In a draft pool flooded with big linemen, the 2013 NFL draft is flush with dynamic playmakers for the taking.
Workout warriors will certainly blow up at the Scouting Combine and threaten the top of the draft board; it’s up to general managers to decide whether they are the next Jason Pierre-Paul or a Brian Bosworth.
Many of these supposed first-round talents, like Alex Ogletree and Matt Elam have been studs on the college level. Will those players translate to the next level? If an athlete has the chops to be a game changer, he will be scouted time and time again.
Here are those exciting players in this draft that teams will have to pull the trigger on.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Chiefs have a glaring hole in the NFL’s most scarce position so they would be remiss not to take a shot. As the Seattle Seahawks proved this past year, you can never have enough quarterbacks on the roster.
Smith has all the tools to succeed as a starting quarterback with proper coaching and some talent around him.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
While he had some injury troubles early on, Jones proved in premium games against Missouri, Florida and Alabama last season that he did not shy away from the big stage.
That ability will be recognized immediately in talent-limited Jacksonville. The Jags need playmakers everywhere and Jones should help change the losing culture from the past few seasons.
3. Oakland Raiders (4-12): Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
The Raiders were bottom five in points allowed this season and pass-rusher is a good place to start the defensive rebuilding.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Forget the speed and glamour of Chip Kelly’s teams at Oregon, and remember Kelly’s quarterbacks were always well protected with steady offensive line play.
Philadelphia’s new coach would be making a crass move to not address the Eagles’ glaring needs on the line. Whether Kelly decides to go with Nick Foles or Michael Vick, he’ll need to protect his signal-caller to have NFL success.
With that thinking in mind, if Joeckel can fall to them at four, it would be a dream scenario for Philadelphia. He would be able to start on day one and drastically improve the football life of the future Eagles QB.
5. Detroit Lions (4-12): Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Lions couldn’t stop anybody in the passing game last season, getting behind early many times in 2012. Milliner has the potential to be a shutdown corner and that possibility cannot be overlooked here.
6. Cleveland Browns (5-11): Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Cleveland will gladly take a jack-of-all-trades defensive end in Werner (13 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, eight pass deflections, one forced fumble) to add to an already impressive young defensive core.
7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11): Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
At one point last year Wilson was at the top of NFL prognosticators draft boards; an awful situation at Arkansas last season hurt his draft stock significantly.
The Cardinals will see why the Razorbacks’ QB was all the rage in 2011. Their quarterback play was atrocious last season, so bringing in new blood is necessary to invigorate the offense.
The Cards can’t afford to miss on a quarterback with top-rate arm strength like Wilson. Ultimately, we could see Kevin Kolb sitting behind a rookie in 2013.
8. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Matt Barkley, QB, USC
If Barkley goes at this spot it may raise some eyebrows, but no one can criticize a team taking a quarterback if they believe he’s their guy.
Barkley may lack the prototypical arm strength of the previous QBs in this mock, but he has the accuracy and pocket presence that will revitalize a new offense under coach Doug Marrone.
9. New York Jets (6-10): Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
The Jets will keep adding pass-rushers with a physical freak of nature in Mingo. Rex Ryan will have a glut of toys at his disposal to employ for blitz packages.
10. Tennessee Titans (6-10): Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
Chance Warmack lacks any glaring weaknesses at the guard position and could start on opening day for Tennessee. The Titans have many holes to fill and offensive line is a good place to take a safe bet.
11. San Diego Chargers (7-9): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
This Chargers’ pick is a no-brainer if Fisher is available at this spot. An agile, tenacious 6’7” tackle doesn’t come along every year and Philip Rivers will be happy to have him protecting up front.
12. Miami Dolphins (7-9): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
While the Dolphins need offensive players, there simply isn’t much value at the skill positions in this spot. There will be a ton of running backs and wide receivers to select in the upcoming rounds, so they’ll take the biggest potential game-changer on the board.
Ansah, a 6’5” 270 pound behemoth, has the look of a quarterback-destroyer with some coaching. He’s only been playing organized football since 2010, yet racked up 13 tackles for loss in his senior campaign.
Ansah is an odds-on favorite to be a workout warrior at this year’s combine and shoot up draft boards. As a result, the Dolphins will be intrigued to add to their pass rush alongside Cameron Wake.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9): Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The Buccaneers were one of the league’s worst pass defenses, so there needs to be a shakeup there in Tampa. The best safety on the board would be a wise choice.
14. Carolina Panthers (7-9): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Lotulelei drops here but finds a welcome home in Carolina. The Panthers give up over 121 yards per game, so they need serious help in the middle of their defensive line.
15. New Orleans Saints (7-9): Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Saints need all the help they can get on defense. Floyd has come on strong in 2012 to raise his draft stock to the first half of draft day.
16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
The Rams passed on receivers in the first round last year, but not this time. Allen is a big target who can make plays in the open field; that’s a player Jeff Fisher has at the top of his wish list.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Possessing dynamic pass-rush abilities and football instincts, Jordan could play at multiple spots in Pittsburgh’s unique defensive attack. The Steelers need youth and versatility; they’ll get exactly that in the Oregon product.
18. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Richardson could be a long-time starter in the NFL with his run-stopping prowess and speedy penetration skills. The Cowboys would love a vibrant run defender to bolster the interior line.
19. New York Giants (9-7): Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
The Giants need some youth in their back seven and Ogletree is a three-down linebacker with star potential. He led Georgia with 111 tackles and should be able to start right away in New York.
20. Chicago Bears (10-6): Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Another no-brainer in my mind, as Chicago gets a dual boost in blocking and receiving with Eifert. The Notre Dame product is a matchup nightmare for any defensive player with his leaping and ball control talents.
New coach Marc Trestman will love to have another dynamic offensive playmaker at his disposal.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
A fearless organization will pull the trigger on Te’o and no team bypasses character issues more than the Bengals.
Plain and simple, Te’o will be ready to clean up this PR mess with stellar play on the football field. In this scenario, Cincinnati will have a steal at pick 21.
22. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1) (via WA): D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
The Rams' second pick of this round should address the offensive line, which looked shaky at times for coach Jeff Fisher. Fluker, fresh off a national title win, will bring a champion’s mindset to a young line.
23. Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
If the Vikings are going to continue down the same road with Christian Ponder, they’ll need some more receivers. Patterson would be a perfect fit at this spot.
24. Indianapolis Colts (11-5): Jonathan Banks, CB, Mississippi St.
Indianapolis needs all the help they can get to shore up their pass defense. They would be making it their top priority by selecting Banks, who will compete for a starting job right away.
25. Seattle Seahawks (11-5): Robert Woods, WR, USC
Woods is one player who can go up and snag the ball at the highest point, which is exactly where Russell Wilson will put it. Seattle doesn’t have too many holes, so getting more wide receivers to grow up with Wilson couldn’t hurt.
26. Green Bay Packers (11-5): Barrett Jones, C, Alabama
Green Bay’s interior line play was shoddy at best in 2012, so they’ll take the versatile Jones. The Alabama line specialist can play multiple positions and just recently won a national championship playing the Packers' needed center position.
27. Houston Texans (12-4): DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Watching Houston’s playoff loss to New England, it was clear the Texans were missing pass-catchers to move the chains. Enter Hopkins, whose extraordinary leaping ability will give Matt Schaub a target he can throw to in desperate times.
28. Denver Broncos (13-3): Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
The Broncos need a defensive tackle to amp up their run defense. Hankins would be a steal here at the bottom of the first round.
29. New England Patriots (12-4): Matt Elam, S, Florida
Elam would be the perfect injection of hard-nosed football in the Patriots' secondary. Bill Belichick has a history of taking Gator stars, one that will continue in 2013.
30. Atlanta Falcons (13-3): Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
Tony Gonzalez’s retirement is on the horizon and the Falcons will be better served replacing him now rather than later. Ertz has shown playmaking ability in the passing game as well as knowledge of a pro-style system from Stanford.
31. Baltimore Ravens (10-6): Eric Reid, S, LSU
The Ravens need to find eventual replacement for Ed Reed, so a Reid would be an apropos pick for their defensive backfield. His youth and energy will be greatly needed for back-to-back Super Bowl runs.
32. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Niners don’t have a glaring need to fill, but could shore up their secondary with a potential stud like Rhodes. When it’s all said and done he could be regarded as a top-five talent.
Mike Shiekman is a Breaking News Writer for Bleacher Report.
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