The 2012 NFL season is winding down, and the 2013 NFL draft is getting closer.
Teams will be looking to take a franchise cornerstone in April, and as recent history has show, an elite quarterback is a necessary component to a championship-caliber team.
This is why nine of the past 11 top overall picks have been signal-callers. Quarterback is the most important position in football, and each team that does not have a player like Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady will be looking to find the next great QB.
Here is a full first-round mock draft, focusing on where the quarterbacks will land.
Note: Quarterbacks are italicized.
No. 1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-13): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
While there may be players at other positions more highly regarded by draft experts, the Chiefs are in desperate need of a new quarterback, and Geno Smith has all the physical tools to be a star in the NFL.
At 6’3” and 208 pounds, size will not be a concern. He has a rocket arm and will have no problem driving throws down field or to the sidelines.
While his production dipped towards the end of his senior season, he does not have experience playing a pro-style offense and he has shown a tendency to be inaccurate at times, Smith’s upside will be too much for Kansas City to pass on.
He is a pocket passer with the mobility to make plays with his legs, and he will be No. 1 pick in this year’s draft.
No. 2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13): Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Jones has been one of the most disruptive forces in college football this season, and any NFL team would benefit from having his pass-rushing skills next season. The Jaguars have holes all over their roster, and adding an elite pass-rusher will help hide some of the team’s deficiencies.
No. 3. Oakland Raiders (4-11): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Utes' standout defensive tackle has a fitting name, as he will be star at the next level. The 6’3”, 320-pound lineman is a dominant run defender, and he has the potential to be the anchor of Oakland’s defense for a long time.
No. 4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-11): Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Jason Babin is gone, and the Eagles need another speed-rusher along their defensive line. Moore is the ideal player to excel in Philadelphia’s defense due to his elite pass-rushing skills.
No. 5. Detroit Lions (4-11): Manti Te’o, MLB, Notre Dame
The Lions need Te’o’s leadership just as badly as they need his on-field skills. His measurables are exceptional, but his intangibles are off the charts, and an undisciplined Detroit team would greatly benefit from having him at the heart of its defense.
No. 6. Buffalo Bills (5-10): Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
The Bills invested a lot of money in their defensive line, but they have not seen the results they hoped for. Having a run-stopping force like Hankins will add depth and help out the talented defensive ends.
No. 7. Cleveland Browns (5-10): Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Tackles like Joeckel are rare, and he is a defensive end’s worth nightmare. With the size, strength and toughness to shut down elite pass-rushers, the Browns will be thrilled to take him at No. 7.
No. 8. Tennessee Titans (5-10): Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Titans defense needs help, and nothing brings about immediate improvement like a dominant pass-rusher. Werner has the speed and agility to get to the quarterback frequently, but he also has the strength and toughness to contribute as a run defender.
No. 9. Arizona Cardinals (5-10): Matt Barkley, USC, QB
Ultimately, the 2013 class of quarterbacks is disappointing, especially after following the 2012 class.
Taking Geno Smith at No. 1 is a reach, and the Chiefs will start a pattern among teams desperate for a quarterback. Arizona certainly qualifies as one of those franchises, and it will pick Barkley in a desperate move.
Even if this is a reach, Barkley still has all the intangibles that teams look for in a rookie quarterback. He is disciplined, composed and displayed an exceptional understanding of USC’s pro-style offense.
If he can be savvy enough to make up for his lack of elite arm strength, he can have success in the NFL.
No. 10. San Diego Chargers (6-9): Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
Philip Rivers desperately needs more time in the pocket, so strengthening the offensive line will be a major priority this offseason for San Diego. Warmack is one of the top offensive line prospects, and he will step in to help the Chargers immediately.
No. 11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-9): Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Buccaneers have allowed the most yards per game to opposing teams this season, and the team’s top priority in this year’s draft will be to add a defensive back. It won’t take long for the team to turn in its pick with a player like Milliner still on the board.
No. 12. New York Jets (6-9): Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
The Jets will be the next team to reach for a quarterback. The Mark Sanchez era is in the midst of an ugly end, and the team will be looking to add a passer in this draft.
While the team will likely try to execute a trade to move up for Barkley or Smith, there is a decent chance it will not be able to find a trading partner.
When that happens, the Jets will left with the choice between Wilson and North Carolina State’s Mike Glennon. At 6’7” with a rocket arm, Glennon is an intriguing option, but New York will ultimately go with Wilson’s fiery leadership.
The Arkansas signal-caller has the mentality to succeed under pressure and the mobility to make plays. He is the better choice for the Jets.
No. 13. Carolina Panthers (6-9): Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
The Panthers need to invest in Cam Newton’s future, and adding a tackle like Lewan would accomplish this. He is an ideal blocker to protect Newton when he drops back to pass and will open up holes for him in the running game.
No. 14. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8): Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
The Steelers’ heralded pass rush is not what it used to be, and the team will look to add talent on the edge in April. Jordan has exceptional size and has the potential to flourish after learning under James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley.
No. 15. Miami Dolphins (7-8): Keenan Allen, WR, California
Miami desperately needs a wide receiver, and Allen is the best one available in this draft. At 6’3” and 206 pounds, he has the size to be a physical and effective possession receiver for Ryan Tannehill.
No. 16. New Orleans Saints (7-8): Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
The Saints will not even be considering an offensive player in the first round with the amount of work their defense needs. Mingo is an elite talent with the potential to turn into a dominant pass-rusher.
No. 17. St. Louis Rams (7-7-1): Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
Jeff Fisher will want to continue adding building blocks to his defense, and Williams has the potential to excel in St. Louis. He has the rare ability to be a three-down player at defensive tackle and be effective as both a run-stopper and a pass-rusher.
No. 18. Dallas Cowboys (8-7): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Ansah may be the most versatile defensive player in the entire draft, and Rob Ryan would be thrilled to have him on his defense. At 6’6” and 273 pounds and with a remarkable athleticism for his size, Ansah could line up anywhere along the defensive line or opposite DeMarcus Ware.
No. 19. New York Giants (8-7): Johnathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Banks is not an explosive athlete, but he has an incredible nose for the ball. The Giants need help in the secondary, and his instincts will provide the team with a boost.
No. 20. Chicago Bears (9-6): Alec Ogletree, MLB, Georgia
With no blockers worth taking with this pick, Chicago will take Ogletree, who has the size and speed to be Brian Urlacher’s successor.
No. 21. Cincinnati Bengals (9-6): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Andy Dalton-to-A.J. Green connection is one that will be productive for many years, and the Bengals would be wise to give Dalton as much time as possible to find the star wideout down the field. Eric Fisher can help get that done, and he provides excellent value at this point in the round.
No. 22. Minnesota Vikings (9-6): Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The Vikings took Harrison Smith in the first round last year, and adding Vaccaro would give the team two exciting young safeties to anchor its secondary. Both players would be able to contribute in coverage and against the run.
No. 23. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins) (9-6): Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
With Jeff Fisher appeased after the team’s other first-round pick was spent on a defensive player, the Rams will then address one of the team’s biggest needs. Hunter is a an incredible athlete who had the ability to be an elite deep threat, making him an ideal complement to Danny Amendola.
No. 24. Indianapolis Colts (10-5): Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
The Colts may have greater needs, but if Montgomery is still available when they pick, they will not pass on him. He is an exceptionally talented pass-rusher with the versatility to fit Indianapolis’ 3-4 scheme.
No. 25. Seattle Seahawks (10-5): Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
The Seahawks offensive line still has room to improve, and Cooper has the ability to provide protection for Russell Wilson and clear holes for Marshawn Lynch.
No. 26. Baltimore Ravens (10-5): Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Ravens defense is not what it used to be, and it needs to add youth and talent in the draft. The team would do well to start up front with a versatile defensive lineman like Richardson.
No. 27. San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1): Shariff Floyd, DT, Florida
The 49ers would love to have a player like Floyd, who could excel at any position along the defensive line. The insanely talented San Francisco defense will get even better after adding the Florida star.
No. 28. Green Bay Packers (11-4): Jake Matthews, Texas A&M, OT
It will be a family affair in Green Bay this April as Clay Matthews’ cousin Jake will be added to help protect Aaron Rodgers. The Packers need depth along the offensive line, and Matthews has the size, skills and, of course, pedigree to be a productive player at the next level.
No. 29. New England Patriots (11-4): Dallas Thomas, OT, Tennessee
The athletic lineman would greatly help out the Patriots. He has the ability to play guard or tackle and can provide Tom Brady with top-class protection from either position.
No. 30. Denver Broncos (12-3): Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
The Broncos have had an incredible season, and the future could be even brighter after adding Ertz. Peyton Manning proved he has several more elite seasons left in him, and a talented tight end would make the Denver offense even more dynamic.
No. 31. Houston Texans (12-3): Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn
The Texans defense does not have an elite pass-rusher at linebacker, and Lemonier would be extremely effective rushing the quarterback behind J.J. Watt.
No. 32. Atlanta Falcons (13-2): Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
The Falcons must soon face the reality of life after Tony Gonzalez, and Eifert has the size and athleticism to create headaches for defensive coordinators across the NFL.
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