The NFL off season leaves most football fans with a lonely void of the GOT NO FOOTBALL BLUES. We miss our game, our team and wonder and speculate how we fans can improve our beloved team. With trade rumors, gossip, opinions and speculations flinging across fan-websites & news papers, with no real news reported (other than salary cap cuts and the Alex Smith unofficial trade), no real player interviews are worth watching. So fan cling to the next best thing: the NFL Scouting Combine followed by hundreds of MOCK DRAFTS. I’m an NFL fan, and my favorite team has its share(s) of number ONE overall picks (along with with the worst record in the league), so mock-drafts have been part of my football fan career. I’m a fixer and an idea-man, so I want to figure out the details of how to improve my favorite team (and all of their opponents). Routinely for the last 19 years, I annually guesstimate WHO is going where, what college phenom can help this team and how can you improve all teams. So if you’re dream job is a General Manage of an NFL Team (which is mine dream job), I MOCK DRAFT every teams need as if I’m the General Manager OF THE WORLD (well, not really). The NFL Franchise Tags have been set, so here’s my VERSION ONE of my 2013 NFL Mock Draft:
|2013 NFL Mock Draft / pre free agency|
|1||Kansas City Chiefs||Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida|
|2||Jacksonville Jaguars||Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon|
|3||Oakland Raiders||Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia|
|4||Philadelphia Eagles||Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M|
|5||Detroit Lions||Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama|
|6||Cleveland Browns||Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU|
|7||Arizona Cardinals||Matt Barkley, QB, USC|
|8||Buffalo Bills||Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee|
|9||New York Jets||Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia|
|10||Tennessee Titans||Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama|
|11||San Diego Chargers||Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan|
|12||Miami Dolphins||Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma|
|13||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida Sate|
|14||Carolina Panthers||Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri|
|15||New Orleans Saints||Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State|
|16||St. Louis Rams||Johnathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina|
|17||Pittsburgh Steelers||Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M|
|18||Dallas Cowboys||Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU|
|19||New York Giants||Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia|
|20||Chicago Bears||D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama|
|21||Cincinnati Bengals||Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas|
|22||St. Louis Rams (from Redskins)||Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia|
|23||Minnesota Vikings||Keenan Allen, WR, CAL|
|24||Indianapolis Colts||Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama|
|25||Seattle Seahawks||Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina|
|26||Green Bay Packers||Matt Elam, SS, Florida|
|27||Houston Texans||Star Lotulelei, NT, Utah|
|28||Denver Broncos||Kawann Short, DT, Purdue|
|29||New England Patriots||Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State|
|30||Atlanta Falcons||Datone Jones, DE, UCLA|
|31||San Francisco 49ers||Margus Hunt, DE, SMU|
|32||Baltimore Ravens||Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU|
|1 (33)||Jaguars||Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington|
|2 (34)||San Francisco 49ers (from Chiefs)||DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson|
|3 (35)||Eagles||Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State|
|4 (36)||Lions||Alex Okafor, DE, Texas|
|5 (37)||Bengals (from Raiders)||Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky|
|6 (38)||Cardinals||Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff|
|7||Browns||(exercised pick in Supplemental Draft)|
|8 (39)||Jets||Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame|
|9 (40)||Titans||Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers|
|10 (41)||Bills||Mike Glennon, QB, NC State|
|11 (42)||Dolphins||Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford|
|12 (43)||Buccaneers||Cornellius Carradine, DE/OLB, Florida State|
|13 (44)||Panthers||Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International|
|15 (45)||Chargers||Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State|
|16 (46)||Rams||Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama|
|17 (47)||Cowboys||Philip Thomas, S, Fresno State|
|18 (48)||Steelers||Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State|
|19 (49)||Giants||John Jenkins, DT, Georgia|
|20 (50)||Bears||Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State|
|21 (51)||Redskins||Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State|
|22 (52)||Vikings||Sam Montgomery, OLB/DE, LSU|
|23 (53)||Bengals||Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame|
|24 (54)||Dolphins (from Colts)||Corey Lemonier, DE/OLB, Auburn|
|25 (55)||Packers||Barrett Jones, C, Alabama|
|26 (56)||Seahawks||Robert Woods, WR, USC|
|27 (57)||Texans||Justin Hunter, WR, Tenn|
|28 (58)||Broncos||Khaseem Greene, OLB, Rutgers|
|29 (59)||Patriots||Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State|
|30 (60)||Falcons||Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina|
|31 (61)||49ers||Shamarko Thomas, SS, Syracuse|
|32 (62)||Ravens||Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin|
Quality starting left tackles in the NFL are very difficult to find, especially at a reasonable rate. San Diego found a keeper in 2011 in Jared Gaither, but Gaither failed miserably in 2012, crippled by back spasms & injuries. If Chargers new GM Tom Telesco and Head Coach Mike McCoy do stick with Gaither in 2013, they’re going to have to find a quality backup left tackle. And if this “quality backup left tackle” is forced to start a lot of games, he better have some experience too.
Rookie left tackles do not normally excel their first year, unless they’re top tier first round talents (like LT prospects Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher). Those two should do well day one. By the time San Diego picks in the first round, number 11 overall, both top tier left tackles will probably be gone, leaving Lane Johnson as the next top LT draft prospect. Johnson has tremendous upside, but he’s only started one season as a starting left tackle, and if he had to backup Gaither, he could be starting more games at left tackle than he has college experience at left tackle. It could be very overwhelming for Johnson as full time starter/protector of Philip Rivers blind side, but that’s only a guess.
If Telesco and McCoy decide to roll the dice on Lane Johnson in the first round, Chargers fans could possibly see Rivers playing the same as 2011 and 2012 (which was poor). Johnson could excel as a starter, but he’ll need some grooming, at least another half a season learning the NFL position. In that case, I don’t think the Chargers draft Lane Johnson with the 11th overall pick.
Left Guard is another first round possibility but interior linemen are not likely taken within the first third of the first round. O-guard Chance Warmack has tremendous upside in this year’s draft and could be that power pro bowl left guard San Diego really needs, but O tackles should be more coveted in first round. Cornerback would feel the safest pick with #11 (if Cason or Jammer are not brought back), but that’s the way former GM AJ Smith’s drafting philosophy was (as Smith drafted several 1st & 2nd round cornerbacks). The Chargers could be looking for more young pass-rushers too, as outside linebackers Shaun Phillips and Antwon Barns may not return either.
San Diego has several holes to fill on their 2013 roster, and whoever the Chargers draft with their first round pick should be a starter, not a project that can possibly start in 2014. Biggest need (by far) is a new left tackle, but WHO? Since Fisher or Joeckel will probably not be available (with pick 11), SD should pick up a cheap free agent backup left tackle that could start of Gaither has another injury plagued year.
Where will the Free Agent Left Tackles go?
• Jake Long = He’ll demand a lot money & a big/long contract ($10MM per year). I can see him going somewhere that is a winner, for a slight discount. Prediction: Colts (or Packers)
• Branden Albert = KC would love to keep him, but since they have the first pick in the draft, and there are no #1 overall QB’s worthy of that overall pick, they’ll select LT Luke Joeckel (for 75% less of what Albert will demand on the open market). Albert will go to a team you would expect either. Prediction: Titans (or NY Giants)
• Sebastian Vollmer = this guy is good and versatile, which will give him a bunch of money and a big contract (perfect for his current coach). He’s currently a right tackle, but he can play left tackle just as well. New England shouldn’t let him go, but he may demand too much money for New England to match. I can see an inter-divional rival throwing big money at Vollmer, but I’d like to see him as a Charger. Prediction = Dolphins (or Patriots).
• Jermon Bushrod = He’s looking for a big payday, just like his ole’ guard buddies Nicks, Grubs & Evens. But he won’t find it because he’s not that great. He will get a decent offer though, and I’d suggest from his current team. Prediction: New Orleans (or San Diego, as he can play both LT and RT)
• Bryant McKinnie = He’ll stay in Baltimore (for cheap too, but still he’s a stop-gap)
• Sam Baker = has left tackle ability, but he’s only had ONE good year. He should stay right where he’s at. Prediction: Atlanta (or SD if they can get him on the cheap)
Who would you like to see as the Chargers starting left tackle in 2013?
How would you project the Chargers starting offensive line?
LT / LG / C / RG / RT
The Chargers have so many holes to fill, plus multiple free agents possibly leaving in 2013. Multiple offensive guards are free agents, multiple corner backs are free agents, multiple running backs are free agents… New General Manager Tom Telesco may keep a few San Diego free agents but they all were previous GM AJ Smith’s guys, and AJ (and Norv) are gone, fired, kaput…
So, if I could have ONE game changing Free Agent is San Diego for 2013, who would it be? Umm…. Hmmm…
I’m… not…. sure… I don’t really love ANY of them. Sure,there are some quality football players GM Teleco can nab, but most of these “impact” free agents are going to demand a TON of cash, and I don’t see anyone really worth $10 million a year (so, sorry Jake Long). Can San Diego get Vincent Jackson back? Ehhh… not concerned about that rich guy anymore, since WR Danario Alexander looked just like him (and Vincent Brown is coming back from injury).
So, I don’t have ONE free agent WANT or NEED, but I do like three smaller free agent football players. Not franchise game changers (yet), but good football players…
I’d like San Diego to get:
ILB, Leroy Hill, SEA – Spikes is old, and he ended his Chargers career in bad fashion with a temper tantrum vs. Oakland. Hill is a quality linebacker, big hitter, and very intimidating. He reminds me of an ILB Foley. I really like him (AS A FOOTBALL PLAYER) but he just got in trouble with domestic abuse problems, but that shouldn’t matter. IMO, he’s a perfect fit with Donald Butler as an ILB’s the 3-4 defense. I’m rooting for Mouton, and I hope he excels, but that’s an AJ Smith guy too, and he just couldn’t get playing time from Pagano.
LG: Andy Levitre, BUF, He’s a sturdy Californian and blue collar worker, plus started every game in his 4 year carrer. He’s a boardeline pro bowler though, and may get a lot of CASH!!! Get this guy, keep Tyrone Green (but move T.Green to CENTER).
CB: Tracy Porter, DEN: If he can stay healthy, I like the way he plays. But he had some injuries last season but when he played he played well. SD rarely brings in quality free agent CB’s but Telesco may… Especially with Denver’s secondary coach now in SD. SD has two quality young corners that can start, but SD really needs a younger vet to help the kids, in case of injury. Marcus Gilchrist and Shareece Wright should excel (and start) in 2013, but Gilchrist plays very well as a nickel corner.
We all know that the O-Line is San Diego’s biggest problem. Keep Gaither (for 1 more year. He’s nervous and back injuries really do SUCK! – Plus Cheap LT’s are so hard to find) Draft a LT with the 1st round pick for insurance though. Keep Clary and Mike Harris,. Dump Hartwick & Vazquez (both cannot run block and have failed over the last 4 years combined)…