Here’s a very early look at the 2013 NFL Draft. Do me a favor and don’t read too much into the order of the picks. To tell you the truth I put absolutely no thought into them. I did put more repeat teams in the bottom half of the round than I did teams that finished poorly this year. I will be coming out with a power rankings sometime soon in which you are free to gripe about the order.
This is really just to highlight 32 players you should be watching for next year’s college football season.
Also keep in mind this takes part of needs in place, but mostly focuses on the potential 32 best players for next season.
1. Oakland Raiders-Tyler Bray, QB,Tennessee
2012 1st round pick-NONE
A lot of times the quarterback everyone thinks will end up the season as the number one quarterback from the previous years seems to suffer from paralysis by over-analysis. On top of that Barkley doesn’t have the kind of size and “wow” factor that Tyler Bray does. I was comfortable putting Oakland first, even though they are talented because it’s likely a QB goes first overall and Oakland is the first time I thought of without a definitive QB of the future as of today.
2. Minnesota Vikings-Keenan Allen WR, Cal
2012 1st round picks: Matt Kalil T, Harrison Smith S
Robert Woods is usually ranked higher, but by next season we’re going to be hearing about how Robert Woods is 6’1, while Keenan Allen is every bit of 6’3 and just as fast. Allen looks like the more impressive physical specimen which matters when you’re considering a WR in the top 3.
3. Miami Dolphins-David Amerson CB North Carolina State
2012 1st round pick: Ryan Tannehill QB
Cornerbacks are beginning to creep into the top five discussion. The Vikings were very close to selecting Morris Claiborne this year. With the emphasis on passing it gets harder and harder to find guys who can lock down wide receivers and cornerbacks are more valuable than ever before. The Dolphins already have a LT or they would go that direction.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars-Barkevious Mingo DE, LSU
2012 1st round pick-Justin Blackmon WR
This is contingent on Mingo getting bigger in 2012. If he does he could be the 43 DE the Jagaurs need to apply consistent pressure on opponents.
5. Tennessee Titans-D.J. Fluker, T, Alabama
2012 1st round pick: Kendall Wright
Fluker looks the part. A massive offensive linemen with good agility and tenacity. Fluker is a a good bet for a top 10 pick next year. With this selection the Titans can move forward knowing they have given Jake Locker all the weapons to succeed two good WR (Britt and Wright), a running back (Johnson) and a major pass protector in Fluker.
6. St. Louis Rams-Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
2012 1st round pick-Michael Brockers
Again I think Robert Woods is a good prospect, but his size could hurt his stock a bit. On top of that Lattimore might show to be every bit as good as Trent Richardson was this year and he really piqued the Rams interest. Adding one more year of wear and tear to Steven Jackson will only make this pick more enticing. WR and LT like Jake Matthews are a real possibility as well.
7. Indianapolis Colts-Jarvis Jones OLB, Georgia
2012 1st round pick-Andrew Luck QB
This was an easy pick. Jones would have probably been a top 10 pick in this year’s draft with the lack of explosive play makers off the edge. He’s also mature. I loved the fact that he talked about how he had to improve in facets of his game to get ready for the N.F.L. even though he could have a been a high pick this year.
8. Cleveland Browns-Jonathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
2012 1st round pick-Trent Richardson RB, Brandon Weeden QB
The Browns have pretty good defensive tackles, but that’s not good enough when you play in the A.F.C. North. Hankins and Phil Taylor could be as dangerous a combination as Stroud and Henderson of years past or the Williams wall. The Browns, I believe, will regret drafting Brandon Weeden in the first round if they struggle this year.
9. New York Jets-Jake Matthews OT, Texas A and M
2012 1st round pick-Quinton Coples DE
If the Jets finish poorly again this year it will be because they can’t protect Mark Sacnhez/Tim Tebow. They added Stephen Hill who they know will take time to develop so they take care of their biggest remaining need.
10. Seattle Seahawks-Matt Barkley QB USC
2012 1st round pick-Bruce Irvin OLB
Forget the coach/player USC connection, this is all about value. If the Seahawks finish in this range they’ll also be aggressively looking for a quarterback of their future.
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Robert Woods, USC
2012 1st round pick-Mark Barron
Woods I think will be borderline top 10 because of his size come around next year and could go even lower, even though he was (outside of Sammy Watkins) perhaps the most impressive college football non-draft eligible WR this year. The other option here is of course replacing Josh Freeman with Aaron Wilson or Logan Thomas.
12. Carolina Panthers-DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
2012 1st round pick-Luke Kuechly LB
Adding a cornerback will be a top priority for the Panthers next year if someone doesn’t have a Victor Cruz like ascension into stardom. Milliner is the best one left here to me.
13. Denver Broncos-Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
2012 1st round pick-NONE (Derek Wolfe in the second)
The Broncos are beginning to figure out that you can’t have too many pass rushers. Mongtomery is a terrific young player who should be a top15 pick next year if he improves and gets stronger.
14. Buffalo Bills-Logan Thomas QB Virginia Tech
2012 1st round pick-Stephon Gilmore CB
The Bills are attracted to big mobile quarterbacks more so than they seem to be to pocket passer types which is why they go with the upside of Logan Thomas here over a more traditional Tyler Wilson. Either way the QB class right now for next year looks like it could be great. Finally the Bills have a QB for their future.
15. San Diego Chargers-Xavier Rhodes, CB, FSU
2012 1st round pick-Melvin Ingram, OLB
I’m a big fan of Rhodes, and not a big fan of what the Chargers have at cornerback. A big caveat is if the Chargers are picking 15th next year, the pick will be based on the philosophy of their new head coach and/or General manager. Rhodes could rise into top 5-10 this year–he’s that physically gifted.
16.New Orleans Saints-Bjeorn Warner DE FSU
2012 1st round pick-None
Warner will have to show that he was excellent this year because of his own talent and not because the presence of Brandon Jenkins opened up things for him. He hails from Europe and is still learning the game, but has a great motor and good size and is athletic. Should be in the first conversations all next year.
17. St. Louis Rams-Manti Te’O LB Norte Dame
2012 1st round pick-Michael Brockers
I love Manti Te’o and he would have been our number one linebacker this year ahead of Kuechly. Te’o is reminiscent of New England Patriots Jerod Mayo because of his athleticism, size, and versatility. Te’o could play any number of linebacker spots and would be a great addition for the Rams.
18. Kansas City Chiefs-Barret Jones, OL, Alabama
2012 1st round pick-Dontari Poe NT
Jones is the David Decastro of this year’s class if he plays guard next year. He’s not the same player, but everyone thought the Chiefs would consider picking Decastro this year, maybe they would feel comfortable picking a Tackle/guard player here at 18.
19. Dallas Cowboys-Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
2012 1st round pick-Morris Claiborne CB
If the Cowboys miss out on the playoffs again, Jerry Jones might sour on Tony Romo. Add in the fact that Wilson plays for the same college Jones went to and it might be too tempting to pass up. Plus I have to find somewhere to put another talented QB in the 2013 class.
20. Baltimore Ravens-T.J. McDonald S, USC
2012 1st round pick-NONE (Courtney Upshaw early 2nd)
The Ravens eventually have to find someone to take over for Ed Reed when he retires. In this mock draft that’s the terrific T.J. McDonald. McDonald surprised people by going back to college when he would could have challenged to be the top rated safety in this class.
21. Atlanta Falcons-Will Gholston, DE, Michigan State
2012 1st round pick-NONE
The Falcons re-signed John Abraham but he’s not a young man, and they also need to have more than one good pass rusher. Gholston is not in the first round conversation yet, but he has the kind of tools that usually put get players at seat at that table.
22. Cincinnati Bengals-Star Lotulelei DL, Utah
2012 1st round picks-Dre Kirkpatrick CB; Kevin Zeitler G
There was thought that Lotulelei would declare for the 2012 draft and be a sleeper pick in the 2nd or third round, but he decided to go back to college which will ultimately make him a lot of money. The Bengals continue solid drafting by adding a good player in their trenches.
23. Chicago Bears-Kawaan Short, DT, Purdue
2012 1st round pick-Shea McClellin DE/OLB
Short is a terrific penetrating defensive linemen. This pick could be entirely dependent on how well the Bears offensive line holds up this year.
24. Philadelphia Eagles-Chris Faulk OT LSU
2012 1st round pick-Fletcher Cox
The Eagles almost always draft a linemen early. In 2013 it could be an offensve linemen. also keep in mind that Jason Peters will have to come back from a bad injury and Demetress Bell hasn’t stayed healthy yet in his career.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers-Tyler Eifert TE, Norte Dame
2012 1st round pick-David Decastro G
Eiftert is a good two way tight end who is a lot like Heath Miller. Eifert can be Miller’s future replacement.
26. New York Giants-Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
2012 1st round pick-David Wilson RB
I really thought the Giants might take a defensive end this year, but they went running back unexpectedly. After next year Osi Umeinyora will be a free agent and the Giants will be looking to add to their defensive line.
27. Arizona Cardinals-Brandon Jenkins OLB, FSU
2012 1st round pick-Michael Floyd WR
I was looking to add Jenkins earlier, but he’s a bit of a conversion project so he dropped a little bit. Also the rise of Warner has begun to outshine Jenkins. Jenkins needs a more productive season in the 2012 College Football season to be a lock for the first round.
28. Green Bay Packers-Ricky Wagner OT, Wisconsin
2012 1st round pick-Nick Perry OLB
A Wisconsin OL going in the first round? You bet.
29. Detroit Lions-Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
2012 1st round pick-Riley Reiff T
The Lions are great at sticking to their board and adding the best player available, which is what they do here when they select Jackson Jeffcoat 29th overall. Jeffcoat could be going much higher come next year.
30. Houston Texans-Seantrel Henderson T, Miami Hurricanes
2012 1st round pick-Whitney Mercilus OLB
Someone who knows the Texans well told me that they would consider taking a tackle early in the draft depending on how the board fell. They board fell in a way in which they thought it was better to go with a pass rusher. Next year they could be adding a tackle early.
31. San Francisco 49ers-Johnny Adams CB, Michigan State
2012 1st round pick-A.J. Jenkins WR
The 49ers might realize that Carlos Rogers had his career year in 2011 and if he reverts back to his average self the 49ers will be looking to add a cornerback early.
32. New England Patriots-Kniles Davis, RB, Arkansas
2012 1st round pick-Chandler Jones DE; Dont’a Hightower LB
The Patriots add the best player available with the terrific Davis. Davis should put up huge numbers next year and be a player who goes in the first round.