In just a few weeks, the 2012 college football season will be complete, then it will officially be time for the 2013 NFL draft talk to begin. In other words, it will be mock draft season.
For the majority of teams, it's already time for the draft. Several teams are in the process of hiring new general managers, and every team is looking at its options in the 2013 NFL draft.
Just what are the people in charge of your team thinking? Will they draft for need, or will they take the best player available?
It's impossible to say, but it is possible to guess.
New head coach Andy Reid will certainly realize the need to add a quarterback, and Geno Smith is an excellent fit. An accurate passer with above-average physical ability, Smith is worthy of the No. 1 selection.
Smith's pocket presence is terrific, and he does an excellent job evading pressure. He may need some work, but he's ready to start in the NFL.
The Chiefs could opt for a different quarterback such as Mike Glennon. If Branden Albert walks in free agency, Luke Joeckel could become an option as well.
Many aren't projecting Tyler Wilson to go this high, but he should. The 6'2", 225-pounder is an outstanding athlete with excellent arm strength.
Smith has as much potential as any quarterback in this draft. He will throw some interceptions, but he will also make plenty of big plays.
Jacksonville could opt for Mike Glennon instead of Wilson. Also, the team could choose to draft a defensive end like Bjoern Werner to address its awful pass rush.
Oakland's run defense wasn't great in 2012, as it allowed 4.3 yards per carry. Also, Tommy Kelly may be out during the offseason, and defensive tackle is a huge area of need.
Star Lotulelei is among the draft's best prospects and has star potential. The 6'4", 320-pounder is incredibly powerful and nearly immovable in the run game.
Lotulelei isn't just a run-defender, however. He is also athletic and explosive enough to penetrate the backfield and make plays.
The Raiders have a desperate need for a pass-rusher, and Bjoern Werner is also a great option.
Philadelphia's offensive line struggled in 2012, though Jason Peters is set to return next year. However, Peters is coming off two ruptured Achilles tendons and is no sure bet.
Regardless of Peters, the Eagles would benefit from moving Todd Herremans inside to guard. More importantly, though, is the fact that Luke Joeckel is the best player available.
Joeckel is a superb pass-blocker with franchise left tackle upside. He's a terrific value and addresses a big need for Philadelphia.
The Eagles could add a quarterback here if they don't think Nick Foles is the answer.
Cliff Avril is likely gone in the offseason, and his departure will leave Detroit with two holes at defensive end. Detroit, however, is generally a best-player-available team when it comes to the draft.
Fortunately, the best player available is a defensive end.
Bjoern Werner is an outstanding athlete with terrific burst. His first step is perhaps the best in the draft, and he has the lateral ability to dominate as a pass-rusher.
As a rookie, Werner could rack up double-digit sack numbers. He's just decent against the run, but his pass-rushing ability makes him a potential star.
If Luke Joeckel is available, he may be tempting to the Lions, as their offensive line isn't perfect. Joeckel would also be the best value on the board.
With rumors swirling of the Browns switching to a 3-4 defense under new head coach Rob Chudzinski, the Browns will be looking to add a pass-rusher. Well, they would have been looking for a pass-rusher in a 4-3, too, but this changes the type of player Cleveland will seek.
Dion Jordan is perhaps the ideal 3-4 outside linebacker. At 6'6", 245 pounds, Jordan is an outstanding athlete with incredible pass-rushing potential.
But Jordan is far from a pure pass-rusher. He's outstanding in coverage and frequently covered the slot at Oregon. He is an immediate asset to Cleveland's defense there.
The Browns could opt for fellow physical freak Ezekiel Ansah instead. Cornerback Dee Milliner is another possibility.
Arizona's two biggest needs are at quarterback and on the offensive line. However, the top two quarterbacks are gone, and there isn't a good option along the line either. So, with no great options to address their two biggest needs, the Cardinals turn to their pass rush.
Ziggy Ansah is an outstanding athlete. At 6'6", 275 pounds, he's bigger than the typical outside linebacker, but he has played in that position at BYU and is athletic enough to pull it off.
Ansah is incredibly fast and plays with great power. He is great against the run, though he does need to work on his technique. Ansah's experience at defensive tackle, defensive end and linebacker will prove valuable.
The Cardinals could reach for quarterback Mike Glennon or select a different pass-rusher in Jarvis Jones.
Ryan Fitzpatrick isn't turning out too well for the Bills, and new head coach Doug Marrone will likely want to address the position. Though the top two quarterbacks are gone, there is still an option left.
Obviously, that option is Mike Glennon.
At 6'6", 230 pounds, Glennon has terrific size and excellent arm strength, but he isn't mobile and struggles in the face of pressure.
Mechanically, Glennon is solid. He is talented and has many of the finer parts of playing quarterback down. The end results—especially as they relate to completing passes and not throwing interceptions—aren't always great, however.
Buffalo could look to bulk up its defense by selecting Manti Te'o. The Bills could even take a chance with a different linebacker in Arthur Brown.
The Jets ranked No. 25 in sacks during 2012, so they clearly need to draft a pass-rusher. In fact, the only thing New York needs more is a quarterback.
Jarvis Jones is undersized but undoubtedly talented. The 6'3", 240-pounder plays with surprising power and possesses an explosive first step.
There are some medical questions with Jones, but if New York feels comfortable there, he's a good addition. He offers impressive pass-rushing potential.
New York could select pass-rusher Damontre Moore instead, and Barkevious Mingo could be an option as well.
Tennessee doesn't have any glaring weaknesses, but it could stand to upgrade both its pass rush and run defense.
Sheldon Richardson helps the team accomplish both.
Richardson comes in at 6'4", 295 pounds and, though he primarily plays defensive tackle, can kick outside to end. He is a valuable pass-rusher from either position and could reach double-digit sacks.
Against the run, Richardson explodes off the ball and penetrates the backfield with ease. He isn't overly powerful, but his quickness and athleticism are huge assets.
Tennessee could also take the more conventional approach to fixing its pass rush by drafting a defensive end such as Damontre Moore or Barkevious Mingo.
San Diego's offensive line is clearly holding the team back. Philip Rivers rarely has time to throw, and the team's run-blocking could stand to improve as well.
Eric Fisher isn't an elite offensive tackle prospect, but he is a future starter. The 6'8", 305-pounder is long and athletic but needs to add bulk.
Too often, bigger defensive ends overpower Fisher. His height hurts him in that he easily surrenders leverage, and his lack of girth doesn't help either.
The Chargers also need help at cornerback, and Dee Milliner is a good value at this point.
Miami's pass rush relies far too much on Cameron Wake, and the Dolphins need a defensive end to play opposite the Pro Bowler.
Damontre Moore isn't overly talented, but his terrific motor overcomes any physical flaws. At 6'4", 250 pounds, Moore is somewhat undersized but plays with surprising strength and power.
In the NFL, Moore has only decent pass-rushing potential. However, he should be solid in every aspect of the game, and he will still be a valuable player.
Miami also needs a cornerback to play opposite Sean Smith, and Dee Milliner remains a tempting value.
Tampa Bay finished 2012 with the NFL's worst pass defense. Its cornerbacks were a big reason why, as there is not a single solid starter in the group.
Fortunately for the Buccaneers, Dee Milliner falls right into their lap. Milliner is solid in just about every aspect of the game, and he should be a good player in the NFL.
Though Milliner is solid, he doesn't possess elite upside. He lacks the outstanding athletic ability to really become elite given his lack of physical play.
If Milliner is available, this is an easy pick. Any other selection would be foolish.
Carolina has an outstanding linebacking corps with Jon Beason and Luke Kuechly both playing at high levels. Yet, the team's defense is not that great.
Why? It's simple: defensive tackle.
Jesse Williams is the type of defensive tackle who doesn't move in the run game. He plays with terrific power and leverage.
Though he isn't a great athlete, Williams can move and will play in the backfield. Don't expect huge sack numbers, though.
Carolina could still prefer Johnathan Hankins over Williams. The pick almost has to be a defensive tackle though.
New Orleans' run defense and defense both ranked last in 2012. Clearly, the Saints need some help here, especially in the front seven.
At this point, Manti Te'o is probably the best option for the Saints. The 6'3", 255-pounder plays with power and does a great job of shredding blocks and attacking against the run.
Te'o isn't great in coverage, but his ability against the run makes up for it. He would immediately step in at middle linebacker for the Saints and improve the team's run defense.
Along the front seven, New Orleans has several options. Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, linebacker Arthur Brown and defensive end Barkevious Mingo are all available.
St. Louis' offensive line needs some work. Ideally, the Rams would add a bookend tackle, but there really isn't one of those available. Instead, they settle for a guard.
Chance Warmack is a guard worth settling for, though. The 6'2", 320-pounder plays with power (as the above gut may suggest) and would immediately improve the Rams' run game.
Warmack isn't as athletic as some other guards, but his run-blocking ability is simply incredible. That's not to say Warmack can't play in space or pass block; they just aren't his forte.
The Rams could go with a wide receiver such as Cordarrelle Patterson or Keenan Allen here. Don't rule out a linebacker like Arthur Brown either.
James Harrison appears to be done as a Steeler, and the team needs a pass-rusher to replace him. Pittsburgh's defense is still at the top of the NFL, but it needs to continue adding youth to stay that way.
Barkevious Mingo has the natural ability of a much higher pick. However, the 6'5", 240-pounder is essentially limited to playing in a 3-4 defense, which knocks him down a bit.
Mingo is an excellent athlete with shocking speed and burst. His pass-rushing potential is through the roof, and he could be a star in the NFL.
In Pittsburgh, he almost certainly would be.
The Steelers could also draft a nose tackle to replace Casey Hampton, and an inside linebacker is also possible.
Dallas is rumored to be seeking Monte Kiffin as its next defensive coordinator, which would result in the team switching to a 4-3 defense. If the Cowboys do switch to using four down defensive linemen, they will need another defensive tackle.
Johnathan Hankins is a good value here and has tons of potential. The 6'3", 325-pounder obviously has great size and is surprisingly athletic.
The biggest problem with Hankins is his lack of a mean streak. He has the talent to be a star, but he needs to play meaner and more passionately.
Dallas also needs to upgrade its interior offensive line, and Jonathan Cooper is a good option at guard.
In 2012, the Giants allowed an abysmal 4.6 yards per carry. The team needs upgrades all along the front seven, but the value here is at linebacker.
Arthur Brown is a terrific athlete capable of playing either inside or outside linebacker. He does a great job in coverage and in run support and has superb upside.
Despite weighing just 230 pounds, Brown can shred blocks and plays with anger. He is a potential steal here and could have a huge impact on New York's defense.
The Giants could also benefit from a defensive tackle or end. The value just doesn't match up here, however.
It's no secret that Chicago's offensive line is horrible. The Bears would love to add an offensive tackle here, but in the absence of any great options, they will likely go with a guard.
Jonathan Cooper is a great athlete who excels at the second level. He attacks linebackers and defensive backs, rarely missing his target in the open field.
However, at 6'3" and 320 pounds, Cooper also possesses power. He can play at the point of attack and doesn't have any glaring weaknesses.
If the Bears are desperate for a defensive tackle, they could select Menelik Watson, who is full of potential.
With A.J. Green at one wide receiver position, the Bengals don't have a desperate need for a wideout. However, Andy Dalton could use some additional weapons.
Tavon Austin is exactly that: a weapon.
Austin is undersized and may not be a true wideout, but he'll make plays. At West Virginia, Austin moved all over the field, playing out wide, in the slot and even at running back.
Austin is fast, explosive and quick. These abilities, along with his size and versatility, have drawn comparisons to Percy Harvin. What NFL team wouldn't take Harvin?
The Bengals also need a running back, but anyone there would be a reach. A different wide receiver such as Cordarrelle Patterson or Keenan Allen is possible.
St. Louis needs weapons for Sam Bradford. Bradford has played with a terrible supporting cast, and it's time for the Rams to change that.
Cordarrelle Patterson isn't refined, but he has the potential to compensate for it. At 6'3", 205 pounds, he's big and fast.
And at wide receiver, big and fast go a long way.
Patterson won't immediately play at a high level, but when he does, it could be nasty. Players with this type of ability aren't found just anywhere.
Even after drafting a guard, the Rams could still use more help along the offensive line, though there aren't any great options. A different wide receiver such as Keenan Allen is the most likely alternative.
Percy Harvin is a terrific weapon, but his future in Minnesota is uncertain. Even if Harvin does stay, the Vikings need another wide receiver.
Keenan Allen's stock took took a hit during the 2012 season, but he is still quite talented. Allen isn't exactly a deep threat, but he's great with the ball in his hands.
The Cal wideout's yards-after-the-catch ability is superb, and he is fast and explosive enough to separate from defensive backs. He may not have true No. 1 wide receiver upside, but he should be a valuable player.
Don't focus exclusively on defensive tackle here, as the Vikings could use help at defensive tackle and defensive end.
Indianapolis has a single solid starting cornerback in Vontae Davis. The rest of the unit isn't so great and could use upgrading.
Johnthan Banks is far from a perfect player, but he's talented. The 6'3" cornerback is an impressive athlete with considerable upside moving forward.
Because of his large frame, some have projected Banks to safety, but he's quick enough to remain on the outside. His long arms, athletic ability and ball skills could lead to high interception totals in the future.
Indianapolis' front seven needs a lot of work. A nose tackle, defensive end or linebacker would all be good additions.
Ray Lewis is retiring, and Baltimore's defense isn't what it once was. The Ravens need to add youth on defense, and they should start by replacing Lewis.
Kevin Minter obviously won't be the player Lewis was, but he's still talented. The 6'1", 245-pounder is an outstanding athlete with decent ability in coverage.
Minter's best attribute, though, is his play against the run. He attacks downfield, easily shredding blocks and making plays. Minter is a great fit in the middle of Baltimore's 3-4 defense.
The Ravens could add another offensive weapon for Joe Flacco. DeAndre Hopkins would be a good fit at wide receiver.
Russell Wilson had a terrific 2012 season, and that was without great options at wide receiver. The Seahawks have a talented roster, but they could use some more pass-catchers.
DeAndre Hopkins is an explosive athlete with decent size. He is a legitimate deep threat who is quick enough to gain yards after the catch as well. The Clemson wideout is simply explosive.
Hopkins is just 6'1", which limits his upside some. He still projects as at least a playmaking No. 2 wide receiver, though, and would be a great addition for Seattle.
The Seahawks don't have too many huge needs. If they don't go with a wide receiver, they may be best off simply drafting the best player on the board.
Green Bay's secondary is perhaps its biggest need outside of running back. Casey Hayward's play has been key for the Packers, but they shouldn't be done adding defensive backs.
Kenny Vaccaro could go much higher than this, and he's a tremendous addition for Green Bay. The 6'1", 215-pounder is an excellent athlete with superb coverage ability.
Vaccaro can also defend the run, though. His ability to match up with wide receivers puts him in first-round discussion, but his all-around ability secures his status.
The Packers may not feel comfortable with their offensive tackle situation, and Menelik Watson could intrigue Ted Thompson. Don't rule out a tight end or wide receiver either. A cornerback is also possible.
It's difficult to find a hole in San Francisco's roster. Regardless of what position the 49ers address, it seems to be a luxury pick.
Cornerback is perhaps the one exception there. Carlos Rogers wasn't great in 2012, and the team could upgrade over Tarell Brown on the other side.
Xavier Rhodes is a high-ceiling cornerback with considerable downside. At 6'2", 210 pounds, he's massive but possesses terrific athleticism. Rhodes' technique is far from perfect, however, and he needs work in order to reach his potential.
If they don't go with a defensive back, the 49ers will likely go with the best player available. Otherwise, a defensive lineman is possible.
Derek Newton had his struggles at right tackle for the Texans in his first year replacing Eric Winston. The Texans don't have many glaring needs, so they can afford to draft a project.
At 6'5", 320 pounds, Menelik Watson has good size but lacks great length. However, his incredible athleticism makes up for this.
Few offensive linemen are anywhere near as athletic as Watson is. He requires refinement, but his potential is amazing. Watson's speed, quick feet and strength make him a potential star along the offensive line.
The Texans still lack a true nose tackle and could select John Jenkins or Kwame Geathers. A safety is also possible.
New England's run defense was surprisingly good in 2012, but that's primarily because of the team's run-stopping linebackers. The Patriots still need a defensive tackle to play next to Vince Wilfork.
Sharrif Floyd's best fit is probably in a 3-4 defense, but he is more than capable of playing in a 4-3. The 6'3", 303-pounder is athletic and powerful, so he can adjust along with Bill Belichick.
Floyd isn't exactly a penetrating defensive tackle, but he's explosive enough to make an impact in the backfield. His power and ability to stop the run are also valuable.
New England's secondary remains a bit of a mess, and the Patriots would benefit from the addition of either a safety or cornerback.
Now 36 years old, Tony Gonzalez is nearing retirement but remains an integral part of Atlanta's offense. Even if Gonzalez chooses to stick around for another year, the Falcons need to find his eventual replacement.
Tyler Eifert could be that player. The 6'6", 250-pounder is a good athlete with the ability to stretch defenses down the seam. He's also athletic enough to work out wide or from the slot.
Eifert's ability to go up and catch the ball is second-to-none in this draft. His blocking ability isn't great, but his other positives make up for it.
Atlanta would also benefit from a defensive end or linebacker. Sam Montgomery would be a good addition here.
Denver's run defense excelled in 2012 thanks to its linebackers and defensive ends. Its defensive tackles remain a weakness.
At 6'3", 320 pounds, Sylvester Williams isn't the player his size indicates he would be. Williams is an explosive athlete who penetrates into the backfield, picking up sacks and tackles for loss.
Where Williams doesn't excel is maintaining his gaps. He will often be out of position and will surrender ground against the run.
The Broncos don't have many other needs, so if they don't draft a defensive tackle, they will likely take the best player available. A running back, tight end or defensive back are possible options, however.