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2013 Mock NFL Draft: Early Edition

  • 2013 Draft Early-Bird Special

    The 2012 NFL Draft kicked off Thursday in New York, ending months of speculation over the draft’s early picks. Despite more of this year’s event to come, we take an early look at the 2013 NFL Draft by providing a mock of the event’s first round.

    Everyone knows that USC QB Matt Barkley will have a year of hype around him being the No. 1 overall pick like Andrew Luck. But what other names do we see commissioner Roger Goodell (pictured) calling a year from now? Click through to find out.


    Photo: Howard Smith/US Presswire

  • Nos. 32-29

    32. Green Bay Packers: Dee Milliner (CB, Alabama): The Packers’ secondary remains a huge weak spot and Charles Woodson only has so much left in the tank. Milliner might not be as good as Dre Kirkpatrick but he can step right in and start on Day One in a pass-first NFL and a division with Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford.

    31. Baltimore Ravens: Arthur Jones (LB, Kansas State) Ray Lewis is coming back for another go-around in 2012, but it looks like he won’t be around in 2013. There’s no replacing Lewis, but the Ravens will need some help at middle linebacker - and that’s an understatement. Brown is an ultra-talented tackle machine for the Wildcats. He was an All-Big 12 player in 2011 who led K-State with 95 tackles. He will be able to provide some production for Baltimore and smooth the transition in Baltimore A.R. - After Ray.

    30. New York Giants: Oday Aboushi (OT, Virginia) The Giants’ offensive line managed to keep Eli Manning upright for most of the season, save for the beating he took in the NFC Championship Game against San Francisco. But New York needs depth to an aging and battered line; it will not bring back tackle Kareem McKenzie for starters. That’s why the Giants should jump for Aboushi, a 6-foot-6, 310-pound tackle. He’s a hometown kid from Brooklyn who was Second Team All-ACC in 2011 - and only will get better in 2012.

    29. New England Patriots: Keenan Allen (WR, Cal): The Patriots have Wes Welker and picked up Brandon Lloyd, but they need some young legs to pump life into the vertical passing game. Allen is a big wide out at 6-foot-3 and 206 pounds and was able to star in the Pac-12 with the underwhelming Zach Maynard - also his brother - throwing to him. Imagine what Allen could do with Tom Brady tossing him the ball.

    Photo: Jason O. Watson/US Presswire

  • Nos. 28-25

    28. San Francisco 49ers: Barrett Jones (G, Alabama): The 49ers lost versatile offensive lineman Adam Snyder, who slotted in at guard for them last season. They also filled their need for a wide receiver with the surprise selection of A.J. Jenkins out of Illinois. That means that they should focus on some early-round O-line help in 2013. Jones certainly will provide some help for any NFL team that drafts him. He would be able to fill the versatility void left by Snyder; Jones played four positions on the line for the national champs last season. Oh yeah, and he won the Outland Trophy.

    27. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert (TE, Notre Dame) For the Falcons’ sake, Matt Ryan needs to bounce back in 2012. Either way, Ryan is going to need another weapon to pair with receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones because Tony Gonzalez won’t be around for 2013. Eifert nearly entered the 2012 draft. With Michael Floyd gone in South Bend, look for the 6-foot-6 Eifert to step up and be a main playmaker for the Irish. He’s a big-time athlete who can split out wide like all the league’s dynamic tight ends.

    26. Houston Texans: Kwame Geathers (DT, Georgia) The Texans whiffed in the draft a couple years ago on DT Amobi Okoye, a first round pick in 2007. Mario Williams is gone but the bigger need is nose tackle, where they were undersized last season. That won’t be a problem with Geathers, a 6-foot-5, 350-pound space-eater who converted from offensive tackle. Geathers can allow the linebackers to roam in Wade Phillips’ 3-4 defense just by his sheer presence.

    25. Pittsburgh Steelers: Montee Ball (RB, Wisconsin)
    Pittsburgh has opened its offense to feature Ben Roethlisberger more and more as the years have passed. But the Steelers’ franchise has always been built around a strong running game and Rashard Mendenhall might be finished with the franchise after a crushing ACL injury that will keep him out for all of 2012. Enter the bowling ball named Montee Ball who can be the every-down back Pittsburgh is used to having. There’s no question about his production after rushing for 33 TDs and nearly 2,000 yards last season.

    Photo: Gary A. Vasquez/US Presswire

  • Nos. 24-21

    24. Denver Broncos: Marcus Lattimore (RB, South Carolina): Oh boy, Broncos, Willis McGahee - a running back with an injury history - is 30-years old. You know what that means, the end will come sooner rather than later. Peyton Manning can use some run support and Lattimore has been pegged as a first-round pick for years. He ran for 17 touchdowns and almost 1,200 yards as a freshman. His sophomore year was cut short by a knee injury. We can’t slot him any higher before we know how he recovers, but something tells us that Denver would run this pick to New York if Lattimore is on the board.

    23. Detroit Lions: Tyrann Mathieu (CB, LSU): There was a reason that the Lions needed Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson’s high-wire act last season. Their defensive secondary was bad. Hidden by a vicious defensive line, we shudder to think what would have happened if they had been left out on the proverbial island. That’s why we can see them taking LSU’s ball-hawk defensive back Mathieu. You knew this was coming: “Honey Badger” doesn’t care about being undersized. At just 5-foot-9, 175 pounds, Mathieu would be dwarfed by some NFL receivers. But you can’t teach his knack for being around the ball.

    22. Philadelphia Eagles: Kawann Short (DT, Purdue): The Eagles had a lot of holes on defense last year - one of the reasons that “The Dream Team” fell short of the playoffs. There’s no better way to fill them than with Short, a 330-pound defensive tackle who many laud for his athletic ability - that’s a good combination. According to some reports, he could have gone in the third round in 2012. We only see a rise up the draft boards for Short.

    21. Chicago Bears: Alex Hurst (OT, LSU): If you watched the Bears last season, you felt bad for Jay Cutler, even if you weren’t a fan of the team. OK, fans of NFC North foes didn’t care. But the point? Chicago’s offensive line was awful. Cutler often had the routine of chuck, duck and peel himself off the turf. We recommend grabbing Hurst, a 6-foot-6, 340-pound tackle who has something else Chicago covets up front: experience. Hurst will enter his third year as a starter at LSU this fall. An All-SEC player in 2011, Hurst will come ready to play in the NFL.

    Photo: Marvin Gentry/US Presswire

  • Nos. 20-17

    20. New York Jets: Brandon Jenkins (DE, Florida St.): Rex Ryan already took defensive end Quinton Coples on Thursday and would love to convert Jenkins to a 3-4 linebacker - the kind of versatile player that Ryan can use as a centerpiece of exotic looks. But as the Jets have seen with their cross-town rival, you can never have enough pass rushers and Jenkins would give the Jets a nasty front seven.

    19. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin Taylor (DE, South Carolina): The Bengals hit their targets Thursday, when they took a cornerback and guard to fill those specific needs. Now they can focus on what Marvin Lewis covets: a big-time end that can muck up the game. Introducing Taylor, a 6-foot-8 end who has been an impact player for South Carolina the last two seasons. A big 2012 should push “Too Tall Taylor” (OK, we just made that up) into the national consciousness.

    18. Dallas Cowboys: T.J. McDonald (S, USC): The Cowboys are going to have their hands full with the dynamic offenses in the NFC East. It would be nice to have a hard-hitting safety roaming around to protect against the running exploits of Michael Vick and Robert Griffin III and the arm of Eli Manning to help Morris Claiborne. McDonald certainly is a hard-hitting sort. He is the son of former San Francisco 49ers safety Tim McDonald, a foil of the Cowboys when the teams squared off for NFC supremacy in the mid-to-late 1990s. Dallas should jump grab the younger McDonald.

    17. New Orleans Saints: Alex Okafor (DE, Texas): Forget the Saints bounty scandal, and how that affects the team going forward, the Saints needed help on defense to begin with. Takeaways helped them to a Super Bowl win a few years ago, but Drew Brees and the New Orleans high-wire act covered up the defensive deficiencies last year. Okafor would be a good start in an attempt to fix that. He has been a good player so far for the Longhorns but has a chance to a be a game-changer in 2012. At 6-foot-4, 260 pounds with 4.67 speed, Okafor should have a lot of Big 12 QBs on the run this fall.

    Photo: US Presswire

  • Nos. 16-13

    16. Carolina Panthers: Xavier Rhodes (CB, Florida St.): Chris Gamble is a lock-down corner for the Panthers, but they need help on the opposite side. With Cam Newton making Carolina relevant again with his exploits on the other side of the ball, it could use a defensive playmaker to make this team complete - in addition to speedy linebacker Luke Kuechly. After being named ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2010, Rhodes wasn’t as dynamic a year later, but we think the best is yet to come.

    15. St. Louis Rams (via Redskins): Jelani Jenkins (LB, Florida): One of the top recruits in the nation in 2009, Jenkins hasn’t disappointed in Gainesville where he has totaled 153 tackles after redshirting his freshman season. Jeff Fisher is a defensive guy who knows St. Louis must improve its linebackers.

    14. San Diego Chargers: Manti Te’o (LB, Notre Dame): The Chargers always could use the next Junior Seau, right? He was a cog for many years on that defense in Southern California and, if there is a player in his mold, San Diego most certainly would take him. Notre Dame’s Te’o certainly brings Seau’s passion to the game but also can provide lots of production. Te’o led the Irish with 128 tackles last season and was named a Second Team All-American. He will be all over the field this fall for Notre Dame.

    13. Tennessee Titans: Sam Montgomery (DE, LSU):

    The Titans are still looking for a pass rusher that struck fear into quarterbacks like Jevon Kearse. An absolute terror for the Tigers with nine sacks and 13 tackles for loss last season, expect Montgomery to keep devouring quarterbacks next year in the SEC and have Titans owner Bud Adams drooling on draft day with his “Freak”-ish size (6-foot-4, 245 pounds).

    Photo: Jeremy Brevard/US Presswire

  • Nos. 12-9

    12. Buffalo Bills: Ricky Wagner (OT, Wisconsin): We saw the Bills break down a bit after a hot start in 2011. Much of it was due to the them coming back to earth thanks to a leaky offensive line. What better way to improve the play up front than to grab another big Badger? The Bengals drafted guard Kevin Zeitler in the first round on Thursday. The 6-foot-6, 322-pound Wagner should join him in the NFL a year later.

    11. Kansas City Chiefs: Aaron Murray (QB, Georgia): After the Chiefs used the No. 11 pick on Thursday to select Dontari Poe, it’s clear that they will need to address the other side of the ball in 2013 - namely the spot under center. Let’s be honest: Kansas City should be glad to have squeezed a playoff appearance out of Matt Cassel in 2010; it will need a young quarterback for the future. Murray didn’t play well in his final two games last season but otherwise had a terrific year for Georgia and has the look of an NFL franchise QB.

    10. Seattle Seahawks: Marquess Wilson (WR, Washington St.): Sidney Rice was a bust and Doug Baldwin was the team’s leading receiver despite going undrafted last year. This just in: Baldwin is no Larry Fitzgerald. The nearby Wilson has had two phenomenal seasons in Pullman, WA, despite playing on terrible Cougar teams. He might catch 120 balls this fall in Mike Leach’s offense and he will certainly catch the eye of Pete Carroll, who desperately needs a playmaker at wideout.

    9. Oakland Raiders: Landry Jones (QB, Oklahoma): Yes, the Raiders just traded for Carson Palmer but the front office has been overhauled and will likely want a new franchise QB instead of an aging one who struggled a lot last season. Jones wasn’t exactly lights out in 2011 but has the physical tools to destroy the Big 12 next season. While Al Davis passed away passed away last October, he would approve of selecting a big QB (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) with an even bigger arm.

    Photo: Matt Kartozian/US Presswire

  • Nos. 8-5

    8. Arizona Cardinals: Tyler Bray (QB, Tennessee): The Kevin Kolb Experiment was a disaster last fall. The Cards tried to dump him for Peyton Manning but lost out to the Denver Broncos. Enter Bray, who some are already calling the next Peyton Manning and who has shown some incredible flashes during his two seasons in Knoxville when he was not injured. At 6-foot-6, if Bray can have more games like he did against Cincinnati (34-41, 405 YDS, 4 TD), the comparisons to Manning will become more abundant.

    7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Johnny Adams (CB, Michigan St.): Mark Barron was a huge step in solidifying the secondary but that won’t be enough to keep up with Cam Newton, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees in the NFC South. Adams isn’t a household name but has certainly caught the attention of scouts with an All-Big Ten First Team performance last year as a junior and ideal size and speed. We can already hear the Chris Berman “Johnny come lately” jokes now…

    6. Cleveland Browns: Robert Woods (WR, USC): Greg Little was a great find by the Browns in last year’s draft but a wide out combination of Little, Josh Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi isn’t going to cut it. Robert Woods was a man among boys in the Pac-12 last year by racking up 111 receptions for 1,292 yards and 15 touchdowns. With 4.4 speed, Woods would give the Browns an incredible threat on the outside to stop teams from stacking the box against Trent Richardson.

    5. Miami Dolphins: Jarvis Jones (LB, Georgia): Cameron Wake is one of the best pass rushers in the league but he needs help. Jones could have been a first-round pick this year but decided to return to school. A First Team All-American last fall, Jones built a second home in opposing backfields with 19.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks. He could be the pass rusher the Dolphins had when Jason Taylor was in his prime.

    Photo: Mark Zerof/US Presswire

  • Nos. 4-1

    4. St. Louis Rams: David Amerson (CB, NC State): The Rams’ secondary was a complete disaster last season. Cortland Finnegan was a nice pickup but the Rams aren’t going to solve all their woes with one free agent. A huge corner at 6-foot-3 and 194 pounds, Amerson is the prototype of what NFL defensive coordinators are looking for to defend the jumbo-sized wide outs in the NFL like Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson.

    3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Tyler Wilson (QB, Arkansas):To be fair, Blaine Gabbert was thrown into the fire too early in Jacksonville last year. But it looks very unlikely he will fare better this season, opening the door for the Jags to look for a new franchise quarterback. Wilson probably would have been the third quarterback off the board on Thursday and looked flawless in Arkansas’ recent spring game. If it weren’t for Matt Barkley, Wilson would be very worthy of the No. 1 overall selection.

    2. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Barkley (QB, USC): Does anyone outside the Minnesota Vikings’ front office think Christian Ponder is a franchise quarterback? We didn’t think so. A huge reach in last year’s draft, Ponder struggled through the 2011 season and the Vikes could certainly pull the plug next April. Since Barkley made the shocking decision to stay in school for 2012, he’s been the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy and next year’s No. 1 pick like Andrew Luck was last season. Imagine how perfect this pick would be if Minnesota ends up moving to L.A.

    1. Indianapolis Colts: D.J. Fluker (OT, Alabama): The Colts got their franchise quarterback in Andrew Luck, now they need a franchise left tackle to protect him. Anthony Costanzo was OK in his first year but belongs on the right side. Fluker is an absolute mountain of a man at 6-foot-6, 335 pounds and could be the next Chris Samuels that the Colts can depend on to make sure Luck stays healthy for the next decade. Heck, the man’s nickname is “Big Foot.” That’s exactly the kind of nickname you want for a franchise left tackle.

    Photo: Kirby Lee/US Presswire

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