EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 19: Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans throws a pass in the fourth quarter of the game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Eugene, Oregon. Barkley was 26 of 34 for 323 yards and 4 touchdowns as USC won the game 38-35. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Matt Barkley is the big prize in the 2013 NFL Draft. Which team will draft the USC superstar next spring? Our first NFL mock draft for 2013.
The 2012 NFL Draft has been over for two days, so it seems like the perfect time to start thinking about 2013. Plan ahead, I always say. One season of college football will change this 2013 NFL mock draft dramatically. Injuries, disappointments, tasers and other things can really sink a player.
Remember this time last year when Vontaze Burfict was in the 1st round of mock drafts?
Alright, one more stab at predictions.
1. Oakland Raiders, Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Finally, Oakland gets the right USC quarterback.
2. Cleveland Browns, Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
It's hard to say what exactly will happen to Cleveland this season. It looks like an organization adrift. I anticipate a new regime, and that means a new quarterback, a new bona fide franchise quarterback.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars, Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Will they be looking at a quarterback? If not, blue chip defensive linemen are always welcome.
4. Minnesota Vikings, Sam Montgomery, DE/OLB, LSU
Their division rivals are going to be far ahead of the game. To compete, the Vikings need to become a defensive threat by adding an explosive pass rusher like Montgomery.
5. Arizona Cardinals, Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Jones looks like the top pure rushing linebacker in the draft. The Cardinals cannot pass on him.
6. Indianapolis Colts, Robert Woods, WR, USC
The Colts could be on the fast track to rebound-ville. Giving Luck an elite receiver to work with should make for a thrilling sophomore campaign.
7. Miami Dolphins, David Amerson, CB, NC State
Big, fast and physical, Amerson could be next year's version of Claiborne. He also has hands (13 interceptions in 2011).
8. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins), Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Finally, an elite left tackle to protect Sam Bradford's blind side.
9. New York Jets, Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
Dare they pull the plug on Sanchez?
10. St. Louis Rams, Keenan Allen, WR, California
The Rams added depth and some good role players at the position. Now, they can finally add a true No. 1 to the roster.
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
12. Tennessee Titans, Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
Next year's version of Luke Kuechly lands in Music City. His draft stock could really skyrocket this season.
13. San Diego Chargers, Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
The Honey Badger goes to San Diego. The Chargers will need to address their secondary next season ... they probably should have done so even more this year.
14. Buffalo Bills, Da'Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee
Buffalo is doing things right, and it should finally start to see some reward this year. Giving the Ryan Fitzpatrick experiment the benefit of the doubt, they add another weapon a year from now.
15. Seattle Seahawks, Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee
Pete Carroll took a Frankenstein approach to find a signal caller, sewing together a collection of mid-level guys. They finally find a legitimate franchise quarterback in 2013. Matt Flynn is nervous.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers, Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
The Steelers really need to replenish the cupboard with defensive talent. Adding Mingo to the mix keeps opposing quarterbacks in fear of the Steelers.
17. Philadelphia Eagles, Ray-Ray Armstrong, S, Miami
Safety is the one position of need that still needs an answer in Philadelphia. Armstrong has talent, but needs to rebound from a season with more suspensions than highlights.
18. Carolina Panthers, Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
Give the Panthers more pass rushers and see who controls the NFC South.
19. Chicago Bears, Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
I wondered about Chicago putting off offensive line upgrades. It could be the biggest threat to their lofty expectations in 2012.
20. Kansas City Chiefs, E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
Next year's draft could have a very deep class of quarterbacks. Will the Chiefs find a long-term solution?
21. Cincinnati Bengals, Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
I thought the Bengals might try to find a running back in this year's draft. They can't say no to Lattimore if he falls to them next year.
22. New Orleans Saints, Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
With Steve Spagnuolo running the defense, the Saints will need more outside rushers.
23. Atlanta Falcons, Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
The Falcons offense is primed for big things in 2013. There defense, the pass rush specifically, could hold them back.
24. San Francisco 49ers, Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Improving the secondary, the corners specifically, could make the 49ers defense truly unstoppable.
25. Baltimore Ravens, Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
It was a head scratcher for me when the Ravens passed on offensive line help. They need both a guard and a center. Enter Jones, who can play both. He played tackle last season, after working at guard the year before that. This year, he's moving to center. NFL teams will prize that kind of versatility.
26. Denver Broncos, Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
2012 mock drafts started putting Coby Fleener here, but the Broncos thought otherwise. Eifert gives Manning another weapon.
27. New York Giants, C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
Mosely can really move. He can also make it more difficult for opponents to generate much on short passes over the middle.
28. Detroit Lions, Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
Just what the Lions need, more speed in their offense.
29. New England Patriots, Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State
I like the decision to take a risk on Alfonzo Dennard, scourge of the Lincoln, NE, police department. Poyer adds a blue chip starter who plays aggressive.
30. Green Bay Packers, Keenan Davis, WR, Iowa
Greg Jennings is a free agent after this season. I doubt they let him get away, but they will eventually need to think about keeping the depth chart stocked at the position.
31. Dallas Cowboys, Brandon Jenkins, OLB, Florida State
Dallas franchised Anthony Spencer this season, who disappeared for long stretches of the season last year. Next year, they should look for a replacement, and the ferocious Jenkins would be a big upgrade.
32. Houston Texans, Johnny Adams, CB, Michigan State
Yeah, I put the Texans here. I think they can go all the way. However, they need a better answer than Kareem Jackson across from Johnathan Joseph.