Updated 2013 NFL Mock Draft (2.0)
On a side note, I do believe a quarterback will be taken in the first round. However, I think that a team will trade into the late-first round to get one.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah (previously Luke Joeckel)
The Chiefs are heavily pursuing a new contract with incumbent left tackle Branden Albert, and he has adamantly stated that he will not move inside to guard. That being said, it may make sense to address an area other than the offensive line. I still believe that there is no quarterback worth taking here, despite the fact that it is the Chiefs' biggest need. With Glenn Dorsey a near lock to leave in free agency, and Tyson Jackson a near lock to be cut due to his massive salary, the defensive line will definitely need some work in Kansas City. Lotulelei has a great shot at becoming a dominant presence in the trenches at the next level, and could help anchor a defense that already has some promising pieces.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M (previously Damontre Moore)
I think the Jaguars will be thrilled if the Chiefs decide against drafting Joeckel. New general manager David Caldwell has said that he wants to give Blaine Gabbert one more season to prove himself, and if he wants Gabbert to have any shot at producing, he needs to give him some help up front. I understand that Eugene Monroe - arguably the Jaguars best player - played left tackle last season, but the rest of the line is a mess, so they should be able to find room for both Joeckel and Monroe. Joeckel is also a perfect fit in the zone-blocking scheme, which the Jaguars are expected to move to for the 2013 season.
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida (previously Star Lotulelei)
With Lotulelei off the board, I'm simply going with the next dominant defensive tackle. Floyd was a monster on the Gators' front line last season. He can line up in multiple areas, which makes him a nice fit for head coach Dennis Allen's hybrid defensive scheme. He can collapse the pocket and get to the passer, while also blowing up running plays. With the Raiders defense struggling in multiple areas, it would be wise to draft a player who helps in more than one facet of the game.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Bjeorn Werner, DE, FSU
* Even though I now have Damontre Moore dropping out of the top three, I still like Werner here due to his versatility in defending both the pass and run. He's an excellent pass rusher, but is also vicious in the trenches and I think that's something that the Eagles could benefit greatly from. Though Chip Kelly has said that he prefers a 3-4 defense (which isn't a great fit for Werner), he has also said that the scheme he runs will be personnel driven. If Kelly has his heart set on moving to a 3-4, he could go with Moore, but if he wants to grab the player who will best benefit the team, he'll take Werner.
5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Lions had only one cornerback start more than nine games in 2012, and it wasn't due to injuries. They were picking up cornerbacks that the Raiders released, and the Raiders had one of the league's worst secondaries. Two players were tied for the team-high in interceptions with two. Milliner is a potential shutdown corner, and could force quarterbacks into uncomfortable reads by taking away their top options, which could give other players more opportunities to create turnovers. The Lions were ranked 27th in takeaways this season.
* With top cornerback Chris Houston saying he wants no part of the franchise tag and would like to test the market, this pick makes even more sense.
6. Cleveland Browns: Jarvis Jones, OLB/DE, Georgia
Jones is Mel Kiper's top ranked player in this draft, but he's expected to slide because of injury concerns and expected mediocrity in an overhyped pre-draft process. Some people consider him a risk due to his spinal stenosis and subpar work ethic, but I think this is a good time for the Browns to take a chance on him. The Browns haven't been too aggressive in the draft lately, often taking "safe" picks or trading down. This year, with a new coaching staff, they should take a chance on an extremely talented young man whose pre-draft workouts won't reflect his on-field potential.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan (previously Chance Warmack)
The Cardinals were one of the three final undefeated teams in 2012, but their season fell apart when opponents began abusing their offensive line. Their defense is solid, and they have some decent skill position players (led by the spectacular Larry Fitzgerald), so they should undoubtedly address their biggest weakness.
I originally had them taking Warmack, who is a better player than Fisher, but guards are simply not valued as highly as tackles. Fisher drew raves at the Senior Bowl, and his stock has shot up.
8. Buffalo Bills: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
The Bills have a monstrous defensive line with recent first-round pick Marcel Dareus and the understated Kyle Williams. While Mario Williams may not have quite lived up to his huge contract, he still managed 10.5 sacks in 2012. This front line can funnel running backs into areas to make easy plays for linebackers, but the Bills don't have enough talent at linebacker, resulting in their 31st ranked run defense. Ogletree can line up at any linebacker position, and could lead the Bills in tackles as a rookie.
9. New York Jets: Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M (previously Barkevious Mingo)
This change is pretty much simply due to the fact that Moore is now available to the Jets, and I think he's a safer pick than Mingo. Moore was a beast at defensive end in 2012, but also wreaked havoc from the outside linebacker spot in 2011, which is the position he would play for the Jets. With the recent release of Calvin Pace, Moore could immediately come in and start for the Jets. While a skill position player would be nice here, there are none worth this pick, especially with Moore available.
10. Tennessee Titans: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The Titans can address either side of the ball here, but I think they'll try to improve their defense, which gave up the most points in the league in 2012. I think the way to go is with a player in the middle of the field, who can make an impact on any play. Vaccaro is a dynamic safety that can play both the run and pass at a high level, which could really help the Titans' defense improve overall next season.
11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma (previously Eric Fisher)
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.