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NFL Mock Draft 2013: Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants

April 25th, 2013 at 9:29 AM
By Donald Lappe

Moving beyond the halfway point of the first round, the 2013 NFL Draft gets really interesting. You start getting to teams that barely missed out on the playoffs the year before and there are prospects hanging around that some prognosticators projected to be off the board much earlier. Given the depth of this year's NFL Draft class and the variation even within positional rankings from analyst to analyst, this is a very fluid first round. In our 2013 NFL Mock Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers grab Xavier Rhodes of Florida State at No. 17. The Dallas Cowboys then beef up their offensive line with Jonathan Cooper at No. 18 overall and the New York Giants select Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant with the No. 19 selection in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Xavier Rhodes, Florida State – The Steelers seem destined to get a rare defensive asset one way or another with this selection. If Jarvis Jones of Georgia slips, many believe he won't get past the Steelers. If he's gone, there should be another edge rusher or Xavier Rhodes available at cornerback for Pittsburgh. Mark Mihalko of Steelers 101 made the selection for the Pittsburgh Steelers:

"With no trade scenarios available the Steelers grab Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes. At 6-1, 217 pounds he is a physical presence on the edge that excels in press-coverage. More importantly, he has fluid hips and enough athleticism to easily change directions. He plays with solid instincts, and while he is only a junior, he is extremely experienced with 39-starts. A vicious hitter in the run game, that physicality can cause problems with tight coverage. More importantly, some scouts believe he could slide over to safety, a major area of need for the Steelers in this draft."

18. Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina – What a get for the Cowboys at No. 18 overall, and it's not out of the question. Jonathan Cooper might be the best athlete to ever come to the NFL as a guard, but once again guards are not a highly-valued commodity in the NFL. His ability is worthy of the top 10, but positional value also comes into play and there's a solid chance he or Chance Warmack slides down the board. Nick Sharp of Cowboys 101 made the selection for the Dallas Cowboys:

"Jonathan Cooper falling to the Dallas Cowboys at No. 18 would be a dream for this franchise and its fan base. While many rate him as the No. 2 guard on the big board behind Alabama guard Chance Warmack, a lot of people feel Cooper simply fits better into Dallas' scheme than the War-hammer (if that's not his nickname, it should be). Cooper's blend of size, athleticism, and intelligence all add up to a plug-and-play type guard that Dallas hasn't seen since Larry Allen. After spending over $100 million on quarterback Tony Romo this offseason, it's time to dedicate some time and effort to protecting No. 9. Jonathan Cooper, along with 2011 first round pick left tackle Tyron Smith, would go a long ways towards cementing Romo's first line of defense. "

19. New York Giants: Desmond Trufant, Washington – I really like this fit for the Giants. New York needs someone who can come in and contribute immediately in the secondary and while Desmond Trufant isn't the most physically gifted cornerback in the 2013 NFL Draft, he's a feisty competitor with two brothers who play cornerback in the NFL (Isaiah, Marcus). Desmond knows what it takes to compete as a cornerback in the NFL and is ready to play. Dan Benton of Giants 101 made the pick for the New York Giants. Trufant is another player that has fallen all over the first round, anywhere from No. 12 to No. 28 overall in mock drafts.

Now entering the No. 20 overall selection, there are still plenty of quality prospects to be had. What's going to make this part of the 2013 NFL Draft fun is the possibility for a trade at any pick. There are going to be players that have slipped to this point that teams may want to get back into the first round and grab, while some positions are still stocked enough that there are teams looking to trade back. Don't be surprised if there's a lot of movement in the late portion of the first round.

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Tags: 2013 NFL Draft, 2013 NFL Mock Draft, Dallas Cowboys, Desmond Trufant, Florida State, Jarvis Jones, Jonathan Cooper, mock draft, New York Giants, NFL, NFL Draft, North Carolina, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington, Xavier Rhodes

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