KCCD Editor: Elliot Dennis
This is it, NFL fans, the final mock draft of the 2013 Draft season. Over the past 3 months I have released a mock draft ever week but this one will be different from the rest. This one will be seven rounds and there will be major changes in every round compared to the mock drafts I have released in the past. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Elliot_Dennis or @ChiefsDraft as I will be posting my thoughts on the draft as it happens.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Up until the Alex Smith trade, I’ve been mocking Geno Smith here; however, with the Chiefs giving up a 2nd this year and a conditional 3rd next year, they’ve proven they’re committed to Alex Smith for the long term. There’s a good chance they’ll draft a quarterback later in the draft but there’s no chance that they use the first overall pick on one.
And then the events of the past couple months happened. First the Chiefs franchise tagged Branden Albert so the assumption was they weren’t going to take an offensive lineman. Then they cut RT Eric Winston. Now offensive lineman is back in the fold.
John Dorsey recently came out and said he has the list for the first pick narrowed down to four players. I believe those four players are Joeckel, Eric Fisher, Dion Jordan, and Sharrif Floyd. There have been reports that the Chiefs are leaning towards taking Jordan with the first pick; however, offensive line is a higher need than rush linebacker due to the Chiefs having two elite outside linebackers (Tamba Hali and Justin Houston). So I believe they’ll go with an offensive lineman and Joeckel is slightly better than Fisher, so I believe he’ll be the pick.
Joeckel was a big part of Johnny Manziel’s success this season. He started out a bit slow, but was came on very strong against LSU and was tremendous to close the season. He has the ability to be a dominant pass-protector for some team for a very long time. A lot of scouts grade him out higher than Matt Kalil graded out in last year’s draft.
Recently it’s said that the Chiefs are leaning towards Fisher with the first pick, but I’m sticking to my guns here and predicting the Chiefs will take the more complete, polished player in Joeckel.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
The Jags desperately need some pass rush help. Jordan is a physical freak and special talent that fits their defense perfectly. His stock has been on the rise as of late.
There’s been talk that the Jags might target Geno Smith, but I don’t think that’s the case. There’s a great chance a team like Buffalo or New York trades up here to select Geno.
Jordan has played defensive end and linebacker during his time at Oregon. He is a great fit for both the 4-3 and 3-4 defense. He has 44 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, three forced fumbles, and a pass defensed this season. He is one of the rawest prospects in this draft, but the upside is evident.
The Jags lost Derek Cox and Terrance Knighton via free agency, so some defensive help is needed. Gus Bradley likes speed on his defense, Jordan fits that mold.
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Raiders have a big needs on the defensive line. Desmond Bryant and Richard Seymour have left in free agency, so there’s a huge void left at defensive tackle.
Floyd is a run-stopping force. He explodes off the line and has shown great power. He totaled 46 tackles, 13 for a loss, three sacks, and a forced fumble this year for the Gators. He’s a perfect fit for the Raiders 4-3 defense.
Floyd had a reasonable shot to be taken first overall, but he doesn’t really fit what the Chiefs do defensively. Oakland would love to take him here.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Eagles have a great need at tackle. Their offensive line was a wreck this season and it doesn’t help that incumbent tackle Jason Peters can’t stay healthy. They can fix most of their problems with this pick right here.
Fisher has been a great left tackle for the Chippewas the last two seasons. Fisher has great size at 6-foot-8, 305 pounds and has tremendous upside. He displays great technique and has really dominated the MAC with his play.
Fisher was completely dominant during Senior Bowl week and was great at the combine, so his stock has really risen up. He’s challenging Joeckel to be the first tackle taken.
5. Detroit Lions: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
With the recent retirement of Jeff Backus and Gosder Cherilus leaving in free agency, the Lions are in desperate need of a tackle. The Lions love Eric Fisher but with him off the board, they’ll have to settle on a very good player in Lane Johnson here.
Johnson, the former juco QB and college tight end, spent the last two seasons as Oklahoma’s blindside protector. At the beginning of the draft process it would have been crazy to take Johnson this high, but Senior Bowl week and the combine really opened up some people’s eyes.
The 6-foot-7, 303-pounder is an exceptional athlete and looks like a future NFL left tackle.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Browns need to find a starting corner across from Joe Haden. Milliner would give them two top-flight cornerbacks.
Milliner is the best corner in this draft. He was dominant to open the 2012 season against Michigan and continued his great play throughout the season. He currently has 54 tackles, two interceptions, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and 20 passes defensed.
His big knock is that he’s not as physical and not as fast as a shutdown corner should be. He quieted his critics with a great showing at the combine running a 4.38 40 yard dash.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Star Lotulelei, DE/DT, Utah
The Cardinals have major needs on the offensive line but the top 3 tackles are no longer on the board, and the seventh pick is too high to take a player they really like in Chance Warmack. They’ll go with a player that could really help their defense in Star Lotulelei.
Lotulelei is a prototypical prospect for a 4-3 defense but is versatile enough that he could work in a 3-4. He has been an absolute force the past couple seasons for the Utes. This season he totaled 42 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, five sacks, three forced fumbles, and four passes broken up. He would anchor the Cardinals defensive line for the next 10+ years.
Lotulelei was diagnosed with a heart condition while at the combine, but was cleared of it shortly after. He worked out as expected at his pro day and cleared any questions scouts may have had. He’s another player that has the potential to go first overall and might be the best player in this draft class.
8. Buffalo Bills: Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
The Bills finally get a franchise QB. Ryan Fitzpatrick hasn’t been good since receiving a big contract from the team and was recently released. They signed Kevin Kolb but he’s not franchise QB material. The Bills get a much-needed change at that position. Nassib has questions, but his upside is very evident.
The Syracuse product was a 3-year starter for the Orange. He had his best season in 2012 when he threw for 3,749 yards, 26 touchdowns, and only 10 interceptions. He’s got okay arm strength but he displays good accuracy and anticipation.
9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
The Jets need pass rush help in the worst way. Mingo is a great fit to play outside linebacker for their 3-4 defense.
Mingo has top-5 talent, but his production hasn’t showed it the past couple seasons. In 2012 he has racked up 38 tackles with 8.5 tackles for a loss, three passes defensed, and 4.5 sacks. Part of his lack of production has been due to him spying the QB or covering a running back due to his elite athleticism.
Mingo is the definition of a boom or bust pick.
10. Tennessee Titans: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
The Titans need some pass rush help. Derrick Morgan hasn’t been great during his time in Tennessee, so the Titans could use an upgrade. Ansah is the top 4-3 DE available. The Titans weren’t able to pick up a pass rusher in free agency.
Ansah has great potential. Ansah is 6-foot-6, 270 and has a great combination of size and speed. He had 62 tackles, 13 for a loss, 4.5 sacks, nine passes broken up, a forced fumble, and an interception in 2012. He wasn’t spectacular during Senior Bowl practices, but absolutely dominated during the Senior Bowl.
Ansah has flown up draft boards similarly to Jason Pierre-Paul a couple of years ago.
11. San Diego Chargers: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
The Chargers need to protect Phillip Rivers at all costs. The Charger offensive line is currently the worst in the league. They can start improving it here.
Fluker has been great during his time at Alabama. Some see him better as a guard because he doesn’t get off the line quick enough. He has shown enough to me that he can play right tackle, however.
Fluker displays great power and technique. He dominated opposing defensive lines all season for the Tide.
12. Miami Dolphins: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Miami signed Mike Wallace and resigned Brian Hartline this offseason but there’s still a need at wide receiver. Plus with the news that the Dolphins are looking to trade Devone Bess, this move just makes so much sense. Just another weapon for Ryan Tannehill.
Austin is the most explosive player in this draft. He has great speed that will stretch a defense. He had 112 catches for 1,280 yards and 12 touchdowns this season for the Mountaineers.
He displayed his impressive speed at the combine, running a 4.34 40-yard dash. He also impressed teams by having a fantastic pro day. He’s skyrocketed up draft boards this offseason.
13. New York Jets (via TB): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Jets quarterback situation is a mess. Mark Sanchez has been a horrible bust and the Jags can’t count on David Garrard to lead the team anywhere. The Jets would be extremely fortunate if the best quarterback in the draft fell in their laps.
He didn’t compete at the Senior Bowl, but he impressed scouts at the combine. He ran the fastest 40 among quarterbacks, threw the ball well, and reportedly aced his interviews.
Smith was awesome this season. He completed 71 percent of his passes for 4,205 yards, 42 touchdowns, and only six interceptions. He started the year with monstrous performances but was cooled down against Texas Tech and Kansas State. He was just okay in the bowl game against Syracuse.
The 6-foot-3, 214-pounder has prototypical NFL size for quarterbacks. His skill-set is what you look for in a franchise QB. He makes good reads and shows great vision. He displays great accuracy, but his arm isn’t “elite” however, it is very good (but neither was Aaron Rodgers). Smith can also make plays with his feet. A big concern was the fact that he played in a “gimmick” offense at WVU, but he played in a pro-style attack his sophomore year and played very well.
This pick would give the Jets a legitimate quarterback of the future.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Panthers have a huge hole at defensive tackle. It’s by far Carolina’s biggest need. It seems like I’ve mocked Richardson here forever.
Richardson was a disruptive force for Mizzou this past season. He totaled 75 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, four sacks, three passes broken up, and three forced fumbles this season. He has great athleticism and a non-stop motor that could make him a dominant force in the league for years.
Richardson could go much higher than this. He falls some due to teams filling other needs.
15. New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The Saints just need to draft a good defensive player. The Saints defensive line was horrific this season. They couldn’t stop the run or generate a consistent pass rush. With the Saints rumored to start playing some 3-4 next year, this pick would make sense.
The Saints were interested in adding Paul Kruger before he went to the Browns. Also, they just signed Victor Butler, but even with that signing they still have a need for a pass-rushing linebacker.
Concerns about his spinal stenosis problem have dropped Jones down some draft boards, but with doctors recently clearing him of any problems, there’s a good chance he’ll go even higher than this. I have him as my #1 rated player in the draft.
Jones has been one of the best pass-rushers in all of college football the past two seasons. In 2011, he was tied for second in the nation in sacks with 13.5. In 2012 he has racked up 14.5 sacks, along with 85 tackles, 24.5 tackles for a loss, seven forced fumbles, three passes broken up, and one interception.
Jones would be an ideal fit for the 3-4 defense at 6-foot-3, 241 pounds.
16. St. Louis Rams: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The Rams have a need on the offensive line. The team signed Jake Long to a long-term contract during free agency but the line has other needs. Adding Warmack would help get the running game going and would help protect their franchise quarterback investment, Sam Bradford.
Warmack could easily go a lot higher, but guards just don’t go that high. David DeCastro was supposed to go top 15 in last year’s draft but he fell all the way to the Steelers at 24. I would not be shocked if he fell to the Rams here.
Warmack is a special talent who has been phenomenal for the Tide the past couple of seasons. He is good in pass protection and is an absolute mauler in the running game. He had a dominant performance blocking against Manti Te’o and Notre Dame in the National Championship game. The Rams get the best interior defensive lineman available.
Continue to picks 17-32: