Richner: Team Draft Strategy
Utilizing our unique, objective approach to player projections and development, PredictionMachine.com presents its 2013 NFL Draft content, including a complete Mock Draft, Position-by-Position Reports, Statistical Breakdowns and Future Projections for all prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft.
NFL Draft Expert Matt Richner and PredictionMachine.com General Manager Paul Bessire took the reigns of all 32 teams in the 2013 NFL Draft to create this full, seven round "objective draft." For our 254 pick, full seven round mock 2013 NFL Draft, Matt Richner and Bessire split up the 32 teams in the league so that we each ended up with about half of the picks (Paul made 129 choices from the latter 15 teams in the first round and those without a first round pick; Matt had the first 17 teams and 125 selections). We have dubbed this the “objective” draft because we have focused on data-driven analysis and projections for each prospect that have guided us through the selection process in our attempt to remain as objective as possible.
Having each run at least 15 war rooms for a seven round draft, Matt and Paul will each discuss our general strategy (needs, risk tolerance, depth, etc.) for each team. Please keep in mind that we are not trying to emulate specific front offices. In other words, we are not forcing ourselves to make the same mistakes that teams make (particularly those consistently picking early in the first round or without many picks). This is/was a project in what SHOULD happen and certainly not our expectation of what will happen. (For a thorough explanation of the process as well as the complete results, click here.) Matt's analysis on the first 17 teams is below. Paul's analysis on his 15 teams can be found in the PM Blog.
Kansas City Chiefs – The Kansas City Chiefs made some key additions to their roster this offseason, most notably starting quarterback Alex Smith. Their defense now has a good young nucleus of players led by Eric Berry, Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson. It is looking more and more likely that starting left tackle Branden Albert will be traded to the Miami Dolphins, leaving a void on the left side of the line. Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M is the top-rated left tackle on the board. He has the versatility and athleticism to step in and be a consistent starter from day one. The loss of Glenn Dorsey opens up a spot along the defensive line and third-round selection William Gholston, DE/DT, Michigan State, is a stout run-defender who can occupy blockers, freeing up the talented linebacker core. Colby Cameron, QB, La. Tech, is the type of quarterback Head Coach Andy Reid can develop and either turn into a good backup or flip him for a few extra picks a couple of years down the road.
Picks: Round 1 #1 –Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M; Round 3 #63 – Kevin Reddick, ILB, UNC; Round 3 #96 – William Gholston, DE, Michigan State; Round 4 # 99 – Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati; Round 5 #134 Conner Vernon, WR, Duke; Round6 #170 – Earl Watford, OG, James Madison; Round 6 #204 – Colby Cameron, QB, La. Tech; Round 7 #207 – Kapron Lewis-Moore, DE/DT, Notre Dame
Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jags are a team that needs an upgrade at almost every position group. New Head Coach Gus Bradley is going to have to upgrade his defense, starting with their first overall selection, Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M. Moore had 20.5 sacks in three seasons for the Aggies and is a consistent pass rusher, with speed and versatility that will remind Bradley of current Seattle Seahawks DE Chris Clemons. The selection of Matt Barkley, QB, USC, in the third round will allow him some time to sit and learn the offensive system, while at the same time not having to deal with the pressure of being a first-round draft pick.
With a secondary in need of some size and strength, the addition of David Amerson, DB, NC State, and Duke Williams, S, Nevada, looks to solve that problem. Both players are the kind of physical run-defenders and ball hawks that Bradley was used to working with while he was with the Seahawks.
Picks: Round 1 #2 – Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M; Round 2 #33 – David Amerson, CB, N.C. State; Round 3 #64– Matt Barkley, QB, USC; Round 4 #98– Duke Williams, S, Nevada; Round 5 #135 – Braxston Cave, C, Notre Dame; Round 6 #169 – Josh Boyce, WR, TCU; Round 7 #208 – TJ McDonald, S, USC
Oakland Raiders – With only one selection in the first round and no second-round selection, the Raiders have put themselves in the kind of hole where they absolutely must find quality talent in the later rounds of the draft. Their top selection, Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida, is the menacing, disruptive interior force the Raiders sorely need. Floyd isn’t a great pass rusher, but he is a stout run-stuffer who will clog the lanes. Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State, is an elite route-runner, similar to current Green Bay Packers wideout Jordy Nelson. Considering the Raiders’ depleted receiving core, Wheaton will quickly rise to the top of the ranks and be a consistent starter next season.
Picks: Round 1 #3– Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida; Round 3 #66 – Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State; Round 4 #100 – Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State; Round 6 #172 – Michael Buchanan, DE, Illinois; Round 6 #176 – Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State; Round 6 #205 – Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma; Round 7 #219 – Jordan Rodgers, QB, Vanderbilt
Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles are one of the most intriguing teams coming into this draft, with a new head coach and front office personnel taking on new roles in terms of draft preparation. The Eagles need to upgrade the offensive line, and Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama, is the highest-rated player on my board. A punishing road-grader, who can handle an elite defensive tackle without any assistance, he could single-handedly improve the interior portion of the Eagles’ offensive line. Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford, is a player who has shown consistent ability to get after the quarterback with 27.5 career sacks. Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC, is an intriguing player who has more upside than production. If he continues to develop, he could turn out to be the key difference-maker for this draft class. I’m not sure Nick Foles or Mike Vick can run a Chip Kelly offense, Matt Scott, QB, Arizona had limited reps as a starter in college but is quick, has a good arm and has run a read option based offense last season.
Picks: Round 1 #4 – Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama; Round 2 #35 – Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford; Round 3 #67 – Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC; Round 4 #101 – David Quessenberry, OG, San Jose State; Round 5 #136 – AJ Klein, ILB, Iowa State; Round 7 #210 – Matt Scott, QB, Arizona; Round 7 #218 – Ja’gared Davis, OLB, SMU; Round 7 #239 – B.W. Webb, CB, William & Mary
Detroit Lions – The loss of Gosder Cherilus and the retirement of Jeff Backus have left some open spots along the Lions’ offensive line. Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan, is an absolute giant at 6’8” and 305 lbs. He has shown the ability to consistently dominate his opponent. Jamar Taylor, DB, Boise State, is the type of press corner Head Coach Jim Schwartz has desperately needed during his tenure with the Lions. The player who could turn out to be the steal of the entire draft is Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina. If he can return from his gruesome injury, he is a first-round caliber player, but the Lions could get him in the fourth round. Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU is your classic boom or bust type of player, getting him in the 5th round will help minimize the effects if he doesn’t pan out.
Picks: Round 1 #5 – Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan; Round 2 #36 – Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State; Round 3 #65 – Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin; Round 4 #132 – Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina; Round 5 #137 – Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU; Round 6 #171 – Brandan Bishop, S, N.C. State; Round 7 #211 – Ryan Jenson, OG, Colorado State-Pueblo; Round 7 #245 – Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall
Cleveland Browns – The Browns only have five draft picks, so don’t be surprised if they try to trade down multiple times during the draft to acquire some needed extra picks. It looks as though they were able to get a quality player in the Supplemental Draft last year with the selection of Josh Gordon, WR. Xavier Rhodes, DB, FSU, is a physical corner who should pair up nicely with Pro Bowler Joe Haden. I’m intrigued by fourth-round defensive end Quanterus Smith, DE, Western Kentucky. He tore his ACL in late November, but as a pass-rush specialist with 24 career sacks, he showed a great deal of promise throughout his career, with some of his biggest games coming against teams like Alabama and Texas A&M.
Picks: Round 1 #6 – Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State; Round 3 #68 – Datone Jones, DE, UCLA; Round 4 #104 – Quanterus Smith, DE, Western Kentucky; Round 5 #139 – Ryan Otten, TE, San Jose St; Round 6 #175 – Alonzo Highsmith, ILB, Arkansas
Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals’ new (older) quarterback, Carson Palmer, is going to need some extra time in the pocket, so he can deliver on the deep, downfield throws that new Head Coach Bruce Arians’ offense is built around. Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma, is an athletic, quick offensive lineman who can be left on his own and handle both the outside speed rushers and the power rushers. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson, in the fifth round is a versatile back who can be a threat on third downs and is capable of being a workhorse type of running back. This draft was focused on getting bigger, stronger, and more explosive on offense. The Cardinals arguably have the NFL best wide receive in Larry Fitzgerald. It is about time they start surrounding him with better talent.
Picks: Round 1 #7 – Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma; Round 2 #38 – Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas; Round 3 #69 – Kiko Alonso, ILB, Oregon; Round 4 #103 – Bennie Logan, DT, LSU; Round 5 #140 – Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson; Round 6 #174 – Dion Sims, TE, Michigan State; Round 7 #209 – Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech
Buffalo Bills – This is another team with a new head coach, along with a lot of needed upgrades up and down the whole roster. First-round selection Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina, is a brute force along the offensive line who could fill the void left by Andy Levitre. Second-round selection Robert Woods, WR, USC, is an elite route-runner, who is quick and has the sure hands needed for those cold-weather games up north. Sean Porter, ILB, Texas A&M, selected in the fourth round, is the sleeper in this draft class. A top-notch performer for the Aggies, he is a long-limbed linebacker who can fly around the field and level some punishing hits. With a career 34.5 TFL and over 200 career tackles, Porter is someone to keep a close eye on.
Picks: Round 1 #8 – Jonathan Cooper, OG, UNC; Round 2 #41 – Robert Woods, WR, USC; Round 3 #71 – EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State; Round 4 #105 – Sean Porter, OLB, Texas A&M; Round 5 #143 – Blindi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut; Round 6 #177 – Gerald Hodges, OLB, Penn State
New York Jets – The Jets look to pair up last year’s first-round selection, Quinton Coples, with this year’s first-round selection, Jarvis Jones, DE, Georgia, to form a dynamic pass rush coming off the edges. Jones averaged a sack a game throughout his college career. With the trade of Darrelle Revis to Tampa Bay, the Jets are going to be in the market for a shutdown corner, and don’t be surprised to see them select Johnthan Banks, DB, Mississippi State. He has length and production similar to that of Antonio Cromartie. Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse, is a top-end tackle and three-year starter, who can step in and finally be the consistent starter at the right tackle position the Jets have sorely needed for a number of years now. The sleeper pick is sixth-rounder Kerwynn Williams, RB, Utah State, a speedster who averaged over 6.5 YPC throughout his career. Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse is a better quarterback coming out of college than Mark Sanchez was; give him a year to learn an offense and next year he should be able to compete and win the starting role.
Picks: Round 1 #9 – Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia; Round 1 # 14 – Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State; Round 2 #39 – Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse; Round 3 #72 – Bacarri Rambo, S, Georgia; Round 4 #106 – Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama; Round 5 #141 – Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse; Round 6 #178 – Kerwynn Williams, RB, Utah State; Round 7 #215 – Jordan Reed, TE, Florida
Tennessee Titans – The Titans are still looking for a consistent pass rusher, and the addition of Bjoern Werner, DE, FSU, will be a much-needed upgrade to a position group that has been lacking in production the past few seasons. With nine draft selections this year, the Titans have an opportunity to upgrade and build depth across the board. Third-round pick Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia, is an athletic wideout who has the speed to go deep, but a smaller, physical stature in the mold of a Steve Smith to pick up extra yards after contact. Third-round selection Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma, is a bigger, stronger quarterback than Jake Locker, who is more durable. Given time, Jones could develop into a quality starting quarterback for the Titans.
Picks: Round 1 # 10 – Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State; Round 2 #40 – Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers; Round 3 #70 – Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia; Round 3 #97 – Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma; Round 4 #107 – Brennan Williams, UNC, OT; Round 5 #142 – Desmond Trufant; Round 6 #202 – Michael Clay, OLB, Oregon; Round 7 #216 – Chris Baker, OG, Nevada; Round 7 #248 – Montel Harris, RB, Temple
San Diego Chargers – Chargers fans should rejoice they no longer have A.J. Smith at the helm leading their draft board. With a need along the offensive line, the Chargers look to fill some holes early with the addition of D.J Fluker, OT, Alabama, and Kyle Long, OT/OG, Oregon. Fluker is a dominant run blocker, who brings the nasty, physical attitude that the Chargers are looking for. Fourth-round selection Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon, is cut from the same cloth as former Chargers’ draft selection Darren Sproles. Both are undersized, elusive running backs who can be factors in the passing game. Barner lined up as a slot receiver on a number of occasions while in college; he will be a nice weapon to add to Phillip Rivers’ arsenal. The sleeper pick for the Chargers is Chris Harper, WR, Kansas State, a physical wideout who can make the tough grab in traffic, isn’t afraid to go across the middle and is a ferocious run-blocker.
Picks: Round 1 #11 – DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama; Round 2 #45 – Kyle Long, OT, Oregon; Round 3 #76 – Jonathan Brown, OLB, Illinois; Round 4 #110 – Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon; Round 5 #145 – D.J. Swearinger, S, South Carolina; Round 6 #179 – Nathan Palmer, OLB, Illinois State; Round 7 #221 – Chris Harper, WR, Kansas State
Miami Dolphins – The addition of Mike Wallace is going to help the development of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The defensive line is in need of some new blood, and Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah, is an overpowering, physical monster along the defensive line. Of the 11 picks the Dolphins own, I’d choose to focus on defense with six of them and offense for the remaining five picks. Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU, is a competitive defensive end who can hold his point of attack and take away the outside run plays. Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State, was the Pac-12’s top-rated corner last season; he will add some much-needed depth to the unit. The sleeper pick is Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee. Most believe he is a second-round talent, because he struggled last season after battling back from a torn ACL injury two years ago. Hunter has a tall, lanky frame and can quickly go up and high point the football. If he can develop, he should turn out to be a good number two receiver in the NFL.
Picks: Round 1 #12 – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah; Round 2 #42 – Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU; Round 2 #54 –Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State; Round 3 #77 – Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford; Round 3 #82 – Dallas Thomas, OT/OG, Tennessee; Round 4 #111 – Robert Lester, S, Alabama; Round 5 #146 – Jeff Baca, OG, UCLA; Round 7 #217 – Rod Sweeting, CB, Georgia Tech; Round 7 #224 – Shawn Williams, S, Georgia; Round 7 #250 – Philip Lutzenkirchen, TE, Auburn
Tampa Bay Bucs – The Bucs have traded their first overall selection to the New York Jets for the addition of Darrelle Revis. I thought they should go with Johnthan Banks with their first overall selection; but a good, young, defensive secondary nucleus of Dashon Goldson, last year’s first-round selection Mark Barron and Eric Wright have taken what was a position of weakness two seasons ago into one of strength for the Bucs. Quarterback Josh Freeman is going to need some targets to take the pressure off Vincent Jackson, and second-round selection Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame, is a sure-handed tight end who can work the middle of the field. The sleeper pick of this draft is Brandon Kaufman, WR, Eastern Washington; he had 1,850 receiving yards last season, an FCS single-season record. At 6’5”, Kauffman is a big body target who can be utilized in the redzone.
Picks: Round 2 #43 – Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame; Round 3 #73 – Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State; Round 4 #112 – Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA; Round 4 #126 – Brandon Kaufman, Eastern Washington University; Round 5 #147 – Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas; Round 6 #181 – Akeem Spence, DT, Illinois; Round 6 #196– Braden Brown, OG/OT, BYU
Carolina Panthers – The Panthers desperately need to upgrade at the wide receiver position. Cam Newton needs some wideouts other than Steve Smith who can turn a short pass into a long gain. Enter the blazing fast wide receiver Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia, a Swiss army knife-type of player who can be a dynamic special teams returner, wide receiver and running back. Defensives will have to pick their poison, because Steve Smith is still a vertical threat, Austin can break tackles with ease, and Cam Newton is always a threat to run the football. Sleeper pick: Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego State. A smaller defensive back who doesn’t lack confidence, McFadden will be able to quickly step in and take over the nickel corner slot his first year. He excels in playing press corner coverage and won’t back down from any challenges.
Picks: Round 1 #14 – Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia; Round 2 #44– Oday Aboushi, OT, Virginia; Round 4 #108 – Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego State; Round 5 #148 – Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia; Round 6 #182 – Kejuan Riley, S, Alabama State
New Orleans Saints – The Saints have to make some upgrades on their defense, which finished in last place in almost every single statistical category last season. With only five draft selections this year, the Saints will need to make sure they produce. First-round selection Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State, is the physical run-stuffer the Saints need as they convert to a 3-4 defense. He can play the nose tackle position, which he did at Ohio State last year. Brandon Jenkins, OLB, Florida State, is a bit of a dark horse. He is supremely athletic and can be a consistent pass rusher coming off the edge, with 22.5 sacks on his resume despite missing last year with an injury; given some time to heal, he could be the steal of the entire draft.
Picks: Round 1 #15 – Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State; Round 3 #75 – Brandon Jenkins, OLB, Florida State; Round 4 #109 – Quinton Patton, WR, La. Tech; Round 5 #144 – Jonathan Bostic, ILB, Florida; Round 6 #183 – Khalid Wooten, CB, Nevada
St. Louis Rams – The Rams have two first-round picks: the first, Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno St., is the number-one ranked safety on my board. Thomas had 13 career INT and averaged 4.2 impact plays per game last season. Still needing some weapons for quarterback Sam Bradford, Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor, is the kind of tall, deep-threat wideout the Rams haven’t had since the Greatest Show on Turf left town. Sleeper pick Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn, is an outside speed-rusher who had 17 sacks and seven forced fumbles during his career. He is undersized for a defensive end, but he could turn out to be a quality pass-rush specialist who the Rams could use in sub-packages with Chris Long, Robert Quinn and Michael Brockers. This draft can set up the Rams to be competitive for the next five to six years if they are able to acquire three or four starters.
Picks: Round 1 #16 – Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno State; Round 1 #22 – Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor; Round 2 #46 – Cobi Hamilton, WR, Arkansas; Round 3 #78 – Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin; Round 4 #113 – Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn; Round 5 #149 – Bruce Taylor, ILB, Virginia Tech; Round 6 #184 – Levine Toilolo, TE, Stanford; Round 7 #222 – John Boyett, S, Oregon
Pittsburgh Steelers – With the defensive secondary, led by safeties Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu, not getting any younger, and the second-highest rated safety, Matt Elam, S, Florida, still sitting on the board, it is time to start planning for the future. Elam is the physical safety who will excel in defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau’s defense. Second-round selection Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU, is the smart, instinctive linebacker who is a student of the game and will become the vocal leader of the defensive unit. Third-round selection Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M, had 252 career receptions; he is a sure-handed wideout who statistically compares to Wes Welker. The loss of Mike Wallace is going to open up some new roles on offense, and Swope can take over the slot wide receiver responsibility. The most interesting prospect is Lawrence Okoye, DE, Great Britain, a former Olympic shot putter, he has never played the game of football. Standing 6’6 and 308lb, he is a strong, powerful lineman whose Olympic training will serve him well as he prepares for the NFL. He is the type of player who can be stashed away on the scout team with some emphasis on development could serve to be a quality prospect in two or three years.
Picks: Round 1 #17 – Matt Elam, S, Florida; Round 2 #48 – Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU; Round 3 #79 – Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M; Round 4 #115 – David Bakhtiari, OT, Colorado; Round 5 #150 – Stefphon Jefferson, RB, Nevada; Round 6 #186 – David Bass, DE, Missouri Western; Round 6 #206 –Edmund Kugbila, OG, Valdosta State; Round 7 #223; Lawrence Okoye, DE, Great Britain