Post-Combine 2013 NFL Mock Draft

Is Desmond Trufant the best man-coverage corner in the 2013 NFL Draft? I say yes. - USA TODAY Sports

With the 2013 NFL Combine in the rear-view mirror, and free agency set to begin a week from today, now is the right time for an updated first-round draft projection--my third of this pre-draft season.

It's funny how quickly the pre-draft season flies by, as it seems like just yesterday the NFL went through its "Black Monday" firing gala. Now we're less than two months away from the 2013 draft, and if the insane amount of talent present at the most recent NFL Combine is any sort of indicator, draft weekend could be a very, very good one for the Miami Dolphins.

Of course, 31 other teams also got a good look at the position groups this past week, which is why the landscape of this mock looks radically different than the one I posted in late January. Before we begin, let's note a few details and get them out of the way:

1. I am of the mind that at least four quarterbacks will be selected on opening night of the 2013 NFL Draft (with at least two in the top 10). You're kidding yourself if you think otherwise. Even this year's rough-and-tumble QB class isn't capable of completely killing off the position from first-round consideration (yes, quarterback is the Jason Voorhees of positional draft value). However, I think two of those QBs will go late in the first round via trade. I don't project trades in my mocks, so that's why you'll only see two signal callers listed below.

2. I expect to witness no less than four "WTF?" moments in the first round.

3. Totally unrelated to item No. 2 is the fact that we could actually see an early run on guards. How's that for a value-oriented oxymoron?

4. Yes, I left Manti Te'o out of the first round. Please don't ask why.

And with that, here we go. Leave your complaints and grievances in the comment section, please.

Pick

Player

Pos.

Ht

Wt

School

1. Kansas City Chiefs

Sharrif Floyd

DT

6'3"

297

Florida

The biggest riser in this year's draft for a reason. Floyd put up dominant tape in 2012 (cue up his performance against Florida State last November if you need a refresher), and he possesses the quickness, pass-rush acumen and rounded skill set to step into any scheme and do damage right off the bat. He's more than an outstanding under tackle prospect, however, and was just as effective in the occasional 5- and 0-technique work he did at Florida.

It's important to note that Central Michigan's Eric Fisher or Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel could still go at this spot, even with Branden Albert returning to Kansas City. Still, Floyd's a rare talent, which is why he's tops in this mock.

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2. Jacksonville Jaguars

Geno Smith

QB

6'2"

218

West Virginia

Smith's Combine performance wasn't nearly good enough to warrant the No. 2 overall selection, but the Jags are in desperate need of a change at quarterback, and should look to use this pick to bring long-term solidarity to the position. Smith's skill set compares favorably to many of the quarterbacks in the 2012 class, but the big question at this point is whether he'll be able to do work in a pro-style offensive scheme. The physical tools--accuracy, arm strength, mobility--are all there, though.

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3. Oakland Raiders

Eric Fisher

OT

6'7"

306

Central Michigan

The absence of Floyd and Smith would absolutely justify Oakland's decision to take the best available tackle at this spot, and I believe that's Fisher--a small-school product who boasts elite size, exceptional strength and Grade A footwork for the position. Some will disagree with the growing sentiment that Fisher is a quicker and more balanced prospect than Joeckel, but Fisher's tape speaks volumes, and it matches his Combine performance.

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4. Philadelphia Eagles

Dion Jordan

DE

6'6"

248

Oregon

Offensive tackle is the biggest need in Philadelphia, but the team's switch to a 3-4 scheme means a prototypical edge-rusher is in order. Jordan, judging from his berserk Combine showing, should have no problem filling that role, as he comes equipped with outstanding length, speed and rare coverage ability. New head coach Chip Kelly's familiarity with the former Oregon defensive end will take much of the guesswork out of this selection, as well.

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5. Detroit Lions

Dee Milliner

CB

6'0"

201

Alabama

Milliner would represent a gigantic upgrade for a Lions secondary that has significantly regressed the past two years (and it wasn't very good to be begin with). Most are already aware of Milliner's physicality and well-developed coverage instincts, but his 4.37 40 time in Indy proved that he has the wheels to hang with most receivers at the next level. His backpedal is still way too messy for a premier cover man, but Milliner's overall skill set and production is impressive enough to warrant a top 10 grade in this draft.

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6. Cleveland Browns

Ezekiel Ansah

DE

6'5"

271

BYU

Ansah's performance in Indy cemented his standing as the resident freak pass-rusher in this draft, and he could prove irresistible to a Browns club ready to shift over to the 3-4 scheme. Though raw, the former BYU standout plays like a laser-guided missile, and at 271 pounds is an ideal candidate for the "elephant" role off the edge. The Jason Pierre-Paul comparisons will ring louder and louder as the draft approaches, and they're well deserved. Ansah is a powerhouse in the making, and he represents fantastic value at this spot.

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7. Arizona Cardinals

Matt Barkley

QB

6'2"

227

USC

Of the quarterback-needy teams in this draft, Barkley makes the most sense for Arizona--a club that doesn't necessarily need a rocket-armed signal caller to make its offense go. Barkley's shortcomings in the arm strength department will overshadow the savvy and above-average accuracy he displayed during his time at Southern Cal, but the fact remains that he has the look of a capable starter at the next level, and he clearly knows how to orchestrate a pro-style offense. Low ceiling/ mid-floor, but good enough to give Larry Fitzgerald a reason to hang around in the desert ... for now.

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8. Buffalo Bills

Luke Joeckel

OT

6'6"

306

Texas A&M

Buffalo's pick represents one of the more mysterious spots in this draft. Do the Bills attempt to find their franchise quarterback here? What about a perimeter playmaker like Cordarrelle Patterson? Several reports indicate that new head coach Doug Marrone will target Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib early on day two; if so, Joeckel's a no-brainer at this spot. The Texas A&M product is a fluid, outstanding technician with very good feet for the position, and he can start on the left side from day one. Joeckel's overall strength remains a question, but that won't be enough to get him out of the top 10.

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9. New York Jets

Cordarrelle Patterson

WR

6'1"

216

Tennessee

What do you give the team that literally needs everything? It's easy to imagine the Jets' war room looking something like this, but even NYJ's brass will know better than to pass on Patterson if he's available at this spot. A slasher playmaker with very good vision and athleticism for the position, Patterson would be the real deal for a Jets offense that was stuck in neutral (or reverse) in 2012. It seems unorthodox to begin the rebuild process with a receiver, but no quarterback outside of Smith and Barkley is worthy of this pick. Look for NYJ to find Patterson's trigger man in round two.

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10. Tennessee Titans

Sheldon Richardson

DT

6'2"

294

Mizzou

Tough call here with guards Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper on the board, but I believe the Titans' lack of talent at defensive tackle will convince them to pull the trigger on Richardson--the second-best 3-technique in this draft, and a cagey, powerful defender with excellent quickness and violent hands. The Mizzou product may not have Floyd's size, speed or flexible skill set, but his first step is lightning, and he can sift through the trash and make tackles with the best of 'em.

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Pick

Player

Pos.

Ht

Wt

School

11. San Diego Chargers

Lane Johnson

OT

6'6"

303

Oklahoma

We saw last season what happens when Philip Rivers has no one protecting his blindside (or his front side, for that matter), so this is an ideal spot for Johnson--an outrageously athletic prospect with very good technique and strength for the position. Lack of experience is the only real question with this guy, but he's clearly a quick learner, having converted from tight end to tackle in 2011, and he should have no problem developing savvy at the next level.

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12. Miami Dolphins

Desmond Trufant

CB

6'0"

190

Washington

The Dolphins last season hired defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle in part because of his ability to coach up the secondary, and while safety Reshad Jones has flourished under the pass-defense guru's tutelage, cornerback Sean Smith has not. That means it's time for Miami to find a new corner tandem, and it can start with Washington's Desmond Trufant—arguably the best man-coverage defender in this year's class. Trufant is a fluid, balanced prospect equipped with loose hips, a smooth-as-silk backpedal, outstanding short-area quickness and underrated strength. And the long speed he put on display at the Combine (4.38 in the 40) confirmed that he has the wheels to turn and run with anyone at the next level. Trufant qualifies as an ideal prospect for press-man and zone work at the next level, and though his ball skills are just above average, he's aggressive and willing to do whatever it takes to disrupt throws. Steadily improving as a tackler, too.

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13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Xavier Rhodes

CB

6'2"

210

Florida State

Rhodes' 4.43 40 time and 40.5-inch vertical leap in Indianapolis answered the question of whether he's athletic enough to play the perimeter at the next level, and that's great news for a Tampa secondary that was historically bad in 2012. Rhodes' initial jam is as good as any prospect in this class, and he brings the physicality and length head coach Greg Schiano looks for in defensive backs. Ball skills remain a question for Rhodes, but his tenacious style of play and upside are undeniable.

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14. Carolina Panthers

Star Lotulelei

DT

6'2"

311

Utah

Lotulelei is a defensive tackle in the Haloti Ngata mold--a knockout 1-tech-sized prospect who has the quickness and rounded skill set to play nearly any position upfront (with the exception of maybe the 3-technique). Provided he checks out medically, Lotulelei represents nearly unfathomable value at this spot, and judging from the pummeling Carolina's defense took on the ground this season, the team will waste little time snatching him up. Elite-level talent at a rare position.

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15. New Orleans Saints

Bjoern Werner

DE

6'3"

266

Florida State

Yet another example of a premier defensive lineman sliding out of the top 10 for no good reason. Werner was an absolute monster for the Seminoles last season, and he has one of the quickest first steps of any pass-rusher in this class. Some will confuse Werner's inexperience with rawness, but he analyzes the game at a high level and crushes the run. Not necessarily an ideal fit in New Orleans' new 3-4 set-up, but he won't be out of his element, either.

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16. St. Louis Rams

Chance Warmack

G

6'2"

317

Alabama

The No. 16 pick is too low for Warmack, who is a better guard prospect than Steve Hutchinson was coming out Michigan 12 years ago. However, the slide of players like Werner and Lotulelei could funnel the massive Alabama lineman all the way to this spot. Not that the Rams will mind, as their offensive line struggles to get any real push against the run, and isn't much better in pass protection. Warmack is a complete prospect, armed with the lower- and upper-body strength, length and intelligence to hold up against just about any defender at the next level. And his ability to get into the second level and zero in on linebackers is second to none.

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17. Pittsburgh Steelers

Barkevious Mingo

DE

6'4"

241

Louisiana State

Scary scenario here, as Mingo's length and speed would absolutely upgrade the Steelers' waning pass-rush. Technically raw, Mingo would be well served to develop under the tutelage of a proven mind like Dick LeBeau. Still, he's a pass-rush freak who perfectly fits Pittsburgh's "attack now, ask questions later" outside linebacker pairing.

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18. Dallas Cowboys

Jonathan Cooper

OT

6'2"

311

North Carolina

No team needs interior offensive line help more than Dallas, and Cooper would be the No. 1 guard prospect in any draft that didn't contain Chance Warmack. Nevertheless, Cooper is a fluid powerhouse with the quickness to dominate as a pulling guard, and the thick lower base and effective hand placement to stand his ground in the trenches. Intelligence and work ethic also appear to be very high, which will only further endear Cooper to the Cowboys as they continue to rebuild their once-dominant offensive line.

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19. New York Giants

Damontre Moore

DE

6'4"

250

Texas A&M

A slide of this magnitude would've seemed preposterous just a few weeks ago, but Moore's power showing in strength and agility drills at the Combine have caused the former Aggie's draft stock to considerably tumble. It's funny how quickly people forgot the level of speed and tenacity Moore played at last season, and he's equally comfortable standing up or with his hand in the ground. Tough to imagine the Giants passing on ridiculous pass-rusher value at this spot.

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20. Chicago Bears

Menelik Watson

OT

6'5"

310

Florida State

New head coach Marc Trestman is all about smart football, and the wisest thing the Bears can do right now is find Jay Cutler a franchise-caliber protector on the left side. Watson can be that for Chicago, as he has the technique, quickness and foot speed to secure the edge, and the overall strength to handle the bull rush. Great arm length (34"), as well

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Pick

Player

Pos.

Ht

Wt

School

21. Cincinnati Bengals

Alec Ogletree

ILB

6'2"

242

Georgia

Discipline issues are purely the reason why a knockout linebacker prospect like Ogletree is available at this juncture. The former Georgia standout was an absolute terror during the SEC Title Game, and he has all of the athleticism, size and playmaking ability to qualify as an elite-caliber defender at the second level. Ogletree's character concerns must be taken into account, but his talent and upside will likely win out in the eyes of teams like Cincinnati and Baltimore.

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22. St. Louis Rams
(From Washington Redskins)

Matt Elam

S

5'10"

208

Florida

Elam was one of the big post-Combine risers in this year's safety class, and it's easy to see why: he's a heat-seeking missile in the Troy Polamalu mold. Elam's equally comfortable playing centerfield or crowding the line of scrimmage, and he's a big hitter who will bring an added dimension of intimidation to a Rams secondary that already consists of Janoris Jenkins, Cortland Finnegan and Trumaine Johnson. Texas' Kenny Vaccaro might be the more well-known prospect, but Elam's physicality and ability to smash the run could make him the first safety taken on draft night.

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23. Minnesota Vikings

DeAndre Hopkins

WR

6'1"

214

Clemson

Hopkins would represent a serious upgrade for an offense that depends almost exclusively on Jairus Wright and Kyle Rudolph to make plays downfield. Tall, big bodied and equipped with Hakeem Nicks-size hands, the former Clemson wideout is a big-time threat who does his best work with the game on the line. His speed and overall route-running ability are just average, but he tracks the deep ball well and is more than willing to go up and get the football. Hopkins would serve as an ideal option for the yet-to-prove-his-worth Christian Ponder.

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24. Indianapolis Colts

Jarvis Jones

OLB

6'2"

245

Georgia

To say that Jones represents excellent value at this spot would be a horrific understatement. You're talking about arguably the best pass-rusher in this draft falling all the way to the bottom half of round one, and the Colts will be more than happy to take him off the board at No. 24. An outside linebacker in the Von Miller mold, Jones can attack the run on one play, drop into coverage the next, and then finish up with a bull rush on his way to the quarterback. Even the spinal stenosis whispers won't be enough to fade Jones' complete skill set.

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25. Seattle Seahawks

Tavon Austin

WR

5'8"

174

West Virginia

Many draft analysts expect the Seahawks to bolster their pass-rush with this selection, but they threw everyone a curveball with the selection of West Virginia's Bruce Irvin last April, and they're perfectly capable of doing it again with another former Mountaineer this year. Austin will lose points with some teams because of his slight stature, but there's no debating his ability as a high-octane receiver who possesses advanced route-running sensibility and hands for the position.

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26. Green Bay Packers

Keenan Allen

WR

6'2"

206

California

Unless something bizarre occurs between now and next Tuesday, Greg Jennings won't be a Green Bay Packer next season. That might not sound like a huge deal for a receiver corps built on advanced No. 2 wideouts, but balance is key in the West Coast scheme, and Cal's Keenan Allen, a pinpoint route-runner with outstanding hands and good size, is a prototypical Ted Thompson receiver.

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27. Houston Texans

Margus Hunt

DE

6'8"

277

Southern Methodist

It's tempting to mock a receiver to the wideout-starved Texans, especially considering how Andre Johnson's production has slid off over the past two seasons. Still, Houston has made it clear that it wants to beef up the front seven, and it doesn't get any more "beefed up" than SMU's Margus Hunt--an absolute tower at 6'8", and a prospect suited to play the 5-technique in the NFL. Hunt brings good pass-rush ability and quickness to the position, but his rare strength is what sets him apart from the other defensive ends in this class. An absolute physical specimen, but he might be an even better football player.

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28. Denver Broncos

Kenny Vaccaro

S

6'0"

214

Texas

Vaccaro is good enough to go in the top 15, but the sub-par 40 time (4.63) he posted in Indy did him no favors. That won't be enough to completely overshadow the excellent tape Vaccaro put up at Texas, though, and he represents fantastic value for a Broncos club that is dangerously thin on the defensive back end. Cornerback is another area Denver could target with this selection, but Vaccaro is the best player available, and he'd bring scary-good flexibility and instincts to Mile High.

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29. New England Patriots

D.J. Fluker

OT

6'5"

339

Alabama

Fluker is an absolutely massive tackle prospect with some of the longest arms you'll ever see (36 3/4"), but he also has a pretty good head on his shoulders, and projects as a prototypical right-tackle prospect in the pros. This pick could depend on what happens with current Patriots tackle Sebastian Vollmer, but there's little question that a Nate Solder/Fluker bookend set-up would keep Tom Brady comfortable through the twilight years of his career.

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30. Atlanta Falcons

Zach Ertz

TE

6'5"

249

Stanford

Contrary to what many draft analysts are currently saying, this pick doesn't depend on whether tight end Tony Gonzalez hangs it up prior to the 2013 season. Rather, it's about setting up Matt Ryan with a young bevy of pass-catcher mismatches over the long haul, and that's a title that pretty much sums up Ertz. The former Cardinal is a red-zone reception machine, and has the size and speed to bust up the seam and create yards after the catch. An offense featuring Ertz, Julio Jones and Roddy White would be nothing short of pure terror for the NFC South.

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31. San Francisco 49ers

Eric Reid

S

6'1"

213

Louisiana State

Niners opponents in 2012 had no problem throwing in safety Dashon Goldson's direction, and that'll continue until the San Francisco can find a premier safety prospect to regulate the deep middle of the field. Reid is a long, mega-athletic safety with advanced coverage instincts, and he's aggressive enough to step up and undercut throws. Not really a sure tackler, which is surprising for someone with his build and overall strength. Still, he's the franchise-caliber piece San Francisco needs at safety.

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32. Baltimore Ravens

Kevin Minter

ILB

6'0"

246

Louisiana State

The Rodney Dangerfield of this year's inside linebacker class, Minter's an overlooked prospect despite the fact that he reads the game at a high level, runs well, doesn't take false steps and can blitz with authority. A big-time tackler with good upside for the position, Minter would fit in well as Ray Lewis' replacement in Baltimore. His coverage skills still need work, but he's an absolute dynamo when the play is in front of him.

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For more draft discussion, make sure you check out our weekly Phinsider Podcast, right here every Wednesday starting at 9pm ET. Check out archived shows on Blog Talk Radio and download the show from iTunes. We also have a weekly Google+ Hangout every Friday night at 11:30pm ET. Come join both shows to talk all things Miami Dolphins!

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