2013 mock draft: The first impression

Let’s be clear straight away – this is not a serious attempt to try and project how things will play out next April. In previous years I’ve waited until November/December to publish what constitutes as a first ‘go’ at projecting the draft. There are two reasons why I’ve decided to put this on the blog this early:

1 – Despite a lot of internet snobbery over mock drafts or the fact people are even talking about the draft one week into the NFL season, the subject is more popular today than it’s ever been. Fans of teams that aren’t guaranteed contenders want hope. The draft provides hope. This isn’t a real attempt to guess who’s going to be a first round pick, it’s an attempt to highlight a group of individuals who could be. And if this offers any kind of use to anyone during the CFB season, then it serves a purpose.

2 – I had a bigger database for saving games last year, meaning I could stockpile tape and go back and watch it over the summer. When prospects have been highlighted by other writers or bloggers, I’ve been able to go back and take a look for myself. For example, I had a lot of North Carolina games saved as we were looking at guys like Quinton Coples, Zach Brown and Dwight Jones last season. I’ve since been able to review a number of other UNC prospects, highlighted in today’s piece.

It’s unlikely I will re-start the weekly mock updates until later in the year, but I wanted to start the ball rolling. In a week or two, we’ll be able to return to this list and see who has boosted or damaged their stock. For example – I have the Seahawks taking a raw JUCO transfer who is two games into his SEC career. So far so good, but can he maintain his early production and put himself in position to become a high pick?

Another thing worth noting – there are prospects out there I haven’t had the chance to look at yet. Some of the guys below I’ve seen 10-20 times, others I’ve seen two or three times. It’s far too early in the process to make an accurate judgement and if a player is low or not included on the list, it may just be that I haven’t been able to devote enough time to watching their tape.

I’ve used the NFL.com Power Rankings for week one (written by Elliot Harrison) to determine draft order. I’ve tweaked a few things based upon my own views – such as Cleveland picking 2nd overall instead of Indianapolis (the Browns play in a much tougher division and will probably lose more games as a consequence). I’ve also listed a few players who just missed the cut at the bottom.

#1 Matt Barkley (QB, USC)
In this scenario I’d guess Miami trades the pick to the highest bidder. It’s unlikely they’ll get a RGIII-type deal, but Barkley is special.
#2 Jarvis Jones (DE, Georgia)
He’s the best pass rusher in college football. A great athlete who just keeps making plays.
#3 Jonathan Jenkins (DT, Georgia)
Elite talent, a fantastic nose tackle prospect. He’s 350lbs+ but moves well. Teams will love this guy. Immovable object.
#4 Logan Thomas (QB, Virginia Tech)
I’m not convinced he’ll turn pro in 2013, but he might be tempted with a good year. Big, strong and makes good decisions.
#5 Brennan Williams (T, North Carolina)
May be the best left tackle in a class without that clear franchise LT prospect. Has NFL bloodlines – his father played in Seattle.
#6 Bjoern Werner (DE, Florida State)
He could be better than J.J. Watt – he’s that type of player. Already has five sacks in 2012.
#7 Dee Milliner (CB, Alabama)
Physical in run support and can cover better than Dre Kirkpatrick. All-round skill set makes him the clear #1 cornerback prospect.
#8 Star Lotulelei (DT, Utah)
Very raw talent, but needs to be more consistent. Highest ceiling in the draft, but gets blown up too often in the run game.
#9 Sylvester Williams (DT, North Carolina)
Excellent three-technique prospect. Knifes through, plays strong at the line. More consistent than Lotulelei.
#10 Jonathan Cooper (G, North Carolina)
Too early for a guard? This guy will start in week one as a rookie and not look back. Superb prospect. Pass-pro specialist.
#11 Barkevious Mingo (DE, LSU)
The 3-4 teams will be interested in Mingo’s speed off the edge. He’ll be so important for LSU this year.
#12 Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, Tennessee)
Raw, former JUCO transfer. 6-3, 205lbs playmaker with great speed and could be the most explosive receiver in the SEC.
#13 Oday Aboushi (T, Virginia)
Virginia has two excellent tackles this year. Aboushi is the money pick as a potential blind-side blocker.
#14 Arthur Brown (LB, Kansas State)
Just a great footballer. Doesn’t have elite size, but he plays with such intensity and is always around the ball.
#15 Jonathan Banks (CB, Mississippi State)
Tall, physical cornerback who will make plays. He had a great game against Auburn, picking off two passes.
#16 Chaz Green (T, Florida)
Very athletic tackle prospect. Has the kind of skill-set that teams will fall for.
#17 Dion Jordan (DE, Oregon)
He’s 6-7 and 245lbs. Scouts and GM’s will salivate over his freak-of-nature potential. But he’s not a technician yet.
#18 C.J. Mosley (LB, Alabama)
Playmaking linebacker off the production line at Alabama. Above average in coverage and plays like a ‘Bama defender.
#19 Robert Woods (WR, USC)
Production machine with rare skills. Problem will be size and perhaps a so-so performance at the combine. Will be a value pick next April.
#20 Jake Matthews (T, Texas A&M)
Tough tackle who projects to the right hand side at the next level. No-nonsense type and part of a great line at A&M.
#21 Keenan Allen (WR, California)
He doesn’t have a great QB situation at Cal – so Allen’s stock will likely be determined by how well he tests at the combine.
#22 Corey Lemonier (DE, Auburn)
Orthodox speed-rusher who’s having a good start to 2012. Slightly undersized but gets to the quarterback.
#23 Manti Te’o (LB, Notre Dame)
Not the tackle-machine type like Luke Kuechly, but he makes more impact plays. Leads by example.
#24 Tyler Wilson (QB, Arkansas)
Jerry Jones loves Arkansas! Wilson’s concussion issues are a concern. He’s a gun-slinger, but there are some technical/release issues.
#25 Terry Hawthorne (CB, Illinois)
Another cornerback with good size. Didn’t have a great game against Arizona State but has a chance to bounce back.
#26 Marcus Lattimore (RB, South Carolina)
Isn’t quite back to 100% after injury. Undoubted quality, but teams will probably wonder if they can rely on that knee.
#27 Jonathan Franklin (RB, UCLA)
He looks like a different player this year. Explosive. Can he keep this up for the rest of the year?
#28 Chance Warmack (G, Alabama)
He’s incredibly strong and dominates against the run. He could be a top-20 pick like Jonathan Cooper.
#29 Geno Smith (QB, West Virginia)
No, Baltimore won’t take a QB in round one. But Smith has the skills to get into this range, forcing someone to trade up.
#30 Justin Hunter (WR, Tennessee)
Like Marcus Lattimore, he’s talented but returning from a serious knee injury. It’s a concern until he proves he’s 100% recovered.
#31 John Simon (DE, Ohio State)
Another great football player. This guy will bring it every single down.
#32 Sam Montgomery (DE, LSU)
Needs to have a big year. Great athleticism and speed off the edge but can be man-handled sometimes.

Just missed the cut
Jonathan Hankins (DT, Ohio State), Akeem Spence (DT, Illinois), Jackson Jeffcoat (DE, Texas), Morgan Moses (T, Virginia), Barrett Jones (C, Alabama), William Gholston (DE, Michigan State), TJ McDonald (S, USC), Kawann Short (DT, Purdue), Alex Ogletree (LB, Georgia), Xavier Rhodes (CB, Florida State), Eric Reid (S, LSU)

Next quarterback on the list?
After two weeks of college football I’d probably go with Tyler Bray (QB, Tennessee). He can get the ball downfield, he’ll put up big numbers if he can stay healthy. He’s also erratic and needs to find a level of consistency, while cutting out the occasional head-scratching decision. But teams will like his throwing ability and he has enough playmakers at Tennessee to build momentum. The game against Florida is a big one for Bray because he struggled against the Gators last year. He’s also got a ways to go to become a trusted, mature leader off the field. His raw skill set is impressive though, more so than Landry Jones’ at Oklahoma. Both could be second round picks next year, although I wouldn’t take either in that range personally. Not on the evidence we’ve seen so far.


  1. Colin

    Lord I hope we aren’t picking 12th this coming year… Pete will be on the hot seat if that happens. Too much talent right now to not get to the 9 win marker.

    • Rob Staton

      The draft order was based around the power rankings mostly. Even an 8-8 season would push the Seahawks into the mid-teens. I’m not convinced Carroll will be on the hot seat unless this ends up being a 6-win season. This was an initial 5-year plan (Carroll’s contract). Without doubt he’ll be given at least that amount of time to get it right. They’re already most of the way there to getting it right. There’d be no point tearing it up now to start again. And Paul Allen will know that.

  2. Mtjhoyas

    Very interesting pick and I think Patterson’s upside is just ridiculous. Incredibly explosive. Looks like Julio Jones Lite off the cuff.

    I think the Hawks are in dire need of a superior athlete/talent at a playmaking position on offense. It’s a gamble, but we can’t afford to live off mediocre weapons anymore. A more explosive offense will only help our defense.

    • Mtjhoyas

      BTW…wow, would it be disheartening to see Pittsburgh end up with Keenan Allen. Just scary to think about. I think Allen is the WR most likely to be successful in this class, with a ceiling slightly lower than Patterson’s.

      I really like Robert Woods, but I think he is a guy who could be a great #2. If he has to be the main guy (#1), I think he will underwhelm. And honestly, this only has to do with his physicality. I like everything about him, but he just looks so thin and I think his explosive ability is a notch below Desean Jackson, which gives me reservations about him as a lead man.

      If the Hawks are picking in the 20s, I think Woods is a great pick. If we are in the top 12-15, I would really want to go another direction.

  3. Ross

    Montee Ball not in the mix for the first round? Also, you have the Pats taking Simon – I can see that happening. Awesome pick at #31.

    • Rob Staton

      Montee’s not had a good start to 2012. Part of that isn’t his fault, but he’s going to enter the league with a lot of tread on the tires. I really like the guy, but couldn’t place him in R1 today.

  4. jianfu

    I worry a little about Sylvester Williams’ relatively advanced age, particularly since he plays a physical, match-up position. He has a November 1988 birthday, so he ‘ll be 24 come bowl season, and turn 25 his rookies year in the NFL. (Peria Jerry is an off- the- top-of-the head example of a penetrating DT who turned 25 as a rookies; I tend to wonder with these guys if they get too much prospect shine by simply being so much more mature than college competition) .

    Thanks for the early mock. I always appreciate the unique perspectives here. Hankins, for example, is rated #4 overall at NFL draftscout, and frankly I don ‘t see why.

    • Rob Staton

      Age is always a concern – Bruce Irvin turns 25 in November after all. One of my big worries for Irvin is if he doesn’t have an impact in years 1-2, he probably never is. It’s harsh… but time isn’t on his side. There’s no getting away from that. Williams would be in the exact same situation.

  5. Michael (CLT)

    Interesting pick. The guy exploded off the screen against NCSU, and made a potential all-american CB look slow. Reminds me off… wait for it… Sidney Rice.

  6. James

    The die is cast and Pete and John will sink or swim with Russell Wilson and Matt Flynn. I believe Russell will be outstanding by the end of this year and will have the Seahawks poised to challenge the 49ers next year. Pete simply must find a way to match the loathsome Harbaugh in coaching performance. A new QB would be two years away from winning, so that is too late for Pete. The 2013 Seahawks draft will be WR and DT/DE at the top, with depth almost anywhere…. CB, S, OT, OLB.

    • Rob Staton

      Harbaugh is benefitting a LOT from the success of previous drafts. They’ve quietly hit on a ton of first rounders – off the top of my head… Willis, Staley, the two lineman in 2010, Davis and funnily enough even Alex Smith. Then there are the guys added via free agency before he arrived such as Justin Smith. He deserves a lot of credit for getting that group functioning, but he also inherited what should be a great team. Carroll started with virtually nothing, nobody to build around. So it’ll take longer to reach a level Harbaugh is currently achieving with the Niners.

      I also don’t agree that PC and JS will sink or swim with Wilson. They’re in this for the long haul. And if they have to draft another QB in round one they’ll be given that opportunity. I believe Paul Allen is aware how big a job this was.

      • Mtjhoyas

        Agreed. Harbaugh does deserve credit, but he also walked into a roster, where a lot of those players were going into their primes. The entire defense is in their prime and he inherited an Offense with a great TE and OL.

        I’d say it’s pretty unfair to compare him and Carroll, as Pete literally walked into nothing. That was by far the worst roster in the NFL, with no quality at any important position.

  7. Soggyblogger

    At the end of last year, PC told us the general direction the team was headed in the draft and they followed through. Even Wilson was foretold when they said they were “always looking” for a QB, and then they advised fans that they had advised both Flynn and TJ they were likely to draft a QB – though most thought they would take a very late round QB. So far as I know, this FO has not indicated any inclination for future drafts other than they will always be in the market for a QB and they will need a longer term solution than Flynn as backup QB, who will likely retest the FA market if Wilson claims the job long term. JUST IN: Rice was injured in practice. Unless Tate returns and excels plus Baldwin returns to form, WR is fast becoming the UNANIMOUS choice as greatest need. Dire need is more like it. Preferably, someone with a mutation causing superglue to ooze from the pores of his hands, the eyes of a hawk, and the legs of a gazelle/cheetah hybrid.

    S.F. is a few years ahead of the Seahawks in the accumulation of early round draft picks. This could spell salary cap issues down the road sooner for them then the Seahawks. Resigning all of their talent as free agents will cost big bucks because the Loathsome Harbaugh is, well, LOATHSOME. On the other hand, PC has had little trouble keeping the core players he wants like Lynch, Mebane, Bryant, and Clemons to long term contracts. Players seem to universally enjoy playing for this management team. Plus they get their picks (Minus Manning) of the FA they want at reasonable prices (Minus Rice). If the OL doesn’t get decimated with injuries, WR is going to dominate the Seahawks draft next year.

    • Colin

      Rice didn’t practice yesterday, so I don’t know how he got hurt. Where did you hear that?

      • Rob Staton

        I read that he was limited in practise.

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