2013 NFL Mock Draft: Easiest Moves with the Biggest Impact
With the 2013 NFL Combine officially behind us, scouts and general managers can now look forward to the top prospects' respective pro days. It is then that the NFL hopefuls will provide prospective franchises with a final glimpse at what they can contribute.
The question is, what are the easiest moves to make with the biggest impact?
For some, remaining in-state is the most logical move to make. For others, their greatest need is so powerful that reaching for a prospect makes sense.
So what would the easy route be?
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M Aggies
To start, Kansas City must improve an offensive line that allowed 40.0 sacks in 2012. Where better to look than at the best offensive lineman in this year's draft class?
With Luke Joeckel protecting Smith's blind side, this offense could be better from the start than people assume—don't forget about the Jamaal Charles factor.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida Gators
Sharrif Floyd did nothing but solidify his status as the top defensive tackle in this draft class at the NFL Combine. Considering the Jacksonville Jaguars managed a league-worst 20.0 sacks in 2012, Floyd has to attract the franchise.
With Jason Babin on the end, adding this in-state product could go a long way toward solving those issues.
Floyd is a dominant pass-rusher who is more than capable of clogging up running lanes. With his presence on the defensive line, the Jaguars would be able to disrupt the backfield at a much higher rate.
3. Oakland Raiders: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia Mountaineers
Regardless of what their mentality is, there is no way the Raiders will let Geno Smith slip away.
Smith made a career out of utilizing speed receivers to move the chains for big yardage. Considering Oakland has nothing but speed on offense, this is an ideal fit.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon Ducks
Is there any chance that the Philadelphia Eagles pass up on defensive end Dion Jordan? Considering Jordan played for new head coach Chip Kelly at Oregon, the answer is no.
Just check what Kelly said to Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
"Dion's just a special guy in my heart," Kelly said last week. "I had an opportunity to be with him for five years. He came into Oregon as a receiver, moved to tight end, we switched him over to defense the beginning of his sophomore year. He just had a huge impact, not only on the field but off the field."
What more evidence do you need?
To be clear, this isn't a bad selection in any way, shape or form. Philadelphia needs to improve its pass rush and Jordan could be a dominant force as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama Crimson Tide
With that being said, the Lions saw their defense fall apart in 2012. They allowed 27.3 points per game and ranked 19th in passing touchdowns allowed.
Not only is Dee Milliner a physical corner, but he neutralized all questions about his speed during the combine. For a team in need of improving its pass defense, it doesn't get much better than this.
6. Cleveland Browns: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia Bulldogs
The Cleveland Browns play in a division in which defense rules all. Led by Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco and A.J. Green, it's imperative that the Browns keep their defense ready to contain such high-octane attacks.
While Dee Milliner would have been the ideal pick, Jarvis Jones is far from a poor fall-back plan. In fact, one could make the argument that Jones is a better fit in Cleveland.
With Cleveland switching to a 3-4 defense, Jones could step in and make an impact as an outside linebacker.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan Chippewas
Prior to his trade to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Arizona Cardinals were reportedly interested in acquiring Alex Smith. This proved that there is a sense of urgency in Arizona to acquire a quarterback.
Before Arizona drafts a QB, however, its must improve an offensive line that allowed an NFL-worst 58.0 sacks in 2012. They can begin that process by selecting Eric Fisher of Central Michigan.
That move that will improve the offensive line from day one.
8. Buffalo Bills: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee Volunteers
With no quarterback fittingly available, the Bills go with Cordarrelle Patterson. The wideout could be a true No. 1 option, thus alleviating the pressure on Stevie Johnson.
Consider this pick to be the last stand for Buffalo's faith in Ryan Fitzpatrick.
9. New York Jets: Damontre Moore, DE, Mississippi State Bulldogs
The New York Jets won't find a feasible option at quarterback here, so they opt to bolster a depleted defense. In order to improve their defensive front, Damontre Moore has star potential.
In a 3-4 set, which the Jets run, Moore can be an effective outside linebacker. He's a quality athlete who can make a difference by entering the backfield and disrupting the pass.
Considering Calvin Pace was recently cut, this would fill a glaring need for the Jets.
10. Tennessee Titans: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama Crimson Tide
This must be the top priority for the Titans, as they bolster their interior with Chance Warmack. Warmack will not only help protect Locker, but open up lanes for running back Chris Johnson.
A perfect fit for Tennessee.
11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma Sooners
The San Diego Chargers have battled injuries and disappointment at left tackle in recent seasons. Fortunately, the team lands a true anchor in Lane Johnson in this scenario.
Johnson will protect Philip Rivers' blind side and help cut down on the turnovers. With Rivers getting passes off clean, we could finally see the Chargers return to their high standard of play.
There's a chance Johnson goes earlier, but if he's here, San Diego will take him.
12. Miami Dolphins: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State Seminoles
Collectively, Dolphins players not named "Cameron Wake" picked up just 22.0 sacks. Fortunately, there is an elite 4-3 defensive end prospect available.
In-state product Bjoern Werner.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas Longhorns
One can't help but wonder how much Ronde Barber has left in the tank. For that reason, it's only rational to believe that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will look to make a long-term improvement at free safety.
Kenny Vaccaro of Texas can be that player, as he possesses the range and strength to make an immediate impact. For a team that allowed 28 passing touchdowns in 2012, Vaccaro would be a welcomed presence.
As long as Miami doesn't take him, Vaccaro is the pick at 13.
14. Carolina Panthers: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah Utes
Unfortunately, Carolina lacks the interior necessary to truly make an impact. By drafting Star Lotulelei, however, that changes entirely.
Lotulelei has legitimate star potential. Not only is he capable of dominating the interior of a line, but Todd McShay of ESPN Insider had him going first overall before the combine (and the news of his heart condition).
15. New Orleans Saints: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU Tigers
The New Orleans Saints need help in every single area on the defensive front. Fortunately, there is an in-state product that fits their needs.
Barkevious Mingo is an elite athlete who can come off of the edge. Fortunately for both sides, the defense New Orleans runs now fits Mingo's style of play.
The Saints are moving to a 3-4 set.
16. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina Tar Heels
The St. Louis Rams get a major boost to their offensive line here. With guard Jonathan Cooper, the Rams will significantly improve their weak interior.
This will enable Sam Bradford to work with more time in the pocket. It will also enable whichever player ends up being St. Louis' running back to find holes.
This isn't a flashy pick, but it's the type of move that will quietly improve this team for years to come.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ziggy Ansah, OLB, BYU Cougars
Ziggy Ansah steps in here as a supremely athletic player who could star under Dick LeBeau. At 6'6" and 272 pounds, look for Ansah to get after the quarterback and provide an athletic boost to an aging defense.
Other options include defensive tackles Sylvester Williams and Sheldon Richardson.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri Tigers
The Dallas Cowboys are in need of a defensive tackle to anchor their shift to a 4-3 set. That's exactly what Sheldon Richardson of the Missouri Tigers can be.
Richardson's quick burst off of the line should create a much more manageable path to the quarterback for DeMarcus Ware. More importantly, Richardson could be a long-time anchor on the defensive line.
This is a no-brainer if Lotulelei is off the board.
19. New York Giants: Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia Bulldogs
Ogletree has the versatility to drop back into coverage due to his experience as a safety. He also has the burst to get into the backfield and disrupt the run.
No matter which way you cut it, this is a dream pick for the Giants.
20. Chicago Bears: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama Crimson Tide
The Chicago Bears continue to put forth one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. It's why Jay Cutler has no time in the pocket; Chicago gave up 44.0 sacks in 2012.
Fortunately, the Bears land D.J. Fluker in this scenario and use him to protect Cutler's blind side. In turn, Fluker will allow the Bears to truly establish the pass.
This is the type of pick that could change the direction of a franchise.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama Crimson Tide
For a team playing in the AFC North, Eddie Lacy is the perfect selection. He's a bruising back with underrated quickness in the open field and a knack for moving the chains.
This could complete the offensive trinity for the Bengals, as they pair Lacy with Andy Dalton and A.J. Green.
22. St. Louis Rams: Keenan Allen, WR, California Golden Bears
The St. Louis Rams solidified their offensive line early. Now, it's up to the organization to surround quarterback Sam Bradford with perimeter weapons.
The Rams have drafted well with receivers, but they haven't found a star wide receiver presence. Keenan Allen could be that player, with quality size and powerful hands.
He may not be a big name, but Allen is the type of player who could step in immediately and alter the Rams' quality of offense. A Rookie of the Year-type of diamond in the rough.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee Volunteers
Minnesota Vikings fans want to see Tavon Austin here, but it makes no sense with Percy Harvin on the roster. What the Vikings need is a player with quality size along the perimeter.
This is a stretch, but it's also a pure and utter need. Justin Hunter is 6'4" and performed very well at the combine.
Again, this is a stretch. It's exactly what they need, though, and Hunter has the talent to back up the selection.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington Huskies
By drafting Desmond Trufant, the Colts would add some much-needed speed to their defensive backfield. How quickly he'll contribute is unclear, but we're certain that his addition will be welcome.
This is the start of what could be a productive draft.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA Bruins
With Chris Clemons recovering from a torn ACL, the Seattle Seahawks must add depth at defensive end. Datone Jones is the type of under-the-radar prospect who could step in and help.
At 6'4" and 283 pounds, Jones is a versatile athlete who can fill a variety of roles for Seattle. Most importantly, he can temporarily replace Clemons.
This is the type of move that could enable Seattle to remain in the playoff hunt.
26. Green Bay Packers: Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin Badgers
The Green Bay Packers don't have many holes. For that reason, they can decide which void represents the most pressing need.
That answer is running back. The Packers are a one-dimensional offense and opposing defenses began to pick up on that in 2012—even if they couldn't stop Aaron Rodgers, defenses had success.
By adding in-state product Montee Ball, however, Green Bay would add an every-down back who could sit behind a free-agent acquisition for a season or come in to contribute right away.
27. Houston Texans: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia Mountaineers
Austin can fill the void that Jacoby Jones left upon his departure. He can provide a presence in the return game and fill in the slot on a consistent basis.
Austin could change the dynamic of an already potent offense.
28. Denver Broncos: Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State Beavers
The Denver Broncos are a tremendously improved team, and it's not just because of Peyton Manning. However, the Broncos are in dire need of an improvement in the defensive backfield.
Jordan Poyer is an under-the-radar name, and it's hard to know why. He's much more than a ball hawk, although his seven interceptions in 2012 are certainly attractive.
Look for Denver to make Poyer a Bronco as soon as possible.
29. New England Patriots: Matt Elam, FS, Florida Gators
The New England Patriots are a team that consistently drafts well and, therefore, fills holes quite easily. Since they would be reaching to take a guard at this spot, they can improve their defensive backfield instead.
Matt Elam is a bit undersized, but he's a physical player who possesses all of the tools to be a starting free safety. By joining the Patriots, he'd significantly bolster their ability to defend the pass.
Trading back is always a possibility for New England.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Eifert is a respected pass-catcher who works well coming off of the line. Considering he finished in the top five of all seven combine drills he participated in, it's safe to say Eifert is a safe pick here.
Eifert could become one of Matt Ryan's favorite targets from the opening snap.
31. San Francisco 49ers: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson Tigers
The San Francisco 49ers have 15 draft picks and very few holes. To get started, they fill their most severe need in the first round.
By selecting DeAndre Hopkins, the 49ers would add the deep ball threat that Randy Moss was supposed to be. This will open the field for Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree to continue moving the chains.
If it's possible, it'll also make Colin Kaepernick an even more dangerous player.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
For all of the commotion about his girlfriend scandal, we can't forget that Te'o is a good football player. Detractors like to cite his performance in the national championship game, but that is just one outing in a marvelous season.
Te'o is a hard worker who always seems to be in the right place at the right time. This is a very safe pick for Baltimore.
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