Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The recent game of quarterback musical
chairs featuring Oakland, Arizona and Buffalo has shaken up the first round of
the 2013 NFL Draft a bit, and could signal how the league's personnel people
view this year's class of signal-callers, particularly West Virginia's Geno
Some, perhaps focusing on need, have Smith rated as a top-10 pick, while at
least one noted draft expert rated him as a fourth- or fifth-round selection.
The truth, as with most things, probably lies somewhere in between, but one
thing we do know is that "need" is regarded as the worst talent evaluator
there is in NFL circles.
The Raiders, of course, acquired the unproven Matt Flynn from Seattle and then
shipped the underachieving Carson Palmer to the Cardinals. Meanwhile, the
other quarterback-hungry team with a top-10 selection -- the Bills -- signed
ex-Arizona pilot Kevin Kolb.
None of those quarterbacks is going to conjure up visions of Joe Montana in
his prime and none is likely going to be the answer for their respective
tortured cities. What they do offer, however, is the ability to actually take
the exchange from center and that gives their teams options.
If no one is enamored with Smith or any of the other top quarterbacks in the
process, they can move in a different direction.
So, with that in mind, here are the results as The Sports Network rolls out its
latest mock draft:
1. Kansas City Chiefs - Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M - With Alex Smith and his
new caddy, Chase Daniel, officially on board for new coach Andy Reid, the only
real choices here are trading down with a team enamored by Geno Smith or
deciding between Joeckel, the Aggies' left tackle who projects as a Matt
Kalil-like stalwart and Central Michigan's Eric Fisher, a Joe Staley-type with
a bigger upside. Joeckel remains the safest selection.
Previous Pick: Joeckel
2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon - Jacksonville is a
true wild card in this draft. The Jaguars may be the least talented team in
the NFL and need help at nearly every position. Moreover a new brain trust has
taken over, led by general manager David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley. A
lot of the talk in Jacksonville has centered on disappointing quarterback
Blaine Gabbert and whether Caldwell is ready to cut bait on the former Missouri
star just two years into his NFL career. Bradley, though, is a defensive-minded
coach and needs to address the Jags' paltry pass rush, specifically off the
edges. Jordan has emerged from the pack as the best prospect off the edge.
Previous Pick: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
3. Oakland Raiders - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah - Flynn isn't going to generate
a ton of excitement, but his presence will enable the Raiders to stop thinking
about Smith and center on a pair of far bigger prospects, defensive tackles
Sharrif Floyd or Lotulelei. If the doctors keep giving Lotulelei a clean
bill of health, he's the choice. Star is a strong, physical player who fits
in playing multiple techniques and should develop into a solid player early in
his career. His left ventricle was pumping at below-normal levels at the NFL
Scouting Combine, but everything has checked out fine since.
4. Philadelphia Eagles - Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan - The Eagles want
Jordan, but his stock continues to rise so they will settle for Fisher, one of
the few can't-miss talents in this draft.
Previous Pick: Jordan
5. Detroit Lions - Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma - The Lions need to solve their
tackle situation because right tackle Gosder Cherilus left for Indianapolis in
free agency and veteran left tackle Jeff Backus called it quits after a solid
12-year career. With 2012 first-rounder Riley Reiff better suited for the
right side, Detroit would jump on Fisher if he somehow lasted to the fifth
overall selection. Oklahoma's Johnson, although probably not worthy of being
picked that high, has been moving and could be in play here.
Previous Pick: Fisher
6. Cleveland Browns - Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama - New Browns defensive
coordinator Ray Horton ran the 3-4 in Arizona, and Cleveland has been active
in free agency fortifying the front seven, inking edge pass rusher Paul Kruger
from Baltimore as well as ex-Raiders defensive tackle Desmond Bryant and
former Cardinal linebacker Quentin Groves. Milliner is the kind of player who
could team with Joe Haden to give Horton two top-tier corners and the ability
to get exotic with his defensive play-calling.
Previous Pick: Milliner
7. Arizona Cardinals - Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama - Arizona's draft prospects
changed markedly when the team acquired Palmer from the Raiders. Palmer may be
on the downside on his career and is certainly not the Pro Bowl player he once
was in Cincinnati, but he is a massive upgrade on the terrible triumvirate of
Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and Ryan Lindley which eventually cost Ken Whisenhunt
his job in the desert. Palmer may not be the long-term answer in Glendale, but
he's a nice stop-gap and one whom will enable the Cards to look past reaching
for a signal-caller. New head coach Bruce Arians is known for developing young
quarterbacks and will certainly get a developmental one at some point, but
rebuilding perhaps the worst offensive line in football trumps that as a
priority. The Cards would prefer a tackle, but with the big three off the
board, Warmack, perhaps the best player in the draft, should be the selection.
Previous Pick: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
8. Buffalo Bills - Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse - The Bills haven't reached
double-digit wins since 1999. Since the turn of the century, Buffalo's
high water mark was 9-7 in 2004, three years after bottoming out at 3-13 in
'01. With Ryan Fitzpatrick at the controls as its starting quarterback from
2009-12, Buffalo won six, four, six and six games. With Fitz now gone and Kolb
and Tarvaris Jackson as the only in-house options at quarterback, new coach
Doug Marrone will reach for what's familiar, his old college quarterback, Ryan
Nassib. The former Syracuse star has the big arm and may have a bright future
in a few years but shouldn't be in the conversation this early.
Previous Pick: Nassib
9. New York Jets - Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia - Those back-to-back trips to
the AFC Championship Game in the 2009 and 2010 NFL seasons are just distant
memories for the Jets, a team which enters this draft process as one of the
least talented in football. The popular theory is that Mark Sanchez will get
one final chance to prove he can be the answer at quarterback, but with Smith
falling, New York will take the leap.
Previous Pick: Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
10. Tennessee Titans - Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida - The Titans addressed their
most glaring holes in free agency by signing highly regarded guard Andy
Levitre from Buffalo, inking strong safety Bernard Pollard from the Super Bowl
champion Baltimore Ravens, and getting running back Chris Johnson and young
quarterback Jake Locker backups by convincing Shonn Greene and Fitzpatrick to
leave the AFC East behind. Tennessee stills need to give Levitre more help on
the interior of the offensive line and fortify the defensive line, so Floyd
wins out over North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper because he has the slightly
Previous Pick: Floyd
11. San Diego Chargers - Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina - The Chargers'
offensive line is in shambles and Cooper is the best prospect left. The UNC
guard is a a perfect choice for San Diego, which lost Louis Vasquez to AFC West
rival Denver during free agency.
Previous Pick: Warmack
12. Miami Dolphins - Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State - The perception in
South Florida is the Dolphins have gone all-in in an attempt to make things
tough on the New England Patriots in the AFC East. The Dolphins certainly made
the biggest splash early free agency, signing two of the best players available
in speedy wide receiver Mike Wallace and Super Bowl-winning linebacker Dannell
Ellerbe. They continued the spending spree from there by bringing in wide
receiver Brandon Gibson and tight end Dustin Keller on the offensive side of
the ball, along with linebacker Phillip Wheeler and cornerback Brent Grimes to
help the defense. Here's the bad news, though: Miami had to release linebackers
Kevin Burnett and Karlos Dansby and lost a solid tight end in Anthony Fasano.
The 'Phins also must replace their starting left tackle, Jake Long, their best
cover corner, Sean Smith, and a very versatile running back in Reggie Bush.
Rhodes could replace Smith and give Miami a terrific tandem if Grimes proves to
Previous Pick: Johnson
13. Tampa Bay Bucs (Trade to New York Jets for cornerback Darrelle Revis) -
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU - The Bucs have been the lead horse in the Revis race
since day one and things will get done here, putting the Jets on the clock
again. New York needs a 3-4 edge pass rusher and Ansah is a rangy Jason
Pierre-Paul type who will make Rex Ryan salivate.
Previous Pick: Rhodes for Tampa Bay
14. Carolina Panthers - Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri - The Panthers need
to sure up their run defense and Richardson is a boom-or-bust kind of guy.
When the motor is on, he looks like a top-five pick, so he's a good gamble here
as a need pick.
Previous Pick: Lotulelei
15. New Orleans Saints - Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia - Poor 40-yard dash
times will send Jones crashing out of the top 10, but the Saints, who are
switching to a 3-4, need edge players and Jones could be a Terrell Suggs-like
Previous Pick: Ansah
16. St. Louis Rams - Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia - The Rams shored up
left tackle with the signing of Jake Long but lost Danny Amendola, making
receiver even more of a need pick. Cal's Keenan Allen is the most NFL-ready
pass catcher, but slow 40 times have hindered him. Tennessee's Cordarrelle
Patterson is the top vertical threat and Austin is the slot star but is
undersized. The Rams will pick the biggest playmaker and that's Austin.
Previous Pick: Patterson
17. Pittsburgh Steelers - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee - There is
plenty of work to be done in Pittsburgh as age has slowly crept up on the
Steelers. Pittsburgh has moved on from former NFL Defensive Player of the Year
James Harrison, will likely replace veteran nose tackle Casey Hampton and
really can't count on oft-injured safety Troy Polamalu. That said, with Mike
Wallace in Miami and fellow receiver Emmanuel Sanders likely to end up in New
England after signing a one-year offer sheet as a restricted free agent, the
Steelers need to get something outside and lean toward Patterson, a raw, rangy
big-play threat who needs to focus more
Previous Pick: Richardson
18. Dallas Cowboys - Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina - The 'Boys are
hamstrung by salary cap woes, so getting help with this pick is paramount,
particularly on the offensive and defensive lines. Williams edges out Florida
State offensive tackle Menelik Watson and Alabama OT D.J. Fluker as the best
Previous Pick: Cooper
19. New York Giants - Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State - When the Giants have
succeeded, it has been all about the pass rush, and that part of their game
derailed in 2012. Werner was a top five-level prospect earlier in this process,
but his closing speed has scared some teams off of him. He has the motor
to excel in the NFL, though, and Werner is a solid fit with Big Blue as the
replacement for Osi Umenyiora.
Previous Pick: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
20. Chicago Bears - Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame - The Brian Urlacher era is
over in the Second City and taking Te'o, would accomplish a couple of things.
It gives Chicago an heir apparent and keeps him away from NFC North rival
Previous Pick - Fluker
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas - The re-signing of
defensive end Michael Johnson and middle linebacker Rey Maualuga helped
solidify the front seven for Cincinnati, making safety the biggest position of
need, and Vaccaro is the best one available, a player who has the ideal
combination of size and athleticism to roam from sideline to sideline in
Previous Pick: Matt Elam, S, Florida
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins) - Matt Elam, S, Florida - The
Rams could continue carpet-bombing the receiver spot or look for Steven
Jackson's replacement at running back, but their need at safety is just too
great and Elam is the safer choice over rising Florida International star
Previous Pick: Austin
23. Minnesota Vikings - Johnathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State - Greg
Jennings' presence makes receiver less of an issue in Minneapolis, but the
release of Antoine Winfield labels cornerback a priority and the Vikings
reportedly love Banks, a player they project as a starter early on. He could
team with Chris Cook and Josh Robinson in Minnesota to give the Vikings three
solid young corners, something you need in a division in which Aaron Rodgers,
Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler play quarterback.
Previous Pick: Banks
24. Indianapolis Colts - Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU - Chuck Pagano needs
to continue to build up his 3-4 defense in Indy and needs edge players because
Robert Mathis is aging and the team moved on from Dwight Freeney. Mingo was
once thought of as a top-10 pick, so getting him here is nice value.
Previous Pick: Mingo
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle) - Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia - This is
Minnesota's pick acquired in the Percy Harvin deal. The Vikings let their
middle linebacker in 2012, the mediocre Jasper Brinkley, walk to Arizona, so
they need a mike. Minny general manager Rick Spielman has already hit big on
Notre Dame prospects in back-to-back years (tight end Kyle Rudolph and safety
Harrison Smith) and would love Te'o, but Ogletree will be a nice consolation
prize, a far more athletic player who is better-suited for the Vikings'
somewhat antiquated Tampa-2 base scheme.
Previous Pick: Te'o
26. Green Bay Packers - Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State - The Packers could
go running back (Alabama's Eddie Lacy), but it's hard to imagine Ted Thompson
valuing that position. Improving a mediocre offensive line is the far more
likely option and Watson, who played right tackle with the Seminoles, has the
athleticism to project on the left side. He's been racing up the charts and
his versatility is a fit here.
Previous Pick: Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
27. Houston Texans - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson - Even before they released
veteran Kevin Walter, the Texans badly needed a complement to Andre Johnson.
Keenan Allen's lack of speed will turn the team toward Hopkins, who is more of
a vertical threat, which is what Houston is looking for.
Previous Pick: Keenan Allen, WR, California
28. Denver Broncos - Margus Hunt, DE, SMU - The Elvis Dumervil fax fiasco put
defensive end in play for the Broncos and the 6-foot-8, 280-pound Hunt is the
type of raw talent you gamble with late in the first round. Most project him
as a 3-4 end, but Hunt certainly has the size and frame to hold up as a base
end in a 4-3 also.
Previous Pick: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
29. New England Patriots - Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington - Although the
Patriots got Aqib Talib and Kyle Arrington back in free agency, snaring a
possible starter at corner this late is hard to pass up on.
Previous Pick: Robert Woods, WR, USC
30. Atlanta Falcons - Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State - The Falcons replaced
the aging but always productive John Abraham with Umenyiora, a talented but
far less consistent player. Meanwhile Troy Biermann is a high-motor player on
the other side who is probably best-suited for fewer reps. They could put
Carradine in the picture, a player on the rise after ACL surgery.
Previous Pick: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
31. San Francisco 49ers - Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame - Yeah, they have Vernon
Davis, but Delanie Walker left in free agency, so why not develop a left coast
alternative to the Rob Gronkowski-Aaron Hernandez tandem that has somewhat
revolutionized offensive football.
Previous Pick: Trufant
32. Baltimore Ravens - Kevin Minter, MLB, LSU - With Ray Lewis retiring and
Dannell Ellerbe exiting to Miami, Baltimore badly needs an inside linebacker
and Minter is a solid tackler who can hit the ground running in the NFL.
Previous Pick: Te'o
33. Jacksonville Jaguars - Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
34. San Francisco 49ers (from Kansas City) - Jesse Williams, NT, Alabama
35. Philadelphia Eagles - EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State
36. Detroit Lions - Keenan Allen, WR, California
37. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland) - Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
38. Arizona Cardinals - Matt Barkley, QB, USC
39. New York Jets - Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
40. Tennessee Titans - Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky
41. Buffalo Bills - Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas Pine-Bluff
42. Miami Dolphins - Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
43. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
44. Carolina Panthers - Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
45. San Diego Chargers - D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
46. St. Louis Rams - Eric Reid, S, LSU
47. Dallas Cowboys - Justin Pugh, OG/OT, Syracuse
48. Pittsburgh Steelers - Corey Lemonier, DE/OLB, Auburn
49. New York Giants - Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
50. Chicago Bears - Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno State
51. Washington Redskins - Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State
52. Minnesota Vikings - Robert Woods, WR, USC
53. Cincinnati Bengals - Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
54. Miami Dolphins (from Indianapolis) - Kyle Long, OG/OT, Oregon
55. Green Bay Packers - John Jenkins, DT, Georgia
56. Seattle Seahawks - Chase Thomas, LB Stanford
57. Houston Texans - Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
58. Denver Broncos - Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State
59. New England Patriots - D.J. Swearinger, S, South Carolina
60. Atlanta Falcons - Khaseem Greene, LB, Rutgers
61. San Francisco 49ers - D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston
62. Baltimore Ravens - Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
Cleveland exercised its second-round pick in last year's supplemental draft.
New Orleans forfeited its second-round pick due to the Bountygate scandal.
The Sports Network