2013 NFL Mock Draft: How Top Shelf Talent Will Impact First Round

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2013 NFL Mock Draft: How Top Shelf Talent Will Impact First Round
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The 2013 NFL Scouting Combine is in the books, but there's still a whole lot that can and will happen before April's 2013 NFL draft.

Whether it's a pro day development, a medical condition or a misstep off the football field, a prospect's draft stock and NFL future can change in an instant during the days leading up to selection process. And all it takes is one change at the top to reshuffle the entire first round.

Keep that in mind as you scroll through this first-round mock.

Below we'll run through all 32 first-round selection, highlighting some of the top shelf talent sure to impact Round 1.

*Top shelf talent is italicized. 

 

No. 1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M, OT

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Now that the Chiefs seemingly have their quarterback for the future in Alex Smith, they need to protect him. Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel is the complete package as an outside protector.

Joeckel has the size and strength to step in right away for a team like Kansas City. He's athletic enough to dominate below-average rushers and, and talented enough to hold his own against freakishly athletic defenders.

With the Aggies' star sure to go early, teams will have to focus their attention to Central Michigan's Eric Fisher and Oklahoma's Lane Johnson for offensive tackle help. Both are solid prospects, but not quite as complete as Joeckel.

 

No. 2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Barkevious Mingo, LSU, DE

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Jacksonville must get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks in 2013, and that's where LSU's KeKe Mingo fits in. He's super athletic and can help provide the Jags with a burst off the edge for years to come.

 

No. 3. Oakland Raiders (4-12) : Star Lotulelei, Utah, DT

For now, Star Lotulelei is the top defensive tackle available.

It remains to be seen how serious his heart condition is, but assuming he can overcome it the Raiders would likely shore up their defensive front with him at No. 3 overall.

 

No. 4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): Dion Jordan, Oregon, DE

This is simple. Chip Kelly used to coach Dion Jordan at Oregon and now he has a shot to coach him in Philadelphia. 

 

No. 5. Detroit Lions (4-12): Dee Milliner, Alabama, CB

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Alabama's Dee Milliner showed why he is the top defensive back coming out this year during the combine, running a blazing 40-yard dash and demonstrating natural athleticism in many of the workouts.

It's possible that Milliner could go earlier than No. 4 overall, but you have to believe the Lions will take him if he's still on the board. 

The Lions need a spark on defense, and Milliner can start immediately. The best corner coming out in 2013, Milliner is sure to come off the board quickly, meaning the rest of the teams picking in the first round will have to look elsewhere for secondary help.

 

No. 6. Cleveland Browns (5-11): Bjoern Werner, Florida State, DE

Florida State's Bjoern Werner is a great fit for Cleveland at No. 6. An elite pass-rusher, Werner will hold up well in the running game as well.

 

No. 7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11): Geno Smith, West Virginia, QB

Geno Smith is the top quarterback available this year and the first team up that desperately needs a signal-caller is Arizona. The Cardinals haven't had a steady hand under center since the Kurt Warner era.

Smith impressed at the combine, and put a lot of great throws on tape at West Virginia. He has a big arm and accuracy that is solid enough to make him an NFL starter in 2013.

He will need to have time in order to throw the ball in Arizona, but if he has to escape the pocket and pick up first downs with his legs, he's certainly capable. If Smith comes off the board right here, then a team like the Buffalo Bills will have to rethink their first-round selection assuming they aren't willing to take USC's Matt Barkley No. 8 overall.

 

No. 8. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Sharrif Floyd, Florida, DT

Florida's Sharrif Floyd is gaining momentum in a hurry. With Smith off the board in this case, Floyd is arguably the best player available.

 

No. 9. New York Jets (6-10): Damontre Moore, Texas A&M, DE

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Rex Ryan is still the man in New York, and we know about his love of defense. Texas A&M's Damontre Moore is a freak athlete and one who promises to wreak havoc off the edge.

 

No. 10. Tennessee Titans (6-10): Chance Warmack, Alabama, G

Alabama's Chance Warmack is a stud who can dominate as a pass-protector or a run-blocker. 

 

No. 11. San Diego Chargers (7-9): Eric Fisher, Central Michigan, OT

Philip Rivers was sacked 49 times in 2012. Only Aaron Rodgers went down more (51). Central Michigan's Eric Fisher is a 6'7" stud on the outside, and if he's still available here for the Chargers, they have no choice but to take him.

 

No. 12. Miami Dolphins (7-9): Keenan Allen, California, WR

Yes, the Dolphins could pursue wide receiving help through free agency this spring, but why not surround Ryan Tannehill with top-flight young talent via the draft?

 

No. 13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9): Sheldon Richardson, Missouri, DT

Sheldon Richardson could help get some rush up the middle for the NFL's worst pass defense in 2012.

 

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No. 14. Carolina Panthers (7-9): Ezekiel Ansah, BYU, DE

Ezekiel Ansah is a phenomenal athlete, and one who would excel on the speedy turf inside the Superdome. He can also contribute on special teams in his first season.

 

No. 15. New Orleans Saints (7-9): Jarvis Jones, Georgia, LB

Jarvis Jones' production at Georgia this past season was remarkable. If he's on the board at No. 15, New Orleans will likely jump at the opportunity to pick up a star in the making.

 

No. 16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): Kenny Vaccaro, Texas, S

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If Kenny Vaccaro is on the board at No. 16, he would be a huge pickup for Jeff Fisher's St. Louis Rams. The team made big strides in 2012 under Fisher and looks to be a potential wild card contender in the NFC next season.

For fringe teams like the Rams, success starts and ends on the defensive side of the ball, where division rivals like San Francisco and Seattle are loaded. 

There aren't a ton of elite safeties coming out this year, but Vaccaro has set himself apart from the pack by showcasing some brilliant cover skills. His instincts and ability to diagnose plays are also huge. With Vaccaro destined to be the first safety taken this year, players like Matt Elam and Johnathan Cyprien will rise up the board.

 

No. 17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Tavon Austin, West Virginia, WR

WVU's Tavon Austin is picking up steam quickly this offseason. He proved what we already knew at the combine, that he's lightning quick. He has tons of potential as a slot guy, starring in screen plays and making big plays in the return game.

Oh yeah, and there are a ton of Mountaineers fans in Pittsburgh.

 

No. 18. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Kawann Short, Purdue, DT

Kawann Short has loads of potential at the next level. The former Purdue defender is a leader and one that could benefit the Cowboys moving forward.

 

No. 19. New York Giants (9-7): Lane Johnson, Oklahoma, OT

Oklahoma's Lane Johnson is super athletic. He's played a ton of positions going all the way back to high school. Wherever he lines up, his future looks bright.

 

No. 20. Chicago Bears (10-6): Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame, TE

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The Bears never really replaced Greg Olsen. Tyler Eifert is a wide receiver in a tight end's body and would be a great option for Jay Cutler in 2013 and beyond.

If Eifert goes No. 20 to the Bears, then Stanford's Zach Ertz will take over the title of best tight end available. Although Ertz has the potential to earn a top 20 pick, it's almost certain that Eifert's ridiculous athleticism will overwhelm NFL general managers and coaches.

Both players are 6'6", 250 pounds, but Eifert has more speed and leaping ability. Sounds to me like the perfect target for Cutler's laser passes in the Windy City.

 

No. 21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina, G

Jonathan Cooper could easily go in the top 15 this spring, but assuming he sticks around for a bit, Cincinnati could get even stronger up front by taking him 21st overall.

 

No. 22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins) (10-6): Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee, WR

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It's no secret that the Rams need help at wide receiver. St. Louis' offense has been underwhelming in recent seasons, which is surprising considering it plays in a dome.

 

No. 23. Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Desmond Trufant, Washington, CB

Antoine Winfield will turn 36 in June, and it's not like Minnesota's secondary was all that dominant in 2012 anyway. The Vikings ranked 24th in fewest passing yards allowed last season. 

 

No. 24. Indianapolis Colts (11-5): Sylvester Williams, North Carolina, DT

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The Colts could really improve their defense by picking up a stellar defensive tackle in North Carolina's Sylvester Williams. Indianapolis gave up over 137 rushing yards per week last season, ranking 29th in the NFL.

Williams would make running on the Colts much more difficult to say the least.

 

No. 25. Seattle Seahawks (11-5): Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State, DT

Seattle could go in any number of directions with the No. 25 pick this year. Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins would help shore up the defensive front and make running against the Seahawks even more of a challenge.

 

No. 26. Green Bay Packers (11-5): Eddie Lacy, Alabama, RB

The Packers' running game was far from dominant when they won Super Bowl XLV, but at least it was a threat. Alabama's Eddie Lacy would be a huge pickup for a team just a few pieces away from another title.

 

No. 27. Houston Texans (12-4): Kevin Minter, LSU, LB

Manti Te'o's lackluster showing at the combine likely helped improve the stock of LSU's Kevin Minter, a sound inside linebacker who can bring a winning energy to Houston.

 

No. 28. Denver Broncos (13-3): Xavier Rhodes, Florida State, CB

The last time we saw the Denver Broncos' secondary it was getting torched by the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC playoffs. Florida State's Xavier Rhodes is a big-time corner who could step in immediately and make a difference for John Fox's club.

 

No. 29. New England Patriots (12-4): Matt Elam, Florida, S

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Matt Elam looked great at the combine in Indy, showcasing some speed and tons of strength. The former Gators star has the potential to develop into a hard-hitting safety that Bill Belichick can rely on.

 

No. 30. Atlanta Falcons (13-3): Zach Ertz, Stanford, TE

With Tony Gonzalez's future far from certain, Stanford's Zach Ertz is a great option in the late first round for Atlanta. 

Like the veteran Gonzalez, Ertz is a huge target who could help take some pressure of Matt Ryan in the passing game.

 

No. 31. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State, CB

Johnthan Banks will want his combine performance back, but his production with the Bulldogs speaks for itself. He has a nose for the football and can make a big-time impact for a top-notch team like San Francisco.

 

No. 32. Baltimore Ravens (10-6): Manti Te'o, Notre Dame, LB

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Te'o's poor performance in the 40-yard dash at the combine will certainly damage his draft stock. But if he is available when the Ravens are on the board at No. 32, he'll be hard to pass up. 

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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