2013 NFL Mock Draft (First and Second Round)
2/6/13 in NFL
11. San Diego Chargers: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
In the same way the Cardinals will be praying for Chance Warmack to fall to them, the Chargers will be praying for Eric Fisher. The tides have turned in San Diego, and they now have a suffocating defense paired with an inefficient offense. The biggest weakness of their offense is the line, and Fisher is the best lineman available.
* Scouts have been raving about Fisher's performance at the Senior Bowl, and he was named the top practice player of the week by NFL scouts and executives who were in attendance. His stock is on the rise, and he may not fall to this spot if it continues.
** Lane Johnson is an OT whose stock has been on the rise. If that trend continues, and Fisher doesn't fall to the Chargers, he has a shot at being drafted here. If not, Chance Warmack would also be a fine consolation prize.
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.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Xavier Rhodes, CB, FSU
This is a bit of a stretch, and I think the Bucs could end up trading down to get him, but Rhodes could really help out this defense that was picked apart by opposing quarterbacks this season. The Bucs' run defense was the best in the league, but their pass defense was the worst, resulting in their 23rd ranked scoring defense. A physical corner, Rhodes could help prevent opponents from the easy decision of slinging the rock all game long.
14. Carolina Panthers: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
The Panthers' biggest need is at wide receiver, but there simply isn't a receiver worth taking at this spot in the draft. Dion Jordan will be tempting here, but both of the Panthers' defensive ends registered double-digit sacks in 2012. Hankins can fill a hole in the middle of the Panthers' defensive line by both blowing up run plays and tightening the pocket on opposing quarterbacks. He was a great college player and fills a need for Carolina.
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 and still-developing scandal. However, I think there's a solid chance that Te'o drops to this spot, and I think there's just as good a chance that the Saints snag him if he does. The Saints' defense was historically bad, particularly against the run. Te'o can step into the middle of that defense and immediately improve the unit.
16. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper, OG, UNC
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.
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 solid chance he ends up going higher than this.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Menelik Watson, OT, FSU
I think Watson's stock will rise as we go through the pre-draft process. He was a former Division I basketball player and also has a history of boxing, and I think that will help him show his stunning athleticism for such a big guy (6'6'' 320 pounds). 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.
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 Jets (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: DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama
Whenever Jay Cutler gets hurt, we are reminded just how much his athleticism makes up for his shoddy offensive line. Jason Campbell came in for an injured Jay Cutler in 2012 and had no time to get anything done when dropping back to pass. I think Campbell is a very solid backup quarterback, and I know that it wasn't his fault that the Bears' offense generated nothing without Cutler - it was the offensive line's fault. Fluker is the best lineman on the board, and he can vastly improve the Bears' offense if he pans out to be a good player.
** NFL teams are reportedly falling in love with Fluker, and I've heard that he's unlikely to make it past the 21st pick. He may not even fall to the Bears, but this could also easily be the perfect spot for him to be selected.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
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 Williams could be the answer. He's got great size, downfield speed, sure hands, and run-after-catch ability. The Dalton-Green-Williams trio could be a great young core for the Bengals' passing game moving forward.