2013 NFL Mock Draft: Teams in Need of True Franchise Players
The Washington Redskins, Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks all got their franchise players last season in the NFL draft.
Who will get their franchise cornerstone in the 2013 NFL draft?
Let the speculation commence.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Say what you will about the Chiefs drafting the best player in the 2013 class—which might be Luke Joeckel—but Kansas City needs a quarterback and Geno Smith is the best one in the draft.
The senior QB was consistently effective under center for the Mountaineers and could be an excellent cornerstone to the Chiefs franchise.
Pairing a versatile QB like Smith could do wonders for a Kansas City offense that already features running back Jamaal Charles.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Bjoern Werner, DE, FSU
The Jaguars defense really struggled to get to the quarterback in 2012, posting an NFL-low 20 sacks on defense.
Florida State DE Bjoern Werner compiled 13 sacks for the Seminoles last season and has the size (6'4", 255 pounds) to make the difference on the D-line.
3. Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Ranking 31st in defensive sacks in 2012, the Oakland Raiders desperately need help on the defensive line.
They can find that help in Star Lotulelei, who can immediately make an impact on Oakland's defense with his staunch run-stopping abilities.
Lotulelei's character hasn't come into question (that I know of), and he appears to be a great face for the Raiders organization.
The 6'3", 320-pound defensive tackle should be the main target of the Raiders' draft officials in April.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The Philadelphia Eagles desperately need a franchise player, and Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel certainly fits.
According to ESPN Insider, Joeckel has great intangibles and is a hard worker, which is exactly what Philly needs.
He's a strong and quick offensive tackle who would be ideal for Chip Kelly's spread offense, especially if the oft-injured Michael Vick is quarterbacking the Eagles in 2013.
It's not a flashy pick by any means, but Joeckel to Philadelphia sure makes sense.
5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Pass coverage was a big issue for Detroit last season, which is why drafting the best corner in the draft makes sense.
Milliner is a big, physical corner who can immediately step in and bolster that Lions secondary that allowed 26 passing TDs in 2012.
6. Cleveland Browns: Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
If the Browns draft Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones, he'll have a real opportunity to become the face of this Cleveland franchise.
He's is a solid leader, and with the Browns moving to a 3-4 defense in 2013, there's no better defender to help make the transition than Jones.
Jones is effective against both the rush and the pass. With a multitude of talent waiting in the AFC North with the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and Andy Dalton, Cleveland must stock up on defense.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
Arizona's quarterback situation was a mess last season, as none of the four QBs who started for the Cardinals emerged as a clear-cut favorite to start.
After a strong showing at the 2013 Senior Bowl, Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson should be on Arizona's radar.
8. Buffalo Bills: Mike Glennon, QB, N.C. State
Ryan Fitzpatrick won't necessarily be holding down the starting QB spot next season, according to Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News.
If the Bills are smart, they'll go after Mike Glennon from N.C. State, who really raised some eyebrows at the Senior Bowl.
9. New York Jets: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Sorry Jets fans, but Mark Sanchez is not your franchise cornerstone.
Rex Ryan is a defensive-minded coach and could turn Oregon's Dion Jordan into an absolute stud with the right amount of time.
Jordan is a monster of an athlete and can line up at either DE or OLB, making him the perfect fit for the Jets' 3-4 scheme.
ESPN Insider notes that Jordan has been praised by his coaches for his motor, which leads me to believe he'd be a true franchise player in New York.
10. Tennessee Titans: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The Tennessee Titans desperately need help on the offensive line.
According to Football Outsiders, the Titans sported the second-worst offensive line in the NFL this season, which could have led to Chris Johnson's down year.
11. San Diego Chargers: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Highlighting San Diego's need to draft an offensive tackle is the fact that Philip Rivers was the second-most sacked QB in the NFL last season.
Central Michigan's 6'8", 305-pound offensive tackle can surely aid in the Chargers' attempt to protect Rivers in 2013.
12. Miami Dolphins: Keenan Allen, WR, California
I'm not completely sold on Ryan Tannehill as the face of the Miami Dolphins, as he could use some help in the passing game.
Brian Hartline led the Dolphins in receiving in 2012, but we all know he's not a clear-cut No. 1 wideout.
At 6'3", 206 pounds, California WR Keenan Allen is a physical receiver who can be utilized in jump-ball situations.
He's a great competitor and is always working on his game, which makes for a great franchise player.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Buccaneers sported the worst pass defense in 2012, allowing 30 TDs and nearly 4,800 yards through the air.
As one of the top corners in the draft, 6'2" cornerback Xavier Rhodes is a step in the right direction toward helping Tampa bolster its pass coverage.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson has some of the quickest feet for a man his size (6'3", 290 pounds) and could be a huge run-stopper for the Carolina Panthers, who have had trouble finding production from the defensive tackle position in recent years.
15. New Orleans Saints: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
New Orleans' offense is set, but its defense could use some help.
The Saints owned the NFL's worst defense last season, and LSU's Barkevious Mingo could be a pass-rush machine and versatile defender for New Orleans.
16. St. Louis Rams: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Lane Johnson was successful in keeping Landry Jones safe, and the Rams could be looking for his services to protect franchise quarterback Sam Bradford.
At 6'7", 303 pounds, the Oklahoma offensive tackle seems like the perfect candidate to keep Bradford safe.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
With Pittsburgh's linebackers aging a bit (Larry Foote and James Harrison are each at least 32), Pittsburgh should be looking to get younger at linebacker.
Georgia's Alec Ogletree is a natural playmaker who possesses outstanding speed for his 6'3", 237-pound frame.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Ranking No. 22 against the rush in 2012, the Cowboys are in need of a solid defensive tackle who can plug up the middle against the rush, which is exactly what Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins can do.
Hankins has shown he can handle two blockers, allowing for defensive ends to get around the edge.
19. New York Giants: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
With Osi Umenyiora testing the free-agent market, the G-Men are going to need a replacement on their defensive line.
New York's defense is built on rushing the QB, and 2013 Senior Bowl standout Ezekiel Ansah sure knows how to do that.
20. Chicago Bears: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
Franchise cornerstone Brian Urlacher is aging and now on the free-agent market, meaning the Bears need youth and production at middle linebacker.
Like Urlacher, Te'o is an excellent wrap-up tackler and could become a staple in Chicago's defense.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
With Robert Geathers probably testing free agency, the Bengals could be in the market for an edge rusher.
Datone Jones impressed in Mobile, Ala. at the Senior Bowl and should open some eyes in the NFL draft.
22. St. Louis Rams: Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas
The Rams are set at corner, and with safety Quintin Mikell beginning to show his age, St. Louis' defense can upgrade at safety with Kenny Vaccaro.
Vaccaro is a durable safety who has all the instincts and skills to be a top safety in the NFL.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
With Percy Harven consistently battling injury, Minnesota could use a big-play wideout to take pressure off of Adrian Peterson and the running game.
At 6'3", Patterson comes as a solid red-zone target and passing threat.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
Longhorn defender Alex Okafor is one of the most versatile defensive ends in the draft, as he has the skills to play linebacker as well.
With Indianapolis ranking 26th in total defense in 2012, the Colts would be wise to go after a player of Okafor's caliber.
25. Seattle Seahawks: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
DeAndre Hopkins is a straight-up playmaker, as evident by his 1,400-plus yards and 18 receiving TDs for Clemson in 2012.
Russell Wilson already showcased what he can do in the NFL. Imagine what he could do with Hopkins in a Seahawks uniform.
26. Green Bay Packers: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
Call it a stretch, but sooner or later, the Packers need to establish a running game to offset their amazing passing threat.
Eddie Lacy is above and beyond the best running back in the draft and should be a target of Green Bay.
27. Houston Texans: Kevin Minter, LB, LSU
The Texans have sustained a lot of injuries at linebacker lately and should look to add depth at the position.
LSU's Kevin Minter is a physical defender and excellent wrap-up tackler, as evident by his 20-tackle campaign against Florida last season.
28. Denver Broncos: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
The interior of Denver's defensive line needs the most work, and Kawann Short can easily aid in stopping the run.
His 6'3", 325-pound frame is ideal for clogging up the middle, and he has surprisingly active hands to occupy the passing lines.
29. New England Patriots: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Even if New England retains Welker, playmaking wide receiver Tavon Austin could be a legitimate threat to opposing defenses in the Patriots system.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Tony Gonzalez's retirement will force the Falcons to spend a draft pick on a tight end, so Atlanta might as well use the pick on the best TE in the draft.
Eifert needs some work in the blocking department but can be an effective weapon in the passing game with Matt Ryan.
31. San Francisco 49ers: D.J. Swearinger, S, South Carolina
Donte Whitner and Dashon Goldson were exposed by Baltimore receivers in Super Bowl XLVII.
While South Carolina's D.J. Swearinger isn't an immediate fix, he's got excellent defensive awareness and tackling skills to bolster San Francisco's defense.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
As Super Bowl champions, every team will be gunning for the Baltimore Ravens in 2013.
Whether it's on the ground or with the pass, opposing offenses will be looking to attack Baltimore's defense without Ray Lewis, which is why it needs to beef up its defensive line, to take some pressure off of the linebacking corps.
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