Time for an updated mock draft…
– Luke Joeckel is the #1 pick to Kansas City. We have to consider the prospect of a non-quarterback going first overall given the form of Matt Barkley, Geno Smith and Tyler Wilson. Branden Albert is a free agent in 2013 and with a franchise tag worth between $9-10m for offensive lineman next year, Joeckel could be a much cheaper, longer term option. I’ve given the Chiefs Aaron Murray at the top of round two and they already have enough weapons on offense to make this scenario work.
– Jarvis Jones drops late into the first round. Why? Purely down to the spinal stenosis issue. Some teams will cross him off their boards altogether. Others will weigh up the possibility he might only play 4-5 years in the league if things don’t work out. Incredible talent, but you can’t ignore the manner of his departure from USC.
– The first quarterback off the board is Tyler Wilson. You could pretty much draw lots on who goes first this year, but if Buffalo has their pick of the group – Wilson seems like the kind of player Chan Gailey would go for.
– Matt Barkley drops into the late first. He’s good enough – in my opinion – to warrant consideration as a top pick. Yet Barkley’s form has dipped as USC has imploded under Lane Kiffin – who must take a lot of responsibility for the mess in Southern Cal. We’ve seen fourth year quarterbacks drop when their senior campaigns go wrong, it could happen again. I suspect someone would move up into the 20’s to get Barkley if he lasts that long. In this projection, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Chiefs moved up after taking Joeckel with the #1 pick. The Eagles are another option – Nick Foles isn’t the future for that team.
– The Seahawks go defensive tackle and tight end this week. I think between now and April we’ll hear about the front office being smitten with Stanford tight end Zach Ertz. Seattle’s coaches showed a lot of interest in Coby Fleener last year, and Ertz is a superior player. In this mock, he’s a top-15 pick. If he drifts a little or if the Seahawks miss the post-season, then he comes into play as a legit option. He’s a tremendous run blocker which would allow the offense to make even more use of their 2TE sets. He can also be used as a third down target with experience working outside and in the slot. Despite the investment in Zach Miller for 2013 (I expect his contract will be negotiated down), Ertz has value that transcends that of a normal tight end. He could prove to be Seattle’s ideal pick. In this projection the Seahawks take a pure pass-catching tight end in round two in San Diego State’s Gavin Escobar. He’d be used differently to Ertz, but he has explosive potential as a field-stretching playmaker.
– There are several noticeable absentees. Sam Montgomery’s reputation at LSU goes before him and I think he’ll fall further than people expect. Cornellius Carradine suffered a bad knee injury against Florida on Saturday and this will severely impact his draft stock. I think Landry Jones and Tyler Bray will struggle to crack the first two rounds. I wanted to include Rutgers running back Jawan Jamison but he just missed out. Also just missing out: Baccari Rambo (S, Georgia), Chase Thomas (LB, Stanford) and Terrance Williams (WR, Baylor).
I’ve included a first and second round projection this week.
|#1 Luke Joeckel (T, Texas A&M)
They need a quarterback but may decide that’s for later. Current starting left tackle Branden Albert is a free agent in 2013 and is flexible enough to switch positions if he stays in KC.
|#2 Dion Jordan (DE, Oregon)
He’ll shoot up the boards with a strong combine. The owner has a lot of sway in Jacksonville and seems to like flashy moves.
|#3 Manti Te’o (LB, Notre Dame)
The Eagles could do with rebuilding their offensive line, but may see Te’o as a cornerstone on defense.
|#4 Star Lotulelei (DT, Utah)
Big upside with major value in run defense. The Raiders need to boost that defensive line.
|#5 Damontre Moore (DE, Texas A&M)
Moore is among the NCAA leaders for sacks this year with 12.5. The Browns need more pass rush.
|#6 Brandon Coleman (WR, Rutgers)
Coleman has insane potential and would easily be the first receiver off the board in 2013 if he declares. 6-6, 225lbs – big play receiver.
|#7 Jake Matthews (T, Texas A&M)
Features at right tackle due to Luke Joeckel’s impressive form on the blind side. He could translate to the left side in the NFL.
|#8 Tyler Wilson (QB, Arkansas)
Chan Gailey likes mobile quarterbacks who can sling the ball. Wilson will be hoping to turn a few heads at the Senior Bowl.
|#9 Dee Milliner (CB, Alabama)
The complete cornerback prospect. Whoever gets Dee Milliner is getting superb value, wherever he’s taken.
|#10 Bjoern Werner (DE, Florida State)
If he re-gains lost weight he could be another J.J. Watt. That’s his ceiling.
|#11 Geno Smith (QB, West Virginia)
With the top tackles off the board this makes life easy for Arizona – get a quarterback.
|#12 Chance Warmack (G, Alabama)
If the current regime survives in New York, Warmack is the type of player Rex Ryan needs to play smash-mouth football.
|#13 Zach Ertz (TE, Stanford)
With Miami also a possible suitor for Ertz, the Rams don’t take any chances with this pick. He’s worth this type of grade.
|#14 Jonathan Cooper (G, North Carolina)
Cooper and Chance Warmack are too good to stick around late into the teens.
|#15 Sheldon Richardson (DT, Missouri)
High-motor player with a relentless approach to the game. Just what New Orleans needs to set the tone on defense.
|#16 Eric Fisher (T, Central Michigan)
He could follow in the footsteps of Joe Staley and make it into round one to fill a need in the NFC West.
|#17 Barkevious Mingo (DE, LSU)
He’s not quite as good as some people want you to believe. Even so, he’ll look great lined up opposite DeMarcus Ware.
|#18 Alec Ogeltree (LB, Georgia)
Superb value here. Ogletree is one of the most talented players eligible for 2013.
|#19 Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State)
He’s gradually overtaken Jonathan Banks as the #2 ranked corner in this class.
|#20 Ezekiel Ansah (DE, BYU)
His best football will come in the NFL. Great blend of size and speed.
|#21 Matt Elam (S, Florida)
Top-15 talent who lasts this long only due to a lack of need earlier. Elam’s a true playmaker in the secondary.
|#22 Sylvester Williams (DT, North Carolina)
The Seahawks need a three technique with the size to plug the run, but also a prospect who can offer more of a pass rush threat.
|#23 Jonathan Jenkins (DT, Georgia)
Massive nose tackle and just what Indy needs to build a 3-4 defense.
|#24 Jesse Williams (DT, Alabama)
He just seems like a Green Bay type of player. They could use him at 3-4 end, which might be his best position in the NFL.
|#25 Taylor Lewan (T, Michigan)
Another team that could use some investment at tackle. Lewan isn’t flashy, but he’s a right tackle at worst in the NFL.
|#26 Matt Barkley (QB, USC)
He could be the #1 overall pick. Or he could fall a bit. I don’t think the Pats take him, but they love to trade down. This is the worst case scenario for Barkley.
|#27 C.J. Mosley (LB, Alabama)
Every week he makes plays. The Broncos could do worse than adding another compliment to their defense.
|#28 Dallas Thomas (G, Tennessee)
He’s playing at guard this year, but has the athleticism to move back to tackle.
|#29 John Simon (DE, Ohio State)
Blue collar player who would fit right into San Francisco’s defense.
|#30 Jarvis Jones (DE, Georgia)
Baltimore is one of the few teams good enough to see past Jones’ spinal stenosis to get 4-5 years of pass rushing quality.
|#31 Johnathan Hankins (DT, Ohio State)
He could be better than he is, the effort is so inconsistent. Even so, he has major potential.
|#32 Tavon Austin (WR, West Virginia)
When you have a roster like Atlanta’s, why not go for an X-factor playmaker?
#33 Kansas City – Aaron Murray (QB, Georgia)
#34 Jacksonville – Robert Woods (WR, USC)
#35 Philadelphia – Brennan Williams (T, North Carolina)
#36 Carolina – Sharrif Floyd (DT, Florida)
#37 Cincinnati – Jonathan Banks (CB, Mississippi State)
#38 San Diego – Markus Wheaton (WR, Oregon State)
#39 New York Jets – DeAndre Hopkins (WR, Clemson)
#40 Tennessee – Kawann Short (DT, Purdue)
#41 Arizona – Justin Pugh (T, Syracuse)
#42 Detroit – Xavier Rhodes (CB, Florida State)
#43 Buffalo – Arthur Brown (LB, Kansas State)
#44 St. Louis – Kenny Vaccaro (S, Texas)
#45 Washington – Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, Tennessee)
#46 Dallas – Oday Aboushi (T, Virginia)
#47 Miami – Justin Hunter (WR, Tennessee)
#48 Tampa Bay – Tyler Eifert (TE, Notre Dame)
#49 Minnesota – Bennie Logan (DT, LSU)
#50 Cincinnati – Shawn Williams (S, Georgia)
#51 Seattle – Gavin Escobar (TE, San Diego State)
#52 Pittsburgh – Le’veon Bell (RB, Michigan State)
#53 New York Giants – Levine Toilolo (TE, Stanford)
#54 Miami – Corey Lemonier (DE, Auburn)
#55 Green Bay – Montee Ball (RB, Wisconsin)
#56 Chicago – Barrett Jones (C, Alabama)
#57 New England – Alex Okafor (DE, Texas)
#58 Denver – Giovani Bernard (RB, North Carolina)
#59 San Francisco – Jordan Poyer (CB, Oregon State)
#60 Baltimore – Khaseem Greene (LB, Rutgers)
#61 Houston – Keenan Allen (WR, California)
#62 Atlanta – Ed Lacy (RB, Alabama)