The NFL Scouting Combine and the workouts that come with it begin this weekend, meaning we are going to see plenty of players rise and fall up and down the big boards over the next few days.
However, there are plenty of players that are simply locks to be selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft, and we doubt that any sort of combine misstep can change that.
Let’s take a look at some of these highly valuable and supremely skilled prospects in our latest mock draft.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB (West Virginia)
The Chiefs have a need coach in Andy Reid, and there’s a strong chance that they look to overhaul the organization in the quickest possible manor—and that’s by taking a potential franchise QB.
While Smith isn’t of the same mold of Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck, he has a shot at becoming an elite signal-caller and will likely come off the board here.
If not, there’s no chance that this Mountaineers standout falls into the second round, as too many organizations need a quarterback in the 2013 draft.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jarvis Jones, LB (Georgia)
Jones is an elite pass-rushing hybrid player that has the pure athleticism and size to stop the run, and—more importantly—get into the backfield to bring down the quarterback.
Jacksonville needs to add a defensive tackle to help shore up its run defense, but would be better served grabbing some versatility here in Jones.
3. Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei, DT (Utah)
The Raiders direly need a new DT with Richard Seymour out of the picture and Tommy Kelly likely to join him soon.
Lotulelei is the best interior defensive lineman in this class and will be counted on to help change the culture in Oakland if selected here.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, OT (Texas A&M)
Joeckel is arguably the top prospect in the 2013 draft, and it would be an absolute steal if the Eagles can nab him here at No. 4.
He’s predicted by many scouts and insiders to go No. 1 overall, but there’s a chance he winds up sliding down the board a bit based on needs and other factors come April. The Texas A&M star is likely to become a franchise left tackle that can assume the duties from the first day of training camp and through the next decade.
It would be foolish of the Eagles not to go with Joeckel if he’s available, as they direly need to bolster their line after last year’s fiasco.
5. Detroit Lions: Bjoern Werner, DE (Florida State)
Werner is widely regarded as a solid 4-3 DE prospect, which would make him a perfect fit with what the Lions are trying to do.
The Seminoles star is an elite talent that can help in the run game and excels in pressuring the signal-caller.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB (Alabama)
Milliner is undergoing surgery for a torn labrum, but he played with it just fine during the 2012 campaign and this should not hurt his stock.
The ‘Bama standout is a perfect fit for a young team that could have two elite corners on the roster, if he were selected. He would certainly help shut down the opposing passing game and hide the suspect pass rush.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Chance Warmack, OG (Alabama)
Warmack is an absolute beast that deserves to go in the top 10, and it’s possible he could even go in the top five come draft day.
The Crimson Tide mauler is an absolute game-changer at the position and will immediately rejuvenate the struggling Cardinals running game, plus aid in keeping whoever is under center upright.
When you roll the tape on this beast, you will see a future All-Pro superstar and someone who will be around for years at the top of his class. It would be foolish of the Arizona front office not to go with the sure thing, especially after years of failure.
8. Buffalo Bills: Damontre Moore, DE (Texas A&M)
The Bills need a bit of everything, but every team needs a top-tier pass-rusher these days—especially with Tom Brady in the division.
Moore is a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end that can get into the backfield with ease and put some pressure on the quarterback.
9. New York Jets: Dion Jordan, DE (Oregon)
Jordan is a freak athlete that grades out as one of the best pure pass-rushers in the 2013 draft.
The Jets may need a QB, but we doubt they take a chance on any of the risky signal-callers left after Geno Smith, so they’ll improve their defensive line with the Ducks star.
10. Tennessee Titans: Johnthan Banks, CB (Mississippi State)
The Titans had a few first-round cornerbacks on their radar last year, but weren’t able to nab any with the 20th overall pick. Now that they have No. 10, we suspect the organization will not blow another opportunity to land one.
After Milliner, Banks is the best corner available and should be able to immediately bolster a struggling secondary that direly needs some youth and talent in the ranks.
11. San Diego Chargers: Eric Fisher, OT (Central Michigan)
Fisher is skying up draft boards, but we still like him here protecting Philip Rivers’ blind side.
The big man out of Central Michigan is a fierce pass-protector and a capable run-blocker, making him a no-brain selection for the Chargers.
12. Miami Dolphins: Keenan Allen, WR (California)
Allen is one of the premier receivers in college football, and he’s going to come off the board early to a team that needs to augment its passing game in a hurry.
The ‘Phins are certainly a squad that needs to give second-year QB Ryan Tannehill some more weapons, and the Golden Bears wideout is the perfect option.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kenny Vaccaro, S (Texas)
The Bucs needed to upgrade their secondary before trading Aqib Talib to the Pats at the NFL trade deadline, so expect the franchise to do so here.
Vaccaro is a playmaker that should be able to start from Day 1, and he’s one of our sleeper prospects to watch, as he could wind up becoming a superstar in the pros.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT (Missouri)
The Panthers couldn’t stop a junior varsity high school team from gaining yards on the ground, so it’s high time they addressed the issue.
Richardson is a beastly run-stopper that can clog up the lanes and take on more than one defender with ease. He’s going to be used on rushing downs right away.
15. New Orleans Saints: Sharrif Floyd, DT (Florida)
Floyd has been the fastest riser on most big boards prior to the combine, and it’s easy to see why.
The Gators product is chock-full of upside and oozing with talent, although it’s possible he may never reach his full potential. Regardless, a defensively lacking team like the Saints would be crazy not to take a gamble on someone who could wind up as the top player in this draft when all is said and done.
16. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper, Guard (North Carolina)
If the Rams can’t land Warmack, they should give Cooper a look as an option to improve their interior offensive line.
The Tar Heels guard is a mauler that will pry open rushing lanes and allow the St. Louis running backs to bust open big gains on the ground.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ezekiel Ansah, DE (BYU)
Ansah proved to the world that he’s a top prospect after dominating the Senior Bowl, and he could easily become the next great Steelers defender under Dick LeBeau’s tutelage.
The Cougars hybrid is extremely talented but a bit raw, making his landing destination—and development—critical to his success.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Barkevious Mingo, LB (LSU)
If Mingo falls, expect the Cowboys to catch him.
The young LSU pass-rusher is primed to have a big career, but he is going to need a few years to develop into the standout player he has the potential to become.
19. New York Giants: John Jenkins, DT (Georgia)
The G-Men failed to stop most opponents on the ground in 2012, leaving plenty of possibilities here to upgrade their rushing defense.
Jenkins is a beastly nose tackle that would be able anchor the teeth of Big Blue’s defense, assisting in bringing down the ball-carriers and getting the pass rush back on track.
20. Chicago Bears: Lane Johnson, OT (Oklahoma)
The Bears have to keep Jay Cutler upright and improve their line, and Johnson looks as good as any offensive tackle in the 2013 class.
This Sooners star has been protecting Landry Jones for years, and he’s likely going to have a seamless transition to the NFL, so expect a franchise that needs immediate assistant—like Chicago—to nab him in the mid-to-late first round.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Matt Elam, S (Florida)
Two years in a row, the Bengals have been burned by the Texans’ vertical passing game in the playoffs. If they are ever going to get serious about becoming more than a token playoff team, Cincy needs to bring in some quality players to its secondary.
Elam represents a major upgrade to the safety position and should be able to earn the starting nod early on in his career.
22. St. Louis Rams (via WAS): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR (Tennessee)
With the Rams grabbing a guard to aid the running game in this mock, they should be all set to give Sam Bradford another option in their passing game with their second first-rounder.
Cordarrelle may not have a huge body of work during his time with the Volunteers, but he has amazing size, speed, athleticism and upside, making him an intriguing choice at No. 22.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Terrance Williams, WR (Baylor)
Percy Harvin is the only player that even looks the part of a serviceable NFL wide receiver in Minnesota, and Christian Ponder is never going to be effective if this is the case.
Williams should be able to come in and start across from Harvin, giving the young signal-caller another option to throw to, while moving defenders out of the box and away from Adrian Peterson.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Alex Okafor, DE (Texas)
Okafor needs to add a bit of weight to go against the big boys in the NFL, but he’s an immense athlete that has produced during his time with the Longhorns.
The Colts could definitely improve their defense by picking him, or they could go the other way and grab an O-lineman to help keep Andrew Luck from getting destroyed week after week.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Jesse Williams, DT (Alabama)
The Seahawks' glaring problem in 2012 was their porous run defense, an issue they will certainly look to improve upon this coming season.
Williams plays with a mean streak and has the pure skill to dominate blockers and free up teammates to make plays on the ball-carrier. He may not blossom into a superstar, but this ‘Bama product will make an impact in the Emerald City.
26. Green Bay Packers: Barrett Jones, C (Alabama)
Jones is a stud center who knows how to play practically every position on the offensive line after his decorated career in Tuscaloosa.
The Packers line was a complete mess last season, meaning Green Bay would be wise to take the best overall lineman available. This organization could plug him in where it sees fit.
27. Houston Texans: Xavier Rhodes, CB (Florida State)
The Texans should either find a top-notch corner here or look to select a high-upside receiver.
If they go CB, Xavier Rhodes has a great ceiling and should be playing on Sundays for years to come. The FSU standout is an athlete with great ball skills, making him a home run this late in the first round.
28. Denver Broncos: Alec Ogletree, LB (Georgia)
Ogletree was recently arrested for a DUI, plummeting his stock from a potential top-10 pick down to the late first.
However, he’s still an incredible player with immense skills, so it would be foolish of the Broncos to pass on him here at No. 28. The former Bulldog's presence would help this young and potent defense become even more impactful.
29. New England Patriots: DeAndre Hopkins, WR (Clemson)
Tom Brady is entering the twilight of his career, and the organization would be foolish not to surround him with as many tools as possible in order to win.
With Wes Welker possibly out if a new deal isn’t done, the Pats will have to use the No. 29 pick on a receiver.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, TE (Notre Dame)
Eifert is a natural replacement for Tony Gonzalez, who could very well retire in the offseason.
He’d be able to start immediately and start catching passes from Matt Ryan, while becoming an important part of the offensive attack in Atlanta.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Kawann Short, DT (Purdue)
The Niners defense may be great, but it could be even better and that’s what San Francisco should strive for with this pick.
Short is a great interior defender and has a decent amount of versatility.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te’o, LB (Notre Dame)
Te’o is an obvious replacement for the retired Ray Lewis, and the Notre Dame star should be available to select here as the last pick in the first round.
He is a stout tackler that should be involved on every play, which is exactly what Baltimore will need without Lewis.