2013 NFL Mock Draft 2.0
Updated 2013 NFL Mock Draft (2.0)
2/21/13 in NFL
22. St. Louis Rams (from WAS): Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
With the first of many picks received from the Redskins in return for the opportunity to draft RG3, the Rams should try to address offense once again. After taking Chance Warmack earlier in this round to supply Sam Bradford with some more protection, the Rams can further aid their franchise quarterback by giving him a skilled security blanket. Eifert is very versatile, as he can line up all over the field in an Aaron Hernandez-type manner. He's too quick for most linebackers, and can go up and snag passes away from cornerbacks trying to cover him. He could be a great weapon for Bradford, and would be an upgrade over Lance Kendricks, who caught just 42 passes for 519 yards in 16 games at tight end in 2012.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech (previously DeAndre Hopkins)
The Vikings' biggest weakness is their passing game. While that may be in part due to Christian Ponder, the Vikings are not ready to give up on their first round pick from two years ago. They need to give Ponder weapons to throw to, especially with Percy Harvin's future in Minnesota looking very uncertain. Even if the Vikings don't trade him this offseason, Harvin looks like a long shot to re-sign after 2013. Patton made an immediate impact at the FBS level after attending community college for two years, and scouts will hope that he can adjust to the NFL in similar fashion. He will give Ponder a big downfield target with an ability to go up and make plays. He's drawn comparisons to Reggie Wayne's unflashy but productive style of play.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State (previously Sheldon Richardson)
I originally had Richardson in this spot, but with my top three defensive tackles now off the board, I like the idea of Banks here. While the Colts' defense was at its worst against the run, the pass defense wasn't much better, ranked 21st in the league. They also struggled to get takeaways, a category in which they were ranked 30th. I think Banks has the potential of a Charles Tillman type cornerback - not necessarily a Darrelle Revis, complete shutdown guy, but a playmaker. He has a good sense for the ball in the air and likes going in for the strip or punch to force a fumble. He can help the Colts' defend the pass and generate more turnovers. Teams will love the size/athleticism combination of cornerback Xavier Rhodes, making him an option here, but I think Banks is the better player.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Keenan Allen, WR, California
The Seahawks defense was the best in the league in 2012 as far as points allowed, and while their offense was no slouch, I think they address the wide receiver position with this pick. No Seahawk receiver topped 750 yards receiving, and the front office should focus on getting their sensational young quarterback a more consistent weapon. A former safety, Allen is often able to find open areas in the secondary, resulting in easy throws for his quarterback. He has nice hands and can make things happen after the catch. He dealt with some nagging injuries in 2012, but if he stays healthy he could add a new dynamic to the Seahawks' offense.
* An every-down pass rusher would be nice for the Seahawks here, but I don't think there are any of those worth taking at this spot. If the Seahawks fail to retain the services of Alan Branch, however, a player like Kawann Short could be in play.
26. Green Bay Packers: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue (originally Sharrif Floyd)
The Packers focused heavily on defense in last year's draft, and it was very much improved in 2012. However, there are still a couple of areas where the Packers struggle: they gave up 4.5 yards per carry (26th in the league), and the only player to register more than 4.5 sacks was Clay Matthews.
My only concern with Short here is that there is some concern over whether or not he can fit in a 3-4 defense, which the Packers run. Though his ideal scheme would be a 4-3, I'll bet that Short can play the five-technique for the Packers' defense, where he'll collapse the pocket and take on blockers to free up linebackers to make plays.
27. Houston Texans: Kevin Minter, LB, LSU
The Texans' offense and defense were both very solid this season, so I think they go with a bit of a "best player available" approach with this pick. Minter is an NFL-ready linebacker who can break down plays quickly, get off blocks, and make tackles. He is also quick off the snap when sent on a blitz. With Brian Cushing recovering from a torn ACL, Bradie James set for free agency, and no other inside linebackers worthy of starting, Minter would be a good addition to the Texans' 3-4 base defense.
28. Denver Broncos: Giovani Bernard, RB, UNC (originally Montee Ball)
The Broncos are pretty much set in every facet of the game, but their weakest area in 2012 was their ground attack, with which they averaged only 3.8 yards per carry on the season. Part of that was due to the injury to Willis McGahee, but with McGahee turning 32 years old next October and having a history of knee issues, the Broncos shouldn't be planning on using him as a workhorse for too much longer. With Peyton Manning's 37th birthday coming up in March, the run game will likely be more important every year.
I like Bernard's versatility better than Ball's. He's averaged 46 receptions over his past two seasons at UNC, which is something Peyton would probably like to utilize. He's no slouch when taking handoffs either, as he averaged 6.7 yards per carry in 2012.
29. New England Patriots: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
With Wes Welker's future in New England uncertain, the Patriots may have a big shoe to fill in the slot. As a matter of fact, the Patriots could use some more depth at receiver regardless of whether or not Welker stays. Austin is a tiny, quick little playmaker who caught 114 passes at 11.3 yards a clip for the Mountaineers in 2012 - sounds pretty Welker-esque, doesn't it? He also ran the ball for 643 yards and three touchdowns, providing that unique versatility that Bill Belichick loves in his offensive players.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
I have Montgomery dropping quite a bit due to his awkward size for his position - 6'5'' 260 pounds. If he bulks up enough, he could be suited for a defensive end role in a 4-3 defense, but if he stays lean he may be forced to adjust to a 3-4 outside linebacker position. The Falcons' defense really struggled up front this season, and if they stick with the 4-3 (which they ran in 2012), they could take a shot with Montgomery and try to turn him into a much needed presence in the trenches.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State (originally John Jenkins)
Most mock drafts you see will bring up the same theory about the 49ers - they need to find someone to replace Justin Smith, who will turn 34 towards the beginning of next season and will be a free agent in March of 2014. To address the inevitable decline of their monster in the middle, the Niners will want to go with the biggest, baddest defensive front man they can find.
Johnathan Hankins is a scheme versatile monster at 335 pounds, and he has the potential to become that lineman-swallowing presence that Justin Smith has been. If the Niners want a true zero-technique tackle, however, they may look to John Jenkins, who specializes in that position.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Matt Elam, S, Florida
With a lot of uncertainty regarding whether Ed Reed will return to the Ravens next season, and the fact that pass defense was the Ravens' worst unit on a per-play basis, it makes sense to address the secondary. Elam, like Reed, is a bit undersized but packs a huge punch. His anticipation, speed, and tackling ability make him a very good all-around safety prospect that could provide the same style of play that Reed has put on the field for the Ravens for so many years.