McShay Mock 4.0: First two-round projection
Projecting the first two rounds
A quarterback finally approaches the top of the board; linemen still dominate
Originally Published: March 28, 2013
By Todd McShay | ESPN Insider
The 2013 NFL draft is now less than a month away, and draft boards around the NFL are coming into clearer focus.
Free agency and trades have filled many needs and opened holes elsewhere. Meanwhile, the draft process has solidified the status of some top draft prospects, while questions have been raised about others.
The evaluation process is still ongoing, with players still visiting team facilities for interviews and private workouts, but at this point we're getting a better feel for how the early rounds might play out.
Below is my latest mock draft, which this time around has been extended to two rounds. Plenty can change between now and April 25, but based on extensive film study and conversations with people across the league this is my best projection of how the first 60-plus picks might play out.
There's a change at No. 1 from my last mock draft, and a quarterback has broken into the top three overall. Elsewhere, linemen continue to dominate the top 10, and plenty of quality prospects are there for the taking in the second round.
Draft-eligible non-seniors are noted with an asterisk.
Kansas City Chiefs (2-14)
COLLEGE: Texas A&M
Analysis: I still think Utah DT Star Lotulelei would be a good fit here, but offensive tackle makes more sense because Joeckel (or Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher) is the safer option. The interesting part of this pick is whether current Chiefs LT Branden Albert would move to the right side, or Joeckel would play on the right for a year while Albert plays out a season under the franchise tag. It doesn't make sense to take a tackle with the top overall pick if you see him as a right tackle his entire career, so there will be a plan in place, perhaps even one that includes trading Albert. No matter what, Joeckel's balance and footwork in pass protection, and his solid angles in the run game, make him an elite prospect.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14)
Analysis: Jordan is the top pass-rusher in this class, but that's not all he can do. His fluidity and range in coverage are rare for a DE/OLB prospect with his length. He wouldn't be a great fit in many 4-3 defenses, but his ability to get after the passer when turned loose upfield, as well as drop into coverage from a two- or three-point stance, is ideal for the scheme new head coach Gus Bradley and defensive coordinator Bob Babich are bringing to town. Bradley and Pete Carroll -- his former boss in Seattle -- both coached under Monte Kiffin and had success with schemes that marry Tampa 2 principles to some 3-4 principles, and Jordan's skill set makes him a perfect fit at the LEO position in that kind of system.
Oakland Raiders (4-12)
COLLEGE: West Virginia
Analysis: The Raiders recently cut Tommy Kelly, so Florida DT Sharrif Floyd could very well be the pick here. However, Oakland has signed six players along the defensive front seven this offseason, and with the roster being overhauled quarterback becomes a consideration. Current QB Carson Palmer could be on his way out because of contract considerations, and if the team thinks Smith is a quarterback worth building around he would trump anything else. He carries a late-first round grade, but quarterbacks are the most valuable commodity in the league and Smith has the work ethic and skill set to polish up the problem areas in his game.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-12)
COLLEGE: Central Michigan
Analysis: The Eagles have addressed a lot of other needs already this offseason, especially in terms of finding good fits along the front seven in new 3-4 scheme. Many personnel evaluators in the NFL think Fisher is just as good as -- if not slightly better than -- Joeckel, and Philadelphia would get one of the premier players in this class. Both Jason Peters and Todd Herremans return from injury this season, but there is no guarantee they will remain healthy, and Fisher's movement skills make him a good fit in the up-tempo scheme new head coach Chip Kelly will install.
Detroit Lions (4-12)
Analysis: The Lions have plenty of options here. Offensive tackle is a major need after the retirement of Jeff Backus and the loss of free agent Gosder Cherilus to Indianapolis, so they will have to look long and hard at Oklahoma's Lane Johnson in this scenario. However, given what Detroit has invested in Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in the middle of the defense, there is a need for a special player on the outside who can pull it all together. Ansah is not your prototypical undersized right end, but he is an explosive pass-rusher with elite burst, long arms and the ability to transition speed to power. He's somewhat raw, but if Ansah reaches his full potential the Lions could get a player in the same vein as Aldon Smith or Jason Pierre-Paul.
Cleveland Browns (5-11)
Analysis: I wasn't as high as some others on Browns QB Brandon Weeden during last year's draft process, but even I believe he deserves at least one year to prove what he can do under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner, whose system should play to Weeden's strength as a big-armed passer who can drive the ball downfield. That leaves cornerback as a top need area, and Milliner is a no-brainer if he's available. His instincts, recognition skills and discipline are impressive, and he's reliable in run support. Milliner would be an excellent complement to current Browns starter Joe Haden.
Arizona Cardinals (5-11)
Analysis: If Smith is off the board and the Cardinals don't feel good about any other quarterback, they can still fill a priority need with a top-10 prospect in Johnson. He is still a work in progress after moving from quarterback to tight end to tackle in recent seasons, but Johnson continues to get bigger and stronger, and he is certainly ready to step into a starting role as a rookie. His floor might be lower than that of Joeckel or Fisher, but he will improve with game experience and it's not hard to argue that Johnson's athleticism and movement skills give him a potentially higher ceiling.
Buffalo Bills (6-10)
Analysis: I feel like I should apologize to Bills fans for this pick given the team's quarterback situation, but there are reasons this makes sense. First, they must be able to run the ball effectively and protect the quarterback well, no matter who he is. Whether Buffalo brings in a veteran or drafts a second-tier prospect like Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib -- who played for new Bills head coach Doug Marrone in college -- that player will need all the help he can get. Warmack is one of the most complete guards I've ever evaluated. He is big, strong and nasty, and is an easy mover in pass protection. He's the rare guard worthy of a top-10 pick, especially in this scenario with no worthy options available to fill needs at receiver and tight end.
New York Jets (6-10)
Analysis: Mingo's ideal fit is at right end in a 4-3 system, where he can put his hand in the dirt and explode upfield after the quarterback. However, the Jets need an edge rusher more than anything and that's what Mingo does best. He is also capable of dropping into coverage when asked, and I believe people will be pleasantly surprised by his pass-rush production in the NFL compared to what he did in 2012 at LSU.
Tennessee Titans (6-10)
Analysis: If the Raiders opt for Smith at No. 3, there is not a great fit for Floyd from picks four through nine. The Titans would probably like an elite edge rusher to fall to them, but they would gladly take a player some feel is the best overall prospect on the board. Tennessee does not have a big-bodied player who can penetrate and disrupt the way Floyd can, and the attention he would demand in the middle would make Titans DEs Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley more effective as well.
San Diego Chargers (7-9)
Analysis: San Diego is in desperate need of an offensive tackle, but there is no tackle on the board worth this pick. And with the Chargers' roster having become so watered down recently, they are in a position to simply draft the best players available. Lotulelei's ideal fit is as a 3-4 end, but he has the versatility to play nose tackle and increase the flexibility of the defensive front alongside Kendall Reyes and Corey Liuget. With his strong hands, nimble feet and range, Lotulelei brings plenty to the table.
Miami Dolphins (7-9)
COLLEGE: North Carolina
Analysis: Miami must find a replacement for departed free agent OT Jake Long, but can't afford to reach for a tackle here. Cooper is the best blocker in space in this class, and he fits what the Dolphins are looking for in terms of athleticism and stamina. He will help protect young QB Ryan Tannehill -- who has been provided with several new weapons this offseason -- and upgrade Miami's run blocking. Cooper is the best player left on the board at this point, and some feel he is even better than Warmack.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9)
COLLEGE: West Virginia
Analysis: The Bucs might consider DT Sheldon Richardson or CB Xavier Rhodes here, but it would be hard to pass up the most dynamic offensive playmaker in the 2013 class with this pick. Some might think this is a bit high for a 5-foot-8 slot guy, but today's NFL demands that teams have players who can create in space, and Austin is just that. He has the versatility to contribute from the slot or the backfield, and occasionally in the return game. His elite combination of speed and quickness will cause headaches for opposing defenses, and help open up room for Tampa Bay RB Doug Martin and WR Mike Williams.
Carolina Panthers (7-9)
Analysis: This is yet another team in the market for an offensive tackle, but it's still too early to consider the second-tier tackles on the board. Especially when a player like Richardson is available. He can bring explosiveness and playmaking ability to a defensive front that has gotten stale in recent years. Richardson can stay fresh in a rotation, giving head coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott the penetrating 3-technique they've been looking for since taking over in Carolina.
New Orleans Saints (7-9)
Analysis: Improving the pass rush is New Orleans' top priority on defense, but it would be a mistake to take OLB Jarvis Jones at this point. Ogletree might not be a perfect fit in the Saints' new 3-4 scheme, but he covers more ground than any linebacker I can recall. He is an explosive, sideline-to-sideline run defender, and he can bring the heat when turned loose on the blitz. It's rare to find that kind if impact player in the middle of the first round, and if presented with the opportunity the Saints would be wise to seize it.
St. Louis Rams (7-8-1)
Analysis: Patterson may well be the biggest risk/reward prospect in this class. If he pans out, the Rams get a player who can become one of the most dynamic weapons in the NFL. However, Patterson played just one year at the highest level of college football, and his learning curve will be steep. He has mind-blowing ability in space, but he's still learning how to get open and read coverages. There has to be a plan in place to create touches for Patterson other than at wide receiver. Still, the Rams have been searching for a downfield weapon who can open things up for QB Sam Bradford and the rest of the offense, and if Patterson works out they would finally have that piece of the puzzle.
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)
Analysis: Jones is pretty much the anti-Mike Mamula, in that Jones is a player who brings exceptional college production to the table but put up only marginal workout results. There are also durability concerns stemming from a spinal stenosis diagnosis that ended Jones' career at USC. However, his best fit is as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme like Pittsburgh's, one that has excelled with smaller, more explosive linebackers on the edge. He has some stiffness and doesn't turn and run well in coverage, but Jones would find a nice home here in a system that would let him get after the passer and not stretch his limitations in other areas.
Dallas Cowboys (8-8)
Analysis: Vaccaro ran the 40 in just 4.63 at the combine, but other than that it's hard to find a significant concern about his game. He is fluid in coverage, can drop down over slot receivers, and is physical and aggressive in run support. All that makes him a safe pick, despite that 40 time. I've seen enough on tape to believe Vaccaro can be a top-tier starter in the NFL, and he would be a great addition for a Dallas secondary that has been searching for a do-it-all safety. Plugging him in alongside 2012 first-round pick CB Morris Claiborne would make for a nice foundation on the back end of the defense.
New York Giants (9-7)
Analysis: My good friend Mel Kiper rightly points out that the Giants don't usually spend high picks on offensive linemen, so this is not a slam dunk. Fluker isn't athletic enough to play on the left side, but he has developed enough balance and footwork to hold up on the right. He carries his weight well, plays hard, and doesn't show some of the scary traits massive right tackle prospects often bring to the table. And if the Giants are willing to take the likes of Chris Snee at No. 34 overall or Will Beatty at No. 60, why not a player like Fluker here? After all, over the last decade-plus no position has hit at a higher rate in the first round than offensive tackle.
Chicago Bears (10-6)
COLLEGE: Notre Dame
Analysis: The signing of OT Jermon Bushrod has shored up the offensive line, with J'Marcus Webb holding down the other tackle spot and Gabe Carimi sliding inside to guard. And while the Bears did bring in TE Martellus Bennett through free agency, he's not a consistent commodity. New head coach Marc Trestman knows how to create and exploit mismatches, and Eifert's versatility in the passing game would make a valuable weapon for Trestman. With his ball skills and ability to stretch the middle of the field, Eifert could help take Chicago's offense to the next level.
Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
Analysis: I thought long and hard about WR Keenan Allen here, but the Bengals feel good about Mohamed Sanu coming off injury and have a good slot receiver in Andrew Hawkins. Corner is a top need for Cincinnati on the other side of the ball, and now that Trufant has verified his top-end speed his suddenness, balance and closing burst give him the look of a very good man-cover corner at the next level. Scouts I've talked to are also impressed with his professional demeanor, and the bottom line is that teams can never have enough good cover guys in today's pass-happy NFL. Quarterback might be a wild-card option given the tendencies and pedigree of offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, who's always looking for ways to tweak his scheme, but in this scenario Trufant makes sense.
St. Louis Rams (7-8-1) (from WAS)
COLLEGE: North Carolina
Analysis: St. Louis got an offensive playmaker earlier, and Williams would round things out nicely for the Rams in the first round. Defensive tackle isn't a pressing need, but they are in a position to draft for value, and if the St. Louis defense is going to take the next step it needs depth along the interior. Chris Long, Robert Quinn, Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford are already in place, and Williams would deepen the rotation so the Rams could come after offenses relentlessly for four quarters. He shed some weight and got quicker last season, and at worst the Rams would get a guy with power who flashes explosive playmaking ability and the potential to be a solid disrupter for a long time.
Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
COLLEGE: Florida St.
Analysis: The signing of WR Greg Jennings frees the Vikings from having to reach for a receiver with this pick. There are needs at cornerback, middle linebacker and guard, but there is also little depth behind DEs Jared Allen and Brian Robison. With that in mind, Werner would give the Vikings a player who's not that far from what Long brings to the table in St. Louis. He's not quite as athletic, but Werner has a relentless motor, great hands, and the ability to convert quickness to power as a pass-rusher. Should the board fall this way, he's a smart pick.
Indianapolis Colts (11-5)
COLLEGE: Florida State
Analysis: Rhodes has the height and long arms to get physical with receivers in man coverage, is fluid for his size, and has the top-end speed to turn and run with NFL receivers. That makes him a good fit in the Colts' scheme. His lack of ideal instincts means he won't excel in zone coverage or when giving receivers a big cushion, but Indianapolis likely wouldn't ask that of him. Rhodes' production wasn't through the roof (four interceptions over the last two seasons), either, but he's rising up a lot of draft boards, and if the Colts like his skill set this is a good spot to grab him.
Minnesota Vikings (10-6) (from SEA)
Analysis: Many of the players coming off the board in this area would make sense for the Vikings, who are in something of a sweet spot late in the first round. They can sit tight and be fairly certain of getting a player who addresses a need, and is nearly top-10 quality but will cost far less. In Allen's case, that means a receiver with good body control and hands who could become a very good No. 2 receiver at the next level.
Green Bay Packers (11-5)
COLLEGE: Florida State
Analysis: This might seem a little high for a player with an early-second-round grade, but Watson could make sense for various reasons. The Packers might not be totally sold on Marshall Newhouse as their left tackle, and there is concern about RT Derek Sherrod coming off a broken leg suffered late in 2012. Watson is inexperienced, but he comes from a similar zone-blocking scheme and has impressive natural movement skills. Offensive tackles are always at a premium, and at this point there is not a running back, safety or wide receiver worth reaching for to fill a need. The Packers can't win unless they improve their ability to protect Aaron Rodgers, and Watson could help in that regard.
Houston Texans (12-4)
Analysis: Hopkins isn't overly explosive, but he's a good athlete with body control and some quickness, and he has some of the best hands in the class. The big-play ability he showed in college might not translate to the NFL, but he would be a nice complement to Andre Johnson on the other side. Hopkins will catch everything thrown his way and bring a little more consistency to the Houston passing attack.
Denver Broncos (13-3)
COLLEGE: Notre Dame
Analysis: Denver would like to find a replacement for departed DE Elvis Dumervil, but middle linebacker is also a top need and the Broncos offer the perfect scheme fit for Te'o. He plays fast enough to get from sideline to sideline, and he could be a very good player with Denver's defensive linemen protecting him. And with Peyton Manning leading the way, the Broncos have the leadership in place to deal with any concerns about Te'o fitting into the locker room.
New England Patriots (12-4)
Analysis: The Patriots have needs at receiver and cornerback, but they have struggled to find good fits there in recent years and might not find quality options at this spot, either. New England has a much better track record up front, though, and Pugh is more NFL-ready than Watson at this point. His shorter arms mean he'll have to move inside to guard, but that should be just fine with the Patriots. They could stand to bolster that area, and Pugh is somewhat of an overlooked talent because of an injury that limited him early in the season.
Atlanta Falcons (13-3)
COLLEGE: Florida State
Analysis: Yes, the Falcons just signed former Giants DE Osi Umenyiora, but a team that faces Cam Newton and Drew Brees four times every season can never have too many fresh legs. If Carradine's surgically repaired knee checks out, there's nothing wrong with him and Kroy Biermann rotating opposite Umenyiora. Tight end could be a consideration here, but Carradine has rushed the passer from both sides, shows strength and toughness, and flashes the ability to set the edge against the run.
San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1)
Analysis: I've become a big fan of Jenkins during film study. He was a little heavy in 2012, but even at 350-plus pounds he moved better than expected, played with a nonstop motor, and got more in involved in backside pursuit than a lot of 250-pound defensive ends I studied. I'll bet on a guy like that any day. Jenkins has also shed some weight during the draft process, and many feel he is maturing and coming into his own after a tough upbringing. He's not the space-eater his size would seem to indicate, but he can play nose tackle or end in the 49ers' 3-4 scheme and add to the problems their defensive front can create.
Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
COLLEGE: Louisiana Tech
Analysis: This was a tough one to project. The Ravens could go with ILB Kevin Minter to replace the retired Ray Lewis, or with a safety like Matt Elam, D.J. Swearinger or John Cyprien to fill the void left by Ed Reed's departure. There are a lot of options, but I like Patton's ability to step into the role previously filled by Anquan Boldin. He's not a carbon copy of Boldin, but Patton is a little faster and more athletic, and could be a reliable complement to No. 1 receiver Torrey Smith. Baltimore finally got its passing game firing on all cylinders last season with QB Joe Flacco distributing the ball all over the field, and bringing in another possession-type receiver makes some sense. If not, a nose tackle like Alabama's Jesse Williams could be on the radar.
Pick Team Player Position School
33 Jacksonville Matt Barkley QB USC
34 San Francisco (from K.C.) Zach Ertz* TE Stanford
35 Philadelphia E.J. Manuel QB Florida State
36 Detroit Blidi Wreh-Wilson CB Connecticut
37 Cincinnati Matt Elam* S Florida
38 Arizona Mike Glennon QB N.C. State
-- Cleveland (exercised this pick in the 2012 supplemental draft)
39 NY Jets Margus Hunt DE SMU
40 Tennessee Damontre Moore* DE Texas A&M
41 Buffalo Ryan Nassib QB Syracuse
42 Miami D.J. Hayden CB Houston
43 Tampa Bay Kawann Short DT Purdue
44 Carolina Justin Hunter* WR Tennessee
-- New Orleans (forfeited due to bounty penalties)
45 San Diego Terron Armstead OT Ark.-Pine Bluff
46 St. Louis Eddie Lacy* RB Alabama
47 Dallas Kyle Long G Oregon
48 Pittsburgh Robert Woods* WR USC
49 NY Giants Jamar Taylor CB Boise St.
50 Chicago Kevin Minter* ILB LSU
51 Washington Gavin Escobar* TE San Diego State
52 Minnesota Johnathan Hankins* DT Ohio State
53 Cincinnati Christine Michael RB Texas A&M
54 Miami (from Indianapolis) Sam Montgomery* DE LSU
55 Green Bay D.J. Swearinger S South Carolina
56 Seattle Brandon Williams DT Missouri Southern
57 Houston Jesse Williams DT Alabama
58 Denver Sio Moore OLB Connecticut
59 New England Aaron Dobson WR Marshall
60 Atlanta Travis Kelce TE Cincinnati
61 San Francisco John Cyprien S FIU
62 Baltimore Travis Frederick* C Wisconsin