NFL 2013 Mock Draft (1st Round)

Look, I really don’t like mock drafts. But since some people have asked if I will do one, and since I entered a contest on NFL.com for one, I might as well share my sure to be failure of a mock. One little change and suddenly you have to make major changes. I tried to match players the teams actually need, but we know everyone has their own drafting methods.

If I get five right I’ll call it a good effort. But that’s the thing with mock drafts. Someone can spend 100 hours and get fewer picks right than the person throwing a list into Excel and doing a random number generator to make their picks.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs – OT Luke Joeckel
  2. Jacksonville Jaguars – DE Dion Jordan
  3. Oakland Raiders – DT Sharrif Floyd
  4. Philadelphia Eagles – DT Star Lotulelei
  5. Detroit Lions – OT Eric Fisher
  6. Cleveland Browns – CB Dee Milliner
  7. Arizona Cardinals – OG Chance Warmack
  8. Buffalo Bills – QB Ryan Nassib
  9. NY Jets – DE Barkevious Mingo
  10. Tennessee Titans – OT D.J. Fluker
  11. San Diego Chargers – OG Jonathan Cooper
  12. Miami Dolphins – DE Ezekiel Ansah
  13. NY Jets – QB E.J. Manuel
  14. Carolina Panthers – OT Lane Johnson
  15. New Orleans Saints – DL Sheldon Richardson
  16. St. Louis Rams – WR Tavon Austin
  17. Pittsburgh Steelers – LB Jarvis Jones
  18. Dallas Cowboys – DL Johnathan Hankins
  19. NY Giants – CB Xavier Rhodes
  20. Chicago Bears – LB Arthur Brown
  21. Cincinnati Bengals – S Kenny Vaccaro
  22. St. Louis Rams – DE Bjoren Werner
  23. Minnesota Vikings – LB Manti Te’o
  24. Indianapolis Colts – DE Damontre Moore
  25. Minnesota Vikings – QB Geno Smith
  26. Green Bay Packers – DL Cornellius Carradine
  27. Houston Texans – WR Cordarrelle Patterson
  28. Denver Broncos – DL Datone Jones
  29. New England Patriots – WR Justin Hunter
  30. Atlanta Falcons – TE Tyler Eifert
  31. San Francisco 49ers – S Eric Reid
  32. Baltimore Ravens – WR Keenan Allen

The beauty of this thing is I don’t care how I do, and I  spent more time typing these out than putting it together.

Just let me know when the games start and we see how good these players really are. At least half of them will likely disappoint.

I also would like to further go on record in believing Cordarrelle Patterson is going to be a bust, and Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson will be the best NFL QB in this class.

Mock.

UPDATE (1:00 A.M. Friday morning)

That was worse than expected. The only pick I got right was Jarvis Jones to Pittsburgh. Guess I still know the Steelers at least…

I did match up Tavon Austin to St. Louis and Eric Reid to San Francisco, but at much different numbers.

So be it.

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Reaching For Value in the NFL Draft

Rather than try to do a Twitter rant with a 140-character limit, I just wanted to share some thoughts on NFL teams “reaching” in the draft.

Let’s look at a hypothetical. A team holds the 15th and 47th picks in the draft. The player they want is roughly the 32nd-best prospect on the board according to most teams and experts. Should the team still pull the trigger on that player, which could be considered a reach, or should they take someone with closer “value” to the No. 15 pick?

(Note: Literally just as I was going to hit “Publish”, I saw a link that made me realize this hypothetical is essentially the real-life example of Seattle and Bruce Irvin last year.)

I say you take the player you want and ignore the so-called “reach” criticism. What’s valuable is getting the player that you feel best fits your system and need. There’s a good chance that player would not be there when you pick again at 47. There is no guarantee you could trade down and get the player in the 20s or 30s; supposedly closer to where he is “supposed to go.” It takes two to tango.

Remember, when these Mel Kiper/Mike Mayock types rank players, they are looking at every position in the draft. The reality is teams are looking at a limited number of positions when it comes to that premium first-round pick. If Geno Smith is the best player available at No. 17, that doesn’t mean a damn thing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, because they have a quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger.

Let’s look at a real example with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this year. Last week I broke down whether or not Tampa Bay should be trading for Darrelle Revis.

These are the only positions the Buccaneers, who pick 13th (for now), should be considering with that pick: TE, WR, DE, DT, OLB, and CB.

You could argue it’d be no different in the second round (43rd overall) for Tampa as well. I almost didn’t include WR because of Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams as starters, though you could imagine the value of a Tavon Austin in the slot in that offense. Still, it’s a fringe need for this team.

But the point is Tampa Bay is only looking at a few different positions, so their board is far different from many teams and that of the experts who will instantly be analyzing these picks. If Texas safety Kenny Vacarro is the best player available when Tampa Bay picks, then you can’t fault them when they pass given they have Mark Barron and Dashon Goldson. If they take a player that’s only 25th on Mel Kiper’s big board at No. 13, then you better adjust it for all the players Kiper had listed at positions Tampa Bay didn’t need to fill.

After you do that, you’ll likely see it was hardly a reach.

Historically, the 13th pick holds more value than the 32nd pick, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to produce a better player in every case. So you should focus on taking the best player for your team, even if he supposedly isn’t worth a top 15 pick. Every single year there are players who go at the end of the round that are much better than players at the start of that round.

That’s one of the many issues with analysis of a process so inexact. No matter who’s doing the mock draft, no one really knows how a team feels about the players they have and what they think they really need to upgrade. That’s why you end up with draft results that are so drastically different from expectations, which is how you end up with “that team reached!”

But the only real reach is thinking one can ever predict how a NFL draft will unfold.