Updated 2013 NFL Mock Draft (2.0)
In my last mock draft, I said that the Chargers will be praying that Eric Fisher falls to them. Unfortunately, I don't see that being the case. As a result, they should go with the next best offensive tackle, who will need to replace an unproductive locker room scapegoat in Jared Gaither. Offensive line is definitely the Chargers' biggest weakness, and they need Johnson to help prevent Rivers from being pummeled for another season.
12. Miami Dolphins: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Just last year, the Dolphins rolled the dice on a raw quarterback prospect in Ryan Tannehill. Unfortunately, the youngster doesn't have much of anyone to throw to. Why not pick up a raw, physically gifted wide receiver for their raw, physically gifted quarterback to develop with? The Dolphins will likely focus on the offensive side of the ball in the draft, and Patterson has a high ceiling and fills a need.
* The Dolphins will reportedly be targeting wide receiver Mike Wallace in free agency, and they'd also like to retain impending free agent Brian Hartline. If they get both of those players, they will likely go a different direction with this pick.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU (previously Xavier Rhodes)
The Bucs need to address their pass defense, and while I had Rhodes going here in my first mock, I had admitted that it was a stretch. Now with a dynamic pass rusher in Mingo available, the Bucs can address their biggest need with a more highly touted prospect.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri (previously Johnathan Hankins)
The Panthers' biggest need is at wide receiver, but there simply is not an available receiver worth taking at this spot in the draft. Dion Jordan may be tempting here, but both of the Panthers' defensive ends registered double-digit sacks in 2012.
I originally had Hankins going here, but after studying this draft's defensive tackles more thoroughly on tape, I love what I have seen out of Richardson. I have him in a dead tie with Sharrif Floyd as the second best defensive tackle in the draft. Richardson has a relentless motor and covers a wide range, making plays all over the field. He could really give the Panthers' defensive front a big boost.
15. New Orleans Saints: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
It's obviously incredibly difficult to predict where Notre Dame's best player will end up considering his unique scandal and concerns over his athleticism. However, I think there's a solid chance that Te'o drops to this spot, and I think there's good a chance that the Saints snag him if he does. The Saints' defense was historically bad in 2012, particularly against the run. Te'o can step into the middle of that defense and immediately improve the unit.
16. St. Louis Rams: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama (previously Jonathan Cooper)
The Rams have focused on defense in the draft for the past few years, and it showed in 2012. Ranked 14th in both scoring and yards, I expect the Rams' young defense to get even better next season. The offense, however, was an issue all year. With no receivers worth taking at this point in the draft, I think the Rams will try to help out their former first-overall pick Sam Bradford by upgrading his protection. I originally had Cooper going here, but with the best guard in the draft now available, Warmack is obviously the best option.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ezekiel Ansah, LB, BYU
The Steelers have holes to fill at wide receiver and running back, but once again, there are no players at those positions worth taking here. Ansah is an unbelievably talented, yet very raw prospect. The Steelers have a sensational, yet old defense. They don't need any immediate help, but need to start planning for the future. It's the perfect situation for Ansah to come in with no pressure and begin developing behind successful veterans. His combine is likely to be jaw-dropping, so there's a decent chance he ends up going higher than this.
18. Dallas Cowboys: DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama (previously Menelik Watson)
The Cowboys were terrible at running the football this season, and since they already have a running back they like, I think this is the time for them to address the offensive line. The inside of the Cowboys' offensive line is particularly weak, but guard Jonathan Cooper is considered to be a strictly zone-blocking lineman, and the Cowboys employ a power-blocking scheme. Fluker projects to be a strong NFL player at right tackle, where the Cowboys are likely to leave a hole by cutting Doug Free.
19. New York Giants: Dion Jordan, OLB/DE, Oregon
Jordan is a very hyped up player as a superb athlete that can get to the quarterback - an art that is cherished in the NFL. I don't think he fills enough of a need for any of the teams after the Bucs (who I have drafting Barkevious Mingo, who plays a similar position), but he is a great fit for the Giants. With Osi Umenyiora hitting free agency, and Justin Tuck entering the final year of his contract, this is a good time for the Giants to take a raw prospect with a high ceiling and develop him behind an aging star.
20. Chicago Bears: Jonathan Cooper, OG, UNC (previously DJ Fluker)
The Bears' offensive line really cost them in 2012, and I think they'll be thrilled to get a player like Cooper if he drops to them. I've heard some people say that Cooper is better than Chance Warmack, and although he is considered a strictly zone-blocking lineman, new head coach Marc Trestman is expected to employ that blocking scheme.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson (previously Terrance Williams)
Despite some early season struggles, the Bengals' defense proved that it has the ability to shut down opposing offenses, so I think Cincinnati definitely addresses the offensive side of the ball here. While a running back would address a need, I just don't see any backs who have clearly separated themselves as the top flight of this draft class. The Bengals need a No. 2 receiver to take some of the pressure off of AJ Green. Aside from Green, the Bengals' next leading receiver was Andrew Hawkins with 533 receiving yards. That's an area that the Bengals need to upgrade, and Hopkins could be the answer.
Hopkins loves getting up and snatching balls away from hungry eyed defensive backs. He has deceptive speed, is very quick, and has nice hands. I dropped Williams out of this spot because I'm not sure that his size and speed advantages in college will translate to the next level.