Posted: Wed April 17, 2013 12:35PM; Updated: Wed April 17, 2013 12:34PM
Don Banks
Don Banks>INSIDE THE NFL

2013 NFL Mock Draft 6.0

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With Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel expected to go high, Lane Johnson could be valuable trade bait.
With Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel expected to go high, Lane Johnson could be valuable trade bait.
Tony Gutierrez/AP

Have to admit, I always kind of dread when the second-to-last mock of NFL draft season rolls around. Because the only mock that truly matters is the last one you do, and for me that's not forthcoming until next Thursday morning, the day of the draft. But what if this winds up being my best, most accurate version of the events that will unfold the night of April 25 at Radio City Music Hall? Who cares, right? I'll be the only one who knows it.

If you get this one reasonably right, chances are you can only screw things up for yourself next week, when it counts and you start making changes. And there will be changes next week, because I will have talked myself in and out of several trade scenarios and re-considered handfuls of selections by then.

The more I study the top 10, the more I see plenty of potential for teams moving around come next Thursday night. As everyone has noted all along this year, the lack of truly elite players in the top 10 puts every team in the mood to move down, acquire more picks, and still get roughly the same quality player in a lower spot. But you can count on a run on offensive linemen in the top 10, and that should inspire a trade or two to ensure the most offensive tackle-needy teams like Detroit, Arizona, San Diego and Miami get their guy. With three premier tackles, all likely to be gone in the first seven picks, somebody's going to finish out of the money.

Throw in the potential Darrelle Revis trade to Tampa Bay, a deal I'm projecting that should allow Cleveland to drop out of the top 10 and still select West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, and possible late-first-round trades made by teams targeting the second- or third-highest rated quarterbacks (Ryan Nassib, E.J. Manuel, Matt Barkley?), and it could be a very active first-round swap meet once again this year. A little more than a week out, here's my penultimate prediction of who goes where next Thursday night. Perhaps I can only go downhill from here.

 
1
Eric Fisher
OT Central Michigan
Sr.6-7306
 
 
I've heard a lot of people opine about what the Chiefs should do at No. 1, or probably will do, but I haven't come across anyone who seems to know whether Kansas City resides definitively in either the Fisher camp or the Luke Joeckel camp. Maybe the plan is to toss a coin on draft night. But is it heads Fisher and tails Joeckel, or the other way around? I call for a second coin flip to determine the particulars of the first coin flip.
 
2
Dion Jordan
DE/OLB Oregon
Sr.6-6248
 
 
Another week, another attempt to read the tea leaves in Jacksonville, where the debate seems to have been whittled down to the pass-rushing Jordan versus the draft's premier defensive tackle, Sharrif Floyd. Unless, of course, the Jaguars are actually trying to decide between BYU defensive end Ziggy Ansah and Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, and we've been following the wrong trail all along.
 
3
Sharrif Floyd
DT Florida
Jr.6-3297
 
 
The Raiders could opt for Ansah as well, with the solid reasoning that pass rushers are more valuable than interior defensive linemen. But I've been told by numerous league sources that Floyd won't last past the top five, and Oakland, having lost both Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour, still seems like the most natural fit.
 
4
Star Lotulelei
DT Utah
Sr.6-3320
 
 
The Eagles would seem to be in prime position to trade down here, with teams just behind them coveting either Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel or Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner. If the Eagles are content with the notion of winding up with Lotulelei in a lower slot, why not try to get the tackle-needy Lions, Cardinals, Chargers and Dolphins bidding on Joeckel? By next week's final mock, Philly's No. 4 slot might be almost slam-dunk trade territory.
 
5
Luke Joeckel
OT Texas A&M
Jr.6-6306
 
 
This scenario appears a dream come true for Lions fans, and speaks to the pick-your-favorite-flavor realities of this year's top 10. Detroit arguably could get the draft's top-rated player at its position of greatest need to fall to it at No. 5, or take the best available cover cornerback in Milliner, filling another glaring hole on its depth chart. I suppose the Lions could even put their pick up for trade and see who wants to come after Joeckel, Milliner, or even Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson? Maybe it is too good to be true.
 
6
Lane Johnson
OT Oklahoma
Jr.6-6303
 
 
Acquired from Browns. The Browns, too, would have a ready-made trade-down option if they get to No. 6 and both Milliner and the draft's third-best offensive tackle, Johnson, are still on the board. Knowing they have to get ahead of the No. 7 Cardinals to select the ex-Sooner, the Chargers should have the motivation to beat out Arizona's bid and land the tackle they desperately require. This could get really fun at No. 4-5-6.
 
7
Chance Warmack
OG Alabama
Sr.6-2317
 
 
Knowing that both Warmack and North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper are likely to be there for them even if they do miss out on the top three offensive tackles has to soften the blow for the Cardinals, and encourage them not to over-pay in any potential trade-up talks.
 
8
Jonathan Cooper
OG North Carolina
Sr.6-2311
 
 
Believing that they'll try to get their future quarterback in the second round or perhaps by trading back into the lower reaches of the first (it's pronounced NASS-ib), I expect the Bills to make the relatively safe play here and take Cooper, making him the fourth consecutive offensive linemen selected and the fifth in the top eight slots.
 
9
Dee Milliner
CB Alabama
Jr.6-0201
 
 
Well, whaddya know. Maybe the Jets' luck is changing, because here sits the draft's top-rated cornerback, which makes it quite clear in that sign-from-God sort of way that they're supposed to trade you-know-who to Tampa Bay and get on with the business of trying to annoy the Patriots. Don't worry, Rex-heads. Barkevious Mingo might still be in your future.
 
10
Ziggy Ansah
DE BYU
Sr.6-5271
 
 
The top-eight run on offensive linemen unfortunately leaves the Titans out in the cold on that front, but they can also readily use more pass rush and some disruptive defenders. In this scenario Tennessee would have its choice between the raw but intriguing Ansah and the play-making Mingo. The Titans could also put the pick up for auction if anybody has to have either of those players, quarterback Geno Smith, or even Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes (Miami, we're looking in your direction).
 
11
Geno Smith
QB West Virginia
Sr.6-2218
 
 
Acquired from Chargers. It seems more and more clear the Browns are as serious about Smith as anyone in the first round, and this little two-step allows them to land him without spending a top-10 pick, as well as recoup the second-rounder they spent on receiver Josh Gordon in the 2012 supplemental draft. It would be a deal that works well for both San Diego and Cleveland, in that the Chargers get the offensive tackle they crave in Johnson and the Browns acquire a franchise quarterback the new regime believes in more than Brandon Weeden.
 
12
Xavier Rhodes
CB Florida State
Jr.6-2210
 
 
With picks 12, 42 and 54, and a go-for-it mentality this offseason, it seems a more than decent bet the Dolphins will try to move up into the top 10 in the attempt to find a replacement for departed offensive left tackle Jake Long. So to forecast Miami to stay home and take Rhodes feels like something of a fallback plan, I agree. Not a bad one. Just not in keeping with the Dolphins' habit of derring-do in 2013. Give me until next week and I might have a different story for you, Fish fans.
 
13
Barkevious Mingo
DE/OLB LSU
Sr.6-4241
 
 
Acquired from Buccaneers. We're still projecting the Bucs and Jets to make the Darrelle Revis trade before the No. 13 selection comes around -- pause buttons can be un-pressed at a moment's notice, you know -- with New York coming out of the first round with both its new starting corner in Milliner and the play-making Mingo. I don't think even a Jets fan could figure out a way to boo that draft-night maneuver.
 
14
Sheldon Richardson
DT Missouri
Jr.6-2294
 
 
By the time the Panthers' pick rolls around, we figure to all be left breathless by the trade-filled action transpiring in the top 13. So it's a good thing Carolina is expected to take the player that most of us mockers have had going to the Panthers for months and months now. It'll give us a chance to lower our pulse rates. Unless Carolina throws a curveball and turns in the card for a receiver like West Virginia mighty-mite Tavon Austin.
 
15
Jarvis Jones
OLB Georgia
Jr.6-2245
 
 
I'm not the least bit certain about my Saints' pick this week. Unless New Orleans has a conviction about Florida State's Menelik Watson, there's no offensive tackle who looks to be a great mid-round value and replacement for left tackle Jermon Bushrod. With Mingo gone, the Saints would have to decide if Jones carries a top-half-of-the-round grade, or if an upgrade at safety (Texas' Kenny Vaccaro, Florida's Matt Elam or Florida International's Jonathan Cyprien) is more in order? We're going with Jones given the urgent need for more edge pass rush threat in Rob Ryan's new 3-4 defense. Another scenario to watch for: If a team like the Bengals or 49ers covets West Virginia's Tavon Austin, they're going to have to trade up to at least No. 15, ahead of the No. 16 Rams, who are known to want him. That means the Saints might be presented with some trade-down possibilities, allowing them to take Watson lower and perhaps even regain the second-round selection they lost in the bounty program penalties.
 
16
Tavon Austin
WR West Virginia
Sr.5-9174
 
 
No more calls, we have a winner. If the Rams somehow find Austin still waiting for them at No. 16, they'll show Austin-like speed hustling that selection up to podium (yes, I know they're actually called in, just work with me here). Again, the key to this pick may be the Bucs and Jets swinging their long-debated Revis deal. Because if Tampa Bay keeps its pick at No. 13, Austin could very well be the Bucs' X-factor weapon in 2013.
 
17
Bjoern Werner
DE Florida State
Jr.6-3266
 
 
This is considerably higher in the round than I've had Werner in a while, but he might be the best, most proven option available. With Jarvis Jones gone, Tennessee receiver Cordarelle Patterson being thin on track record, and no cornerback a consensus pick in this neighborhood, the Steelers could opt to pass on the available safety talent (Vaccaro, Elam and Cyprien again) and take a productive player who figures to become Brett Keisel's eventual replacement.
 
18
Sylvester Williams
DT North Carolina
Sr.6-3313
 
 
It's tempting to give the Cowboys the safety upgrade they have to have in Kenny Vaccaro or Jonathan Cyprien, both of whom have been rumored to be on their radar screen for months. But defensive tackle is another pressing need, and everybody knows how important that position is in Monte Kiffin's Tampa 2 formation. The way I see it, Dallas has a better chance to find a starter at safety in the second round than it does a defensive tackle. I've moved off the trade-down scenario I had the Cowboys involved in with No. 31 San Francisco in last week's mock, but if it should happen, of course I reserve the right to fire off an "I told you so."
 
19
Tank Carradine
DE Florida State
Sr.6-4276
 
 
I know the Giants like Carradine, and we all realize how much New York values first-round pass rushers. But with Georgia linebacker Alec Olgetree and Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker available, the Giants to take Carradine would again have to pass on greater needs in order to take their highest-rated player. I can see it happening.
 
20
Tyler Eifert
TE Notre Dame
Sr.6-5250
 
 
Lots of solid options for the Bears to mull at No. 20, Georgia inside linebacker Alec Olgetree, Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant and Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker among them. But I'm coming back around on the idea of Chicago seeking a play-making option for Jay Cutler in the first round, above all else.
 
21
Alec Ogletree
LB Georgia
Jr.6-2242
 
 
The Bengals don't have many bad choices, either. They love Olgetree's sideline-to-sideline pursuit skills, and could also be happy if they came away with Alabama running back Eddie Lacy, Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro or Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker. Olgetree's athleticism should be the deciding factor.
 
22
Kenny Vaccaro
S Texas
Sr.6-0214
 
 
Originally I didn't think Vaccaro could last all the way into the early 20s, with so many teams in the teens needing safety help. But if he's still around, the No. 22 Rams will gladly break his draft-night fall.
 
23
Desmond Trufant
CB Washington
Sr.5-11190
 
 
By releasing veteran Antoine Winfield and seeing him sign with Seattle, the Vikings have made cornerback one of the thinnest positions on their depth chart. Minnesota should have its pick between Trufant and Houston's rising cornerback prospect, D.J. Hayden, in this slot. But it only seems fair to take the ex-Huskie, given the Vikings lost Winfield to Seattle.
 
24
D.J. Fluker
OT Alabama
Sr.6-5339
 
 
We had to stop Fluker's slide, because he's too good a prospect to slip any further down the board (sorry, No. 26 Green Bay). The Colts have other more pressing needs on defense, but even with free agent right offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus signed this offseason, Indy general manager Ryan Grigson doesn't seem like the type to pass on this level of quality at this value. And perhaps Fluker's presence can be used to get the best out of underachieving left tackle Anthony Castonzo.
 
25
Manti Te'o
LB Notre Dame
Sr.6-1241
 
 
I'm sticking with Te'o to the Vikings, who at least have the benefit of two first-round picks to play with. Tennessee receiver Cordarelle Patterson is an obvious talent who might tempt the Vikings, but he's got a boom-bust quotient on him that makes some teams nervous about his chances for long-term success.
 
26
Menelik Watson
OT Florida State
Jr.6-5310
 
 
The Packers offensive line in general has to be upgraded, and Watson would seem the proverbial best available player in this scenario. A former basketball player and boxer, Watson played right tackle at FSU, but is seen as capable of developing into a starter on either side.
 
27
Keenan Allen
WR California
Jr.6-2206
 
 
Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins is another popular pick to the Texans, who clearly are targeting a No. 2 receiver to help lighten the receiving load that Andre Johnson has carried for years. For now, we're standing pat with Allen, who catches the ball with physicality, in the mold of Anquan Boldin. A reported failed drug test at the combine might hurt Allen with some teams, but it's not the deal-breaker it once was in the NFL.
 
28
Datone Jones
DE UCLA
Sr.6-3283
 
 
Jones is a versatile and well-experienced collegiate player and represents very solid bottom-of-the-first-round value. He's not the most explosive of pass rushers, but he's going to generate steady heat on the passer and help offset some of the loss of rush felt by the unscripted Elvis Dumervil departure.
 
29
D.J. Hayden
CB Houston
Sr.5-11191
 
 
The upwardly trending Hayden gets my nod for the Patriots in a second straight mock, but New England may be fortunate if he lasts this long. Some teams have him rated higher than Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant, and he could be in play in this draft from No. 20 Chicago on.
 
30
Jamar Taylor
CB Boise State
Sr.5-11192
 
 
The Falcons' obvious first need is at cornerback, and Taylor is a respected cover man whose name has heated up in recent weeks. With no difference-making pass rushers thought to be had in this lower rung of the round, Atlanta moves to upgrade its secondary and defend against the likes of Drew Brees and Cam Newton in the NFC South.
 
31
Cordarrelle Patterson
WR Tennessee
Jr.6-2216
 
 
The 49ers have the draft capital and depth of roster to roll the dice on Patterson, the gifted but relatively inexperienced former junior college standout. After getting practically nothing from Illinois receiver A.J. Jenkins in last year's first round, San Francisco needs to find a deep threat to take advantage of quarterback's Colin Kaepernick crazy strong throwing arm.
 
32
Jonathan Cyprien
S Florida International
Sr.6-0217
 
 
Safety just seems to be where the highest-rated players can still be had at the bottom of the first round, so we have the Ravens addressing their clear-cut need there even over the likes of talented linebackers like Kansas State's Arthur Brown or LSU's Kevin Minter. Cyprien and Florida's Matt Elam are closely rated, but Cyprien has impressive range, athleticism and plays the kind of physical style of football Baltimore's defense is known for.
 
MORE NFL DRAFT
KING'S RANKINGS: QB | RB | WR/TE | OL | DE/OLB | DB
BURKE: Big Board 5.0
KING: What I know about this first round
 
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