2013 NFL mock draft: Seniors take over top 10

Stephen Dunn

In this edition of the mock draft, seniors were uncommonly popular early.

Seven of the first 10 picks were seniors, and 19 of the first rounders total. That may be because we haven't seen the junior prospects in more than a month while a few of the seniors benefited from the Senior Bowl.

With the NFL Combine coming up next week, look for more information about prospects to come out following the Underwear Olympics. While this mock has some very notable differences from our previous efforts, some of players and positions picked remain static.

For this week's mock draft, myself and Matthew Fairburn swapped picks back and forth once again. This time he had odd-numbered picks and I had evens.

Pick Player Position Height Weight Class
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Geno Smith, West Virginia
QB 6'3 215 Sr.

I’ve said it before and will say it again, if a team needs a quarterback, that is the team’s biggest need. Geno Smith is getting mixed reviews at the moment, but at this point in the process, he is still our No. 1 rated quarterback. Between now and April, a lot can change as far as the Chiefs’ needs are concerned. For now, we’ll stick with the quarterback.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars
Star Lotulelei, Utah
DT 6'4 320 Sr.

This is a pick that's been gone over myriad times. By now you know the words like it's "Call Me Maybe," or whatever Florida kids sing. Terrance Knighton is an impending free agent, Tyson Alualu has been a disappointment and C.J. Mosley is better as a backup. Lotulelei is among the best players in this draft, despite pedestrian stats during his career. His power at the line of scrimmage will make him an immediate starter wherever he goes.

Star Lotulelei scouting report

3. Oakland Raiders
Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
OT 6'6 310 Jr.

With Star Lotulelei off the board, the Raiders turn to another area of need; the offensive line. The running game struggled to get going at times last season, and Oakland needs to revamp the offensive line. Luke Joeckel is considered by some to be the best player in this draft, so this happens to be a value pick as well.

4. Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
OT 6'7 305 Sr.

Fisher's rise up NFL Draft boards is one of the bigger stories of the offseason. Once a fringe first-round pick, Fisher is now firmly entrenched inside the top 10. The Eagles gave up Demetress Bell last week and it may not be wise to rely on Jason Peters coming back healthy. Fisher fits Chip Kelly's offense, which requires offensive linemen to have good stamina and movement skills.

5. Detroit Lions
Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
DE 6'5 274 Sr.

Surprise! What fun is a pre-combine, pre-free agency mock draft if you aren’t going to throw in a few weird picks to make things interesting. Defensive end is the one spot on Detroit’s defensive line that needs fixing. They spent a lot of time with Ezekial Ansah at the Senior Bowl, and the BYU defensive end dominated the game. He could be atop their board.

6. Cleveland Browns
Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
DE/OLB 6'4 250 Jr.

While Moore was a star as defensive end in 2012, his first two years at A&M as an outside linebacker. The Browns need pass rush help, as they move to the 3-4 defense. Moore could be lined up opposite Jabaal Sheard and quickly give Cleveland a pair of linebackers that can rush the passer and stop the run.

7. Arizona Cardinals
Tyler Wilson, Arkansas QB 6'3 220 Sr.

Few teams in the league need a quarterback as badly as the Cardinals do. The offensive line also needs fixing in the worst way, but both of the top offensive tackles are off the board. Tyler Wilson’s arm strength makes him a fit for the vertical style of offense Bruce Arians likes to run. The Cardinals could also take one of the talented pass rushers that are still on the board, but Arians will want to find his quarterback.

8. Buffalo Bills
Jarvis Jones, Georgia
OLB 6-3 230 Sr.

Out of the teams picking in the top 10, Buffalo is the hardest to pin down. Other than Marcell Dareus in 2011, Buffalo has gone outside the norm in the past few drafts. That's why in mock drafts it's easy to cycle through numerous players for Buffalo. We can guess it may be a quarterback, but nobody knows yet. While the Bills do need a signal caller, an outside linebacker that can blitz is also a top need. For this mock, we went with Jones, the premier natural outside linebacker in the class.

9. New York Jets
Barkevious Mingo, LSU DE/OLB 6-5 240 Jr.

The Jets’ defense lacks a playmaker that can get after the quarterback. Rex Ryan is as creative as they come defensively, but he needs some new toys to play with. Just think about what Ryan could do with a talent like Barkevious Mingo. Many will look at the stat sheet and say Mingo had a down year, but he wasn’t used enough in space and actually put tons of pressure on the quarterback this season. He belongs in the top 10.

10. Tennessee Titans
Bjoern Werner, Florida State
DE 6'4 255 Jr.

If the draft falls like it does here, Tennessee will have several very good players to choose from. A player like Werner may not have an overly high ceiling, but he's a pro-ready junior that should help Tennessee's pass rush.

Team Player Position Height Weight Stars
11. San Diego Chargers
Dee Milliner, Alabama CB 6'1 199 Jr.

Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason are both free agents. Jammer is getting up there in age, while Cason just isn’t very talented. Offensive line has been the go-to-pick for the Chargers in most mock drafts, but with the value Milliner presents, and both Jockel and Fisher off the board, the Chargers will have to wait to address the trenches.

12. Miami Dolphins
Keenan Allen, California
WR 6'3 210 Jr.

We're back to where we started with the Dolphins. When we started putting out 2013 mocks, Allen was the popular choice for the Dolphins. It's easy to forget about Allen. He missed Cal's final three games and his college quarterback was abysmal. Allen is the best receiver in the draft this year. He's a competitive outside target who can often win jump ball situations.

Keenan Allen scouting report

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
CB 6'2 217 Jr.

After trading Aqib Talib, the Buccaneers’ secondary was in shambles. Xavier Rhodes may seem like a reach here, but the gap between him and Milliner is not as big as some think. He’s a rangy cornerback who would step in and upgrade this secondary immediately.

Xavier Rhodes scouting report

14. Carolina Panthers
Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
DT 6'4 295 Jr.

This is a pick that has become pretty regular, not only here but on several mock drafts. For Carolina, Richardson is a perfect combination of scheme fit, need and value. Richardson is lightning fast and relentless off the line of scrimmage.

Sheldon Richardson scouting report

15. New Orleans Saints
Dion Jordan, Oregon
OLB/DE 6'7 245 Sr.

The Saints are switching to a 3-4 defense, and Dion Jordan would be the perfect piece to build around. New Orleans was already short on pass rushers before the defensive switch, so the position will be a priority. Jordan provides a combination of pass rushing and coverage that few in this class can match. At 6-feet-7-inches tall, Jordan has the best combination of size and athleticism in the entire draft.

Dion Jordan scouting report

16. St. Louis Rams
Chance Warmack, Alabama
G 6'3 320
Sr.

By the end of last season, the Rams moved Robert Turner to left guard and he didn't do a lot to keep the job. Warmack is the draft's best guard prospect and just as good as David DeCastro last year. Warmack is the better run blocker of the two and hard to push off the line of scrimmage.

Chance Warmack scouting report

17. Pittsburgh Steelers
Jesse Williams, Alabama
DT 6'4 320 Sr.

The Steelers’ roster suddenly has quite a few holes. The team once again struggled in the trenches on both sides of the ball this season. An upgrade in the middle of the defensive line would give the team a whole different feel on that side of the ball. Jesse Williams proved he can eat up double teams and dominate the point of attack at Alabama this season. He would fit in nicely in Pittsburgh.

Jesse Williams scouting report

18. Dallas Cowboys
Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
OT 6'6 302 Sr.

The Cowboys' offensive line has been in need of improvement for several years and Johnson is the best available offensive tackle. Doug Free just hasn't worked at right tackle and could be pushed inside to help the Cowboys' interior line. The only question about this pick is whether Johnson fits the power blocking scheme Dallas employs. He may need to get bigger, but has the mentality and style to overpower defensive ends.

Lane Johnson scouting report

19. New York Giants
Arthur Brown, Kansas State
MLB 6'2 231 Sr.

With pending free agents at the linebacker position, the Giants could soon be in the market for multiple players at the position. Arthur Brown is considered by some to be undersized, but there isn’t a linebacker in this class who plays the run as well as he does. He gets off blocks with ease and is just as effective in coverage. New York would be lucky to have him.

20. Chicago Bears
Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
G 6'3 310 Sr.

Right guard Lance Louis is an unrestricted free agent and, quite frankly, just isn't that good. Backups Chilo Rachal and Chris Spencer are free agents as well. The Bears have needed to upgrade their offensive line for several years, and a player like Cooper is well worth the 20th pick in the draft. He's a quick-footed guard that can beat defensive linemen off the snap and get out on the move.

More: Marcus Lattimore interview | Complete NFL Draft coverage

Team Player Position Height Weight Stars
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
S 6'1 218 Sr.

Among the Bengals’ biggest needs, along with linebacker and running back, is safety. They need to find someone to play alongside Reggie Nelson. Kenny Vaccaro grades out as the top safety in this class due to his strong play at the line of scrimmage and his range and coverage ability in the secondary.

22. St. Louis Rams
Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
WR 6'3 205 Jr.

No Rams receiver broke 700 yards receiving last season and the team doesn't a player that projects as a No. 1 target. Patterson can be the lead receiver for St. Louis. He has the speed to get vertical and should be a star at the Combine. If St. Louis wants to get inventive, Patterson can be dangerous in the running game as well.

Cordarrelle Patterson scouting report

23. Minnesota Vikings
Sharrif Floyd, Florida DT 6-3 303 Jr.

The Vikings are by no means desperate at defensive tackle, but the team would benefit from some pass rushing ability on the interior. Sharrif Floyd probably won’t fall this far on draft day, but if he does, the Vikings will be tempted. He’s a player with violent hands and the quickness to penetrate into the backfield.

Sharrif Floyd scouting report

24. Indianapolis Colts
D.J. Fluker, Alabama
OT 6-5 355 Sr.

Winston Justice is an unrestricted free agent and Ben Ijalana has been a bust of a draft pick. Fluker has been a fast-rising prospect with impressive size and power in the run blocking game. There has been speculation that Fluker may not fall out of the top 20 picks, but if he does, the Colts should take him and look for help on defense later in the draft.

25. Seattle Seahawks
Tavon Austin, West Virginia
WR 5'9 179 Sr.

Now that Russell Wilson has emerged as Seattle’s long term answer at quarterback, the team needs to be sure to surround him with weapons. Tavon Austin will be tough to pass up at this spot, especially considering the fact that the Seahawks don’t have a ton of needs to begin with. This is a bit of a luxury pick, but can you imagine Austin in Seattle’s offense? That could be dangerous.

Tavon Austin scouting report

26. Green Bay Packers
John Jenkins, Georgia
DT 6'3 358 Sr.

BJ Raji is one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL, but he plays a staggering number of snaps for the position. If the Packers drafted a player like Jenkins, it would help elongate Raji's career. It's also worth noting, that Raji's contract only has two years left on it, with the 2014 year being voidable. Jenkins can be insurance, and give the team another big body if they go to a four-man front in nickel sets.

27. Houston Texans
Kevin Minter, LSU
MLB 6'2 245 Jr.

After losing Brian Cushing for the season, the Texans revealed a lack of depth at the inside linebacker spot. While Cushing will be back to full strength next season, Houston could use another option alongside him. Kevin Minter is the type of thumping linebacker who will become productive in this defense.

28. Denver Broncos
Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State
DT 6'3 317 Jr.

Three of Denver's defensive tackles (including both starters) are unrestricted free agents. The Broncos may not bring all of them back, less so because of money and more so to infuse talent up front. Hankins can be used in a variety of ways up front, capable of playing nose, shooting gaps or even lining up at end.

Johnathan Hankins scouting report

29. New England Patriots
DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
WR 6'1 205 Jr.

The New England Patriots need more players that can make plays outside the numbers. The tight ends are league’s best, but Tom Brady could use a weapon at wide receiver. DeAndre Hopkins not only adds speed, but he brings precise route running and impressive focus to the table as well. Those two traits go over well in New England.

30. Atlanta Falcons
Sam Montgomery, LSU
DE 6'5 260 Jr.

The Falcons need to add some youth to their defense and will have a good opportunity to find a very good lineman in the first round. Montgomery is a player who barely tapped his potential at LSU. At 34, John Abraham is near the end of his career.

31. San Francisco 49ers
Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International
S 6'0 209 Sr.

Jonathan Cyprien has emerged as one of the top safeties in this class, and the Super Bowl showed San Francisco’s warts at the safety position. Consider that the Niners came out of left field to pick A.J. Jenkins a year ago, and it doesn’t seem too farfetched that they would go after Cyprien.

32. Baltimore Ravens
Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
MLB 6'2 255 Sr.

What better distraction from a fake girlfriend than trying to replace a first-ballot Hall of Famer in Ray Lewis? Te'o is able to do a lot of the same things Lewis did on Baltimore's defense the past few seasons. Te'o isn't going to make a lot of tackles sideline to sideline, but he's a good run defender inside the box and can drop into coverage.

Manti Te'o scouting report

Special thanks to Bud Elliott of SB Nation recruiting and Tomahawk Nation for the wonderful mock draft layout.

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