2013 NFL Mock Draft: Projecting How Potential Trades Could Shake Up The Draft

Dee Milliner CB Alabama

Dee Milliner is one of the players who a team could trade up for early in the 2013 NFL draft. (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Staff Writer: Dan Hope

Less than two weeks until the 2013 NFL draft, we are in an unusual situation: the draft board has not gotten a whole lot clearer than it was a few weeks ago. That said, speculation is running more rampant than ever.

In this mock draft, I continued to look at how recent trades and free-agent signings have affected teams’ draft strategies, while projecting four possible first-round trades that shook up the draft order.

The New England Patriots are among the teams in a different situation in this mock draft. With the Patriots likely to be giving up their third-round draft pick for wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, they would address their position of greatest need but also lose a valuable selection, leaving them without any picks in Rounds 3-6. With just two picks in the 2013 NFL draft before Round 7, the Patriots are among the teams who could make a deal before making any picks at all.

1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

Less than two weeks away from the start for the 2013 NFL draft, the Kansas City Chiefs’ left tackle picture has not gotten much clearer. That left tackle could be Branden Albert, who the Chiefs franchise tagged, but as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, they could also be looking to trade him.

Without a long-term commitment in place for Albert, the most likely selection at the No. 1 overall pick remains one of the draft’s top left tackles. If so, that pick should be Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel, a left tackle with the footwork, technique, length and power to be one of the NFL’s best for many years to come.

If the Chiefs do end up sticking with Albert at left tackle, it appears their choice could end up being Oregon outside linebacker Dion Jordan.

Although Jordan would be a very risky No. 1 overall choice and does not address a position of immediate need for the Chiefs, they could be lured into drafting him on his athleticism and upside. Jeff Risdon of Detroit Lions Draft and Bleacher Report’s Ryan Riddle have both reported from sources that the Chiefs are currently leaning toward Jordan at the top of the board — but with nearly two weeks remaining, there remains plenty of time for that to change, especially if they receive any trade interest for Albert.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

The Jacksonville Jaguars sent a full contingent of general manager David Caldwell, head coach Gus Bradley, offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch, director of player personnel Terry McDonough and vice president of technology and football analytics Tony Khan to West Virginia’s pro day, according to the Jaguars’ official Twitter account.

Considering that came just days into the start of NFL free agency, it would be hard to believe the Jaguars don’t have legitimate interest in drafting WVU quarterback Geno Smith at the No. 2 overall pick.

The best value choice for the Jaguars would be Star Lotulelei, who could be the disruptive force they lack at defensive tackle and a long-term cog for Bradley’s defense in Jacksonville. Quarterbacks, however, are consistently valued first and foremost, and if the Jaguars believe that Smith is the best quarterback for their franchise going forward, they will select him.

Caldwell previously said at the NFL Scouting Combine that the quarterback competition would be “wide-open” (per NFL.com), but as Blaine Gabbert has failed to prove himself as a worthy NFL starter in two seasons, that won’t preclude them from drafting a quarterback as early as the No. 2 overall pick.

3. Oakland Raiders: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

The Oakland Raiders have done a good job this offseason adding many veteran free-agent bargains to their defense, but improving their pass-rush still persists as one of their most pressing needs. The Raiders would be smart to select the draft class’ best all-around defensive end, Bjoern Werner.

Werner may not be the athletic freak that Barkevious Mingo, Dion Jordan or Ezekiel Ansah is, but he is a much more well-rounded and polished football player. If the Raiders want to draft a player who can come in and immediately bolster their pass-rush while also being a three-down contributor who can make plays against the run, Werner is the right man for the selection.

4. Philadelphia Eagles: Star Lotulelei, DT/DE, Utah

The Philadelphia Eagles drafted a very promising defensive lineman in Fletcher Cox with their first-round pick in last year’s draft, but they do not have much talent outside of him on their defensive line as they convert to a 3-4 defensive scheme. The Eagles could solve that problem quickly by drafting Utah’s Star Lotulelei.

Lotulelei projects to be a Haloti Ngata-type player in a 3-4 defensive scheme at the next level. He has the explosive quickness to be a terrific starting 5-technique defensive end, while he also has the size and power to kick inside to nose tackle. His versatility and ability to impact every play from the interior line makes him well worth a top-five pick if he checks out medically.

Lotulelei still faces some medical questions after being sent home early from the NFL Scouting Combine due to a heart issue, but he has been cleared by a heart specialist (per USA Today) and participated fully in Utah’s pro day since.

5. Detroit Lions: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

The Detroit Lions are going to have a new pair of starting offensive tackles next season. Longtime left tackle Jeff Backus retired, while right tackle Gosder Cherilus signed with the Indianapolis Colts. Drafting one of those offensive tackles with the No. 5 overall pick would be a very smart move for the Lions, and Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher is among the draft’s top talents.

Drafting Fisher would be the second consecutive first-round offensive tackle selected by the Lions, as they selected Iowa’s Riley Reiff with the No. 23 overall pick last season. Whether Reiff projects as the team’s long-term left tackle, however, is very much in question.

Fisher is a very good left tackle prospect who projects to be among the league’s top pass protectors for many years to come. By selecting Fisher, the Lions can keep Reiff at right tackle or inside at guard, while upgrading with a player who can come in immediately and lead the effort to keep Matt Stafford’s backside clean.

PROJECTED TRADE: The Miami Dolphins trade the No. 12 and No. 42 overall selections in the 2013 NFL Draft to the Cleveland Browns for the No. 6 and No. 139 overall selections.

6. Miami Dolphins (from Cleveland Browns): Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

With two picks in both the second and third rounds, the Miami Dolphins have the ammunition to trade up from the No. 12 overall pick, while the Cleveland Browns will likely be looking to trade down given that they do not have a second round pick.

For the Dolphins, who need an offensive tackle to replace Jake Long, trading up for the opportunity to select the third of the top offensive tackle trio in the draft class would be a smart move, while the Browns can pick up the second-round pick they covet.

The Dolphins are reportedly interested in Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson (per the Palm Beach Post’s Ben Volin) is a high-upside prospect with prototypical length and athleticism for the left tackle position. He is not as polished of a player as either Joeckel or Fisher, but has the potential given his footwork, measurables and strength to be an elite player at his position.

If the Dolphins were to stay put at No. 12, Johnson would likely go off the board to the Arizona  Cardinals at No. 7 or to the San Diego Chargers at No. 11. With so much ammunition to work with in the early rounds, trading up to add Johnson would be a smart move that would pair Johnson and Jonathan Martin as one of the league’s most promising young offensive tackle duos.

7. Arizona Cardinals: Dion Jordan, OLB/DE, Oregon

The Arizona Cardinals should be in the market for offensive line upgrades early in the 2013 NFL draft, but with the top three offensive tackles off the board, they could instead turn to the defensive side of the ball and address another need for a pass-rushing outside linebacker.

Considering that Dion Jordan is a potential selection at either the No. 1 or No. 2 overall pick, the Cardinals may find him tough to pass up at No. 7 overall. He is a boom-or-bust prospect, but a player with elite measurables with the potential to develop into a dynamic defensive playmaker.

The Cardinals have indicated possible interest in Jordan by hosting him for an official visit, per Revenge of the Birds.

PROJECTED TRADE: The Buffalo Bills trade the No. 8 and No. 71 overall selections to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the No. 13, No. 43 and No. 126 overall selections.

8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Buffalo Bills): Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

With no quarterback worth a top-10 draft pick and no other clear-cut choice for the Buffalo Bills at No. 8 overall, there is good reason to believe they will be looking to trade down in Round 1. Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers really need to add a playmaker and shutdown cornerback, which could make Alabama’s Dee Milliner worth trading up for.

Milliner is a big, athletic cornerback who plays with physicality, has great ball skills and good instincts. The missing piece in the Buccaneers secondary is a true No. 1 cornerback: Milliner could be that guy.

Given the cornerback depth in the draft class, the Buccaneers may prefer to stay put and draft a cornerback on Day 2 instead. That said, Milliner would be as good as any player they could add to their roster in this draft class, and would be worth making an aggressive move up the board to secure as the clear frontrunner of even a deep cornerback class.

9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU

The New York Jets apparently coveted Bruce Irvin in last year’s draft, according to The Sports Xchange’s Len Pasquarelli, before Irvin went one pick earlier than their pick to the Seattle Seahawks. Now one year later, with the Jets desperately seeking a pass-rushing outside linebacker and their new general manager being John Idzik, who was with the Seahawks last year, they could get an even better version of Irvin in LSU’s Barkevious Mingo.

Like Irvin, Mingo is undersized and weak as a point-of-attack run defender, but is a terrific candidate to make a conversion from defensive end to outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. Like Irvin, Mingo is a gifted pass-rusher whose production dipped in his final collegiate season, but is an exceptional athlete with the potential to be an explosive sack machine.

10. Tennessee Titans: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Brigham Young

The Tennessee Titans have a decent pair of starting defensive ends in Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley, but lack a big-impact player at the position. With a number of free-agent signings at other positions that have addressed some of the team’s greater needs, the Titans seem to be angling themselves toward making a run at one of the draft’s premier pass-rushing prospects.

Of all the top defensive ends in the 2013 draft class, none has seemed to rise more over the course of the season than BYU’s Ezekiel Ansah. Ansah has a very raw game that lacks solid technique, but he is a boom-or-bust prospect who flashes the athleticism and skill set to develop into a star.

Taking Ansah in the top 10 picks is a big risk, but it is appearing more and more likely he will be selected in that range of the draft, and the Tennessee Titans are a potential fit.

11. San Diego Chargers: Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina

The San Diego Chargers’ greatest need is to revamp their offensive line, a need that has become even greater with the loss of guard Louis Vasquez to the Denver Broncos. With the top left tackles off the board, the Chargers should turn their sights to selecting one of the draft’s top two guards, North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper or Alabama’s Chance Warmack.

Either is good value outside of the top 10 and both are fantastic prospects, but while Warmack has been hyped more, Cooper could end up being drafted ahead of him. Cooper has rare athleticism for a guard, but is also strong and powerful as a run blocker

A guard is not a sexy first-round pick, but Cooper would be an immediate upgrade on the interior offensive line with All-Pro potential. The Chargers need to rebuild their offensive line, and Cooper would be a great start.

12. Cleveland Browns (from Miami Dolphins): Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

Having traded down, the Cleveland Browns would have more flexibility to draft a player they covet at a position of need and worry less about specific value. Nonetheless, a player who would make sense at No. 12 overall is Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro.

The Browns continue to need talent in the secondary, especially at the free safety position next to T.J. Ward. An all-around playmaker at the position with good cover skills and the versatility to also line up at slot cornerback, but who is also a ferocious hitter in run defense, Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro would be an upside pick who could bolster the Browns’ secondary.

Having traded down, Alabama’s Chance Warmack would also be a great choice for a guard upgrade at the No. 12 overall pick.

13. Buffalo Bills (from Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Matt Barkley, QB, USC

After trading down to get better value, drafting a first-round quarterback still seems like the right move for the Buffalo Bills, even having signed Kevin Kolb to a two-year contract. As explained well by Pro Football Talk, Kolb’s incentive-laden deal is built for him to have to compete for the starting quarterback job — and that competition should come in the form of a draft pick in addition to Tarvaris Jackson (who was in a similar situation in the three-way battle with Russell Wilson and Matt Flynn in Seattle last year).

That makes the two most likely first-round picks for the Buffalo Bills to be USC’s Matt Barkley and Florida State’s E.J. Manuel, the two hottest names at the quarterback position in the 2013 draft class outside of Geno Smith.

That decision could easily go either way: Manuel has higher upside and more athleticism, but Barkley is a more efficient pocket passer who reads defenses better. The decision could come down to the Bills’ plan for 2013 and beyond: Barkley is the better choice if they are looking for an immediate rookie starter, but Manuel could get the nod if the Bills are content developing a rookie quarterback behind Kolb/Jackson for 2013.

14. Carolina Panthers: Jesse Williams, NT, Alabama

With a great deal of value still on the board at defensive tackle, the choice for the Carolina Panthers’ first-round pick should come down to which player at the position is the best fit for their defensive scheme. The Panthers have a major need at defensive tackle, but the best choice would be powerful and explosive nose tackle Jesse Williams of Alabama.

Williams has not gotten as much attention as some of the other defensive tackles still on the draft board, but he should be getting that attention. He is a massive and physical nose tackle who is terrific against the run, but he is also a very quick athlete for his size who can penetrate and play on all three downs.

15. New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Richardson, DE, Missouri

The draft process will be important to the New Orleans Saints in rebuilding their defensive personnel to fit the 3-4 scheme. One of their biggest remaining needs is for a 5-technique defensive end to play opposite Cameron Jordan.

An explosive athlete and interior pass-rusher, Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson is a great candidate to make the conversion to the 5-technique position at the next level. He is great value at the end of the top 15, and can immediately be an impact player on the Saints’ defensive front with his ability to shoot interior gaps, make plays in the backfield and draw double-teams.

16. St. Louis Rams: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

There has been a lot of talk about the Rams drafting West Virginia’s Tavon Austin, and with good reason. The Rams could use another playmaker at the wide receiver position, and Austin is as explosive as they come while a perfect fit to replace Danny Amendola in the slot.

Austin is small, but makes up for his lack of size with fantastic speed and agility. He is a threat to turn any play into a big play, while he is a clean route-runner with good hands, and can also be used as a running threat out of the backfield.

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42 Responses to “2013 NFL Mock Draft: Projecting How Potential Trades Could Shake Up The Draft”

  1. raynman says:

    i like it. looking for scheme fit as opposed to just need.

    as a panther fan it’s surprising to see jesse williams taken so early, but i like what he can do and he fits the need for a verastile body on the Dline who can play nose if needed. i think that he would fit well beside greg hardy. both those guys are insane and can play anywhere on the DL. jesse being a stud against the run is the biggest draw, tho.

    the only problem is they haven’t brought jesse in, but they did go to the alabama pro day. gettleman likes big powerful bodies on the DL and he may have seen enough on tape and at the pro day to make the call.

    and WR in the second is a good choice as well. patton will be good.

    nice job….and thanks for not sticking us with another UT in richardson. there’s been no sign of interest other than steve smith mentioning him on some radio show once upon a time. no visits. no pro days. nothing. that pretty much means no pick.

  2. joeisme says:

    Another stupid mock with GB taking a TE in the first round. They did very well w/o Jennings last year and Finley isn’t going anywhere. They already have SIX TEs on the roster. Adding a seventh would be ludicrous. They need immediate help on D, not offense other than LT.

  3. m says:

    As a Bucs fan, I could certainly see this trade’s happening. Perspicacious.

  4. joe says:

    Easterbrooks is right look at hoyer the pats have 0 to show for him I think BB is pissed. I still think mall at will go to Cleveland. I don’t think Lombardi is sold on weedon. And what’s up with this mock the raiders selecting Werner and Arizona needs an OL so does phillu . I’m not a big fan of this mock

    • Nuf Ced says:

      There was no investment in Hoyer he was a UFA. I doubt BB was angry, he flat cut Hoyer he could have carried 3 QBs again.

      There was ZERO market for Hoyer; he was cut in September and didn’t get picked up until Rothlesberger got injured and Pitt picked him up in November. He didnt impress enough for the Steelers to keep him over Leftwich or Batch. So Hoyer was cut again. The Cardinals liked him more than Skelton and Kolb to get a RFA tender this year but they didn’t like him enough not to trade a 7th and a conditional pick for Carson Palmer…

      Again it’s hard to get angry that we didn’t get anything for him… There was no interest. It’s also hard to think Hoyer had any trade value if Palmer went for what he did.

      • Russell Easterbrooks says:

        WRONG, there was an investment in Hoyer, you paid the guy for three years, waisted time training a player with out a future as your starter, and tied up a roster spot when you could have had someone else.
        There was Zero market for Hoyer, because he played poorly in preseason. The only way BB could get anything for Hoyer, was Hoyer had to play good.

  5. TD says:

    Trading down into the mid 30’s and gaining an extra pick would be ideal. I am the president and founder of the Jonathan Banks Fan Club so I enjoyed this mock. I’m with AM though, I found it odd Keenan Allen went as late as he did

  6. Russell Easterbrooks says:

    The issue now is Mallett, BB is not going to carry 3 QBs on his roster. If Mallett is not the future in New England then? If he plays the preseason and does poor ? and Kafka does well ? It will be to late and you will have lost any value the Patriots had. BB already knows if Mallett has a future in New England. So getting a 3d pick now or next year in a trade, is good value for both teams.

    • Nuf Ced says:

      Based on what? The Pats carried 3 QBs in 2011, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001 & 2000.

      Kafka a good decision-maker, gets the ball out quickly and is very accurate with his short and intermediate throws. His biggest drawback is his arm strength. He cannot throw the ball deep and struggles with passes outside the numbers. I would be SHOCKED if Kafka made the final roster over Mallet.

      Trading Mallet is made more difficult with the new CBA; any team that trades for Mallet cannot renegotiate his contract until next year. So if Mallet were to come in and have a monster year Mallet has the leverage of playing out his deal the become an FA. I think also there is a facet of the CBA with rookie deals that gives the team an option of paying the player the average if the top10 salaries at the position. I have to read more about that. Either way I’m not trading value for something I can’t lock up.

      • Russell Easterbrooks says:

        Kafka looks better on tape to me, Malletts college tape was OK. Why did BB sign Kafka??

    • Russell Easterbrooks says:

      The more depth on the roster the less room for a 3d QB. BB will carry extra dline this year, after being short last year, looks like more WR as well, as depth at LB this year. I have him drafting LB Sio Moore 1st.

  7. Jeff M says:

    Hunter is everything the Pats DON’T draft in WRs…tall, athletic, dumb, can’t run routes, poor hands, bad concentration, poor hands, doesn’t read defenses…no chance they draft this guy. If anyone they’d go for Woods, Bailey, or Wheaton long before Hunter. They might take a flier on Hunter in the 5th or 6th rounds, but not before that.

  8. Bryan says:

    Mississippi State L/B Cameron Lawrence #10 2010-2012.
    291 Tackles, 7 Sacks, 9 pass break ups, 5 forced fumbles and 4 interceptions. All-SEC football, ALL-SEC academics, Team Captain, Back to Back 120+Tackle seasons

  9. J H TARBORO says:

    Former Michigan and Rice RB Sam McGuffie just blew up the regional super combine in Dallas. Running in the upper 4.2s-4.3 40yd one the most impressive at athletes at the event. vert and long jump also very good, check his highlights on youtube. Maybe an UFA.

  10. Nuf Ced says:

    I can’t see Williams going that high nor Ogletree and Lacy falling that far; neither can I see the Pats taking Hunter or any other WR ahead of Jenkins in the second round.

  11. J H TARBORO says:

    7th round consideration QB/WR/TE Marqueis Gray could be huge playmaker in our system.

  12. J H TARBORO says:

    If we deal Mallett, why not package Cunningham and Deaderick for other picks, there is a lot of defensive talent in this draft, Hell, even kyle love, deal them!!!

    • Nuf Ced says:

      What value would you expect them to bring? If this draft is loaded with defense why would any team trade any picks of value for two average defensive players I the last year of their contracts?

      • J H TARBORO says:

        possible 3rd or 4th rounds

        • Alex says:

          That’s funny.
          Maybe we should trade Kafka to the Chiefs for the first and third round picks?

      • J H TARBORO says:

        They’re proven, play on a winning team and a lot of teams still need things.

        • Nuf Ced says:

          Basically he repeated what he did on the Rice pro day last month. Just started playing slot this year, led Rice in receiving.

        • Nuf Ced says:

          Love your optimism, but neither are proven to the point either warrants a 3rd or 4th. Carson Palmer went for a 7th and Anquan Bolden went for a 6th; those two I would qualify as proven. I would say these two are no more proven/valuable than Arrelious Benn and TB couldn’t fetch much more than a 6th for him packaged w/ a 7th

  13. AM says:

    All quite plausible trades; nice analysis. That being said, I will be severely disappointed if the Patriots select Justin Hunter over Keenan Allen (whom I doubt will fall so far).

  14. MaineMan says:

    I’m not 100% sold on Banks, but the way this mock is set up, he’s probably the best fit left for the Pats on the defensive side at that level (and not a bad pick, by any stretch). For the #59, if Wheaton is still available, I’d take him all day over Hunter.

  15. Russell Easterbrooks says:

    I like CB Banks, but #59 needs to be Sio Moore, not a WR if we get Sanders in the Steelers deal.

  16. Russell Easterbrooks says:

    I’m not sure I can see the Eagles trading for the #29th pick and moving-up just 6 picks? QB Manuel will be on the board at #35, why move-up?

    I think Tampa is more likely to trade for the #29th pick. Thier first choice, #13 allows Tampa to get CB Xavier Rhodes. By trading for The Patriots #29 allows them to move up from #43 by , 15 picks , where they can take a QB , with the only QB off the board, is Geno Smith, OR Tampa could get QB Ryan Mallett in the deal’.
    Patriots send QB Mallett, and #29 to Tampa for #43,#112,#126, and a 3d next year. Then Tampa could use #29 for other team needs.

    • qazmlpgh says:

      i would be really pissed if that trade went down. I’m all for trading the 1st and collecting some picks, but Mallett and a 1st for 2nd and 4th round picks wouldn’t be a good deal, IMO.

      • Russell Easterbrooks says:

        I have the Patriots getting a 3d next year for Mallett.

        • Nuf Ced says:

          I don’t think a third next year would be acceptable value to BB, he didn’t invest a third to get a third

        • Russell Easterbrooks says:

          If Mallett does poor in this preseason, and Kafka does well what will Bill do? He’s not going to carry 3 QBs on the roster. If he cuts Mallett he gets zipo, so trade him now unless Bill thinks he has a future for the Patriots.

        • Alex says:

          That is a terrible trade.
          Kafka almost certainly won’t beat out Mallett, so you don’t need to worry about him being cut.

        • Nuf Ced says:

          Russ – I can’t follow your logic. Are you saying BB should just unload Mallet now for fear he has a poor preseason ? Mallet’s current value isn’t high now there is little tape on him; the only people that know how good he has progressed are the coaching staff; I think if BB thought Mallet had not progressed to the point of being a capable backup or worth more than what he was being offered BB would have moved him.

          As a person who lives in the Philly media market I saw every preseason game Kafka played for the eagles; not sure why Reid loved him nor do I believe he will outplay Mallet. Kafka is a smart kid with average tools.

      • cc says:

        Amen. Definitely not a smooth move by far. If the #29 goes, its for better than (2) 4th rounders included with a minimum mid-upper 2nd rounder!!
        And Mallet gets something more than just a 3rd in return…..just sayin’.

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