2013 NFL Mock Draft: Pass rushers and offensive tackles dominate the first round

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Mock drafts in November are more about discussion of prospects than they are about accuracy. So what do you say we discuss some prospects?

Everybody loves mock drafts.

By now, you have probably combed through dozens of mock drafts, attempting to get an idea of which players to have on your radar.

In November, accuracy is not my chief concern with a mock draft. Nobody's mock draft will be accurate in November, as too many variables are still undecided.

What a November mock draft can provide, though, is a clearer picture of the type of draft class we could be dealing with. In this mock, I threw in some surprise names to expand the discussions on certain intriguing prospects that have the potential to shoot up draft boards.

Have a look and fire away in the comment below. Let the draft discussion begin.

1. Kansas City Chiefs - Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

The Kansas City Chiefs are starving for an NFL-caliber quarterback. Geno Smith is the best quarterback in this draft class. Although he is not in the same league as Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III as a pro prospect, Smith presents the most upside of any quarterback in this class and is worthy of the No.1 overall choice. While he tends to be hesitant with the football at times, Smith stands tough in the pocket and has the arm talent to hit all of his throws. He is also a quality athlete.

Matt Barkley has dealt with inconsistency and now injury during a lackluster senior campaign, which will make him a longshot for the top pick. Barkley is slightly undersized and will deal with questions about his arm strength leading up to the draft.

The Chiefs have to select a quarterback, and Geno Smith is the clear option at the moment.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU

The Jacksonville Jaguars are in a tough spot. Blaine Gabbert likely is not the answer at quarterback. But for reasons noted above, Matt Barkley is not worth drafting at this spot. Whoever replaces Gene Smith, who is on his last legs as the Jaguars' general manager, will have to realize the obvious lack of value at quarterback with the No. 2 pick.

Fortunately, Jacksonville has plenty of needs it can address with this pick. A defensive lineman makes the most sense, because of the talent available and the team's needs. However, with a total reset likely coming to Jacksonville, a scheme change would affect the direction the Jaguars head in.

For now, Sam Montgomery makes the most sense for Jacksonville's 4-3 defense. Austen Lane has shown some promise, and Jeremy Mincey is solid on the left side, but the Jaguars have been looking for a difference making pass rusher for what seems like a decade. Andre Branch, last year's second round pick, has seen his snaps decrease in recent weeks, too. Montgomery remains my top ranked puss rusher. He added size this season and improved his already freakish athleticism, while adding to his array of pass rush moves.

3. Cleveland Browns - Barkevious Mingo, DE/LB, LSU

The Cleveland Browns have played much better in recent weeks and may not be picking this high come draft time. If they do end up in the top five, though, a pass rusher could be the team's top priority.

Barkevious Mingo's productive has caused some to sour on him, but the LSU pass rusher displays rare burst and tremendous athleticism off the edge. He has the upside to warrant a top five selection and could be a difference maker for this defense.

4. Carolina Panthers - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

The Carolina Panthers passed up on Fletcher Cox a year ago, supposedly satisfied with the defensive tackles on the roster. The Panthers once again rank near the bottom of the league in rushing defense, though, and still lack talent at defensive tackle.

Star Lotulelei is a tremendous blend of size and athleticism on the inside. He fits into any scheme and will be able to create havoc from day one.

5. Oakland Raiders - Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon

The Oakland Raiders love athletes, and few players in the 2013 NFL Draft possess Dion Jordan's athleticism. He is a versatile pass rusher who gets tremendous bend around the edge. But he has also proven to be a skilled cover man all over the field.

The Raiders' defense is in need of playmakers, particularly in the front seven. Jordan is the best player available on my board and makes a ton of sense in Oakland.

6. Philadelphia Eagles - Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

The Eagles have been plagued by poor offensive line play long enough. Michael Vick has long been tagged as injury prone, but given the state of his offensive line, it's tough to blame the injuries on him being frail.

Luke Joeckel is the best offensive tackle in this draft class. He has gotten better each and every time I watch him and managed to shut down some of the nation's top pass rushers. Most of the team's drafting in the top five are set at left tackle, though, so he may slip just outside of that range in this scenario.

7. St. Louis Rams - Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

This is far from a popular opinion, but it's November and we have a long way to go. Jake Matthews is the second best offensive tackle on his team, but he's also the second best offensive tackle in the entire country. Whether he declares or not is still up for debate.

Matthews has been forced to play right tackle because of Joeckel, but his skill set suggest he would have no issue moving over to the left side. He's athletic and technically sound, rarely getting beat around the edge. Matthews could stand to add a bit of strength, but he's shown plenty of drive in the running game as well. The Rams are desperate for offensive line help, so Matthews fits here.

8. San Diego Chargers - Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Philip Rivers has struggled in 2012, and San Diego's underwhelming offensive line is a huge reason why. Jared Gaither is constantly in and out of the lineup, making him tough to rely upon as a blindside protector.

Michigan's Taylor Lewain is considered by many to be neck and neck with Luke Joeckel as the best draft eligible tackle. I have him third behind Jake Matthews, but it's close. Lewan needs to be a bit more consistent against stronger pass rushers. Still, he has the talent and positional value to land in the top ten.

9. Miami Dolphins - Keenan Allen, WR, California

After watching each of the big name wide receivers eligible for this year's draft, Keenan Allen stood out the most. Despite his injury, I think he has a chance at landing in the top ten. In addition to his quickness in and out of his cuts, Allen possesses solid straight line speed and an ability to make plays after the catch. In a lot of ways, he reminds me of Dez Bryant without the immaturity.

The Dolphins have a massive need at wide receiver. That could push them to make a slight reach for Allen with most of the draft's premiere pass rushers off the board.

10. Buffalo Bills - Manti Te'o, LB, Buffalo Bills

Manti Te'o is a special player, but because of the position he plays, it will be tough for him to be drafted in the top five, as some are predicting. While there isn't a huge difference between Te'o and last year's top inside linebacker prospect, Luke Kuechly, a slight edge can be given to Te'o, who has been nearly flawless this season for the top ranked Irish. The Bills need help at linebacker, and Te'o is a natural fit in the 4-3 defense.

11. Detroit Lions - Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

Has a team ever needed a cornerback like the Detroit Lions do? They always seem to miss out on elite players at the position, but in this scenario, the top cornerback in the draft falls to them at No. 11. Dee Milliner has been very impressive this season and has a stranglehold on the top cornerback spot if he declares. As physical as he is athletic, Milliner would be an instant upgrade in the Lions' putrid secondary.

12. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins) - Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia

The St. Louis Rams could use an upgrade at outside linebacker, and Jarvis Jones fits the bill as the best player on the board. Many have compared him to Von Miller, but that's off base. Miller is a much strong pass rusher and more versatile in his skill set. Jones has crazy speed and burst around the corner, but that's just about all he has. He certainly has upside, but let's not pretend he is the difference maker that Miller is.

13. Arizona Cardinals - Matt Barkley, QB, USC

I'm not as sour on Matt Barkley as some, but he most definitely does not belong in the top five or ten picks come April. He has shown limitations in his arm strength and not proven himself on downfield throws often enough this season. Arizona might be the right situation for him, though. The weather is warm, and Barkley would be able to throw to a talented group of wide receivers. Be better hope the Cards find a way to fix the offensive line, though.

14. New York Jets - Damontre Moore, LB, Texas A&M

Damontre Moore is making a name for himself this season. In a class loaded with pass rushers, Moore's name is near the top of most lists. He uses his hands very well and has experience playing rush linebacker and 4-3 defensive end. The Jets could use a playmaker on defense.

15. Tennessee Titans - Matt Elam, S, Florida

After watching Matt Elam play for the last month, I am firmly on the bandwagon. Elam is a hard-hitting safety who displays tremendous range and ball skills in the secondary. The Titans are severely lacking at safety right now, making this a nice value pick.

16. Cincinnati Bengals - C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama

Ray Maualuga has been brutal this season. Vontaze Burfict turned out to be a decent find, but linebacker is still a position of need for the Bengals. C.J. Mosley has been a big part of Alabama's dominant stop unit this season. He's probably closer to Manti Te'o than people realize.

17. New Orleans Saints - Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

The New Orleans Saints are creeping farther away from the top of the draft order with each passing week. Lucky for them, this draft is loaded with top pass rushers, so one is likely to slide into their draft range. Bjoern Werner has been a bit inconsistent this season, but I love his bend around the edge and powerful pass rush moves.

18. Dallas Cowboys - Chance Warmack, G, Alabama

This pick is as obvious as it gets. The interior of Dallas' offensive line is downright embarrassing. For my money, Chance Warmack is a better prospect than David DeCastro was a year ago. He's still a guard, though, so this range makes sense for him.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State

The Buccaneers were forced to deal Aqib Talib because of his abrasive personality and soon-to-expire contract. Cornerback is still an area of need for this team, despite the money it spent on the position in the offseason. Johnthan Banks is the best senior corner in this class. He has ridiculous ball skills and tons of athleticism.

20. Minnesota Vikings - Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama

Jesse Williams is one of the most underrated players in the country. He's a player that could play in either the 3-4 or the 4-3 and likely dominate. He is an oversized body in the middle, but Williams has impressive athleticism, which jumps off the screen each time I watch him. He could end up as a top-15 pick in April.

21. Indianapolis Colts - Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri

Sheldon Richardson has shown improved discipline and motor this season for the Tigers, causing his athleticism and disruptiveness to shine through on tape. He would fit nicely as a 3-4 defensive end or an under tackle in the 4-3. The Colts certainly need help up front, and his athleticism would be an ideal fit in Indy's defense.

22. New York Giants - Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

Xavier Rhodes is among the better athletes at the cornerback position that I've seen in the last few years. His ball skills, speed and fluid hips will make him a first round pick if he declares. The Giants' secondary has been killed by injuries and struggles as a result this season. Rhodes is a rare talent and likely one of the best available players at this spot.

23. Pittsburgh Steelers - Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

Mike Adams has been a huge disappointment thus far in his rookie campaign. He was a risky pick in the second round, so the Steelers shouldn't have an issue addressing the position early again in 2013.

Eric Fisher is a solid all around tackle with excellent balance and technique. He also has a solid mean streak, which would fit nicely in Pittsburgh.

24. Seattle Seahawks - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

Coming into the season, Justin Hunter was the No. 1 wide receiver on my board, but at this point, he isn't even the best wide receiver on his own team.

Cordarrelle Paterson has proven to have game breaking speed and an ability to make big plays. He is a physical receiver willing to attack the football in the air, and he has great ball skills. Patterson has struggled with some drops this season, but I eventually think he will wind up in the first round.

25. Green Bay Packers - Barrett Jones, C, Alabama

The Packers land the best prospect at their biggest position of need late in the first round. The offensive line has been an issue at times this season, with center being the most glaring hole up front. Alabama's Barrett Jones has experience playing all over the offensive line and has excelled at the center position. He would make an instant impact in Green Bay.

26. Denver Broncos - Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State

The Broncos addressed the defensive line early last year, but depth is key at that spot in the NFL. Plus, Johnathan Hankins, who is a rare blend of size and athleticism present great value at this spot. Hankins has an insonsistent motor that causes him to fall.

27. New England Patriots - Eric Reid, S, LSU

Eric Reid is the best player available, and the Patriots obviously need some help in the secondary. A cornerback doesn't fit this spot because most of the top options are off the board. A playmaking safety like Reid would be a welcome addition to New England's secondary.

28. Chicago Bears - Jonathan Cooper, G, UNC

The Chicago Bears' offensive line is one of the worst units in the National Football League. Talent at any position will help. Enter Jonathan Cooper, arguably the draft's best guard prospect. While Chance Warmack gets most of the attention, Cooper is among the most athletic guards I have ever evaluated.

29. San Francisco 49ers - Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers

What do you give a team that has it all? The longterm future at quarterback is still up in the air, but between Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith, the 49ers seem unlikely to draft a signal caller in the first round. They could certainly trade this pick to a team that wants Tyler Wilson, Mike Glennon or one of the juniors that declares.

Cornerback is one area the 49ers could use a little bit of help. Logan Ryan is having a tremendous season at Rutgers and could move towards the first round.

30. Baltimore Ravens - Tank Carradine, DE/OLB, Florida State

Tank Carradine has stepped in for the injured Brandon Jenkins and vaulted his draft stock towards the first round. He is an excellent athlete on the outside, who displays strength and bend on the edge. The Ravens defense is getting old, especially in the front seven. Carradine could inject some life into the Ravens' pass rush.

31. Houston Texans - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson

The Houston Texans have a big need at wide receiver across from Andre Johnson, who is getting up there in age. DeAndre Hopkins is a player I expect to rise as more people watch him closely. He has the best ball skills in the draft and the speed to burn deep. Few players have the type of body control Hopkins does.

32. Atlanta Falcons - Ezekial Ansah, DE, BYU

The Atlanta Falcons rank among the middle of the pack in sacks but could use a stud pass rusher (couldn't every team use that?). Ezekial Ansah has shown flashes of ability that suggest he could be that type of difference maker in the NFL.

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