NFL Draft Order 2013: Teams That Should Have Clear Targets Early in First Round

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 31, 2012

MORGANTOWN, WV - NOVEMBER 17:  Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers drops back to pass against the Oklahoma Sooners during the game on November 17, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Now that the regular season is over, fans of teams that didn't qualify for the playoffs begin to look toward the 2013 NFL draft as a source of optimism. After all, the player who could turn it all around might be waiting in the wings.

The draft is always interesting because there are several different ways a team can attack it. Some general managers prefer to target positions of need, while others would rather take the best player available and build depth that way.

While an argument can be made for both approaches, let's take a look at three teams that should have a definitive target in mind when draft day arrives.

No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs

Matt Cassel played terribly, and Brady Quinn found a way to play even worse. In other words, the Chiefs' quarterback position was an absolute mess this season, and that made it impossible to contend for a playoff spot. It must be addressed.

Enter Geno Smith. The West Virginia star compiled over 4,200 yards passing and 44 total touchdowns in his senior season. He also increased his completion rate by five points to 71 percent—a jump that talent evaluators were hoping to see.

It's important to note there isn't an Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III in the 2013 draft. Smith is a step below those rookie sensations in terms of overall talent. That said, he's still a solid prospect and would be an upgrade for the needy Chiefs.

The Pick: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

No. 2 Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars have no shortage of needs on both sides of the ball. None bigger than finding a player who can put constant pressure on the quarterback. They ranked dead last in sacks with just 20, five less than any other team and 32 behind the league lead.

In today's NFL, the two most important things are a reliable quarterback and pass-rushers. Since there won't be a QB worth taking at No. 2, assuming Smith is off the board, the Jaguars should turn to the defensive side with Bjoern Werner.

The Florida State defensive end was a key piece of a Seminoles defense that finished the regular season ranked sixth in points allowed. He racked up 13 sacks. As long as he declares following his junior season, his combination of size and athleticism would help him thrive in Jacksonville.

The Pick: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

No. 8 Buffalo Bills

The Bills were expecting improved results after spending a lot of money to upgrade the defense during the offseason. Instead, the unit continued to struggle. The biggest problem was against the run, where Buffalo ranked 31st.

It's now been 13 seasons without a trip to the playoffs for the Bills, which is the longest drought in the NFL. They need a defender that's not only going to produce, but one that is going to lead the way emotionally as well.

That's why Manti Te'o is a perfect fit. He has been the heart and soul of Notre Dame's dominant defense all season. Countless times he has gotten his teammates to rise to the occasion in key moments, and that's exactly what the Bills need in the middle of their defense.

The Pick: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

Draft Order (as of Wild Card Weekend)

1. Kansas City Chiefs 

2. Jacksonville Jaguars 

3. Oakland Raiders

4. Philadelphia Eagles 

5. Detroit Lions 

6. Cleveland Browns 

7. Arizona Cardinals 

8. Buffalo Bills

9. New York Jets 

10. Tennessee Titans

11. San Diego Chargers

12. Miami Dolphins

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

14. Carolina Panthers

15. New Orleans Saints 

16. St. Louis Rams

17. Pittsburgh Steelers 

18. Dallas Cowboys 

19. New York Giants

20. Chicago Bears

21. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins) 

22. Minnesota Vikings 

23. Cincinnati Bengals

24. Baltimore Ravens 

25. Seattle Seahawks 

26. Indianapolis Colts 

27. Green Bay Packers 

28. San Francisco 49ers 

29. Houston Texans

30. New England Patriots

31. Denver Broncos

32. Atlanta Falcons


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