2013 NFL Mock Draft: Two Mountaineers Off the Board in Round 1


NFL.com experts have been rolling through mock draft after mock draft in the recent weeks. In the latest rounds of of the NFL.com experts mock drafts, both Geno Smith and Tavon Austin are projected to go off the board in the top half of the first round.

The four NFL.com experts picking mock drafts are Daniel Jeremiah, Matt Smith, Bucky Brooks, and Josh Norris. Each expert’s draft varied wildly in the order in which the top prospects came off the board. For example, consensus top talent Luke Joekel goes anywhere from #1 to the Kansas City to #7 to the Arizona Cardinals.

Feb 24, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith (13) participates in a passing drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

What the four experts seem to agree fairly well on is that Geno Smith will be off the board by the #8 pick. Three of four NFL.com experts have Geno Smith going #8 to the Buffalo Bills, while Matt Smith has Geno going #7 to the Arizona Cardinals.

With the Ryan Fitzpatrick experiment over in Buffalo and the Bills under new management, coach Doug Marrone will be looking to find his future quarterback in the draft. Many have speculated that the Bills would pass on quarterbacks in the first round, waiting until the top of the second to grab former Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib.

Should Geno go off the board at #7 to the Cardinals, it is highly likely that the Bills could pursue Nassib in the second round.

While the NFL.com experts were in general agreement about Smith’s draft stock, they are in complete disagreement about Tavon Austin’s draft value.

One expert, Daniel Jeremiah, has Austin going #13 overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Austin’s speed and accleration in the open field would be a perfect compliment to Vincent Jackson’s deep threat. The Buccaneers do have a need for a top end cornerback as bad as that group played last season but with Dee Milliner likely off the board before they select, the Bucs will go with the best available player.

Feb 24, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Tavon Austin runs with the ball after making a catch during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Two of the NFL.com experts (Brooks and Norris)  like Tavon Austin for the St. Louis Rams at #16. With Danny Amendola now in New England, the Rams are in desperate need of receiving talent. Austin would be a major upgrade from Amendola, especially in the special teams area.

Wide receiver is clearly the top priority for the Rams, but they could elect to go in another direction with the more conventional Keenan Allen from California. While Allen is an exceptional talent, Austin clearly has a ton of upside and the ability to make an impact in special teams, receiving, and the in the read option game.

The final expert, Matt Smith likes Austin to go to the Minnesota Vikings at #23. The departure of versatile Percy Harvin leavs a huge void in the Vikings offense.

Why not replace Harvin with a younger, faster, even more versatile player like Austin? If he is still on the board by the time the Vikings draft, Austin will be a slam dunk for the Vikings at #23.