|#2 D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston|
(Thursday, April 25, 2013)
Here it is, my final Mock Draft of the season. Draft day has finally arrived, and barring any late changes, my picks should be locked in. It has been a great ride. Thanks to all of my readers, you guys motivate me to churn out these things weekly. Expect draft grades to be posted sometime tonight, as well as a Day 2 Mock Draft tomorrow. You can view my final 2013 NFL Prospect Rankings here and my final 2013 NFL Draft Big Board here.
Also, check out my updated 2014 NFL Mock Draft here, as I take a look at where some of the top prospects project.
Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Analysis: With the first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select... Eric Fisher, Offensive Tackle, Central Michigan.
Ok, so I've been going back and forth between Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel, as have the Chiefs for basically the last month. NFL Draft Scout Matt Miller had an idea of how the pick could be made:
Interesting note I just received: "If Andy Reid makes the pick, it's (Eric) Fisher. If (John) Dorsey picks, it'll be (Luke) Joeckel."— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 24, 2013
Luke Joeckel has seemed to be the favorite all along, but there has been a divide in the organization. The coaching staff prefers Eric Fisher, while the scouting staff prefers Luke Joeckel. Here are three NFL Insiders' takes on who will be the first pick from yesterday:
Although most believe Chiefs take Luke Joeckel, I do not, I believe Chiefs will take Eric Fisher w #1 pick. Big, nasty, fits city— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) April 24, 2013
Me too RT @jayglazer: Most believe Chiefs take Luke Joeckel, I do not, believe Chiefs will take Eric Fisher w #1 pick. Big, nasty, fits city— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 24, 2013
Me too. And that makes Jax call a tough 1. RT @jayglazer: Most believe Chiefs take Luke Joeckel. I don't. I believe KC will take Eric Fisher— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 24, 2013
Well, either these three know something that we don't, or they are simply just guessing. However, considering that these are three of the most connected people in the business, I'll go with the former. I'm jumping on the bandwagon that NFL Draft Scout Dane Brugler created.
Biggest Needs: OT, DE, ILB
Luke Joeckel*, OT, Texas A&M
Analysis: With the second pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars select... Luke Joeckel, Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M.
You never see a team draft a right tackle in the top 5, but this is a very different draft. Based on value, Luke Joeckel may be the best player on the board.
However, this pick would not make much sense because right tackles can be had in the middle rounds, not to mention that guys like Andre Smith, Tyson Clabo, and Eric Winston are all available. Here is what ESPN Insider Adam Schefter tweeted on Tuesday:
Feeling is OTs Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher will be first two players picked Thursday night. Then Oakland's turn...— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 23, 2013
Just two days earlier, former NFL scout and current NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah tweeted this:
I've had Dion Jordan going to JAX for a long time. However, I've talked to several GM's/Personnel Directors that expect JAX to take an OT— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) April 21, 2013
As of now, it looks like offensive tackle is where General Manager David Caldwell is leaning, staying true to his board. Eugene Monroe is penciled in at left tackle, so Joeckel would give them an immediate upgrade at right tackle. With Monroe's long-term future with the team in question, Joeckel could be viewed as their long term answer at left tackle.
Whether you agree or not, Joeckel certainly is not a reach, and Caldwell appears to want to take a "safe" pick to start off his tenure as General Manager. The Jaguars could have us all fooled, or they could legitimately be interested in one of these two tackles.
Biggest Needs: QB, DL, DB
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Analysis: With the third overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders select... Star Lotulelei, Defensive Tackle, Utah.
With both Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher off the board, the Raiders still might be able to trade back if a team wants to come up and take Lane Johnson.
There is a chance that the Raiders take Lane Johnson for themselves, but it is still much more likely that they draft a defensive tackle here. The debate becomes Star Lotulelei vs. Sharrif Floyd. There is a consensus that Sharrif Floyd will be the pick, but no one knows for sure.
I expect the Raiders to use both 3 man and 4 man fronts, so they could be looking for a more versatile defensive tackle. Lotulelei is the more versatile of the two, and I believe he is the more dominant of the two as well. He is definitely the better prospect IMO, and GM Reggie McKenzie could see it that way as well.
Biggest Needs: CB, DL, OT
Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Analysis: With the fourth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select... Lane Johnson, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma.
The Eagles could be the wild card in the top five, and will definitely look to trade down if they get the right offer, possibly to target Tavon Austin. If they stay put, offensive tackle is a position they want to address as Albert Breer tweeted on Tuesday:
Eagles down to 4 players they feel good about at the 4th pick. Good bet they're all line-of-scrimmage players. The tackles, Star, Jordan ...— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 23, 2013
Chip Kelly loves Lane Johnson, and the Eagles have had plenty of contact with him over the last few days. Dion Jordan will definitely be considered, and the Oregon connection can definitely be made. However, the Eagles appear to be zeroing in on Lane Johnson.
Biggest Needs: OL, CB, DE
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Brigham Young
Analysis: With the fifth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select... Ezekiel Ansah, Defensive End, Brigham Young.
GM Martin Mayhew loves to draft the best player on the board, regardless of need. This time around, things could be different, as the Lions have pressing needs at left tackle, defensive end, and cornerback.
There is no question about it, the Lions have their sights set on a left tackle, but unless they trade up, they will likely miss out. Trading back makes a lot of sense, but Ezekiel Ansah looks like their guy if they stay put.
The Lions like Ansah a lot, and considering the fact that they need a pass rusher, it makes some sense. Dee Milliner should still be considered, but the Lions don't seem too high on the Alabama corner.
Biggest Needs: OT, DE, CB
Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
Analysis: With the sixth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select... Dion Jordan, Outside Linebacker, Oregon.
The Browns have known about Dee Milliner and his medicals, but this late in the game, I see the Browns changing course. There is so much uncertainly surrounding the Browns. Will they trade up for a pass rusher? Will they trade back? Or will they stay at 6?
On the Browns, I'd heard Mingo like everyone else. But then Jordan's name came up repeatedly last night. #Intrigue— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 25, 2013
If they don't trade out of this pick, Barkevious Mingo is a likely target. He could definitely be the pick, if Dion Jordan wasn't available. Earlier in the process, the Browns seemed to covet Jordan, and I'm willing to bet that he doesn't slide past them.
Biggest Needs: QB, CB, OG
D.J. Fluker*, OT, Alabama
Analysis: With the seventh pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals select... D.J. Fluker, Offensive Tackle, Alabama.
The Cardinals would be in a tough position with the top three left tackles off the board. Unless they trade up or down, I assume that they would still like to address the offensive line. Chance Warmack is a popular pick, and would be a great fit, but hasn't really been connected with Arizona. However, his teammate has, as Draft Insider Tony Pauline noted last week:
Notes on offensive tackles; 1)Lane Johnson/Oklahoma flying into early picks 2) Arizona very high on DJ Fluker...— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) April 18, 2013
NFL Insider Jason La Canfora also said that sources tell him that the Cardinals are high on Fluker. General Manager Steve Keim is expected to go with the best player available, but who's to say that's not Fluker? Drafting a right tackle at 7 doesn't make much sense, unless they plan on moving him to guard, and they definitely need to protect Carson Palmer.
They would probably still be better off going with a pass rusher, but by drafting Fluker, the Cardinals could commit to the power running game under Bruce Arians. We will see...
Biggest Needs: OL, OLB, S
Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
Analysis: With the eight pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills select... Ryan Nassib, Quarterback, Syracuse.
At this point, everyone expects the Bills to pull the trigger on a quarterback here, but which one? Geno Smith is the consensus top quarterback prospect, Ryan Nassib may be the best fit, and Matt Barkley is also high on their radar.
The only quarterback worth drafting here is Geno, but the Bills want to reunite Nassib with Doug Marrone. Because the Jets and Jaguars have legitimate interest in Nassib, the Bills will only be able to get him if they pull the trigger here.
Biggest Needs: QB, WR, DE
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Analysis: With the ninth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the New York Jets select... Tavon Austin, Wide Receiver, West Virginia.
The Jets have several players they are targeting with their two first round picks. They are looking at all possible options, including an offensive guard, pass rusher, offensive play maker, and a quarterback.
As good as Cooper and Warmack are, the Jets need and are looking for play makers on both sides of the ball. There are plenty of options for the Jets here, but I don't think they want to pass on Tavon Austin.
Biggest Needs: QB, OLB, S
Dee Milliner*, CB, Alabama
Analysis: With the tenth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans select... Dee Milliner, Cornerback, Alabama.
The Titans have done a good job filling some needs in free agency. They don't have to spend an early round pick on a safety, and guard isn't as desperate a need with Andy Levitre in the fold. They love Johnathan Cooper and Chance Warmack, but are looking for a press corner.
Fortunately for them, the best corner in the draft falls to them here. Dee Milliner would be hard to pass on if he is still on the board. The Titans can easily trade back and still land on of their top targets if they choose.
Biggest Needs: OG, CB, DE
Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Analysis: With the eleventh pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers select... Jonathan Cooper, Offensive Guard, North Carolina.
With so many holes on the offensive line, the Chargers desperately need to find an upgrade. They have to see if they can trade up for one of the elite offensive tackles. If not, they are more than likely to lose out.
D.J. Fluker could be an option if on the board, but guard is a bigger need anyway, and it looks like the Chargers are implementing a zone-blocking scheme. Jonathan Cooper would be an ideal pick for San Diego. He is a plug and play starter who would be a great fit for them.
Biggest Needs: OL, NT, CB
Cornellius Carradine, DE, Florida State
Analysis: With the twelfth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select... Cornellius Carradine, Defensive End, Florida State.
There is a hold up with the Branden Albert trade, which has a significant impact on how the Dolphins approach the first round. Here is what Draft Insider Tony Pauline tweeted on Tuesday:
Right now the top suitors for Tank Carradine/FSU are Miami Dolphins (12), NY Giants (19) Minnesota Vikings (23 & 25), Falcons in mix— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) April 23, 2013
Makes sense. The Dolphins need a pass rushing defensive end opposite Cameron Wake, and "Tank" Carradine grades out as the best 4-3 defensive end in the draft. He solidified his first round grade at his workout coming off of a torn ACL.
Biggest Needs: OT, CB, DE
Barkevious Mingo*, OLB, Louisiana State
Analysis: With the thirteenth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the New York Jets select... Barkevious Mingo, Outside Linebacker, Louisiana State.
I really wanted to plug Geno Smith in here, but could not find a spot for him. Maybe I can plug Geno in here too... Nah. Someone will definitely take him in the first round, but I'm not projecting any trades.
Rex Ryan loves Barkevious Mingo, and the Jets desperately need a pass rusher. They could easily select him with the ninth overall pick.
Biggest Needs: CB, DT, TE
Sharrif Floyd*, DT, Florida
Analysis: With the fourteenth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers select... Sharrif Floyd, Defensive Tackle, Florida.
The Panthers are widely projected to take a defensive tackle. With Sharrif Floyd still on the board, I don't see how they pass on him. Floyd is arguably the best 3 technique defensive tackle in the draft.
Biggest Needs: DT, DB, OT
Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas
Analysis: With the fifteenth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints select... Kenny Vaccaro, Safety, Texas.
Martez Wilson, Victor Butler, and Junior Gallette all have upside as pass rushers, which is why I'm not sure the Saints target a pass rusher early. They seem to be targeting a defensive back with the 15th overall pick.
Safety is a huge issue for the Saints, which is why Vaccaro could be the pick. I expect Vaccaro to come off the board earlier than this, but he should definitely be considered if he's still on the board.
Biggest Needs: OLB, DB, DE
Alec Ogletree*, OLB, Georgia
Analysis: With the sixteenth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Saint Louis Rams select... Alec Ogletree, Outside Linebacker, Georgia.
The Rams love Alec Ogletree, and everything I have been able to gather makes be believe they will pull the trigger on him, possible at 16.
Alec Ogletree is a top 15 talent, and his off the field issues will not deter the Rams from taking him. He projects best as an outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense, which is a big need for the Rams.
Biggest Needs: S, WR, OLB
Jarvis Jones*, OLB, Georgia
Analysis: With the seventeenth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select... Jarvis Jones, Outside Linebacker, Georgia.
Jarvis Jones has such a wide draft range, that he can go anywhere in the first round. Even he expects to be drafted by the Steelers if he makes it to them, and that is exactly what I see happening.
The Steelers are looking to get younger on defense, and need a young pass rusher to replace James Harrison. Jarvis Jones is one of the best and most reliable pass rushers in this class, and would be a great pick for Pittsburgh.
Biggest Needs: OLB, WR, OG
Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Analysis: With the eighteenth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select... Chance Warmack, Offensive Guard, Alabama.
Dallas's top three targets are: Jonathan Cooper, Chance Warmack, and Kenny Vaccaro in no particular order. If any of the three fall to them at 18, one of them will be the pick.
Chance Warmack is arguably the best player in the draft. He could go as high as 7th to the Cardinals, but could still fall like David DeCastro did last year. He is a plug and play starter who would bring some much needed toughness to the offensive line.
Biggest Needs: OL, S, OLB
Bjoern Werner*, DE, Florida State
Analysis: With the nineteenth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the New York Giants select... Bjoern Werner, Defensive End, Florida State.
The Giants want to address the offensive line, but the top guys are off the board. Instead of reaching, expect Jerry Reese to draft the best player on the board.
Bjoern Werner is expected to fall tonight, but that might not happen. After losing Osi Umenyiora, the Giants need to find a pass rusher early, and Werner is the perfect candidate to replace him.
Biggest Needs: DE, OG, OLB
Manti Te'o, MLB, Notre Dame
Analysis: With the twentieth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears select... Manti Te'o, Middle Linebacker, Notre Dame.
Desmond Trufant is a popular pick for the Bears, and Sheldon Richardson could interest them. However, according to Ian Rapoport, there is someone else the Bears are targeting:
Manti Te'o would be a great fit for the Bears. He projects as a solid starting middle linebacker in the NFL, and would be a good replacement for future Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher.
A smokescreen perhaps? After all, the Bears know how much the Vikings love Te'o. I'm not willing to bet on that. I think they have serious interest in the Notre Dame linebacker.
Biggest Needs: MLB, OLB, DT
Eddie Lacy*, RB, Alabama
Analysis: With the twenty-first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select... Eddie Lacy, Running Back, Alabama.
With Alec Ogletree off the board, many people expect the Bengals to take a safety, perhaps Eric Reid out of LSU. However, here is an interesting tweet from Walter Cherepinsky, owner of WalterFootball.com:
I'm buying this. Eddie Lacy is the most complete running back in the draft, and despite concerns about durability, he is the type of back the Bengals need to "complete" their offense.
Biggest Needs: RB, LB, OT
DeAndre Hopkins*, WR, Clemson
Analysis: With the twenty-second pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Saint Louis Rams select... DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver, Clemson.
The Rams worked out the Clemson receiver twice in a four day span, similar to what they did with Brian Quick last year before selecting him. There is speculation that the Rams are trying to trade out of this pick, but DeAndre Hopkins looks to be the pick if not.
Biggest Needs: S, WR, OLB
Sheldon Richardson*, DT, Missouri
Analysis: With the twenty-third pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings select... Sheldon Richardson, Defensive Tackle, Missouri.
With two first round picks, the Vikings would ideally love to come away with a starting middle linebacker and a wide receiver. Defensive tackle is still a priority however, and Sheldon Richardson would be hard to pass on.
Richardson is a top 10 talent, but could fall into the lap of the Vikings. Since they need a defensive tackle, Richardson makes sense, and would be a great value pick at 23.
Biggest Needs: WR, MLB, CB
Cordarrelle Patterson*, WR, Tennessee
Analysis: With the twenty-fourth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select... Cordarrelle Patterson, Wide Receiver, Tennessee.
The Colts have the luxury of drafting the best player on the board. Cordarrelle Patterson could be that guy. He is the most physically gifted receiver in this class, and should develop into an excellent number one receiver for franchise quarterback Andrew Luck.
Biggest Needs: OLB, C, WR
Arthur Brown, MLB, Kansas State
Analysis: With the twenty-fifth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings select... Arthur Brown, Middle Linebacker, Kansas State.
As much as the Vikings want a receiver, the top guys are off the board. Arthur Brown is another linebacker the Vikings have been connected to. As much as they want Te'o, Brown is the better prospect.
Biggest Needs: WR, MLB, CB
Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Analysis: With the twenty-sixth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers select... Geno Smith, Quarterback, West Virginia.
Let me explain. No the Packers do not need a quarterback, but this could be a spot where a team trades back into the first round and grabs the West Virginia quarterback. Perhaps the Packers see Geno as the best player on the board and pull the trigger. They can then trade him, or even groom him behind Aaron Rodgers, trading him down the road.
Biggest Needs: RB, S, C
Tyler Eifert*, TE, Notre Dame
Analysis: With the twenty-seventh pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select... Tyler Eifert, Tight End, Notre Dame.
The Texans would love a receiver to fall to them. Guys like Justin Hunter and Keenan Allen make sense. However, they could also use a superb pass catching tight end like Tyler Eifert.
I expect Eifert to go in the middle of the first round, but would be a steal for the Texans if he falls to them. They need weapons, play makers for Matt Schaub, and someone to take pressure off of Andre Johnson.
Biggest Needs: WR, ILB, OT
Xavier Rhodes*, CB, Florida State
Analysis: With the twenty-eight pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select... Xavier Rhodes, Cornerback, Florida State.
Xavier Rhodes is widely-viewed as the second best corner in this class. The Broncos would love to take him here, adding him to a talented secondary that includes Chris Harris and Tony Carter, and they still have the Champ Bailey.
Biggest Needs: DE, DT, MLB
D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston
Analysis: With the twenty-ninth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots select... D.J. Hayden, Cornerback, Houston.
Who would have thought that at this point, D.J. Hayden is a first round lock? Well, that's where we are. Hayden could go as high as 12 to Miami, but could find a home in New England.
We know how the Patriots love to stock up on defensive backs, and they could view Hayden as too talented of a prospect to pass on with the 29th pick in the first round.
Biggest Needs: WR, DB, DE
Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
Analysis: With the thirtieth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons select... Jamar Taylor, Cornerback, Boise State.
GM Thomas Dimitroff wants to trade up in the first round. A corner or a pass rusher seem like the most likely targets, but a cornerback will be in play if they stay here.
Desmond Trufant would make a lot of sense here, and there are rumors that he is a guy they could try to trade up for. However, as Tony Pauline notes, there is another corner who they want to take at 30:
NFL Draft News/Notes posted for April 25th:Continue to hear Jamar Taylor/CB/Boise St very likely to Falcons @ 30: draftinsider.net/blog/?p=7018— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) April 24, 2013
Jamar Taylor is my top ranked senior corner, and would be a solid pick late in the first round. Many Falcons fans will clamor for Trufant, but Taylor is the real deal.
Biggest Needs: CB, DE, LB
Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Analysis: With the thirty-first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers select... Desmond Trufant, Cornerback, Washington.
The 49ers have so many picks in this year's draft that they are in a great position to just draft the best player on the board. They see Desmond Trufant still on the board, and grab him here.
One of the top corners in this draft, Trufant would be a nice value pick if he falls this far. A safety is still in play, as is the possibility of trading up, but if not, they'll likely take a corner late in the first round.
Biggest Needs: S, NT, CB
Johnathan Cyprien, SS, Florida International
Analysis: With the thirty-second pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select... Johnathan Cyprien, Safety, Florida International.
GM Ozzie Newsome always drafts well. You can count on them making the most out of their draft picks every year. Drafting the best player on the board makes a lot of sense.
Johnathan Cyprien seems like a first round lock, so it would be a mild surprise if he gets to the Ravens. He is the type of physical, play making safety they need to pair with free agent acquisition Michael Huff.
Biggest Needs: ILB, S, WR