With the opening of the free agency frenzy literally a day away, ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper has decided to unveil the third edition of his highly scrutinized mock draft. One could very easily presume that such a decision is an act of hubris on Kiper’s part, but he’s the expert, and he claims to have taken the expected signings into account.
Of course, all of that remains to be seen, but with the actual draft still more than a month away, Mr. Kiper’s got plenty of time for another mock draft, or two, before the real picks are made.
Without further ado …
32. Baltimore Ravens: Matt Elam, S, Florida Gators
31. San Francisco 49ers: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA Bruins
30. Atlanta Falcons: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State Seminoles
29. New England Patriots: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State Seminoles
28. Denver Broncos: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington Huskies
27. Houston Texans: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson Tigers
26. Green Bay Packers: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama Crimson Tide
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle): Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina Tar Heels
24. Indianapolis Colts: Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State Seminoles
23. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR, Cal Golden Bears
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington): Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee Volunteers
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia Bulldogs
20. Chicago Bears: DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama Crimson Tide
19. New York Giants: Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
18. Dallas Cowboys: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama Crimson Tide
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
16. St. Louis Rams: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas Longhorns
15. New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri Tigers
14. Carolina Panthers: Tavon Austin, WR/RB, West Virginia Mountaineers
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah Utes
12. Miami Dolphins: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee Volunteers
11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma Sooners
10. Tennessee Titans: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina Tar Heels
9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, LB/DE, LSU Tigers
8. Buffalo Bills: Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia Bulldogs
7. Arizona Cardinals: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia Mountaineers
6. Cleveland Browns: Dion Jordan, DE/LB, Oregon Ducks
5. Detroit Lions: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU Cougars
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama Crimson Tide
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida Gators
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan Chippewas
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M Aggies
Once again, the draft is expected to be dominated by members of the SEC and by the ‘big uglies’. Last year, there were two quarterbacks in Andrew Luck and RGIII that easily could have gone 1-2 or vice versa. As the 2013 NFL Draft approaches, we could have the same situation, only with guys that block for quarterbacks.
While Todd McShay has no quarterbacks going in the first round at all, Kiper has former West Virginia star Geno Smith going seventh to Arizona. Whether or not the Cardinals can make a play for Seattle’s Matt Flynn or someone else will affect Smith’s first-round draft stock.
Interestingly, earlier editions of Kiper’s mock had Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore going No. 2-overall to Jacksonville. He is now, of course, nowhere to be found following an extremely disappointing performance at the NFL Combine. However, if the Jags can snatch him up early in the second round, the franchise may have two major building blocks for the future.