan Hankins)
29) New England Patriotspatriots Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida: Much of the pre-Draft talk with the Patriots seems to be centered around addressing the defensive tackle position in an effort to both compliment Vince Wilfork (DT, NE) as well as be his long-term replacement. Floyd is a thick, athletic, disruptive interior defensive lineman that seems to fit the mold. The Patriots could also take a long look at Jesse Williams (DT, Alabama) and Kawann Short (DT, Purdue).
30) Atlanta Falconsfalcons Alex Okafor,DE, Texas: The Falcons appear ready to start addressing their defense in this year’s Draft, as the offense is running like a well-oiled machine. That said, don’t be surprised if Atlanta is in play for a RB here, with Andre Ellington (RB, Clem) a real possibility. The Falcons brass will likely be stunned that Okafor has slipped all the way to pick #30. Okafor is a solid, all-around defender who will be effective both vs. the pass and the run. He will make an immediate impact in Altanta and will challenge for a starting role.
31) Baltimore Ravensravens Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU: Ansah has lit the scouting world on fire and was widely considered one of the top defenders available after the first-half of the 2012 college football season. FirstRoundGrade has always been lower on Ansah than most, and now his weaknesses are starting to be more publicly exposed. It’s very possible that Ansah isn’t selected in the first round, but he’s the kind of athlete that will test his way into the top-32 at the Combine. The Ravens have to start addressing their aging defense in this year’s Draft, and Ansah’s athleticism will be enticing. It’s unclear how he would fit in a 34 scheme, as he presents as a player that could hold up at DE as well as be athletic enough to play OLB. The Ravens will draft him purely on upside and hope he finds a natural home during his rookie season. (Ziggy Ansah)
32) San Francisco 49ers49ers Datone Jones, DE, UCLA: The 49ers will be in position to draft for luxury at the bottom of the first round, and Datone Jones presents just that. He is enjoying a meteoric rise up Draft Boards, and I expect that by the time the process is said and done, Jones will be a first round player. The 49ers don’t have a glaring need at defensive end, but much like the Giants recent success has proven, adding talent to your pass rushing arsenal is always a good route to take. Jones has violent hands and a high motor. He could be a scary addition to the 49ers.


You're really underestimating Damontre Moore. His stats at a comparable age were far better than Von Miller with the same program. Plus he has the versatility to fit changing defensive schemes, which guys you have above him do not. PLUS he doesn't turn 21 until the 2013 season starts, and is already one of the most mature players available in the draft.


Sorry but there is no way jones medical history can be looked at as a non issue. He has spinal stenosis, a condition that will only get worse with contact and age. The brown IMO would be better off taking Moore in this scenario.