2013 NFL Mock Draft: Star vaults himself back into top five contention
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The Chiefs have done a masterful job of filling holes through free agency. The free agent pickups have allowed them the flexibility to trade Branden Albert to recoup the 2nd round pick they lost in the Alex Smith trade. At this point, it appears a matter of time before Albert is dealt and we can lock a tackle into the No. 1 overall spot.
It’s just a matter of time before we can etch this pick in stone. After spending the better part of the last three months speculating on the No. 1 overall pick, it’s beginning to look like a bit of a forgone conclusion as KC seeks out a trade partner for Albert. Joeckel is a franchise LT that should be a no-brainer in this spot. Eric Fisher will likely get a long look at this spot but Joeckel wins the day.
This pick was not a fan favorite last week and drew a mile long debate on Reddit. Many are convinced that the Jaguars sending a convoy of big wigs to check out Smith is posturing to bait a team make a deal. I’m not convinced of that. Teams that are remotely interested in securing a QB are going to do due diligence on Smith. By all accounts, Smith is a charismatic individual that is known for being a gym/film rat. Those types of characteristics can easily win over GM’s.
In the case of the Jaguars, they gave a half-hearted approval of Blaine Gabbert in the offseason. No one around the NFL believes he can turn the fortunes of this franchise around and the Jags can’t afford another dismal season. Gus Bradley would love to add to his defense but securing a QB is always first priority.
The Raiders have added a ton of help at the DT position and Tommy Kelly is still on the roster. Adding Pat Sims and Vance Walker provides the Raiders with solid depth but still lack a difference maker in the middle of the defense. I’m still not sold on Tommy Kelly being on the opening day roster. It will be tough passing on a DE in this spot but I think Dion Jordan is the best available and probably fits better as a SLB in Dennis Allen’s scheme.
Floyd gives the Raiders a penetrating 3-technique that can disrupt on the interior. Aside from need, the overhaul of this roster has left them void of talent. Floyd is the best overall player available (by many accounts, not mine) making him a logical fit for the Raiders.
The Eagles are another team that filled a ton of holes in free agency. This pick could be between Star Lotulelei, Dion Jordan, Dee Milliner, and one of the tackles. Milliner makes a ton of sense here despite picking up Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams in free agency. That said, Star was cleared for a full workout yesterday, which is a great sign for his chances of jumping back into top 5 talk.
The Eagles were able to add Isaac Sopoaga in free agency but Lotulelei’s versatility to play the nose and 5T will make him an intriguing option for the Eagles. It’s been pretty clear that Chip Kelly was looking to get bigger up front in free agency and adding Lotulelei to play opposite Fletcher Cox with Sopoaga manning the middle is a hell of a defensive front.
Jeff Backus opted to retire, leaving a big hole at LT. The Lions have kicked around moving Riley Reiff inside which isn’t likely to happen with Backus vacating the RT spot. Jason Fox has been brought along very slowly but entrusting him to lock down the LT spot is foolish. Matt Stafford will be looking to rebound from a so-so 2012 season, so this pick should be a LT. With Fisher still available it should be a no-brainer.
Fisher gives the Lions an immediate starter on the left side, allowing Fox and Reiff to battle it out on the right side. Ideally, Fox can take over at RT moving Reiff to the inside and giving the Lions a formidable line on paper. Ezekiel Ansah will get a long look here but securing Stafford’s blindside is priority one.
The Browns have flirted with Brent Grimes in free agency but its unclear at this point if they are legitimate contenders for the soon to be 30 year old corner coming off a ruptured achilles. Even if Grimes is brought in the Browns need a long-term answer opposite Joe Haden and Milliner is a solid option. If Grimes or another free agent isn’t brought in, this pick becomes a necessity as the Browns don’t hold a second round pick.
Milliner is an ideal fit opposite of Joe Haden as he gives the Browns another physical defender with the size to matchup with bigger receivers. If the Browns could secure Milliner in the first, this defense would be one to reckon with on paper.
7. Arizona Cardinals – Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The Cards appear to be on a crash course with a former Michigan State quarterback battle in camp. I’m sure another QB will be brought in via free agency or early in the draft but no options appear to be much better than Stanton/Hoyer.
With the QB situation in the air, the Cards need to do everything in their power to secure the offensive line in front of them. Last year’s rookie tackle tandem took strides towards being formidable but having Johnson on the board will push one out of the starting lineup and could spell the end to Levi Brown, although cutting him isn’t a great option because of the dead money involved.
The Bills should be in desperation mode at QB and could be a prime candidate to trade up for Geno Smith. Tarvaris Jackson isn’t going to help out Doug Marrone’s case in year one as head man in Buffalo. The Bills could go in a ton of directions with this pick as they need help at QB, OG, DE, WR, LB, SS and CB.
The Bills will audition a ton of options at quarterback but the one I see (semi)-worthy of this pick (Matt Barkley) wouldn’t be the best fit in Buffalo. Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper make sense here but with so many needs, I can’t see them pulling the trigger on a top ten guard.
I’m left to the defensive side of the ball. Mike Pettine craves versatility and they don’t get much more versatile than Ansah. I’ve felt Ansah was a good fit for awhile and it’s going to take a lot for me to change this one, barring he’s on the board.
Not surprisingly, the cap-strapped Jets have been relatively inactive in free agency. The Darrelle Revis deal appears to have lost steam although it’s certainly not dead. The Jets have a bunch of needs, arguably the biggest is at pass rusher. Rex Ryan would do backflips if Jordan falls to them at No. 9.
Jordan is my second rated player in the draft, making him a steal at No. 9. His versatility as an edge rusher and effectiveness in coverage make him a slam dunk if he’s still available.
The Titans made a splash in free agency with the signing of Andy Levitre which fills a major hole along the interior of their OL. The Titans can now focus on upgrading the front four of the defense. The Titans are good but not great in the middle of their defense. Jurrell Casey, Karl Klug and Mike Martin are solid but none bring the ability to dominate on the inside.
Sheldon Richardson is an interior disruptor that brings the “wow” factor to a defense. He may turn some teams off with his personality but he has the game to back it up. The Titans could also look at adding a pass rusher at this spot but it will come down to value and Richardson is a solid value with the 10th pick.
11. San Diego Chargers – Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The Chargers added King Dunlap and Chad Rinehart to the offensive line in free agency. Those two don’t inspire a ton of confidence in terms of protecting Phillip Rivers. If one of the tackles falls into their laps they would probably sprint to the podium but Chance Warmack is a nice consolation prize.
How do the Chargers pass on Chance Warmack if he’s available? The offensive has been abysmal for long enough and in need of legitimate starters. Warmack gives Mike McCoy a guy with Pro Bowl potential from day one and should be the pick barring Dee Milliner or one of the tackles doesn’t slide down the Chargers way.