Tuesday, April 23, 2013

2013: A Draft Mockery

By Joe Parello  @HerewegoJoe

I'm not going to lie, as much as I love the NFL Draft, I like mock drafts even more.

Not that the first round of the draft isn't captivating television. In fact, it is probably far too interesting considering that it isn't even an actual sporting event. But still, the draft moves at a snail's pace, and the only thing that can keep your attention is when somebody falls down the board like a rock.

Aaron Rodgers comes to mind, and I guess it's probably even more fun when the guy who falls is going to suck, like Brady Quinn. Either way, unless there's a huge compelling trade that swaps a ton of picks and significant players, there isn't much to do between picks other than talk about who is losing money and stare at Mel Kiper's hair.

Well, sit idly by no more, because I bring you 2013: A Draft Mockery, complete with free falling players, fake dead girlfriends and mocking descriptions of team needs.

Most of them aren't that clever.

1. Kansas City Chiefs
Team Needs: Football players

Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M: The Chiefs need pretty much everything, as evidenced by their terrible record and decisions to bring in both Andy Reid and Alex Smith. Joeckel seems like the safest play here, and with a poor crop of quarterbacks, you take the next best thing and grab a franchise left tackle.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars
Team Needs: New city, new uniforms, Tim Tebow, pass rusher, QB, OT

Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan: The Jaguars are kicking themselves for picking this high in a draft that doesn't feature a "can't miss" QB like Blaine Gabbert. So, the Jags follow the Chiefs into boring pick land and grab a guy that could be the next Joe Staley… And I say that because he's a white OT from CMU.

3. Oakland Raiders
Team Needs: QB, DT, OT, Al Davis

Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida: The Raiders are a lot of things, but boring isn't one of them. So, instead of continuing this snore-inducing run on offensive tackles, the Raiders grab the top defensive tackle in a loaded DT class. Floyd has all the makings of a game changer on the interior, and will most certainly look really cool in Silver and Black.

4. Philadelphia Eagles
Team Needs: OT, DE, CB, Pac 12 Schedule

Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma: New coach Chip Kelly has Mike Vick, Nick Foles and his former QB at Oregon Dennis Dixon on the roster, so he passes on Geno Smith to solidify the horrendous Eagle offensive line. Kelly's teams excelled at Oregon by creating numbers in the running game and executing brutal zone block concepts. Johnson fits in as a physical run blocker, despite not being as good of a pass protector as Joeckel or Fisher.

5. Detroit Lions
Team Needs: DE, CB, OT

Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama:
Are you sensing a trend that pretty much everybody this early in the draft either needs an OT, DE or QB? That's because, to win in the modern NFL, you need to protect your QB, kill the other team's QB and, well, have a QB that doesn't suck. The Lions go a slightly different route and take the lone shutdown corner in the draft, seriously upgrading an already solid secondary.

6. Cleveland Browns
Team Needs: Playmakers on offense, Impact Players on Defense, a move to Baltimore

Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon: Jordan has the potential to be a lethal pass rusher, but his effort has been questioned and he seems to disappear on film at times. In other words, he's another Cleveland bust. Still, the Browns are starving for anybody that can make a play on either side of the ball. We need some excitement people!

7. Arizona Cardinals
Team Needs: OT, DE, Receiver other than Larry Fitzgerald

Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah, DE, BYU: The Cardinals seem to think they've solved their QB problem by bringing in Carson Palmer (Those poor bastards), so they will hope to grab a franchise left tackle here at No. 7. Unfortunately, all three of the guys they were eye balling have already been snatched up, so Arizona and new coach Bruce Arians grab another project pass rusher that should at least make an impact as a situational player in 2013.

8. Buffalo Bills
Team Needs: QB, OG, WR, TE, LB, CB, a hug

Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse: The Bills complete the Syracuse Orange makeover of their offense as new coach Doug Marrone picks his old college quarterback. Look, I'm not saying Ryan Nassib won't be a good pro quarterback. I'm just saying that taking him in the top-10 is really stupid and Buffalo Bills-esque.

9. New York Jets
Team Needs: Pass Rusher, WR, DT, More Mediocre QBs

Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU:
The Jets were pretty bad against the run last year (26th in the league), but Rex Ryan can't pass on a pass rusher of Mingo's caliber. Plus, Mingo's versatility could solve some of New York's problems against the run. The bigger question is, what is New York doing with Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, David Garrard and Greg McElroy all still on the roster?

Cornering the market on backup QBs, of course! If they keep this up, teams in need of a backup QB will soon have no choice but to send a 1st round pick to the Jets.

10. Tennessee Titans
Team Needs: DE, CB, OT

Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State:
The only thing I hate about this pick is that Werner will be playing end. If he were a linebacker we could yell "B-yorn Verner with ze BLITZ!!" in a Schwarzenegger accent every time he sacked the QB. Oh well…

11. San Diego Chargers
Team Needs: OT, OG, WR

Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama: The Chargers may trade up to grab one of the draft's elite tackles, but they'll probably be pretty happy to get an immediate starter at guard here.

12. Miami Dolphins
Team Needs: OT, CB, DE, Ferocious Logo of Lovable Aquatic Mammal

D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama: The Dolphins lost Jake Long and Sean Smith in free agency, so they'll jump at the chance to grab either a tackle or corner. If they trade for Brandon Albert I would expect them to trade down for a corner later in the round, or perhaps select the draft's other elite guard, Jonathan Cooper (Free fall alert!).

13. New York Jets (From Tampa Bay)
Team Needs: See above

Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: With a pass rusher on board, the Jets decide to add another player that is surely ready to hold an NFL clipboard.  Smith has the most upside of any of the QBs in this year's class, but he has mechanical issues and has never done extensive work under center.

Here's hoping they develop him better than they did Sanchez.

14. Carolina Panthers
Team Needs: CB, DT, OG, WR

Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah: The Panthers get great value at No. 14 with Lotulelei, a player that may have gone in the top-5 if not for a heart condition discovered at the NFL Combine. I had a great "shooting Star" pun in my back pocket, but he's actually fallen now, so I guess we'll go with "Falling Star."

I guess...

Anyways, the former Utah enforcer is the draft's best run defender, and should eat up a ton of blocks and keep linemen off of Carolina's talented linebackers.

15. New Orleans Saints
Team Needs: S, OT, Pass Rusher

Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas:
New Orleans thinks long and hard about snatching up Jarvis Jones, but opts to go with the best safety in the draft. Vaccaro gives them range and versatility in the secondary, and should make the Saints' corners better just by being there.

16. St. Louis Rams
Team Needs: S, WR, LB

Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia:
The Rams curse New Orleans, as they coveted Vaccaro to fill their biggest defensive need. Still, St. Louis can take a linebacker with the ability to play both inside and outside, and that plays the run and pass equally well. Not a bad consolation prize.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers
Team Needs: Fountain of Youth, RB, DT

Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia: The Steelers let James Harrison walk this off-season, and they better hope that Jones is a suitable replacement. With a few other recent draft picks on the roster at OLB, this isn't their most pressing need, but as the Steelers' pass rush goes, so does their defense.

18. Dallas Cowboys
Team Needs: DT, S, Ability to Rationally Assess Value of QBs

Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri: The Cowboys are transitioning to a 4-3 defense, and Richardson gives them a great interior disrupter to build around. Richardson's sack numbers don't jump off the page, but he was always in the backfield, and 10.5 TFL facing double teams in the SEC is nothing to sneeze at.

19. New York Giants
Team Needs: CB, OT, S

Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State: Rhodes may not be quite as polished as guys like Desmond Trufant, but his excellent combination of size and blazing speed make him too good for the Giants to pass on. They'll need him to start right away.

20. Chicago Bears
Team Needs: MLB, OG, WR

Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame: The Bears made a borderline insulting offer to keep future Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher, so they must think they can find his long-term replacement pretty soon. Drafting Te'o would be good since the former ND star wouldn't have to move very far, but rumors are he was hoping to play out in Cali to be closer to his fake dead girlfriend.

21. Cincinnati Bengals
Team Needs: S, LB, RB

Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia: The Bengals don't need a receiver, but Austin is the draft's biggest play maker, and you don't pass up the chance to pair his skill set with AJ Green.

22. St. Louis Rams (From Washington)
Team Needs: See above

Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International:
The Rams pull the trigger on an unproven player that made big plays against weak competition. Physically, he's a big-hitting All Pro, but how will he adjust to playing in the NFL from the Sun Belt?

23. Minnesota Vikings
Team Needs: WR, LB, CB, DT

Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee: Patterson is a largely unproven commodity, but is still the most physically impressive receiver in this draft class. The Vikes are desperate to fill the play making void left by the departure of Percy Harvin, so they take a bit of a calculated risk at a spot where the value is good.

24. Indianapolis Colts
Team Needs: DE, CB, OT

Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington: The Colts are surprisingly well stocked for a team that scored the first overall pick a year ago, but a great young QB can mask a lot of weaknesses. Luck is mobile and strong, so they avoid reaching on a tackle here to snag a pro-ready corner.

25. Minnesota Vikings (From Seattle)
Team Needs: See above

Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina:
DT is the deepest position in this draft, and the Vikings are thrilled they get their (potentially) explosive receiver and a very good DT with these two picks.

26. Green Bay Packers
Team Needs: S, DE, LB

Matt Elam, S, Florida: The Packers have holes all over their defense, but Elam can play a Troy Polamalu-like role in Dom Capers' 3-4. While he isn't the best pure coverage safety, Elam is a physical enforcer that can play in the box and rush the passer if necessary.

27. Houston Texans
Team Needs: DT, LB, WR

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson:
The Texans will look to find a complement, and eventual replacement, for Andre Johnson in this draft. Hopkins edges USC's Robert Woods, Tennessee's Justin Hunter and Cal's Keenan Allen here because of a slight advantage in quickness, despite the fact that all those guys are more polished.

28. Denver Broncos
Team Needs: RB, TE, DE, S

Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame: The Broncos could use a DE after the Elvis Dumervil debacle, but they still have enough pass rush punch with Von Miller and Co. As for running back, you'd think they might invest is Alabama's Eddie Lacy, but Peyton Manning has succeeded with below-average backs forever, so I wouldn't expect them to value the position much.

That leaves us with safety and tight end, in essence a choice between Eifert and Eric Reed. The Broncos take a page out of the Patriots' book by grabbing the versatile Notre Dame product with the hope of using more multiple tight end sets to create matchup problems across the field.

29. New England Patriots
Team Needs: An acute heart condition for Bernard Pollard, WR, DEFENSE

Datone Jones, DE, UCLA: At this point, the Patriots should just give up trying to draft receivers and corners. They simply suck at evaluating those positions. So, that means Woods, Hunter and Houston corner DJ Hayden are out of luck. Jones should help solidify a Patriot defensive line that leaned very heavily on Vince Wilfork the last two years, and his ability to push the pocket will help the pass rush as well.

30. Atlanta Falcons
Team Needs: CB, RB, DE

Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama: Finally, a running back off the board! The Falcons made a big move to grab Steven Jackson this off-season, but the guy practically threatens to retire every year. Why not find your long-term solution right now, and have another great option for this season?

31. San Francisco 49ers
Team Needs: Balls from the coaching staff in critical moments

Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford: The Niners are pretty set across the board, so coach Jim Harbaugh grabs one of his old Stanford players to make things even more interesting in the San Francisco offense. Versatility and unpredictability where the major strengths of San Francisco's attack last year, and Ertz allows them to expand on that.

32. Baltimore Ravens
Team Needs: LB, S, WR, Re-do button for this off-season

Eric Reid, S, LSU: Linebacker is a huge need with Dannell Elerbe leaving in free agency and Ray Lewis retiring, but the Ravens just lost both Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard at safety as well. This pick comes down to two LSU teammates, as both Reid and linebacker Kevin Minter will get long looks from the defending Super Bowl champs. But, ultimately, the need at safety is bigger.

Outside Looking In

Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina: Cooper is shooting up most draft boards, but guard is probabaly the least valued position in the league right now. If he slips to the second round, somebody is going to get great value in an athletic lineman that excels in pass protection, and in pulling out for counters and screens.

Kevin Minter, LB, LSU: Minter packs a whallop, but speed has been a question. Well, he's faster than Te'o, and played against a higher level of competition, so I'm going to say he's at least as good as the Lyin' Hawaiian.

Robert Woods, WR, USC and Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee: Woods has more upside, but both of these guys are ready to start in the NFL now. Both posses great hands, and the physicality to separate at the pro level. Oh yeah, and they're both good "route runners," whatever that means.

Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama: The anchor of the Crimson Tide's dominant defense could be an absolute dream come true for somebody like San Diego or Pittsburgh if either of those two 3-4 teams are willing to trade up to grab him early in the second round. Williams is a true "two-gap" nose tackle that could go to someone like Houston in the late first round.