Whole Nine Yards: 2013 NFL mock draft

By Zac Bellman

Courtesy of USA Today
Courtesy of USA Today

Unlike the 2012 draft, which featured outstanding talent at the skill positions, the 2013 NFL Draft is more likely to produce top picks whose jerseys may not lead the league in sales next year.

There is no Andrew Luck in this class. There is not a consensus number one selection to be had. Matt Barkley might have been that guy, but a shoulder injury early in his senior USC campaign derailed that dream, and some have him falling to the second round.

Several teams in the top ten will have difficulty with their picks, because team needs may not match with what this class offers in terms of talent. This could result in several possibilities. Teams in the top ten could trade down for more picks to teams that want one of the elite linemen set to go early. If no trades can be found, the oldest question in the draft will come into play.

Draft for need, or the best player available?

On the one hand, drafting for need can fill glaring holes in a weak roster. It can also cause teams to pass on some of the greatest players in NFL history because they didn’t “need” a player at that position. On the other hand, drafting the best player available requires great confidence in the scouting that was done prior to the draft. This is risky because it can upset fans who never want to admit this might be a rebuilding year and veteran players who feel they are being pushed out of town by a younger player.

The expectation for rookie quarterbacks in particular has skyrocketed after the success of Luck, RGIII and Russell Wilson last year. Another problem with drafting for need, especially with this class, is that some teams may take a quarterback in the top ten who is really more of a second-round pick who should sit for a year or two. Quarterbacks beyond West Virginia’s Geno Smith who are drafted this high may crumble under the expectations in a similar fashion to the way Jake Locker, Christian Ponder and Blaine Gabbert have in the early going.

With that in mind, this mock draft attempts to strike the balance between the need and best-player-available draft strategies. The first ten picks of the 2013 NFL Draft will be very telling of how the subsequent rounds unfold in terms of runs on certain positions with little depth. Expect several trades in the opening round, but here is how I see it shaking out based on the current order.

Pick Team Player Name Position School Height Weight
1 Kansas City Chiefs Luke Joeckel Offensive Tackle Texas A&M 6’6” 310
2 Jacksonville Jaguars Eric Fisher Offensive Tackle Central Michigan 6’8” 305
3 Oakland Raiders Sharrif Floyd Defensive Lineman Florida 6’3” 303
4 Philadelphia Eagles Star Lotulelei Defensive Lineman Utah 6’4” 320
5 Detroit Lions Dion Jordan Outside Linebacker Oregon 6’7” 241
6 Cleveland Browns Dee Milliner Cornerback Alabama 6’1” 199
7 Arizona Cardinals Lane Johnson Offensive Tackle Oklahoma 6’7” 303
8 Buffalo Bills Geno Smith Quarterback West Virginia 6’3” 214
9 New York Jets Barkevious Mingo Defensive Lineman LSU 6’5” 242
10 Tennessee Titians Chance Warmack Offensive Guard Alabama 6’3” 320
11 San Diego Chargers Jonathon Cooper Offensive Guard North Carolina 6’3” 310
12 Miami Dolphins Bjoern Werner Defensive Lineman Florida St. 6’4” 255
13 New York Jets Tyler Eifert Tight End Notre Dame 6’6” 251
14 Carolina Panthers Sheldon Richardson Defensive Lineman Missouri 6’4” 295
15 New Orleans Saints Jarvis Jones Linebacker Georgia 6’3” 241
16 St. Louis Rams Tavon Austin Wide Receiver West Virginia 5’9” 174
17 Pittsburgh Steelers Arthur Brown Linebacker Kansas St. 6’1” 228
18 Dallas Cowboys Kenny Vaccaro Safety Texas 6’1” 215
19 New York Giants D.J. Fluker Offensive Tackle Alabama 6’6” 335
20 Chicago Bears Cordarrelle Patterson Wide Receiver Tennessee 6’3” 205
21 Cincinnati Bengals Eric Reid Safety LSU 6’2” 208
22 St. Louis Rams Alec Ogletree Linebacker Georgia 6’3” 232
23 Minnesota Vikings Xavier Rhodes Cornerback Florida St. 6’1” 215
24 Indianapolis Colts Damontre Moore Outside Linebacker Texas A&M 6’4” 248
25 Minnesota Vikings Ezekiel Ansah Defensive Lineman BYU 6’6” 270
26 Green Bay Packers Johnathon Hawkins Defensive Lineman Ohio St. 6’3” 335
27 Houston Texans Deandre Hopkins Wide Receiver Clemson 5’11” 205
28 Denver Broncos Manti Te’o Linebacker Notre Dame 6’2” 255
29 New England Patriots Datone Jones Defensive Lineman UCLA 6’5” 280
30 Atlanta Falcons Desmond Trufant Cornerback Washington 6’0” 185
31 San Francisco 49ers Jesse Williams Defensive Lineman Alabama 6’4” 320
32 Baltimore Ravens Keenan Allen Wide Receiver California 6’3” 205


Check back next week for a draft reaction and follow me on Twitter for live analysis of the draft @ZacBellman_WNY