Post-Free Agency Mock DraftMonday, March 25, 2013
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11. San Diego Chargers -- Oklahoma LT Lane Johnson
Johnson isn't quite as polished as Eric Fisher or Luke Joeckel, but he arguably possesses more long-term upside with superior athleticism and less experience playing left tackle. The onetime quarterback recruit is only going to get better. San Diego needs help at both tackle spots, and Johnson's rare athleticism makes him a fit as the Chargers install more zone-running concepts.
12. Miami Dolphins -- Florida State CB Xavier Rhodes
Even after his recklessly desperate free-agency spending spree, Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland's roster has myriad holes. He needs two starting corners, an offensive tackle, another edge rusher, help at running back, and arguably a new right guard. Although press-corner Rhodes is a questionable scheme fit for coordinator Kevin Coyle's zone-heavy secondary, he's the best defensive back left on the board. Ireland is on the hotseat, and must nail day-one starters with his first 4-5 draft picks.
13. Tampa Bay Bucs -- Florida State DE Bjoern Werner
The Bucs have the makings of an explosive, big-play offense and can stuff the run on defense. They still don't have enough pieces up front or in the defensive backfield to stop the pass. It's quite possible this pick will ultimately be traded for Darrelle Revis, but if not Tampa Bay must use it on a pass rusher or back-four pass defender. Werner would offer the best value at No. 13 as a highly productive left end type to work in tandem with Da'Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn. Clayborn is coming off a torn ACL, and Bowers has only 4 1/2 sacks through 26 career games.
14. Panthers -- Alabama OG Chance Warmack
Tavon Austin could be enticing here, particularly if new Panthers GM Dave Gettleman -- a former Giants exec -- envisions Austin as another Victor Cruz. Reaching for a cornerback like Desmond Trufant could also be tempting for such a corner-desperate team. Warmack would be the safest pick of the bunch and quite possibly provide the biggest immediate impact, upgrading on Geoff Hangartner at right guard. The Panthers need better play in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
15. New Orleans Saints -- Georgia OLB Jarvis Jones
Medical concerns, lack of ideal size, and poor workout numbers will make Jones a value pick on draft day. Jones' relentless playing style and dominance of SEC offensive tackles will keep him squarely in the first round. Jones is the best player available here, and the Saints need a dynamic edge rusher as they transition to a 3-4. Jones would be a Week 1 starter opposite Junior Galette.
16. St. Louis Rams -- West Virginia WR Tavon Austin
The Rams let free agents Danny Amendola and Steven Jackson walk because they are intent on increasing the big-play ability around Sam Bradford. Amendola and S-Jax were viewed as chain-moving, possession-type players. Austin can move the chains, but he can also hit home runs from multiple receiver positions, in the return game, and as a tailback in the I-formation. If Austin gets to 16 -- and he may not -- he'd be a no-brainer pick as Amendola's replacement and then some.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Alabama RB Eddie Lacy
The Steelers' offensive skill-position talent has become a major concern, especially at running back. "Obviously, we need to add to the pool of talent we have at that position," coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged. With underrated passing-game skills, bone-rattling power, and light feet on his 231-pound frame, Lacy is this year's premier draft-eligible back. He would bring a consistent, sustaining element to a Pittsburgh offense that currently finds itself at a crossroads. The Steelers trumpeted their interest in adding a big back when they flirted with Beanie Wells in free agency.
18. Dallas Cowboys -- Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson
As the Cowboys transition from the 3-4 to 4-3 defensive alignment, their biggest missing piece is a three-technique interior pass rusher. Richardson is a 6-foot-3, 294-pound up-field penetrator capable of starting on day one. He'd be better value than Texas FS Kenny Vaccaro at this pick.
19. New York Giants -- Washington CB Desmond Trufant
Giants GM Jerry Reese is a devoted believer in BPA strategy, making his drafts thoroughly unpredictable because they come directly off an undisclosed and predetermined board. If Reese leans toward need at the 19th pick, corner would rise atop his wish list. Trufant is a tall cover man who can really run and make plays on the ball. The G-Men have to turn the page on Corey Webster.
20. Chicago Bears -- Kansas State LB Arthur Brown
The fact that Brown is a non-pass-rush linebacker puts a lid on his draft value, but he's probably a top 12 or 15 overall player in this year's class. All of Chicago's projected starting linebackers are short-term fixes; WLB Lance Briggs is going on age 33, while MLB D.J. Williams and SLB James Anderson are on one-year contracts. Brown would be the Bears' middle linebacker of the future.
21. Cincinnati Bengals -- Florida S Matt Elam
Reggie Nelson has one safety spot on lock; the other is up for grabs. Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer fancies his safeties as interchangeable, and Elam offers experience covering the slot as well as filling hard versus the run. Elam is rough around the edges and will need to be coached up, but he'd be a philosophical fit as another young, physical starter on a young, physical defense.