... Here is the First Ever Breitbart Sports NFL Mock Draft
The 2013 NFL Draft class is not particularly inspiring, especially at the top. There is a lack of the handful of elite players that seem to be at the top of the draft class each year, and there is certainly not an Andrew Luck or RG3 caliber player that can be taken with the premier spots.
This should make for an intriguing draft that could go a number of different directions, and, if GMs are smart they will follow this simple advice: TRADE DOWN. However, as of now, this is our projections for the first round in the first ever Breitbart Sports NFL Mock Draft:
- Kansas City Chiefs: QB Geno Smith, West Virginia- The Chiefs need a signal caller and Andy Reid is an offensive guru. Taking Geno at this point would be a reach as I would project him as a slightly better version of Alex Smith. I expect the quarterback will do well in workouts and interviews and will be a solid, if unspectacular, long-term solution for the Chiefs. Luke Joeckel , the offensive tackle from Texas A&M may be another possibility here, and could become increasingly likely if current left tackle Brandon Albert is allowed to leave in free agency.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State- In my opinion, this is another reach pick as I think there are only 3-4 top ten level picks in this draft. However, the Jags really need an elite pass rusher and Werner fits the bill. Damontre Moore (Texas A&M) or linebacker Jarvis Jones (Georgia) could also be possibilities here. While Jacksonville seems content with underperforming 2011 first rounder Blaine Gabbert, they could look for a quarterback here but, particularly if Smith is off the board, they are likely to look another reach at the quarterback position so soon. Joeckel could also come off the board as simply the best player available.
- Oakland Raiders: DT Star Lotulelei, Utah- I see 6’4” 320 pound Lotulelei as one of the few players I would grade as a top ten level pick, and it is easy to see why. Despite his size, he has the athleticism to drop back into coverage and his skill set would be a dramatic improvement to an abysmal defensive unit. With Richard Seymour likely to exit Oakland, this pick makes sense. I could also see the Raiders taking Geno Smith if he is available or reaching for Tyler Wilson (Arkansas). I could also see Werner, Moore, or Jones going here as the Raiders could also use a pass rusher. Speedy cornerback Dee Milliner from Alabama would have been a lock in the Al Davis era and may still earn consideration, however, this would still be a tad early for him.
- Philadelphia Eagles: OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M- Along with Lotulelei, Joeckel is the only other player in this draft that I believe would earn top five consideration in most years. However, Chip Kelly would have to be thrilled if the man who blocked for Johnny Manziel was available with the fourth pick. While Joeckel would certainly make Michael Vick’s life significantly easier, Milliner as well as Moore or Jones could be potential selections with this pick.
- Detroit Lions: DE Darmontre Moore, Texas A&M- Some mock drafts have Werner, Moore, and Jones all gone at this point, however, I think at least two will be available with Moore being the best fit for the Lions who could be looking for at least two new starting defensive ends. Moore has great speed and had 21 sacks over the last two years for the Aggies. Milliner is once again another strong possibility with this pick, and Werner, if available, would also make a lot of sense here.
- Cleveland Browns: LB Jarvis Jones, Georgia- This would be a great scenario for the Browns as Jones would be a great fit in Cleveland. Health concerns forced him out of USC, and it is tough to tell how that will be seen by NFL teams, but there is no denying his productivity for Georgia and would be a perfect 3-4 outside linebacker for the Browns. Moore would also be in the discussion if available (though Jones would be a better fit) or LSU’s Barkevious Mingo could be a possibility if both are off the board. Milliner is another possibility or the Browns could make a major reach for a receiver like Cordarelle Patterson (Tennessee).
- Arizona Cardinals: QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas- It is at this juncture that we will see teams either get really stupid and reach for quarterbacks that have no business being taken this high (in my opinion, Smith is a mid-first round talent and the rest receive second round grades) or they do the right thing and select the best player available. My guess is that the Cardinals do the stupid thing. Wilson does have a strong arm and could beat out Kevin Kolb for the starting spot providing a better vehicle for getting the ball in the hands of Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Matt Barkley from USC would be another quarterback discussed here, but Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher would be the smart pick.
- Buffalo Bills: QB Matt Barkley, USC- I expect the Bills to continue the insanity here and select Barkley, who was widely considered a near-certain number one pick entering the season. Barkley has underperformed despite a great supporting cast, lacks ideal size, and possesses relatively poor arm strength, yet he has an accurate arm and is considered a good leader. The Bills could improve their receiving corps by looking at Keenan Allen from Cal or Patterson, and this is where defensive end Dion Jordan (Oregon) could also begin entering the conversation. The Bills also seem to like NC State quarterback Mike although I believe that would be a reach of epic proportions.
- New York Jets: LB Barkevious Mingo, LSU- Mingo or Jordan could slide in at this spot, but I see Mingo as the better prospect and the better 3-4 fit. Fisher could be another possibility, and I would not rule out the Jets opting for Barkley or Wilson at this spot if either is available to replace Sanchez. However, I think that conversation only gets interesting if it is Geno Smith somehow falling to #9.
- Tennessee Titans: DE Dion Jordan, Oregon- If the Titans are looking for value, it would be hard to argue with this pick as Jordan provides an outstanding pass rush threat. Alabama’s Chance Warmack also makes a lot of sense here, but he is an offensive guard and, despite being the best guard prospect in years, this is not a spot that makes a lot of sense for a guard. Defensive tackles Sheldon Richardson (Missouri) or Sharrif Floyd (Florida) could be in the discussion here as well.
- San Diego Chargers: OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan- The Chargers could go a lot of different directions here including Milliner or Warmack, but it is hard to see San Diego passing on the only player left in the draft capable of stepping in and protecting Rivers’ blindside. Fisher is climbing up the boards, and the Chargers would be very fortunate if he was available at this spot.
- Miami Dolphins: CB Dee Milliner, Alabama-The biggest need for the Dolphins is at wide receiver, so it is certainly possible, perhaps even likely, that Miami opts for either Allen or Patterson with this pick. Mingo or Jordan would also be viable options if either are available, but I do not see that as likely. In this mock, however, I have Milliner falling to this spot, and he is simply the best player available and represents the best value for the Dolphins at this spot.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Johnathan Banks, Mississippi State- If Milliner somehow falls this far, he is a slam dunk pick here. However, with him out of the picture, Xavier Rhodes and Banks may become the focus for the Bucs. While most see Rhodes as a better prospect, I grade Banks a little higher and see him being the pick. Safety Kenny Vaccaro (Texas) could get a glance here, and I would not rule out Tampa Bay reaching for Zach Ertz (Stanford) or Tyler Eifert (Notre Dame) as long term solutions at tight end to give Freeman an extra option,.
- Carolina Panters: WR Cordarelle Patterson, Tennessee- Defensive tackles Floyd and Richardson or even Johnathan Hankins from Ohio State make a lot of sense in this spot. I could also see the Panthers looking at Vaccaro or the top corner available (in this mock, it would be Rhodes). However, this team is built on Cam Newton, and adding an elite wide receiver to compliment an aging Steve Smith would be a great move for Carolina. This is an ideal stage in the draft as there are a number of very solid players at this point who really fit a mid-first round pick. While it is a terrible year to have a top ten pick, a mid-round pick is quite valuable.
- New Orleans Saints: DT Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State- One thing is clear with the Saints: they need to go defense. Looking to transition to a 3-4, I see New Orleans selecting Hankins to be their man in the middle, however, John Jenkins (Georgia) would certainly merit consideration as well. Ezekiel Ansah (BYU) could be a dynamic option as well at linebacker, and Vaccaro or Rhodes could also be strong possibilities. Floyd or Richardson are possibilities again here, but if they decide to go for a tackle, I do not see them passing up on the larger space eaters.
- St. Louis Rams: OG Chance Warmack, Alabama- Most consider Warmack one of the best prospects regardless of position, however, I do not consider him a top ten pick due to his position. However, this is a good value spot for Warmack and the Rams really need a lineman. Vaccaro or Allen would be good options at this spot as well.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: LB Alec Ogletree, Georgia- The Steelers could be a team to watch as they could go so many directions with this pick. If they go for an inside linebacker, Ogletree is the best option but LSU’s Kevin Minter and Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o could get some consideration here. Vaccaro also represents good value as well, and an interior DL like John Jenkins could be taken here. I also would not shut the door on Keenan Allen who might get a look at this spot if the Steelers let Mike Wallace go. Ansah could be another option as a pass rushing OLB.
- Dallas Cowboys: DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida- This continues to be in that “sweet spot” of the draft where high value can be found. Floyd would be a great pick-up for the Cowboys who could also look at Richardson as well. Ansah remains an option here, but if Floyd and/or Richardson are still available at this stage in the draft, it is hard to imagine the Cowboys electing to go in a different direction as they transition to a 4-3.
- New York Giants: DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri- Much like Floyd, Richardson could be a great value for the Giants here as they need to upgrade the interior of their vaunted DL. Again, an argument could be made for Ansah here, and Ertz and Eifert would be nice weapons for Manning. I also could see New York looking at Vaccaro, but this is a great scenario for the Giants.
- Chicago Bears: OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma- A solid, but unspectacular pick for the Bears who could also look for a tight end or could consider guard Jonathan Cooper (North Carolina) or tackle D.J. Fluker (Alabama) to bolster their weak offensive line. I would not be surprised if Fluker eventually overtakes Johnson as the #3 tackle in the draft in the minds of many scouts.
- Cincinnati Bengals: S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas- This would be a high value pick for the Bengals who could really use an upgrade at safety. Linebacker could be another option and Minter, Te’o, or Ogletree (if he is somehow available) could get consideration here. Ansah or Sam Montgomery (LSU) could also get a look here, but they may be harder to fit in with the Bengals’ sceme.
- St. Louis Rams: WR Keenan Allen, Cal- Sam Bradford would be one happy man if the Rams can somehow land a talent like Warmack with the first pick and still land a weapon like Allen with the second. I could also see the Rams electing to continue the rebuild of their line with D.J. Fluker in this spot, reuniting the Alabama teammates, or they could also choose a safety like Vaccaro (if still available), Matt Elam from Florida, or Eric Reid from LSU.
- Minnesota Vikings: WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson- I see a bit of a gap between Patterson/Allen and Hopkins, but this is still a solid pick for a team that needs to upgrade Ponder’s weapons at the wide receiver position. Cooper could be a possibility here as well to bolster the interior OL, and defensive tackle Kawann Short of Purdue has been rising up some draft boards and could fit here as well.
- Indianapolis Colts: OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama- This would be a great pick for Andrew Luck as Fluker could project as a solid tackle or outstanding guard. Cooper could be a possibility here or Rhodes could be an option if the Colts want a corner.
- Seattle Seahawks: DE Sam Montgomery, LSU- Montgomery is a difference maker off the edge and would be a very nice addition for Pete Carroll’s defense. I could also see the Seahawks addressing the interior with Jenkins or North Carolina’s Sylvester Williams. A receiver could be a possibility here, but with Patterson, Allen, and Hopkins off the board, that would be a major reach.
- Green Bay Packers: RB Eddie Lacy, Alabama- Lacy is not getting the buzz he deserves as a potential first rounder, but this would be an outstanding pick for Green Bay. They could also go with either elite tight end at this spot or select Lacy’s teammate Barrett Jones to replace the aging Jeff Saturday at the center position. A safety like Elam or Reid would be potential picks here.
- Houston Texans: CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State- A solid pick for the Texans, Rhodes would be an immediate upgrade to Houston’s secondary. Defensive tackle Jesse Williams (Alabama) also would be a good pick here, and I really would not be surprised to see the Texans take Justin Hunter (Tennessee) to give Schaub a #2 option. If Hopkins is still on the board, I would expect him to be the pick.
- Denver Broncos: DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina- The Broncos are certain to use this pick on defense or on their offensive line. Kawann Short finishes a close runner up with Williams’ teammate Cooper being another possibility that would bolster the OL. Minter or Te’o could get looks here as could Kansas State’s Arthur Brown or cornerback Desmond Trufant (Washington). Ultimately, however, Williams is the best of the bunch, and I see him getting the nod.
- New England Patriots: WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee- This would be a good pick-up for the Patriots as Hunter provides great potential at the wide receiver position. New England could also add help in the secondary with Elam, Reid, and Trufant all being solid options at this stage.
- Atlanta Falcons: TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame- Matt Ryan would have to be thrilled to see Eifert and Ertz (I grade Eifert higher) still available as potential replacements for the likely to retire Tony Gonzalez. This would be a great opportunity for the Falcons who could also consider Giovani Bernard (UNC) to replace the aging Michael Turner at running back.
- San Francisco 49ers: DT John Jenkins, Georgia- This would be a great case of the rich getting richer as Jenkins is an elite interior presence. Jesse Williams of Alabama is worth a look here as well if Jenkins were off the board. The 49ers also could consider Ertz, who played for Harbaugh at Stanford, as a potent 1-2 combo with Vernon Davis at the tight end position. A wide receiver is a possibility here, but I do not see San Francisco reaching for one if the top four are off the board.
- Baltimore Ravens: LB Kevin Minter, LSU- It is hard to imagine a Super Bowl champion with as many holes to fill as the Ravens. While Minter will never fill Ray Lewis’ shoes, he will make a solid NFL middle linebacker and would be a great fit for the Ravens. Te’o could be considered here, but it is hard to see the Ravens going that route. Matt Elam could also be a great eventual replacement for Ed Reed, and Arthur Brown could be a possibility if Paul Kruger bolts.
Notable Absentees: A few top players not taken in this mock draft include Ezekiel Ansah who has been rising up the board, but I did not see a spot for him in the way this shaped up. Alabama stars Jesse Williams and Barrett Jones did not go in this mock, but could easily get taken in round one, and the same goes for Arthur Brown of Kansas State. Also, I do not see room for two tight ends in the first round at this stage so Zach Ertz got the shaft. Finally, I continue to believe that Manti Te’o is barely a first round talent, and I do not see a team taking him in the first round although, at this point, I do see him going in the top half of the second.