NFL Mock Draft 2013: Mike Loyko
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Another season in Pittsburgh and another year loaded with Offensive line injuries and break downs. The Steelers drafter David DeCastro last year and while his year was filled with injuries he is still going to be a stud. Mike Adams isn’t a left tackle, so adding a legitimate LT like Taylor Lewan will allow the all pieces on the OL slot into the right spots.
18. Dallas Cowboys (8-8)
Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Maybe the Cowboys should pick a QB like Matt Barkley or Tyler Wilson right here, but I still think Jerry Jones sticks with Tony Romo and tries to help him. The offensive line in Dallas was a sieve all season, especially on the interior. I’m sure Dallas would love to get Warmack who is more powerful, but Cooper who is mobile, agile and athletic isn’t far off. He will be able to start from day one and add some stability to the OG position for years to come.
19. New York Giants (9-7)
Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
The Giants defense really let them down throughout the season and there are going to be changes made. Osi Umeniyora is a free agent and likely won’t be back. Justin Tuck wasn’t the same player this season and Chris Canty can’t stay healthy. We know how the Giants love to build their team through the DL and adding a young, explosive edge rusher like Montgomery might rejuvenate the aging pass rush corps.
20. Chicago Bears (10-6)
Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Some way some how the Bears need to fix their OL problems or they will consistently be a mediocre football team. Fisher isn’t a big name but, he is one of the most complete OT in this draft. Fundamentally sound, Fisher dominated the competition in the MAC this season. At 6’7″ Fisher moves very well and does a good job of sliding his feet without side speed rushers, something that has killed the Bears the last three seasons. Adding Fisher won’t fix all the problems, but it’s a good start.
21. St. Louis Rams (via Wash) (10-6)
Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
This might be a little high for Vaccaro, but the Rams have a huge hole at safety. We saw they way a top Safety got pushed up the board last year with Mark Barron and it could happen again this year with Vaccaro. He will be attractive to NFL teams for his versatility and his ability to drop down into the slot and cover in sub packages if need be. It’s a very good safety class and Vaccaro stands out to me. If an OT like Lewan or Fisher makes it this far I could see the Rams double dipping along the OL.
22. Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
Robert Woods, WR, USC
Woods stock took a bit of a hit playing in the shadow of Marqise Lee this season, but I still really like the way his game translates to the NFL especially for a team like the Vikings. Woods is great on screens, quick passes and crossing routes. He has enough speed to stretch the field and has been a consistent play-maker his entire career. With Percy Harvin’s status up in the air, Woods is a perfect complement of future replacement.
23. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
Cincinnati loves those big athletic edge rushers like Michael Johnson, Jordan offers something a little different because he is so versatile. Jordan can drop into coverage play OLB, even cover a slot WR if need be. For a young team with a burgeoning front seven adding a versatile defender like Jordan can bring their defense to another level.
24. Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
The day was going to come sooner or later. It’s time to find a replacement for Ray Lewis and I think Ogletree could be that guy. Ogletree is a big physical ILB who has really developed well this season. Ogletree is a very good run defender who can make plays all over the field and he combines that with the ability to be an impact blitzer on passing downs. No one can replace Ray Lewis, but a player like Ogletree can ease the pain of losing him.
25. Seattle Seahawks (11-5)
DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama
The Seahawks don’t have a lot of holes, they could go after a TE, OG or DT, but I think their biggest need is Right Tackle. Fluker is a right tackle only whose best trait is his ability to play with power and get movement off the line. He’s the a nice fit in the Seahawks power running scheme and will be a nice bookend compliment to Russell Okung who took a big step forward in his development this season.
26. Indianapolis Colts (11-5)
Barrett Jones, OC/OG, Alabama
The Colts could go after an OLB or pass rush help here, but Barrett Jones makes a lot of sense. He’s a smart and versatile player with outstanding leadership skills. The Colts are building something special in Indy and they need some continuity on their interior OL. Barrett Jones is the type of player that the Colts are looking to build their franchise with.
27. Green Bay Packers (11-5)
Ezekial Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU
The Packers still lack depth and pass rush at their other OLB position opposite Clay Matthews. Matthews has been hurt at times the last few seasons and when he is out the Packers lack of any pass rush is really exposed. While Ansah is raw and might take a year or two to develop, his potential is greater than any other players available at this point in the draft. As of now Ansah possesses pass rush ability but needs to get stronger to hold up at the point of attack.
28. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1)
Matt Elam, SS, Florida
The 49ers defense has been great the past two seasons, but they lack depth across the board. Their safety play has been a major factor in their success. Dashon Goldson is a FA after the season and he is in line for a big pay day. Even if the 49ers resign him, they need to start building depth and Matt Elam is a perfect fit. He’s the most physical SAF in the draft and one who can play in the box and lay the wood, or drop into coverage as a single high DB.
29. Houston Texans (12-4)
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The lack of a second WR weapon has really hurt the Texans down the stretch. It’s going to be important that they find another reliable WR who can get open underneath and draw coverage away from Andre Johnson. Austin would be the perfect complement as he can make plays with the ball in his hands. He is an ideal slot WR whose a big play threat wherever he is on the field.
30. New England Patriots (12-4)
Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
I think the Patriots need to address two things on their defense this off-season. One is they need to add speed to their defense, especially at the LB position and second they need to become more physical. Jesse Williams will make the defense more physical and tougher to deal with along the lines. Williams is the strongest player in the draft and an imposing player to block 1 on 1. He has the ability to play a couple different positions along the line and will draw blockers away from Vince Wilfork and the linebackers. Defensive tackle is probably the shallowest position depth wise on the Patriots roster, adding a powerful, athletic player like Williams next to Wilfork will go along way into making the young Patriots defense much better.
31. Denver Broncos (13-3)
John Jenkins, DT, Georgia
The Broncos defense has played well, but there are a few big needs on that side of the ball. John Jenkins would give them a big athletic presence in the middle of their defense. At 6’3 360 lbs. Jenkins is a load, but moves very well for his size and would help strengthen the run defense. If the Broncos don’t go after a DT look for them to address the MLB position with a player like Kevin Minter.
32. Atlanta Falcons (13-3)
Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
The Ray Edwards signing was a big failure and it has left the Falcons thin at the DE position. John Abraham is in his final years, so look for the Falcons to target pass rushers early in the draft. Okafor is the best one available and is one of the most NFL ready DE in this year’s draft.