The 2013 NFL draft class boasts some of the top defenders in the country, highlighted by Heisman hopeful Manti Te'o out of Notre Dame.
As the NFL transitions into a quarterback's league, the need for highly-skilled defensive players has come to the forefront.
Here are my projections of where some of the best defenders in the nation will land:
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
With the Jags' defense ultimately lacking against the rush and the pass, an explosive linebacker like Jarvis Jones makes sense in Jacksonville. He's a nasty pass-rusher and has enough speed to be effective in the running game as well.
Of course, drafting Jones isn't going to solve all of the Jaguars' problems, but it's a darn good start.
3. Carolina Panthers: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
4. Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei, NT, Utah
5. Cleveland Browns: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
The heart and soul of the Irish defense would look good in Cleveland brown. Te'o has been an unstoppable force for Notre Dame this season and is a large part of why the Irish will be playing for a National Championship this winter.
In a weak class of linebackers, Te'o stands out as the obvious choice, and frankly it's difficult to find something this guy doesn't do right.
And given Cleveland's lack of depth at the position, Te'o is a solid fit for the Browns.
6. Philadelphia Eagles: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
7. Arizona Cardinals: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
8. Detroit Lions: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
9. Buffalo Bills: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
10. Tennessee Titans: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
While Mingo could stand to beef up a little, his explosiveness is reason enough for the Titans to take.
Tennessee's defense has been horrific this season, ranking 27th against the rush and the pass, so adding a strong, fast and athletic player who can play along the defensive line or at linebacker makes sense.
Kamerion Wimbley and Akeem Ayers would love to see this guy added to the roster.
11. New York Jets: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
It's not a quarterback, but Rex Ryan is a defensive-minded guy, which is why I think Werner is a good fit for Gang Green.
He's still developing as a pass-rusher, but has the necessary athleticism and strength for the Jets' staff to mold him into the player they're seeking.
12. San Diego Chargers: Dallas Thomas, OT, Tennessee
13. St. Louis Rams: Keenan Allen, WR, California
14. New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
15. Dallas Cowboys: Johnathan Jenkins, NT, Georgia
16. St. Louis Rams (from Washington): Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
17. Miami Dolphins: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Coupled with Cameron Wake, Dion Jordan could be a nightmare for opposing NFL quarterbacks in 2013.
At 6'7", 240 pounds, Jordan has great size and quickness, which spells trouble for opposing offenses. His two sack game against Arizona State is just a small piece of evidence of why this guy is so dangerous on defense.
18. Minnesota Vikings: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Sam Montgomery, OLB, LSU
21. Indianapolis Colts: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
22. Cincinnati Bengals: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
23. Seattle Seahawks: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
24. Chicago Bears: Barrett Jones, OG, Alabama
25. Baltimore Ravens: Eric Reid, FS, LSU
Let's face it.
The Ravens are going to need a replacement for Ed Reed sooner or later, so why not start grooming Eric Reid now?
He's shown similarities to Reed at LSU and is a guy who could make an impact in his rookie season in the NFL.
26. Green Bay Packers: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
27. New York Giants: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
In case you haven't realized already, the Giants love to draft physical freaks on defense, and that's what they'd get in Ansah.
As Osi Umenyiora's free agency approaches, Ansah would be a great student under Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul to take over the reigns on the defensive line one day.
28. New England Patriots: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
29. Atlanta Falcons: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
30. Denver Broncos: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
The Broncos' secondary can only get better by drafting Banks from Mississippi State.
At 6'2", 185 pounds, Banks matches up well against big, physical wide receivers and boasts excellent ball skills and tackling ability.
As one of the most versatile DBs in college football, Denver would be lucky to add Banks to a secondary that already includes Champ Bailey.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
32. Houston Texans: Matt Elam, S, Florida
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