2013 NFL Mock Draft: Luke Joeckel to Chiefs, Dion Jordan to Jaguars
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One week closer to the 2013 NFL Draft from my last update, the No. 1 overall pick remains the same, but the top five is shaken up a bit.
Here is how I see the draft playing out next month:
With a 2-14 record, the Chiefs did not win much last year, but they did win the tie-breaker over the Jaguars for the first overall pick in this year's draft.
Neither Matt Cassel nor Brady Quinn was the long-term answer at quarterback for the Chiefs as the Chiefs passers combined to throw a league-low eight touchdowns and finished second behind only the Cardinals for most interceptions thrown (20) last year.
Perhaps they gave up too much, but the Chiefs traded their second-round pick (34th overall) this year and a conditional third-round pick (that could become another second-rounder) in 2014 to the 49ers for Alex Smith.
Although the Chiefs were unable to re-sign left tackle Branden Albert to a long-term deal, they used their franchise tag to keep him on the roster for at least one more season. That said, they released right tackle Eric Winston earlier this offseason and are reportedly shopping Albert, which means Joeckel could be the pick here.
Not only does Texas A&M have Johnny "Football" Manziel, the Heisman Trophy winner, they had college football's best pair of bookend tackles. With the move to the SEC, the Aggies faced their share of elite pass rushers and talented defensive linemen yet Joeckel more than held his own.
Playing on the left side with the son of Hall-of-Famer Bruce Matthews on the right side, Joeckel, the top-ranked prospect on our big board, possesses the prototypical size and athleticism you would want in a left tackle. While his run blocking is solid, Joeckel really excels as a pass blocker due to his agility and quick feet.
No team had fewer sacks than the Jaguars (20.0) last season, which means this pick could very well be a pass-rusher. In fact, one player within the division, Houston's J.J. Watt, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, had more sacks (20.5) than the Jaguars had as a team.
Recruited as a wide receiver and having switched from tight end to defensive end only two seasons ago, Jordan (6-7, 243 pounds) is a little raw but he's an explosive and smooth athlete with plenty of upside. Jordan played outside linebacker in 2012 and even covered the slot receiver at times for Oregon.
Jordan, who recently had surgery for a torn labrum, should be ready for training camp.
On a defense that ranked sixth in college football in rushing defense (96.6 yards allowed per game), Floyd led the Gators in tackles for loss and seems to be a lock as a top-five pick at this point.
Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour is an unrestricted free agent and Floyd should help fill the void. The Raiders ranked 28th in the NFL in scoring defense (27.7 points allowed per game).
Drawing some comparisons to Ravens stud defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, Lotulelei was likely to be the top defensive tackle selected in April and possibly even the top overall pick before the discovery of his heart condition at the NFL scouting combine.
As a First-Team All-Pac-12 selection in both 2011 and 2012, Lotulelei has had a strong season this year although double and triple teams prevented him from putting up eye-popping stats. Having been cleared to participant at Utah's pro day this week, Lotulelei could very well work his way back into the top five provided he is medically cleared when the combine does medical rechecks in early April.
Perhaps a good problem, the Lions have a difficult decision as Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah and Fisher all make sense here.
During Senior Bowl practices, no prospect was more impressive than Fisher regardless of position. At 6-8 and 305 pounds, Fisher is the top senior left tackle prospect in this year's draft class.
In addition, Fisher was more impressive than Joeckel at the combine and it's certainly possible that Fisher, my No. 2-ranked prospect overall, could leapfrog Joeckel and even become the top overall pick in April.
Milliner, who was the top-ranked cornerback prospect out of high school, is the consensus top cornerback in this year's draft class. He led the country in passes broken up (20) and was tied for first in passes defended (22) for the national champions. As a team, the Crimson Tide allowed only seven passing touchdowns while intercepting 19 passes last season.
Any team that was worried about Milliner's speed had those concerns erased when he ran a 4.37 forty at the combine.
Paired with Joe Haden on the other side, this pick would give the Browns one of top cornerback tandems in the NFL.
The Cardinals certainly lacked elite, or even mediocre, quarterback play last year with the quartet of Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer, but their offensive line allowed a league-worst 58 sacks last season.
In a previous update, I had the Cardinals going with West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith and I wouldn't be surprised if he's still the pick ... or even if he goes higher than this. (And, yes, I know that Bruce Arians says he's "comfortable" with Drew Stanton as his quarterback.)
Johnson has the frame (6-foot-6 and 302 pounds) to easily add another 20 pounds and he has great athleticism (4.72 forty at the combine) for the position. Before transferring to Oklahoma (from junior college) and switching to offensive tackle, Johnson played tight end and quarterback.
Not only did Fisher boost his draft stock among offensive tackles at Senior Bowl practices (and the combine), so did Johnson. Along with Joeckel, they are the clear-cut top trio of offensive tackles in this year's draft class.
While most view Joeckel and Fisher as better prospects at this point, you could easily argue that Johnson has more upside than either one.
Earlier this month, the Bills released their turnover-prone and weak-armed starting quarterback. The Amish Rifle, who has since signed with Tennessee, was tied with Josh Freeman for a league-worst 39 interceptions thrown over the past two seasons.
Through the first five games of the season last year, Smith played the quarterback position as well as it could possibly be played and was essentially mistake-free. Leading the Mountaineers to a 5-0 start, Smith threw for just shy of 400 yards per game, 24 touchdowns and no interceptions.
After that point, however, the Mountaineers lost five of their final eight games although they won their last two of their last three games. During that span, Smith threw 18 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Smith has generated some positive buzz at his pro day and could possibly go as high as No. 2 to the Jags.
With Mingo, the Jets get a pass rusher loaded with potential and tremendous explosiveness. Mingo ran a 4.58 forty at the NFL Scouting Combine, which was second among the defensive line group.
Unfortunately with Mingo, however, they also get a player that saw his year-over-year production dip. Mingo ranked first on LSU and third in the SEC in tackles for loss (15.0) and finished as a second-team All-SEC selection in 2011 as a sophomore. This year, however, Mingo had only 4.5 sacks, which was tied for second on the team, and 8.5 tackles for loss, which was fourth.
Ansah, a former track athlete from Ghana, has freakish athleticism with a ton of upside and that has led to comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul. Despite being raw, Ansah finished second at BYU in tackles for loss (13.0) and had 4.5 sacks.
As noted earlier, it's possible that Ansah is off the board by this point as I expect the Lions to strongly consider taking him at No. 5 (and even had him in that spot in last update).
Considered the top guard prospect by many, Warmack is considered to be one of the safest prospects in this year's draft. Like with Joeckel and Fisher, however, there are plenty of folks who think Jonathan Cooper is a better guard prospect than Warmack.
This pick fills a void for the Chargers as only three teams have allowed more sacks than San Diego this season. The only quarterback to have been sacked more over the past three seasons than Philip Rivers (117) was Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers (118).
In addition, the Chargers lost starting guard Louis Vasquez within the division as he signed a four-deal with the Broncos.
Although he has good cover skills as well, Rhodes has great size (6-1, 217 pounds) for a cornerback and plays the position with physicality. One of the questions about Rhodes was his top-end speed, but he answered critics' concerns by running an official 4.43 forty at the combine.
Not only did Tampa trade away their most talented cornerback, Aqib Talib, to the Patriots last year, but the Bucs ranked last in the NFL in passing defense (297.4), which makes a cornerback the no-brainer pick at this point.
Of all the potential trade partners linked to the Jets for shutdown corner Darrelle Revis, the Bucs seem to be the favorite, but it's far from a done deal.
The younger brother of Marcus, Trufant had a strong week of practice in Mobile and really helped his draft stock. Like Rhodes, the biggest worry was his long speed and he ran an impressive 4.38 forty at the combine to put those concerns to rest.
The Panthers could really use a second receiver to step up alongside Steve Smith yet Smith himself will turn 34 years old this offseason.
As a JUCO transfer, Patterson (6-2, 205) finished with 46 receptions for 778 yards and five touchdowns and was a first-team All-SEC selection in his first year at Tennessee. In addition, he set a school record with 1,858 all-purpose yards. Patterson has some work to do on his route running, but he is extremely dangerous with the ball in the open field.
The Saints disappointed last season primarily due to their defense (or lack thereof), which set the NFL record for most yardage allowed in a season (7,042).
Defensive tackle is arguably the deepest position in this year's draft class and Richardson's one of the best in the group and a very good value here. He led SEC defensive tackles in tackles (75) and had 10.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and three forced fumbles.
Not only is Austin strong (14 reps of 225 pounds) for his size (174 pounds), he is explosive (4.34 forty) and durable (never missed a practice at West Virginia). Austin has the ability to make huge plays any time he touches the ball and can be used in similar ways as Percy Harvin or Randall Cobb.
Last year, Austin had six 100-yard receiving games including 215 yards against Baylor. In addition, he had a 344-yard rushing game (on 21 carries) against Oklahoma on 11/17.
With the Rams losing Danny Amendola to the Patriots via free agency, Austin will more than fill the void.