A lot has happened since our first mock that was published in August. Marcus Lattimore got hurt, the quarterbacks have more questions than expected, and certain players just didn’t perform as expected. Other players have stepped up. We have a lot more information available to us now but there will be much more that comes out in the coming months. Enjoy!
2013 Rookie Mock Draft 2.0
*Odd picks made by Dan Hosler. Even picks made by Chase Wheetley.
1. Giovani Bernard RB UNC – 5’10” 205 lbs
NFL Comparison: Doug Martin
Analysis: Bernard is by far the most talented running back in this class. In many ways I am bummed that the rest of the world has taken notice. I have had him on my sleeper list for a couple years now. Anyways, Doug Martin was my comparison of choice because of Bernard’s great cutting ability. They have similar size and moves but Bernard is more elusive while Martin is more physical. Gio was very productive this year rushing for 1228 yards at 6.7 yards per carry and reached paydirt twelve times. Bernard also did very well in the passing game as evidenced by his 47-490-5 line his redshirt sophomore year.
2. Joseph Randle RB Oklahoma State – 6’1’’ 200 lbs
NFL Comparison: Lamar Miller
Analysis: Randle may be better than any running back in the class at changing direction, and he has the speed to break away after he cuts. Randle is the complete package, with the agility, acceleration, and power needed to be an NFL feature back. I have reservations because Randle comes from a spread system at Oklahoma State, but he’s good between the tackles. He was productive throughout college, capping off his college career with a 274-1417-14 line in his junior season. While Lamar Miller hasn’t done much yet in his career, I was a big fan of his in college, and he reminds me of Randle. Both are north-south runners who are great one-cut runners with speed to pull away.
3. Keenan Allen WR California – 6’3” 210 lbs
NFL Comparison: Demaryius Thomas
Analysis: Allen is a complete wide receiver. He can take a short catch and make it a huge play. He posted an incredible 98-1343-6 stat line his sophomore year. Unfortunately, the California offense fell apart completely this season and he missed a few games this year. His stats regressed to a 61-737-6 line. Allen’s talent has not regressed though. His blend of size, speed, strength, and big play ability put him at the top of wide receivers in this class.
4. Justin Hunter – 6’4’’ 200 lbs
NFL Comparison: Brandon Marshall
Analysis: After a torn left ACL in 2011, Hunter didn’t have quite his usual explosion in 2012, but he still turned in a 73-1,083-9 stat line. His vertical game regressed some this year, but he should regain explosiveness as he continues to heal. With Hunter’s big 6’4’’ frame, his biggest strengths are his body control and athleticism. In order to fulfill his potential, Hunter needs to get completely healthy and work on his maturity. When things don’t go his way, he has a tendency to let his emotions show and it can affect his game. With such great talent, though, that’s something you have to hope will get better in time.
5. DeAndre Hopkins WR Clemson – 6’1” 200 lbs
NFL Comparison: Julio Jones
Analysis: Hopkins is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. The Julio Jones comparison is largely due to his aggressive playing style rather than a full body/game comparison. Hopkins attacks the ball in the air and then immediately gets upfield. He has great instincts once the ball is in his hands. He put up a great sophomore season (72-978-5) but the real story is what happened this year. When his teammate, Sammy Watkins, was suspended for a few games, DeAndre took the lead wide receiver job and never looked back. He put up an incredible 82-1405-18 season. Hopkins is a playmaker and plays larger than his size. His transition to the NFL should be a smooth one.
6. Geno Smith QB West Virginia – 6’3’’ 214 lbs
NFL Comparison: Robert Griffin III
Analysis: Geno Smith isn’t the same talent that Robert Griffin III is, but it’s hard to ignore their similarities. Both have excellent mobility (Griffin is a more gifted athlete) and are very efficient as passers. Robert Griffin III had a 72.4% completion rate his last year in college, and Smith completed 71.2% of his passes. West Virginia struggled down the stretch, but Smith still finished with 4,205 yards, 42 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. As the consensus top quarterback in the class, right now he’s the only quarterback I would consider taking in the first round of rookie drafts because of his combination of athleticism and arm talent.
7. Montee Ball RB Wisconsin – 5’11” 212 lbs
NFL Comparison: Cedric Benson
Analysis: Over the past two years I have slowly become a bit of a Montee Ball fan. His position in my rankings is due largely in part to the lack of high end running backs in this class though. Ball is an efficient and extremely productive runner. Because of that production there is some concern about the mileage he has accumulated though. He has benefited from a good offensive line but he also does well in the open field and gets nice yardage after contact. I am confident that Ball will do well in the right situation.
8. Eddie Lacy RB Alabama – 6’1’’ 220 lbs
NFL Comparison: Marshawn Lynch
Analysis: The concern with Eddie Lacy is his lack of explosion at the line of scrimmage, but I’ve become less concerned with that the past few times I’ve seen him. Alabama’s offensive line is great, but I think I was giving them too much credit for Lacy’s success. He creates plenty of yards after contact by himself, seemingly always falling forward for an extra couple yards. Lacy moves piles forward and runs with a physical style that is reminiscent of Lynch. He’s not as fast, but has excellent power, a killer spin move, and sufficient burst and agility for a back his size. We picked this mock draft about a week ago, and if it was today I would’ve picked Lacy before Randle, although I love both players. Lacy should be an NFL workhorse from Week 1, and as long as he stays healthy should be a starting RB in fantasy as soon as he steps on the field.
9.Terrance Williams WR Baylor – 6’2” 205 lbs
NFL Comparison: Roddy White
Analysis: Williams enjoyed a productive junior year with Robert Griffin III as his quarterback. With RG3 gone and Kendall Wright not there to draw attention away from him, one would expect a season in a range of a mild regression to mild improvement. That wasn’t the case. Williams nearly doubled his junior season totals in 2012, posting a 97-1832-12 season. He has a knack for finding the soft spots in coverage and he has a good burst off the line. He is a guy that is capable of filling multiple roles in an offense. His versatility and talent will be very appealing to an NFL team.
10. Tavon Austin WR West Virginia – 5’9’’ 174 lbs
NFL Comparison: Randall Cobb
Everyone is looking for the next Cobb or Percy Harvin, and Austin is the cream of this year’s versatile receiver crop. Austin has all the tools to make the kind of impact Cobb has for the Packers, from his route running and YAC ability to his ability to run out of the backfield. This year’s statline speaks for Austin’s versatility, as he had 114-1289-12 receiving and 72-643-3 rushing. The thing that will cause Austin to slide to the late first in rookie drafts is his size. If he lands on a creative offensive team his size may not hold him back, but the team has to be willing to base offensive gameplans around Austin’s diverse skillset.
11. Tyler Eifert TE Notre Dame – 6’6” 251 lbs
NFL Comparison: Kyle Rudolph
Analysis: This is probably the most boring pick in this mock. No one is ever excited to take the first tight end in a draft but Eifert is a talented one. He is very similar to the tight end that preceded him at Notre Dame (Kyle Rudolph). Eifert is a very good vertical threat and should be used that way in the NFL. While his NCAA stats aren’t eye popping, his abilities weren’t exploited as they should have been. He should be the top incoming tight end and in the late first/early second round discussion.
12. Andre Ellington RB Clemson – 5’9’’ 190 lbs
NFL Comparison: CJ Spiller
Analysis: For all the impressive parts of Andre Ellington’s game, there are other parts that need work. Ellington’s blend of quickness and explosiveness is similar to CJ Spiller, but he also has similar flaws. Ellington has the ability to break huge runs with his 4.4 speed, but the tendency to try to break everything outside and become impatient on inside runs, sometimes running into the backs of his blockers. For Ellington to become the success Spiller has become in the NFL, he needs to add at least 10 pounds of muscle and focus on his inside running game.
Closing: There has been a lot of movement since our previous mock draft, and there is plenty of movement to come. The closer to the draft we get, the more everyone’s draft boards will be solidified, but when the NFL Draft takes place things will change a lot. Right now is the best time to do your homework on rookies. There are plenty of full game cut-ups on YouTube that are great to watch to develop your own big board. We’ll have plenty more rookie coverage leading up to the draft, from rookie profiles to more mock drafts.