One the eve of the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, this is the final Mock Draft as teams finalise just who they want to take out of this group of College recruits. The Kansas City Chiefs are on the clock.....
1. Kansas City Chiefs:
- Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M.
It looks as if this pick is now set in stone. The Chiefs have done their best to put up smokescreens by inviting others for private workouts but most have now concluded that the Chiefs will take Joeckel. They must protect Alex Smith if they are to maximise his ability while he looks to adjust to a new offense, Joeckel is an elite pass-protector who is equally adept in creating holes in the running game, which should benefit star running back Jamaal Charles greatly. Branden Albert was franchised but he hasn't shown up for workouts and hasn't taken too kindly to the notion he might be moved over to Right Tackle, so it's debatable whether he will return or not. He has given permission to discuss terms with the Miami Dolphins ahead of a possible trade so he could possibly be heading there on Draft day. Either way, Joeckel is an upgrade and the best tackle available in this draft.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars:
- Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia.
As the draft moves closer, it seems harder and harder to fathom how the Jags are going to pass on Geno Smith. With supporter interest dwindling and with no apparent confidence in Blaine Gabbert, Smith becomes a more likely option with each passing day. I have long been a believer that Smith will be a top five prospect by the time the evaluations were over. He is an impressive physical specimen and has enough good film that someone will fall in-love with him. The Jags have the most needs of any team in the league by some distance and drafting someone with Smith's arm and accuracy could be just what the deflated fanbase sorely needs. There is definite interest as the Jags sent a huge party for Smith's pro day as well as working him out privately.
3. Oakland Raiders:
- Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah.
Oakland finally put Tommy Kelly out of his misery and released him which means they now have a gaping hole on the interior. The Raiders have spent most of the off-season wiping the mistakes the deceased Al Davis made in drafts gone past. They will look to ensure that those mistakes aren't repeated and it just so happens they have two can't miss prospects to choose from in their biggest position of need. The preference is for Lotulelei, who has got over his heart scare that prevented him from working out at the combine and can now be considered a top 5 prospect once more. He is quick, strong and has an incredible burst that will cause havoc in the back field if left one-on-one. This pick could also easily be Shariff Floyd, who has been rocketing up draft boards during the evaluation process.
4. Philadelphia Eagles:
- Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan.
This will be a dilemma for the Eagles, who will take a serious look at Floyd here. However, their offensive line was a joke last year and if Michael Vick is to be given any chance of thriving in Chip Kelly's offensive scheme then he must stay upright. Fisher is the best tackle available here and fills a huge need. If Floyd is still available here the Eagles will entertain trade offers just as long as it doesn't prevent them from getting a top-ranked pass protector. Fisher has all the tools necessary to make it at the next level and should be a welcome addition to the porous Eagles offensive line.
5. Detroit Lions:
- Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon.
- There has been speculation that the Lions will trade up to land. Cornerback Dee Milliner, with ESPN's Mel Kiper putting the Lions at number one to take Milliner via trade. There are too many questions regarding his injury history to take that much of a risk, plus only elite corners are taken in the top 5. Besides, Jordan is too good to pass up at this stage. He is an elite pass rusherand a supreme athlete and the Lions are desperate for help in applying pressure on the Quarterback. Jordan was one of the stars at the Combine and could go even higher than five. Adding Jordan to the Lions would give them a formidable defensive line with Ndomokung Suh and Nick Fairley, they are sure to create immense problems for any offensive line.
6. Cleveland Browns:
- Shariff Floyd, DT, Florida.
The Browns are in an ideal position to trade down here, particularly if Floyd and Lane Johnson are available. There will be no shortage of takers for either prospect if the Draft pans out this way but the Browns should ignore all offers and take Floyd here, who is a can't miss prospect and an elite pass-rusher from the tackle position. He has had an extremely impressive evaluation process and is considered by some scouts to be the best player in the entire draft. The Browns are in transition and may look to draft an outside pass-rusher as they move to the 3-4 but a player of Floyd's ability doesn't come along every day and certainly not for the teams selecting at number six.
7. Arizona Cardinals:
- Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma.
Arizona toyed with the idea of taking a Quarterback before deciding that Carson Palmer was a better option, now they can concentrate on solidifying their offensive line. Johnson is a lock to go in the top ten after an impressive round of testing and the Cardinals can give Palmer time to go through his progressions by drafting him here. Johnson has exceptional footwork and will have no trouble mirroring pass-rushers at the next level. He needs some work, particularly in his run blocking, but he is well worth the pick here.
8. Buffalo Bills:
- Matt Barkley, QB, USC.
It looks like the Bills are ready to do something very stupid with their high draft pick. General Manager Buddy Nix is fixated on taking a Quarterback with this pick and with Geno Smith already off the board, they will be seriously reaching for any other Quarterback prospect. The preference is for Matt Barkley, who appears to be the most NFL ready out of the remaining Quarterbacks. He is a 4 year starter at USC and before his senior year was a shoe-in for the number one draft pick. He had a very disappointing Senior season and is not considered a first round prospect by the majority of Draft experts. There is enough film to suggest he can make the jump to the NFL level from his first three years but there was a definite regression in his senior year that is a grave cause for concern. Nix's reign as Bills GM will be defined by this pick without question. If he's smart, he will take Chance Warmack as they are seriously depleted at Guard. However, this appears to be a long shot as he looks for the long-term answer at Quarterback. Let's face it, he won't be the first GM to reach for a Quarterback who just wasn't ready.
9. New York Jets:
- Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU.
According to numerous reports the Jets are in-love with Mingo. He has all the size and speed that Rex Ryan loves and fills a huge need for the Jets. They had a serious problem getting to the Quarterback last season and that problem is never going to win you the AFC East, not with Tom Brady still playing at an elite level. All signs point to Mingo being the pick here, although some have predicted he may drop out of the top 15. Mingo is extremely elusive and has the burst to brush by Lineman with ease. He is sometimes accused of taking plays off if things aren't going his way, but with Rex Ryan in his ear it could be the ideal situation for him to develop. A solid pick as the Jets look to rebuild.
10. Tennessee Titans:
- Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
I wouldn't be surprised if Milliner falls this far. If he does then there could be teams willing to move up and acquire him, reports stating the Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons are actively pursuing this option. As stated previously, Corners aren't normally drafted in the top five unless they are extremely gifted. Last year, Morris Claiborne was touted to go in the top 3 but he fell and it took the Dallas Cowboys to trade up to land him. Same could happen with Milliner, who has some injury concerns and may not be ready for training camp. He has the potential to be a fantastic cover corner in the NFL and it would be very difficult for the Titans to pass on him should he fall this far.
11. San Diego Chargers:
- Chance Warmack, G, Alabama.
Ideally, it would be one of the premiere tackles in the Draft that would drop to the Chargers. This is not the case. Warmack isn't a bad consolation prize however and should immediately upgrade the Chargers terrible offensive line. Philip Rivers struggled immensely last year, the main reason was the fact he spent the majority of the season running for his life. Warmack is one of the most dominant guards to come out of College in many a year and has definite All-Pro potential. He had a sensational senior year at Alabama and the Chargers could start him from day one and barring injury wouldn't have to worry about that position for the next ten years. A can't miss prospect.
12. Miami Dolphins:
- Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina.
The Dolphins addressed most of their needs during the off-season in free agency. However, with the loss of Jake Long they look very thin on the offensive line. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill now has some weapons to work with but will need time in the pocket if he is to utilise them. There is talk of the Dolphins trading up to land a top tackle but if they don't then Cooper should be the selection here. He is a crushing run blocker who can also Guard pass-rushers equally adeptly. He has been flying up draft boards throughout evaluations and reports suggest a few teams are very high on him. He has apparently interviewed very well too and has all the makings of being a strong locker room influence as he develops.
13. New York Jets:
- Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia.
The Jets use the pick obtained from the ludicrous Darrelle Revis trade to get some help for Mark Sanchez. They are clearly going to give him another season to turn things round, if only for the fact he has more than $8 million guaranteed money next year. Acquiring Austin will help their depleted receiving unit considerably. He has drawn comparisons with Percy Harvin and while he doesn't have Harvin's size he is a big play waiting to happen out of the backfield or receiving the ball. He will most likely line up in the slot for the Jets and will be a nightmare matchup for most nickel corners in the league. They could go with a corner here but I think they're happy with Kyle Wilson filling the gaping void left by Revis.
14. Carolina Panthers:
- Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU.
The Panthers will take about four seconds to make this pick if Ansah falls this far. He is such an impressive physical specimen and he has been one of the players of interest for most teams atop the Draft. There is a 'Boom or Bust' element to selecting him and he is relatively inexperienced when it comes to playing time, so that may scare some teams off. I doubt the Panthers will hesitate in selecting him, their pass-rush hasn't been the same since Julius Peppers departed for Chicago and Ansah would provide an energy and determination that has been severely lacking. There have also been doubts over Ansah's actual age, with his passport being faxed to every NFL team to include in their report. He is a big risk without question, but the reward could be substantial.
15. New Orleans Saints:
- Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia.
I've mocked Jones here throughout the Draft process as the Saints are in desperate need of a rusher and despite concerns on Jones' longevity due to a spinal issue he could well end up being a steal at number 15. On ability alone, Jones is a top-five prospect. He is a relentless pass-rusher and has pace to burn. He's got all the tools to become a Pro-Bowler in no time at all. Whether teams will panic reading his medical reports remains to be seen. Bad teams at the top of the draft make bad decisions and no doubt someone in the mid-range of the draft with have no qualms in selecting Jones.
16. St. Louis Rams:
- Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia.
There is no doubt that Ogletree has had his problems during the off-season. Questions about his character seemed to gather pace and they weren't helped by Ogletree's arrest for a DUI not too long ago. Some teams will have taken him off their draft boards altogether because of this despite his immense talent. The Rams can afford to take the gamble here as they have two first round picks and they desperately need Linebacker help. Ogletree is extremely fast and has a nack for getting to the runner in critical situations. His character could cause him to drop but he is easily the best middle linebacker in this class.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers:
- Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri.
The Steelers will need to replace Casey Hampton at some point, he is reported to be coming back for one last season but his role will be severely diminished as they look to maximise his use while they still can. Richardson can be groomed as his replacement without question. He has an outstanding skill set and some scouts have him going even higher than this. He is a disruptive force and is an ideal fit for the intimidating Steelers defense. He wouldn't have much pressure on him during his rookie year due to Hampton's presence and the former Pro-Bowler would be an ideal role model as he looks to adjust to the NFL.
18. Dallas Cowboys:
- Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina.
- This was a bit of a wild card but Jerry Jones has been known for taking risks and Williams makes a ton of sense when you think about it. He's a big body who can play either the 3 or the 5 technique and with the Cowboys reverting back to a 4-3 they need someone else on the interior. Williams has gone under the radar somewhat during the Draft process but there is no doubting his ability. He is stout against the run and is sure to get a lot of single coverage with DeMarcus Ware taking most of the attention on the edge so if the Cowboys do draft him they can expect production right from the outset.
19. New York Giants:
- Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State.
While they love drafting pass-rushers, there just isn't one worth taking here. Certainly not when their is a player of Rhodes' ability falling towards the bottom end of the Draft. Many scouts felt Rhodes was a certainty to go to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 13th pick until they used it to trade for Darrelle Revis. That trade should benefit the Giants, who have no qualms taking the best player available despite their needs. They have been a little concerned with Prince Amukamara's progress since he was drafted and adding Rhodes would be a nice insurance policy for them. Rhodes is incredibly talented, he has the speed to keep up with deep receivers and is strong enough to jam them on the line and alter their routes. Once again the Giants get lucky in the Draft with this pick.
20. Chicago Bears:
- D.I Fluker, OT, Alabama.
No chance the Bears pass on Fluker if he falls this far. They will take a look at a linebacker but their main priority should be keeping Jay Cutler upright long enough for him to do some damage. Fluker had a dominant year, as did most of the Alabama front five and he would be an instant upgrade at either tackle position. He is adept of getting to the next level and could serve as a very useful blocker for Matt Forte in the short passing game. The Bears could also give Cutler another weapon here but what good would that weapon be if Cutler is on the floor, something he has been more than 90% of other Quarterbacks during his time in Chicago.
21. Cincinatti Bengals:
- Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas.
The best safety in the Draft is finally off the board and the Bengals should rejoice. This fills a huge need for a secondary that has some useful corners but not too much going for it on the back end. Vaccaro is a gifted athlete and should upgrade their safety corps instantly. He is a ball-hawk who is superb at reading the Quarterback and was a big play waiting to happen throughout his college career. He needs some work with his run support but he is well worth taking here and could go higher because people suggest that Miami are very high on his talent too.
22. St. Louis Rams:
- Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee.
The Rams will be ecstatic if Patterson falls this far. It is widely perceived that Patterson will fall during the draft, mainly due to team needs and the elevation of Tavon Austin up draft boards. That's not to say Patterson isn't extremely gifted, he has incredible route-running ability and can go deep or across the middle with his running. The Rams need to get Sam Bradford more weapons if they are to get the best out of the former number one pick and losing Danny Amendola was a huge blow. Patterson will have to contribute right away to this team and if things fall right for him he is more than capable of doing so.
23. Minnesota Vikings:
- Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee.
The Vikings use their first pick to get Quarterback Christian Ponder some much-needed help. They were far too reliant on MVP Adrian Peterson last season and the need for help has become more critical since they traded Percy Harvin to the Seahawks. In my opinion the other wideout they will consider, Keenan Allen, has too many questions surrounding him to take here. Hunter didn't score well on the wonderlic test but his skillset should offset any concerns the Vikings may have. He is a fantastic route runner and should provide Ponder with a legitimate target on every play. He has a great nack for getting open and is also a threat in the Red Zone. He could go anywhere from 20-32 and will not make it out of the first round.
24. Indianapolis Colts:
- Datone Jones, DE, UCLA.
Replacing Dwight Freeney will be priority number one for the Colts this off-season. He was a cornerstone for this defense and will be sorely missed by the organisation. Jones has been flying up boards for some time now and is a lock to go in the first round. Like Freeney, Jones is extremely quick off the block and has the speed to get around even the most nimble of lineman. He will be a first-day starter for the Colts and should provide them with a reasonable contribution in his Rookie season with Rasheed Mathis on the opposite end. Mathis will also be a valuable tutor to Jones in his development.
25. Minnesota Vikings:
- Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame.
Te'o has divided opinion of almost every analyst this off-season. He was one of the stand out performers for Notre Dame last season and was once touted as a top-5 pick. However, he was embarrassingly bad in the National Championship game and has had a terrible evaluation process that sees him on the fringes of the first round. Most teams will not want the circus that comes with drafting Te'o due to the now infamous 'Catfish' incident that is well documented. His combine press conference was a sideshow and team's just don't want the trouble. The Vikings have shown more interest in Te'o than any NFL team and they are seriously depleted at Linebacker. They also have two first rounders and can afford to take the gamble. Te'o has enough good film to justify being taken here that's for sure. Whether his turbulent off-season has had an effect on his play from now on is a whole other question.
26. Green Bay Packers:
- Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame.
Green Bay has the luxury of picking the best player available here due to the talent already assembled on their roster. Jermichael Finley has been brought back but the chances of him being kept around after this season are slim. Eifert is the best Tight End in this draft by a fair distance. He is a fearsome threat in the red zone and would give Aaron Rodgers yet another reliable target to work with. They could draft a lineman with this pick if one falls to them, like they did with Right Tackle Brian Bulaga, but so many teams need help on their line this doesn't appear likely. Eifert is a tremendous value pick here and could emerge as the leading Tight End on this team if Finley has another unproductive season.
27. Houston Texans:
- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson.
Quarterback Matt Schaub lost one of his most reliable targets this off-season in Kevin Walter and the Texans will do well to draft his replacement in the first round. Some have questioned Hopkins' character following a report that surfaced on the state Hopkins left his room in after the Combine. It might sound incidental, but teams take every stage of the evaluation process seriously and this will no doubt be investigated thoroughly. Some have said that incident could cost him a place amongst the first round selections but his speed and ability to make plays will ensure he is selected towards the end of the first round. Rookie Wide Receivers tend to struggle initially but with all the weapons the Texans have at their disposal Hopkins should have plenty of opportunities to make a significant contribution.
28. Denver Broncos:
- Tank Caradine, DE, Florida State.
The Broncos need to replace Elvis Dumervile, who was released due to an inexplicable administration error and Caradine seems like the most likely pick at this stage. It is said that Denver is very high on Caradine and have been monitoring his progress closely throughout the off-season. He has tremendous physical attributes, most notably his power and ability to bull-rush lineman with relative ease. With Von Miller garnering most of the attention from offensive lines Corradine should be able to put up decent numbers during his first year in the NFL.
29. New England Patriots:
- Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington.
The Patriots have firepower to burn but the nagging problem has been their interior defensive line and their secondary. With the addition of Tommy Kelly the Patriots have plugged the gap for at least one season so the pick will be the secondary. They were vastly improved last year with the acquisition of Aqib Talib but when he got injured it exposed their lack of depth. Trufant is great value here and should be selected. He was once touted as a top 15 pick but he did not test as well as some people expected, this should not bother the Patriots as he has plenty of film that will convince the powers that be that he can make the step to the next level. He is a little raw and will need development but the Patriots do have the luxury of blending him into the line-up gradually.
30. Atlanta Falcons:
- D.J Hayden, CB, Houston.
Hayden can now be considered a first round prospect again now concerns have been eleviated regarding his injury. NFL Network's Mike Mayock even has Hayden ranked as the Number one cornerback available in this Draft. The Falcons will get lucky if they can land Hayden here and there has been talk of the Falcons making a serious move up to land Dee Milliner. They seem to have identified Cornerback as a position of weakness that was exposed critically in the Playoffs. They don't want to make the same mistakes again, Hayden should be a solid addition to the roster albeit if he does have some question marks surrounding him.
31. San Francisco 49ers:
- Matt Elam, S, Florida.
Dashon Goldson departed in free agency and signed for the Buccaneers so he will need to be replaced. Elam has been criticised by some analysts for reading coverages wrong but he comes from a strong program and was amongst the top 3 safeties during last years college season. The 49ers don't really need much help anywhere else so Elam is well worth the risk he. His run support is sensational and while a little raw, he will surely benefit from joining one of the most feared defenses in the entire league.
32. Baltimore Ravens:
- Bjorn Werner, DE/OLB, Florida State.
Werner was once touted as a top 10 pick but seems to have fallen under the radar over the last few weeks and there is now a real danger of him falling out of the first round altogether. The Ravens are known for drafting high-character individuals to add to their very strong locker room and Werner fits the bill. He is a relentless pass rusher with an incredible motor. He has some trouble in pass coverage when playing outside linebacker but it is extremely doubtful he will be asked to do that at the next level. He should replace the departed Paul Kruger in the lineup and while he won't come up with the same numbers, his production should be similar after a couple of years in the NFL.
Dean Jones: Follow me on Twitter @DeanJones_