Back in our first mock draft, a lot was still unsettled around the league. With every head coaching vacancy filled, the draft order finalized and the Senior Bowl in the past, teams are already deep into their draft preparation. As occurs with the annual coaching shuffle around the league, teams like the Eagles and Saints will be switching to a 3-4 and therefore will need to change some personnel. Likewise, some teams are considering adding a viable quarterback to their offense. It remains to be seen whether they’ll be able to find one in the first round.
While the anticipation is that some workout warriors will blow these predictions out of the water at the Combine, here’s our second stab at a 2013 NFL mock draft:
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Andy Reid and the Chiefs stay with Smith, who they hope can be Donovan McNabb 2.0. The Chiefs haven’t drafted a quarterback in the first round since 1983. Smith will be the first by being (probably) the best of a weak passing class.
Previous mock: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
With the fewest sacks in the NFL in 2012, the Jaguars need to find a pass rusher. Werner may not have the highest ceiling in the draft, but he’s ready to play right away and will provide an instant upgrade.
Previous mock: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
3. Oakland Raiders
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Raiders had the second-fewest sacks in the NFL and need at least one defensive tackle, as it is all but certain Richard Seymour won’t be back with the team. Lotulelei can anchor the Oakland line for years to come.
Previous mock: Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
4. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Word is the Eagles will be converting to a 3-4 defense and the past couple seasons tell us that they’ll need some players for that - or any other - defense. However, they also need help on the offensive line. Joeckel is too good to pass up if he’s on the board.
Previous mock: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
5. Detroit Lions
Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
The Lions released Kyle Vanden Bosch, and while his meager production shouldn’t be hard to replace, they do need an outside pass rush. Moore played both linebacker and defensive end in college and could make the Detroit line dominant alongside Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.
Previous mock: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
6. Cleveland Browns
Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
Cleveland also needs to upgrade its pass rush. Under new head coach Rob Chudzinski and defensive coordinator Ray Horton, the Browns will run a 3-4 defense and need to add a player like Jones on the outside.
Previous mock: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
7. Arizona Cardinals
Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Yes, the Cardinals need a quarterback, but they also need linemen to protect that quarterback, even if it’s Kevin Kolb. Since they can only draft one here, it’ll be Fisher, whose stock is on the rise.
Previous mock: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
8. Buffalo Bills
Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
Nassib was the pick previously, given his connections with new Bills head coach Doug Marrone, but new general manager Buddy Nix said he was impressed with Wilson’s arm strength at the Senior Bowl. With no Combine results to go on as of yet, that’s good enough rationale for this mock draft.
Previous mock: Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
9. New York Jets
Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
The Jets will stick with Mingo as their pick, hoping to replenish a defense that has seen much of its talent disappear over the past few seasons. Mingo is the type of hybrid pass rusher that Rex Ryan will maximize, mostly because he’s not a quarterback.
Previous mock: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
10. Tennessee Titans
DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Titans’ defense gave up the most points in the league last season, in part because of a pass defense ranked just 24th. Milliner could evolve into a shutdown corner, something Tennessee has lacked for several years.
Previous mock: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
11. San Diego Chargers
Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
With Fisher gone, the Chargers will turn to the third-best offensive tackle in the draft. Johnson wasn’t overly impressive in his senior season but played well enough in the Senior Bowl to justify a selection here.
Previous mock: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
12. Miami Dolphins
Keenan Allen, WR, California
The Dolphins at least hope Ryan Tannehill can be their franchise quarterback, but they’ll need to get him some weapons. Allen is the best wide receiver in the draft, a 6-3 deep threat who can win jump balls, something Miami sorely lacks.
Previous mock: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
With the worst pass defense in the NFL this season, the Buccaneers can use all the help they can get in the secondary. Milliner is gone, but Rhodes, a rare commodity as a 6-2 cornerback, is a need pick.
Previous mock: DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
14. Carolina Panthers
Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The pick was Alabama’s Jesse Williams, but Richardson takes his spot in anticipation of his combine performance. Richardson can move like no 300-pounder should be able to, and could see his stock soar even higher after Indianapolis.
Previous mock: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
15. New Orleans Saints
Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Rob Ryan is the Saints’ new defensive coordinator, and as a result the unit that was atrocious in 2012 will be switching to the 3-4. They have a lot of holes to fill, but Jordan fits perfectly as a pass-rushing upgrade and huge presence on the outside.
Previous mock: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
16. St. Louis Rams
Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
The Rams never got the chance to draft Johnson, but Warmack will do more than fine as an immediate upgrade at guard. If he was a tackle, he’d be a top-five pick.
Previous mock: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
17. Pittsburgh Steelers
Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
With a defense that is not what it used to be, the Steelers will look to inject some youth into the defensive line. Floyd is fast and aggressive, and can provide help against both the run and pass.
Previous mock: Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
18. Dallas Cowboys
Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
The Cowboys need to find another defensive tackle with the switch back to the 4-3. Williams might be more ideal as a nose guard in the 3-4, but there’s no reason why he can’t be an effective plug on a four-man line.
Previous mock: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
19. New York Giants
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
This pick remains the same because of the Jason Pierre-Paul comparisons and the fact that the Giants will likely begin turning over their defensive line in the next year or two. Ansah is raw but has great potential for the 19th pick.
Previous mock: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
20. Chicago Bears
Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
Cooper plays offensive line, so the Bears are definitely interested. They could probably use help more on the outside of the line, but Cooper is the best lineman available.
Previous mock: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
It’s impossible to tell what NFL teams are thinking of Te’o now, but if there’s a team to draft him relatively high after all that, it’s the Bengals, who could use an upgrade at inside linebacker.
Previous mock: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins)
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Having solved one of their problems on the offensive line, the Rams turn to a skill position. Patterson is 6-3 and one of the best athletes in the draft, which is important because you need to be athletic to catch one of Sam Bradford’s passes.
Previous mock: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
23. Minnesota Vikings
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
The Vikings needed a wide receiver before it was reported that Percy Harvin is available for trade, and definitely will need one if he is dealt.
Previous mock: Keenan Allen, WR, California
24. Indianapolis Colts
D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
The Colts could go offense or defense here. Protecting Andrew Luck breaks the tie, but Fluker is the pick over Aboushi.
Previous mock: Oday Aboushi, OT, Virginia Tech
25. Seattle Seahawks
John Jenkins, DT, Georgia
Jenkins is great value here and was impressive at the Senior Bowl. He also weighs more than 350 pounds, which should help free some space for Seattle’s pass rush.
Previous mock: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
26. Green Bay Packers
Barrett Jones, C, Alabama
The Packers obviously have struggled to protect Aaron Rodgers, so this is something they need to address. A tackle would’ve been nice, but Jones will solidify the center position.
Previous mock: Barrett Jones, C, Alabama
27. Houston Texans
Kevin Minter, LB, LSU
Houston’s defense never recovered after Brian Cushing’s season-ending ACL injury, so the Texans could use some insurance here.
Previous mock: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
28. Denver Broncos
Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Joe Flacco’s pass to Jacoby Jones is still hanging up there and the Broncos still need help in the secondary. Banks remains the selection.
Previous mock: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
29. New England Patriots
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Wes Welker keeps dropping passes in the playoffs and the Patriots have few passing weapons outside of the tight ends. Austin is a small but versatile player whom New England could get very creative with.
Previous mock: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
30. Atlanta Falcons
Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
John Abraham is 34 and Ray Edwards turned out to be money spent unwisely, so the Falcons should be looking for pass-rushing help.
Previous mock: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
31. San Francisco 49ers
Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The 49ers obviously struggled with their pass defense in the Super Bowl and could lose Dashon Goldson to free agency. Vaccaro is the first safety off the board.
Previous mock: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
32. Baltimore Ravens
Robert Woods, WR, USC
Anquan Boldin might have played his last game as a Raven in the Super Bowl. Woods could replace him and more.
Previous mock: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson