The 2013 NFL Scouting Combine is right around the corner, and soon NFL teams will have all the information they need to make their first-round selections.
Although effort and drive will ultimately determine how a player pans out at the next level, NFL scouts, coaches and general managers love them some measurables. Expect draft stock to rise and fall after this month's combine.
But until then, there are only a handful of super athletes to choose from.
Here we'll run down an entire first-round mock draft, taking a closer look at this year's top available athletes.
*Note: Best available athletes are italicized.
No. 1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M, OT
Don't be shocked if the Chiefs take the quarterback route at No. 1, as their list of needs is lengthy. The safer selection would be Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel, a well-rounded offensive tackle who could become a franchise cornerstone in Kansas City.
No. 2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Damontre Moore, Texas A&M, DE
Damontre Moore is a physical specimen at 6'4", 250 pounds. Not only can Moore hold his own in run defense, but he can get after the passer like few others can.
His frame gives him an edge, but his athleticism sets him apart.
You won't find a better burst from a defensive end in this year's draft class than Moore's. He is able to explode off the ball and at times overpower opposing offensive lineman. This would be a huge pickup for the Jaguars, who ranked dead last in sacks last season.
No. 3. Oakland Raiders (4-12) : Star Lotulelei, Utah, DT
Utah's Star Lotulelei is a top 10 talent, and the Raiders need to shore up their run defense in order to have a chance in 2013.
No. 4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): Eric Fisher, Central Michigan, OT
With Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel off the board, and Michael Vick in need of some protection this coming season, Eric Fisher would be a strong pick for the Birds at No. 4.
No. 5. Detroit Lions (4-12): Jarvis Jones, Georgia, LB
After an 0-8 finish to the season in 2012, the Detroit Lions are in desperate need of a spark. Georgia's Jarvis Jones can provide that on the defensive side of the ball, where he dominated for the Bulldogs this past season.
A sure tackler and a high-energy player, the Lions can't go wrong with Jones at No. 5.
No. 6. Cleveland Browns (5-11): Bjoern Werner, Florida State, DE
First-year Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski is an offensive guy, but he'd be wise to go defense with the No. 6 pick. Cleveland has plenty of weaknesses on that side of the ball, and must find a way to generate a better pass rush.
No. 7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11): Geno Smith, West Virginia, QB
Arizona could potentially seek out quarterback help in free agency or look to make a trade. But if neither of those work out, West Virginia's Geno Smith is the next best option.
He threw for over 4,000 yards in each of his last two seasons in Morgantown, and has the accuracy to be successful at the next level.
No. 8. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Manti Te'o, Notre Dame, LB
Manti Te'o demonstrated strong leadership on the field during his time in South Bend, and helped elevate his teammates in big moments for the most part.
No. 9. New York Jets (6-10): Barkevious Mingo, LSU, DE
Not only is LSU's KeKe Mingo one of the best pass-rushers available in 2013, he's one of the top athletes coming out of college this year.
The versatile defensive end is mobile enough to transition into a linebacker at the next level. He can change direction on a dime and get his long frame around blockers with relative ease. Plus, he's got the speed to chase down ball carriers from various angles.
Often times you'll find the most athletic football players at the defensive end spot, and for good reason. Guys like Barkevious Mingo are asked to do a lot on the defensive edge.
No. 10. Tennessee Titans (6-10): Chance Warmack, Alabama, G
Tennessee's running game was beyond underwhelming in 2012, ranking 21st in the league. The Titans also gave up 39 sacks. If everything starts up front like they say, then Tennessee would be wise to add to its offensive line at No. 10.
Alabama's Chance Warmack is a tough, physical guard who will shine as a run blocker in the NFL.
No. 11. San Diego Chargers (7-9): Lane Johnson, Oklahoma, OT
Fans in San Diego are surely tired of seeing Philip Rivers on his back or being forced to chuck interceptions. Perhaps bringing in a sturdy offensive tackle will help Mike McCoy turn things around in sunny Southern California.
No. 12. Miami Dolphins (7-9): Keenan Allen, California, WR
Keenan Allen isn't going to blow you away with his speed, but he has the potential to develop into the next Anquan Boldin, a strong and dependable possession receiver.
No. 13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9): Dee Milliner, Alabama, CB
The Buccaneers ranked dead last in the NFL defending the pass last season, and must address their secondary at No. 13. Alabama's Dee Milliner is seen by most as the hands-down top corner available this year.
If he's still around, expect Tampa Bay to take him with this pick.
No. 14. Carolina Panthers (7-9): Sheldon Richardson, Missouri, DT
Carolina's offense caught fire late in 2012, but all year long the defense was sub-par, and it cost the Panthers. Missouri's Sheldon Richardson is one of the top defensive players available this year, and arguably the best defensive tackle.
If Carolina wants to bolster its D-line at No. 14, Richardson is the way to go.
No. 15. New Orleans Saints (7-9): Dion Jordan, Oregon, DE
The New Orleans Saints' defense in 2012 ranked worst in NFL history, giving up more than 7,000 total yards over the course of the season. Sean Payton and the front office absolutely must address that side of the ball with their first-round selection.
Oregon's Dion Jordan would be an ideal fit for a team that needs to get more pressure on opposing passers.
No. 16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): Kenny Vaccaro, Texas, S
Texas' Kenny Vaccaro would provide a huge boost to the Rams secondary in 2013. Jeff Fisher certainly loves his defense, so don't be surprised to see St. Louis go that route in the first round this April.
No. 17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Ezekiel Ansah, BYU, DE
You won't find a better combination of size and speed than Brigham Young's Ezekiel Ansah. The 6'6", 275-pound defensive end is a ferocious pass-rusher and extremely versatile in defense.
Ansah can play three of four positions on defense and also contribute a lot on special teams, where a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers could use him early on his career as well. He's a durable prospect as well, so there are no concerns in that area.
His motor also makes him that much more of a dominant athlete. Ansah is driven and rarely if ever takes a snap off. Sounds like the perfect fit in a blue-collar city like Pittsburgh.
No. 18. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Kawann Short, Purdue, DT
Dallas needs a leader on the defensive side of the ball if they're going to improve next season. Purdue's Kawann Short isn't the most athletically gifted player out there, but he can shore up the Cowboys defensive line and eventually become the voice of the defense.
No. 19. New York Giants (9-7): Sharrif Floyd, Florida, DT
The Giants' dominant defensive line has always been their calling card, but unless they add to it this spring, it won't be for much longer. Florida's Sharrif Floyd is the prototypical defensive tackle, and could help shore up some of New York's issues.
No. 20. Chicago Bears (10-6): Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame, TE
Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert can run and catch like a wide receiver but has a tight end body. At 6'6", Eifert is matchup nightmare on the outside, and should become a reliable red-zone target at the next level.
With his speed, size and leaping ability, Eifert is without question one of the top athletes available this April.
He represents the new breed of tight ends entering the league these days. Nowadays it's not enough to be a solid blocker with a decent pair of hands. You've got be an athlete first and foremost.
No. 21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Alec Ogletree, Georgia, LB
The Bengals are in a bit of a tough spot at No. 21, and if they are looking to take the best player available here, Georgia's Alec Ogletree would be their man. The best inside linebacker available this year, the junior can do a lot of things well in the middle of a defense.
No. 22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins (10-6)): Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee, WR
If the Rams take care of their needs in the secondary at No. 18, they can focus their attention to the wide receiver spot at No. 22. Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson may be the No. 1 wide receiver available in 2013, and at 6'3", 205 pounds, he should be able to provide Sam Bradford with a big target downfield.
No. 23. Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Desmond Trufant, Washington, CB
Desmond Trufant had a strong Senior Bowl, plus the Vikings need to address their shortcomings in the secondary. Minnesota ranked 24th in the league in fewest passing yards allowed in 2012.
No. 24. Indianapolis Colts (11-5): Sylvester Williams, North Carolina, DT
You would never know it from their remarkable 11-5 season in 2012, but the Colts ranked just 29th in rush defense last season, giving up over 137 yards per game on the ground.
No. 25. Seattle Seahawks (11-5): Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State, DT
Seattle surrendered 167 rushing yards to the Atlanta Falcons in its playoff loss last month. If there's one weakness on defense for Pete Carroll's Seahawks, it's in run defense, where they ranked 10th in the league in 2012.
Adding Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins would provide a huge lift.
No. 26. Green Bay Packers (11-5): D.J. Fluker, Alabama, OT
The Green Bay Packers must keep their franchise quarterback upright, and that's why Alabama's D.J. Fluker would be a solid pickup at No. 26.
No. 27. Houston Texans (12-4): Tavon Austin, West Virginia, WR
Aside from Andre Johnson, who isn't getting any younger, the Texans have no real game-changing presence on the outside offensively. West Virginia's Tavon Austin is among the best athletes available this year, and would fit in nicely in Houston.
In addition to possessing elite speed, Austin is incredibly agile, and can change direction quickly.
Although he's undersized by NFL wide receiver standards, he makes up for it with his big-play ability. Austin can accelerate with the best of them and he always looks comfortable with the ball in his hands.
No. 28. Denver Broncos (13-3): Xavier Rhodes, Florida State, CB
If you watched the Denver Broncos in their one and only playoff game this past January, then you saw Baltimore's Joe Flacco abuse their secondary time and again.
Florida State's Xavier Rhodes is one of the top three cornerbacks available this year, and could help bolster Denver's defensive back collection moving forward in 2013 and beyond.
No. 29. New England Patriots (12-4): Matt Elam, Florida, S
The Patriots could opt to address their needs in the secondary through free agency this offseason, but if not the draft is a great place to start. Florida's Matt Elam improved his stock last season with some superb play for the Gators.
No. 30. Atlanta Falcons (13-3): Sam Montgomery, LSU, DE
With no elite running backs available in this year's draft, Atlanta could opt for a top-flight pass-rusher to improve its suspect defense.
No. 31. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina, G
The Niners fell just short of their ultimate goal this past season, but there's a whole lot to be excited about in San Francisco. Jim Harbaugh has one of the most complete teams in the league, and could go a variety of ways on draft day.
If the 49ers don't go the direction of cornerback, they could easily go after a stout offensive lineman like North Carolina's Jonathan Cooper in order to ensure a solid offensive front for the next few years.
No. 32. Baltimore Ravens (10-6): Kevin Minter, LSU, LB
With the Ray Lewis era over in Baltimore, the Ravens must look to fill the void left at inside linebacker. No one will be comparing LSU's Kevin Minter to Lewis anytime soon, but he'd be an excellent start.
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