Geno Smith is pumped, because he is this year's top QB prospect.
College football bowl season is an attractive time regarding the 2013 NFL draft and each potential first-round draft pick.
Geno Smith of the West Virginia Mountaineers is definitely one prospect that will garner attention, because he is the conductor of one explosive offense. And in orchestrating a pass-heavy attack, pro football will be amused since it is an offensive-oriented league.
And not only offensively controlled, but also generated around the production and impact of the quarterback.
We're also seeing rookie signal-callers make a strong first impression in 2012. Considering that Smith leads the 2013 class, it's easy to expect him going in Round 1. With that, let's check out Smith and a newly completed first-round NFL mock draft.
The Kansas City Chiefs just need a fresh start under center.
Geno Smith possesses the arm strength and accuracy for the future.
And the quarterback position is where franchises are built: Just like we're beginning to see with Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III this season.
Jarvis Jones is a complete defensive player and the Jacksonville Jaguars need exactly that.
As one of the worst defenses this season, it's not surprising to see the Jags at the bottom of the AFC South.
With Jones, Jacksonville improves its pass rush, run defense and ability to create a coverage shield at the intermediate level.
No matter who is under center for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013, it won't matter without consistently reliable pass protection.
That said, enter Luke Joeckel who can wall off the blindside and get to the second level for the ground game.
He's the total skill set package to let Nick Foles develop, especially in a division with strong pass-rushers.
The Oakland Raiders desperately need Johnathan Hankins in the trenches.
For one, Oakland allows an average of 4.5 yards per carry and has recorded a mere 17 sacks thus far in 2012.
Secondly, the Raiders are old at defensive tackle. Richard Seymour is 33 and Tommy Kelly is 31, so getting youth now will help in 2013 and thereafter.
The epitome of the Arizona Cardinals offense was revealed in Week 14.
They scored no points, totaled just 154 yards and turned it over eight times.
Six of the eight turnovers forced by the Seattle Seahawks were from Arizona's quarterbacks. As a result, having allowed 51 sacks in 13 games calls for Michigan's Taylor Lewan.
And with Lewan as one of the top offensive line prospects, the Cardinals will not move forward until the pass protection improves.
Turnovers aside, the Detroit Lions could not beat the Green Bay Packers because of suspect coverage at the intermediate level.
Along with giving up a 62.8 completion percentage, Detroit also allows an average of 4.7 yards per carry.
Manti Te'o immediately solves this issue, simply because of his instincts, knack for being around the ball and quick reactionary skills to any developing play.
The Tennessee Titans need a run-stopper and pass-rusher.
Damontre Moore is just the answer, because of his size, speed, and reliability at making plays in the backfield.
Include the Titans fading back after losing to Jacksonville, as well as the Indianapolis Colts back on the rise, and upgrading the defense is required.
Despite upsetting the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, the Carolina Panthers must still get better in the trenches.
Doing so will create an increase of quarterback pressure and clogged running lanes, which allows the linebackers to make plays accordingly.
Utah's Star Lotulelei suits Carolina well for that need, because he possesses impressive athleticism for his size and position. The end result will be the Cats controlling the line of scrimmage more consistently.
Although Philip Rivers was sacked just once against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the San Diego Chargers must improve the offensive line.
Then again, Pittsburgh's pass rush hasn't been typical of the Steelers this season either.
Nevertheless, Rivers has been sacked 37 times through 13 games in 2012 and Jake Matthews will help reduce that number. Matthews is every bit as talented as teammate Luke Joeckel, so sealing off the edge and providing better running lanes for Ryan Matthews then occurs.
In short, we see the Bolts make a strong turnaround next fall.
In Week 14 the Miami Dolphins allowed Colin Kaepernick to complete 78.2 percent of his passes.
Despite fielding one of the NFL's most dominant pass rushes, Miami continues to fail at generating turnovers and locking down in coverage.
Taking Johnthan Banks in the 2013 draft, though, immediately fixes that issue. With solid size and in being a reliable tackler, Banks knows how to make plays all over the field.
The Dolphins need that kind of impact, otherwise 2013 will echo the disappointing finish of 2012.
Because the Cleveland Browns are such a young team, they could go multiple directions here.
Selecting Alabama's Dee Milliner, however; completes the secondary and provides a No. 2 cornerback opposite Joe Haden.
The front seven is solid, but Sheldon Brown is 33 years old and Cleveland allows a 61.8 completion percentage. Putting Milliner opposite Haden simply ensures longevity with a sound cornerback tandem.
The good news for the Buffalo Bills is that Mario Williams continued to improve as 2012 has progressed.
The bad news was Mark Anderson significantly underachieving when on the field.
Well, with a solid interior defensive line, getting Bjoern Werner enhances the run defense (ranked No. 28, allows 4.8 per carry) and pass rush (10.5 of 31 sacks from Williams).
The New Orleans Saints could go anywhere defensively at No. 13 overall, because there are weaknesses at every level.
Considering that New Orleans gives up a 63.1 completion percentage, an average of 5.1 yards per rush and has recorded only 25 sacks, LSU's Sam Montgomery can only help.
Despite other outside rushers such as Cameron Jordan and Will Smith leading the team, they haven't been dominant enough to assist the coverage. Montgomery provides depth and great talent to NOLA's front seven, which is imperative in an offensive-oriented division.
Without question the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to improve against the pass.
Part of that horrendous coverage, though, also comes from having recorded a measly 24 sacks.
Even worse, the defensive tackles have only five sacks: All of which stem from Gerald McCoy, who also has recorded just 29 tackles. Alabama's Jesse Williams significantly upgrades Tampa's interior defensive line, because of his toughness and ability to split double-teams.
As a result, his consistent backfield presence takes pressure off the secondary in any game situation.
Along with continuing to struggle in run defense, the New York Jets are aging at linebacker.
Bart Scott and Calvin Pace are 32 years old and Bryan Thomas is 33.
Fortunately, Barkevious Mingo possesses the lateral agility, quickness and speed to cover and react well against the run. Mingo can also pass rush when needed, which is vital as Gang Green has managed only 22 sacks through 13 games in 2012.
The St. Louis Rams are on the verge of really breaking out in the NFC West.
Sitting at 4-0-1 within the division, sustaining that consistency for 2013 and beyond begins with Chance Warmack.
He's a dominating presence in the trenches and pass-blocks as good as anyone in the nation. Factor the NFC West remaining a defensively strong division and Warmack keeps St. Louis balanced up front.
Sunday was the Pittsburgh Steelers' 2012 frustrations in a nutshell.
The team played below the level of an inferior opponent and the pass rush was non-existent.
To that end, with Pittsburgh's front seven already old, Oregon's Dion Jordan is a perfect fit. His combination of size and athleticism upgrades the pass rush and squeezes the edge against the run.
The AFC North is only getting stronger across the board, and the Steelers will continue to disappoint without a better and younger defensive front.
Adrian Peterson is undoubtedly the NFL's best running back.
At the same time, the Minnesota Vikings have to get him more offensive assistance.
California's Keenan Allen simply provides a deep threat to stretch defenses, as that aspect will prevent defenses from stacking the box against Peterson. Not to mention, Christian Ponder only throwing for 91 yards on 17 attempts with a pick vs. the Chicago Bears warrants concern.
Get Allen to Minnesota and the Vikings field a complete offense.
The Dallas Cowboys won an impressive game on Sunday in the midst of dealing with unfortunate circumstances.
As for the game, though, Big D did give up an average of 7.4 yards per rushing attempt to Benjarvus Green-Ellis.
On the year, Dallas allows an average of 4.5 per attempt and Jay Ratliff isn't getting any younger. Therefore, enter Georgia's John Jenkins who can apply quarterback pressure and clog running lanes.
The Cowboys must improve at the immediate point of attack, because the rest of the NFC East has improved at running the rock.
Sam Bradford definitely has a reliable array of receiving targets in Brandon Gibson, Danny Amendola and Chris Givens.
None, however, present the size and strength combination of Tennessee's Justin Hunter.
Possessing great leaping ability and power to get yards after the catch, Hunter's impact on St. Louis enhances the offensive balance and provides Bradford with another dependable playmaker.
The Cincinnati Bengals may rank No. 10 against the pass, but that's solely because they have recorded 42 sacks in the process.
Meaning, the Bengals need not stay in coverage for long periods of time.
Unfortunately, Cincy still allows a 63.7 completion percentage and have three aging defensive backs: Nate Clements (32), Terrence Newman (34), Chris Crocker (32). So, landing Eric Reid of LSU helps back deep with his field awareness and playmaking abilities.
His impact results in continued blanketed coverage even when the pass rush doesn't get pressure.
The Indianapolis Colts allow 4.7 yards per rushing attempt.
To make matters worse, Indy has recorded a mere 24 sacks to this point in 2012.
Missouri's Sheldon Richardson will spruce up Indy's defensive front, because he can apply pressure and win one-on-one blocking situations. Doing so draws double-teams, which free up the edge rushers and linebackers to make more plays.
The one missing piece to the Chicago Bears' offensive puzzle is a pass-catching tight end.
Tyler Eifert is literally Chicago's best option in Round 1, because the guy has proven to draw and beat double coverage.
Just imagine how much his impact can reduce the pressure from Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler. It's quite immense. Plus, Eifert is an underrated run-blocker, which easily helps improve the balance of Chicago's offense.
Look at how efficient Russell Wilson has been in 2012, amplify that production with Terrance Williams.
The Seattle Seahawks have a spectacular running back in Marshawn Lynch and a defense to derive pressure from Wilson.
Getting him an extremely explosive target such as Williams, though, takes Seattle's offense to the next level. Wilson's strong arm, mobility and accuracy bode well for any deep threat and Williams is a great complement to Sidney Rice and Golden Tate.
Eli Manning has arguably the best pass protection in pro football.
After all, the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers managed one combined sack of him. And each are considered NFC title contenders.
For as reliable as Manning's pocket protection can be, the New York Giants aren't getting any younger. David Diehl is 32, Sean Locklear and David Baas are 31, and Chris Snee is 30.
So, landing Eric Fisher takes care of the future along the offensive line. His lateral quickness and agility fits Big Blue well, because the Giants need to maintain balance moving forward.
We saw it against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 13 and against vs. the Washington Redskins in Week 14.
The Baltimore Ravens must improve defensively against the run and get younger in the process.
Alex Okafor's size creates an awesome wingspan and he can dominate opposite Terrell Suggs. In turn, Okafor's overall impact gets Baltimore to control the trenches and create additional turnover opportunities against the pass.
As if the Denver Broncos didn't need to become any more explosive offensively, Tavon Austin does just that for the Mile High City.
With Brandon Stokley being 36 years old, Austin's a perfect selection to complete the receiving corps.
He's unbelievably explosive and presents the dynamics to accumulate insane yards after the catch. Include Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker out wide, Austin will never see double coverage and win every time in the open field.
The Atlanta Falcons once again failed miserably against the run, because the Panthers compiled 195 rushing yards and averaged 6.1 per carry.
Now yes, much of that was from Cam Newton. Nonetheless, Atlanta needs a young defensive tackle to immediately be a backfield menace.
Florida's Shariff Floyd brings the power and reaction skills to penetrate the interior, which is where the Falcons are most vulnerable. Not addressing this aspect will result in greater vulnerability in the postseason.
Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 42 times in just 13 games this season.
Alabama's Barrett Jones is the draft's most versatile lineman, and he can immediately contribute anywhere across the Green Bay Packers' line.
Lest we forget that veteran center Jeff Saturday is 37 years old. So, taking Jones will replenish the need for youth at the position.
Green Bay is young elsewhere, although Jones' possesses the most potential courtesy of his experience and cerebral approach.
One area the New England Patriots haven't consistently presented since Randy Moss is a deep threat.
DeAndre Hopkins on the contrary, possesses this skill set to get the Pats offense even more explosive.
And once Hopkins makes plays downfield, the underneath opens up for the rest of Brady's offense.
As proven by Aaron Rodgers, Chad Henne and Matthew Stafford, the Houston Texans can be exposed against the pass.
The byproduct of that results in opponents not attempting to run the ball vs. Houston's front seven.
So, to strategically counteract that vulnerability, Florida State's Xavier Rhodes works to a T. His size alone is great for a corner and he knows how to tackle consistently. For Houston to remain AFC title contenders, upgrading the coverage is imperative.
The San Francisco 49ers are straight up dominant in the trenches, but age is on the brink of catching them.
Along the defensive line, Justin Smith is 33 years and Isaac Sopoaga is 31.
Therefore, going the route of Kawann Short provides talented-depth and a strong future in the Bay Area. Short has recorded 48 tackles for loss during his college career, so that constant wreckage in the backfield is quite appealing.
The 49ers then maintain dominance at the point of attack and remain Super Bowl contenders.
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