A little more than two weeks ago, we took a look at about 10 early versions of 2013 NFL mock drafts we found on-line. We included one obvious caution: These predictions are almost certain to change – and change again and change again – over the next four months.
And change they have. On Thursday, the two most prominent NFL draft analysts on NFL.com, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, posted their latest mock draft versions, and each one came up with a new name to associate with the Buccaneers.
Of those 10 mocks we surveyed in January, eight paired the Buccaneers with a cornerback, either Alabama’s Dee Milliner, Mississippi State’s Johnathan Banks or Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes. Kiper was one of the dissenters, slotting Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree at the Bucs’ #13 spot. McShay’s first mock had actually come very early, in the first half of December, before the draft order was set. He had the Bucs taking LSU DE Sam Montgomery at #14.
This time around, with the draft now exactly 11 weeks away, Kiper has stuck to his guns in predicting a linebacker for Tampa Bay, but changed the specific pick to Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o. In Version 1.0 of his mock draft, Kiper had Te’o going eighth overall, to the Bills, so this represents something of a slide for the embattled linebacker.
McShay has Te’o falling even further, to the Bears at #20. (McShay’s mock is behind ESPN’s Insider subscription wall; here is the link if you have access.) He is still on the board for the Buccaneers at #13, but McShay predicts the selection of Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore instead. That pick, too, would represent an unexpected opportunity. Kiper has Moore going second overall to the Jaguars, which is the same place McShay slotted the Aggies’ pass-rusher in mid-December.
New names, but it’s still all defense for the Buccaneers. The only analyst to predict a pick on the other side of the ball for Tampa Bay is NFL.com’s Gil Brandt, who tabbed Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker. Should the Bucs go offense or defense in Round One? We debated that here in the CB two weeks ago.