While the 2013 NFL playoffs are still ongoing, fans of 24 out the 32 NFL franchises have nothing much to look forward to but the impending offseason and draft.
There’s a lot of buzz surrounding this upcoming draft class, as there are many solid players that could make an immediate impact on the fortunes of an organization.
Let’s take a look at our first mock of the New Year and check out which prospects we have each team in the league drafting.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
With Scott Pioli out of the GM position and Andy Reid now coaching the Chiefs, we can fully expect the new HC to make his mark on the franchise by selecting Smith No. 1 overall.
The Mountaineer signal-caller is an elite QB prospect that may be a reach at No. 1, but fills KC’s biggest need.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Jags have needs all over the field, so why not take arguably the best player available in Lotulelei.
He’ll make an immediate impact against the run and as a potential pass-rusher, so expect the Jags to give this Ute a good look if he’s available.
3. Oakland Raiders: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Jarvis Jones is one of the top pass-rushers in the draft class and promises to be a stud for years to come.
The Raiders need help along their defensive front, as Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour are likely gone, making the Bulldog a perfect pick here.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The Eagles couldn’t protect Mike Vick or Nick Foles enough to avoid injury, making offensive line reinforcements the No. 1 priority this offseason.
While whoever the new coach is may try to make a mark by drafting someone else, ownership needs to put their foot down and take the best available tackle in the class—Joeckel.
5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Milliner boosted his stock by playing excellent coverage on superstar TE Tyler Eifert in the National Championship Game, proving he could cover practically anyone out there.
Now he’s a legitimate top 10-worthy pick in the NFL draft, and Detroit is the perfect landing place for this young man.
The Lions desperately need some help in their secondary, so getting a legit 6’1”, 200-pound corner with supreme athleticism and coverage skills should be a top priority.
While it’s a slight reach, this pick makes perfect sense and Detroit must pull the trigger.
6. Cleveland Browns: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Moore is the best available talent here and will be a nice asset for a Browns squad looking to get better defensively.
They have plenty of blooming offensive talent, so adding a beastly young pass-rusher will help this franchise in their eventual playoff runs a few years down the road.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
The Cardinals need to figure out the QB situation, and Wilson looks to be a much better answer than anyone currently on the roster.
It’s clear that Kevin Kolb (despite his high price tag and cost of acquisition), John Skelton, Brian Hoyer and Ryan Lindley aren’t the answer, so why not go all in with the Razorbacks' senior?
He’s got decent size, a great arm and a number of other tools that pro quarterbacks need to flourish in the NFL. He may not be a “sexy” prospect, but at No. 7 overall, Arizona isn’t going to find a better signal-caller.
8. Buffalo Bills: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
Te’o’s national championship game performance may have hurt his stock in the short term, but when workouts and the combine come around, he’ll be back in the top 10.
The kid has an insane work ethic and that will leave a more lasting impression over one bad outing.
9. New York Jets: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Barkley is the best available—even if his stock took a huge hit after his mediocre senior season.
10. Tennessee Titans: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Werner represents huge value for the Titans here as a pass-rusher, even though the organization arguably needs to improve its secondary more.
Regardless, we can’t see this kid slipping past No. 10 due to his upside and abilities, so Tennessee will stop his slide and look for a corner later in the draft.
11. San Diego Chargers: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
If the Chargers are going to compete with the Broncos in the AFC West, they have to improve their offensive line.
Philip Rivers is still an elite QB, he just hasn’t had the time to throw or any semblance of a running game to support him. Fisher is a beast that will help reduce the number of hits his signal-caller takes, plus clear plenty of lanes for the RBs.
12. Miami Dolphins: Keenan Allen, WR, California
Allen is the top wideout in a weak class, and the Dolphins are desperate for some production from the position after losing Brandon Marshall.
If Ryan Tannehill is going to develop into the franchise QB that the team hoped he would when he went No. 8 overall last year, they need to bring in more weapons in the passing game.
This Golden Bears prospect is one of the best available and should be competing for the No. 1 spot in South Beach sooner than later.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
At 6’2”, 217 lbs., Rhodes has the elite size that many teams are looking for in a modern cornerback to help cover the massive receivers that dominate the NFL.
He’s coming off a knee injury in last year’s Champs Sports Bowl, but still managed to be the top Seminoles cornerback for the third straight year. He’s a bit under the radar now, but don’t be surprised to see him quickly rise during the combine.
Tampa direly needs a new CB after trading Aqib Talib to the Patriots at the trade deadline, so look for them to give Rhodes and Johnthan Banks each a serious look come draft day.
14. Carolina Panthers: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
The Panthers couldn’t stop anyone from running on them, so naturally they should look to bolster their front seven with a first-round pick.
Hankins has so much value at No. 14 as the best DT in the class after Lotulelei, and he should immediately make a huge impact on the Carolina D-line.
15. New Orleans Saints: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB LSU
Mingo’s upside is undeniable, and he’s one of the more intriguing raw prospects in the class.
He may not be ready to contribute right away, but down the line we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Tigers stud absolutely dominating in the NFL.
16. St. Louis Rams: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
While the Rams desperately need help on their O-line, Ansah is too talented to continue dropping and Jeff Fisher will nab this beastly pass-rusher.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The Steelers were forced to play safety by committee in 2012, using a combination of Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Will Allen and Ryan Mundy to man the position due to various injuries.
It’s obvious that some young blood is needed there, and Vaccaro is the top safety in this draft class.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Dallas always seems to have a need along the O-line, and it’s no different going into the 2013 draft.
Warmack is a mauler that will help keep Tony Romo upright and hopefully give him more time to throw, limiting the costly fumbles and interceptions that pushed the Cowboys out of playoff contention yet again in 2012.
19. New York Giants: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
With the Giants' secondary once again ranking as one of the worst units in the league and seemingly never healthy, it’s not a stretch to imagine them grabbing the best DB on the board at No. 19.
In this mock, it’s Johnthan Banks, a great cover corner that went up against the top receivers in the SEC during his collegiate career. If he can stay on the field, he will be a great asset for Big Blue.
20. Chicago Bears: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
With Brian Urlacher set to hit the open market this spring, the Bears will need to find a replacement for the potential Hall of Fame LB.
Enter Ogletree, a physical specimen whose game will absolutely translate to the next level. While LBs are often selected later due to their abundance, this Bulldog has a chance to be special.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Matt Elam, S, Florida
The Bengals' secondary is good, but not great, and could use another safety to help in coverage plus run support.
Elam looks solid and has the makeup of a potential long-term starter for Cincy.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Redskins): Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Hunter is a top-notch receiver that burst onto the scene in 2012, putting together a 1,000-yard season for the mediocre Volunteers.
He’s a nice deep option for Sam Bradford to throw at, considering the abundance of possession receivers on the Rams' roster right now.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia
Jenkins is more talented than this draft position would suggest, but his character issues are a big red flag.
The Vikings could use more help on the D-line, and the upside here is too much to pass up.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
The Colts need to bolster their defense and a winner like Williams is the ideal way to accomplish this.
If Indy can stop the run and get more pressure on the quarterback, they will continue to win games and make playoff runs.
25. Baltimore Ravens: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
Jordan is a major value this late in the draft and the Ravens aren’t going to let a young defender like this get past them.
He could immediately start contributing at a number of positions, especially on passing downs, and help fill the void that Ray Lewis will be leaving in the linebacker corps.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
This late bloomer went from a factory job to community college to starring for the Tar Heels in a short span, and the next stop in his incredible journey could be becoming a first-round draft pick.
The Seahawks' defense is already one of the top units in the league, but could get better in the middle by taking a talented tackle like Williams.
27. Green Bay Packers: Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
Aaron Rodgers preserved in 2012, despite a shaky offensive line and hardly any run support.
Cooper can play multiple positions and would likely garner consideration as an immediate starter in his rookie season if GB selects him.
28. San Francisco 49ers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
With injuries and age catching up to some members of the Niners' defensive line, it would be wise for them to look for a young stud like Richardson late in the first round.
29. Houston Texans: Eric Reid, S, LSU
The Texans secondary could use more depth and Reid would be an ideal candidate to help out back there.
30. New England Patriots: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
If the Pats can add another weapon for an aging Tom Brady this late in the draft, they have to pull the trigger.
Austin would be a great receiver in that offense—especially if Wes Welker winds up moving on this summer.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Tony Gonzalez is retiring after the season, leaving a gaping hole for the Falcons at the tight end position.
Eifert is the most polished prospect and makes perfect sense here.
32. Denver Broncos: Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina
Knowshon Moreno’s resurgence has been nice to see, but we expect the Broncos will want to get a young stud with high upside as insurance. Bernard would be the pick if that winds up being the case.
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