Join Date: Jan 2011
Two-rounder with very detailed analysis for round one
The order was generated using the ESPN playoff machine. All comments, concerns and criticisms are welcomed.
1.Philadelphia Geno Smith, West Virginia QB
Somehow, it just seems inevitable that the Eagles are going to lose the rest of their games, and it is certainly inevitable that Andy Reid won’t be back on the sidelines in 2013. Whoever takes Reid’s post will almost certainly want his guy to build an offense around. Nick Foles hasn’t been awful, but it isn’t apparent in the slightest that he is going to develop into an elite QB.
The 2013 QB class is about as fluid as any I can remember at this point in the season, but my money is on Smith to emerge as the clear front-runner come April. While he doesn’t really wow you in any one area, it’s hard to find too many areas of the game where he is severely limited either. He is significantly above average in terms of arm strength and accuracy, shows excellent poise in the pocket and is mobile enough to buy extra time.
Smith will clearly need work on his five and seven-step drops from under center, but these days, that’s more the norm than the exception. How Smith performs talking football with coaches during the pre-draft process will play a big role in whether he separates from the other QBs in this class or simply falls back to the pack.
2. Oakland Jarvis Jones, Georgia OLB
The Raiders stink, and it might seem like they need a new QB at a projected 3-13, but Carson Palmer is the least of the Silver and Black’s concerns. He is quietly putting up solid numbers this season playing in a mess of an organization.
Oakland’s biggest issues come on defense, where they rank 28th in yards allowed and dead last in points allowed. There are three players in the NFL who have generated more sacks than the Silver and Black’s 14. Let that sink in for a moment.
The 2013 class is loaded with excellent pass rushing prospects, but in my eyes, two stand out above the rest. Jarvis Jones and Damontre Moore. I am projecting Jones here, because he has a slightly more impressive overall body of work and I expect him to work out better than Moore. Jones is a terror as a pure rusher, dominating the SEC for two whole seasons now, but there are potentially major health questions with him. Jones left USC after not getting cleared by their doctors due to a form of spinal stenosis. The medical checks for Jones in Indy will have major ramifications on the top of the draft.
3. Kansas City Manti Te’o, Notre Dame ILB
It has been perhaps the worst season in franchise history for KC, just as it appeared the organization was on the right track. The recent Jovan Belcher situation has put the Chiefs’ on-field woes into a bit of perspective, but make no mistake, this is an organization in desperate need of a top-down overhaul.
This pick isn’t likely to please the many Chiefs’ diehards on this forum, but ultimately, any of the remaining QBs in this draft seem like a huge reach. Whoever takes over decision-making duties in Kansas City would to take a long look at the recent history of QBs who were deemed reaches. It is not pretty.
Few prospects in recent memory have helped themselves by returning for their senior seasons as much as Te’o. This is Te’o’s first season at ND with no lingering injury concerns, and he has shown why he was such a highly-coveted prospect coming out of high school. Te’o had zero career interceptions coming into the season and has now picked off an absurd seven passes, with each coming at a seemingly critical juncture of the game.
Derrick Johnson is excellent, but the Chiefs have very little outside of him at the position. Should the Chiefs return to a 4-3 base defense, Johnson could switch to his more natural weakside position, while Te’o mans the middle.
4. Jacksonville Damontre Moore, Texas A&M DE
In a league full of great defenders, Moore might be the very best. Playing in the brutal SEC West, Moore has managed to lead the nation in both sacks and TFLs.
Unlike Jones, Moore will be looked at as both an OLB prospect as well as a DE prospect, and he has experience at both. While not enormously explosive, Moore has a good first step and a solid arsenal of pass rush moves that he executes playing with a very high motor. He is actually better against the run than Jones as well.
As for the Jags, they’ve needed to upgrade their pass rush for years. They tried vainly with additions like Aaron Kampman and Andre Branch after flopping spectacularly with Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves in the 2008 draft. None of it has worked, and as a result, the Jags are dead last in sacking the QB (13) and don’t have a single player with more than two sacks.
The Jags are just as much a mess at the QB position, but I believe whoever takes over for GM Gene after the season will opt to take an elite pass rusher over an average QB.
5. Carolina Star Lotulelei, Utah DT
Few starting situations are as strikingly bleak as the Panthers’ DT lineup. Don’t adjust your eyes, that is really Dwan Edwards and Sione Fua at the top of the depth chart.
That is simply not going to cut it for a team in a division where all of their opponents like to run the ball. That is why Lotulelei to Carolina seems like one of the more logical fits in the 2013 draft. Lotulelei came back to school after not getting the grade he wanted from the draft advisory committee last December, yet he was one of the clear top ten prospects coming into this season. I’m guessing scouts finally got a hold of some tape and realized Lotulelei was a 330-pound manchild capable of dominating as both a one-gap penetrator and a power pig nose tackle.
6. Jets Keenan Allen, California WR
One of the clear reaches of the first round, the Jets take one last chance to make the whole Mark Sanchez thing work out by giving the top receiver of a lean crop.
It is clear to just about everybody that Mark Sanchez is not the franchise QB it appeared he might become after some success early in his career, but the Jets have too much invested in him now, and the pool of QBs available is just too average for them to move on just yet.
Allen is clearly a quality prospect with mid-level No. 1 potential. In a corps that includes Stephen Hill, Chaz Schillens, Jeremy Kerley and the NFL’s version of J.R. Rider in Santonio Holmes, Allen clearly represents an upgrade. The big question is, with all the other big areas of concern, can the Jets take a player like Allen this high? At this point, I don’t like their other options.
7. Cleveland Bjoern Werner, Florida State DE
Believe it or not, the Jets actually reached on Allen one pick before Mike Holmgren was set to reach on Allen himself, so the Browns take the next best course of action and add the best pass rusher left to an already stout defense.
The Germanator was an intriguing prospect coming into this year, and has turned into a bona fide elite prospect with several big-time performances, highlighted by a 3.5 sack explosion against Florida. Werner is a technician with an array of pass rush moves. I also expect Werner to work out surprisingly well, further increasing his value.
8. Arizona Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M OT
Another QB-needy team passes on a QB, but at this point who could blame Arizona.
The Cards have been looking to upgrade their O line for years and have never been able to find the one man they need to protect their franchise’s blind side, and at this point, Joeckel is a steal.
Joeckel has really turned heads in his first year in the SEC, turning away some of the country’s best athletes consistently. By this year’s tape, Joeckel has the makings of a ten-year franchise LT, and it is actually hard to see him fall this far. I’m sure A&M’s practices are full of scouts in attendance to watch Joeckel and fellow Aggie OT Jake Matthews compete against Moore.
9. Tennessee Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State DT
The Titans have some nice undersized, blue-collar DTs, but that hasn’t stopped them from being run on at will, ranking 27th in the league against the run.
Hankins has under tackle athleticism in a nose tackle’s body. Hankins’ size, agility and motor had him challenging Lotulelei for the top DT spot early in the year, but nagging injuries have curtailed his production to the point where catching Star doesn’t seem realistic. Still, guys with Hankins measurable don’t tend to last long, especially if there are no concerns about his production and effort.
10. St. Louis Taylor Lewan, Michigan OT
You can’t fault the Rams for their effort, but they have just not found the guy to protect injury-plagued Sam Bradford’s blind side. After taking uber-bust Jason Smith second overall in 2009, the Rams used the first pick in the second round of the 2010 draft on Rodger Saffold.
Smith is no longer with the team, and Saffold has struggled at LT and appears destined for a postion change. Lewan offers ideal size and length for a blindside protector, checking in at over 6-7. Lewan plays with a nasty demeanor, sometimes too nasty.
On the downside, Lewan doesn’t have elite feet and might get abused by speed. He also doesn’t consistently play with proper leverage and tries to overpower too many opponents.
11. Dallas Sheldon Richardson, Missouri DE
Is there a team in the NFL that consistently does less with more than the Dallas Cowboys? Every year it seems they are one or two pieces away from being elite, and every year the whole does not match the sum of its parts.
Regardless, this year’s team has needs in a few key areas, and one is the five technique. It will be interesting to see how much they like last year’s third-round pick Tyrone Crawford. Surprisingly, he is yet to beat out the pedestrian Marcus Spears and Jason Hatcher.
Richardson is one of the current hot prospects in the draft. Although mainly viewed as a one-gap DT, I think Richardson is clearly capable of making the transition to a two-gap system. He can always fall back on his program pedigree, as fellow Mizzou alum Ziggy Hood has successfully made the same transition.
12. Buffalo Tyler Wilson, Arkansas QB
Finally, the QB freefall ends. Ralph Wilson has come out publicly and said the QB situation needs to be addressed. And Buddy Nix loves his southern good ole’ boys, so Tyler Wilson gets the nod over Matt Barkley and others.
I feel a bit uneasy mocking Wilson this high after spending all offseason telling anyone who would listen how overrated Wilson was and how much his stock would plummet after Bobby Petrino got canned and Arkansas proceeded to have an awful season.
And I was looking good on that front for a while. The Hogs did indeed suck a fattie this year, and Wilson’s stock did seem to cool off for a while. But something funny happened. Nobody stepped up to fill the void of Wilson as an upper-level prospect at the QB postion.
In the end, I can definitely see Wilson go in the first round, but I still don’t agree with it. I really don’t dislike anything about him, but he just has never given me that warm, fuzzy feeling either. I kind of have the same feeling about him as I did when Mark Sanchez was in the draft. He’s just always going to be a guy at best, never the guy.
13. Miami Jonathan Banks, Mississippi State CB
Give some coach of the year consideration to Joe Philbin after making one of the worst rosters in the league a respectable, dangerous out each and every week.
Ryan Tannehill is playing better than I ever could have guessed, the running game is solid and the defense has performed above its talent level. That being said, there are still major holes in this roster, and one of the most glaring is at CB.
After trading problem child Vontae Davis to Indy, the Phins are left without a real No. 1 CB. Banks can certainly help in that respect. One of my favorite prospects in this year’s class, Banks is similar in many ways to last year’s top corner Morris Claiborne except for two key differences. One, he tackles. And two, he is actually smarter than a lamp post.
And come on, he returned two Tim Tebow passes for touchdowns as a freshman. How can you not say this guy’s a baller?!
14. New Orleans Dion Jordan, Oregon DE
The Saints have neglected the pass rush for ages and it has finally caught up to them. Their defense is now so inept, they are now forcing Drew Brees to make mistakes just trying to keep them in the game.
Jordan has emerged this season as a legitimate first round prospect thanks to his freakinsh blend of size, length and explosiveness. At 6-7, he can be great at patrolling the edges on running downs, but he excels at getting to the QB. More raw than some edge rushers in this class, Jordan will likely be limited to a situational role his rookie year.
15. Detroit Dee Milliner, Alabama CB
Living in Michigan, I can tell you the secondary has been biggest source of fan distress for about the last four years. Everyone wanted Prince Amukara in 2011, everyone was pissed when they selected Ryan Broyles in April even though they came back to draft Bill Bentley in third.
The secondary has actually not been horrible this season, but they haven’t made many plays either. Milliner should win the Thorpe Award this season after a remarkable junior campaign. Saban spends most of his time at practice with the defensive backs, so you this guy is well-trained. Alabama runs a greater variety of coverage schemes than most college teams, so Milliner’s transition doesn’t figure to be as steep at a position where most rookies struggle.
16. Minnesota Barkevious Mingo, LSU DE
The Vikings are definitely solid at DE, so this isn’t as much a need pick as a value pick.
GM Rick Spielman loves physical specimans, so there is no doubt he will have a lot of interest in Kiki, whose stock has cooled from the elite status he held coming off a remarkable sophomore campaign. Mingo will not be asked to do much early on. See QB, get QB.
17. San Diego Eric Fisher, Central Michigan OT
Fisher has emerged from seemingly nowehere to become a bona fide first round prospect this year after terrific performances in the Chippewas non-conference schedule, which he maintained throughout the year.
The Chargers have struggled at LT since Marcus McNeil left and the Jared Gaither experiment hasn’t worked out. Phillip Rivers has likewise gone from one of the elite QBs in the league to average since his protection has diminished.
18. Chicago Chance Warmack, Alabama OG
I can’t believe my projections don’t have the Bears making the playoffs.
Anyways, the Bears projected choke job might cost Lovie Smith his job, and the Bears’ inability to protect Jay Cutler will likely be the main culprit. Since there really isn’t a first round LT prospect available, Chicago does the next best thing and takes perhaps the best offensive line prospect in the draft in Warmack.
I really love everything about Warmack and think he is one of the six or seven best players in the country, but as we saw with David DeCastro last year, guards always slide.
19. Tampa Bay Sylvester Williams, North Carolina DT
The Bucs have had a surprisingly good season and Josh Freeman has alleviated any concerns that he might not be the franchise QB everyone thought he was following his breakout sophomore season in 2010.
One area of disappointment though has to the interior of the defensive line. Gerald McCoy has not blossomed into the star he was projected to be, and outside of him, there is nothing to get excited about. Williams is a true stud, capable of playing either the under or over position in Tampa’s front. He could also be looked at at NT in a 3-4.
20. Cincinnati Sam Montgomery, LSU DE
The Bengals surprisingly lead the league in sacks despite inconsistency from both Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap. Montgomery is a terrific all-around player who has followed up a brilliant sophomore season with a slightly disappointing 2012.
Montgomery might not have the athleticism of a Mingo, but he is lightning quick with a ferocious disposition. Any DE for the Bengals will have the luxury of playing next to Geno Atkins, one of the league’s best at his position.
21. Giants David Amerson, N.C. State S
Jerry Reese loves big defenders, and the 6-3 ballhawking Amerson fits the bill.
It is clear to me the Amerson’s best fit at the next level will be at S, and the Giants have already had success transitioning one tight-hipped CB to S in Antrel Rolle, so they are likely to see the value here. Wherever Amerson winds up his knack for creating turnovers will be a welcome addition in a league where turnovers usually tell the story.
22. Seattle Terrance Williams, Baylor WR
With so many of the other top WR prospects having disappointing seasons, the breakout of Williams has been a breath of fresh air.
Williams has made a brilliant transition to the role of No. 1 WR this season and has shown a consistent ability to beat coverages designed to stop him. With Golden Tate as a No. 2, this is a clear area of need for the Seahawks.
23. Pittsburgh Jordan Poyer, Oregon State CB
The Steelers have built their defense through the years on getting to the QB. When that hasn’t worked, they’ve often been outmanned on the edges.
I’m not sure whether or not Poyer is a solid first round prospect due to just average physical tools, but he has sure played like a first rounder this season. Regardless, I think it is about time the Steelers got serious about covering the back end.
24. Indianapolis John Jenkins, Georgia DT
Not to be lost on the Colts’ remarkable ascendency this season is that the transition is not complete.
The Colts are without a true NT at this point, an absolute must for Chuck Pagano’s defense to be truly dominant. Jenkins is a mammoth of a man at close to 350 pounds, and he has some athleticism to go with it. He is not dominant on a down-in, down-out basis, which is why he falls in a NT-rich draft, but he has all the ability to be the centerpiece of an excellent defense.
25. St. Louis* Eric Reid, LSU S
Jeff Fischer has done an excellent job as you would expect in his first year at the helm, but years of mismanagement have left the Rams scrambling in the defensive backfield.
Like most LSU prospects, Reid was better in 2011 than he has been in 2012, but he is an aggressive, consistent defender who flashes occasional big-play instincts. A little on the thin side, it might help Reid to put on a little muscle so he can become an effective inside-the-box presence at the next level.
26. San Francisco Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina OG
As a Buckeye fan, I am honestly shocked Alex Boone has a starting job in the NFL, much less for a team that is good at running the ball.
Cooper is not all that far off from Warmack as a prospect, but I doubt his draft ceiling is much higher than this due to positional value. Cooper is one of the more athletic guard prospects you’ll ever find and he also has the requisite toughness to play for a smash mouth team like the Niners.
27. Denver Xavier Rhodes, Florida State CB
Champ Bailey can’t play forever, and the Broncos depth at CB leaved much to be desired.
Rhodes has been a fixture of early round projections for a couple years now. He should test very well, and while he hasn’t always played up to his billing, he certainly has enough good film to warrant a late first round selection. My biggest concern with Rhodes is a little tightness which could cause him to get exposed in man situations.
28. Baltimore Matt Elam, Florida S
The Ravens are a very well-run organization who are consistently a very tough team to project, given that they have very few holes.
Thinking to the future, Ed Reed might not be around much longer, and it wouldn’t be the worst idea to start thinking of a replacement to groom. Elam doesn’t have great measurable, but he is a great player. A good tackler, sound in coverage, with terrific instincts around the ball, Elam demonstrates a lot of the characteristics of the future Hall of Famer.
29. New England Kenny Vaccaro, Texas S
The Pats are another team I can rarely figure out. I gave the Vaccaro, because he seems like a good value and the type of player that would fit the Patriot model.
With Devin McCourty now at safety full-time, I think Vaccaro would provide excellent competition to 2012 reach Tavon Wilson at FS.
30. Atlanta Zach Ertz, Stanford TE
Tony Gonzalez is probably gone after this year, and even if he isn’t TE has to be a big area of concern for the Falcons.
Ertz has flourished in the absence, and has, IMO, wrestled the top TE prospect ranking away from Tyler Eifert. Helping Ertz’s cause, he comes from a system similar the one they run in Atlanta, which should give him an edge over the spread TEs.
31. Green Bay Giovani Bernard, North Carolina RB
The Packers’ RB situation might be the worst in the league, and while their offense is just fine with a host of average backs, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have playmaker as dynamic as Bernard in the backfield.
Bernard is a great fit in the Packers offense, because he is a great receiver out of the backfield and doesn’t require a lot of touches. This season, he only carried the ball 182 times with a whopping 6.7 yards per carry.
32. Houston Justin Hunter, Tennessee WR
Houston has long been looking for a legitimate second option in the passing game, and if Hunter can play up to his talent, he could certainly be that guy.
Like the Volunteers as a whole, Hunter’s season has been one of unmet expectations. The numbers aren’t bad, but he hasn’t always left the impression that is worthy of a high pick. Still, playing off the coverages rolled to Andre, at his best, Hunter represents a greater threat than anyone else on Houston’s current roster.
33. Cincinnati* Tavon Austin, West Virginia ATH
34. Kansas City Zac Dysert, Miami U QB
35. Jacksonville E.J. Manuel, Florida State QB
36. Philadelphia Dallas Thomas, Tennessee OT
37. Carolina Alex Okafor, Texas DE
38. Jets Barrett Jones, Alabama OL
39. Arizona Matt Barkley, USC QB
40. Tennessee Corey Lemonier, Auburn DE
41. St. Louis Arthur Brown, Kansas State OLB
42. Miami Aaron Dobson, Marshall WR
43. Detroit Shawn Williams, Georgia S
44. Minnesota Nickell Robey, USC CB
45. Buffalo D.J. Fluker, Alabama OT
46. Dallas Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame TE
47. Chicago Sharrif Floyd, Florida DT
48. San Diego Alec Ogletree, Georgia ILB
49. Tampa Bay Desmond Trufant, Washington CB
50. Cincinnati Le’veon Bell, Michigan State RB
51. Giants Tank Carradine, Florida State DE
52. Pittsburgh Chase Thomas, Stanford LB
53. Seattle Kawann Short, Purdue DT
54. Miami* John Simon, Ohio State DE
55. Washington Robert Woods, USC WR
56. San Francisco Jamar Taylor, Boise State CB
57. Denver Datone Jones, UCLA DE
58. Baltimore Anthony Barr, UCLA OLB
59. New England DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson WR
60. Atlanta Larry Warford, Kentucky OG
61. Green Bay Jonathan Bostic, Florida ILB
62. Houston Robert Lester, Alabama S
Last edited by MI_Buckeye : 12-05-2012 at 03:13 AM.