BC Mocks the 2013 NFL Draft

Doug Pensinger

Ah, the rites of spring. The swallows return to Capistrano, and Jets fans return to Radio City Music Hall to rain lusty boos on the assembly. Who will they be booing this year? Let's find out!

Greetings, Barkers and Barkettes! It's NFL Draft time again, and that means it's time for the annual Barking Carnival Mock Draft. We're running a special today - if these picks aren't 100% accurate, all Barkers receive half off of next month's subscription!

Let's get to it - the Kansas City Chiefs are on the clock.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

Key Needs: OT, DE, ILB, WR, S

Selection: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

Here’s a lesson in how not to get full value for your #1 overall pick – get crossways with your quality left tackle, end up shipping him down to Miami for a second rounder, then use your top choice to fill the hole you just made. Fisher is a great prospect and probably as deserving as anyone in this flat and semi-uninspiring draft to go #1. But over the next few seasons, you’re getting a lot less of an upgrade going from Branden Albert to Fisher than you’d like to net from the top choice in the whole shebang.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars

Key Needs: QB, DE, CB, OT, QB, G, QB, QB, QB

Selection: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon

There’s a lot of consideration for Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher at this spot, but here’s the bottom line – with a quality LT in Eugene Monroe already in the fold, there’s only so many resources you can throw into QB protection when you don’t have a QB remotely worth protecting. New Jags’ head man Gus Bradley is thrilled to upgrade a flaccid Jacksonville pass rush with Jordan, a hybrid OLB/DE who could key the kind of multiple fronts that Bradley employed as the Seahawks’ DC.

3. Detroit Lions (TRADE with Oakland – Pick #3 for Picks #5 and #65)

Key Needs: OT, DE, ILB, WR, S

Selection: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

With the retirement of Jeff Backus and the departure of Gosder Cherilus to Indy, Detroit needed someone besides Riley Reiff to keep their fat-faced gunslinger upright long enough to complete the Lions’ signature “close your eyes and fire it somewhere near Calvin Johnson” play. No other suitor for Oakland’s pick could trump their #5 in the first round, so the Lions slide up two spots to grab their man and keep the Silver City’s proud finesse-blocking tradition going strong.

4. Philadelphia Eagles

Key Needs: OT, OLB, QB, CB, ILB

Selection: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

Thusfar, Chip Kelly has been following the Pete Carroll Playbook to a tee. Having checked the boxes for “flee college coaching job one step ahead of the NCAA” and “coach an NFL team with a bird mascot”, it’s now time for “pick a franchise tackle with your inaugural draft choice”. Where Carroll got Russell Okung, Kelly tabs Lane Johnson. The ultra-athletic former TE can help spring Kelly’s playbook of edge-threatening runs while allowing RT Todd Herremans to kick inside to guard. Johnson also provides a succession plan for LT Jason Peters, who has now officially had more trouble with his Achilles’ tendons than Achilles himself.

5. Oakland Raiders (TRADE with Detroit – Pick #3 for Picks #5 and #65)

Key Needs: You name it, they need it.

Selection: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida

I was going to say that Oakland’s roster is currently as decrepit as Oakland’s downtown, but that’s not fair to the city – the Raiders’ lineup is somewhere between Gary, Indiana and Fallujah. They are excited to bag an extra pick while starting their version of urban renewal with Floyd, a 20-year old with the athletic potential to become the kind of two-way dominator that can key an entire defense.

6. Cleveland Browns

Key Needs: CB, OLB, DL, WR, TE

Selection: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

Many draftniks view the late-breaking concern about Milliner’s checkered injury history at Alabama to be nothing more than a smokescreen. Speaking of smoke, the Browns currently have nothing but smoke and mirrors in their cornerback corps outside of stud Joe Haden. Look for the Browns to lock down a dynamic coverage duo while giving guys like Ahtya Rubin and Jabaal Sheard a season to prove that they can fit in Cleveland’s new 3-4 look.

7. Arizona Cardinals

Key Needs: OT, OLB, TE, G, S

Selection: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU

Roughly five people on the planet think that a combination of Levi Jones and Bobbie Massie will get Carson Palmer through sixteen healthy games in the desert. All of those people apparently work in the Cardinals’ front office, however, so Arizona is content not to trade up for one of the draft’s Big Three tackles. Standing pat at #7, they’ll nab the creatively named Mingo to add some bark to a sack-deficient group of OLBs.

8. Buffalo Bills

Key Needs: WR, G, QB, LB, CB

Selection: Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse

In a perfect world, the Bills would at least trade down and use a late first-round choice to reunite new head coach Doug Marrone with his college signal-caller. But fears that the division rival Jets could snatch up Nassib with one of their two first-round selections force Buffalo to pull the trigger early. Kevin Kolb gets beaten out in training camp and continues to wander the Earth like Caine from Kung Fu.

9. New York Jets

Key Needs: QB, OLB, WR, G, CB, TE

Selection: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

Having bluffed their division rivals into taking a second-round QB talent with the eighth overall selection, the Jets embark on the next step in their master plan to secure third place in the AFC East – finding an offensive playmaker that doesn’t require actual competence from Mark Sanchez in order to be effective. Enter Austin, who can chip in 700 yards of offense with a variety of jet sweeps, bubble screens and backfield shenanigans without requiring a throw longer than five yards past the line of scrimmage. If he’s able to hone his craft and replace Santonio Holmes right around the time New York starts employing a legitimate quarterback, the sky’s the limit.

10. Tennessee Titans

Key Needs: WR, ILB, DE, G, S, CB

Selection: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

Having suffered under the iron fist of Peyton Manning and the Colts for most of the 2000’s, the Titans have no desire to repeat the experience with Andrew Luck for the rest of the 2010’s. To avoid this fate they’ll need every pass rusher they can lay hands on, so they’re more than happy to stop Ansah’s slide. While Ansah is still raw, he’s got the frame and physicality to form a solid tag-team partnership with the undersized Kam Wimbley while kicking inside on passing downs.

11. San Diego Chargers

Key Needs: OT, CB, DE, G, TE, WR, RB

Selection: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama

The Chargers’ OL was an absolute gong show in 2012, and they got Philip Rivers’ bell rung countless times as he staggered through a turnover-filled fiasco of a season. With too many other holes to fill to pull off a Top Five trade-up, San Diego is more than happy to snatch up Fluker at #11. While he’s strictly a right tackle in the NFL, Fluker’s road-grading capability comes with enough agility, hustle and pass-pro punch to keep at least one half of the pocket clean.

12. Miami Dolphins

Key Needs: G, WR, DT, RB, OT, LB

Selection: John Cooper, G, North Carolina

As of this morning, it seems likely that Miami will finalize a trade to replace departed LT Jake Long with disgruntled Chief Branden Albert. Their efforts to solidify the OL continue with the selection of Cooper, a tremendously athletic guard with the ability to shut out interior rushers and wipe out second-level run defenders on the move. An improved run game and a clean pocket will be vital in helping second-year QB Ryan Tannehill deliver the mail to Mike Wallace.

13. New York Jets (TRADE with Tampa Bay - #13 and other selections for Darrelle Revis)

Key Needs: QB, OLB, WR, G, CB, TE

Selection: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia

Having brought an offensive playmaker into the fold at #9, the Jets have two objectives with their second choice in the first round:

1 – Upgrade a lackluster edge pass rushing cadre that managed a total of nine sacks in 2000 combined snaps last season.

2 – Silence the ceaseless sobbing that’s been emanating from Rex Ryan’s office ever since Darrelle Revis got shipped to the Bucs.

Jarvis Jones fills both bills nicely while bringing a Von Miller-lite skill set to the table.

14. Carolina Panthers

Key Needs: DT, OT, S, CB, WR

Selection: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

Luke Kuechly’s Defensive Rookie of the Year season was impressive by any measure, but even more so considering the turnstile defensive tackles playing in front of him. Carolina gets a gift as a potential Top Five tackle slides all the way to #14. Lotulelei’s power, agility and disruptive ways call to mind the Ravens’ Haloti Ngata and should help revitalize the heart of the Panther defense.

15. New Orleans Saints

Key Needs: S, OLB, OT, CB, DE

Selection: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

Watching Saints games in 2012 was basically like attending a tennis match – turn your head one way to watch Brees and company put the ball in the end zone, and just as quickly swivel the other way to watch New Orleans’ execrable defense surrender an answering TD. There are a lot of holes to fill on the back end of the Saints’ D, but grabbing a multi-talented guy like Vaccaro – equally adept at ranging in center field, dropping down to erase slot receivers and knocking the taste out of opposing RB’s mouths – is a good place to start.

16. St. Louis Rams

Key Needs: S, OLB, G, WR, DT

Selection: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama

Somewhere, Steven Jackson is weeping. No sooner does he leave town after a decade of getting lit up at the line of scrimmage than the Rams finally get serious about fixing their offensive front. Combined with the signing of ex-Dolphins’ LT Jake Long, the addition of the massive and mauling Warmack should give the Rams’ backfield a fighting chance for the first time in years.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers

Key Needs: DE, OLB, TE, RB, OT, CB, WR, S

Selection: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame

Steelers OC Todd Haley’s offense is built to feature the tight end, and Heath Miller was enjoying a career year before falling to a December knee injury. Into the breach steps Eifert, who more or less carried Notre Dame’s offense to a national championship berth in 2012. Eifert’s blocking needs work, but his athleticism and ability to compete for jump balls will help ease the sting of Miller’s injury as well as the departure of deep ball impresario Mike Wallace.

18. Dallas Cowboys

Key Needs: OG, S, DT, OT, DE, OLB, WR

Selection: Sheldon Richarson, DT, Missouri

After years of neglecting the interior OL, the Cowboys stood ready to finally give Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray some help up the gut – only to see the first draft in ages where TWO elite guards came off the board before the 18th selection. With Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro also spoken for, Dallas turns to Sheldon Richardson Richardon’s lightning-quick pass rush skills could conjure memories of Warren Sapp in Monte Kiffin’s Tampa-2 (Dallas-2?) while providing a succession plan for the aging and expensive Jay Ratliff.

19. New York Giants

Key Needs: CB, RT, LB, OG, DE, TE

Selection: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

The Giants won two Super Bowls largely on the strength of their ‘Four Aces’ pass rush package, but that hand came up bust last season. With Osi Umenyiora departing for Atlanta and Justin Tuck looking older by the day, New York ups the ante and grabs an athletic strongside end in Werner. While he’s still learning the game, Werner’s athleticism and relentless effort will make him a stout bookend to Jason Pierre-Paul and allow Tuck to kick inside on passing downs.

20. Chicago Bears

Key Needs: OL, WR, LB, DE, S, RB

Selection: D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston

Bears fans – and Jay Cutler – would be happy to see some OL help here. But the Bears have a strong history of ignoring the OL if there’s the slightest excuse to do so, and the lack of guys with first-round grades still on the board gives them that excuse once again. Instead, they grab Houston corner D.J. Hayden, who has been given a clean bill of health following a November heart scare and whose off-coverage excellence and fierce run support is a perfect fit for the Cover-2.

21. Cincinnati Bengals

Key Needs: LB, RB, S, CB, DE, OT

Selection: Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International

The rapidly improving Bengals’ defense featured a productive pass rush in 2012, keyed by destructive DT Geno Atkins. But even the fiercest rush won’t have time to get home if Taylor Mays is running around like a chicken with his head cut off in your secondary. To avoid this scenario the Bengals select Cyprien, an athletic and versatile safety with the ability to drop wood on running backs combined with centerfield range and ball skills.

22. St. Louis Rams

Key Needs: S, OLB, G, WR, DT

Selection: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State

You’re only going to keep Jeff Fisher off the defensive boards for so long in a draft, and the Rams’ second first-rounder gives them a prime opportunity to address a hole in the linebacking corps. Brown is a productive, athletic and instinctive linebacker with the smarts and range to keep guys like Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson from running wild on the Rams.

23. Atlanta Falcons (PROJECTED TRADE with Minnesota - #23 for #31 and #92)

Key Needs: DE, CB, OL, TE, RB

Selection: Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State

Osi Umenyiora is a stopgap (and a likely downgrade from John Abraham) and the rest of the Falcons’ defensive ends bagged a grand total of three sacks last season. Atlanta needs to bring the heat, so they move up and grab Carradine. A well-constructed DE who plays with leverage and explosion, Carradine would have been ticketed for the top half of the round were it not for an ACL tear in his senior season in Tallahassee.

24. Indianapolis Colts

Key Needs: OT, DE, ILB, WR, S

Selection: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

Reggie Wayne is aging, T.Y. Hilton may just be a straight-line speedster and Darrius Heyward-Bey? *rolls eyes* Peyton Manning never wanted for weapons during his time in Indy, and the Colts’ regime will make sure that Andrew Luck doesn’t either. Patterson has shown that he can get loose deep, fight for tough balls and embarrass defenders in the open field and he’s too talented to drop any further.

25. Minnesota Vikings

Key Needs: DL, WR, CB, ILB, G

Selection: Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC

There must always be a Stark in Winterfell, and there must always be a Williams in the middle of the Vikings defense. 40-year old Pat is retired, and winter is coming for 33-year old Kevin. 24-year old Sylvester will keep the Williams Wall tradition alive while allowing Minnesota to focus on re-signing Everson Griffin and Brian Robison after this season.

26. Philadelphia Eagles (PROJECTED TRADE with Green Bay - #26 for #35 and swap #67 for #88)

Key Needs: OT, OLB, QB, CB, ILB

Selection: E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State

Mike Vick still has the wheels to run Chip Kelly’s read option-based offense, but he’s also an undersized and aging turnover machine. Manuel has the frame and the feet to make the offense go, and has flashed the touch to fit the ball into tight spaces. His smarts and high character will be a departure from Kelly’s Oregon athletes, but hey – you have to adapt in the NFL.

27. Houston Texans

Key Needs: WR, OL, NT, TE, S

Selection: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee

Matt Schaub throws a pretty deep ball, but he’s sorely lacking for anyone to catch the dang thing. Hunter fills a major hole in Houston’s offensive attack and should open up space for Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels to work.

28. Minnesota Vikings (PROJECTED TRADE with Denver - #28 for #30 and #120)

Key Needs: DL, WR, CB, ILB, G

Selection: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson

Christian ponder throws a fairly ugly ball at all levels, but he’s also sorely lacking for anyone to catch the dang thing. After trading down to pick up an extra third-rounder, Minnesota jumps back up to fill that need with DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins lacks Percy Harvin’s open-field wizardry, but he’s a smooth and savvy route-runner who can pull some attention away from Adrian Peterson and Greg Jennings

29. New York Jets (PROJECTED TRADE with New England - #29 for #39 and swap #72 for #91)

Key Needs: QB, OLB, WR, G, CB, TE

Selection: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

With the highest-rated receivers off the board, New England is content to trade down and continue its annual tradition of stockpiling for an eventual title run when Tom Brady is 43 years old. Rex Ryan fights through a barrage of Bill Belichick’s foot jokes on the call in order to arrange the happy reunion of Smith with speedster Tavon Austin. The Jets immediately issue a press re-affirming their full confidence in Mark Sanchez.

30. Denver Broncos (PROJECTED TRADE with Minnesota - #28 for #30 and #120)

Key Needs: CB, DE, RB, LB

Selection: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

With no runners worthy of a first-round choice, the Broncos grab a top press corner in Xavier Rhodes as the heir apparent to Champ Bailey.

31. San Francisco 49ers

Key Needs: DL, WR, TE, S

Selection: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU

After exploring trade-up options, San Francisco stands pat and grabs maybe the draft’s most intriguing athlete in the massive and freakishly athletic Hunt. The Estonian native needs some polish to his game, but has the length and explosion to dominate once he learns how to guzzle PEDs and hold guards on stunts the tricks of the trade from Justin Smith.

32. Baltimore Ravens

Key Needs: ILB, OT, WR, S, DE

Selection: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia Ray

Lewis

is retired, and Rolando McClain apparently thinks he’s starring in an N.W.A. music video 24/7. Ogletree has off-field concerns and needs to be heavily protected from blockers, but he’s got great instincts and flies to the ball like a man possessed. Remind you of anyone?

And with that, our 2013 Mock Draft is in the books. Let's use this as our open thread for pre-draft chatter and tonight's first round - we're hoping to coax special BC contributor Fake Michael Irvin back for some live commentary tonight.

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