Texas A&M OT Luck Joeckel
The teams with elite quarterbacks are finding themselves at a much better advantage than in years past. With the paucity of great QB prospects, the door is open for the other positions to be highlighted.
Conversely, pass-rushers are at a premium as well, with getting pressure on the quarterback the easiest way to stifle an air attack. There's plenty of good defensive end/outside linebacker combo players who will go in the first round.
Here's how the first round of the 2013 NFL draft could shake out.
The order is via NFL.com.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
This pick is likely to come down to Geno Smith or Luke Joeckel. One guy could be the quarterback of the future, while the other could become one of the best offensive tackles in the game. It's going to be a tough decision for Andy Reid.
Smith isn't the kind of prospect that Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III were. You can never be assured that a player will deliver, but those two were pretty close. Smith, though, should have a long NFL career. It'll help that he can hand the ball off to Jamaal Charles.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Jacksonville Jaguars have issues across the entire field. Sure, their offense was atrocious, but Blaine Gabbert might deserve more time to try and turn his career around. He wasn't on a defense that gave up 141 yards a game on the ground, either.
Star Lotulelei is the kind of space-eater up front who can strengthen the Jags' defense up the middle. Lotulelei is also versatile enough that he could help collapse the pocket as well.
3. Oakland Raiders: Barkevious Mingo, OLB/DE, LSU
With all the question marks surrounding Jarvis Jones, he could end up slipping down a few picks in the first round. In his place could slip Barkevious Mingo.
Mingo is one of the better players in the draft when it comes to getting after the quarterback. He's not completely one-dimensional, either. The Oakland Raiders could desperately use that ability to rush the passer, though.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The Philadelphia Eagles need to address their offensive line. It was a major concern last season. No matter who the quarterback is going into 2013, he's going to struggle with the amount of pressure he'll be facing.
Should the Chiefs pass on Joeckel, he'd be the perfect pick for the Eagles. While you can never be fully assured that a prospect will deliver, Joeckel is as close as a draftee will get to being can't-miss.
5. Detroit Lions: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Free agency could hit the Detroit Lions' defensive line hard. There's also Kyle Vanden Bosch, who is coming off a poor 2012 season.
In order to add depth to the line, Bjoern Werner would be a great pick. He could also be the best pass-rusher on Detroit in 2013 should it select him.
6. Cleveland Browns: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
The Cleveland Browns had a very poor pass rush in 2012. Jabaal Sheard is a solid enough option, registering seven sacks in 2012, but on the other end is Frostee Rucker, who had only four sacks.
Damontre Moore is the second best pass-rusher in this draft. He could come in and make an immediate impact for Cleveland.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
It's not a sure thing that with Bruce Arians' hiring, the Arizona Cardinals will go after a quarterback, but it makes a lot of sense. He has a lot of experience working with QBs and getting a lot out of them.
Selecting a guy like Tyler Wilson would be perfect for Arizona. Wilson has one of the strongest arms in the draft and enough mobility to create some extra time for himself. He's the kind of prospect who, with the right coaching, can excel in the NFL. Wilson would get that kind of coaching from Arians.
8. Buffalo Bills: Mike Glennon, QB, NC State
Taking Ryan Nassib here would be a bit of a reach, regardless of the connection between he and Doug Marrone. If the Buffalo Bills want him that bad, they could probably trade down a few picks and still be able to get him.
If they stay with the eighth pick, Mike Glennon is a much better option. He's got very good arm strength, and at 6'7" his height has scouts drooling.
9. New York Jets: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
If Jones falls this far, he would be great value for the New York Jets. He would fit the 3-4 defense the Jets use. Jones is a solid pass-rusher, thus addressing that problem in New York. He's also very good at defending the run, bringing the total package to the NFL.
His baggage is a major concern, though.
10. Tennessee Titans: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Pass defense wasn't a huge concern for the Tennessee Titans, but they did only finish 26th in the league. Dee Milliner is by far the best corner in the draft right now. He showcased his talent in the BCS title game very well.
11. San Diego Chargers: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Part of the reason for Philip Rivers' drop in 2012 was how poor the San Diego Chargers offensive line was. Football Outsiders ranked San Diego as the worst team in the league at protecting the quarterback. Eric Fisher will be the best tackle available and be a marked improvement on the line in 2013.
12. Miami Dolphins: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
While Luck and Griffin grabbed the headlines, Ryan Tannehill put up a very good rookie campaign in 2012. He didn't get the benefit of having any real big-play weapons around him.
No wideout has distanced himself from the competition in the draft, so there's quite a few different ways the Miami Dolphins could go. Cordarrelle Patterson would be a nice downfield threat.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave up almost 300 yards passing a game, worst in the NFL. They need to improve if they're going to contend in a stacked NFC South.
Xavier Rhodes is the second-best corner on the board, after Milliner. Rhodes makes up for his lack of elite athleticism with a physical game that will translate well to the NFL.
14. Carolina Panthers: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson are very good on the Carolina Panthers' defensive line, but there's nothing in between. The Panthers need to get a good defensive tackle who can stuff the run. That's where Johnathan Hankins comes in.
15. New Orleans Saints: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
When you give up 440 yards a game, it's clear you have some far-reaching problems on defense. That's what the New Orleans Saints are looking. Dion Jordan would help to improve the Saints' pass rush and make things harder for opposition quarterbacks.
16. St. Louis Rams: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The St. Louis Rams need to build the pieces around Sam Bradford at this point. Chance Warmack is well worth a mid-round pick even at the guard position. He's one of the best overall prospects in the draft.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Keenan Allen, WR, California
More than likely, the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to have to replace Mike Wallace this offseason. It will be hard to get him signed for another season. Keenan Allen may be the best wide receiver in the draft. He's a much cheaper option than Wallace would be as well.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
It's unlikely the Dallas Cowboys will find the financial room to bring Anthony Spencer back. In addition, with Monte Kiffin's 4-3 defense, the team needs a more natural defensive end. Ezekiel Ansah has the potential to become one of the best pass-rushers in the league.
19. New York Giants: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
While the defensive line has long been a strength of the New York Giants, 2012 was a bit of a down year. Sam Montgomery has the ability to wreak havoc in the pocket at the pro level.
20. Chicago Bears: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Lane Johnson will be the best offensive tackle on the board and a welcome addition to a Chicago Bears offensive line that has really struggled in recent years.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
Rey Maualuga is one of the worst inside linebackers in the league. He has all the talent in the world, but his on-field IQ looks nonexistent at times. Manti Te'o doesn't have the kind of high potential as first perceived, but he'll be ready for the NFL as much as any prospect when he suits up for his first game.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins): Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
After addressing the offensive line, the Rams should start giving Bradford plenty of talented receivers. While Tyler Eifert isn't a wideout, he'll be the best tight end on the board and a much better option for Bradford than Lance Kendricks.
23. Minnesota Vikings: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
As the playoffs illustrated, Adrian Peterson cannot carry the Minnesota Vikings' offense all by himself. The easiest way to improve the passing game is to draft DeAndre Hopkins.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia
The Indianapolis Colts need a big guy in the middle of the defensive line who can fill holes. Johnathan Jenkins that kind of player. He can help improve a defense that gave up 137.5 yards a game.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Sheldon Richardson has the kind of size and skill to excel in the NFL. The problem is whether or not the Seattle Seahawks would be able to rely on him every play. His energy is up and down at times.
26. Green Bay Packers: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Right behind the Chargers on the list of worst offensive lines were the Green Bay Packers. Jonathan Cooper has the kind of versatility where he can line up at whatever interior offensive line position the Packers need him.
27. Houston Texans: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
The Houston Texans might want to target a wide receiver here, but Kevin Minter is a very good option at inside linebacker. He might not be as NFL-ready as Te'o. On the other hand, Minter's ceiling is much higher.
28. Denver Broncos: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
In order to fulfill his potential, Jesse Williams needs to add some versatility to his game. He relies too much on his strength to overpower college linemen. It's a luxury he won't have in the pros.
29. New England Patriots: Robert Woods, WR, USC
Regardless of the future of Wes Welker, the New England Patriots could use some more options in the receiving corps. Robert Woods doesn't fit the profile of a slot receiver, but he's a good fit for New England.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
The Atlanta Falcons can't continue to rely on John Abraham to be the best pass-rusher. Alex Okafor is a solid option, however, the Falcons might want to see if they can package some picks in order to move up and select a better option.
31. Baltimore Ravens: Matt Elam, SS, Florida
No one could immediately replace what Ed Reed has brought to the Baltimore Ravens. At 34 years old, his NFL is clearly near its end. Matt Elam could be future for the Ravens and learn a lot from Reed should the veteran choose not to retire.
32. San Francisco 49ers: Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas
Dashon Goldson has been a very good player for the San Francisco 49ers. As a free agent at the end of the season, he's going to come at a price. The 49ers might be better off replacing him with Kenny Vaccaro in the draft.