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2013 NFL Mock Draft: Latest Predictions After East-West Shrine Game

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2013

2013 NFL Mock Draft: Latest Predictions After East-West Shrine Game

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    The East-West Shrine Game has concluded, which means we are one step closer to the 2013 NFL Draft. Several prospects altered their draft stock during the game, as have others near the time of the game—such as Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o. 

    The draft is still far enough away that the prospects have time to improve or hurt their draft stock, but right now it is pretty clear who is worthy of a first-round pick. 

    Teams have officially begun the evaluation process with the East-West Shrine Game, which means it is 2013 NFL mock draft time as well. 

    Let's take a look at the first round.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia 

    The Kansas City Chiefs have a new head coach in Andy Reid, who is going to want to bring in his own franchise quarterback to begin the rebuilding process. 

    Reid loves athletic quarterbacks who can extend plays with their feet and have booming arms, so West Virginia product Geno Smith is the perfect fit for Reid's offense. 

    The 2013 quarterback class is extremely thin, and in most cases Smith would not be worthy of a No. 1 overall pick. This year is the exception, especially with Reid and the Chiefs unable to take a chance on him falling and having to settle for a lesser prospect.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

    The Jacksonville Jaguars have some serious issues on both sides of the ball. The team can afford to wait another year to take a top quarterback with Chad Henne looking serviceable in 2012. This means the team can take the best player available. 

    That player would be Bjoern Werner, the best defensive end in the 2013 draft class. He is an explosive player who can get to the quarterback in a variety of ways. 

    Jacksonville is miserable along the defensive line, but adding a player like Werner will make the entire unit better as a whole.

3. Oakland Raiders

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    Star Lotulelei, NT, Utah

    The Oakland Raiders have a lot of holes to patch on the defensive side of the ball, but adding a dominant nose tackle would improve the entire unit. 

    Utah product Star Lotulelei is worthy of the No. 1 overall pick despite not putting up eye-popping statistics at a smaller school. He is a franchise-changing presence, which is exactly what the Raiders need defensively. 

    Tommy Kelly has a horrible attitude and Richard Seymour cost too much, so adding Lotulelei is the smart play here.

4. Philadelphia Eagles

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    Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

    The Philadelphia Eagles are picking this high in the draft thanks to their laughably-bad offensive line.

    An immediate upgrade is needed, especially at the tackle positions. Luke Joeckel could be available here, and if he is, the organization should be barred from competing if it passes on him. 

    Joeckel is an outstanding athlete who has the looks of a franchise player for a long time. He is exactly what the Eagles need as they attempt to rebuild in the trenches. 

5. Detroit Lions

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    Jarvis Jones, OLB/DE, Georgia

    Jarvis Jones is one of the best pure pass rushers entering the draft, and it just so happens the Detroit Lions are approaching a period of needing one desperately. 

    Detroit got little-to-no production in terms of pass rush from the outside linebacker position a season ago. Adding an exceptional athlete such as Jones will change that quickly. 

    Jones is smart and can ease his way into a starting role while learning from veterans. In a league that prioritizes the passing game, a team like Detroit cannot have enough players like Jones.

6. Cleveland Browns

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    Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama 

    The Cleveland Browns had a solid defense in 2012, and they just brought in an outstanding defensive coordinator in Ray Horton. 

    The next step for the defense is adding another great corner opposite of the outstanding Joe Haden. 

    Alabama's Dee Milliner fits that bill perfectly.

    Milliner is the best the 2013 class has to offer at the position, and he fits well with the Browns. He is a ball-hawking corner who is physical enough to excel in all aspects of the game. 

    It is not often teams have a chance to have two great cornerbacks on defense, but Cleveland may have an opportunity here.

7. Arizona Cardinals

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    Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M 

    The Arizona Cardinals had one of the best defenses in the NFL a season ago, but need to keep reinforcing the unit or risk experiencing a drop-off. 

    A quarterback would be a good decision here if Arizona is unable to fill the position via free agency, but the class is weak this year regardless. 

    Damontre Moore is one of the best all-around players to enter the draft this year, and he'd be an upgrade for the Cardinals defense. It is a smart pick that will allow the unit to have sustained success, as opposed to just fading away as it ages.

8. Buffalo Bills

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    Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas 

    It has been made painfully honest that Buddy Nix plans on drafting a quarterback with this selection in order to find a franchise player. 

    If that is the case, the best route the Buffalo Bills could go at this point is picking up Tyler Wilson. 

    Wilson is a solid prospect who could start right away thanks to some of the great weapons already on the Bills offense. He will not be an amazing player right away, but he could certainly take over for Ryan Fitzpatrick, if the coaching staff wants him to, at the start of the season.

9. New York Jets

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    Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU

    The New York Jets have a serious amount of issues, but with head coach Rex Ryan intent on sticking with quarterback Mark Sanchez, it is hard to see them reaching for one here. 

    The next-best option is to upgrade the miserable defense, specifically the pass rush. Barkevious Mingo is one of the better prospects left on the board in a top-heavy class. 

    Mingo would fit right into the rotation for the Jets and boost a horrendous rush from a year ago. He is solid in all aspects, but excels where the Jets are most lacking.

10. Tennessee Titans

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    Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama

    The Tennessee Titans had some serious issues along the offensive line a year ago, which limited the production of quarterback Jake Locker and running back Chris Johnson. 

    Chance Warmack is a rare NFL prospect at his position that is worthy of being selected this high. He has been a dominant force in both the passing and running game since becoming a start at Alabama. 

    Warmack is a pro-ready player who will bolster one of the NFL's worst offensive lines in a big way.

11. San Diego Chargers

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    Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan 

    The San Diego Chargers cannot afford to pass up on an offensive tackle at this point. It is one of the team's biggest weaknesses and a direct reason the team was so horrible a year ago. 

    At this point, Eric Fisher is the best player at the position still available. He is from Central Michigan, a small school, but has all the makings of a pro-ready tackle. 

    San Diego needs to do whatever it can to better protect Philip Rivers, and Fisher has what it takes. 

12. Miami Dolphins

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    Keenan Allen, WR, California

    Second-year Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is going to need some better offensive weapons around him if he is to succeed and turn the ship around. 

    Keenan Allen is arguably the best receiver on the board and would provide a big-play element to the stagnant Miami offense. 

    The Dolphins need to rebuild around Tannehill, and giving him a go-to receiver is the biggest priority—as long as the team can bring back tackle Jake Long. Allen is the smart play here.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose to ignore the cornerback position in the 2012 NFL Draft, and then traded away Aqib Talib, who happens to now be flourishing in the postseason with the New England Patriots. 

    Now is the time for the Bucs to massively upgrade the position or suffer dearly. 

    Johnthan Banks is the best corner left on the board here, and he is one of the better players overall in the draft. He is an instant starter who could develop into a franchise player over time.

14. Carolina Panthers

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    Johnathan Hankins, NT, Ohio State

    One of the biggest weaknesses for the Carolina Panthers is the defensive tackle position. The 2013 NFL Draft is a great opportunity for teams such as Carolina because of just how deep it is at the position. 

    Even better for Carolina is its position here in the first round, which could allow them to pick up Ohio State defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.

    It is clear when watching Hankins play that he is a game-changer. He is NFL-ready and will instantly upgrade the defensive line against both the pass and run thanks to his motor and physicality. 

15. New Orleans Saints

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    Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU 

    It is no secret that the New Orleans Saints have one of the worst tackling and overall defenses in the NFL each and every year. 

    One way to help remedy that situation here at No. 15 overall would be to instantly upgrade the pass rush with a versatile athlete who can hit opposing quarterbacks from a variety of positions. 

    Ezekiel Ansah is the candidate for the job, as he is one of the best at doing so left on the board. He is a dynamic player who made a lot of noise at BYU, and Ansah will continue to do so for the Saints if used properly.

16. St. Louis Rams

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    Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

    Sam Bradford is one of the most-hit quarterbacks in the NFL. If the St. Louis Rams do not address this issue soon, he may not be in the NFL anymore due to the pace they are allowing him to take hits. 

    Oklahoma product Lane Johnson is a mammoth of a tackle at 6'6" and 303 pounds. Despite his size, he is as athletically gifted as they come and can handle most of the opponents thrown his way. 

    Johnson is but one piece of the puzzle to fixing the offensive line, but he is the most important.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama

    The Pittsburgh Steelers need to find an effective nose tackle to bolster the front end of their defense. Doing so will make a lot of the issues with the linebackers go away. 

    Alameda Ta'amu was thought to be the answer, but he has had some off-field issues. The Steelers cannot afford to wait on him. 

    Jesse Williams is a big body who can anchor the Pittsburgh front. He has great intangibles and could fit into the rotation perfectly during his rookie season.

18. Dallas Cowboys

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    Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida

    The Dallas Cowboys are implementing a 4-3 defense with the arrival of Monte Kiffin, meaning new personnel is required to actually run the defense.

    Even if the team has the cap space to bring back Anthony Spencer at defensive end, it lacks a solid pass-rushing threat from the defensive tackle position. 

    That is where Sharrif Floyd comes in handy. Floyd is a dominating presence who excels at applying pressure up the middle. He fits well in Dallas and gives them something to build around as the defense transitions.

19. New York Giants

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    Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon

    The New York Giants have a thing for pass rushers in the first round, which means they should be looking right at Oregon's Dion Jordan. 

    Justin Tuck had a surprising down year, and Osi Umenyiora is set to hit free agency, so a defensive end once again looks to be in the cards. 

    Jordan is a risky pick thanks to injury, but he is the perfect fit in New York. He is a freak athlete who can get to the quarterback in any situation due to his eerie combination of size and agility.

20. Chicago Bears

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    Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame

    Whether or not Manti Te'o was involved in a hoax, he is still a borderline first-round talent that should sneak in thanks to so many teams needing an answer in the middle of the defense. 

    In this case, it is the Chicago Bears, a team that is possibly losing one of the NFL's best in Brian Urlacher. 

    Te'o now has a lot of baggage and questions surrounding him, but on the field he is still an above-average player against the run, which fits nicely in Chicago.

21. Cincinnati Bengals

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    Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU

    The Cincinnati Bengals lack one thing on defense that holds the unit back—an every-down, effective pass rusher. 

    Inside linebacker is shored up thanks to the arrival of Vontaze Burfict, who should be sliding to his natural position next year. With Michael Johnson and Robert Geathers set to hit free agency, the Bengals are in a bad spot at defensive end anyway. 

    Sam Montgomery is a player who can come in and join the already-great defensive line rotation, while providing a pass-rush the team has seriously lacked over the years. It is a move that will take pressure off an inconsistent secondary. 

22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins)

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    Eric Reid, FS, LSU

    The St. Louis Rams neglected the mediocre defense earlier in the first round, and for good reason, as protecting an investment like Sam Bradford is important.

    Their second pick in the first round is an opportunity for the Rams to find a leader on defense. Eric Reid, the best free safety by a mile, is still available. 

    Reid is a ball-hawk who does not have any major weaknesses. He will provide an instant upgrade to an ailing secondary. More importantly, he will give the defense an identity that it has been sorely lacking. 

23. Minnesota Vikings

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    Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

    It is hard to hate what the Minnesota Vikings did in 2012, taking into consideration a postseason berth, but the passing attack was laughably bad at times.

    Christian Ponder needs help, that much is certain. Percy Harvin continues to battle injuries, and opposing defenses found it easy to shut down emerging tight end Kyle Rudolph. 

    Cordarrelle Patterson is a large target that can create mismatches for the offense all over the field, which will also take some pressure off of Adrian Peterson. He is the second-best receiver in the class, but he  could end up being the best if he lands in Minnesota.

24. Indianapolis Colts

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    Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

    Despite making the postseason, the Indianapolis Colts still have a lot of holes to fill on the roster. Andrew Luck needs some protection up front, but it is time the Colts turned their attention at least a little bit to the defensive side of things. 

    The secondary was an issue for the Colts last season, and an upgrade at corner is long overdue. Florida State's Xavier Rhodes is a great candidate at this position. 

    At 6'1" and 217 pounds, Rhodes is a top prospect with outstanding size. He is sound in coverage and physical enough to play the run effectively. It does not solve all the issues, but it is a big first step.

25. Seattle Seahawks

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    Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri

    Pete Carroll has done a magnificent job turning the Seattle Seahawks around. Now, he's tasked with identifying and solving the team's biggest issues. Holes along the offensive and defensive lines and playmaking receivers come to mind. 

    Seattle has its choice of a few solid prospects at each of the mentioned positions, but Sheldon Richardson out of Missouri would be the best bet. 

    Richardson is a force along the line who would make a great addition to the trenches for Seattle. He can put pressure on the quarterback or disrupt running plays with relative ease. 

26. Green Bay Packers

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    Barrett Jones, C, Alabama

    Barrett Jones has some injury concerns, but when it comes to NFL-ready centers, he is the best entering the draft this year. 

    The Green Bay Packers need help in a few different areas, and addressing tight end or linebacker would not hurt. Properly protecting Aaron Rodgers seems like a more pressing issue though. 

    Green Bay was horrendous at the position all season long, as was the play of most of their interior lineman. Jones is an immediate starter, and an effective one at that, coming from a pro-football factory like Alabama.

27. Houston Texans

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    Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU

    The Houston Texans are a mess at inside linebacker. Brian Cushing is battling injuries, Bradie James is set to hit the free-agent market, and Darryl Sharpton will not have an impact. 

    Kevin Minter is an underrated prospect who can come in and start right away for Houston. He has all the intangibles and is athletic enough to cover the middle of the field at any time. 

    Minter is not the highest-rated player at his position, but when surrounded with all the talent the Texans already have on defense, he could turn out to be the best in his class.

28. Denver Broncos

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    John Jenkins, DT, Georgia 

    The Denver Broncos addressed the defensive tackle position a year ago with Cincinnati's Derek Wolfe, but he has seen more snaps at defensive end than anything. 

    Denver needs a monster in the middle to stuff the run. Look no further than the 358-pound John Jenkins to slide into that role perfectly for the Broncos. 

    Jenkins is surprising athletic for his size. He gives the Broncos an established defensive line, rather than constantly shifting players around to positions where they do not necessarily fit.

29. Baltimore Ravens

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    Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas 

    Given his injury history, it is safe to say that Ed Reed is close to the end of his career, whether it be after the postseason or a year from now. 

    Kenny Vaccaro is still on the board and happens to be one of the best at his position this year. The Texas product is a ball-hawk that can play physical in the box, or run with anyone he is asked to cover. 

    There are a few holes the Ravens need to address on the defense, but picking up one of the best players in the draft this late in the round is something Baltimore should not pass by.

30. San Francisco 49ers

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    Alex Okafor, DE, Texas 

    It is time for the San Francisco 49ers to simply go for the best-available player, and doing so also happens to fill a depth need.

    The 49ers need some depth when it comes to rushing the passer, so they are happy to have Alex Okafor fall this far. 

    Okafor is a physical specimen who fits right into the team's physical defensive rotation. He will wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks, with teams focused on Aldon Smith and Co.

31. New England Patriots

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    Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

    Thanks to outstanding play from the tight end position, the New England Patriots yet again had an elite offense, despite a lack of great receivers.


    Tavon Austin is a speedster from West Virginia who will give quarterback Tom Brady a vertical threat on each and every play. 

    Austin can stretch the field, which will open up things for other receivers and the tight ends. It might seem unfair, but he is the perfect pick here because he gives one of the NFL's best offenses a much-needed boost. 

32. Atlanta Falcons

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    Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame

    It is luxury-pick time here, and the Atlanta Falcons could have a hole at tight end to address if Tony Gonzalez truly decides to call it quits.

    Tyler Eifert is the best tight end in his class by far, and he's well worth the first-round selection. 

    At 6'5" and 250 pounds, Eifert is a perfect fit for the vertical offense in Atlanta. He is physical enough to stay in and block, but makes his money in the red zone.

     

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