With A.J. McCarron predictably laying an egg less than 24 hours after I chose him to bat leadoff in my first 2013 NFL Mock Draft for NFL’s Future, it’s back to the lab for yours truly.
I used the current draft order in my first mock. This time around, I’ve taken the liberty of predicting every single game in the remaining NFL schedule (including the playoffs), and I’m using the resulting records as my draft order. I’m sick like that.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14)- Jarvis Jones OLB Georgia (Jr.)
Blaine Gabbert gets a stay of execution. Jacksonville is dead last in the league in sacks (again) with a measly ten…that’s less than J.J. Watt has alone. The Jags will want to look into Jones’ 2009 neck injury and ensuing transfer from USC before pulling the trigger on the draft’s most explosive pass-rusher. Considering Jones’ ridiculous production since arriving in Athens, I’m guessing that there will be no cause for hesitation.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (3-13)- Geno Smith QB West Virginia
There’s some question as to whether Smith is worth a slot near the top of the 2013 NFL Draft. It won’t matter, because when it comes to the NFL Draft and quarterbacks, it’s all about supply and demand. Kansas City’s desperation will force their hand.
3. Cleveland Browns (3-13)- Damontre Moore DE Texas A & M (Jr.)
With a stout, run-stopping triangle of Rubin/Taylor/Jackson, a shutdown corner (Haden), an excellent all-around safety (Ward), and a couple of solid up-and-comers (Sheard, J-M Johnson), most of the parts are in place for a potentially dominant defense in Cleveland. Moore could be the elite pass-rusher that takes Dick Jauron’s stop unit to the next level.
4. Arizona Cardinals (5-11)- Luke Joeckel OT Texas A & M (Jr.)
Aldon Smith…Chris Long…Robert Quinn…Chris Clemons…Bruce Irvin…the Cardinals are going to have to come up with a whole lot better than those saloon doors that they currently employ at offensive tackle for any shot at being competitive in the rapidly-improving NFC West. A lights out pass-protector and flawless technician, Joeckel could be the safest pick near the top of the draft.
5. Carolina Panthers (5-11)- Johnathan Hankins DT Ohio State (Jr.)
It could be time to tear down the Edwards Wall. The only decision for the Panthers here is whether they prefer Star Lotulelei or Hankins. The two should remain neck-and-neck as the predraft process unfolds, but my money says that Big Hank’s enormous upside allows him to win the day.
6. Oakland Raiders (5-11)- Barkevious Mingo DE/OLB LSU (Jr.)
The Raiders have eleven sacks through nine games. That’s unacceptable. Mingo is a Jevon Kearse doppelganger with limitless upside.
Should the Raiders address the D-line during free agency, this pick could be Manti Te’o. Releasing Rolando McClain and drafting Te’o would give Oakland a true defensive leader and officially put GM Reggie McKenzie’s stamp on the organization.
7. New York Jets (5-11)- Bjoern Werner DE/OLB Florida State (Jr.)
Aaron Maybin is already gone. Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas should soon follow. Werner’s versatility makes him a nice fit at either OLB spot in Rex Ryan’s complex scheme…assuming Rex is still around next season.
8. Miami Dolphins (5-11)- Taylor Lewan OT Michigan (Jr.)
Jake Long’s days in Miami could be numbered. Lewan may physically resemble Long, but he’s more athletic and should be a better fit in the Dolphins zone-blocking scheme.
The Dolphins desperately need a big-play threat opposite Brian Hartline, so Justin Hunter could be a darkhorse here if they don’t acquire someone like Dwayne Bowe.
9. Philadelphia Eagles (6-10)- Star Lotulelei DT Utah
There will be mass upheaval in Philadelphia this offseason. Fletcher Cox may be the only current DT who is guaranteed a roster spot next season. Lotulelei offers excellent value at #9.
10. Buffalo Bills (6-10)- Manti Te’o ILB Notre Dame
Buffalo’s linebackers have been atrocious this season. Te’o is a three-down force capable of being a difference-maker from Jump Street.
11. St. Louis Rams (from Washington, 6-10)- Jake Matthews OT Texas A & M (Jr.)
If the Rams don’t make a move up for Joeckel, his bookend could make a helluva consolation prize. Matthews is a first-rate run blocker with the ability to man the left side if necessary.
12. San Diego Chargers (6-10)- Dee Milliner CB Alabama (Jr.)
Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason are toast. Both will be free agents after this season. Milliner is the physical prototype with “shutdown” potential.
13. St. Louis Rams (6-9-1)- Matt Elam S Florida (Jr.)
Do you remember Jeff Fisher’s favorite Titan, Blaine Bishop? Elam is the souped-up version.
14. Detroit Lions (7-9)- Sam Montgomery DE LSU (Jr.)
Even if the Lions resign Cliff Avril, a replacement for soon-to-be 34-year-old Kyle Vanden Bosch should be high on Martin Mayhew’s priority list. Montgomery would address a need while satisfying Mayhew’s “BPA” criteria.
15. Dallas Cowboys (7-9)- Chance Warmack OG Alabama
Dallas is averaging a paltry 85.3 yards rushing through nine games. DeMarco Murray’s continuing injury woes and Felix Jones’ continuing suckiness are obviously factors, but the fact remains that the Cowboys need upgrades at every O-line position with the exception of left tackle. Warmack is a flat-out nasty run-blocker. Nice knowin’ ya, Nate Livings.
With Romo due to become a free agent after the ’13 season, this is the first spot where I seriously considered Matt Barkley. Jerry Jones seems convinced that Romo is an elite QB, so I’m guessing that Romo isn’t going anywhere. Besides, Barkley and Romo are just too similar (overrated/can’t win when it counts).
16. Tennessee Titans (7-9)- Tony Jefferson S Oklahoma (Jr.)
Jefferson made a big impact upon arriving at Norman (BIG 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year) and hasn’t let up since. He has the versatility, instincts, and athleticism to become a Polamalu-type force in the Tennessee secondary.