Posted: Thu January 24, 2013 12:33PM; Updated: Tue February 5, 2013 1:59PM
Don Banks
Don Banks>INSIDE THE NFL

2013 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

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NFL teams will have to decide how much stock to put in Matt Barkley's lackluster 2012.
NFL teams will have to decide how much stock to put in Matt Barkley's lackluster 2012.
Jeff Lewis/Icon SMI

A mock draft in January is the ultimate example of the can't-wait-for-it mindset that prevails in today's world. Never mind that this year's draft class just became finalized days ago, or that NFL teams are still very early in the process of immersing themselves in scouting, at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

No matter. We're here to tell you how all 32 slots in the first round are going to go down on the night of April 25. Right now. And if we misfire on any of these picks, (imagine?), well, we've got six more mocks to do over the course of the coming three months.

It's a quarterback-light draft overall, but you just know somebody's going to fall in love with an arm or two along the way, so write these projections in pencil for now. If newspapers were once considered the first rough draft of history, consider our mock 1.0 as the first rough draft of the draft. There are plenty more steps to come in this long and unfolding dance.

 
1 OT Luke Joeckel Texas A&M Jr. 6-6 310
Quarterback is clearly the crying need in K.C., but there's not an Andrew Luck or RGIII in sight atop this year's board. Maybe a passer gets pushed up into this spot at some point, but for now the value of the slot says you take the franchise left tackle in the first round and then try to pick off a quarterback to start the second round. Everybody knows Andy Reid likes to build his roster from the lines out, and with Chiefs left tackle Branden Albert eligible for free agency, Joeckel is the logical replacement.
2 DE Bjoern Werner Florida State Jr. 6-4 256
It seems as if we've been writing about the Jaguars' need to acquire more pass rush in the draft for about 13 years in a row now. But with just 20 sacks last season, Jacksonville ranked 32nd in the league in dropping the quarterback. The Jags are in luck in that there are a lot of talented pass rushers in this year's top 10. Jacksonville plans to stick with a 4-3 defense under new head coach Gus Bradley and defensive coordinator Bob Babich, and Werner is well-suited to that scheme, with 13 sacks and 18 tackles for loss last season.
3 DE Damontre Moore Texas A&M Jr. 6-4 250
Like the Jaguars, the Raiders are desperate for pass rush (they had 25 in 2012, ranking 31st), and Moore fits their need perfectly. Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones is another option, but he's better suited to 3-4 outside linebacker, and the Raiders field a 4-3 look. Moore can handle playing in either formation, and his 12.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss for the Aggies should translate into a top-three grade in this year's defense-heavy draft.
4 QB Geno Smith West Virginia Sr. 6-3 220
This is where the real guess-work begins, because so much depends on whether new Eagles coach Chip Kelly believes he currently has his starting quarterback on the roster or not. Smith's talents aren't a perfect mesh for Kelly's up-tempo offense, but he's got enough mobility to get the job done, and his pocket-passing skills are NFL ready. We know quarterbacks get pushed up by need, but the Eagles defense needs so much help that Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner could be tough to pass on.
5 OLB Jarvis Jones Georgia Jr. 6-2 242
The Lions are another team seeking pass rushers, and Jones is one of the best this draft has to offer. Again, the 4-3 outside linebacker spot probably isn't his strong suit and he may need a little time to develop his game. But his athleticism and playmaking skills are dynamic, and his workouts this spring are likely to turn NFL heads. The spinal stenosis he was diagnosed with several years back will get a thorough re-examination by the league, but if he's cleared, it'd be a surprise to see him last beyond the top five.
6 CB Dee Milliner Alabama Jr. 6-1
The ex-Crimson Tide product is the cleanest cornerback on the board, with a physical style of play and the ability to both tackle and pitch in on run defense. The idea of teaming Milliner with Cleveland's other first-round cornerback, the gifted Joe Haden, is an early draft scenario that's already quite popular in northeast Ohio.
7 QB Matt Barkley USC Sr. 6-2 230
The Cardinals have other options to fix their quarterback issues, perhaps by trading for Alex Smith or Matt Flynn. But if their division rivals in San Francisco or Seattle won't play ball with them, the Cardinals might talk themselves into Barkley, who was presumed to be a slam-dunk top five pick in 2012, had he not opted to return to USC for what proved to be a damaging senior season. Some don't consider Barkley a first-round talent any more, but let's see what happens once the NFL digs into his tape.
8 QB Mike Glennon N.C. State Sr. 6-6 220
This pick doesn't reflect where Glennon's stock stands today, but where I think it's headed. Granted, Buffalo's need at quarterback is driving this projection of Glennon cracking the top 10. If the Bills don't find him intriguing, he very well may not make the first round. New Bills head coach Doug Marrone probably loves his collegiate QB, Syracuse's Ryan Nassib, but he's more likely to earn a second-to-mid-round grade. Just got a hunch that Glennon's size and arm strength will grow on NFL personnel men as the draft approaches.
9 DE Barkevious Mingo LSU Jr. 6-4 240
It's an easy leap of logic to make, foreseeing a marriage of Mingo's athleticism and edge-rushing talent and Rex Ryan's love for that style of disruptive playmaking. The ex-LSU Tiger has X factor-type potential and pursuit skills, and Mingo is his name. Actually, with a moniker like Barkevious Mingo, this guy's a name player before he even steps foot on an NFL field.
10 OG Chance Warmack Alabama Sr. 6-2 322
I think Titans head coach Mike Munchak played a little guard as I recall, and he's going to see the NFL's next great guard when he scouts Warmack's game. It's not a sexy pick for the Titans, but protecting Jake Locker and helping the Chris Johnson-led ground game get more consistent is plenty important enough to warrant a top 10 pick on an interior lineman of rare pedigree.
11 DT Star Lotulelei Utah Sr. 6-3 320
This might wind up far too low a slot for the talented Lotulelei, who is both versatile and athletic. As the first round's second 10 unfolds, the Chargers should be in good position to help themselves with either a defensive lineman like Lotulelei or a much-needed offensive tackle like Central Michigan's Eric Fisher.
12 WR Keenan Allen California Jr. 6-3 210
Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland stated the obvious this week at the Senior Bowl: Miami needs more offensive playmakers to put around quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The receiver position is always a bit like picking your favorite flavor of ice cream, but Allen is a dependable and proven pass catcher who many believe is the most pro-ready receiver in the draft.
13 LB Alec Ogletree Georgia Jr. 6-3 234
The Bucs might be fortunate if the playmaking Olgetree lingers all the way to No. 13. Every time you read his name, the phrase "sideline-to-sideline tackler" seems to be invoked. He can play inside or outside linebacker, but with the Bucs he likely would step into the strongside role, alongside Mason Foster in the middle and Lavonte David on the weakside.
14 DT Sheldon Richardson Missouri Jr. 6-3 295
Defensive tackle is the glaring need on Carolina's defense, and how can the Panthers and owner Jerry Richardson pass on a prospect with that last name? The junior is quick and disruptive, and yet still sizable enough to hold his ground and not get easily pushed around in the middle.
15 LB-DE Dion Jordan Oregon Sr. 6-6 243
The Saints will be happy to come out of the first round with a pass rusher who can help Steve Spagnulo's unit start climbing back to respectability after hitting rock bottom in 2012. Jordan is great in pursuit and Oregon used his versatility to its advantage, moving him around to create matchup problems for opponents. He'd step into an outside linebacker slot in New Orleans and provide an instant upgrade on the playmaking front.
16 OT Eric Fisher Central Michigan Sr. 6-7 305
With two first-round picks (see RGIII trade), the Rams could put a package together and move up if they've got conviction about a prospect. But they're not one player away from greatness, so odds are they stick and add two more building blocks to their lineup. Fisher is the draft's second-best tackle behind Joeckel, and NFL scouts already rave about his blend of size (6-7, 305) and athleticism. Pretty sure Rams quarterback Sam Bradford heartily endorses this pick.
17 S Kenny Vaccaro Texas Sr. 6-1 218
The Steelers can go in a lot of different directions to help Dick LeBeau's aging defense. An outside linebacker like BYU's Ezekiel Ansah is a name to watch at No. 17. But Vacarro is the draft's top safety, and probably makes the most sense as Troy Polamalu's eventual replacement. Vaccarro is as strong against the run as he is smooth in pass coverage, and he'll contribute from day one in a variety of roles.
18 DT Jonathan Hankins Ohio State Jr. 6-3 320
Hankins has been a streaky player for the Buckeyes, and Lord knows there are enough of them already in Dallas. But his talent is obvious, and recent developments (see Josh Brent, Jay Ratliff) make defensive tackle the Cowboys' obvious area. The move to a 4-3 defense in Dallas only makes addressing the tackle position all the more critical.
19 DE-LB Ezekiel Ansah BYU Sr. 6-5 270
When you consider the Giants' penchant for rarely passing on the sack specialist with huge upside, and all the comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul that Ansah has already inspired, it seemed somewhat obvious I had to give him to the Giants. I'm just connecting dots here, folks. It's still early.
20 TE Zach Ertz Stanford Jr. 6-6 252
We know Jay Cutler needs a new target at tight end, and there are two highly rated ones to pick from in the first round mix: Ertz and Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert. Both have size, great athletic prowess and the ability to make the tough catch in traffic. Eifert's semi-local ties with the Irish might win him the nod, but Ertz is the better blocker and I'd roll the dice on his smarts, too.
21 DE Sam Montgomery LSU Jr. 6-5 260
If the Bengals decide defensive end Michael Johnson is too expensive to franchise and he gets away in free agency, Montgomery would make solid sense as a first-round replacement. He's not as explosive as fellow LSU Tiger Mingo, but he can find his way into the backfield and gets high marks for consistent effort.
22 RB Eddie Lacy Alabama Jr. 6-1 220
(From Washington). With their second first-round pick, the Rams could continue to upgrade on offense by giving themselves a youthful option in the event Steven Jackson's career in St. Louis is over. Lacy fits the mold of the bigger power back that Rams head coach Jeff Fisher likes, and he doesn't dance in the backfield like a Chris Johnson. He picks his rushing lane and attacks.
23 WR Cordarrelle Patterson Tennessee Jr. 6-3 205
Patterson's stock could rise well beyond the Vikings' reach by draft night, but he'd be a good get for Minnesota, which needs to add more receiving weapons for young quarterback Christian Ponder. Patterson has the size and strength needed from today's NFL receivers, and he can be used in a variety of ways to create matchup problems, including in the return game.
24 DT Shariff Floyd Florida Jr. 6-3 303
The Colts need more talent up front in the second year of their new-ish 3-4 defense, and Floyd's ability to play inside and at end has to put him on Indy's radar. He'll likely come off the board somewhere between No. 18 Dallas (also going to the 4-3) and the No. 24 Colts.
25 OT D.J. Fluker Alabama Sr. 6-4 355
The Seahawks could easily take the best available receiver in this slot (Baylor's Terrance Williams, Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins or USC's Robert Woods), and fill a need. But Fluker might earn too high a grade to pass on. Seattle's offensive line was superb in 2012, but Breno Giacomini is hardly irreplaceable at right tackle. Fluker is seen as a natural right tackle in the NFL and his massive 6-4, 355-pound size and impressive wingspan could solidify the position for the foreseeable future.
26 RB Montee Ball Wisconsin Sr. 5-11 215
I know, running backs in the first round don't make much sense in the NFL any more. But I love the idea of the Packers finally getting a No. 1 back who can threaten a defense, and I'm convinced Aaron Rodgers will second that motion. Time to add a consistent element to the at times non-existent Green Bay running game. The Packers know what Ball has done down in Madison the past three years, and let's face it, all the guy does is score touchdowns. Believe it or not, there's still a place for that in the NFL.
27 WR Terrance Williams Baylor Sr. 6-1 201
If the Texans want to find a way to beat the Patriots, they hqave to get more playmaking options in the passing game. Williams isn't a consensus first-rounder at this point, but I like his blend of size and speed, his body control and his ability to make yards after the catch. The Achilles tear suffered by receiver DeVier Posey in the playoff loss at New England makes receiver even more of a critical need.
28 CB Xavier Rhodes Florida State Jr. 6-1 217
Champ Bailey looked really, really old in the playoff shocker against Baltimore. Rhodes has prototypical NFL size and impressive coverage skills, and he plays with a physical presence.
29 S Matt Elam Florida Jr. 5-10 202
As the playoff loss to the Ravens proved, the Patriots still have their seemingly never-ending issues in the secondary. Elam is a solid value in the latter stages of the first round, and his nose for the football would upgrade New England at safety, where the Pats tend to take a makeshift approach at times. And, of course, Bill Belichick loves him some Florida Gators.
30 DE Alex Okafor Texas Sr. 6-4 261
It's time for Atlanta to prioritize the needed upgrade to its pass rush, because John Abraham can't do it all by himself, and he's not getting any younger either. In a first round with plentiful pass rush options, Okafor is by far the top-rated remaining sacker left at No. 30.
31 DT Jesse Williams Alabama Sr. 6-4 320
As the eventual successor to 12th-year veteran defensive end Justin Smith in the 49ers' 3-4 defense, Williams makes all kind of sense. He's powerful and can push the pocket, and he's a high-motor guy just like Smith has been ever since he came out of Missouri in 2001.
32 LB Manti Te'o Notre Dame Sr. 6-2 255
Not sure where the draft stock of Te'o will settle after the well-chronicled tale of his hoax of a dying internet girlfriend becomes yesterday's news, but NFL executives I talked to were taking a wait-and-see approach. Te'o is a tackling machine and he finds the football in the takeaway department, too, but him getting run over in embarrassing fashion against Alabama had to give some teams pause about his overall game. At the bottom of the first round, however, Ozzie Newsome and Co. might consider him a steal of a replacement for the retired Ray Lewis.
 
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