Kevin O'Connor's 2013 NFL Mock Draft: Patriots Select CB D.J. Hayden

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

I was only 13 years old when I started making mock drafts back in 2004. I probably did over 20 of them that year but since then I've slowly realized that less is more. It's not until April where things really start ramping up and a player's draft stock starts to settle into place. That is why I waited so long to publish my first mock draft. Despite waiting so long, loads of uncertainty remains in a draft that looks to be one of the most exciting in my memory.

I've never seen a draft with so much uncertainty. This draft has been labeled weak...great....horrible...amazing. There seems to be no general consensus on the talent in this draft. I fall in the middle and tend to think that it's just a pretty good overall draft. There are a few potential stars but it's not top heavy by any means. It's truly the type of draft where there will likely be one star player in each round of the draft. There are loads of players that could bolster a team's depth but the true difference makers are hard to pinpoint.

Easily the most intriguing storyline in this draft is the placement of the quarterbacks. Geno Smith, Ryan Nassib and EJ Manuel are often considered the top three quarterbacks, yet you've got those that feel Tyler Wilson, Matt Barkley and Mike Glennon are right there with them in terms of talent. It's possible that not a single quarterback goes in the first round but you could also see an upwards of three go, especially with the likelihood of trades at the end of the round.

This draft does not factor in potential trades. I personally think that this draft will have more movement than in any draft in recent years. With so much solid talent, players selected from pick 10 to 40 truly don't have a drastic difference in talent. There will be some players that teams rank extremely highly on their boards and will trade up or down to put themselves in an ideal position to get that player. But those variables can't be accounted for. So with that said, here's the mock.

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1. Kansas City - Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
---I think Fisher is more athletic than Joeckel and fit's Andy Reid's offensive scheme a lot better. Currently all reports point to Fisher being the number one pick anyway. Good choice.

2. Jacksonville - Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
---I would go with Dion Jordan here but all reports to Ansah being the guy. His upside is off the charts but doesn't have much experience so there is a risk there.

3. Oakland - Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
---Arguably the best prospect in the draft falls right onto Oakland's lap. I think they will still try to trade out of this slot because Sharrif Floyd makes too much sense for them after losing Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour.

4. Philadelphia - Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
---Dion Jordan makes sense here but I think Chip Kelly will opt to bolster his offensive line. Lane Johnson is a freak and fits his scheme perfectly.

5. Detroit - Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
---Dion Jordan is explosive and could immediately fix the Lions' edge-rush issues.

6. Cleveland - Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
---Mingo has shot up from a late first round pick to a potential top ten selection. Cleveland might look to trade out here but Mingo would bolster their pass rush in addition to the signing of Paul Kruger. Milliner is an option here if they trade down.

7. Arizona - Star Lotuleli, DT, Utah
---This is a hard spot to put a player since Arizona would love to see Lane Johnson drop here. Perhaps they will look to trade down and take Fluker or a guard in the 10-15 range. But Lotuleli is arguably the best player on the board here.

8. Buffalo - Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
---I personally feel this is a reach but Bills head coach Doug Marrone may not want to risk losing his man. I would go with Tavon Austin here and QB in late round one or early round two but I'm just going with what I feel Marrone will do.

9. New York Jets - Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
---Austin is the most dynamic offensive player in the draft and would give the Jets a potential star on offense.

10. Tennessee - Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
---Milliner is an option here but Tennessee should bolster the offensive line to help out players like Jake Locker and Chris Johnson. This team has pieces but lacks the punch inside to succeed.

11. San Diego - D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
---Philip Rivers has seen his statistics fall each season due to the loss of his weapons but also the decline of his offensive line. Fluker will be a great a tackle and will bolster the line. A trade up for Lane Johnson is an option too.

12. Miami - Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
---Dee is one of the more interesting players in the draft because of his medical concerns but he is far too talented for Miami to pass up. If Tavon Austin drops here, he might be a dark horse for the Dolphins, as is tight end Tyler Eifert.

13. New York Jets - Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
---The Jets pair up Geno Smith with his star wide receiver, Tavon Austin. Geno has question marks but has too much potential for the Jets to risk losing him. This year might be the end of Mark Sanchez.

14. Carolina - Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
---What a gift. If Floyd drops this far, there is no possible way that Carolina can pass him up. He's a monster with virtually no weaknesses. I think Floyd will be a star in the NFL.

15. New Orleans - Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
---The Saints can go a lot of ways here but I think safety is more of a pressing need than defensive line. Vaccaro is an immediate starter in the NFL.

16. St. Louis - Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
---Richardson has stud potential and it's almost surprising to see him not talked about as a top ten pick. St. Louis would like to see Vaccaro drop here but I don't think they would be unhappy to see Richardson.

17. Pittsburgh - Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
---Jarvis Jones is absolutely the perfect replacement for James Harrison. In my opinion, a pass rusher to the Steelers makes more sense than any other selection in the draft.

18. Dallas - Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
---In my opinion, Chance Warmack is the best guard in the draft and will be a steal at this pick. After signing Tony Romo to a lengthy extension, he will need to be protected and Warmack will help there.

19. New York Giants - Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State
---Alec Ogletree is an option here but Carradine's stock is on the rise for good reason. He's recovering quickly from a torn-ACL and would bolster the once incredible defensive line the Giants had.

20. Chicago - Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
---With Brian Urlacher out, Manti Te'o makes a lot of sense for the Bears. Arthur Brown could be a fit here but I think Te'o fits their system more.

21. Cincinnati - Eric Reid, S, LSU
---There is a lot of talk about the Bengals going with Eddie Lacy but I think they are fine with BenJarvus Green-Ellis at the running back position. Defense is the true problem and Reid gives them a playmaker on the back end.

22. St. Louis - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
---Patterson's stop has dropped but I think some team will be happy to see him fall to the 20-25 range, that team is St. Louis. He's got boom or bust potential and could develop into a number one option for Sam Bradford.

23. Minnesota - Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
---Kevin and Pat Williams were effective defensive tackles for years with Minnesota, this year they can get another one in Sylvester Williams. He's a quality DT that will certainly improve their run defense.

24. Indianapolis - Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
---Datone Jones is a perfect fit at defensive end on the Colts' 3-4 defensive line. Jones might not have the upside that some other players bring but he is a sure bet to be a good player in the NFL.

25. Minnesota - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
---Hopkins is my favorite wide receiver in the draft, second to Tavon Austin, as I outlined in this preview. He's physical, versatile wide receiver that fits their scheme well.

26. Green Bay - Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
---Eifert will be a star and the Packers would be ecstatic if he fell this far. Like the quarterbacks, Eifert is one of the wild cards in the draft.

27. Houston - Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
---The Texans need a wide receiver to pair with Andre Johnson and Hunter is the guy. Other options could be Hopkins, Woods or Patterson.

28. Denver - Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
---Hunt is one of the more intriguing prospects in the draft. Denver has enough depth that they can afford this high risk/reward selection. Hunt could be a star pass rusher that could replace Elvis Dumervil but he could also be playing strictly on special teams in a few years. Boom or bust.

29. New England - D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston
---Hayden has everything you look for in a cornerback. He can play man-to-man and zone at a high level; he can tackle and play either outside or in the slot. It's possible Hayden doesn't even slide this far but if he does Patriots fans should be excited over the selection. He bolsters the depth at a needy position. However, I do feel that New England will end up trading out of this pick, whether or not Hayden is there. But if they stay, I think cornerback is the choice though the choice will be a lot more difficult if a receiver like Hopkins or Patterson drops.

30. Atlanta - Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
---I outlined Desmond Trufant in this scouting report and think he's a perfect fit for the Falcons. They are in need of a cornerback after losing Brent Grimes in free agency.

31. San Francisco - Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
---Williams is personally one of my favorite players in the draft. When Justin Smith got hurt for the 49ers last season, Aldon Smith saw a significant drop in production. Williams will bolster the defensive line depth. A trade up from here is likely.

32. Baltimore - Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State
---Brown is one of more underrated players in the draft. He's undersized but is an incredible leader and instinctual player. He could be a better option as the heir apparent to Ray Lewis even if Manti Te'o is still on the board.

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Comment below or tweet me to tell me your thoughts on my mock draft. What is my best pick? What is my worst pick? What do you think of the Patriots' selection?

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