Pre Snap Read’s 2013 NFL Mock Draft

Can Tavon Austin really go in the top 10?

With the NFL draft just a matter of days away, everyone is enjoying Mock Draft Season. Everyone knows the real fun is in writing one though.

1. Kansas City Chiefs-Eric Fisher, LT.
Fisher and Joeckel have flip-flopped in and out of this spot. None of us without insider sources can realistically separate the duo and determine who Andy Reid will take, but since I can’t project “Starting offensive tackle” I have to choose one.

2. Miami Dolphins-Luke Joeckel, LT-Trade Up!
All of the Dolphins’ off-season moves will be for nothing if they cannot fortify Ryan Tannehill’s blindside. With Jeff Ireland burning down the woods to light a candle, the Dolphins trade away two fourth round picks(’13 and ’14) with this year’s first round pick and next year’s first round pick. Ireland has shown this off-season that he will overpay for short-term success, this time the Jacksonville Jaguars are the benefactors, instead of a slew of free agents.

3. Oakland Raiders-Star Lotulelei, DT.
The Raiders hit the reset button before last season and they’re still in the process of getting back to a normal setup. With the roster suffering severely from repeated releases, the Raiders are essentially playing this season as a buildup to the following one. For that reason, and because they have needs all over their roster, the Raiders simply take the best talent available to them.

4.  Arizona Cardinals-Lane Johnson, OT-Trade Up!
After acquiring Carson Palmer from the Oakland Raiders, Bruce Arians’ Arizona Cardinals signaled their intentions of being a competitive franchise this season. With so many needs on defense, the Cardinals are reluctant to move up to select Joeckel, but feel comfortable enough to jump ahead of the Detroit Loins for the third best tackle on the board, giving up just a third round pick to do so.

5. Detroit Lions-Ezekiah Ansah, DE.
With all the desirable offensive tackles off the board, the Lions look to the very athletic edge-rusher to replace Cliff Avril on their defensive line.

6. Cleveland Browns-Dion Jordan, OLB.
Even though Paul Kruger signed to a long-term deal as a free agent and Jabaal Sheard remains on the roster, new Browns’ defensive coordinator Ray Horton is very creative and very pressure-happy. Giving Horton a shutdown cornerback in Joe Haden to build his coverage schemes around and then adding a handful of versatile pass-rushers should make for a very strong unit.

7. Philadelphia Eagles-Tavon Austin, WR-Trade Down!
After an off-season that primarily focused on adding to a depleted defensive setup, Chip Kelly makes sure to give himself a new toy at the top of the draft with the highly sought after playmaker. The only real worries about Austin circle around his size. If paired with Michael Vick, James Casey, Brent Celek, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy, the Eagles won’t need to overwork him and will still be able to reap the benefits of his abilities.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars-Sharriff Floyd, DT-Trade Up!
The Jaguars jump back into the top 10 after initially trading down with Miami. Floyd is considered a top five player by most draft experts, but he falls in this scenario as philosophies dictate that teams go elsewhere. In order to move back up, the Jaguars give up a third round pick and the Bills drop four places to 12th overall.

9. New York Jets-Dee Milliner, CB.
This is a situation where the Jets know that they have traded Revis for the Buccaneers’ first round draft pick. Understanding that they won’t have that star cornerback means that they are more than happy to welcome the top-ranked player at the position in the top 10.

10. Tennessee Titans-Jonathan Cooper, OG.
Although the Titans signed Andy Levitre and Robert Turner this off-season, the addition of Turner is likely more about depth than him being a starter. Those moves at least signaled the Titans’ intent to return to running the ball well and Cooper offers them a strong interior presence, but also an athlete who is nimble enough to move with Levitre in screens for Chris Johnson.

11. St. Louis Rams-Chance Warmack, OG. Trade Up!
Once Cooper goes off the board, with Austin already gone in the top 10, the Rams desperately make a deal to snag Warmack, one of the top two guards and arguably the best player in the draft. Warmack is the final piece in the Rams’ offensive line that will complete it’s turnaround from a fatal weakness to a strength. The Rams give up a third round pick.

12. Buffalo Bills-Desmond Trufant, CB-Trade Down!
After picking up an extra third round pick, the Bills take an excellent man cover cornerback for the second season in a row. With Trufant and Stephon Gilmore inside, and Aaron Williams moving to safety infront of Jairus Byrd, the Bills’ secondary would be complete and they would still have the ammunition to find their starting quarterback later on.

13.New York Jets-Barkevious Mingo, OLB-Trade Revis!
After adding Dee Milliner to start across from Antonio Cromartie, the Jets bring some much needed athleticism to their front seven. Rex Ryan already reunited with an old friend in the form of Antwan Barnes, but the potential of Mingo across from him would be too tasty for the Jets to pass up on.

14. Carolina Panthers-Sheldon Richardson, DT.
The Panthers have had a defensive line problem for some time now. After adding Luke Kuechly last year, they can’t afford to neglect the rest of their defensive spine.

15. New Orleans Saints-Kenny Vaccaro, S.
Having missed out on all the top offensive tackles and the best outside linebackers, the Saints understand their need for secondary help in Rob Ryan’s scheme. Ryan loves to blitz and if he does so in New Orleans as he has in previous places, the Saints’ secondary of last season would be overmatched. Adding Keenan Lewis to be a starting cornerback and bringing in Vaccaro to replace the stone-age stylings of Roman Harper should dramatically improve the defense as a whole.

16. San Diego Chargers-DJ Fluker, OT-Trade Down!
The Chargers traded down from the 11th spot in the draft to add a third round pick before picking up much needed offensive line help. With King Dunlap on the line, the Chargers could put Fluker at left or right tackle and still improve the unit. They are desperate for better protection and maybe reach here because of that.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers-Tank Carradine, OLB.
The Steelers don’t typically play rookies during their first season, especially on defense, so Carradine’s torn ACL won’t be as big of an issue for them as it could be for other teams. Carradine was one of the more dominant edge-defenders in college before that injury and he should eventually fill the departed spot of James Harrison.

18. Dallas Cowboys-Sylvester Williams, DT.
After Jay Ratliff’s eventful off-season, he could still depart the Cowboys. But even presuming that he remains with the team, the Cowboys need to improve their interior defensive line play under new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.

19. New York Giants-Bjoern Werner, DE.
Whenever there’s a very talented pass-rusher available, it’s safe to say the Giants will be interested.

20. Chicago Bears-Jarvis Jones, OLB.
Jones’ medical concerns are no longer of major concern, but he should still be available at this point in the draft. Even though the Bears have already revamped their linebacking corps this off-season, in a perfect world James Anderson won’t be a starter. Jones could come in and immediatelyadd another dynamic player to the Bears’ front seven.

21. Cincinnati Bengals-Arthur Brown, OLB.
The Bengals’ linebackers are slow…very….very slow. Arthur Brown is the best weak-side linebacker available in this draft. He would allow the Bengals to move Vontaze Burfict to strongside linebacker, even as they still refuse to take Rey Maualuga away from the middle of the field.

22. St. Louis Rams-DeAndre Hopkins, WR.
Hopkins’ versatility would be tasked if he landed with the Rams. He would immediately be a favorite to start across from Chris Givens, but would also be the best fit for the team’s vacated slot receiver position. Hopkins is very, very physically talented but also is a very intelligent and aware technician. Sam Bradford hasn’t had a receiver on his level throughout his professional career so far.

23. New Orleans Saints-Xavier Rhodes, CB-Trade Up!
With an arms race in the NFC leaving the Saints behind, coupled with Drew Brees’ aging body and no second round pick, the Saints flip their 2014 first round pick, 2014 third round pick and 2013 fourth round pick to the Minnesota Vikings for their first pick in the draft. Because the Saints are under pressure to win now and are a very tough division and conference, they feel compelled to bring in another defensive back who can push their defense back towards being competitive. Drew Brees is good enough to cover the loss of Jermon Bushrod.

24. Indianapolis Colts-Cordarrelle Patterson, WR.
Reggie Wayne is coming off one of his best seasons for the Colts, but he still has less time left in his career than has already passed. Patterson is a naturally talented receiver who has a few kinks that need to be worked, but his potential is overwhelming to the point that the Colts can justify taking him at this stage of the draft.

25. Minnesota Vikings-Tyler Eifert, TE.
The Vikings could desperately use a tall, deep threat at receiver such as Justin Hunter. But with Christian Ponder’s weak arm, it would likely be a waste at this stage in the draft. Instead, adding Tyler Eifert gives Ponder a second big-body at tight end and a receiving threat who aids Adrian Peterson in the running-game. If the Vikings really are all in with Ponder, drafting for his skill-set is a must.

26. Buffalo Bills-Ryan Nassib, QB-Trade Up!
Doug Marrone brings his college quarterback with him to Buffalo by trading his second and his third round pick to the Green Bay Packers. After picking up an extra third round pick earlier in the draft, this move can be considered a bargain.

27. Houston Texans-Justin Hunter, WR.
After adding DeVier Posey, Lestar Jean and Keshawn Martin, and letting Kevin Walter leave, the Texans are in need of a receiver, but a particular type. Justin Hunter fits that type. Playing across from Andre Johnson with Arian Foster’s play-action threat, Hunter could have an immediate impact with his ability to beat defenders deep and outmuscle them at the point of the catch.

28. Denver Broncos-Jonathan Hankins, DT.
The Broncos lost Elvis Dumervil this off-season, but added Terrance Knighton and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to their defense. Offensively they are set, with the additions of Wes Welker and Louis Vasquez, but the front seven could still do with another impact player. Hankins fits that profile and would immediately become a part of the defensive line rotation.

29. Detroit Lions-Jonathan Banks, CB-Trade Up!
In order to move back into the first round, the Lions give the New England Patriots their second and fourth round draft picks. After adding Clover Quinn and keeping Chris Houston and Louis Delmas this off-season, the Lions will add Banks to start across from Houston and complete their secondary.

30. Philadelphia Eagles-Geno Smith-Trade Up!
With Geno Smith suffering a slide worse than Brady Quinn did, the Eagles see the value in a player they believe could eventually be their franchise quarterback. Depending on how he adjusts to the pro-game, he could immediately be the starter as a rookie.

31. San Francisco 49ers-Jonathan Cyprien, S.
Bad safety play significantly hurt the 49ers in last year’s playoffs. While they do have a wealth of picks, they will use those picks to get more value in the second and third rounds of a deep draft opposed to making waves in the first round. Cyprien should immediately be a starter in what is arguably the best situation for a safety in the league.

32. Baltimore Ravens-Kevin Minter, ILB.
The signing of Rolando McClain doesn’t mean anything for the Ravens’ draft plans. He is only on a one-year contract and not assured of a starting place. Instead, the Ravens bring in an all-around player in Minter to fill the void left by Ray Lewis and, to a lesser extent, Dannell Ellerbe.

You can follow Cian Fahey on twitter @Cianaf

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