I do some writing for a Wisconsin based sports blog called Sports News On Tap that does some really good work. I did my first Mock Draft for them, and I promise you will be, at the very least, entertained with the read. If you are killing time at work or in class, it will be worth your time. If you would rather read it on the blog, and we could use the page views, go to http://snotap.blogspot.com/2013/03/kramers-2013-nfl-mock-draft-10.html
Looking at my gucci it's about that time. Mock draft time, that is. Now there's some of you out there,including my favorite journalist Bomani Jones, who are mock draft haters. I can't really knock that considering they all prove to be insignificant once the draft is over, and most of these "draft experts" have as much expertise as the "MTV hip hop brain trust" that is putting the Hottest MC's list this week. Obviously, I feel a bit different. As a kid who would spend an entire Sunday just doing fantasy drafts on early 2000's Madden games, I would consider myself a stage 5 draft fiend. So here is my first Mock draft of the year, complete with player profiles from NFL.com if you click on the player's name and an accompanied YouTube clip. I would highly suggest clicking on the "game tape breakdown" clips. They are about 5 minute player breakdowns complete with highlights, draft profile, strengths, and weaknesses. Considering most of the videos have less than 1,000 views, they are hidden gems for a draft fiend like myself.
1. Chiefs - Luke Joeckel, Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M Game Tape vs. LSU
Of course, as soon as I have a nice long write up done about why Star Lotulelei will be the #1 pick, the Chiefs have to funk around and release Eric Winston. Thanks for not making me redo my whole damn top ten at 11:30 at night Andy Reid! Anyway, with Winston gone and Branden Albert on a one year franchise deal, the pick here has to be the best tackle in this class, Luke Joeckel. He has the highest floor of any prospect this year, and is a plug and play guy who has experience going up against the best talent in the NFL Minor Leagues AKA the SEC. They may keep him at RT the first year next to Albert and then use him as a backup plan if Albert chunks up the deuces next season.
2. Jaguars - Star Lotulelei, Defensive Tackle, Utah Game Tape Breakdown
Do I think the Jaguars are going to draft Star Lotulelei? No, I do not. Do I think someone is going to move up to #2 to grab Star? Yes, I do. Star is the best football player in this draft class, and I will be shocked if he falls past the #4 pick. True NT's that are unblockable don't come along every year. I usually don't like the lazy prospect comparisons to whoever is best at their respective position, but this guy is a Haloti Ngata clone. If you don't believe me, skip to the 1:40 mark of game tape breakdown from above. If everything checks out with his heart, and this med student says it will, someone will move up sure up the NT position that is so vital in a 3-4 defense.
3. Raiders - Shariff Floyd, Defensive Tackle, Florida Highlights
This guy has been flying up draft boards, and rightfully so. He is an athletic freak who has been drawing comparisons to Warren Sapp, and I personally think he should buy Sapp's old @QBKilla twitter handle once he gets to the league. He was really impressive at collapsing the pocket at Florida. With Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly looking to be on their way out of Oakland, Floyd would be a great fit in the Silver and Black. Personally, I think #3 may be a touch high for Floyd, but I think the fit makes this the right pick.
4. Eagles - Geno Smith, Quarterback, West Virginia Game Tape Breakdown
Count me in with the Geno Smith believers. I absolutely love his game tape, and put all my chips in the middle after hearing his interview with Steve Marriucci from NFL.com. He's intelligent, athletic, can sling it, and has an outstanding deep ball. He is the prototype QB for Chip Kelly's Offense, and apparently he agrees since he recruited him out of high school. People are discounting this because of the presence Mike Vick and Nick Foles, but Chip Kelly isn't stupid enough to go into the draft without an answer for next season at quarterback. That's how you draft the Blaine Gabbert's and Christian Ponder's (teehee) of the world. If Chip goes all in with Geno (do you see what I did there?), he will be betting his NFL career on it. I think Geno is good enough to do that with.
5. Lions - Ezekiel Ansah, Defensive End, BYU Game Tape Breakdown
Let me start with asking why the hell the Lions aren't trying to move this pick for Revis. Anyway, I'm a big believer in Ziggy, and think he can go wonkavator on what people think his ceiling is.The kid is 6'5", 271 pounds and ran a 4.63 40 yard dash at the combine. Oh, and I should probably point out that was the first 40 yard dash he had ever ran in his life according to his agent, since he decided to stay in school instead of get any outside training for the combine. Now, we have to remember that information is coming from his agent, but at the very least it sounds like he hasn't been trained in the 40 like almost all participants in the combine have been. Ansah's sheer natural ability has coaches salivating, especially since BYU had him totally out of position at 3-4 DE, even NT at times. He looked great in that wide 9 scheme for the Lions coaching staff at the Senior Bowl, and could replace free agent Cliff Avril.
6. Browns - Jarvis Jones, Linebacker, Georgia Highlights
A lot of people have Jarvis Jones falling and I'm just not buying it. I think he is clearly the best 3-4 OLB in the draft, and with Ray Horton bringing his Darius Miles cornrows and 3-4 defense with him to Cleveland, Jones would be a perfect fit. It sounds like he checked out medically, and new GM/BS Report legend Mike Lombardi will be looking to get a playmaker on defense. I can't see how he passes him up.
7. Cardinals – Matt Barkley, Quarterback, USC Game Tape Breakdown
If I know two things that are for sure about this draft, it's that the Quarterbacks will go higher than expected and the offensive guards will go lower than expected. Matt Miller from the Bleacher Report tweeted that he was told Barkley won't make it past the Cardinals, and I believe it (mostly because it was before lying season). Arizona's offensive line was an abortion last year, but look for them to spend big to improve that group in free agency. New regimes mean new QBs, so look for Bruce Arians to buy high on Barkley so Larry Fitzgerald fantasy owners can stop watching the ball sail 10 feet off over his head.
8. Bills - Eric Fisher, Offensive Tackle, Central Michigan Game Tape Breakdown
I don't understand the people who have Fisher higher than Joeckel on their boards. Don't get me wrong, he has the ability to be bookend LT, but look at the competition he and Joeckel were going against. Joeckel was dominant against the SEC pass rushers, and Fisher was dominant against MAC pass rushers. Drafting Eric Fisher will move Cordy Glenn's fat ass over to RT where he belongs, and they can protect for Marcus Mariota when the Bills select him in the 2014 draft.
9. Jets - Dee Milliner, Cornerback, Alabama Game Tape Breakdown
Let me be the first to tell you that this guy is overrated. Watching his tape, he isn't a very fluid mover and I am not a fan of his ball skills. He does have some good highlights, but notice how almost all of them are on fly routes when he just turns and runs. Cornerbacks from Saban's system also don't backpedal, which can explain why Kareem Jackson and Dre Kirkpatrick have been first round disappointments so far, though Jackson did have a better year this year. That really showed with his on field drills at the combine, which was what I took out of his workout while most wowed at the 4.37 40. Deion, ahem I mean Leon Sandcastle, even pointed out his disappointment with Milliner with the field drills. His two favorite DBs from last years drills were Morris Claiborne and Harrison Smith, and he ended up being dead on accurate with those guys.
As far as the Jets taking him here, just read the stories on Revis and you will understand.
10. Titans - Barkevious Mingo, Defensive End, LSU Game Tape Breakdown
In my "best names" 2013 mock Barkevious is the consensus #1 pick. As good as his name is, his play might be just a touch better. I was really impressed with his ability to turn speed into power, a phrase you are probably already sick of if you have been keeping up with the draft process. He bends the edge with the best of them, and uses his long arms really well. If the Titans put him on the other side of Kamerion Wimbley, all of a sudden they have a pretty formidable pass rush.
11. Chargers - Kenny Vaccaro, Safety, Texas Game Tape Breakdown
Packer fans are familiar with the Chargers current Strong Safety Atari Bigby, fresh out the University of Jah Rastafari. As GB fans know, he's not a starter in this league. Vaccaro, however, is a flat out game changer at safety. Given the amount of read option ran in the NFC West, a safety that can come up in the box and also recover in coverage is a must to stop it. Chris Brown of Smartfootball.com wrote up a great article explaining why this is the case. Someone should probably forward that to Dom Capers.
12. Dolphins - Lane Johnson, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma Game Tape vs. Texas A&M
It looks like Jake Long is going to be a goner in Miami, meaning the Left Tackle position just shot up to the biggest need for Miami. Lane Johnson is one of the most athletic tackles I've seen, running a 4.72 40. That will fit really well with the system they run in Miami, with a lot of bootlegs and screens.
13. Buccaneers - Damontre Moore, Defensive End, Texas A&M Game Tape Breakdown
There's not a single person that thought "Damonster" had a good combine. Running a 4.95 40 and only repping 12 times at 225 is going to hurt him, but holy hell people are overreacting. Mel Kiper had him at #3 on his big boardbefore the combine, and now he doesn't even have him in the top 5 at his position. I thought he was overrated when people had him going at #2. He plays high and doesn't shed blockers well. That being said, you can't argue with his production. 12.5 sacks and 20.5 TFL's are eye popping numbers for a player in the SEC. The Bucs need to do something about their pass rush, which has the 3rd fewest sacks in the league last year. You start Damontre off as a pass rush specialist ala Bruce Irvin, and then groom him to take over for the disappointing Da'Quan Bowers to pair with Adrian Clayborn in the future.
14. Panthers – Cordarrelle Patterson, Wide Receiver, Tennessee Game Tape Breakdown
Cam Newton needs another buddy besides 34 year old Steve Smith to throw the ball to. Brandon LaFell showed some promise this year, but no one has delusions of grandeur with him. Patterson is an athletic specimen, and is impressive in the open field. He is a raw route runner, but can be groomed the next couple of years under Steve Smith before he parts ways with Carolina. Cordarrelle has the ability to be a game changer in the league.
15. Saints - Dion Jordan, Defensive End/Linebacker, Oregon Game Tape Breakdown
This spot is most likely lower than Jordan will go in April, given the draft day trades that I can't predict in this mock. It was just the breaks that he fell to 15, since there are not any good fits for him from 10-14. That being said, Sean Payton and Rob Ryan would be cackling and rolling blunts if Dion ended up falling to them. They will be going to a 3-4 defense, and are in desperate need for a pass rushing OLB. I would not be surprised in the least if the Saints move up to try and grab Jarvis Jones, Ansah, Mingo, or Jordan to try and fill this need.
16. Rams - Tavon Austin, Wide Receiver, West Virginia Game Tape Breakdown
Holy fast. No first rounder helped their draft stock more at the combine than Austin. He has a lot of Percy Harvin in him, and can be effective in the back field and in the slot. Perhaps the most impressive stat he had this year was that he ran for 344 yards RUSHING against Oklahoma this year. That's not a typo, 344 yards RUSHING. He's a receiver, in case you forgot. With Danny Amendola looking to leave in free agency, Sam Bradford is going to need some help in the receiving core.
17. Steelers – Alec Ogletree, Inside Linebacker, Georgia Highlights
If you leave out the off the field issues, Ogletree is easily a top 10 talent. The recent DUI, positive drug tests, and overall dumbfuckery will drop his stock, though. A team that can look past that, mostly because they have great leadership in that locker room, is the Steelers. Last year they took Mike Adams despite a failed drug test at the combine, and I think they could do the same with Ogletree. He would be a great fit to put next to Lawrence Timmons and would flourish in Dick Lebeau's zone blitz system.
18. Cowboys – Sheldon Richardson, Defensive Tackle, Missouri Game Tape Breakdown
With the addition of Mr. Wilson from Dennis the Menace, oops I mean Monte Kiffin, as Defensive Coordinator, an athletic defensive tackle is a position of need. Richardson fits the bill here, and can excel in the Tampa 2 system. He moves really well from sideline to sideline, and can disrupt the pocket with pressure from the inside. Given that Dallas was looking at Michael Brockers for their pick at #14 last year, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Jerruh is looking to improve the interior defensive line through the draft.
19. Giants – Tank Carradine, Defensive End, Florida State Game Tape Breakdown
I wish I could throw down money on Tank Carradine being selected before Bjoern Werner this year. If Tank didn't tear his ACL, I think he would be getting legit looks by the Jaguars and Raiders. He is the most natural 4-3 pass rusher, but could use to put on some more bulk. He plans to workout in April, so don't be surprised if he is shooting up draft boards by then. As far as the Giants, they are always looking for pass rushers. They would be getting great value here.
20. Bears - Chance Warmack, Guard, Alabama Game Tape vs. LSU
Alright people, if we learned anything from David DeCastro last year, it's that teams don't want to spend a top 20 pick on a guard. We were hearing the same things about DeCastro last year as we are hearing about Chance this year: once in a lifetime prospects, top ten prospect, etc. Then, lo and behold, DeCastro went #24 to the Steelers. You can expect a repeat with Warmack. This certainly doesn't change the fact that he is without a doubt one of the 5 best football players in this draft. It is just a positional thing. The Bears need desperate help in the offensive line, and Warmack will be a Pro Bowler for years to come.
21. Bengals – Bjoern Werner, Defensive End, Florida State Game Tape Breakdown
I really didn't get the hype on Werner from the jump. He is very sound fundamentally but he hardly anything special. He does drop his hips well around the edge, but that's about all that jumps off the tape. He's too weak too play strong side DE, and I don't think he's anyting special as a pass rusher from the weak side. He seemed to get swallowed up by bigger bodies, and this will get exposed at the next level. Still, I think the Bengals could take a swing at him and put him next to Geno Atkins and across from Michael Johnson, which would help things out.
22. Rams (from Redskins) – DJ Fluker, Offensive Tackle, Alabama Highlights
Right Tackle is a position of need for the Rams. Rodger Saffold is turning out to be a solid LT, but Joe Barksdale, no relation to Avon, is a liability at RT. Fluker is a road grader, but is still athletic enough to be a great pass blocker. He carries his 339 pounds well, and would give Sam Bradford some protection from the absolutely ridiculous defensives lines they go against in the NFC West.
23. Vikings - Jonathan Cooper, Guard, North Carolina Game Tape Breakdown
Whoever the Vikings take here, it will be the prospect at the top of GM Rick Spielman's draft board. The best teams in the league go the best player available route, and Spielman is smart enough to follow suit. In this mock, that player happens to be Jonathan Cooper. Offensive line isn't on the top of the needs in Minnesota, but Brandon Fusco was pretty pitiful last year at RG. Adding Cooper would allow Charlie Johnson to switch over to the right side next to Phil Loadholt, and let the Kalil-Cooper combo open up holes for AD all day. A Kalil-Cooper-Sullivan-John-Loadholt line would surpass the 49ers as the most talented in the league, and something tells me that would mean the Vikings running back might be able to do some pretty good things behind that.
24. Colts – Keenan Allen, Wide Receiver, California Highlights
The Colts are going to need another athletic receiver to add to Luck's arsenal within the next couple of years. Reggie Wayne is still a monster, but he's 34 years old. TY Hilton can stretch the field, but there's no way he should be a top WR on a roster. By drafting Allen, the Colts would already have all the offensive pieces in place to be a perennial playoff contender, and could focus on the defensive side of the ball for years to come. That philosophy worked pretty damn well when Bill Polian was there.
25. Seahawks – Tyler Eifert, Tight End, Notre Dame Highlights
Pete Carroll will be getting some new toys for Russell Wilson this off season. Golden Tate and Sidney Rice are solid receivers, but they really need a slot guy and a TE to put opposite Zach Miller. When talking about trying to resign John Carlson, who ended up in Minnesota, last year, Carroll said, "We think those guys will play in tandem, on opposite sides, we'll be moving them around to matchups and stuff. I think it's a great asset for us now and we've always liked to play with two tight ends in a number of different packages and this just gives us tremendous flexibility at a really high level." Don't be surprised if they go tight end here.
26. Packers – Matt Elam, Safety, Florida Highlights
In my earlier explanation of Kenny Vaccaro, I said he is the read option killer that Chris Jones talks about in his write up on Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed. I also said someone should forward this article to Dom Capers, unless he just wants to keep getting killed by the read option as he defends it with two high safeties. If he decides that he should bring another safety in the box, and with Chuck out of GB, Matt Elam would fit right in. I see a lot of Bob Sanders in Elam. It looks like he just shoots out of a cannon when he comes up in run support. He is a playmaker in the secondary, and could be brought up in the box to blitz or seal the edge like Chuck did at times this year.
27. Texans – Manti Te’o, Inside Linebacker, Notre Dame Highlights
Lennay Kakau can rest easy, Manti is gonna be bringing in that 1st round pick money. His 40 time has been overblown, as he ran faster than Kevin Minter who no one is talking about. I'm sure teams are scared of the circus that Manti brings with him, but he is a very solid, instinctual player who will sure up the middle of the field. Wade "Marshmallow Man" Phillips probably sees a lot of Keith Brooking in Te'o, and could pair him up with the much more juiced up, ahem I mean athletic, linebacker Brian Cushing to hide his speed issues.
28. Broncos – Kawann Short, Defensive Tackle, Purdue Game Tape Breakdown
Defensive tackle is a huge area of need for Denver, and luckily interior line is the strength of this draft. Right now the only two DT's on the Broncos roster are Mitch Unrein and Sealvor Siliga. Not exactly household names. Kawann Short impressed at the Senior Bowl, and I think he will overtake Sylvester Williams as the #4 DT in this draft because of his ability to shed blocks.
29. Patriots - Justin Hunter, Wide Receiver, Tennessee Game Tape Breakdown
Remember when the Patriots had a 6'4" wideout who could stretch the field on the outside? Tom Brady seemed to like that a lot. Now don't get me wrong, Justin Hunter is no MAWSE, but I'm sure Belichick has some of those pages of the playbook from 2007 in the office waiting for someone to come around with a similar skill set to put them back in. The futures of Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker are in question, and with a ton of late 1st/early 2nd round talent at WR, the Patriots will have the pick of the litter. Hunter impressed enough at the combine and on tape to be that pick.
30. Falcons – Zach Ertz, Tight End, Stanford Highlights
Atlanta will be looking Tight End here regardless of what Tony Gonzalez's decides to do. Matt Ryan relies heavily on the TE when the deep routes by Julio and Roddy aren't open, so getting someone he can rely on is essential. Ertz played well this year for Stanford, and at 6'5" will be a big target for the Mattural.
31. 49ers – Xavier Rhodes, Corner Back, Florida State Game Tape Breakdown
If this pick isn't moved to grab Revis, Xavier Rhodes would be a perfect fit for the Niners system. Tarell Brown got exposed in the postseason, and is one of the only weaknesses on San Francisco's roster. Rhodes is a 6'2" press corner who would bring some more physicality to that secondary. He would be great in locking up the big receivers of the NFC West, Larry Fitz and Sidney Rice.
32. Ravens – Menelik Watson, Offensive Tackle, Florida State Game Tape vs. Miami
One of the most underrated moves that Baltimore made in the road to their championship was move Michael Oher back to his natural position of RT and move Bryant McKinnie to LT. This was the final piece of the puzzle in the o-line that gave time for Flacco to find his WR's deep in the playoffs. While McKinnie played well, he is still 33 years old and is injury prone. Menelik is an athletic guy with a high ceiling who could replace McKinnie later in the year or in 2014.