2013 NFL Mock Draft: Dominant Defenders Weak Defenses Will Build Around

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2013

Every NFL draft has different strengths and weaknesses. This year's class is full of defensive studs who will be stars at the next level.

This does not excite fans as much as a possible franchise quarterback like Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. Still, there are players who can be centerpieces of a defense and make huge impacts on their new teams. 

Front offices all look for different things in the draft, but a few players might be hard to pass up. Here is a full mock draft with extra emphasis on defensive prospects who will be around for a long time. 


1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

For a team with the top pick in the NFL draft, the Kansas City Chiefs actually have a lot of weapons on both sides of the ball. A good quarterback could bring it all together and be successful if he can just take care of the football.


2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

The Jaguars have a lot of needs on both sides of the ball, but Bjoern Werner is a workhorse who will be disruptive on every play. He will instantly improve the worst pass rush in the league.


3. Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

Although there were some bright spots, Oakland's defense was very inconsistent, especially against the run.

Star Lotulelei is a prototypical defensive tackle who can clog up the middle of the field. He is also agile enough to get into the backfield regularly and make it hard for any offensive lineman to block him.

In addition, the Utah defender has the size to take on blockers and free up space for other players on the team to make things happen.

It is hard for one defensive player to transform a full unit, but Lotulelei is a good start for the Raiders.


4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

The return of Jason Peters will help the offensive line, but it is unknown how good he will be after missing all of 2012-13. Luke Joeckel will solidify things up front and help the playmakers do what they do best.


5. Detroit Lions: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M

Damontre Moore has a rare ability to excel as a pass-rusher and take care of business against the run as well. With the Lions likely losing parts of their defensive line to free agency, Moore will be a great addition.


6. Cleveland Browns: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia

Jarvis Jones shows more consistency as an outside rusher than anyone else in the nation.

He led the FBS with 14.5 sacks last season after finishing second in that category the season prior. His technique and athleticism is tough to match at this stage in his career.

One concern is how the Georgia star will be able to fit into an NFL system. However, he is the type of player who should help a team regardless of what defense it runs.

The Browns are solid on defense, but they aren't great. Jones can be the player who helps get them to that point.


7. Arizona Cardinals: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

Arizona has two major needs: quarterback and offensive line. It is impossible to judge quarterbacks on the roster or off of it without anyone to block for them. 

Eric Fisher might be a little bit of a reach at this point, but he has impressed at the Senior Bowl and is worth selecting at this point.


8. Buffalo Bills: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas

The Bills are looking for a quarterback of the future. Of the players available, Tyler Wilson has the best mix of strength, accuracy and success on the field.


9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU

Of the many things that went wrong for the Jets this season, one problem was that they could not generate a consistent pass rush. Whether he comes from defensive end or outside linebacker, Barkevious Mingo will be able to get to the quarterback.


10. Tennessee Titans: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama

The Titans had problems across the offensive line all season. Chance Warmack will instantly make the unit better and should be able to clear up space for Chris Johnson.


11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

San Diego had to be one of the most disappointed teams when Taylor Lewan and Jake Matthews decided to return to school next season. Still, the Chargers need a tackle, even if they need to reach for one.


12. Miami Dolphins: Keenan Allen, WR, California 

Ryan Tannehill had an up-and-down rookie season, but now the team must give him weapons to succeed. Keenan Allen is the best wide receiver available and will immediately become a top target for the quarterback.


13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

Tampa Bay had the worst pass defense in football this season, allowing almost 300 yards per game.

After trading Aqib Talib during the year, things got much worse as the defense allowed one big play after another.

Dee Milliner is by far the best cornerback in the draft, and his profile got even better after an impressive showing in the BCS National Championship Game.

He is the type of player who can shut down one half of the field and force offenses to look the other way.


14. Carolina Panthers: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State

The Panthers are solid at defensive end, but they need someone to take care of business in the middle of the field. Johnathan Hankins has great size and will make the defensive line one of the best in the league.


15. New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri

The Saints could use help at a number of positions on defense. Sheldon Richardson is the best defensive player available and should help improve the worst run defense in football.


16. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina 

St. Louis has two first-round picks, and it needs to use one of them to help the offensive line. Jonathan Cooper is not as dominant as Chance Warmack, but he will be able to start right away.


17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon

After watching injuries derail the season, the Steelers need to get younger. Dion Jordan is a quick defensive end who will soon be able to take over for James Harrison as the team's top pass-rusher.


18. Dallas Cowboys: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU

The Cowboys could use help on the offensive line, but Sam Montgomery might be too good to pass up at this point. He overshadowed Mingo on LSU's defense in 2012-13 and finished with eight sacks

Dallas was soft defensively last season, and Montgomery could make the unit much more aggressive.


19. New York Giants: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State

With the No. 28 pass defense last season, New York has to focus on improving the secondary. Johnthan Banks is a talented cornerback who can stick with even the biggest receivers in the league.


20. Chicago Bears: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama

D.J. Fluker was overshadowed on the Alabama offensive line with both Warmack and Barrett Jones being named first-team All-Americans, but the tackle was just as good.

The Bears need protection for Jay Cutler, and Fluker is the best available.


21. Cincinnati Bengals: Matt Elam, S, Florida

A solid defensive line on Cincinnati masked some deficiencies in the secondary. Matt Elam will fill a major need at safety after a good career at Florida.


22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins): Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia

After filling an offensive need with the first pick, the Rams will look to help the defense with the second one. 

Alec Ogletree is one of the top linebackers available and has the versatility to play either in the middle of the field or on the outside.

At Georgia, the junior became a leader and someone who can rack up loads of tackles on a regular basis.

He is the type of player who can finish with over 100 tackles every season and help make the Rams defense one of the best in the league. 


23. Minnesota Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

Adrian Peterson is the best running back in football, but he cannot do everything himself. Cordarrelle Patterson will pair with Percy Harvin to form a solid receiving corps in Minnesota.


24. Indianapolis Colts: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

Andrew Luck and Co. put together an outstanding season after finishing 2-14 the year before. Now, they must improve on defense in order to keep winning regularly.


25. Seattle Seahawks: Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford

Seattle already has one of the most complete rosters in football, but young quarterback Russell Wilson could use some help in the passing game. Zach Ertz is the best tight end available and will give him someone to throw to around the end zone.


26. Green Bay Packers: Eric Reid, S, LSU

The Green Bay Packers are one of many teams who need to improve on the offensive line this coming offseason. Hopefully they will be able to do that in free agency, because there will not be too many available at the end of the first round. 

On the other hand, the team would be very happy if Eric Reid is able to fall to them. He is the type of player who has a nose for the ball and simply makes things happen on defense.

Green Bay has been building a talented, young secondary through the draft, but Reid is someone who will help immediately.

The safety is strong against both the run and pass and will be in a starting lineup for a long time. 


27. Houston Texans: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington

At the end of the season, Houston struggled to stop opponents from passing at will. Desmond Trufant might start off as a nickelback with the squad, but he will eventually be good enough to handle a full-time starting role at cornerback.


28. Denver Broncos: John Jenkins, DT, Georgia

Denver does not have many needs going into the draft, but it can still use a big defensive tackle to strengthen the defensive line. John Jenkins fits that description perfectly. 


29. New England Patriots: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

Ezekiel Ansah has the potential to be a great pass-rusher in the NFL. However, he has not yet shown his ability to produce on the field. This is a risky pick, but it will be worth it for the Patriots.


30. Atlanta Falcons: Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina 

Michael Turner did little this year to warrant keeping him as the starting running back heading into next season. Giovani Bernard has the strength and speed necessary to replace the veteran and create balance on offense.


31. Baltimore Ravens: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU

With Manti Te'o's stock sliding, Kevin Minter is quickly becoming a hotter name from the linebacker position. The LSU linebacker finished with 130 tackles this season, including 15 for a loss, and he would be a great fit as an eventual replacement for Ray Lewis


32. San Francisco 49ers: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida

Although the defensive line is a position of strength for the 49ers, the team could use some youth and depth in that area. Sharrif Floyd fits perfectly as someone who can play either defensive tackle or end in the 3-4 scheme and help continue the unit's recent dominance. 


Follow me on Twitter for constant draft updates and football analysis. 


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