As the playoff picture becomes relatively clearer by the week, so does the 2013 NFL draft order.
For many fans, the postseason is on the horizon and could be an amazing ride for quite a few franchises. But for other fans and teams, the only hope after Week 17 is the upcoming talent pool in this year's draft.
Here is my Week 13 mock of the NFL draft's first round in 2013.
Season Stats: 159.1 RAT, 3,594 YDS, 37 TD, 5 INT, 70.1 Comp %
Although their cheering as QB Matt Cassel left Sunday's game with an injury was terribly ill-mannered, perhaps the Chiefs fans were trying to send a message to the front office. Matt Cassel is clearly not the answer.
Geno Smith, however, can be.
Throughout his impressive 2012 campaign, Smith has shown plenty of franchise quarterback-type ability. He has exhibited incredible arm strength, great accuracy and often remains very poised in the pocket. Smith does, however, need to improve on his footwork to enhance his rushing game.
Smith has come down to earth a bit these past few weeks but is still a top-five talent in this class.
Season Stats: 71 Tackles, 19.5 TFL, 10.5 Sacks, 1 INT, 6 FF
Although Blaine Gabbert isn't the guy who'll lift this franchise out of the cellar, going with a quarterback doesn't make much sense for Jacksonville here. Geno Smith is already taken and Matt Barkley should not warrant the second overall selection.
Grabbing the best available talent in this spot has to be the thinking. Jarvis Jones, the top-rated player in this entire class, is a no-brainer pick for the Jaguars.
Jones is one of, if not the best, pass-rushers in this class. He exhibits excellent burst off the snap, which is just one of his many advanced skills in the pass-rush game. Add that to his explosive speed and non-stop motor and you have a heck of a prospect.
This outside linebacker has, in fact, drawn some eerie similarities and comparisons to Denver's Von Miller.
Jones is even considered an above-average defender against the run and in coverage.
Season Stats: 42 Tackles, 10.0 TFL, 5.0 Sacks, 3 FF
With a number of holes on their front seven, Oakland will be looking to upgrade its rather porous defense. So the pick should come down to the two best defensive talents available at this point—Manti Te'o and Star Lotulelei.
While Te'o would bring some much needed leadership to Oakland defense that's in shambles, Lotulelei seems like the much more logical fit given the team's inability to rush opposing passers.
Lotulelei possesses ridiculous physical attributes. He's huge, he's powerful and he's stunningly quick for a man of his size. The Utah product is extremely explosive off the snap and creates nothing but havoc when penetrating past opposing offensive lines.
This would allow Oakland to cast off the fat contract of Tommy Kelly and gear up for the future with Lotulelei manning the middle of the line.
Season Stats: 103 Tackles, 5.5 TFL, 1.5 Sacks, 7 INT
Since we're on the topic of defenses that are in need of leadership, let's talk about the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns, despite their 3-8 record, have flashed some signs of potential this season. They have a young, talented roster and should really look to add the best available here in a relatively weak draft class.
Manti Te'o could be a strong fit to bolster Cleveland's linebacking corps.
Te'o is an all-around appealing prospect. He has good instincts, an advanced run defense and very solid, great athleticism. Te'o also shows flashes of brilliance in the pass rush with his reads and closing speed.
You normally don't see inside linebackers taken this high in the draft. Te'o's natural skill and natural leadership ability have both fans and scouts drooling.
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Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M is at the very top of a considerably thin class of offensive linemen. Joeckel, 6'6" and 310 pounds, will most likely end up as someone's franchise left tackle.
He's quick, light on his feet and possesses the agility to evolve into a top-notch pass protector. The tackle also is very solid in the run game.
Joeckel has to be the primary target for Philadelphia in this draft. Whether its Michael Vick, Nick Foles or somebody else in the imminently new regime, the Eagles must bulk up their pass protection. This offensive line is a mess and could really use the best tackle in the class.
Season Stats: 55 Tackles, 4.0 TFL, 1.0 Sacks
If it wasn't for their generous defense, the Carolina Panthers could be in line for their first postseason appearance since the 2008-2009 season. They've blown way too many fourth-quarter leads and need to add some kind of presence to their front seven to fix that.
With Lotulelei and Joeckel off the board here, Johnathan Hankins should be Carolina's man.
Hankins, 6'4" and 325 pounds, possesses a very desirable skill set from the looks of his one-and-a-half seasons as a Buckeye. In addition to being the traditional big-man run-stuffer, Hankins does often exhibit some explosiveness en route to breaking down opposing lines.
He'll help repair a weak run defense, make life easier for defensive ends Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy and will finally give this team a middle-of-the-line force it's been clamoring for since the departure of Kris Jenkins.
Season Stats: 143.8 RAT, 3,387 YDS, 21 TD, 13 INT, 62.1 Comp %
Buddy Nix is going to be out for a quarterback this offseason.
Despite throwing wads of cash at their current quarterback, the Bills should be intelligent enough to realize that Ryan Fitzpatrick is far too inconsistent to lead them anywhere. That should make the third-highest-rated quarterback of the class, Wilson, rather appealing.
Tyler Wilson, a senior, has flown a tad under the radar this year as has the rest of the Arkansas squad. (But to his credit he has been missing his top three receivers as well as his head coach.) Regardless, he appears to possess that next-level ability.
He is a good decision-maker, he reads defenses well and often exhibits a professional-style intellect. Wilson also has a strong and accurate arm to add alongside his scout-friendly physical attributes.
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Philip Rivers hasn't looked terribly impressive this season and could really use some help on the line.
Luckily for San Diego, Michigan's Taylor Lewan could be sitting there for them.
First off, Lewan is a physical monster. The guy stands at an outstanding 6'7" and 310 pounds. If Lewan continues to impress this year, he may go even higher than the late first.
Lewan has surpassed Jake Matthews of Texas A&M as the second-highest-rated lineman in the class.
Season Stats: 33 Tackles, 5.5 TFL, 4.0 Sacks
Desperately needing an addition to their pass rush, the Jets should opt for the best available defensive end or outside linebacker. Barkevious Mingo of LSU would be exactly that.
He has ridiculous size, incredible speed and great athleticism. He utilizes that speed to burst off the line and close in on the offense.
There's no doubting the upside of this outside linebacker. Mingo has the physicality and skill set to become a top-flight pass-rusher in the NFL.
Season Stats: 80 Tackles, 20.0 TFL, 12.5 Sacks, 1 FF
Damontre Moore is still up in the air about his NFL future. The rising star could opt for the draft in April or decide to return to Texas A&M. My money's on him going back. But until then, Moore will get a ton of looks from anyone trying to add to their pass rush.
Moore, 6'4" and 250 pounds, has been climbing up many draft boards as of late. He's been extremely productive in the nation's top conference and should be ready to hear his name called on Day 1 if he continues to do so.
Tennessee, who has been lacking a consistent source of pressure, makes the easy choice here.
Season Stats: 157.6 RAT, 3,273 YDS, 36 TD, 15 INT, 63.6 Comp %
Before the 2012 campaign started, Barkley was the consensus No. 1 overall selection. But due to some annoying struggles and stellar play from fellow QB Geno Smith, Barkley has slipped down to be the draft's second- or even third-best play-caller.
Regardless, this guy has flashed some signs of franchise quarterback material.
Barkley sees the field very clearly, operates well under a pro-style offense and possesses numerous intangibles needed for the pros.
He doesn't have a cannon for an arm, nor does he exactly scare teams if he chooses to take off and run. But Barkley does have a slightly above-average arm that has been NFL-ready for two years.
This situation is very comparable to that of Matt Leinart's. Leinart, a USC quarterback, found himself slipping during the first round of his draft. Sure enough, Arizona rolled the dice on him.
Although they struck out immensely with Leinart, I certainly expect Barkley to be a much more worthwhile investment.
Season Stats: 47 Tackles, 4.0 TFL, 1.5 Sacks, 2 INT, 1 FF
Detroit has been suffering from its extremely weak secondary over the past few seasons. The Lions should be thrilled if the draft's top corner, Dee Milliner, is there for the taking.
Milliner, 6'1", has surpassed David Amerson as the No. 1-rated cornerback in the draft. In fact, he has worked his way into the top 10 list of the entire class.
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Sam Bradford is having a nice, little comeback of a season in 2012. It would be nice if the front office can get him some more help up front.
Texas A&M's Jake Matthews, second only to fellow teammate Luke Joeckel, can certainly help.
Matthews is quick and athletic. He often exhibits great instincts, intellect and should fit well into any NFL blocking scheme.
Season Stats: 44 Tackles, 10.5 TFL, 5.0 Sacks, 3 FF
Outside of Cameron Wake, the Dolphins have little to no pass-rushing threats. Miami should be content with taking one of the handful of first-round talents at the defensive end spot.
Consider Jordan this year's version of Bruce Irvin. The only difference is that most people will hear Jordan's name before the draft.
At 6'6" and 246 pounds, the guy specializes in running down opposing quarterbacks. He has great burst, speed and athleticism. Jordan can rush the quarterback from multiple spots and chase down tight ends and halfbacks in man coverage.
Given his tremendous upside, expect to hear a lot more of Oregon's freakish pass-rusher heading into April.
Season Stats: 61 REC, 737 YDS, 6 TD
California's Keenan Allen is the top pass-catcher in the class.
Allen has quite a bit of talent and seems to be the complete package. He isn't your tallest guy, but he has got a lot of tools many scouts drool over. Allen is considerably strong, runs his routes very well and is very adept at picking up yards after the carry.
He's extremely aggressive and has big-time playmaker ability.
I'm sure Sam Bradford would be extremely happy if St. Louis nabbed him a No. 1 wideout and a tackle in the first round.
Season Stats: 39 Tackles, 18.0 TFL, 13.0 Sacks, 1 FF
Defensive end Will Smith is not as good as he used to be and is owed $10 million come next season. So what does that mean? You guessed it; he won't be back.
So in an effort to fill that spot in otherwise weak pass rush, New Orleans could opt for Bjoern Werner.
Werner, 6'4" and 273 pounds, is an incredibly promising prospect. For one, he's very explosive off the snap. Werner uses his great combination of speed and physicality to burst through opposing lines.
The Florida State Seminole also possesses nice closing speed, which has him disrupting teams' backfields.
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This pick should come down to a defensive lineman and an offensive lineman. But since the offensive line is in much worse shape in Dallas, it'll be hard to believe that the Cowboys will pass up the best interior offensive lineman in this group.
Chance Warmack is the top guard of the draft class. He has the power, athleticism and attitude to assure himself a first-round selection come April.
If the Cowboys are looking to re-sign Tony Romo after season's end, they might as well invest in some protection for him.
Warmack is a top-10 talent in the class, but I wouldn't be surprised at all to see the guard slip. Pittsburgh's David DeCastro also received high praise but found himself int he latter part of the draft due to the value of his position.
Season Stats: 32 Tackles, 12.0 TFL, 7.0 Sacks, 1 FF
Desperately needing an addition to their pass rush, the Bengals should opt for the best available defensive end or outside linebacker. Sam Montgomery of LSU would be exactly that.
Montgomery is long, athletic and has a non-stop motor. With a little more work, his game should translate well to the next level given his rush defense and bull-rush abilities.
Season Stats: 59 Tackles, 2.0 TFL, 4 INT, 1 FF
Most fans will tell you that Greg Schiano and the Bucs have something sweet brewing down in Tampa Bay. They have drafted rather well the past few seasons, cementing the likes of Doug Martin, Adrian Clayborn and Mark Barron into their bright future.
But with Ronde Barber inching towards retirement and Aqib Talib now gone, there must be some additions made to the cornerback spot. And quite frankly, the secondary has just been plain horrific the past few seasons anyway.
Johnthan Banks has a very solid skill set and has seen some top-tier competition playing in the SEC. He has nice size, good ball skills and is very physical. Banks has no problem keeping up on routes and is very effective in his defense against the fade.
Season Stats: 44 Tackles, 1.0 TFL
John Jenkins, 6'3" and 351 pounds, is your prototypical nose tackle. He has tremendous strength and is extremely light on his feet for a player his size. Jenkins is solid off the snap, draws plenty of double-teams and utilizes his extension well to fend off blockers.
Minnesota should be looking to bulk up the middle of its defensive line this offseason. Kevin Williams will be turning 33 in August and does not have an effective tackle next to him on the line.
Season Stats: 92 Tackles, 6.0 TFL, 4.0 Sacks, 2 INT, 1 FF
With most of its defense on the latter sides of their careers, Pittsburgh should look to retool.
The best available defensive player at this point should be Alabama's C.J. Mosley.
Mosley doesn't have incredible size but does have the skill set to succeed in the NFL. He's very productive, versatile and may very well be the best pure linebacker in the class, according to Bleacher Report's Matt Miller.
Season Stats: 89 REC, 1,693 YDS, 12 TD
Baylor's Terrance Williams has just been straight-up scary this season. In addition to having great physicals (tall, lanky, long), Williams is a burner when it comes to straight down-the-field routes. His speed and leaping ability make him a nice red-zone threat.
Seattle should be desperate for a No. 1 with the size and speed of Williams.
Season Stats: 75 Tackles, 10.5 TFL, 4.0 Sacks, 3 FF
Missouri's Sheldon Richardson is a relatively hot name of late. Richardson has had a beast of a season thus far. On top of that, he has the necessary skills to get to the next level.
Richardson uses his hands very well and can use his burst to get into the backfield.
The Indianapolis Colts should look to start building up on defense. Their offense looks extremely promising under rookie Andrew Luck, so now it's time to address the other side of the ball.
Season Stats: 52 Tackles, 11.5 TFL, 8.0 Sacks, 3 FF
If he falls here, then Alex Okafor should be snatched up the New York Giants. As we very well know, general manager Jerry Reese often goes with the best available talent with his first selection. Reese also loves to add pass-rushers for his defensive coordinator.
Okafor has great speed on the edge, is very solid against the run and can play in a number of spots on defense.
Season Stats: 44 REC, 624 YDS, 4 TD
Despite whatever has been said, Jermichael Finley is probably on his way out in Green Bay. In addition to the chunk of cash he's owed next season, it seems as though QB Aaron Rodgers doesn't pass to him very often.
A nice replacement for Green Bay could be Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert.
Eifert runs solid routes, has great hands and could be an effective blocker at the next level. Although his numbers don't show it, Eifert should develop into a very useful tight end in the NFL.
Season Stats: 42 Tackles, 13.5 TFL, 6.0 Sacks
At 6'3" and 320 pounds, North Carolina's Sylvester Williams is easily one of the top interior linemen in the draft.
The big man has catapulted himself up draft boards with a huge improvement in his pass-rushing ability this year. After racking up only 2.5 sacks a season ago, Williams has already doubled that total halfway into the 2012 campaign.
The UNC Tar Heel certainly possesses the size and athleticism needed to translate successfully to the NFL.
Denver has been needing some interior line help. Here it is.
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Barrett Jones' skill and versatility will make him an interesting commodity for teams who boast weak O-lines. Jones can play anywhere on the line; that should interest Jay Cutler.
He has great form, uses his hands well and is constantly developing his technique. Jones is extremely valuable in pass protection and plays the role of drive blocker for the ground game.
Season Stats: 81 Tackles, 1.0 TFL, 2 INT
New England has to be looking to add some secondary help this offseason. The Patriots could really use a solid safety to bulk up on their very vulnerable defense.
Eric Reid is one of the top secondary players in the class. He's very well-rounded against both the run and pass and can cover some good ground.
Reid has speed, power and instincts to be successful in the NFL.
Season Stats: 79 Tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2 INT, 1 FF
The Niners could be looking to reinforce their secondary this offseason.
Kenny Vaccaro possesses great instincts as he is always around the ball. He covers plenty of ground, has good size and can utilize his quickness to run down the offense.
Season Stats: 65 Tackles, 10.0 TFL, 1.0 Sacks, 4 INT, 1 FF
Ed Reed has been teasing retirement for quite some time now, so before the Ravens get burned by Reed, they should look for his successor.
Florida's Matt Elam has begun his rise up draft boards. The Gator is physical, covers a lot of ground, judges the ball well and is a very intelligent player.
Season Stats: 105 REC, 1,156 YDS, 12 TD, 521 Rush YDS, 2 Rush TD
West Virginia's Tavon Austin has done nothing but produce for the Mountaineers this year. He's quick with his feet, can accelerate fairly well and is a good cutback runner.
Austin's game has drawn some comparisons to Minnesota's Percy Harvin given his speed and production in the slot.
Houston needs to look for a No. 2 option opposite Andre Johnson.
Season Stats: 53 Tackles, 18.0 TFL, 12.0 Sacks
Morgan Breslin of USC has been putting up some bulky stats. Add that to his athleticism and size, and we may have a solid first-rounder.
Look for Atlanta to add to its pass rush. Ray Edwards is gone and John Abraham can be cut given the deal he was signed to.