The NFL is unquestionably a quarterback-driven league, so several desperate teams will be looking for a new signal-caller in the 2013 NFL draft.
Unfortunately, this year's quarterback crop isn't exactly loaded with talent. There are no obvious franchise-caliber prospects at the position, no Andrew Lucks or RG3s to drool over as draft season nears.
Of course, top options like Geno Smith and Matt Barkley could be high selections, while Mike Glennon and Tyler Wilson could sneak into the first round with impressive pre-draft displays.
A lot will change before April, but here's how I have the first half shaking out right now.
*Teams most likely to draft QB in first round are marked with an asterisk
1. * Kansas City Chiefs: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Unfortunately for the Chiefs, they're a year late on the Luck/RG3 draft, and I'm not sure Smith or Barkley is worth the first overall pick. Those thoughts could change after the combine, as well as pro days and individual workouts. But as of now, first overall is just too high to select either quarterback.
The Chiefs may be able to trade down a few spots, collect some assets and select Smith a little lower in the top 10.
If they keep the pick, Lotulelei is the best prospect available and would immediately improve a defense that ranks 27th in run defense.
2. * Jacksonville Jaguars: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
The Jaguars have a quarterback mess of their own, with Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne currently holding down the fort. Like K.C., the Jaguars could trade down to pick up Smith or Barkley, but I think it's more likely that they'll address their D-line needs.
Moore is a mobile and versatile pass-rusher who would bring some respectability to a Jags defense that is last in the NFL in sacks (14).
3. * Oakland Raiders: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
The Raiders have just 17 sacks this season, and they lack speed on the D-line. Mingo would certainly bring that, as the LSU product explodes off the line of scrimmage.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
If the Eagles are going to roll with the Nick Foles era, they'll have to at least keep him on his feet. Joeckel is the best tackle available, so this makes perfect since for Philly.
5. Detroit Lions: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
The Lions are allowing 27.1 points per game this season, so adding an elite defender is a must. Te'o is a great option here.
6. San Diego Chargers: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
The Chargers definitely need to improve their O-line, and Lewan is the best tackle available after Joeckel.
7. * Cleveland Browns: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Browns definitely need a new quarterback after the Brandon Weeden flop, but I doubt they'd spend consecutive first-round picks on the same position. Look for them to bulk up their defense with Werner.
8. * Buffalo Bills: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
I doubt Smith will be available at No. 8 since I'm expecting trades to shake up the top 10 of the draft board. But since trades are unpredictable, we'll put Smith here for now.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown 15 interceptions this season and the Bills rank 25th in the NFL in passing yards per game. Although Fitzpatrick has his moments, he's not the long-term solution in Buffalo.
While Smith isn't as polished as RG3, he's an athletic quarterback with a solid arm. He's a fierce competitor, an accurate passer (71.4 completion percentage this season) and he takes care of the ball (just six interceptions this year).
Smith has the potential to be a top-10 quarterback in this league, and that's more than you can say about the Bills' current crop of passers.
9. Tennessee Titans: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Tennessee needs some help on the D-line, and with Lotulelei, Moore, Mingo and Werner off the board, Hankins would be the best option.
10. Carolina Panthers: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
Look for another defensive tackle to be selected when the Panthers are on the clock. Williams, a 6'2", 320-pound monster, has the potential to be an elite run-stopper at the next level.
11. * Arizona Cardinals: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
The last time Arizona drafted a USC quarterback in the first round, it ended in disaster. But while taking another Trojan quarterback might be scary for Cardinals fans, anything would be better than their current situation.
The three-headed attack of Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and Ryan Lindley has produced terrible results, as the Cardinals are 29th in passing yards per game and 31st in passing touchdowns. The Cardinals absolutely cannot start one of those three next season, or Larry Fitzgerald will lose his sanity.
Barkley is an accurate quarterback with a high football IQ and above-average arm strength. I'm not sure if he'd ever be a perennial Pro-Bowler, but he should be a quality starting quarterback for a long time.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Buccaneers desperately need help in the secondary, and Milliner is the best defensive back available. He has great instincts, and at 6'0", he's taller than most NFL corners.
13. Miami Dolphins: Keenan Allen, WR, California
Ryan Tannehill needs some more weapons, and Allen would be a good addition to the Dolphins offense. He has a good combination of height (6'3"), speed (4.53 40-yard dash) and hands.
14. * New York Jets: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Unfortunately for the Jets, this is a shallow quarterback class, and given their draft position, they'll likely have to pick up a new signal-caller via trade or free agency.
15. New Orleans Saints: Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia
The Saints have one of the worst defenses in the league, but adding an absolutely massive defensive tackle like Jenkins (6'4", 363 pounds) would help considerably.
16. St. Louis Rams: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Sam Bradford spent way too much time on his back this season. Look for the Rams to give him some help by bulking up their offensive line.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Steelers defense is already one of the most fearsome units in football, but don't be surprised if they add another defender in the first round. Although he is a little small for his position, Richardson's quickness off the snap makes him a very intriguing prospect.
18. Cincinnati Bengals: Dion Jordan - DE, Oregon
The Bengals could use a versatile outside lineback/defensive end, and Jordan fits that mold perfectly. He's a bit raw, but his size (6'6", 239 pounds) and athleticism are very promising. Considering that the Bengals lead the NFL in sacks already with 43, the addition of Jordan would terrify offensive coordinators.
19. Minnesota Vikings: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Adrian Peterson is already on the verge of breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing yardage record. With an elite run-blocking guard like Warmack in the mix, AP could do even more damage next season.
20. St. Louis Rams: (from Washington) Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
If the Rams pick up Fisher at 17, then add Cooper here, they will have one of the most promising young O-lines in the game.
21. Dallas Cowboys: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The Cowboys secondary has been banged up all year. Adding Vaccaro, an excellent athlete with strong coverage skills, makes sense here.
22. New York Giants: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Eli Manning could use another toy in the passing game. Eifert is unquestionably the best tight end available.
23. Chicago Bears: Shariff Floyd, DT, Florida
The Bears need an offensive tackle, but Joeckel, Lewan and Fisher are off the board here. If that's the case come draft day, I expect them to fill their need at defensive tackle.
24. Indianapolis Colts - Johnthan Banks - CB, Mississippi State
The Colts could go a number of directions here, but it would be smart to shore up their secondary—a unit that has allowed 23 passing touchdowns this season.
25. Baltimore Ravens: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Joe Flacco has posted a QBR under one in two games this season, which is just terrible. Although adding another receiver wouldn't completely solve his problems, it couldn't hurt.
Especially when that receiver is Hunter, who has excellent ball skills and is a major big-play threat.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Make it back-to-back Tennessee receivers off the board. Russell Wilson has had a phenomenal season, but his development would be boosted by the addition of Patterson.
27. Green Bay Packers: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Obviously the Packers have Clay Matthews roaming the middle, but they could use a bit of help at outside linebacker.
28. New England Patriots: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Austin is primarily a slot receiver, but his big-play ability in the passing game, as well as on kickoffs and out of the backfield, makes him a very attractive option here.
29. San Francisco 49ers: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame
While Manti Te'o got all the national attention, Nix has been an instrumental part of Notre Dame's elite defense.
30. Denver Broncos: C.J. Mosley, OLB, Alabama
Alabama is always producing quality NFL defenders. Mosley, with his size, speed and instincts, should be another great one.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
The Falcons could use some more beef on the defensive line. Montgomery, who stands at 6'4", 245 pounds, certainly fits that description. He has the potential to be one of the best run-stopping defensive ends in the league.
32. Houston Texans: Robert Woods, WR, USC
The Texans desperately need someone who can take some attention away from Andre Johnson. Woods, who caught 73 passes for 813 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, would be the best option available at this point.
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