Whether you like it or not, the NFL officially belongs to the quarterbacks.
Sure, someone like Trent Dilfer or Brad Johnson will sneak in a Super Bowl victory every once in a while, but more often than not, you're going to see someone like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, a Manning brother or another elite quarterback stand at the top of that podium.
Additionally, as 2011's ridiculous passing numbers proved, more and more teams are airing it out like throwing the ball is going out of fashion.
That's why rebuilding a franchise is often centered around drafting a quarterback. Free agency can sometimes be a useful avenue, but as Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton are proving, young QBs can have immediate positive impacts.
In my newest 2013 NFL mock draft, I'll take a closer look at the quarterbacks who have a good chance at turning around struggling franchises.
Note: These players are in italics.
Also note: Order is based off of current record with point differential as a tiebreaker.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
In case you couldn't hear the boos from Kansas City's fanbase, neither Matt Cassel nor Brady Quinn is cutting it. The Chiefs have some intriguing pieces in place, but they won't get anywhere until the quarterback situation is fixed.
Enter Geno Smith.
The West Virginia signal-caller wasn't on the first-round radar entering the season, but a 75 percent completion rating, 378.5 passing yards per game, 25 passing touchdowns and zero (!!) interceptions later, Smith is the almost-consensus No. 1 pick.
Some will call him a mobile quarterback and nothing else, but Smith is a big guy (6'3", 214 pounds) with a big arm and he has proven he can make some big throws. Big.
2. Cleveland Browns: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
With Brandon Weeden nearing retirement, the Browns will consider a quarterback. But passing up on Jones, who led the SEC in sacks last year (13.5) and is well on his way to doing it again this year (5.5), will be too hard to do.
The Browns have a young, improving defense, and Jones would give them the pass rush they need to take the next step on that side of the ball.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
A year-and-a-half should plenty of time for the Jaguars organization to realize that Blaine Gabbert, who looks tentative and inaccurate 95 percent of the time, is not the answer under center.
Matt Barkley has seen his stock drop this season thanks to a bevy of interceptions and a drop in accuracy, but I'm not quite ready to jump ship.
He's still a solid NFL prospect who can throw the deep ball effectively. He may suffer from Jacksonville's lack of weapons around him, but if the Jaguars bring in some offensive talent, Barkley has the skills to thrive.
4. Oakland Raiders: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
The Raiders have needs all over the field, so they'll simply go with the best player available. In this situation, that would be Mingo.
The big junior hasn't repeated his sophomore stats in Death Valley, but he still possesses tremendous speed, size and agility as an outside pass-rusher.
5. Carolina Panthers: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Panthers need help all over on the defensive side of the ball, but they are arguably worse against the run, where they are allowing 4.4 yards per carry (23rd in the NFL).
A big defensive tackle with the agility to draw multiple defenders and fill up holes is usually a good way to fix that. Lotulelei is already a top five talent, so he makes sense here.
6. New Orleans Saints: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Just get them help—any kind of help—on defense. And quickly.
The Saints could use some secondary help as well, but Werner, who already has 6.5 sacks on the season, would give them a necessary weapon in pass rush.
7. Tennessee Titans: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Jake Locker, Kenny Britt and Kendall Wright make up a potentially deadly passing game, so, even with Chris Johnson puttering along like an old Volvo, the Titans will look defense.
Hankins could easily crack the top three, making this a terrific pick.
8. Indianapolis Colts: Sam Montgomery, DE/OLB, LSU
The Colts put forth a major overhaul on the offense during the 2012 draft. Now it's time for the defense.
Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis won't be around forever, and adding Montgomery, who provides a terrific rush because of his length and speed, would make a lot of sense.
9. Dallas Cowboys: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Before last week's game against the Baltimore Ravens, the Cowboys had really struggled to run the ball. Adding the draft's best tackle should not help that, but also help keep Tony Romo upright and healthy.
10. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Lions' defense actually isn't as bad as everyone thinks, but Jim Schwartz' squad could still use some help in the secondary.
Milliner, just like most Alabama defenders, looks to be a future stud in the NFL.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
Before the Steelers lost about 60 percent of its offensive line last Thursday, the unit was actually playing well together. That leaves improvements needed on the defense, where Pittsburgh is getting dangerously slow.
Although secondary may be a bigger need, look for Pittsburgh to grab the best defensive player available.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
With Aqib Talib seemingly never not suspended and Ronde Barber approaching senor citizen status, the Bucs would use some help at corner.
The amount of first-round talent at the position is limited, but Banks has been a stud for all four years with the Bulldogs.
13. Buffalo Bills: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
If the Bills want to keep rolling the dice with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, they are going to have to start forcing about seven turnovers per game to offset the erratic quarterback.
However, if they want to actually sniff the postseason anytime soon, they'll add Tyler Wilson to a very solid offense already in tact.
Wilson may not win over everyone, but according to Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, he is rising up draft boards:
Hearing a lot of rumblings about Tyler Wilson (Arkansas). One NFL scout I trust still has TW ranked Top 15. Says he's a steal any later.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) October 17, 2012
Wilson has lost a lot of talent around him, but his ability to sling the ball down the field (9.5 yards per attempt) separates him from other SEC quarterbacks. This is likely the furthest the senior will slip.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
How the Eagles don't put all their immense talent together is beyond me.
They don't have a ton of holes to fill, but improving the offensive line would make plenty of sense.
15. Cincinnati Bengals: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The Bengals' offense has been unstoppable at times this season thanks to Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, but improving the run game for the future would be smart.
Warmack is the type of interior lineman that would be perfect for BenJarvus Green-Ellis to run behind.
16. New York Jets: Keenan Allen, WR, California
Talk about a steal. The Jets badly need some weapons in every aspect of the passing game, and Allen is easily talented enough to warrant a top 10 pick.
17. St. Louis Rams: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Matthews, much like Luke Joeckel, has been a key part in Johnny Manziel's huge freshman campaign, and is seeing his stock rise as a result.
The Rams, who have a very inconsistent running game, need help on the line.
18. Miami Dolphins: Robert Woods, WR, USC
Ryan Tannehill is improving at a terrific rate, but he's going to need someone to throw it to besides Brian Hartline.
Enter Woods, who has good size and run-after-the-catch ability.
19. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins): Eric Reid, FS, LSU
After getting an offensive lineman with their first pick, look for the Rams to target a safety to further improve their fantastic secondary.
Reid is the the best available.
20. San Diego Chargers: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Chargers are 25th in the league in sack percentage, and Philip Rivers is suffering because of it. Fisher, who is quickly rising up draft boards, should help cure those woes.
21. Green Bay Packers: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Packers could potentially go after a running back, but it makes much more sense to improve an inconsistent secondary.
22. Denver Broncos: Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Willis McGahee has been terrific, but he won't be around forever. Lattimore is the only running back in this draft worthy of a first-round pick and would make for a terrific eventual replacement.
23. New England Patriots: Barrett Jones, OG, Alabama
The Patriots could go a number of different ways, but Jones, who can play anywhere on the offensive line, seems like the type of player Bill Belichick would go after.
24. Arizona Cardinals: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
The Cardinals should be on the lookout for a quarterback, but unless they trade down from this spot, they would have to reach for someone like Tyler Bray.
Eifert, meanwhile, is far and away the best tight end in this draft and Arizona badly needs some production from the position.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
The Seahawks have the defense. The Seahawks have the running game. The Seahawks have the quarterback. Now it's time to get some top-tier weapons in the receiving game.
There is some debate about whether Justin Hunter or Cordarrelle Patterson is the Tennessee wideout to have, but Hunter's size and big-play ability will be hard to pass up.
26. Minnesota Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
That being said, his teammate won't drop much farther.
Patterson, much like Hunter, has good size and would give the Vikings a nice threat opposite Percy Harvin.
27. San Francisco 49ers: Brennan Williams, OT, North Carolina
There's pretty much no weaknesses on this team, but Williams would give the Niners some important depth on the offensive line.
28. New York Giants: Kenny Vaccaro, SS, Texas
The Giants need lots of help in the secondary, and while a corner would be a smart move here, Vaccaro not only has the size to play in the box but possesses the coverage skills to line up in the slot.
29. Chicago Bears: Dallas Thomas, OT, Tennessee
If Jay Cutler is going to survive, the Bears are going to have to improve their pass protection. Thomas is a fringe first-round talent, but he makes sense in this position for the Bears.
30. Baltimore Ravens: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
The Ravens are suddenly a very average team when it comes to stopping the run, so finding a defensive tackle to plug some of those gaping running lanes would be a logical choice.
Williams does just that.
31. Houston Texans: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
Andre Johnson has no real legitimate threats around him, and he's drawing a lot of coverage because of it. If the Texans don't get a wide receiver in this draft, it would be surprising.
There are a few talented ones left on the board, but Williams' combination of size and speed will be too much to pass up.
32. Atlanta Falcons: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Atlanta is pretty good across the board, but if one aspect of its game needs improvement, it's the defense.
Adding a terrific pass-rusher like Jordan will help the entire defensive unit.
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