The 2013 NFL Draft is approaching fast with the recent end to the combine in Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium, and it is truly becoming crunch time for teams looking for instant improvement in the first round.
Some tantalizing but raw pro prospects have seen their stock rise due to impressive performances in Indy, while others who seemed destined for the top have taken a tumble due to various red flags. NFL Network's Mike Mayock summed up the process well—there is a science to drafting, but it's more of an art form since franchises truly never know exactly what they're getting.
Here is a mock of the entire first round, with an emphasis on those who have continued to see their stock become enhanced after the combine.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Quarterback is the big concern, as the Chiefs have most recently dealt with the combination of Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn. However, taking a QB at No. 1 this year doesn't seem wise, and Joeckel is an outstanding prospect who will be a franchise cornerstone and start Week 1.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Despite weighing just under 300 pounds, Floyd can move very quickly. He is a highly versatile defensive tackle and can collapse the pocket from inside or out on the edge. The Jags are in need of pass rushing help, and new head coach Gus Bradley would love to welcome Floyd to the fold.
3. Oakland Raiders (4-12): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The 40-yard dash is an event at the combine that can really make or break a player's stock. For Smith—who also showcased his throwing ability—his time of 4.59 should shoot him up draft boards rapidly.
Considering the success of dynamic quarterbacks such as Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick who ran similar times to Smith, the Raiders should be among the teams lining up to take Smith.
Carson Palmer is due $13 million in salary in 2013, and Terrelle Pryor is a highly questionable heir apparent to Palmer as the QB of the future. But Smith has a chance to be special because of his uncanny accuracy, solid mechanics and quick release to go along with his underrated mobility.
Smith's ability to throw the ball down the field with touch will also help out the young, speedy receiving corps that the Raiders have. If RB Darren McFadden can stay healthy and be more productive in the new power running scheme, it's feasible that Smith could have a stellar rookie campaign in Oakland.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
Questions continue to linger about spinal stenosis, but Jones maintains that there's nothing wrong. Jones is the complete package, and should have a great career barring any setbacks with his medical condition. He will give Philadelphia a great playmaker that can also get lots of pressure on the quarterback.
5. Detroit Lions (4-12): Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Especially after Milliner showed he does indeed have top-end speed at the combine, there is little question as to who the Lions should take here. There is really no cornerback depth to speak of on the current roster, and Milliner would come in and make an immediate impact.
6. Cleveland Browns (5-11): Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
Somewhat mediocre college production could ultimately curb teams' interest in Jordan, but he is so gifted and so versatile that teams will be hard-pressed to pass on him inside the top-10.
Jordan would be a wonderful fit in the new 3-4 scheme being implemented by defensive coordinator Ray Horton. Defensive end is a needy spot for the Browns with the departure of Juqua Parker and Frostee Rucker, and Jordan will be very effective as an edge rusher either as a linebacker or an end.
This is a spot where Cleveland simply can't afford to trade back. That has happened frequently in recent years, and the Browns simply need better personnel on defense for Horton's attacking scheme to work.
At 6'7" and nearly 250 pounds with 4.6 speed in the 40-yard dash, Jordan's stock continues to rise. As long as he interviews solidly, he shouldn't fall much further than this slot.
7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
There have been whispers that Arizona's brass is looking into a trade for Alex Smith of the NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers in an effort to stop its bleeding at the quarterback position.
It remains to be seen if that deal will go through, and Kevin Kolb is still on the books as of now. So the new Cardinals regime decides to get offensive line help by selecting Fisher, who is outstanding in pass protection especially.
8. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
As CBS Sports' Larry Hartstein points out, the Bills have already cut ties with Donald Jones and apparently won't re-sign David Nelson. That leads to the selection of Patterson, a big target with great speed to line up opposite star WR Stevie Johnson.
9. New York Jets (6-10): Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
Unless Geno Smith is still on the board, it is highly unlikely that the Jets will replace Mark Sanchez at quarterback. With that being the case, improving his supporting cast should be the primary focus for new GM John Idzik, which leads to the selection of Warmack.
The former Crimson Tide standout would enhance the Jets' run-blocking while giving Sanchez a cleaner pocket to operate from.
10. Tennessee Titans (6-10): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
A heart condition discovered in Indy is likely to cost Lotulelei a little bit in the draft. But the Titans will be thrilled to swoop him up at No. 10 given their woes on defense against both the run and the pass in 2012.
11. San Diego Chargers (7-9): Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The former Sooner started out as a quarterback and tight end, then somehow moved to tackle. Needless to say, Johnson is insanely athletic for his position, and will immediately solidify protection on QB Philip Rivers' blind side.
12. Miami Dolphins (7-9): Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Randy Starks is a free agent, which means the Dolphins need help on the defensive line. Werner isn't all that spectacular, but he finds a way to get to the quarterback. That is what Miami needs here since the team is likely to address its need at receiver in free agency.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9): Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Moore is just the type of blue collar player that head coach Greg Schiano would love to have. With experience in both the 4-3 and 3-4 with the Aggies, there's no doubting Moore's ability to grasp the game. The Bucs may have had the last-ranked pass defense, but a lot of that was caused by their lackluster pass rush.
14. Carolina Panthers (7-9): Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Although the Longhorns didn't have a good defense, it is a widespread consensus that Vaccaro is the best safety in the 2013 class. Vaccaro would team with Charles Godfrey to form an outstanding safety duo and continue improving that Panthers defense.
15. New Orleans Saints (7-9): Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Saints were the worst defensive team in the league in 2012, and it's a minor miracle that Drew Brees led them to seven wins. Richardson can play outside or inside and has a tireless motor, and he should fill into the rotation right away.
16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
Steven Jackson, the franchise's all-time leading rusher, is going to test the free agency waters. Suddenly, the Rams need a running back, but first they need to get better up front. With the selection of Cooper, St. Louis does just that.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
Considered one of the rawest prospects with massive upside, few organizations would be a better fit for him than the Steelers. Not only could he learn initially from James Harrison and Lamarr Woodley as a projected outside linebacker, but Mingo also has the potential to make an instant NFL impression with the proper coaching.
18. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Jerry Jones is never afraid to stir the pot, and Ansah is another boom-or-bust proposition. However, the Cowboys will need him due to the departure of Anthony Spencer. Ansah can stand up in the 3-4, but in Monte Kiffin's Tampa 2, he could become a very valuable weapon and even slip out into coverage.
19. New York Giants (9-7): Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
For whatever reason, Corey Webster and the rest of the secondary just didn't cut it for the Giants this past year. Help is definitely needed in that area—particularly if Kenny Phillips decides to go elsewhere in free agency.
Trufant had an outstanding showing at the Senior Bowl back in January, where he went from a prospective second-round pick to nearly a consensus first-rounder, according to sources that talked to NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah.
Also helping Trufant's cause is that his brothers Marcus and Isaiah also play in the league, so he will have family mentors to consult as he makes the transition.
The combine did nothing to simmer down the hype around Desmond Trufant, as he ran a sub-4.4 40-yard dash. That type of speed allows him to have great closing speed to go with a demonstrated ability to lock down receivers on the outside.
He could stand to add about 10 pounds, but Trufant is otherwise enjoying a nicely raised profile and could very well find himself going to the Big Apple.
20. Chicago Bears (10-6): Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
Ertz may be able to provide only modest blocking help, but even that's good for the perpetually punished Jay Cutler. Head coach Marc Trestman is implementing a West Coast offense, and Ertz figures to fit in well as a premier pass-catcher since his offense with the Cardinal had the same roots.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
There is no shortage of desire for Jones to succeed, as he described himself as a player who gives "maniacal effort" (h/t ). Jones doesn't have any pressing off-field concerns, and would be a safe, rewarding pick for the Bengals, who typically like to roll the dice on players.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins): Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
Daryl Richardson and 2012 second-round pick Isaiah Pead are on the roster, but neither are likely to be the bell-ringing back that Lacy can be. His physical running style will be necessary to set up the passing game, and it will also be helpful against the formidable front sevens in the NFC West division.
23. Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Keenan Allen, WR, California
Trade speculation about Percy Harvin is swirling, and the Vikings need to make a concerted effort to give third-year QB Christian Ponder more weapons on the outside. Allen has the size to be a legitimate No. 1 target and also the elusiveness in the open field to really develop into a wonderful, complete receiver.
24. Indianapolis Colts (11-5): Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
The "Eastern Block" has been the talk of the town after the combine, according to Jeremiah.
Well, running a 4.6 40-yard dash, lifting 225 pounds 38 times on the bench press and posting a mind-boggling 38" vertical leap at 6'8" and 277 pounds will certainly turn some heads. Since the Colts let go of Dwight Freeney recently, they could use a pass-rusher of Hunt's caliber.
The problem is that Hunt is so raw, but his massive size will disrupt passing lanes and his strength alone will be enough for him to be a factor against the run and the pass even early on.
It's scary to think what could happen if and when Hunt realizes his full potential. Considering GM Ryan Grigson got it done with a cast of young misfits last season, it would be worth taking a swing at a high-risk, high-reward prospect like Hunt.
Because if he ends up being a hit, he would command double teams constantly and give Indy's 3-4 scheme that much more flexibility.
25. Seattle Seahawks (11-5): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Imagine Austin adding another wrinkle to some of the college concepts that the Seahawks run—whether it be on bubble screens or coming in motion to become part of the option attack. The possibilities for Austin are endless, and the Seahawks are one playmaker away from being nearly unstoppable.
26. Green Bay Packers (11-5): Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
Off-field issues have hurt his draft stock, yet it doesn't take away from how sensational Ogletree is from a talent perspective. His sideline-to-sideline speed and production for the Bulldogs in the SEC should translate to a starting job in the pros as a rookie.
27. Houston Texans (12-4): Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
The Buckeyes' anchor would give the Texans some flexibility on the defensive line and also command more attention to the nose tackle position. That would open up opportunities for J.J. Watt and Antonio Smith to pressure the quarterback, and for the linebackers to easily make plays.
28. Denver Broncos (13-3): Matt Elam, S, Florida
The hard-hitting Gator safety definitely knows how to deliver a blow. Not to be underestimated are his ball-hawking skills, though. His effectiveness against both the run and the pass should be too attractive for Denver to pass up—especially with Raheem Moore's debacle in the divisional playoffs.
29. New England Patriots (12-4): Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
After another incredible year from Tom Brady and the offense, the focus should be exclusively on upgrading defensively. Outside of Vince Wilfork, the Pats are a bit thin on the interior, and Short's combination of size and quickness on the inside could form a nice 1-2 punch with Wilfork.
30. Atlanta Falcons (13-3): Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Getting another pass-rusher in lieu of John Abraham should be a priority, but as should getting an eventual replacement for Tony Gonzalez at tight end. Eifert is an outstanding receiver, and with the amount of depth to this defensive line class, the Falcons can address defensive end in Round 2.
31. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The playoffs showed that the Niners aren't as solid on the back end as they once appeared to be. That will trigger the selection of Rhodes, who may be considered a reach but does have incredible size at 6'3" and 218 pounds. He should thrive under the steady San Francisco coaching staff.
32. Baltimore Ravens (10-6): Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State
Brown is considered undersized by many, which will cause him dip into this position. The Ravens will be getting a speedy, smart linebacker who will compete for playing time even if the team re-signs Dannell Ellerbe.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!