2013 NFL Mock Draft: Smartest Selections for First Round Teams
The NFL draft is all about finding value with smart selections. The consistently top-teir teams in the league are those that draft efficiently.
This draft class has plenty of value, especially on the offensive and defensive line. That depth should help various teams get good deals based on where they are drafting.
Here are the smartest selections for each team in the first round.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The Chiefs will look to grab the top player in the draft. Joeckel offers them a tackle of the future who will hold down their offensive line for many years.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Floyd's draft stock has shot up following the combine. His athleticism and talent added to the Jaguars needs on the defensive line make him the second pick overall.
3. Oakland Raiders (4-12): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Oakland Raiders need a franchise quarterback and they are in good position to get the best one in the draft. A quarterback competition between Carson Palmer and Terrelle Pryor doesn't offer much excitement for Raiders fans. Smith offers them a player that can come in right away and be the franchise quarterback for years to come.
The Raiders have needs on the defensive line, but this draft class has plenty of talent and the Raiders can get a player later on. The smartest pick for the Raiders is to grab a quarterback that can finally give them a solid piece to build around.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Eagles could go with a tackle here, but after an exodus of defensive line players, they would benefit from drafting Werner. The freakish athlete would give the Eagles some young talent.
5. Detroit Lions (4-12): Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
6. Cleveland Browns (5-11): Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
The health concerns make this pick a little tricky, but the Browns talented, youthful defense could use another playmaker. Jones has crazy upside if his health doesn't become an issue at some point during his career.
7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Cardinals need improved play from the quarterback position. Their quarterbacks were atrocious last season behind Brian Hoyer, Ryan Lindley, Kevin Kolb and John Skelton. They will surely be tempted to take a quarterback in the first round. It won't who the quarterback is in 2013 if the offensive line is as bad as it was last year.
Therefore, the much smarter decision is to grab Eric Fisher and tighten up their offensive line. Fisher has dominated the pre-draft months and is even challenging Joeckel as the top tackle in the class. The athletic offensive lineman would be able to have an immediate impact for a team that needs help on the line.
8. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Brigham Young
The Bills need a player on the defensive line to get pressure opposite of Mario Williams. A freakish athlete, Ansah will be able to grow into the position learning from Williams.
9. New York Jets (6-10): Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
The Jets defense has fallen off dramatically with a lack of pass rush. Another incredible athlete, Jordan will help get pressure right away.
10. Tennessee Titans (6-10): Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The Titans have a young core in place, but they are aging on the offensive line. Warmack gives them a solid guard for the future.
11. San Diego Chargers (7-9) Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The Chargers will be hoping that Eric Fisher falls to them, but will likely have to settle for Johnson. With the 11th pick, the Chargers will still good get value with Johnson.
12. Miami Dolphins (7-9): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The biggest offseason need for the Dolphins is wide receiver. They should go into free agency looking to grab a big name wide receiver. They would also be smart to use their first draft pick to grab Cordarrelle Patterson.
Ryan Tannehill showed potential to be a decent starter in the league while having limited weapons throughout the year. Better receivers should make things easier for Tannehill and should really get head coach Joe Philbin's offense moving in the right direction. There's no other direction for the Dolphins to go with this pick.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9): Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Buccaneers have a huge need at cornerback and will likely reach for Rhodes with the 13th pick. They had the worst pass defense in the league last season and need to get players that will help improve the defense.
14. Carolina Panthers (7-9): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Lotulelei's health issues are definitely a concern after not working out at the combine, but the upside is huge. The Panthers definitely need production on the defensive line. It'd be worth a little bit of risk at this point.
15. New Orleans Saints (7-9): Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Saints need to start forming a new defensive identity after the events of last season. Richardon gives them a speedy rusher that can help get pressure on the quarterback.
16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
As the top-ranked safety in the draft, Vaccaro would be a great fit in St. Louis. The Rams could look to grab Vaccaro and let Craig Dahl leave via free agency.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Moore had a disappointing combine, but he should still be able to find success at the pro-level. The Steelers aging defense needs some young talent to replace older vets.
18. Dallas Cowboys (8-7): D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Part of the Cowboys offensive struggles are the inability to run the football. Fluker gives them power on the offensive line as well as some improvements in protecting Tony Romo.
19. New York Giants (9-7): Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Eifert had a strong combine and established himself as the top tight end in the class. He likely also benefitted from Zach Ertz' poor performance. The Giants could take their offense to another level with another weapon for Eli Manning.
20. Chicago Bears (10-6): Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
The Bears can't afford to let Jay Cutler get abused the way he has over the last few seasons. Cooper would definitely help to get Cutler upright more often.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
If Ray Maualuga leaves via free agency, Ogletree would be a nice replacement for the Bengals. Off-the-field issues are concerning, but based on interviews, Ogletree could still be drafted high.
22. St. Louis Rams (10-6): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Sam Bradford is another young quarterback that didn't have enough options in 2012. The Rams tried to give Titus Young a shot, but they'll be smarter to work in Tavon Austin.
23. Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Keenan Allen, WR, California
The Minnesota Vikings are another team that could use better weapons for their young quarterback. They haven't had much success at the position despite being active in free agency. With Adrian Peterson forcing defenses to put eight guys in the box, Ponder needs to have some targets downfield in order to make some plays.
Allen would give the Vikings a good-sized receiver that can do it all for them. He would be a nice complement next to the speedy Percy Harvin. If the Vikings can start to build up a strong receiving corps, they could have quite the offensive attack in 2013.
24. Indianapolis Colts (11-5): Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
The Colts need to upgrade the cornerback position. The lack of talent at the position was a constant problem. Banks offers the Colts talent in a big package.
25. Seattle Seahawks (11-5): Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
The Seahawks defensive line wore down toward the end of last season and they need some fresh legs at the position. Jones offers a versatile player that can get after the quarterback and allow the Seahawks defensive backs to make plays.
26. Green Bay Packers (11-5): Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
The Packers secondary hasn't been the same since Nick Collins was forced to retire in 2011 with a neck injury. Add in Charles Woodson's departure and the Packers suddenly have a need at the safety position. Whether they are looking for depth or a starter depends on how they view M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian.
Cyprien would be a smart pick for the Packers because he would give the team some much-needed toughness along with his play. He's a hard-hitter who is good in coverage. The Packers should draft Cyprien to pair with Morgan Burnett. That safety duo paired with the young corner talent the Packers have should make their defense a threat for years to come.
27. Houston Texans (12-4): DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
After looking so dangerous at times last season, the Texans offense has look slow and old. They need to take attention off Andre Johnson. Hopkins gives them a well-rounded receiver who can have an immediate impact.
28. Denver Broncos (13-3): Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
The Broncos season ended in large part because of their weakness in the secondary. Champ Bailey is slowing dramatically. Trufant would offer them a solid cornerback to help out.
29. New England Patriots (12-4): Matt Elam, S, Florida
The Patriots issues in the secondary continued throughout last season. Elam gives them a big hitter who can cover plenty of ground in a hurry.
30. Atlanta Falcons (13-3): Margus Hunt, DE, Southern Methodist
Hunt had a ridiculously strong combine and could see his draft stock rise even higher into the first round. The Falcons need a pass rusher to help out their secondary and Hunt definitely fits the bill.
31. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): D.J. Swearinger, S, South Carolina
For all the success of their defensive, the safety position was one of the downfalls in 2012. Dashon Goldson may not be back and the 49ers need to add bodies at the position. The hard-hitting and physical Swearinger fits right in with the 49ers culture.
32. Baltimore Ravens (10-6): Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
While Te'o didn't have the strongest combine, he looked decent enough in drills. The Ravens have a big hole at the inside linebacker position with Ray Lewis off the team. Te'o won't be able too fill the void completely, but he'll ease the process of replacing Lewis.
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