2013 NFL Mock Draft: Simple Solutions to Every Team's Draft Needs
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If only the NFL draft were as simple as it appears, then every franchise in pro football would connect with its Round 1 selection.
There are solutions for each team, but the draft doesn't always unfold in everyone's favor.
So to make it simple for each franchise this offseason, ahead is another 2013 NFL mock draft. Regardless of the team there will always be multiple needs prior to the upcoming campaign, with some obviously more important than others.
Nevertheless, it's about addressing a dire need, because who would plan on regressing each new season?
Note: Highlighted players are in italics.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB (West Virginia)
It's quite an easy fix for the Chiefs.
Geno Smith is the draft's best quarterback prospect and K.C. really needs to find a franchise signal-caller.
Smith also brings impressive decision-making to the Chiefs, after throwing 42 touchdowns to only six picks last season. Throughout his college career, Smith never tossed more than seven interceptions in a season and finished with a 67.4 completion percentage.
He sported a 71.2 completion percentage in 2012.
Factor in a strong arm, quick release and solid accuracy and Smith has much promise. Kansas City also backs him with a reliable ball-carrier in Jamaal Charles, so play-action gets more emphasis and the Chiefs field an efficiently balanced offense.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jarvis Jones, LB (Georgia)
Jacksonville must spruce up its pass rush.
Well, that's also the main forte of Jarvis Jones. In addition, he's excellent for creating turnover opportunities and squeezing the edge against the run.
3. Oakland Raiders: Bjoern Werner, DE (Florida State)
The Raiders, like the Jaguars, need to get more from their pass rush.
By the same token, Oakland is aging along the defensive front as well. Bjoern Werner obviously adds youth, but he is also an excellent pass-rusher and run defender. Possessing great instincts, Werner will even help knock down quick passes against faster developing plays.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, Tackle (Texas A&M)
The Eagles need better athleticism up front in a strong pass-rushing division.
Luke Joeckel kept Johnny Manziel upright in the SEC, so clearly the guy can handle the speed-rushers. Then again, Joeckel will also extend running lanes and pull inside to give Philadelphia an impressively balanced attack.
5. Detroit Lions: Damontre Moore, DE (Texas A&M)
Not only did the Lions record just 34 sacks in 2012, but they gave up an average of 4.5 yards per rushing attempt.
Additionally, veteran defensive lineman Kyle Vanden Bosch was released, per ESPN's Adam Schefter:
Lions announced that they have released G Stephen Peterman and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 5, 2013
And Cliff Avril is set to be a free agent this offseason.
Pull everything together and Detroit avoids total derailment with Texas A&M's Damontre Moore. In three seasons he forced eight fumbles, recorded 26.5 sacks and made 45 tackles for loss.
The guy brings good size to the Motor City's front seven and is a reliable complement to Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. Detroit won't sniff the postseason again without a defense capable of slowing down the run and getting more quarterback pressure, and Moore supplies improvements to each.
His overall athleticism alone prevents from getting blocked and always finds the ball. If anything, Moore's effort will benefit Detroit the most.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB (Alabama)
Joe Haden needs a complementary No. 2 cornerback and Dee Milliner fits perfectly.
As a physical defender, Milliner has proven to lock down bigger receiving targets and display keen awareness in zone. He'll also be great for run support and Cleveland already fields a solid front seven.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Chance Warmack, Guard (Alabama)
Arizona has to upgrade its offensive line. The Cardinals were terrible at pass protection and running the rock, which largely falls on the line.
Chance Warmack is a complete player capable of punishing defenders on the ground or sealing the interior of the pocket. Arizona has the receiving targets to make plays, the quarterbacks simply need time to survey the field and get the rushing attack set up.
8. Buffalo Bills: Dion Jordan, DE (Oregon)
The Bills can certainly take a quarterback here, but unless they trade up for Geno Smith, addressing the defense is a great idea.
Mario Williams gets a trusty sidekick edge defender in Dion Jordan from Oregon. Jordan possesses the size and length to control the outside, which will isolate the run and track down from the backside.
He's also a sound pass-rusher with solid quickness to crash the backfield party.
9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, LB (LSU)
The Jets aren't too far off from returning to the ranks of being AFC playoff contenders.
Quarterback is definitely a concern, but talented youth and depth at linebacker is also required. Barkevious Mingo brings the explosive pass rush to enhance the front seven and wreck behind the line.
That acceleration also bodes well against the run, which was arguably New York's greatest susceptibility on defense last season.
10. Tennessee Titans: Johnthan Banks, CB (Mississippi State)
We saw the impact to Tennessee in parting ways with cornerback Cortland Finnegan last season.
The pass defense struggled consistently, which led to allowing an abundance of touchdown passes and a high completion percentage. Desperately needing to improve coverage, Johnthan Banks is the solution.
He's a smart defender that knows when to take chances and doesn't allow many yards after the catch. In addition, Banks provides reliable run support and will generate some turnovers to win the field position battle.
11. San Diego Chargers: Eric Fisher, Tackle (Central Michigan)
Facing standout pass-rushers in the AFC West such as Von Miller, Elvis Dumervil and Tamba Hali, Philip Rivers has to get better pass protection next season.
Otherwise, the Chargers won't move the rock consistently and will disappoint despite all the skill position talent. Allowing 49 sacks of Rivers in 2012, San Diego's quarterback also fumbled 15 times and tossed 15 picks.
Certainly his decision-making must improve, but Rivers needs more time to survey a defense as well.
Which brings us to Central Michigan's Eric Fisher. Despite not lining up against elite college talent on a weekly basis, Fisher was incredibly consistent and remained dominant at the Senior Bowl.
He maintains a solid base, easily shuffles laterally and possesses the quickness to get upfield. Although he definitely must get stronger to withstand pro football's pass-rushers, Fisher has the footwork and hand technique to quickly develop.
12. Miami Dolphins: Keenan Allen, WR (California)
Miami can become an annual playoff contender with one big playmaking receiver.
So, enter Keenan Allen who brings great size and the ability to out-jump defenders one-on-one. Combine his ability to stretch a defense and the Dolphins get more from their ground game as a result.
Ultimately, Allen's impact is a red zone advantage and quickens the development of Ryan Tannehill.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Star Lotulelei, DT (Utah)
Tampa Bay won't become NFC playoff contenders without a better pass rush to assist its coverage.
The NFC South is pass-oriented, so quarterback pressure from all over is required to compete. Star Lotulelei is a monster in the trenches and will get pressure from inside. With the ability to draw and split double-teams, his role gets the edge defenders in favorable one-on-one mismatches.
The Buccaneers are solid against the run, but Lotulelei significantly enhances their defensive front's ability to control the line.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT (Missouri)
As long as the Panthers upgrade to suffocate the run, Carolina will be in the postseason mix.
Sheldon Richardson reads and reacts quickly up front and has a knack for making plays in the trenches. Given the presence of Charles Johnson and Luke Kuechly in the Cats' front seven, Richardson will flourish as an interior pass-rusher and run-stuffer.
Worst-case scenario is drawing double-teams to free up the linebackers.
15. New Orleans Saints: Johnathan Hankins, DT (Ohio State)
Only 30 sacks were recorded by the Saints in 2012 and 22 came from defensive ends.
The defensive tackles didn't get much interior pressure, nor were they dependable against the run. Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins, however, is a solid pass-rusher and gap controller. He reads fast to make plays at the line and will flush the quarterback out of the pocket or record the sack.
New Orleans' defense then gets off the field sooner and Drew Brees takes over thereafter.
16. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper, Guard (North Carolina)
The Rams averaged 4.2 yards per rush in 2012 and Sam Bradford was sacked 35 times. Not bad for playing in the defensively tough NFC West.
Adding Jonathan Cooper simply ups St. Louis' offensive production.
He's a dependable pass-blocker and recognizes when either side of him needs help, as well as delayed blitzes. On the ground his quickness bodes well for getting upfield and pulling to lead outside.
Now the Rams' offense really gets going.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ezekiel Ansah, DE (BYU)
Versatility is one attribute the Steelers get from Ezekiel Ansah. Along with Pittsburgh's aging front seven, Ansah certainly provides youth and potential to bring the Steel Curtain back.
His size and athleticism will dominate outside and greatly improve Pittsburgh's pass rush. Ansah can also close running lanes to constantly find himself making plays behind the line.
In short, the Steelers get back to normal in 2013.
18. Dallas Cowboys: John Jenkins, DT (Georgia)
Dallas had trouble on the interior of its defensive front throughout 2012.
That lack of impact allowed offenses to isolate DeMarcus Ware, so it's no surprise Big D struggled to control the trenches.
John Jenkins is the first step to getting the Cowboys back on track. He's a beast inside and a better pass-rusher than at first glance. Plus he'll generate plenty of double-teams to free up the linebackers for stopping the run.
19. New York Giants: Lane Johnson, Tackle (Oklahoma)
Despite excellent pass protection throughout 2012, Eli Manning's offensive line has to get younger sooner than later.
Oklahoma's Lane Johnson supplies the reliable combo of youth and top talent along the offensive line, which will help Big Blue maintain balance. As a sound pass-blocker, Johnson also possesses the athleticism to reach the second level and extend running lanes.
After all, proving to run when needed is an area New York dominated when chasing the Super Bowl.
20. Chicago Bears: Tyler Eifert, TE (Notre Dame)
The Bears possess the talent and balance to move consistently. It's reaching the end zone when defenses are refusing to break. Eifert is a reliable receiving against man coverage and provides a solid run-blocking aspect to enhance play-action.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Kenny Vacccaro, Safety (Texas)
We know what Ben Roethlisberger can do and Joe Flacco is just beginning to make Baltimore a pass-first attack.
In other words, Cincinnati has to get Kenny Vaccaro in its secondary.
The need to blanket in coverage and generate turnovers is becoming a requirement in the AFC North. Even Brandon Weeden of Cleveland torched Cincy twice in 2012 (four touchdowns, one pick, 553 yards).
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR (Tennessee)
St. Louis is one big-play receiver away from becoming a threat to win the NFC West.
We saw the vulnerabilities of the Seahawks and 49ers in the postseason, and the Rams went 4-1-1 in the division last season.
Already fielding an improving defense, the addition of Cordarrelle Patterson inflates the offense to explosive potential.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Terrance Williams: WR (Baylor)
Much like the Rams, Minnesota needs a deep-threat receiver to stretch opponents and field a balanced attack.
Everyone knows the Vikings will feed Adrian Peterson and rightfully so, because he is the NFL's best back. Still, no man can do it alone and selecting Terrance Williams will prevent defenses from constantly stacking the box.
In short, Peterson dominates once again and Minnesota improves its aerial assault.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Alex Okafor, DE (Texas)
It's no surprise the Colts have quickly pulled a 180-degree turnaround for the better. That all began with Andrew Luck and the offense last season.
The next step to becoming AFC title contenders is upgrading the defense.
Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are two reliable pass-rushers; however, they are aging as well. Indianapolis managed only 32 sacks last season and forced a measly six fumbles.
Youth must then must gradually take over in the form of Alex Okafor.
He forced six fumbles, defended four passes and recorded 19.5 sacks for Texas the past two years. Offering consistent explosiveness, lateral agility and creating turnover opportunities, Okafor will make an immediate impact.
Include his size and athleticism and Okafor can play a 3-4 defensive end or outside 'backer, as well as a 4-3 end for Indy. He reads and reacts quickly, while also bringing the strength to bull rush and set the edge against the run.
Backed by a more dependable defense in 2013, the Colts challenge for the division title next fall.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Sam Montgomery, DE (LSU)
For as great as Seattle was defensively last season, the Seahawks recorded only 36 sacks. And eight of those came in Week 3 versus Green Bay.
Also, according to Rotoworld by NBC Sports, Chris Clemons will be recovering for a while after surgery:
Seahawks RE Chris Clemons underwent surgery Thursday to repair his torn left ACL and meniscus. The procedure was performed by Dr. James Andrews and comes with a 6-8 month recovery timetable. Seattle's top pass rusher will be questionable for training camp.
As a result, enter Sam Montgomery and Seattle's need to add pass-rushing depth. Montgomery is quick around the edge and brings solid talent for the Seahawks to become even tougher defensively.
26. Green Bay Packers: Barrett Jones, Center (Alabama)
Last season it was defense and Green Bay definitely improved. This season the Packers have to get Aaron Rodgers better pass protection.
Barrett Jones offers excellent dependability in the trenches and has the experience across the line to immediately contribute. He's also a sound run-blocker, which will be an advantage for the Packers to improve upon in the NFC North.
27. Houston Texans: Xavier Rhodes, CB (Florida State)
Don't anticipate the Texans getting through the AFC postseason without a stronger pass defense. After all, that's when they'll continue facing the upper-echelon of quarterbacks.
Landing Xavier Rhodes this draft season, though, certainly provides hope for Houston. With the size and physical presence to jam receivers at the line, Rhodes also helps with run support and shielding in zone.
Given the Texans' capable pass rush, better coverage behind it will take this defense to another level.
What should Denver do in Round 1?
28. Denver Broncos: Alec Ogletree, LB (Georgia)
Keith Brooking is 37 years old and the Broncos have to get younger to field a completed front seven.
Alec Ogletree fits perfectly to complement Von Miller, because he can pass rush when needed and cover well at the intermediate level. Wesley Woodyard possesses the talent to control the inside, and his production will increase with Ogletree's and Miller's athleticism on the outside.
Denver has to get a bit more consistent at defending the underneath pass, which makes Ogletree a solid pick.
29. New England Patriots: Matt Elam, Safety (Florida)
Giving up a 62.1 completion percentage last season, and getting eviscerated by Joe Flacco in the AFC title game exploited New England's dire need for better coverage.
Matt Elam suits nicely as he can react quickly in Cover 1 or 3, or roll over the slot receiver and allow the linebackers to blitz. Not to mention he will fill outside running lanes and stay reliable when helping over the top in Cover 2.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Jesse Williams, DT (Alabama)
Because the Falcons are a pass-oriented offense, the best way to defeat them is by keeping Matt Ryan and Co. off the field.
Meaning: run the ball and control the clock to shorten the Falcons' time on offense.
Therefore, Atlanta drafting Jesse Williams addresses the lack of run defense exposed throughout 2012. Williams is a menace to blocking schemes and is virtually immovable up front. The results are closed running lanes and unblocked linebackers making plays on the redirected running backs.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Kawann Short, DT (Purdue)
The 49ers are still a dominant front seven, although age must become a concern sooner rather than later.
This brings us to Purdue's Kawann Short, who possesses a strong knack for creating backfield chaos.
San Francisco must remain among the elite at defending the run and applying quarterback pressure, otherwise the NFC West will quickly catch up. Short just brings the quality impact to stuff lanes and slip double-teams to disrupt blocking patterns and designed plays.
Ultimately, Aldon Smith becomes incredibly more consistent and the entire front seven hits an unreal level of dominance.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te’o, LB (Notre Dame)
Notre Dame's Manti Te'o will have some enormous shoes to fill, but the Ravens also provide the talent around him for a smooth transition to the NFL.
For one, the outside is controlled by Terrell Suggs, Courtney Upshaw and Paul Kruger, so Te'o need not venture outside the box too often. Secondly, defensive linemen Haloti Ngata, Terrence Cody and Ma'ake Kemoeatu will clog running lanes and draw blocks to let Te'o make plays.
And his instincts will thrive with a limited role in a well-disciplined and technically sound defense.
Te'o reads well and was always in position to make plays. Courtesy of that ability he compiled 437 career tackles and was a Heisman Trophy runner-up. He also drastically improved in coverage last season with 11 defended passes.
Bring Baltimore's collective front seven together and Te'o will easily shield the intermediate level and find clear paths en route to recording tackles. The Ravens then make another run at the AFC title.
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