Like it or not, the NFL is quickly becoming an offensive-happy league.
Despite the lack of clear-cut studs at the running back and quarterback positions in the upcoming 2013 NFL draft, there's enough skill position and offensive line talent to more than make up for the lack of those flashier positions.
Many of the teams in the top 10 could use a QB, while others will choose to focus on fixing the defense. No matter what direction these teams choose to follow, one thing is clear—there's a large crop of offensive talent that will be expected to start right away at its new location.
Here's a fresh mock draft with that in mind. Offense has slowly started to eclipse defense in today's NFL, and that will be in the minds of new coaches, general managers and the rest of the league's employees that saw their teams struggle with the ball in 2012.
Note: Draft order is final except for 29-32, where the results of this weekend and the Super Bowl will determine the final order. Also, the offensive stars that will start immediately will are indicated by their title being in italics and a star (*).
1. Kansas City Chiefs: OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M*
Andy Reid is the head coach in Kansas City now, and after the troubling exploits of his Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb sagas, there's no doubt he'll be tempted to take a QB with the No. 1 overall pick.
However, some of the QBs that will be available in the second and third round might be able to take over his offense—at least for the time being. Let's face it—there are plenty of holes to fill and Reid being an ex-lineman certainly hints at Joeckel, this year's top tackle, being the first player selected.
After watching Nick Foles and Vick run for their lives last season, Reid starts this rebuilding process from the O-Line up, and gets a guy that will enter rookie minicamp, OTA's and training camp as the clear-cut starter at a tackle position.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
The top-rated defensive tackle on the board, Lotulelei is the perfect fit for new head coach Gus Bradley's defensive mentality. He was a force at Utah and has the propensity to take over the running game. Just the prospect Jacksonville needs to up-heave its defense.
3. Oakland Raiders: DE Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
Many folks like Jarvis Jones here, and he's a quality pick, but Moore has a chance to really shoot up draft boards with a solid combine. Von Miller's old running buddy had himself a Miller-like season in 2012—one of the reasons A&M had an underrated defense behind Johnny Manziel's don't blink offense.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: OG Chance Warmack, Alabama*
Mind blown, I know.
This is a controversial pick, and goes against the rule of drafting offensive lineman that play one position this early in the draft. OT Jake Matthews is going back to school, and the rest of the tackle class isn't strong enough to jump to No. 4. On talent alone, Warmack is.
If you saw the QB situation in Philadelphia, you'll understand this pick. The Eagles' signal-callers were running around like chickens headed to the slaughter house for most of the season. Warmack helps address that from the interior, even if new head coach Chip Kelly isn't known for being an offensive lineman whisperer.
5. Detroit Lions: OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
Detroit gets an absolute steal with Jones here, and based on the defensive run game this season, the Lions can use all the help they can get on that side of the ball. Jones is projected anywhere from No. 2 to No. 10 in some mocks, but I don't think Detroit can pass on him with Moore off the board.
6. Cleveland Browns: DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State
Rob Chudzinski may be an offensive genius, but he's coaching both sides of the ball now. That being said, Werner is a little bit of a raw talent that can both get to the passer and stop the running game. With the right amount of coaching, I can see him as an every-down player in the near future with the right scheme.
7. Arizona Cardinals: QB Matt Barkley, USC*
Mind blown, part two.
With Bruce Arians heading to the Cardinals, he'll need to grab a QB to run his offense. Geno Smith is a nice option, but Matt Barkley—a man more in the mold of last year's No. 1 pick, Andrew Luck—can rebound from his injury with a strong showing at his pro day and the combine.
I'm of the opinion that he will rise about the fray, and take hold of this top QB spot. He certainly struggled in what was supposed to be a coming out party during his senior season, but NFL potential can't always be gauged when a young man is in his early 20's.
That being said, Barkley has a long way to go to take this pick home. If he does, he'll be the day one starter for a team looking to reignite an offense that didn't exist after a four-game winning streak to start the season.
8. Buffalo Bills: QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
Smith to the Bills makes a lot of sense, as he's currently located in that region of the country and his potential as a pro passer is still very high. I still don't see him as an instant starter, but that could all change if Buffalo releases Ryan Fitzpatrick in the offseason.
9. New York Jets: OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU
The Jets got virtually no pass rush in 2012, and fixing the defense will be the top priority, as this team has always prided itself on defense first. Mingo, the hybrid rusher from LSU, will provide an instant spark and hopefully form a quality tandem with Quinton Coples in the near future.
10. Tennessee Titans: DT Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State
Hankins quietly put together a quality season for the undefeated Buckeyes, plugging holes as a run-stuffer while commanding a double team more often than not. Tennessee struggled to contain the run, and Hankins could be a quick fix on that front.
11. San Diego Chargers: CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
Milliner certainly isn't the first choice for the Chargers, but he's an excellent cover corner that put his talents back on display in the national championship game. If Mike McCoy wants to shake things up, he can grab a corner that will start right away with Milliner.
12. Miami Dolphins: WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
Patterson has explosive talent, but is still very raw. As noted by B/R's own Chris Trapasso, he has a real chance to go No. 1 among receivers, as he is in this draft:
Some have already said this, but if Cordarrelle Patterson blows up the Combine, (he should), there's a great chance he's first WR taken.— Chris Trapasso (@ChrisTrapasso) January 15, 2013
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
Ronde Barber is no spring chicken, and with Aqib Talib now a New England Patriot, the Bucs must address the corner position to play alongside safety Mark Barron. Rhodes and Johnthan Banks are the two best available after Milliner goes off the board.
14. Carolina Panthers: DT Sheldon Richardon, Missouri
The Panthers could go offensive tackle or wide receiver here, but bolstering the defense would be a wise move. Richardson had a nice season in his first SEC campaign, and weighs in at a staggering 310 pounds. He's a force in the middle and a good fit for a team in need of a DT.
15. New Orleans Saints: DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida
According to draft expert Ryan Lownes, Floyd has the kind of explosive power that will make up for his lack of size at the position.
@kevinw_espn Explosive player for his size, converts speed to power. Sharrif Floyd not getting much love at the moment, but likely 1st Rd.— Ryan Lownes (@ryanlownes) January 10, 2013
New Orleans needs a DT, and they'll have plenty to pick from. Depending on their strategy, Floyd could be a nice pick for their defense next season.
16. St. Louis Rams: C Barrett Jones, Alabama
Protecting Sam Bradford is priority one in St. Louis, and who better to get that job done than Jones, the versatile lineman from Alabama that has some major injury concerns. Still, if he passes preliminary exams by NFL medical personnel, he would be a nice pick up for the Rams.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: QB Mike Glennon, North Carolina State
I've been behind Glennon here for two reasons. One, he's a tall, mobile QB that will fit in the mold of what Pittsburgh wants to do on offense, and two, if Ben Roethlisberger gets hurt again, the Steelers might miss the playoffs again in 2013. They need a suitable backup.
18. Dallas Cowboys: DT John Jenkins, Georgia
Dallas hasn't ever shied away from character issues, and Jenkins has a few on his pallet. Still, the Cowboys have a glaring need on the defensive line and are eager to move Jay Ratliff out to DE. Jenkins kills two birds with one stone.
19. New York Giants: DE Dion Jordan, Oregon
We all know the Giants love pass-rushers, and Jordan played well on a national stage against Kansas State. I could also see the Giants pursuing a TE or maybe some backup O-Line help, but defensive line has been a hallmark of the team's draft strategy since it started to garner long-lasting success.
20. Chicago Bears: OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
With Matthews going back to school, Fisher falls here to the Bears, who won't allow Jay Cutler to have another run-in with a tackle in 2013. New coach Marc Trestman has helped QBs with lesser talent during his NFL coaching career, but keeping his guy safe will be priority No. 1.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
With Geno Atkins wreaking havoc in the middle, the Bengals have room for improvement around him. Ansah, the beast from BYU that had a big bowl game alongside Kyle Van Noy, will be a hot commodity both before and after other DEs leave the board.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Redskins): LB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
Te'o was exposed in the Irish's loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide, missing tackles and lacking lateral quickness against Bama's duo of running backs.
Still, he's put together a nice career on the field over four years and will be a prospect that garners attention from these late-round teams if he goes undrafted. St. Louis would be a nice place to help build up a defense in progress.
23. Minnesota Vikings: WR Terrance Williams, Baylor*
I'm on board with Williams at No. 23, and the idea of him starting from day one. The Vikings have struggled to move the ball vertically for quite some time; Williams did it regularly for Baylor the past two seasons.
He was QB Nick Florence's favorite target in 2012, and he was statistically one of the nation's best in receptions, yards and touchdowns.
Minnesota needs a receiver, and while Williams has been somewhat under the radar at a smaller Big 12 school, after the combine he'll emerge as a heady receiver that is as consistent as they come down the field—exactly what the Vikings need.
24. Indianapolis Colts: CB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State
The Colts appear set to grow internally on offense for now, but have some holes on defense. Addressing the secondary hole with Banks, a top cover corner for most of the season, is a good start under a healthy Chuck Pagano and another full year of practice for Andrew Luck.
25. Seattle Seahawks: TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
Seattle already has two good TEs, but why not add another? Teams regularly use TEs as blockers, for special teams and goal-line formations, and Russell Wilson would benefit from another receiver to call his security blanket.
Seattle could go defensive line here or even trade down—it just depends on the talent left at the time of the pick.
26. Green Bay Packers: WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
It's looking more and more like Greg Jennings is a goner, and even with the current depth Green Bay employs on offense it is always looking to add more. Hopkins is a speedster with a nose for the end zone and could challenge for time very early, just like Randall Cobb did in 2011.
27. Houston Texans: WR Robert Woods, USC*
Houston needs another receiver opposite Andre Johnson. Woods fits the bill, and can both be a possession guy on third down and stretch the defense with his speed.
The Texans haven't had a guy like this in the Kubiak era, and Jacoby Jones doesn't count because he was a youngster in his NFL career at the time of his breakout year with the Texans.
Imagine Johnson, Woods and Arian Foster lining up each Sunday. It adds another element teams have to defend and maybe gives this offense an added dimension it needs for a deeper run.
28. Denver Broncos: SS Matt Elam, Florida
Elam declared following his bowl game with Florida, and the Broncos could clearly use some secondary help. I'll admit, this might be an overreaction to the Rahim Moore misplay. But still, the Broncos appear set on offense with Peyton Manning. Defense is the way to go with this pick, and Elam is a good start.
29. Baltimore Ravens: SS Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
Vaccaro is a hard-hitter, and his presence in certain situations would be huge for a defense that might lose Ed Reed in the next few seasons. The temptation is there to draft an ILB, but there isn't a Ray Lewis in this draft. Baltimore starts with secondary.
30. San Francisco 49ers: DT Jesse Williams, Alabama
Williams is an unsung star of the Alabama defense, but on draft day, he won't go unnoticed. Not as flashy as some of his other DT brethren, Williams is just as solid, and would be a good pick for a team that could develop him for the next wave of this terror they call the 49ers' defense.
31. New England Patriots: WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia*
The Patriots have expressed interest, both through contract negotiations and early-season playing time, of getting rid of Wes Welker some time soon.
Austin is essentially a more athletic version of Welker, and can even play running back in a pinch—a plus for an offense that preaches versatility above other aspects of the game. Austin could step in and take Welker's job, or he could carve out a role separately unique and beneficial to Bill Belichick.
He's a speed demon that runs good routes, and would be a killer addition to the Patriots at the end of the first round.
32. Atlanta Falcons: TE Zach Ertz, Stanford
Tony Gonzalez isn't going to play forever. Now that he finally got a playoff win, maybe he'll start to lose motivation/think about retirement. Either way, the Falcons could use another TE on the roster to help with formations and pass-catching duties, and Ertz really came on late in the season for Stanford.
Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team. Check him out on Twitter.
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