2013 NFL Mock Draft: Full First Round, Complete with Bold Predictions
In a couple short days, the most anticipated event of the NFL offseason will finally be under way. General managers of the league have scouted and planned enough for the 2012 draft, and now it's time for the future of the NFL to take shape.
However, no franchise is ever a finished product even after winning a championship, meaning it's never too soon to look towards the future.
Here's a look at how the 2013 NFL draft could pan out next year.
1. Cleveland Browns: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Matt Barkley returned to USC to compete for a national championship, but more importantly, a shot being at being the No. 1 overall pick. To the luck of the Cleveland Browns and their continuous downslide, they will wind up making this selection.
The Browns have one of the worst offenses and have lost all confidence in Colt McCoy. If they hope to compete in AFC North against elite teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, plus the budding Cincinnati Bengals, the Browns will need to upgrade at quarterback.
Cleveland won't become a playoff contender right away with Barkley, but it will be a step in the right direction for the franchise.
2. Oakland Raiders: Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee Volunteers
The Oakland Raiders overspent for Carson Palmer last season, and will pay for it this upcoming season. Palmer won't return to the player he used to be in Cincinnati, and it's time for the Raiders to look for a real quarterback.
Tyler Bray has shown great NFL potential as a Volunteer and will be one of the top-rated quarterbacks coming out in next year's draft. Oakland needs to draft a quarterback for the future, and Bray is the man for the job.
3. Miami Dolphins: Robert Woods, WR, USC
Assuming the Dolphins select a quarterback in the 2012 draft like Ryan Tannehill, it'll be imperative for Miami to find some weapons on offense. Davone Bess is a nice slot option, but nowhere close to a No. 1 receiver.
Robert Woods will come out as the top receiver in 2013, and could become the playmaker Miami desperately needs. The Dolphins will love this pick.
4. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR, California
The Minnesota Vikings' top priority is to continue the development of Christian Ponder. The franchise quarterback has very little to work with at receiver, especially with the health concerns of Percy Harvin.
Keenan Allen is definitely an upgrade from Michael Jenkins and could create a nice tandem with Harvin. Ponder needs all the help possible on the outside, and Allen is a great starting point.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
Four players in the Jacksonville secondary are set to hit free agency in 2013 (Rashean Mathis, Derek Cox, William Middleton, Ashton Youboty). Whether these four are brought back or not, the Jaguars must address the cornerback position.
Despite his undersized build, the 5'9" Tyrann Mathieu is a ball hawk and a talented defensive back. His size could drop him lower in the draft, but that hasn't stopped the Jaguars before when drafting undersized defensive tackle Tyson Alualu.
6. Seattle Seahawks: Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State
The Seattle Seahawks' wide receivers have been far less than impressive. The quarterback situation was addressed after bringing in Matt Flynn, but now he needs help. Sidney Rice is injury prone and Golden Tate hasn't become the reliable option Seattle hoped for.
Marquess Wilson is a step up from Deon Butler and Doug Baldwin as outside receivers. If Wilson's brought in, Seattle will likely let go a couple of its current options at receiver.
7. Indianapolis Colts: Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
The Colts have very little to work with at running back. Donald Brown isn't an every-down back, and Andrew Luck could use a reliable security blanket in the backfield.
Marcus Lattimore will be heavily favored to win the Heisman Trophy, and would be a great addition for the Indianapolis offense. If the Colts' run game continues to struggle, Lattimore will be a great option.
8. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
The St. Louis Rams are looking to stabilize their defense and could use some help on the front line. The Rams could use a boost at tackle in between Robert Quinn and Chris Long.
Jonathan Jenkins can clog up the middle and help the last-place run defense.
9. Arizona Cardinals: Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
The Cardinals could really use a dynamic pass-rusher considering Arizona lacks a consistent lineman outside of Darnell Dockett. While he plugs up the middle, the Cardinals could use some pressure at defensive end.
Jarvis Jones plays with a high motor and could create havoc for Arizona. Jones should be high on the Cardinals' draft board for 2013.
10. San Diego Chargers: David Amerson, CB, NC State
Veteran cornerback Quentin Jammer isn't getting any younger at 34 years old, creating a need in the secondary for the Chargers.
David Amerson is a rare cornerback standing at 6'3" and also complements his size with speed and high athleticism. Amerson could play right away for San Diego and would make an immediate impact.
11. Tennessee Titans: Jelani Jenkins, OLB, Florida
The Tennessee Titans are in search of another linebacker to team up with Akeem Ayers and Colin McCarthy, and Jelani Jenkins could be that answer.
Jenkins fits well on the outside for the Titans' defense. Ayers, McCarthy and Jenkins can complement each other well and could make Tennessee a hard-hitting, fast paced defensive unit.
12. New York Jets: Sam Montgomery, DE/OLB, LSU
The Jets play well against the run and has a stout secondary to counter the pass, but they must find some players to rush the quarterback. Sam Montgomery will be a quality 3-4 linebacker and would give the Jets the sound edge rusher they need.
13. Dallas Cowboys: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
After placing the franchise tag on Anthony Spencer, his return to Dallas is highly unlikely. The Cowboys will be in search of another edge rusher on the other side of DeMarcus Ware.
Barkevious Mingo has shown his potential at LSU, and it could definitely translate to the NFL.
14. Carolina Panthers: Barrett Jones, OT/G/C, Alabama
The Carolina Panthers are on the right road to competing in the NFC South. Cam Newton is the most dangerous dual-threat quarterback in the NFL, but the Panthers can't let Newton scrambling become a bad habit. The reigning offensive rookie of the year can throw accurate passes when protected in the pocket.
Barrett Jones is versatile and capable of playing guard or tackle as a pro. Jones would help solidify the Panthers' offensive line and fierce run attack.
15. New Orleans Saints: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
With Will Smith continuing to get older and the young quarterbacks of the NFC South continuing to grow, the New Orleans Saints need to find some answers on the defensive line.
Alex Okafor has improved each year at Texas and is due for a big season before entering the NFL draft.
16. Cincinnati Bengals: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
The Cincinnati Bengals have been one of the biggest surprises in the NFL, especially on defense. With some more depth on the defensive line, they can continue to improve in the AFC North.
Kawann Short continues to create havoc in the Big Ten, which should catch the attention of the Bengals. Short could be a nice starter and help limit the heavy run game of their AFC North rivals.
17. St. Louis Rams: DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
After signing Cortland Finnegan to a nice five-year contract, it wouldn't hurt for St. Louis to find another corner to complement him on the other side.
DeMarcus Milliner has exceptional cover skills and could make a great nickel corner or a good starter on the outside. Josh Gordy and Milliner could interchange in the slot or outside.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Brian Price seems to be heading down the path of being a bust for Tampa Bay. Gerald McCoy showed flashes of greatness before getting injured after six games.
Sharrif Floyd might not become a star, but he'll be a first-round talent and a productive player next to McCoy. If Price continues to fail, look for the Bucs to move in a direction without him.
19. Buffalo Bills: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
The Philadelphia Eagles stole another left tackle from the Buffalo Bills in Demetress Bell after Jason Peters went down with a serious injury. If the Bills don't select a tackle in the 2012 draft, Texas A&M product Jake Matthews could be on the Bills' radar in 2013.
The Bills need to protect Ryan Fitzpatrick at all costs to fully take advantage of their offensive potential, especially if Michael Floyd is drafted by Buffalo.
20. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
Manti Te'o fits mold of a physical and aggressive linebacker, which is right up the Ravens' alley. Te'o would be a great fit for Baltimore and a nice understudy for Lewis.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
The Philadelphia Eagles don't have a true general at linebacker or on the whole defense for that matter. Bringing in players like Nnamdi Asomugha helps, but the Eagles still earned the label of a soft defense.
C.J. Mosley is a hitter and a linebacker the Eagles would love to have. Mosley is due for another good year with Alabama, which will increase his stock heading into 2013.
22. Denver Broncos: Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma
After losing Brian Dawkins to retirement, the Denver Broncos need a new leader of their defense.
Tony Jefferson is a ball hawk and does a great job of covering from sideline to sideline. The Broncos could use a dynamic young player like Jefferson, especially with their lack of quality depth at safety already.
23. San Fransisco 49ers: Chris Faulk, OT, LSU
Anthony Davis had a rough season in allowing 10 sacks at left tackle for the 49ers. San Francisco is determined to make Alex Smith a successful quarterback. If that's the case, he'll need all the protection and all the weapons at his disposable.
24. Chicago Bears: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
If the Bears ever pay Matt Forte the money he's earned after adding Brandon Marshall, Chicago has a legit Super Bowl roster. However, the weakness on offense still lies on the offensive line. Jay Cutler has shown his talent when healthy, and that makes a dangerous Bears team.
D.J. Fluker can play either tackle position and would be a significant improvement for Chicago. Fluker should without question be on the Bears' draft board for 2013.
25. Kansas City Chiefs: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
Kansas City isn't sold completely on Matt Cassel as its long-term quarterback, especially coming off his injuries. Tyler Wilson could sit behind Cassel for a year and emerge as the franchise quarterback for the Chiefs.
26. Detroit Lions: Jonathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
After 2013, Chris Houston, Aaron Berry and Jacob Lacey all will become free agents. The Lions have neglected the secondary in the draft for quite some time, and that trend should end with Jonathan Banks.
Banks has a rare cornerback build at 6'2" and 185 pounds, and the Lions would love to have that in their secondary. Houston will more than likely return to the Lions and he could form a nice tandem with Banks on the other side.
27. Pittsburgh Steelers: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
As Casey Hampton gets older, so does his production as a Steeler slows down. The Steelers will be set on offense if they re-sign Mike Wallace. Their prime concern after Wallace lies on their aging defense.
Star Lotulelei's style of aggressiveness fits perfectly with Pittsburgh, and he would benefit playing in between James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley.
28. Atlanta Falcons: Khaled Holmes, C, USC
The skill positions are set for the Atlanta Falcons with Michael Turner at running back, Roddy White and emerging receiver Julio Jones, plus Matt Ryan at quarterback. However, in pursuit of skill players, Atlanta needs to come back to its trenches and upgrade the offensive line.
Khaled Holmes plays center at USC, but is capable of sliding over to guard if necessary. When the offensive line blocks well for this offense, the sky is the limit for how far its potential carries it.
29. Houston Texans: Sean Porter, OLB, Texas A&M
After losing Mario Williams to Buffalo, the Houston Texans could be on the market for a quality edge rusher next to or across from J.J. Watt.
Sean Porter plays with high intensity and would help keep the Texans defense at this productive level. Since switching to a 3-4 system and hiring Wade Phillips to be a defensive coordinator, the Texans defense has jumped to the best defense in the league. Porter's presence would help maintain that label.
30. New York Giants: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Tyler Eifert is a 6'6", 250-pound tight end and has the athleticism of a wide receiver. Manning and the Giants could use his presence on offense, especially against the suspect defenses in the NFC East.
31. Green Bay Packers: T.J. McDonald, S, USC
The Green Bay Packers struggled heavily against the pass, mostly because of the absence of Nick Collins and the lack of depth at the position. Collins may never return back to the player he was before the neck injury, which could cause the Packers to draft a safety.
T.J. McDonald is a playmaker in the secondary and could greatly benefit playing next to Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams. The Packers can't continue to fail covering the pass if they want to get back to their Super Bowl ways.
32. New England Patriots: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Desmond Trufant is a special cover corner who could be a steal late in the first round. Trufant's addition could create a talented young secondary for the New England Patriots.