NFL Draft 2013: Best Choices for Each Team in the Top Five
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Each NFL season, there always seems to be those teams who rally behind rookies and perform much better than the year before. A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins both took a signal-caller with the first and second overall picks, and they proved to be significant.
Sometimes teams hit an absolute slam dunk in the draft, someone who is talented and fits their system perfectly. Both Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were drafted to become saviors for these franchises and have not been disappointing.
In this year’s draft, each of the top five teams had an especially rough 2012 season. However, any one of these teams could become a playoff contender next year with the right draft pick, and it all starts with their first rounders.
So, who are the best fits for these teams in the top five? There is bound to be a surprise or two, and possibly even a trade. But, if these five teams do stay put, they will all have the opportunity to bring in a game-changing player that could spark a huge turnaround for their franchise.
Here are the top picks for these teams that would help bring them back to their winning ways.
5. Detroit Lions
Werner pumps up the crowd during the Seminole game
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The Detroit Lions were one of the most disappointing teams in 2012. After a playoff berth in 2011, the Lions were expected to make it back to the postseason, but failed to even find a winning record. They finished with a miserable 4-12 record and are in complete disarray.
They are a team who lacks a center of leadership on their roster, and recently released DE Kyle Vanden Bosch who was one of their veteran defensive leaders. The Lions have a garbage truck full of issues, especially their pass rush.
The Lions were not able to mount much of a pass rush with their lineman or linebackers, which only highlighted their weak secondary.
The Lions will need to take the best player available and that will be DE/OLB Bjoern Werner from Florida State. Works out nicely, because that fits a big need. Werner has a crazy motor and will prove to be a force on the edge at the next level.
His ability to shed blocks and get to the quarterback is what will make him a top pick come April. Detroit would be thrilled if Werner has the same impact Ndamukong Suh had his rookie year, or even greater.
Werner is exactly the type of player the Lions need, he might have the best season of any rookie defender next year, but we will have to wait and see.
One thing’s for sure: Werner would be a great addition to the Lions.
Pick could also be: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
If Werner is gone by the time the fifth pick rolls around then the Lions may draft the former star corner from Alabama. Milliner is another safe pick in this draft, and the Lions could use some dependability.
4. Philadelphia Eagles
Joeckel gets ready to defend Johnny Manziel
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The Philadelphia Eagles will be a completely different team in 2013. The root of their offensive woes last year was the depleted offensive line. Philly played with a patchwork offensive line for the great majority of the year, and that led to their quarterbacks being chased down without a chance to make a play.
While many believe that they need a quarterback change (maybe they do, maybe they don’t), there will not be one worth drafting fourth overall. Unless the Eagles trade down, this pick will likely be, and should be, OT Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M.
Joeckel may be the best overall player in this draft. His size and intangibles will make him a great fit in Chip Kelly’s offense.
Especially after re-signing Michael Vick, it is extremely important to protect him or whoever is player quarterback for the Eagles next year. Joeckel is a tremendous talent and is one of those guys who could come in, start right away, and play for the next 10 years.
He might be the closest player to a “sure thing” in this draft. Joeckel will be a star.
Pick could also be: Geno Smith, QB, WVU
If the Chiefs pass on Smith and no other team trades up to draft him, then Chip Kelly may not be able to pass up on him.
3. Oakland Raiders
Moore motions to the fans
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The Oakland Raiders are another team who will be drafting the highest player on their draft board, and that player just so happens to fill a huge hole on their team. DE/OLB from Texas A&M Damontre Moore would be a great pick for the Silver and Black.
The Raiders had one of the worst pass rushes last year and are desperate for an edge rusher. Moore fits that need perfectly.
He is a big-bodied, powerful guy who can shed blocks and get to the quarterback in an instant. Moore finds the ball quickly and hits the hole with great intensity.
He could bring back some of that gritty toughness on defense that the Raiders had during the 1970s.
Pick could also be: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU
Ansah has been buzzing for awhile now. While it is at a subtle point right now, look for Ansah’s stock to improve even more once the combine comes around. Between the combine and his pro day, Ansah could easily become a top pick.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
Lotulelei envelops the Notre Dame runner
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The Jacksonville Jaguars were one of the toughest teams to watch in 2012. Their season is best described as a steaming pile of garbage filled with injuries and disappointing players.
The Jaguars are another team who desperately need an upgrade at quarterback but do not have a good option at the number two overall pick. So, the best pick for the Jaguars is NT Star Lotulelei of Utah.
Lotulelei fills a big need on the defensive line as Terrance Knighton is set to become a free agent and former first-round pick Tyson Alualu has been somewhat disappointing so far. Lotulelei is also the type of player that new head coach Gus Bradley loves to have on the defensive front: a big, run-stuffing nose tackle.
Lotulelei is one of the safest picks in the draft and would make an immediate impact for the Jags.
Pick could also be: Bjoern Werner, DE/OLB, Florida State
Jacksonville may plan to re-sign Knighton, in which case they may prefer to bring in an edge rusher as opposed to an inside defender. Werner fits the bill.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Smith celebrates after a big play
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The Kansas City Chiefs were a mess last year. From injuries to underperforming players to the tragic death of their teammate, the Chiefs had a rough 2012. While the Chiefs do have immense talent on their roster both offensively and defensively, their quarterback situation leaves much to be desired.
Even with a weak draft class, the Chiefs should draft Geno Smith of West Virginia. Smith has a very good skill set that will translate well to the NFL. Newly appointed head coach Andy Reid has also been one of the best when it comes to developing quarterbacks, and I’m sure he’d like to get his hands on Smith.
Smith would also love to be drafted first overall, not just for the money he’d be guaranteed but also the situation he would be coming into. While the Chiefs were the hardest team to watch last year, their roster is littered with talent.
Kansas City is stocked with former first rounders both offensively and defensively. Add in a decent (yes, just decent) quarterback and they could easily make a playoff run next year. Their only real competition in their division is the Denver Broncos, but they could also get their hands on a wild-card spot.
Smith has a lot of doubters leading up to the draft, but if he can just play good enough for KC, then the Chiefs will be making waves in 2013.
Pick could also be: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
If the Chiefs are able to land a quarterback before the draft (Nick Foles, Alex Smith, etc.), then they will take Joeckel to shore up their offensive line and to protect their new quarterback.