2013 NFL Mock Draft: Latest Projections for College Football's Top Stars
With more and more NFL teams nearing the dreaded "mathematically eliminated from the playoffs" distinction, it's time to look ahead to the 2013 draft.
By now you know—there isn't an Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III in next year's class, but there are loads of defensive stalwarts and underrated offensive linemen that'll morph into successful professionals.
Let's take a look at where the brightest stars will land in April.
No. 1: Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
While Smith isn't at Robert Griffin III's or Andrew Luck's caliber, he's the best quarterback in the 2013 class with great pocket passing skills.
The Chiefs can't move forward with Matt Cassel under center.
No. 2: Jacksonville Jaguars: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Jones is a terror coming off the edge and is equally impressive getting after the quarterback and stopping the run.
The complete package.
For a team that has tallied the fewest sacks on the season, Jones is a no-brainer.
No. 3: Carolina Panthers: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Panthers need more beef on the interior of their defensive line.
Lotulelei is a well-rounded run-plugger with immense strength and a keen ability to get after the quarterback.
No. 4: Oakland Raiders: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
At 6'3'' and 320 pounds, Hankins is a load in the middle and will provide a much-needed anchor to a Raiders defense that's been extremely porous of late.
No. 5: Cleveland Browns: Dion Jordan, Defensive End, Oregon
Jordan's 6'6' and 245 pounds with freakish athletic ability and inherent pass-rushing skills. He's a good player now and possesses huge upside. If he develops, the Browns defense could be borderline elite in years to come.
No. 6: Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
There's not a more maligned offensive line than the Philadelphia Eagles'.
Sure, they've dealt with a ton of injuries, but at this point, they need all the depth they can get.
Joeckel is the premier left tackle in the class and will be welcomed by whoever is under center in 2013.
No. 7: Arizona Cardinals: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
The Cardinals have their offensive line troubles as well. Although the quarterback situation is far from settled, the men protecting the quarterback haven't done their jobs over the last three years.
In 2010 and 2011, Arizona allowed a ridiculous 104 sacks.
Through Week 12, the Cardinals have allowed 46 sacks, the most in the league.
No. 8: Detroit Lions: Barkevious Mingo, OLB/DE, LSU
Cliff Avril's future is unknown and Kyle Vanden Bosch is 34. The Lions, a team that's mustered an average 25 sacks on the year, needs a pure pass-rusher of the future.
That's Barkevious Mingo.
No. 9: Buffalo Bills: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
The Bills defense has rebounded over the last three games, but they are in desperate need of an impactful linebacker in the middle of their 4-3 alignment.
No one better than Notre Dame's Manti Te'o, who's solid in all facets of the game.
No. 10: Tennessee Titans: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Moore is 6'4'' and 250 pounds and has accumulated 12.5 sacks on the year in the SEC. The Titans have a slew of young and exciting players, and this Aggie alum will add to the group at a much-needed position.
No. 11: New York Jets: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
No. 12: San Diego Chargers: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Philip Rivers hasn't been adequately protected this season, and the future of Jared Gaither is unknown. Although Matthews isn't as polished as his teammate Joeckel, he has the potential to become a sound blind-side protector for many years.
No. 13: St. Louis Rams: Chance Warmack, OL, Alabama
The Rams would love to grab an offensive tackle, but the 6'2'', 322-pound Warmack, who's actually listed as a guard, will do.
Anyone to add more bulk to a susceptible offensive line.
No. 14: New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Richardson, DL, Missouri
Richardson is a beastly 6'4'' and 295 pounds with plenty of power. He'll exquisitely bookend the Saints defensive front with Cameron Jordan, and the two will wreak havoc for the next decade in the NFC South.
No. 15: Dallas Cowboys: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
The Cowboys have many holes, but could use someone to rush the passer while complementing middle linebacker Sean Lee.
At this stage of the first round, there isn't a more "ready" prospect than C.J. Mosley from Alabama.
No. 16: St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins): Keenan Allen, WR, California
After going offensive line with their first opening-round pick, they address their biggest need with the pick they acquired from the famed Robert Griffin III deal in 2012.
Keenan Allen is a possession target with some big-play ability and will be the ideal wideout to help Sam Bradford's development.
No. 17: Miami Dolphins: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Cameron Wake is among the NFL's elite pass-rushers. However, he has 9.5 of the team's 29 sacks on the year and 4.5 of those quarterback takedowns have come from defensive tackle Randy Starks.
Werner is the perfect complement to Wake on the edge.
No. 18: Minnesota Vikings: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
Christian Ponder needs an outside receiving target. The Vikings are much further along in their rebuilding process than we expected, but until someone can threaten the opposing defense besides Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin, Ponder will struggle.
Williams is dynamic and has a huge body to fend out smaller cornerbacks down the field.
No. 19: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Eric Reid, S, LSU
Mark Barron has played well as the Buccaneers strong safety this season. In 2013, Tampa Bay gives him a fine free safety to shore up a beleaguered secondary that's been the Achilles' heel of the team this year.
No. 20: Pittsburgh Steelers: Sam Montgomery, OLB, LSU
Montgomery began the season as one of the top players in the 2013 draft class. While he hasn't built on a strong 2012 campaign, he's still a special talent and will provide the Steelers with outside linebacker depth they desperately need.
No. 21: Indianapolis Colts: Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford
Thomas is an underrated pass-rusher, a guy that could shoot up boards in the days leading up to the draft. For the Colts 3-4 defense, he'll fit right in and can learn the tricks of the trade from Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney.
No. 22: Cincinnati Bengals: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
Michael Johnson is a free agent at the end of the year, and even if he's re-signed, Cincinnati should look at pass-rushing depth.
Okafor isn't an elite talent, but he's rangy and has good NFL potential in Mike Zimmer's system.
No. 23: Seattle Seahawks: Dallas Thomas, OT, Tennessee
The Seahawks need more talent on their offensive line, and once again taking a name that many aren't talking about, they grab the 6'5'', 310-pound Dallas Thomas from Tennessee.
He is probably best suited as a guard, but he can kick over to right tackle to start his career.
No. 24: Chicago Bears: D.J. Fluker, OL, Alabama
Fluker is a mammoth human being, listed at 6'6'' and 335 pounds. Though he's more polished as a run-blocker than a pass-protector, the Bears need an upgrade over J'Marcus Webb.
It's that simple.
No. 25: Baltimore Ravens: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
With Ed Reed potentially on the verge of retirement, the Ravens need to look toward the future at the safety position.
Vaccaro has been steady during his career at Texas and would have a bright future in Baltimore.
No. 26: Green Bay Packers: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
As if the Packers need more offensive weaponry, right? Actually, they do. Greg Jennings is a free agent at season's end, and he's dealt with a rash of injuries during the 2012 campaign.
At 6'0'' and 200 pounds, Hopkins has good size and exudes electricity.
No. 27: New York Giants: Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
At the start of next season, all three of the Giants' interior offensive linemen will be 30 years old, so a injection of youth wouldn't hurt.
Jones is the most versatile and heady lineman in the class, and he will be the new best friend of Eli Manning.
No. 28: New England Patriots: John Jenkins, NT, Georgia
The Patriots get their Vince Wilfork replacement with the colossal John Jenkins. At 6'3'' and nearly 360 pounds, he fits perfectly into the team's 3-4 alignment as the ever-vital nose tackle.
No. 29: Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
With Tony Gonzalez likely calling it quits after the 2012 season concludes, the Falcons offense will look to stay among the NFL's elite by drafting Tyler Eifert.
At 6'5'' with crazy hops and tremendous ball skills, he's the only "can't-miss" tight end in the class.
No. 30: Denver Broncos: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
The Broncos look to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders and won't flounder on offense as long as Peyton Manning's calling the shots.
But they could use some help at the cornerback position with Champ Bailey in the twilight of his career.
No. 31: San Francisco 49ers: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Dee Milliner is the one of the best corner in the class and has the attractive Alabama pedigree. A nice luxury pick for an already stingy defense.
No. 32: Houston Texans: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The Texans need more wide receiver help, especially in the slot. Houston gets its Randall Cobb with Tavon Austin.