Sad to say, but there are no Andrew Lucks in this year's draft class. There are no Robert Griffins, and there are no Russell Wilsons. There are no quarterbacks who project to be instant stars. Yet with so many teams needing quarterbacks in 2013, you can be sure there will be plenty of quarterbacks taken early. This mock draft reflects that.
Guys like Ryan Nassib, Mike Glennon, Tajh Boyd, Matt Barkley, Geno Smith and others will all have a chance to be taken in the first round. Who in that group will actually rise will be left to the scouts, who have plenty of tape to watch, combines to see and pro days to visit.
Rest assured though that several of those guys will make it into the first round. Here is a 2013 mock draft with an emphasis on the rising quarterbacks.
1. Kansas City Chiefs—Geno Smith, QB West Virginia
No team had a worse quarterback situation than the Chiefs last season. Matt Cassell and Brady Quinn were never going to get it done in 2012, and Andy Reid will want a quarterback all his own to rebuild the Chiefs.
Reid values mobility, and Geno Smith brings that in spades. Smith is currently the top quarterback prospect in this draft after his dynamic senior season, and the Chiefs would be more than willing to take a shot with him.
As a prospect, Smith doesn't really compare to Luck or Griffin. Smith is more raw in terms of footwork, mechanics and knowledge of the game, but the physical tools are all there. In terms of arm strength, accuracy and leadership, Smith is the complete package.
The Chiefs are a team in need of playmakers and leadership. Smith brings both, making him the probable choice. He'll fit well with Reid's scheme and improve the Chiefs significantly in 2013.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars—Jarvis Jones, OLB Georgia
In terms of overall talent, the Jaguars are probably the worst team in the NFL. No area shows that more than the pass rush, ranking last in the NFL with 20 sacks.
Jarvis Jones would bring a dynamic pass rush to Jacksonville in the vein of Von Miller. He is an elite playmaker who plays the run and pass well, and he would instantly upgrade a terrible defense.
3. Oakland Raiders—Damontre Moore, DE Texas A&M
The Jaguars were the worst in the NFL at rushing the passer, but the Raiders weren't too far behind with 20 sacks. They need a difference-maker along the front seven.
Damontre Moore had 12.5 sacks for the Aggies this season, and he brings a dynamic blend of explosion and strength. He is the total package, and with some more weight and strength, he could be elite.
4. Philadelphia Eagles—Luke Joeckel, OT Texas A&M
The Eagles surrendered 48 sacks, and that needs to change if the stationary Nick Foles is going to be the quarterback in 2013.
Luke Joeckel is a premier tackle who excels in both the running and passing games. He would instantly upgrade Foles' pass protection while opening things up for the Eagles' dynamic running backs.
5. Detroit Lions—Bjoern Werner, DE Florida State
The Lions are at risk of losing Cliff Avril this offseason, but either way, they need to find a replacement for Kyle Vanden Bosch.
Bjoern Werner is a top-tier pass-rusher who led the Seminoles with 13 sacks. He saves his best performances for the biggest games; Werner had 3.5 sacks against the in-state rival Florida Gators. The Lions need that kind of toughness.
6. Cleveland Browns—Sam Montgomery, DE LSU
Cleveland didn't actually have a bad pass rush this season, but another rusher would bring this defense to the next level.
Sam Montgomery feels like a Browns pick. He had eight sacks his season, but he is also a stout run defender with excellent size. He could help make that defense a true terror.
7. Arizona Cardinals—Jake Matthews OT, Texas A&M
The Cardinals had one of the worst offensive lines in recent memory, surrendering 58 sacks. They desperately need a left tackle.
Jake Matthews was Texas A&M's right tackle, but he has the skill set to bounce over to the left and excel. He is a franchise player who would immediately boost the Cardinals' offense.
8. Buffalo Bills—Ryan Nassib, QB Syracuse
Here's the shocker: The Bills need a quarterback, as GM Buddy Nix admits here. There aren't any quarterbacks worthy of a top 10 pick at this point, but Ryan Nassib will appeal to head coach Doug Marrone, who coached him in college.
Nassib will rise in mocks across the country once scouts start watching film on him. He's got all the physical tools, with good mobility, arm strength and accuracy. Sadly, Nassib was surrounded by mediocre talent in college, but he has the tools to excel in the pros.
Even in one of his worst games, against USC, Nassib was really quite good. He was cursed by drops and poor blocking, but Nassib was accurate on nearly every throw that he got off unscathed.
This will be called a reach. Nassib is barely considered a top five quarterback, let alone a top 10 pick. At a better school though, Nassib would be considered a star. Forget the stats, forget the win totals. Nassib has the ability to be the best quarterback in this draft.
9. New York Jets—Star Lotulelei, DT Utah
The New York Jets are in a position to take the best available player because they have so many needs.
If Star Lotulelei falls to the Jets, they will snatch him up with glee. They did something similar in 2012, taking Quinton Coples despite not necessarily needing a defensive end. Lotulelei would upgrade a defensive line that could use a force in the middle.
10. Tennessee Titans—DeMarcus Milliner, CB Alabama
The Titans desperately need help in coverage after surrendering a passer rating of 92.7 to opposing quarterbacks.
DeMarcus Milliner is the best cornerback available, and he will finally replace the departed Cortland Finnegan. Milliner was a shutdown cornerback in the SEC, and he's received top-notch coaching at Alabama.
11. San Diego Chargers—Manti Te'o, LB Notre Dame
More than anything else, the Chargers need leadership. Te'o brings that in spades.
He is also a quality middle linebacker with the ability to define a defense. Te'o would be a great fit for the Chargers' 3-4 defense and would upgrade the leadership in San Diego immediately.
12. Miami Dolphins—Taylor Lewan, OT Michigan
Jake Long might be bolting in free agency, and the Dolphins could look to his school to draft Long's replacement.
Taylor Lewan is a top-tier offensive tackle with all the physical tools to dominate. He is enormous at 6'8", and he also possesses the requisite foot-speed and strength. When Lewan gets ahold of his man, there is no getting away.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Johnthan Banks, CB Mississippi State
The league's worst pass defense is in need of upgrades at every position, but they are fortunate to have a top-tier cornerback fall to them.
Johnthan Banks was the best player on a surprising Mississippi State team. He covered some quality receivers in the SEC and usually came out on top. He would be an instant upgrade for the Bucs.
14. Carolina Panthers—Johnathan Hankins, DT Ohio State
The Panthers have ignored their need at defensive tackle for too long, at the expense of the rush defense and their pass rush.
Johnathan Hankins brings an upgrade in both facets. He's a top-tier talent with all the physical skills to be an elite NFL defensive tackle.
15. New Orleans Saints—Sheldon Richardson, DT Missouri
One word to describe the New Orleans Saints' defense is lethargic.
Sheldon Richardson is anything but. He's a high-effort player with quality physical skills as well. Richardson would bring a big boost to the Saints' pass rush while also providing excellent run-stuffing ability.
16. St. Louis Rams—Terrance Williams, WR Baylor
Despite their best efforts, the Rams have yet to get a top receiver for quarterback Sam Bradford. Now is their chance to fix that.
Terrance Williams didn't run the whole route-tree at Baylor, but he is an elite physical prospect with the talent to keep getting better. Williams is crafty, able to get open deep and able to win jump-ball battles. He's the receiver this offense needs to take the next step.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers—Eric Fisher, OT Central Michigan
The Steelers have ignored their offensive line, especially the tackle position, for years. This year, their offense was so bad that it's time to finally address their biggest need.
Fortunately, Eric Fisher is a stellar tackle with better physical tools than almost any other tackle in this draft. Fisher dominated MAC competition, and he has the talent to do it in the pros.
18. Dallas Cowboys—Matt Barkley, QB USC
Ok, last shocker. The Cowboys seem committed to Tony Romo, but are they really? He's had enough chances. The time has come to groom his successor.
Matt Barkley is the kind of all-American, good-natured quarterback that Jerry Jones would love to have as the face of his franchise. He's committed to the game of football, and he will work to be the best.
What Barkley does not have is elite physical ability. His arm strength is middling, and he's not a stellar athlete.
However, Barkley is a leader, an accurate, mechanically sound passer and a pro-ready prospect. He will fall in the draft, but Barkley has the tools and the persona to make a franchise very happy.
19. New York Giants—Barkevious Mingo, DE LSU
The Giants always go best player available, and they love taking freakish athletes.
Barkevious Mingo might be both of these things. He's definitely a freakish athlete, possessing an explosive first-step and excellent length. His strength is lacking, but an NFL lifting program would do a lot for the talented pass-rusher. He would replace Osi Umenyiora as a pass-rushing specialist.
20. Chicago Bears—Keenan Allen, WR California
The Bears desperately need help at offensive tackle, but unfortunately the talent is just not there after the top few guys. Instead of reaching for a tackle, the Bears can take one of the top receivers in the draft to take pressure off of Brandon Marshall.
Keenan Allen is perhaps the most pro-ready receiver in the draft. His physical tools are ideal, and Allen excelled despite dealing with mediocrity at quarterback. Allen would really help take pressure off of Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, and he would provide big matchup problems for opponents.
21. Cincinnati Bengals—Alec Ogletree, LB Georgia
Rey Maualuga is the worst inside linebacker in the NFL. Alec Ogletree might be the best player available. This looks like a match made in heaven.
Ogletree is an excellent athlete with great instincts. With some more strength, he can be special.
22. St. Louis Rams—Chance Warmack, G Alabama
The Rams could use some offensive line help, and Chance Warmack is the best player available. This too looks like an ideal match.
Warmack was the best offensive lineman on an elite O-line for Alabama. He is a road-grader and an elite pass-blocker, and he would really help protect Sam Bradford.
23. Minnesota Vikings—Justin Hunter, WR Tennessee
When the Vikings lost Percy Harvin, they lost the ability to pass the football. Justin Hunter would ensure that doesn't happen again.
Hunter has perhaps the best physical tools of any receiver in this draft, and his production was also superb. While Hunter struggled with consistency, the talent is there for Hunter to be one of the best receivers in the NFL. He'll require some work, but the talent is too enticing.
24. Indianapolis Colts—Johnathan Jenkins, DT Georgia
The NFL's 29th-ranked run defense desperately needs a big body to stuff the run.
Johnathan Jenkins is that and then some. The 350-pound nose tackle can stuff the run and possesses surprising quickness as well. He would be the ideal nose tackle for Chuck Pagano's 3-4 defense.
25. Baltimore Ravens—Sylvester Williams, DT North Carolina
The Ravens might lose a Hall of Fame safety, and they are definitely losing a Hall of Fame linebacker. As crucial as filling those holes will be, more important will be fixing a run defense that ranked 20th in the NFL.
The real problem for the Ravens was nose tackle, and Sylvester Williams could be a big upgrade at that position. He is strong and quick, with excellent production at UNC. He would be a massive upgrade over Ma'ake Kemoeatu and Terrence Cody.
26. Seattle Seahawks—Barrett Jones, OL Alabama
Seattle has always marched to the beat of its own drummer in the draft, so this is a hard pick to guess. Upgrading the offensive line is never a bad idea though, and Barrett Jones could provide the versatility and tenacity that the Seahawks like.
Jones would probably play guard for the Seahawks, but he could really play any position well. He was truly dominant in college, and that level of dominance can't go unnoticed in the draft.
27. San Francisco 49ers—Matt Elam, S Florida
Dashon Goldson might be moving on, meaning safety could be a need for the 49ers.
Matt Elam is a great football player who hits hard and plays the pass better than Goldson as well. He would provide yet another hard hitter for a defense that loves to physically abuse opponents.
28. Houston Texans—Kenny Vaccaro, S Texas
The Texans' pass defense has been exposed as a liability, meaning the secondary needs to be addressed.
Kenny Vaccaro is a top-tier safety, and he might be appealing as an in-state talent. Either way, he'd be an upgrade over Glover Quin and Danieal Manning.
29. New England Patriots—Tavon Austin, WR West Virginia
Wes Welker might be moving on, meaning the Patriots need to look for a receiver to keep this elite offense going.
Tavon Austin paired with Tom Brady would be scary. Austin is similar to Percy Harvin, but might be faster. With the Patriots' offense around him, Austin would be scary good.
30. Atlanta Falcons—Alex Okafor, DE Texas
The Falcons defense has been solid this year, but John Abraham is aging.
Alex Okafor is the best player available, as he has excelled for Texas this season. He is a prototypical 4-3 end who would provide a jump to an already solid defense.
31. Green Bay Packers—Tyler Eifert, TE Notre Dame
Believe it or not, Aaron Rodgers occasionally struggled to find a target this season. The Packers' were devastated by injuries at receiver, and Jermichael Finley was just ordinary at tight end.
Getting a target for Rodgers makes sense, and Tyler Eifert would serve that purpose well. Eifert would also provide quality run-blocking, something the Packers desperately need. In fact, Eifert's blocking might be more appealing than his pass-catching to the Packers.
32. Denver Broncos—Kawann Short, DT Purdue
The Denver Broncos are absolutely stacked, but getting another defensive tackle would be appealing.
Pairing last year's top draft pick Derek Wolfe with Kawann Short would make an already deadly front seven that much better. Short is the best player available, as he is the prototype at jumping gaps and making big plays at the defensive tackle position.
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