The 2013 NFL Scouting Combine is one of the first chances many franchises get to see the upcoming draft class live and in-person.
Teams are looking for all types of workout beasts, physical freaks and combine superstars.
While watching game tape can tell teams a lot about players, watching these young men succeed or fail in the drills at the combine will help depict their value on draft day.
Note: Highlighted players are shown in italics.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
No matter who is under center this year for the Kansas City Chiefs—Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller is reporting the team will likely not take Geno Smith No. 1 overall—Andy Reid and the new coaching staff must protect him with a top-tier offensive tackle.
The top tackle on the board is Texas A&M standout Luke Joeckel, and with such a solid performance at the combine, he will be a perfect fit in Kansas City’s new system.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner is arguably the best pass-rushing lineman in this draft, and the Jacksonville Jaguars’ inability to get to opposing quarterbacks will force them to reach a bit and snag the rough prospect. Werner has all the potential to blossom into one of the league's top ends, though.
3. Oakland Raiders: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The quarterback class in the 2013 draft is extremely thin, but West Virginia dual-threat quarterback Geno Smith's transparency during the scouting combine has helped move him up the board.
The Oakland Raiders are unsure what the future holds with Carson Palmer (h/t Matt Miller), so if Smith’s 4.59 40-yard dash time and 33.5-inch vertical leap intrigues the franchise, the enigmatic QB could go as high as No. 3 overall.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Despite finding out during medical testing that star prospect Star Lotulelei has a heart condition (h/t ESPN), the Philadelphia Eagles’ need for a monster defensive tackle that can play in a 3-4 and 4-3 scheme will have the team taking the risk.
Add in the departures of Mike Patterson and Cullen Jenkins, and this is an easy pick.
5. Detroit Lions: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
With veteran Detroit Lions veterans Kyle Vanden Bosch released and Cliff Avril becoming a free agent this offseason, the need for an elite pass-rusher is obvious. A strong performance at the combine from Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore—top performer in both vertical and broad jump—will have the Lions taking the talented prospect with the No. 5 pick.
6. Cleveland Browns: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
The value of pass-rushing outside linebackers in the pass-happy NFL is steadily rising, and the strong performance from LSU’s Barkevious Mingo at the combine will have the Cleveland Browns sold on the raw prospect.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
One of the biggest winners of the 2013 combine was Central Michigan tackle Eric Fisher. From the moment the prospect arrived in Indianapolis, it was clear that Fisher would be a top-10 pick in the draft.
At 6’7” and 306 pounds, the incredibly strong (27 reps in bench press) left tackle can be the blindside blocker that this franchise needs.
Add in his speed (5.05 second 40-yard dash) and athletic ability (top performer in the broad jump and 20-yard shuttle), and Fisher has put himself in the same conversation as possible No. 1 overall pick Luke Joeckel.
8. Buffalo Bills: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
It is clear that Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the future of the Buffalo Bills franchise, and at No. 8 overall, a talented player like USC QB Matt Barkley is a risk worth taking for this team. While Barkley’s injuries in 2012 are a concern, if Buffalo feels confident he will be healthy for the long term, the USC standout will be the Bills’ starting QB this season.
9. New York Jets: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The New York Jets must figure out the issues at quarterback before expecting much from any of the wide receivers on the team, but adding a weapon like Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson will increase the productivity of whoever is under center.
10. Tennessee Titans: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Chance Warmack is bound to be a rock-solid guard in the NFL, and his size, speed and makeup coming from an NFL-style O-line in Alabama makes him the perfect fit for a Tennessee Titans team looking to protect the QB. He's not a flashy pick, but he'll be a smart one.
11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Not only has offensive tackle Lane Johnson from Oklahoma looked great on scouting tapes, but the star prospect also turned some serious heads at the combine (h/t NFL.com.) The need for a tackle to protect Philip Rivers will have Johnson falling no further than No. 11 to the San Diego Chargers.
12. Miami Dolphins: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Alabama defensive back Dee Milliner ran a blazing 40-yard dash time at the combine and answered the only remaining question about his abilities. Milliner will be a top star in the NFL, and if he doesn’t go higher, the Miami Dolphins will fill their need by selecting the Crimson Tide star at No. 12.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were dead-last against the pass in 2012 (averaging 297.4 yards against per game), and a cornerback prospect like Xavier Rhodes will go earlier than many expect to a team desperate for help. Rhodes is a long-term project, but his size and raw ability makes this an easy decision.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Carolina Panthers allowed an average of 110.1 yards on the ground per game in 2012, and a versatile tackle like Florida’s Sharrif Floyd will help secure the team’s struggling defensive interior. Floyd didn’t blow anyone out of the water at the combine, but the raw skill he possesses is enough to warrant serious interest.
15. New Orleans Saints: Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
As one of the fastest and most athletic defensive end prospects in the draft (top performer in the 40-yard dash and broad jump), Oregon’s Dion Jordan would be the perfect addition to a New Orleans Saints team desperate to get defenders at their opponent’s quarterback.
16. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
There are offensive linemen in the draft receiving more attention than North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper, but the guard could be the best overall player coming out in 2013.
That’s high praise, but Copper has all the skills.
Scouts have criticized Cooper for being too short and not enough of a bulk presence on the interior of a line, but his immense strength and speed, as well as versatility along the line, makes him one of the most valuable prospects coming out for the draft.
Cooper participated in every event at the combine, and he proved that the excellence shown on tape was not just a result of the competition he faced. This is a player that will step right into the NFL and be a force.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The need for help across the secondary for the Pittsburgh Steelers was painfully obvious last season, and the solution will start in the first round with Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro. The natural leader and hard hitter will be a perfect fit in Pittsburgh.
18. Dallas Cowboys: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
The Dallas Cowboys have many talented players on the team, but they have failed to make a real impact in the postseason. Dallas must go back to basics and add some depth on the offensive line with right tackle D.J. Fluker at No. 18.
19. New York Giants: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
The New York Giants were one of the best pass-rushing teams in the NFL in 2011, but they fell off the map in 2012 in that category. While BYU’s Ezekiel Ansah is a long-term project, the defensive end would fit the schemes run in New York perfectly.
20. Chicago Bears: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
Brian Urlacher is one of the greatest football players in history, and drafting his successor is imperative to the team not missing a step. The Chicago Bears will be looking for offensive line help, but inside linebacker Kevin Minter from LSU is too talented to fall past No. 20.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State
With the possible departure of free agent Rey Maualuga, the Cincinnati Bengals must replace him with a talent worthy of the starting job. Kansas State’s Arthur Brown is NFL-ready and would be a perfect fit with the Bengals on the inside.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington): Keenan Allen, WR, California
Sam Bradford is the clear future of the St. Louis Rams organization, and besides protecting him with a plethora of new offensive linemen, the team must add weapons to support the QB. The player that will fit the Rams best at No. 22 will be Cal’s Keenan Allen.
23. Minnesota Vikings: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Percy Harvin is a bona fide star, but the need for a No. 2 wide receiver is obvious. The best player on the board that fits their need when the Minnesota Vikings pick at No. 23 will be Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The departure of Dwight Freeney means the Indianapolis Colts need a serious pass-rusher off the edge, and the team will fall into one of the biggest steals of the draft with Georgia’s Jarvis Jones.
Jones may not play every down right away and could be used predominantly as a pass-rusher, but experience at the next level will only help his long-term productivity and potential.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The strongest area for the Seattle Seahawks in 2012 was their defense, but the need for a fresh start in the interior of the defensive line will have the talented tackle Sheldon Richardson falling no further than No. 25.
26. Green Bay Packers: Matt Elam, S, Florida
The Green Bay Packers have decided to cut ties with veteran safety Charles Woodson (h/t Milwaukee Sentinel), and the team will find his replacement with a hard-hitting prospect like Florida’s Matt Elam at No. 26.
27. Houston Texans: Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
Houston needs serious help in the secondary, and taking a long-term project like safety Jonathan Cyprien is exactly what the Texans need. Cyprien is raw, but his skill is immense and he could become a bona fide NFL star over time.
28. Denver Broncos: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
After a mediocre showing at the scouting combine, Mississippi State star Johnthan Banks has started to fall down draft boards. The performance doesn’t change the talent Banks showed on tape, and the Denver Broncos will be the benefactor of Banks' mediocre showing in workouts.
29. New England Patriots: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The New England Patriots continue to remain one of the top teams in the league year after year, and the main reason is how well the team drafts. That’s where West Virginia’s star wide receiver Tavon Austin fits the bill.
After running a blazing 4.34 second 40-yard dash time in the heat of the scouting combine, Austin has backed up the talent he showed on tape by dominating almost every drill in which he participated.
The issue for Austin is his size (5’8” and 174 pounds), but the Patriots' ability to take smaller players and make them effective—i.e. Wes Welker, Danny Woodhead and Julian Edelman—will have the risk well worth the reward.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
The questions that surround veteran defensive end John Abraham and his long-term status with the team will force the franchise to draft the star’s eventual replacement. If a raw prospect like Alex Okafor falls all the way to No. 30, the Falcons would be foolish to pass on the opportunity to mold the potential star.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
The San Francisco 49ers are always upgrading their defensive unit, and when a talented tackle like Ohio State’s Johnathan Hankins falls to the end of the first round, Jim Harbaugh will be jumping for joy. Literally.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
The need for a linebacker in Baltimore is very obvious—Ray Lewis retired this offseason—and a solid performance at the scouting combine will help give the Ravens the confidence in selecting the troubled star (h/t USA Today).
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