2013 NFL Draft - With 2012 Scouting Reports
What if the 2013 First Round only had scouting reports from the end of the 2011 season to go off off?
2013 NFL Draft ...
With 2012 Scouting Reports
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So let's say that all 32 NFL general managers had
gone into hibernation last May and weren't able to
watch a lick of the 2012 college football season or
go through the normal workout and draft process.
Going by what the conventional wisdom was at the
time last April, what would each team have done with
the 2013 NFL Draft order?
Dion Jordan wouldn't have been taken in the top 50, much less No. 3 overall. Ezekial Ansah wouldn't have been drafted, and Eric Fisher would've been considered a nice project at absolute best.
Of course, it would've been a vastly different first round.
But that's sort of the nature of the business. Remember, Cam Newton was fighting for a starting job before the 2010 season, and nine months later he was the sure-thing No. 1 overall pick.
Everyone had Andrew Luck pegged as the top pick for 2012 a few years in advance, but no one could've imagined in April of 2011 that a team like Washington would trade heaven and earth to move up to the No. 2 spot to take Robert Griffin III.
So what would the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft have looked like if all the GMs had to go off of was what we thought we knew last year at this time?
Several of the same players would've been taken, but there also would've been some wild misses. We scout and cover all the college players and have a decent handle on who projects to play in the big leagues, but we weren't the only ones to be hot on several players on this list who aren't going to come within ten miles of a decent draft slot this year.
So going off of each team's needs going into 2013, and keeping the same order before all the draft day trades, here's how it all likely would've gone down.
1. Kansas City - DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
While a star had yet to be born as a dominant force in the backfield with just 1.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss in 2011, he showed the athleticism and the size to work in any alignment and produce. Put him on the nose and he'll be fine, or stick him in as a 3-technique and he'll gum up the works. Dominant defensive tackles are worth their weight in gold making Lotulelei was a sure-thing shooting star who projected to be a top anchor up front.
2. Jacksonville - DE Brandon Jenkins, Florida State
The Jaguars need a top pass rusher, and a burgeoning superstar was there for the taking. Jenkins came into the 2011 season with plenty of preseason hype, and he didn't disappoint with a team-leading eight sacks with 12 tackles for loss. The chance was there to turn pro early after turning up his game a few notches over the second half of the season, but he chose to spend one more year developing and now the buzz was supposed continue to grow louder and louder before suffering a foot injury that cost him all of last year.
3. Oakland - QB Matt Barkley, USC
"Bark" peaked too early in the draft process. Every NFL team loves his personality, his attitude, and his drive; like Andrew Luck and RGIII, Barkley is exactly the type of guy every GM wants to be the face of a franchise. With Barkley, the arm strength question might have been an issue for an Oakland team who likes big bombers, but with Carson Palmer a stopgap, another Trojan star would've worked just fine.
4. Philadelphia - WR Robert Woods, USC (Jr.)
The only major question mark was his height. Remember, in 2011, it was the Woods, not Marqise Lee, who was the unstoppable star for the USC passing game with the hands, the route running ability, and the speed, but he's not quite built like an NFL No. 1 wide receiver. The Eagles would've looked to a weak draft class of linemen, but would've taken the hot target to upgrade the offense.
5. Detroit - RB Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina (Jr.)
Even at the time before the big knee injury, there were still question marks about his health. The banged up South Carolina star's tires were worn thin after taking a beating in his first few seasons, but he was a superior talent who could carry and offense by himself if and when everything is working. He has the size, the drive, and the workhorse ability, and at the time, he was starting to come back healthy.
6. Cleveland - QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
A much, much hotter prospect last year at this time, Wilson appeared ready to take his game to a whole other level. His numbers were expected to dip a wee bit with Jarius Wright, Joe Adams, and Greg Childs off to the NFL, and with a healthy Knile Davis to hand off to again, but the NFL scouts were still hot on the upside. A little bit taller than Matt Barkley, and a bit more careful with the ball than Landry Jones, Wilson would've climbed up the charts.
7. Arizona - C/OG Travis Frederick, Wisconsin (Jr.)
Guards just aren't sexy. Before getting hurt, David DeCastro might have been the safest prospect in the 2012 draft as he slid down to Pittsburgh late in the first round. Frederick was thought of as the next great, sure-thing lineman with outstanding size and enough athleticism to work in any system. Able to kick inside to center if needed or even be tried out at right tackle, the versatility would've made him a hot pick.
8. Buffalo - QB E.J. Manuel, Florida State
We had this one pegged a year in advance – only not necessarily to Buffalo. All the players on this list were considered almost certain first-rounders or locks to go among the top 50 picks, and while Manuel was a projection, his upside was limitless for a big, strong, athletic playmaker with the tools right out of central casting. There was some thought that he was just about to put it all together to be the next Cam Newton or RGIII in the draft process, and in the end, despite the lack of production, it sort of turned out that way.
9. New York Jets - LB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
Fast, productive 240-pound pass rushers tend to make Rex Ryan drool. A poor man's Von Miller, Jones turned in a dominant 2011 season after transferring from USC with 13.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss and 70 tackles. However, he'd have to be checked out closely by the medical staffs after suffering a neck injury as a Trojan.
10. Tennessee - OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
It was still a projection with several Alabama linemen like Barrett Jones and D.J. Fluker also red hot, but Warmack was seen as a top guard in the making with a world of upside. The Titans liked him at the ten in 2013, and they would've taken the flier in 2012, too.
11. San Diego - OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M (Jr.)
What the hell is a Johnny Football? Joeckel was an NFL-caliber pass protector for Ryan Tannehill in a pro-style attack, proving he had the feet and athleticism to eventually grow into a franchise-making left tackle with a little more seasoning.
12. Miami - OT Ricky Wagner, Wisconsin
Next. Wagner was considered yet another big, talented Wisconsin blocker with the massive size and ability to become a solid cog on any NFL line. After spending the first part of his career at right tackle he moved over to the left side and started every game in 2011 where he was terrific and consistent. While he would've been taken by Miami as a right tackle at the next level, he'd start out getting a look on the left side.
13. New York Jets (from Tampa Bay) - DT Kawann Short, Purdue
After going with a pass rusher in Jarvis Jones earlier, the Jets would've beefed up an already stocked defensive tackle spot. Short both looked the part and showed the NFL tools of a 3-4 end or a 4-3 tackle, but could he jack up the motor for a full sixty minutes? That's where Rex Ryan would've come in.
14. Carolina - DT Kwame Geathers, Georgia (Jr.)
HUGE. While he was only a part-time starter in 2011 and made just 14 tackles, there are few human beings who are this big, this quick, and have the room and potential to be even more physically imposing. A must better prospect and project than a pure football player, he still needed a lot of work and developing – a LOT of work. However, again, he has a rare frame and size to mold into something special for a defensive interior.
15. New Orleans - S Ray Ray Armstrong, Miami
Remember, life was much different 12 months ago. At the time, there was a thought that at 6-4 and 220 pounds, Armstrong was the next great NFL defensive back from Miami. Out of all the Hurricane underclassmen who decided to leave early for the 2012 NFL draft, Armstrong was the one who should've actually made the move. Forget about any character issues after being suspended– he had a dinner with a "public relations" firm. At his size and with his range and skills, everything was supposed to be in place to be a dominant force as the leader in someone's secondary. This year, though, he'll be lucky to be drafted as his stock has fallen through the floor.
16. St. Louis - CB Tyrann Mathieu, LSU (Jr.)
Absolutely no one thought that the 2012 BCS championship loss to Alabama was going to be the last time the Honey Badger was going to suit up for LSU. He might have tested out to be too small and too slow, but he was still seen as the ultimate playmaker who could do magical things for a secondary.
17. Pittsburgh - LB Sean Porter, Texas A&M
While Porter might not be big enough to be used as a pure pass rusher, and he's not going to be a tweener who can be used on the end, he was coming off a dominant season as he took over the Von Miller role making 9.5 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, and 79 tackles. He was considered a perfect 3-4 outside linebacker for the next level and would've gone to a Steeler team that jumped all over Jarvis Jones in this slot.
18. Dallas - OG/OT/C Barrett Jones, Alabama
The Cowboys would've been ahead of the curve, needing a center and projecting the Outland-winning tackle to the middle. And that would've been the question; where was he going to play? Considered a likely NFL guard, he hadn't yet fully shown what he could do as a pure center. The Cowboys would've needed him for somewhere up front.
19. New York Giants - OT Alex Hurst, LSU
Before getting hurt, at 6-6 and 340 pounds, Hurst was considered a top tackle and a possible guard. He started at right tackle over the last two years for LSU and was among the nation's best run blockers. A blaster who can move the earth, he had the tools and the talent to be a longtime NFL starter and a perfect fit for the Giant line before suffering a bad leg injury.
20. Chicago - OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama (Jr.)
The Bears went with a bit of a reach with Kyle Long, and it would've been happy to get the burgeoning Alabama star. While he'd get the dreaded Right Tackle Only red flag from some at the time, he was considered big enough to have a long NFL career as a great guard or be a bruiser on the outside. Massive, he has the size and the experience to be ready to step in and start on Day One in 2013.
21. Cincinnati - TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame (Jr.)
Same pick, different year. Notre Dame had cranked out strong tight ends over the years, and Eifert has the potential to be the best of the bunch. He could've taken off early for the NFL after the 2011 season and probably would've been the first tight end off the board – or second after Stanford's Coby Fleener – but he chose to come back to be a huge part of the Irish offense. Brian Kelly and the coaching staff were supposed to use him as a big wide receiver as well as a tight end, and they did.
22. St. Louis (from Washington) - RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin
After going for Tyrann Mathieu earlier, the Rams would've taken the hot back to step in for Steven Jackson and add another weapon to an attack that needed more flash. Remember, even though Ball came back to school after being told he was going to be a third-rounder – a projected disputed by some – Wisconsin was the hot team coming off a big 2011 and the Badger star was fresh off a Heisman-caliber campaign.
23. Minnesota - LB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
Lennay Kekua was still alive – or hadn't been born, depending on which version of the story you believe. The Vikings like big-name players from big-name schools, and Te'o appeared to be on the verge of becoming something special. A mid-first round pick had he come out in 2012, he might not be the fastest defender and he still needs to work on fighting through the trash to make big plays happen, but he has the bulk and the instincts to be a superstar in the middle of a D.
24. Indianapolis - DE Sam Montgomery, LSU (Jr.)
Michael Brockers might have been the key to the great LSU line in 2011, but it was Montgomery who was the top playmaker with nine sacks and 13 tackles for loss. Consistent, he was always working and always finding ways to make things happen behind the line, but he was also allowed to roam free with so much talent talking up the attention. The hype was off the charts at the time as a key part of an LSU team that went to the BCS championship.
25. Minnesota (from Seattle) - DT Shariff Floyd, Florida (Jr.)
The Vikings got Te'o for the middle, and then it would've taken their defensive tackle of the future. 2012 was supposed to be the year when it all came together. The one-time super-recruit has had a good career, and he started to shine in 2011 at defensive end, but he appeared to be on the verge of being the devastating playmaker on the inside that Gator fans had been waiting for. A dream of an NFL 3-4 tackle, he was and is lightning quick with the potential to be a top-shelf interior pass rusher.
26. Green Bay - DE William Gholston, Michigan State (Jr.)
The Packers went defensive end getting Datone Jones, and they would've taken another freak-of-nature type of talent. Could Gholston shake the stigma of the family name? His cousin, Vernon, was an all-timer of a first-round bust, but forgetting that, the frame and the upside were elite. At 6-7 and 275 pounds he has phenomenal size with the room to add another ten pounds of good weight, and he had the same look and potential last year. Able to work as a pure pass rushing end or as a dangerous interior presence, it was all there to turn into a dominant force.
27. Houston - CB David Amerson, NC State (Jr.)
The Texans might have needed a receiver, but they wouldn't have passed up on a solid corner. Very big and very productive, Amerson came from out of nowhere to become a major factor a few years ago before blowing up in 2011 with a nation-leading 13 interceptions to go along with 59 tackles. He might have been considered more of a playmaking nickel defender at the next level than a shut-down corner, but he had the production, size and a nose for always being around the ball.
28. Denver - S Eric Reid, LSU (Jr.)
Everyone would've been caught up in the Tyrann Mathieu hype, but Reid was thought to be just as good a pro prospect, if not better. Somewhat lost in the shuffle with so many great stars in the Tiger defensive backfield, he was supposed to grow into a superstar in 2012 getting his due recognition. A peerless open field tackler, he's still considered as rock-steady as they come. He might not make Mathieu-like highlight plays, but he makes the routine ones over and over again.
29. New England - DE John Simon, Ohio State
He would've fit the New England mold. Extremely strong and always working, he was expected to be the centerpiece of Urban Meyer's defense as the team's top pass rushing threat. He might not have ideal height, but he made up for it with a great burst off the ball. Not just able to hold up against the run, he's great at getting into the backfield making seven sacks in 2011 with 16 tackles for loss and 53 stops.
30. Atlanta - CB Johnny Adams, Michigan State
Fast, talented, and experienced, he had been a key part of the Spartan defense for three seasons as he turned into one of the best defensive backs in the Big Ten. Not just great when the ball was in the air, he was considered physical for his size and wasn't afraid to get his nose dirty against the run. His stock dropped through the floor after a rough senior year, but a year ago he was considered a hot commodity.
31. San Francisco - S T.J. McDonald, USC
A walking NFL fine – in a good way - McDonald was and is a kill-shot artist who blows up receivers and punishes ball-carriers with an intimidating style that will make him an instant fan favorite. Arguably the most physical safety in the nation at the end of 2011, he's a big, fast intimidating force who could've made a ton of money had he left a year early – the draft class of safeties was sad and miserable a few years ago.
32. Baltimore - LB Jonathan Brown, Illinois (Jr.)
No one would've considered him another Ray Lewis, but he would've been a new key cog for the Raven defense. Known for the all-timer of a cheap shot in 2011 against Northwestern, Brown's great season went completely unnoticed despite leading the team with 108 tackles with six sacks – and that was with missing a game after being suspended. He was and is fast, athletic, and always around the ball, but he struggled in 2012 with the new coaching staff and injuries.