The final 2013 NFL Mock Draft (4.0) (Picks 1-16)
The Jets reportedly love Barkevious Mingo, but I think they'll jump on the opportunity to snag Ansah if he falls to them. Though his ideal scheme fit is said to be as a 4-3 defensive end, Ansah has proven both on the field and at the combine that he has the tools to play as a 3-4 outside linebacker. A fearsome edge rusher is one of the top needs on the Jets priority list, and I believe defensive minded head coach Rex Ryan will be dreaming about what Ansah could become under his guidance.
10. Tennessee Titans: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
I'm slotting Richardson here over Floyd because I have the two prospects ranked the same, and I'm now hearing that Floyd is being overhyped. Richardson probably has the best motor in the draft. He may not make the same impact at the point of attack as Floyd does, but he covers a wider range and frequently chases down ball carriers twenty yards downfield. With a young, highly drafted quarterback, good skill position players, and the recent signing of guard Andy Levitre, I like the Titans addressing defense with this pick. Ranking poorly against both the run and the pass in 2012, I think they should target a player who can make an impact on every play. Richardson can do that.
11. San Diego Chargers: DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama
The Chargers fielded a poor offensive line in 2012, and it has gotten worse after the loss of Louis Vasquez, Pro Football Focus' 13th ranked guard last season. The Chargers can bolster their offensive line and ease the pain of losing Vasquez with a great prospect like Fluker to stick in the trenches. I think the Chargers should definitely address offense with this pick, and they'd be best suited to start rebuilding their weakest unit. Jonathan Cooper is a popular name and could be selected here, but I believe Fluker's versatility to play tackle or guard will get the Chargers to take him.
12. Miami Dolphins: DJ Hayden, CB, Houston
This may seem like a reach upon first glance, but look again - some people are ranking Hayden as the top cornerback in the entire draft class. Mike Mayock ranked him as his 14th overall prospect, and his stock has been skyrocketing lately. A freak incident during practice in college tore a vein in Hayden's heart, threatening his life, but he has fully recovered. The injury had some people forgetting about him, but after impressive pre-draft workouts, he's being talked about as a high pick. The Dolphins fielded the 27th pass defense in the league last season, and they lost top cornerback Sean Smith to the Chiefs. Though they did sign Brent Grimes, he is coming off a ruptured achilles and will turn 30 over the summer. The Dolphins don't have many needs after taking the free agent market by storm, but cornerback remains a question mark. I think Hayden will be their guy.
13. New York Jets (from TB): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The Jets need a lot of help on both sides of the ball, so after selecting Ansah with their first pick, I like them grabbing a skill position player with their second. Quarterback Geno Smith could be an option here, but considering the draft pick and finances invested in Mark Sanchez, I don't think the Jets are interested in bringing another circus to New York by having Sanchise compete with a first-round pick. In Austin, they will provide Sanchez with a desperately needed target in the passing game. Austin is a shifty speedster who can get open in short space and turn a dump off into a big play. What he brings to the table is perfect for a team with questions at quarterback.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
A little late for the highly-touted prospect, I know, but if the Raiders pass on him, I can't see him going before 10th. If the Titans pass on him, I can't see him going before 14th. On the other hand, I think this is the absolute latest Floyd could possibly go. Though the Panthers could definitely use a young pass catcher, there is no clear-cut top receiver worth taking at this spot with Tavon Austin off the board. The Panthers have an obvious need at defensive tackle, and Floyd could eat up blockers and make things easier for the rest of the front seven.
15. New Orleans Saints: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has arrived in New Orleans, and I'm sure he is not happy about what he has in the pass rushing department after being spoiled with the likes of DeMarcus Ware for the past two seasons. Ranked 2nd in offense and 32nd in defense last season, I don't really see how the Saints could address anything but the latter with this pick. Mingo will give the Saints an athletic piece to move around the defensive formation and attack the quarterback from different angles.
16. St. Louis Rams: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The Rams fielded a solid defense in 2012, but there was one position that stuck out as a weakness, and that was safety. Vaccaro is a versatile defender who can play the run, drop into zones, or lock down slot receivers in man coverage. I believe the Rams will want to address safety and receiver with their two first round picks. The receiver class is crowded at the top, while Vaccaro considered by most to be the top safety, and several safety needy teams (the Cowboys and Bengals, in particular) will draft between the Rams' two picks. The Rams can grab Vaccaro here and still get one of the top receivers later.
To see the rest of my mock draft, click here.