This 2013 NFL mock draft will predict which budding stars will help fill team needs most across the league.
Each season, plenty of established stars pique fans' and teams' interest early in the draft process. These college football household names have proven their talents and are expected to hear their names called early on draft day.
However, there are always those stars taken in the first round that surprisingly rise to the occasion for their respective clubs.
Here is an updated mock draft highlighting the budding stars who will fill their newest teams' biggest needs.
(Note: Budding stars are highlighted in italics.)
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith (QB, West Virginia)
Andy Reid typically overachieves with QBs, but even he’s not talented enough of a coach to fix Matt Cassell. Unless KC acquires a veteran passer before it is on the clock here, Smith is its only option.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jarvis Jones (OLB, Georgia)
J.J. Watt had more sacks this season than the Jaguars. Scoreboard: Watt 20.5, Jags 20. Jacksonville couldn’t possibly be more desperate for a pass-rusher and Jones is the best in the class.
3. Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei (DT, Utah)
Only four teams got scored on more than the Raiders this season. Lotulelie is the best defender available while Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly are washed up and overpaid.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel (OT, Texas A&M)
Philly’s O-line wouldn’t be a weakness if it were completely healthy. Of course, its QBs likely wouldn’t be a weakness if they were completely healthy too. The new regime should kill two injury bugs with one stone and draft Joeckel.
5. Detroit Lions: Damontre Moore (DE, Texas A&M)
At 34 years old, Kyle Vanden Bosch is done. He only had 3.5 sacks this season. Moore is the best available player and pass-rusher.
6. Cleveland Browns: Barkevious Mingo (DE, LSU)
Thirty-four-year-old Juqua Parker was second on the Browns with six sacks this season. He and Jabaal Sheard were the only ones with more than four. And besides, the Dog Pound would love Barkevious Mingo.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Bjoern Werner (DE, Florida State)
Unless the Cards find the next Russell Wilson, no rookie QB still on the board will be able to get Larry Fitzgerald the ball next year. They should focus on defense—their mediocre pass rush—and trade for and/or sign a veteran.
8. Buffalo Bills: Mike Glennon (QB, North Carolina State)
Glennon’s stock has skyrocketed as of late. So much so that Mel Kiper ranked him as his No. 1 quarterback prospect in the entire draft.
Yes, over Geno Smith. And yes, over Matt Barkley, who is on pace to plummet on draft day.
Glennon is a big, strong-armed quarterback who will look to improve his decision-making, but his physical tools will be enough to entice the Bills.
9. New York Jets: Dion Jordan (OLB, Oregon)
Somehow, someway, Rex Ryan kept his job. But he knows he’s on a short leash so a developmental quarterback isn’t an option. The versatile Jordan would help shore up Ryan’s once dominant defense.
10. Tennessee Titans: Chance Warmack (G, Alabama)
Warmack imposed his will on the Notre Dame front seven in the national championship. He’s the best guard prospect since Steve Hutchinson, and the Titans are desperate for O-line help opposite of Steve Hutchinson.
11. San Diego Chargers: Eric Fisher (OT, Central Michigan)
Philip Rivers has the talent to be a top-tier quarterback. But if the Chargers refuse to put a respectable line in front of him, he’ll always be an interception machine.
12. Miami Dolphins: Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, Tennessee)
Miami needs to upgrade Ryan Tannehill’s arsenal badly. Rishad Matthews, the third-most productive Dolphins wide out last season, caught just 11 balls for 151 yards.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dee Milliner (CB, Alabama)
If Milliner, the best cornerback in the class falls to No. 13, Tampa Bay should celebrate for a month. It fielded the worst pass defense in the NFL this year.
14. Carolina Panthers: Jonathan Hankins (DT, Ohio State)
Opponents averaged 4.2 yards per rush on the Panthers last season. The 6’3”, 335-pound Hankins would lower that number.
15. New Orleans Saints: Ezekiel Ansah (OLB, BYU)
If a Drew Brees-led team misses the postseason, you know the defense was downright pitiful. The Saints’ stop unit surrendered the second-most points in the league this year, and it all starts with the pass rush.
16. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper (G, North Carolina)
Sam Bradford will earn the bust label if he doesn’t show progress soon. St. Louis can help him do so by keeping him upright.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alex Ogletree, (OLB, Georgia)
Ogletree is versatile enough to play outside and inside linebacker. It just so happens that Larry Foote is 32 years old and James Harrison is 34.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Sheldon Richardson (DE, Missouri)
If Alfred Morris didn’t rush for 200 yards and three touchdowns against the Cowboys, they may have just made the playoffs. Their front seven needs to be upgraded.
19. New York Giants: Manti Te’o (ILB, Notre Dame)
New York’s once feared defense is a disaster. It allowed the second-most yards in the NFL this season and needs an extreme makeover.
Enter Manti Te’o.
The Fighting Irish linebacker was exposed against Alabama. He isn’t the next Ray Lewis, nor is he deserving of a top-five pick like many believed before the BCS Championship, but Te’o is still a valuable commodity.
As long as he’s drafted by a team with large defensive tackles who will keep offensive linemen off of him and allow him to use his speed to run sideline to sideline, he’ll be a Pro Bowl-caliber performer.
20. Chicago Bears: Tyler Eifert (TE, Notre Dame)
With no worthy offensive linemen available, Chicago should find Jay Cutler a new tight end. Kellen Davis caught just 19 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns this season.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Justin Hunter (WR, Tennessee)
Cincinnati was held to just 13 points in the Wild Card Round by the Houston Texans. If the Bengals had a capable No. 2 wideout across from A.J. Green, they may have just pulled off the upset.
22. St. Louis Rams: Kenny Vaccaro (S, Texas)
St. Louis is a couple pieces away from boasting an impressive defense. Strong safety Craig Dahl has just two interceptions the past two years and could easily be upgraded.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen (WR, California)
Minnesota’s No. 1 need is at wide receiver as its roster is now. If the Vikings choose to part ways with Percy Harvin, they’d literally have no other option than to pick the position here.
24. Indianapolis Colts: John Jenkins (DT, Georgia)
The Baltimore Ravens racked up 170 rushing yards on 5.3 a pop against the Colts. They need multiple upgrades on their front seven, starting at defensive tackle.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Terrance Williams (WR, Baylor)
Seattle doesn’t have a receiver who caught more than 50 balls in the regular season. Its offense is a lethal wideout away from being top-notch.
26. Green Bay Packers: Zach Ertz (TE, Stanford)
According to Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com, Green Bay will part ways with Jermichael Finley at season’s end. Aaron Rodgers need better protection, but with no offensive linemen worthy at No. 27, a better tight end will have to do.
27. Houston Texans: Tavon Austin (WR, West Virginia)
Matt Schaub took a small step back this season, but with a wide receiver who defenses actually have to respect across from Andre Johnson, he’d bounce back.
Austin is the most explosive player with the ball in his hands in the 2013 class and would add another element to the already talented Texans’ offense.
With a dynamic skill set and knack for making big plays, he would fill a huge need for Houston on offense.
28. Denver Broncos: Sharrif Floyd (DT, Florida)
Denver’s defense is outstanding, but Justin Bannan and Kevin Vickerson are scheduled to become free agents this offseason. Bannan will be 34 years old next season anyway and could be replaced.
29. Atlanta Falcons: Alex Okafor (DE, Texas)
No one on the Falcons besides the 34-year-old John Abraham recorded more than four sacks in the regular season this year. They need to draft the player Ray Edwards was supposed to be.
30. New England Patriots: Matt Elam (S, Florida)
The Pats’ pass defense is still pitiful. Only three teams surrendered more yards through the air than them in the regular season, so Matt Elam is a logical choice.
31. Baltimore Ravens: Johnthan Banks (CB, Mississippi State)
Ray Lewis will retire at the end of the season, but there are no next-Ray Lewis-looking linebackers at this point in the draft. Baltimore’s best bet would be to fix its 20th-ranked pass defense with a solid corner like Banks.
32. San Francisco 49ers: Sam Montgomery (DE, LSU)
If the 49ers had a dominant pass-rusher across from Aldon Smith, they’d be nearly unbeatable. After Smith’s 19.5 sacks, there’s a huge drop off to Ahmad Brooks’ 6.5 sacks and then Justin Smith’s three.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.