January mock drafts can be a mess. Coaching hires are trickling in, but the draft order is not even completely set, free agency hasn't taken place, while the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine are still on the horizon.
The 2013 NFL Draft provides a particularly foggy picture at this point in the process. There has been plenty of disparity in mock drafts to this point, and opinions on certain players have been just as polarizing.
Here at SB Nation, we elected to go with a collaborative effort for our latest mock. Dan Kadar and I traded off picks for this mock draft. The results were interesting, and the mock was easier and more fun to put together. Having someone else handling the other picks adds a different element to the process.
We've been mocking Geno Smith to the Chiefs since last year, and that's getting pretty boring. Since no one knows exactly what the Chiefs are doing with the first overall pick, we're changing it up for this mock draft to Luke Joeckel.
Lauded by many as the top player in the draft, Joeckel becomes a necessity for the Chiefs if left tackle Branden Albert isn't brought back. He's a little more D'Brickashaw Ferguson than Joe Thomas, but still a cornerstone piece for a franchise.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Jaguars have needs across the board. With new general manager David Caldwell and a new head coach in Gus Bradley, Jacksonville is in the midst of a total reset. The team has a ton of needs, but it would still be tough to pass up on the top quarterback prospect available.
Some have soured on Geno Smith, but he is the clear cut top quarterback in this draft. Smith has big time upside because of his solid arm strength, top-notch deep accuracy and toughness in the pocket. He is a bit rough around the edges, but he has the best chance of any quarterback in this draft to develop into a franchise guy.
3. Oakland Raiders - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Both Richard Seymour and Desmond Bryant are unrestricted free agents, leaving Oakland with Tommy Kelly and Christo Bilukidi up front. Oakland often used Seymour along the defensive line, at end, three-technique and nose tackle. That's probably the best way to use the relentless Star Lotulelei as well. Lotulelei is a three-down lineman who should be able to play 50 snaps a game.
4. Philadelphia Eagles - Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
With Luke Joeckel off the board, the Eagles are in a bit of a tough spot. With Chip Kelly in the fold, Philly is expected to switch to a 3-4 defense. Damontre Moore plays well in space and should be able to fill the role of 3-4 outside linebacker in that scheme. He has the closing speed and motor to be an impact player at that position.
5. Detroit Lions - Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State - Scouting Report
This offseason, Lions defensive end Cliff Avril will be one of the most expensive free agents on the market. If they choose to let Avril walk, or want a younger upgrade to Kyle Vanden Bosch, Bjoern Werner would be an excellent choice. He's a pure 4-3 end and an excellent technician.
6. Cleveland Browns - Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Cleveland Browns defense isn't far from being a dominant stop unit. The team could use a big time pass rusher, but the value with Dee Milliner is too much to pass on. A tandem of Milliner and Joe Haden would be scary for opposing offenses.
7. Arizona Cardinals - Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
If the board falls in this fashion -- with Joeckel and Smith gone -- the Cardinals would be in a tough spot. With new head coach Bruce Arians in place, he may look to improve an offense that finished second to last in the NFL in scoring. Some expect a player like Chance Warmack for this pick, but that's unlikely for two reasons. As good as Warmack is, a guard hasn't been taken in the top 10 since 1997 (Chris Neole, Saints, 10th overall). As good as Warmack is, he's not a flawless prospect.
More importantly, the Cardinals need a jumpstart in the passing game. Currently we're projecting Tyler Wilson here. As the draft process moves along, we'll get a better feel for which quarterback would fit Arians' offense best. If he continues hinting that he wants a quarterback who excels at play action and completing on third down, a player like Matt Barkley might be better than Wilson. But Wilson is the choice for now because he can play well under pressure and read the entire field.
8. Buffalo Bills - Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
The Bills definitely need to find a new quarterback, but Tyler Wilson comes off the board before Buffalo can snatch him. Instead, Buddy Nix addresses the linebacker position with Jarvis Jones, who could be the type of impact player this defense needs at that position.
9. New York Jets - Barkevious Mingo, OLB/DE, LSU
Until there is some indication otherwise, it seems the Jets' biggest need in the first round is at pass rusher. Barkevious Mingo is a pass rusher with length, athleticism and a good first step. Say what you want about Mingo's college stats, but Rex Ryan hasn't had a pass rusher this good in some time.
10. Tennessee Titans - Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
Chance Warmack might come in as the highest graded player in this draft. He's a mauler on the inside who is also surprisingly light on his feet. Warmack doesn't have much trouble pulling and engaging linebackers in the run game and he rarely lets a defender slip by him once he's begun his block.
The Titans could definitely use help on the interior of the offensive line. Warmack would be a huge upgrade and deserves to be a top 10 pick.
11. San Diego Chargers - Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is no longer talked about as one of the NFL's elite quarterbacks. It's not due to a drop in skill. Rivers often has to rush his throws while playing behind a shoddy offensive line. A player like Eric Fisher can be a fixture on the left side for the rest of Rivers' career and quickly help improve San Diego's offense. Fisher may not be a dominant run blocker, but he's pro ready in pass protection.
12. Miami Dolphins - Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon - Scouting Report
The Dolphins have been linked to wide receivers so far in the pre-draft process. With Brian Hartline as the team's best weapon in the passing game, young quarterback Ryan Tannehill clearly needs more to work with.
But Dion Jordan is a big time talent that doesn't normally make it out of the top 10 picks. His shoulder injury will cause him to slide, but Jordan has a combination of pass rush and cover skills that NFL teams will love.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Quick, name Tampa's two starting cornerbacks at the end of the season. If you said Leonard Johnson and E.J. Biggers, which is correct, you probably Googled it. The Buccaneers don't need a cornerback because Ronde Barber is old. He's primarily a free safety at this point.
Johnathan Banks would be a big talent upgrade at cornerback. He has the skill to be a No. 1 corner with size and good anticipation ability. Banks and Johnson could make for a good duo for years to come.
14. Carolina Panthers - Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri - Scouting Report
Everyone besides the man in charge thought the Panthers should address defensive tackle in the 2012 NFL Draft. Instead, Carolina drafted a linebacker and was once again left with a gaping hole in the middle of the defensive line.
Sheldon Richardson would do wonders to fill that need in Carolina. He plays with a mean streak on the inside, using his athleticism and violent hands to make plays in the backfield.
15. New Orleans Saints - Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
No team in the NFL has a worse run defense than New Orleans, which could lose defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis to free agency. Even if Johnathan Hankins is used as a depth piece to go along with Brodrick Bunkley and Akiem Hicks, he could help plug up the middle and use his quick first step to collapse the pocket.
16. St. Louis Rams - Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
The Rams have quietly put together a solid roster. One area that remains a concern, however, is the offensive line. Sam Bradford needs to get better protection if he's going to live up to the billing as the No. 1 overall pick.
Jonathan Cooper isn't far behind Chance Warmack as the draft's best guard. He's as athletic as they come and plays the position with natural technique. St. Louis would be getting a huge piece for their offensive line if Cooper is still on the board.
Last season the Steelers pieced together an offensive line that featured rookie Mike Adams and the aging Max Starks at tackle. Adams often proved overmatched and Starks graded out as one of the worst tackles in the league. Lane Johnson is a player who saw his stock rise throughout the season. He's a physical blocker on the left side, can get out on the move some and is physical.
18. Dallas Cowboys - Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida - Scouting Report
Sharrif Floyd is the type of prospect that tends to rise in the pre-draft process. He's incredibly athletic and plays the game with a non-stop motor. Floyd would be a nice fit at the 5-technique position, assuming the Cowboys stick with the 3-4 defense.
19. New York Giants - Alec Ogletree, MLB, Georgia
Chase Blackburn may be one of the leaders of the Giants, but he's not exactly fit for starting duty on a weekly basis. So if this choice came down to a middle linebacker, Alec Ogltree is a better fit than someone like Arthur Brown or Kevin Minter. The Giants put more of a premium on size on the defensive front seven and Ogletree is the biggest of the three. He's a pure athlete who can drop in coverage and move around well.
20. Chicago Bears - Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
With the defense stocked full of playmakers, the Bears need to address an offense that was stagnant at times in 2012. The offensive line continues to be an issue, but Jay Cutler could use a weapon at tight end, something he hasn't really had during his time in Chicago. Tyler Eifert is a solid blocker, but what makes him valuable is his blend of athleticism, smooth route running and body control. He will be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses in the NFL.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Arthur Brown, MLB, Kansas State
With a lot of their cap space likely going to Michael Johnson and Andre Smith, there may not be much room to re-sign Rey Maualuga. That's assuming they'd want him back. If not, Arthur Brown would be a good addition to give Cincinnati's defense some speed and playmaking ability. Brown is a sideline-to-sideline player, and while he may not be the most powerful, he can get to the ball in a hurry. He could be used on the weak side if or when Vontaze Burfict is pushed to the middle.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins) - Keenan Allen, WR, California - Scouting Report
While the Rams loaded up on wide receiver on the second and third days of the 2012 NFL Draft, the team still lacks a big playmaker at the position. Keenan Allen could fall a bit on draft day due to his knee injury, but he is still the draft's top wide receiver prospect. He has the suddenness to stretch the defense deep, but Allen is also a physical wide receiver who can make plays once the ball is in his hands. Sam Bradford could use a weapon like him.
23. Minnesota Vikings - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Minnesota's offense may be built around Adrian Peterson, but it's apparent it needs speed on the outside at receiver. Cordarrelle Patterson is a burner who can start his career as a vertical threat and gadget player. The draft is very deep on defense, so Minnesota can look to improve that side of the ball in later rounds.
24. Indianapolis Colts - Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama - Scouting Report
This is a dream scenario for the Colts. Need meets value as one of the best defensive tackles available falls to them at 24. Jesse Williams could play multiple positions along the Colts' 3-4 front and has the ability to be a space eater inside.
25. Seattle Seahawks - Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
This is very much a luxury, best player available choice for the Seahawks. At worst, this would be insurance if Chris Clemons is slow to recover from knee surgery. Otherwise, Ezekiel Ansah could be a terrific pass rush piece up front playing end in four-man fronts. It would also allow Seattle to use Bruce Irvin at linebacker, if they wanted.
26. Green Bay Packers - Kevin Minter, Linebacker, LSU
Barrett Jones' injury makes him a risky pick at this spot, so the conventional wisdom for this pick is out the window. The Packers' run defense was a disaster toward the end of the season, and a smart, thumping linebacker like Kevin Minter could go a long way toward fixing that issue.
27. Houston Texans - John Jenkins, NT, Georgia
The Wade Phillips 3-4 defense has never really relied on massive nose tackles in the front, but John Jenkins makes sense in this scenario. Shaun Cody is a free agent and Earl Mitchell is a backup-only player. Phillips' defense is designed to put players in one-on-one matchups, but superstar end JJ Watt often saw double teams this season. A player like Jenkins could command double teams in the middle, freeing Watt up on the outside.
28. Denver Broncos - Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Champ Bailey has certainly seen better days. The Broncos need to inject some youth into that aging secondary. Xavier Rhodes provides some value at this spot. He's a rangy corner with ideal length and athleticism for the position.
Although Wes Welker is again approaching free agency, a player like Tavon Austin shouldn't be viewed solely as his replacement. Instead, Austin should be looked at as an advanced version of Julian Edelman. Austin can be used in a variety of ways. He can line up outside or in the slot, line up in the backfield and play on special teams.
30. Atlanta Falcons - Larry Warford, G, Kentucky
Peter Konz hasn't worked out at guard. He gets pushed around far too often, and the Falcons need to address that spot on the offensive line. Enter Larry Warford, who is a monster. His playing strength might be better than any player in this draft. Warford also showed some underrated athleticism this season. The Falcons would welcome him with open arms.
31. Baltimore Ravens - Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Heading into the offseason, Baltimore has some very large and obvious holes on defense. Plugging Manti Te'o in here seems simple. But he's not necessarily a great fit to replace Ray Lewis. Te'o is more of a straightforward player, but Baltimore's inside linebackers have to move around laterally.
Kenny Vaccaro is an ideal replacement for Ed Reed, who could leave via free agency. The Texas product is adept at covering the slot and dropping deep in zone coverage. He can hit as well, but isn't the most technically sound linebacker.
32. San Francisco 49ers - Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers
If the 49ers have a weakness, it is in the secondary. Logan Ryan is an impressive athlete who is a bit rough around the edges as a prospect. Ryan's an aggressive player who would fit the mold of what San Francisco does on defense. He has a chance to land in the first round.