The NFL Draft is a live exercise in balancing the two hemispheres of an organization's brain trust. Just as with the human brain, NFL organizations attempt to balance their own ideas and egos. In this case, teams are weighing the itch to fill their biggest need against the time-honored tradition of drafting the best player available (BPA).
These forces are not always opposing, and every year a few teams get the perfect blend of talent and need. Take the Pittsburgh Steelers last year for example: they were able to fill their biggest need, offensive line help, with the best player available by far, David DeCastro.
In this article we will explore the best shot every GM has at striking first round "gold" for their team. This is not a prediction of what will happen in late April but a hypothetical blend of need and BPA. Keep in mind that while one player may be perfect for many teams, this is a mock draft and once a player is selected, he is no longer available.
And with that said...Kansas City is on the clock:
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT Texas A&M—Joeckel is one of the few players is consideration for best overall in this class. Chiefs can worry about filling their biggest need, quarterback, in the second round and solidify their offensive line for the next ten years with this pick.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Damontre Moore, DE Texas A&M—Jaguars are in desperate need of an impact player on defense. Moore is a dynamic threat against the run and pass and fits perfectly with the Jacksonville scheme.
3. Oakland Raiders: Geno Smith, QB West Virginia—With Carson Palmer on his last leg and Terrelle Pryor unable to grasp the offense, the Raiders are a mess at quarterback. Smith gives the Raiders the best chance at revitalizing the offense and turning Oakland's future around.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Chance Warmack, OG Alabama—Chip Kelly will have his work cut out for him with the Philly offensive line this offseason. Warmack is the best offensive line player available after Joeckel to pair with a hopefully repaired Jason Peters.
5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB Alabama—Pretty much a plug and play pick for Detroit, filling the biggest need with the best player at that position.
6. Cleveland Browns: Kenny Vaccaro, S Texas—The Browns have a solid corner in Joe Haden, but are in need of a quality, all-around corner. Vaccaro brings the size and speed to drop in coverage or cloud the box against the run game.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Eric Fisher, OT Central Michigan—Left tackle is easily the biggest need for Arizona and left tackles are one of the safest bets in the first round. Fisher is the top senior tackle available and one of the safest players in this class.
8. Buffalo Bills: Keenan Allen, WR California—The Bills are in need of a new quarterback but the first round is not the time or place in this year's draft. Keenan Allen provides the Bills with another receiving threat to complement Steve Johnson.
9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB LSU—The Jets are in need of a new quarterback but their short-term future is tied to Mark Sanchez. An edge pass rusher is the next biggest need, and Mingo provides the most versatility for the Jets defensive scheme.
10. Tennessee Titans: Bjoern Werner, DE FSU—The Titans pass rush was abysmal in 2012 and they are in desperate need of an upgrade. Werner is top ten talent with the potential to be the NFL's next great pass rushing threat.
11. San Diego Chargers: Justin Hunter, WR Tennessee—San Diego's offense has taken a nose dive over the last few seasons. Hunter brings a true No. 1 receiving threat to go with Rivers passing offense.
12. Miami Dolphins: Johnthan Banks, CB Mississippi State—The Dolphins traded away one of their top corners in Vontae Davis. Banks is the second best corner in this draft and has a very high floor.
Who will be the first Tight End drafted?
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Zach Ertz, TE Stanford—Tampa Bay's biggest need is in their defensive secondary, but at this point the most valuable players are off the board. Ertz fills an offensive need and provides a quality blend of inline blocking and receiving ability.
14. Carolina Panthers: Star Lotulelei, DT Utah—This is an ideal situation for the Panthers with one of the top players in the draft filling one of their biggest needs. Lotulelei has a skill set and body similar to Haloti Ngata; the Panthers can only hope his production matches up, as well.
15. New Orleans Saints: Dion Jordan, DE Oregon—The Saints are looking to put the 2012 season out of their minds as quickly as possible. The defense was unable to stop anyone last year and Jordan is one of the most talent pass rushers available.
16. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper, OG UNC—Another perfect fit; the Rams have a massive need on the offensive line and Cooper is the second best guard available this year.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jesse Williams, NT Alabama—Casey Hampton is likely on his way out of Pittsburgh and will be leaving a massive hole on the Steelers' defensive line. Williams is one of a few pure nose tackles in this draft and has the ability to dominate on the next level.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Barret Jones, C/OG Alabama—Tony Romo is in desperate need of efficient pass protectors if he hopes to be successful. Barrett Jones is one of the most decorated blockers in college football and will bring versatility that Dallas will value above all else.
19. New York Giants: Eric Reid, S LSU—The Giants secondary was a complete let down in the second half of 2012. Reid is the best coverage safety in this class and will upgrade the Giants' biggest hole from day one.
20. Chicago Bears: D.J. Fluker, OT Alabama—The Chicago offensive line has been an issue for many seasons and 2012 was no exception. Fluker is a powerful lineman who likely only has a future at right tackle, but has the ability to be one of the league's best.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR Tennessee—A.J. Green is one of the league's best receivers and he is only two years into his career. Patterson is a vertical threat that will prevent defenses from cueing solely on Green.
22. St. Louis Rams (From Washington): Robert Woods, WR USC—The Rams are trending upwards with a dynamic defense but they have a massive need for offensive threats. Woods is not the most explosive receiver in this draft but offers the best blend of skills and safety.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Tavon Austin, WR West Virginia—It is unclear what the future holds for Percy Harvin in Minnesota with only one year left on his deal. Austin is this year's closest mirror of Harvin and adds another weapon to the struggling Vikings pass attack.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Sheldon Richardson, DT Missouri—The Indy defense a complete mess outside of the defensive ends. Richardson has a great blend of size and penetrating ability to bolster the defensive line.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Tyler Eifert, TE Notre Dame—The Seahawks had a phenomenal 2012 season and will be looking to continue Russell Wilson's growth. Eifert upgrades the Seattle tight end position right away and gives Wilson another dynamic weapon.
26. Green Bay Packers: Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB Georgia—The Packers defense proved to still be an issue last week. Jones is one of purest pass rushers in this draft and would be a dynamic threat opposite of Clay Matthews.
27. Houston Texans: Alec Ogletree, LB Georgia—Ogletree is one of the most athletic linebackers available this year. His blend of size and speed will make a perfect sideline to sideline threat to pair with Cushing.
28. Denver Broncos: Johnathan Hankins, DT Ohio State—The Broncos have one of the best pass rushes while also having one of the worst run defenses. Hankins is a massive individual who will fill the biggest void on Denver's defense.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te'o, MLB Notre Dame—Te'o would be the perfect stop gap for the Ravens defense after losing Ray Lewis.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Sam Montgomery, DE LSU—The Falcons edge rushers are getting up there in age and a youth movement is in need. Montgomery's upside is slightly limited but he is a solid player with a very high floor.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Sharrif Floyd, DT Florida—The 49ers biggest hole at this point is their lack of depth, which is a good problem to have. Floyd provides much needed depth to fill in for the aging Justin Smith.
32. New England Patriots: David Amerson, CB NC State—The Patriots continue to attempt to bolster their secondary and that pattern will continue. Amerson has the ability to be the Patriots number corner or switch to safety if needed.