Bjoern Werner is among the 2013 NFL draft's top underclassmen.
It remains unclear which players will be the top selections in the 2013 NFL draft, but we finally know the prospect pool. It will be larger than ever: A total of 75 underclassmen, an unofficial record number, declared for this year’s draft, joining the already large pool of seniors.
However, not all the top underclassmen declared for the draft. Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews, Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan and Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley are among the top prospects who decided to return to school for their senior seasons.
In this latest 2013 NFL mock draft, exactly half of the players selected in the first two rounds had remaining eligibility to play college football. Read on to find out where those 31 players may be chosen.
Disclaimer: Picks 29-32 and 59-62 are contingent upon playoff results and are set in this draft order by projected conference championship game and Super Bowl results.
In Andy Reid’s first draft with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999, he selected quarterback Donovan McNabb with the No. 2 overall pick. Now entering his first draft as the Kansas City Chiefs head coach, he will likely employ the same strategy in finding his next signal-caller.
Unfortunately for the Chiefs, there is no clear-cut No. 1 quarterback in this draft class. The most sound all-around prospect is Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson.
Wilson did not have a terrific senior season, but he is a skilled pocket-passer who is accurate downfield. He still needs to cut down on mistakes and improve his footwork, but he is more NFL-ready and has fewer major flaws than any quarterback in the class, including West Virginia’s Geno Smith.
The Chiefs have a number of other options, including Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel. Given that Wilson or any other quarterback is a reach at the top pick, the Chiefs’ best move would be to find a veteran quarterback via trade or free agency.
One way or another, however, they have to upgrade over Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn at quarterback. That will most likely happen in the draft.
The Jacksonville Jaguars ranked 30th in total defense and 29th in scoring defense this past season, which highlights their need to add playmakers at every level of the defense.
That should leave the Jaguars deciding between the three best defensive players in the draft: Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner.
Any of those would be a great choice for the Jaguars, but the best choice is Jones.
The Jaguars desperately need a playmaker at linebacker. Jones could be a Von Miller-type player. He would be an immediate upgrade at strong-side linebacker and could line up as a pass-rushing defensive end in likely passing situations.
The Oakland Raiders defense cost them many games this season. One reason was a largely inept pass rush that ranked 31st in the NFL and had only 25 sacks.
The Raiders need a premier pass-rusher at defensive end. Florida State’s Bjoern Werner would be a perfect fit.
Werner is a well-rounded defensive end with an explosive burst off the line of scrimmage and good length and athleticism. He brings pressure into the backfield consistently and is a great run-tackler in space for a down lineman.
The Raiders lack any difference-makers on their pass rush, but the addition of Werner would go a long way in changing that.
There are many teams that need a left tackle far more than the Philadelphia Eagles do, but Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel is simply too good to pass up with the No. 4 overall pick. A potentially elite left tackle, Joeckel is the best player available on the board. He could be a staple of the Eagles offensive line for many years to come.
Former All-Pro Jason Peters is expected to return to the Eagles next season after suffering an Achilles injury. But drafting Joeckel would give them insurance and an immediate replacement should Peters fail to fully recover.
Assuming Peters is back, Joeckel could take over immediately at right tackle. That would allow the Eagles to gradually groom Joeckel to be their franchise left tackle, while Todd Herremans could move inside and fill a weak spot at right guard.
Nick Foles, who does not have nearly the scrambling ability of former starting quarterback Michael Vick, is expected to take over as the Eagles’ starter next season. The Eagles need to ensure that they protect him well.
The addition of Joeckel, plus a healthy return of injured players, would give them a potentially elite offensive line.
The Detroit Lions are already weak at cornerback. Making matters worse, their best cornerback, Chris Houston, is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
Even if Houston were to return, he is more of a No. 2 cornerback than a No. 1. The Lions need to add a cornerback who can cover the NFL’s best receivers.
The player in the 2013 NFL draft class who has the most ability to do that is Alabama’s Dee Milliner. He has great size and length for a cornerback and is a very good athlete. He plays the position physically, is a sound tackler and has terrific instincts and ball skills.
Milliner proved himself as a potential top-five pick and the draft’s top cornerback with a great performance in last week’s BCS National Championship Game victory over Notre Dame. He would be a great addition to the Lions for both value and need.
The Cleveland Browns need an explosive pass-rusher. Texas A&M’s Damontre Moore would be a great fit whether the Browns stay in a 4-3 defense or switch to a 3-4 under new coach Rob Chudzinski.
Moore is a good athlete with an affinity for getting into the backfield and making plays. He has the size, strength and technique to be a three-down lineman at the next level, and he has the overall athleticism and space playmaking ability to drop back to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.
Moore would be a terrific addition to the Browns defense for both value and need.
The Arizona Cardinals have desperate needs at offensive tackle and quarterback, but there is no player at either position worth selecting as a top-10 pick.
That gives the Cardinals a tough decision: Should they overdraft a quarterback in West Virginia’s Geno Smith, or ignore their biggest needs and draft for value?
A player such as Alabama guard Chance Warmack or Utah nose tackle Star Lotulelei would be good value and would certainly help the Cardinals. Ignoring their major needs in last year’s draft backfired significantly on the Cardinals this year, however.
New general manager Steve Keim will likely recognize that and want to find a franchise quarterback. Smith is a risky top-10 selection. But he may have the biggest upside of any quarterback in this draft class and has the potential to be a huge upgrade over Kevin Kolb.
The best move for the Cardinals would be to trade down and draft a player such as USC quarterback Matt Barkley or Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher later in the round. In this scenario, however, Smith looks like their best bet.
Notre Dame middle linebacker Manti Te’o has slipped down the draft board in part due to a disappointing performance in the BCS National Championship Game. But he is still the top inside linebacker in the draft class. The Buffalo Bills desperately need a playmaker to lead their linebacker corps, and they can get that from Te’o.
Te’o’s leadership and intangibles may be overstated, and he may not blow away scouts in athletic testing. Nonetheless, he is a big, instinctive linebacker who is a sound run-stopping tackler and can make plays in coverage.
The Bills have talent on the defensive line and in their secondary, but poor linebacker play was the breaking point of their defense this past season. They can take a big step toward fixing that problem by adding Te’o.
New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan survived the ax this year. Whether he keeps his job beyond 2013 will depend largely on whether the Jets can find an answer to their quarterback situation.
It has already been reported by multiple outlets, including ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini, that the Jets plan to move on from Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow this offseason. That means that one way or another, the Jets have to find a quarterback.
Taking a quarterback in the top 10 of this year’s draft is a move that can certainly backfire. But if the Jets can’t find a better option via free agency or a trade, Ryan and the team’s new general manager may have no other choice. With Wilson and Smith off the board, the best option in this scenario is USC’s Matt Barkley.
Barkley’s stock dropped after a disappointing senior season, but he is still among the top three quarterbacks in the draft class. He is a definite reach as a top-10 pick, but he is more than capable of developing into a very good NFL starting quarterback.
There are only four prospects in this draft class who should be sure-fire top-10 picks, and Utah’s Star Lotulelei is one of them. Defensive tackle is not among the Titans’ greatest needs, but Lotulelei’s value is too good to pass up in this scenario.
The Titans do not have any major difference-makers on their defensive line. They would get that from Lotulelei. He is a massive and disruptive nose tackle who is a strong run-stopping force and an explosive interior pass-rusher.
An offensive mind, new San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy ought to know that the key to reviving the Chargers offense is to fix their offensive line issues.
An offensive tackle is what the Chargers need most, but the best offensive tackle available, Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher, would be a reach as a top-15 pick. Meanwhile, both of the Chargers’ starting guards are unrestricted free agents, and Alabama’s Chance Warmack is the best offensive lineman available.
The Chargers should make a strong effort to re-sign right guard Louis Vasquez, but Warmack could be an immediate upgrade over Tyronne Green at left guard. Warmack would help the Chargers in pass protection and power run-blocking. Even as a guard, he is well worth a top-15 pick.
Having traded Vontae Davis last offseason, the Miami Dolphins opened up a need for another cornerback to start across from Sean Smith in their secondary. Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks is a solid all-around cornerback who could fill that void and give the Dolphins a formidable duo at the position.
Banks is a big, athletic and physical cornerback who consistently played well against SEC competition. He is an NFL-ready playmaker who would be an immediate upgrade in the Dolphins secondary.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have one of the NFL’s best defensive tackles in Gerald McCoy, but fellow 2010 NFL draft pick Brian Price did not pan out. That has left the Buccaneers with a hole to fill at the position, and Ohio State’s Johnathan Hankins is great value outside the top 10.
As a big, powerful, 320-pound nose tackle, Hankins is a great complement to McCoy, who is a quick and explosive penetrator. That said, Hankins is quick and explosive for his size as well.
The Hankins-McCoy pairing could quickly become one of the NFL’s elite defensive tackle duos.
The Carolina Panthers have a major need at defensive tackle, and even with Star Lotulelei and Johnathan Hankins off the board, there are plenty of good first-round options still available.
The Panthers’ emphasis should be for a defensive tackle who can shut down the run, so the best fit for them is Alabama’s Jesse Williams. Williams is a strong and powerful nose tackle who is quick off the snap and can occupy blockers at the line of scrimmage.
The Panthers need a stronger presence at the line of scrimmage. The addition to Williams would be a great start to fixing that issue.
The Saints need to improve at every level of their defense. One position where they could use another playmaker is at defensive end in pass-rushing situations.
LSU’s Barkevious Mingo is the most athletic and explosive pass-rusher in the draft class. Mingo needs to become bigger and stronger to play against the run as a 4-3 defensive end, but he could be an immediate asset as a situational pass-rusher.
While the decisions made by Taylor Lewan and Jake Matthews were bad news for NFL teams in need of an offensive tackle in this year’s draft, it was great news for Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher. Fisher is now the clear-cut No. 2 offensive tackle in this draft class, and that could entice a team to splurge for him in the middle of Round 1.
The Rams could be that team. They need another offensive tackle to bookend with Rodger Saffold at either left or right tackle, and Fisher is a long, athletic and strong tackle who could play either position.
Fisher is a bit of a reach as a top-20 pick. But as the No. 2 player at a premier draft position in high demand, he is unlikely to make it past the top 20. Given that offensive tackle is one of the Rams’ biggest needs, they would be smart to pounce on him in this scenario.
Larry Foote had a decent season taking over as a starting inside linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers. But he is 32 years old and an unrestricted free agent, so he is not a long-term option going forward. Meanwhile, LSU’s Kevin Minter is a good inside linebacker prospect who would be terrific value in the second half of the first round.
Minter is an underappreciated prospect who could give the Steelers a dynamic inside linebacker duo alongside Lawrence Timmons. Minter is a sound tackler with great lateral athleticism who can make plays all over the field, and he would add a much-needed young playmaker to an aging Steelers defense.
Minter is the best player available on the board, and he plays a position the Steelers should be looking to address.
The Dallas Cowboys need to rebuild the right side of their offensive line and could be in the market for a new center, right guard and/or right tackle. Alabama’s Barrett Jones is a perfect fit as a first-round pick because he can play any of those spots.
Jones can play any spot on the offensive line. He is a very well-rounded blocker whose intelligence and toughness stand out. He would be an immediate upgrade over Mackenzy Bernadeau at right guard, the position he is best suited to play, but he could be a fix at center or right tackle, too, if needed.
Jones is coming off of a Lisfranc injury in his foot, which could hurt his draft stock. But he should bounce back in time for next season. He is still worth a mid-first-round pick and would help the Cowboys offensive line.
Prior to this season, the New York Giants won two of the five past Super Bowls largely on the strength of their pass rush. This season, however, their pass-rush production went down across the board, and the Giants defense was unable to carry them to the postseason.
Knowing the importance of the pass rush to their success, its ability to put less pressure on their shaky secondary and the value available in this scenario at defensive end, adding another pass-rusher would make sense.
Texas defensive end Alex Okafor is the best player available on the board. He plays with great technique and is a skilled pass-rusher and sound against the run.
With Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora apparently on the decline and entering the final year of their contracts, the time is now to upgrade at defensive end. Okafor would be a good fit opposite Jason Pierre-Paul.
No offensive lineman on the Chicago Bears is good enough that his starting spot should be guaranteed going into next season. The Bears’ biggest need is to rebuild their offensive line, so drafting the best offensive lineman in the first round would be a smart strategy.
That is especially smart in this scenario, with one top offensive lineman still available in North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper. With a combination of strength, sound blocking technique and quick feet, Cooper is effective as both a power run-blocker and pass protector.
He could be an immediate upgrade at either guard spot and is well worth a top-20 draft choice.
Eric Reid’s stock has slipped a bit after a disappointing junior season, but he is still the best safety prospect in the 2013 draft class. The Bengals need an upgrade at safety next to Reggie Nelson and should pounce on the LSU product if he is available.
Reid is a terrific athlete who covers deep effectively, and he is also a sound tackler and hard hitter who makes plays near the line of scrimmage. He has had some issues with inconsistency and penalties, but has huge talent and upside.
Nelson is capable of shifting to strong safety. Adding Reid would be a move to quickly solidify the Bengals secondary.
The Rams offense made positive strides this season, but should still be looking to add more weapons for quarterback Sam Bradford. While tight end is not truly a position of need for the Rams, Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert could give Bradford a go-to downfield receiving weapon in the middle of the field.
Eifert’s combination of size, athleticism and ball skills fit the modern “basketball player” prototype of tight ends that is all the rage in today’s NFL. In addition to giving the Rams a big downfield receiving threat, he is also a solid blocker who could contribute to the team’s run-blocking efforts.
Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson is one of the most quickly rising players in the 2013 NFL draft class, so he could come off the board much earlier than the No. 23 overall pick. As he is available in this scenario, the Minnesota Vikings should not pass him up.
The Vikings need an explosive penetrator at defensive tackle to start next to Kevin Williams. Richardson, who may be the best pass-rushing interior lineman in the draft class, would be a great fit.
The Vikings’ interior defense hasn’t been the same since Pat Williams’ departure broke up the “Williams Wall” at defensive tackle. The Vikings have an opportunity to restore that strength inside by selecting Richardson.
Even with all of the top offensive linemen off the board in this scenario, there should be little doubt about the Colts’ direction with their first-round pick. The Colts need to all but completely rebuild their offensive line, which gave up far too much pressure against quarterback Andrew Luck this season.
One of the biggest needs is to upgrade at right tackle. Alabama’s D.J. Fluker is a starting-caliber right tackle prospect with great length, strength and athleticism. He would be a significant upgrade over Winston Justice in pass protection and run blocking.
The Seattle Seahawks’ passing offense made incredible strides with rookie quarterback Russell Wilson this season. That said, the Seahawks can make Wilson even better by adding a go-to option and playmaker at wide receiver.
Having recruited him while at USC, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll should know a thing or two about Robert Woods. That means he should know that Woods is as good as any wide receiver in the draft class and could help their passing offense.
Woods is knocked for having subpar measurables, but he is an outstanding route-runner with great hands, open-field quickness and playmaking ability. He can line up outside and in the slot, and he could quickly become Wilson’s most reliable and dynamic weapon.
The Green Bay Packers haven’t gotten much pass-rush production from their defensive linemen this season. To fix that, the Packers should be looking for a quick interior lineman who can line up alongside B.J. Raji or Jerel Worthy in their two-man base nickel defensive front and as a 5-technique defensive end in the 3-4 package.
Florida’s Sharrif Floyd, an explosive interior defensive lineman with great athleticism and quickness, would fit that description.. He is an effective interior pass-rusher and a good run-stopper.
The Houston Texans need to find a legitimate No. 2 threat at wide receiver to line up across from Andre Johnson. Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins is the best playmaker among wide receivers in this draft class and could be the missing piece to the Texans offense.
Hopkins is an athletic receiver who is good at tracking balls downfield, and he is a good route-runner with consistent hands. The addition of Hopkins could attract coverage away from Johnson and give quarterback Matt Schaub another reliable and explosive weapon.
The Denver Broncos need to upgrade at defensive tackle. Specifically, they need a big, powerful nose tackle who can improve their interior run defense.
Georgia’s John Jenkins, a massive 350-pound-plus nose tackle, would be a perfect fit. He has great quickness for his size and can contribute as a powerful run-stopper and an interior bull-rusher.
Stamina and consistency are issues for Jenkins to overcome, but he has the overall game to develop into a three-down force for the Broncos’ four-man front.
Ray Lewis may be inspiring the Baltimore Ravens to make a deeper playoff run than expected. But when the Ravens’ season does come to an end, Lewis is retiring. That leaves the Ravens with an immediate need to find his replacement at inside linebacker.
Georgia’s Alec Ogletree could be a great fit as a late first-round pick.
Like Lewis, Ogletree has outstanding speed for a linebacker and is a big, hard-hitting tackler. A converted safety, Ogletree is effective in coverage and a solid run defender.
With Lewis calling it a career, the Ravens need to add a linebacker who can be a three-down playmaker inside. Ogletree has the skill set to be that player.
The Atlanta Falcons have a number of great options for value and need as late first-round picks available to them in this scenario. The best choice may be Alabama’s Eddie Lacy, the top running back in this year’s draft class.
Michael Turner is on the decline, which should leave the Falcons looking for a new feature back. Lacy could be exactly what the Falcons need. He's a big and powerful between-the-tackles runner with good speed and open-field moves.
The Patriots could potentially lose Wes Welker, Julian Edelman and/or Danny Woodhead to unrestricted free agency, which could leave the team looking for slot receivers. West Virginia’s Tavon Austin would be a great fit in the slot.
Austin is a multi-dimensional playmaker who is a downfield receiving threat and dangerous off screen passes. He can also come out of the backfield as a runner. He has terrific speed, quickness and route-running ability, and he keeps defenses on their heels with his ability to turn any play into a game-changer.
The defensive front seven is already the strength of the San Francisco 49ers, but to keep it that way, the 49ers need to continue to add young talent into the mix.
North Carolina defensive tackle Sylvester Williams would be a great fit for their defensive front. He has the size and strength to line up at nose tackle, while he has the quickness and explosion to play a 5-technique defensive end, making him a versatile potential addition to the 49ers.
Adding reinforcement to the front line is a smart move for the 49ers, especially with good value at the end of the first round if Williams is available.
New Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell has already stated that Tim Tebow won’t be the Jaguars’ next quarterback, but that doesn’t mean he will stand pat with Blaine Gabbert as the team’s signal-caller, either.
The Jaguars need to bring in another quarterback to at least compete with Gabbert and Chad Henne, and the top of Round 2 is the right time to do so. Tennessee’s Tyler Bray is a boom-or-bust prospect. He has great physical tools and upside, but he needs to overcome inconsistent, mistake-prone play.
Andy Reid’s Chiefs will continue to run the 3-4 defense next year, according to the Kansas City Star. That means the Chiefs need to find a replacement for unrestricted free agent Glenn Dorsey at 5-technique defensive end.
SMU’s Margus Hunt is a raw and inconsistent talent, but he has massive upside as a 3-4 end. He is explosive, has outstanding measurables and has potential to be a tremendous interior pass-rusher.
It would come as little surprise if Nnamdi Asomugha and his massive contract are released after two disappointing seasons in Philadelphia. Whether or not that is the case, the Eagles need reinforcement in their secondary.
Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes is a big, physical defensive back with a potential to be a solid cornerback. With his size and tackling ability, he also projects well at safety—another position of need for the Eagles.
Defensive end Cliff Avril is unlikely to return to the Detroit Lions as an unrestricted free agent. That leaves the Lions in significant need of a defensive end who can contribute on all three downs and lead their pass-rushing efforts.
Sam Montgomery is an athletic defensive end who is a skilled pass-rusher and a solid run-stopper. He is good value in Round 2.
The Cincinnati Bengals would be smart to replace unrestricted free-agent middle linebacker Rey Maualuga in their lineup. Kansas State’s Arthur Brown is a versatile, instinctive and athletic linebacker who can make plays all over the field.
Both Brown and returning starter Vontaze Burfict can play middle linebacker and outside linebacker, which would give the Bengals an interchangeable pair of talented young linebackers in their nickel package.
Having drafted a franchise quarterback in Round 1, the Cardinals need to upgrade their pass protection with an offensive tackle in Round 2.
Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson is a rising prospect with the length, athleticism and strength to be a solid starter at either left or right tackle opposite Levi Brown or Bobby Massie.
The Cleveland Browns used this year’s second-round pick in the 2012 NFL supplemental draft to select Baylor wide receiver Josh Gordon.
The pick looks like a smart investment thus far: Gordon caught 50 passes for 805 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie.
On the defensive side of the ball, the New York Jets’ greatest need is for a pass-rushing outside linebacker.
Oregon’s Dion Jordan is a raw boom-or-bust prospect, but he is an explosive player with elite measurables and huge upside. A defensive end at Oregon, his game is best suited to playing as a stand-up outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense like that of the Jets.
The Tennessee Titans have a significant need to upgrade at safety, and Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro is good value as a second-round pick.
Vaccaro is an athletic defensive back who can play either safety spot and can even line up as a slot cornerback. He can be an asset to the Titans as a skilled cover safety and as a hard-hitting, sound tackler in run support.
New head coach Doug Marrone will almost certainly be looking for a quarterback to compete for the starting job with Ryan Fitzpatrick. Selecting Ryan Nassib, who he has coached for the past four years at Syracuse, seems to be an obvious choice.
Marrone has a connection to Nassib, and Nassib is the best quarterback available at this point. He needs development, but he has the tools and upside to be a definite upgrade for the Bills under center.
The Miami Dolphins selected Ryan Tannehill in last year’s draft as their franchise quarterback. In this year’s draft, they need to add playmakers for him at wide receiver.
There is a lot of value at wide receiver on the board at this point, but the best fit would be Baylor’s Terrance Williams. He has the speed and deep receiving ability to take advantage of Tannehill’s ability to throw the ball deep. He could become a go-to playmaker.
Josh Freeman’s play has been disappointing for two years running, and the Buccaneers have no plans of extending his contract (which ends after the 2013 season) this offseason, according to the Tampa Bay Times. That means the Buccaneers should be looking to draft a quarterback to develop as a potential successor in 2014 should Freeman continue to underwhelm next season.
North Carolina State’s Mike Glennon is an inconsistent, turnover-prone quarterback, but he has tremendous physical tools that could make him a first-round pick. He would be a perfect choice to potentially develop into a starting-caliber signal-caller for 2014 and beyond.
The Carolina Panthers, who lack consistent playmakers in their secondary, could certainly use an upgrade at safety. That is exactly what they could get from Florida’s Matt Elam.
Elam is best known for his hard hits, but he is a good all-around safety. Elam has solid coverage skills, is a great athlete and good at making plays on the ball.
Saints head coach Sean Payton
The New Orleans Saints lost their second-round pick as part of their punishment for operating a bounty system.
Ryan Mathews is a talented running back, but staying healthy has been a serious problem for him in his first three NFL seasons. Two- or three-back systems are the way to go in today’s NFL, and the San Diego Chargers need a complementary back for Mathews.
A tremendous choice to pair with Mathews would be North Carolina’s Giovani Bernard, a fast and dynamic running back with great receiving ability out of the backfield.
The St. Louis Rams need to upgrade at outside linebacker. Rutgers’ Khaseem Greene would be a great fit as a mid-second-round pick.
Greene is an athletic linebacker who consistently makes plays all over the field. He makes up for a lack of size with great instincts and tackling angles.
Even with their switch from a 3-4 defense to the Tampa 2 under new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, the Dallas Cowboys still have a need for a 1-technique nose tackle in the middle of their defensive front.
Purdue’s Kawann Short is a big defensive tackle with the power to be the run-stopping nose the Cowboys need. He also has the explosion important to a defensive tackle in a four-man front.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to lose Mike Wallace as an unrestricted free agent, which would leave them seeking another deep threat at wide receiver to fill Wallace’s shoes and start opposite Antonio Brown.
Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson is a quickly rising wide receiver prospect with huge upside. He has great size and athleticism, and like Wallace, he is a great downfield playmaker.
The New York Giants have invested numerous draft picks on cornerbacks in recent years, but the position continued to be a major problem for them this season.
The Giants should be looking to add another defensive back who can hopefully improve their pass defense early in the draft. Rutgers’ Logan Ryan is a well-rounded cover corner worth a second-round selection.
New Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman should make the team’s offense more pass-oriented—and with that comes the need for a legitimate receiving playmaker at tight end.
Stanford’s Zach Ertz is great value at the end of the top-50 picks. He is a good all-around tight end, a skilled downfield receiver and a solid in-line blocker.
It is unclear whether Robert Griffin III or Kirk Cousins will be starting next season under center for the Redskins, as Griffin will attempt to recover quickly from a torn ACL. Regardless who starts, adding another weapon to the passing game would be a great idea, especially with the value of receivers still available on the board.
California’s Keenan Allen would be a steal outside the top 50 and could give Griffin/Cousins a go-to playmaker opposite Pierre Garcon. Allen is a good possession receiver with great size, hands and route-running ability.
The Minnesota Vikings desperately need to improve at wide receiver to give Christian Ponder a better set of weapons in the passing offense. A good fit for the Vikings would be Louisiana Tech’s Quinton Patton.
Patton is a reliable receiver with great hands, route-running ability and body control. He is not a pure deep threat, but he does a great job getting open and making plays in the open field, which is the type of receiver Ponder needs in his offense.
The Cincinnati Bengals drafted two talented wideouts last year, but that should not stop them from adding another receiver if the value is right. The Bengals still need to find a true No. 2 receiver to line up opposite A.J. Green, and Tennessee’s Justin Hunter would be well worth taking a shot on late in the second round.
Hunter may have the most upside of any wide receiver in the draft class, with great size, speed and leaping ability. As a deep threat opposite Green, Hunter could draw coverages away and give Andy Dalton another playmaker.
Jake Long may be on his way out as an unrestricted free agent. If that is the case, the Miami Dolphins will need to find another offensive tackle to start opposite Jonathan Martin.
Virginia’s Oday Aboushi is a long, athletic tackle who could fit the bill. He is a solid pass protector and a powerful run-blocker, and he would likely step in right away at right tackle if Long is not brought back.
With Alan Branch and Jason Jones slated for unrestricted free agency, it could be time for the Seattle Seahawks to find an upgrade at their under defensive tackle spot next to Brandon Mebane.
LSU’s Bennie Logan is athletic for a defensive tackle. Although raw, his quickness and penetration ability make him a great fit as a potential replacement in the lineup next to Mebane.
DuJuan Harris has emerged in recent weeks as a talent in the Green Bay Packers backfield, but they should still be in the market for a feature back.
Wisconsin’s Montee Ball is a good all-around running back with in-state ties. Coming off a brilliant collegiate career, Ball is a durable, productive and dynamic between-the-tackles runner who could add consistency and reliability to the Packers backfield.
The Houston Texans have some talented defensive backs, yet have had trouble giving up deep passing plays this season. The Texans should look to add more playmakers to their secondary, and North Carolina State’s David Amerson is well worth taking a shot on late in the second round.
Once graded as the top defensive back in the draft class, Amerson’s stock has dipped sharply in a disappointing junior season. Nonetheless, he has huge upside as a cornerback with great size, athleticism and ball skills.
The Denver Broncos could be looking for upgrades at center and right guard, and Wisconsin’s Travis Frederick can play either position.
Frederick is massive and powerful, but he also has good feet and is a good snapper at center. His versatility to take over or provide depth at multiple interior-line positions makes him an attractive choice for the Broncos in this scenario.
Standout safety Ed Reed’s contract expires at the end of the season, and he could end up joining Ray Lewis in retirement. Regardless whether Reed comes back, the Ravens lack depth at the safety position and would be smart to address the position early in the 2013 draft.
Alabama’s Robert Lester is a talented defensive back who can play both free and strong safety. While his senior season has been littered with inconsistency, he is solid in coverage and in the box.
The Falcons have a solid pair of starting defensive ends in John Abraham and Kroy Biermann, but they need to add another pass-rusher to the rotation after releasing Ray Edwards earlier this season.
BYU’s Ezekiel Ansah is a raw talent, but he has big upside with great size and explosive athleticism. He could be a perfect fit for the Falcons, where over time he could develop from being a rotational player into a full-fledged starter with the potential to be great.
The New England Patriots still need to add more talent on the defensive line, and Ohio State’s John Simon seems like a great fit for the Patriots if available at their second-round pick.
Simon does not have great measurables, but he is a good pass-rusher with a relentless motor and the versatility to play a variety of positions in different packages. Simon’s hard-working and unselfish attitude makes him a Belichick-type player, plus Belichick has connections with OSU head coach Urban Meyer and defensive line coach Mike Vrabel.
Cornerback play has been the San Francisco 49ers’ biggest weakness this season, which should have the 49ers looking for young talent at the position early in the 2013 draft.
Oregon State’s Jordan Poyer does not have great measurables, but he had an outstanding senior season and could be a solid No. 2 or nickel cornerback in the 49ers secondary.