2013 NFL Mock Draft: Smart Strategies for Every NFL Team
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Every team enters the NFL draft with a strategy.
The success of that strategy and spontaneity to adapt as the draft progresses only becomes known in the subsequent fall though.
A team such as the Kansas City Chiefs is fortunate, because holding the No. 1 overall selection is the lone pick of the draft—before the clock begins—that guarantees a franchise will get the prospect it wants. So, let's check out another 2013 NFL mock draft and see how everything unfolds in Round 1.
Note: Highlighted players in italics.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, Tackle (Texas A&M)
Well, the Chiefs got their quarterback in Alex Smith, per Jay Glazer of FOX Sports last week:
49ers have completed a trade with the Chiefs for Alex Smith, tho can't be official til March 12. Chiefs really made a commitment to Smith— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) February 27, 2013
This then brings us to Luke Joeckel. With the size and athleticism to seal the edge and create running lanes, Kansas City finds a quick turnaround up front. In short, K.C. controls the line of scrimmage more consistently and wins the field position battle.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Bjoern Werner, DE (Florida State)
Jacksonville won't see any improvement next season without a better defensive line. Bjoern Werner provides the instincts against the run and capable pass rush to help the Jaguars in the trenches.
3. Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei, DT (Utah)
According to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com before the combine:
Star Lotulelei, one of the elite prospects for the 2013 NFL draft, will not be allowed to work out Monday at the scouting combine after an echocardiogram revealed that the former Utah defensive tackle has a heart condition that requires more testing.
That said, Star Lotulelei is still among the best prospects this draft. Oakland is aging along the defensive line and also struggled against the run 2012. Lotulelei's agility and power will quickly clog running lanes and get interior quarterback pressure when needed.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher, Tackle (Central Michigan)
Despite fielding one of the worst offensive lines last season, Philadelphia still ranked No. 13 in passing and rushing offense. Factor in an abundance of turnovers, though, and it was no surprise the Eagles failed miserably when inside the red zone.
And quarterbacks Michael Vick and Nick Foles were sacked a combined 48 times. Although each have their flaws under center, part of that also falls on the protection.
Eric Fisher is one of the top draft prospects and easily among the best offensive linemen. He dominated the MAC conference for Central Michigan and continued impressive displays at the Senior Bowl and NFL combine.
The size is evident, which never hurts for an offensive tackle. But Fisher also provides smooth footwork, sound hand techniques and fluid body control. He does need to build some strength for the position, but Fisher has the explosiveness and lateral quickness to extend his window of development.
5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB (Alabama)
In order to compete with the Packers in the NFC North, Detroit must get improved coverage. Dee Milliner provides exactly that with his top speed and agility. Factor in size and he brings the physical presence to press at the line and help with run support.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dion Jordan, DE (Oregon)
The combination of Dion Jordan's size and speed gives Cleveland multiple defensive options. The Browns can play a 4-3 or 3-4 front, regardless of the game situation, and Jordan's overall athleticism allows him to occasionally sink into coverage—or pass rush outside or inside.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Chance Warmack, Guard (Alabama)
The NFC West is a strong defensive division, and the Cardinals fielded one of pro football's worst offenses last season. Presenting unreliable pass protection and a non-existent ground game, selecting Chance Warmack addresses each aspect. With the strength and explosiveness to drive defenders back, Warmack can also pass block impressively well.
8. Buffalo Bills: Ezekiel Ansah, DE (BYU)
The purity of Ezekiel Ansah's athleticism would be a competitive advantage for Buffalo. Possessing the length and body control to set the edge against the run, Ansah would be a great complement to Mario Williams up front. The Bills get more quarterback pressure and the improving coverage creates more turnovers.
Where will Jarvis Jones gets selected?
9. New York Jets: Jarvis Jones, LB (Georgia)
The Jets are closer to entering the AFC postseason mix than at first glance. Defensively, Rex Ryan simply needs a better front seven to pass rush and stop the run. Enter Jarvis Jones, who is a sack master and knows how to generate turnovers. Fielding sound coverage behind the front seven, New York will quickly get back on track.
10. Tennessee Titans: Xavier Rhodes, CB (Florida State)
Tennessee's lack of pass defense in 2012 cost it a great deal. Drafting Xavier Rhodes easily helps with man-to-man on the outside and shielding anything at the intermediate level. Plus his physicality will let the Titans run some Cover 1 press and Cover 2 with more confidence.
11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, Tackle (Oklahoma)
Skillful athletes are needed in San Diego along the offensive front. Lane Johnson is arguably the most athletic lineman in the draft, which makes him more appealing as a pass-blocker. At the same time he can extend running lanes to his side by reaching the second level, while also pulling to sell play action and lead outside.
12. Miami Dolphins: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR (Tennessee)
Cordarrelle Patterson may only be a one-hit wonder, but he stands out exceptionally among the wide receivers of 2013's class.
After catching 46 passes for 778 yards, Patterson also gained 308 rushing yards and 772 total return yards. The guy is a triple-threat which significantly increases his marketability to the NFL. In addition, Patterson performed well at the combine, showing great acceleration, top speed and leaping ability.
Include the man's size and the Dolphins will be getting a true playmaker at receiver. For one, the AFC East isn't known for defense and Miami competed quite well last season. Ryan Tannehill definitely had some shortcomings, but not prossessing a deep threat restricted his development.
Selecting Patterson not only helps field a more high-powered offense, but he brings the potential of consistent balance. The end results are more efficient ball movement, an increased red-zone touchdown percentage and fewer turnovers.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kenny Vaccaro, Safety (Texas)
Tampa Bay won't annually compete in the NFC South without a better pass defense. Therefore, getting Kenny Vaccaro will ensure better blanket coverage underneath and help over the top in Cover 2 and 3. Plus Vaccaro helps with edge run support in short-yard situations.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sharrif Floyd, DT (Florida)
Who will be the 1st DT drafted?
The Panthers field decent playmakers, but adding Sharrif Floyd spruces up the interior pass rush and run defense. As a result, Carolina suffocates more in the trenches and generates more turnovers in a pass-happy division.
15. New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Richardson, DT (Missouri)
Defense must be the Saints' No. 1 priority in the draft. Sheldon Richardson is a great selection to quickly improve the run defense. New Orleans allowed an average of 5.2 yards per carry last season, so Richardson will eat blocks and clog lanes to let the linebackers and defensive ends make more plays.
16. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper, Guard (North Carolina)
Jonathan Cooper is a guard that can immediately polish running lanes and solidify the interior of the pocket. His athleticism also allows for the Rams to pull Cooper outside for sweeps and tosses, and inside for traps and counters. In short, St. Louis moves the rock better and finds balance in a tough division.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Barkevious Mingo, LB (LSU)
Pittsburgh's pass rush wasn't consistently dominant in 2012, as it typically was in other seasons prior. The selection of Barkevious Mingo simply adds youth and talent up front, which gets the Steelers back to normal defensively. Possessing solid size and speed for the position, Mingo can squeeze the edge against the run and pass rush inside or out.
18. Dallas Cowboys: John Jenkins, DT (Georgia)
Dallas has the talent to score points offensively and keep pace with anyone. It's the defense that needs to step up. So, taking John Jenkins will field a run-stuffing force inside the front seven. The excellent size and power of Jenkins will create pileups, while he can also get quarterback pressure. DeMarcus Ware then sees more sack opportunities to create turnovers.
19. New York Giants: Sylvester Williams, DT (North Carolina)
When the Giants won Super Bowls XLII and XLVI, Big Blue's defensive line was the greatest factor for Tom Coughlin's team. So, when New York failed to build consistency last season, it's no surprise that was largely due to the defensive line's lack of production.
The Giants gave up an average of 4.6 yards per rush and managed only 33 sacks. As expected, this vulnerability affected the secondary which allowed 26 passing touchdowns and a 63.9 completion percentage.
All this brings us to North Carolina's Slyvester Williams who possesses the size, power and quickness capable of driving through an offensive line. The past two seasons for the Tar Heels he recorded 20.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks.
At the combine, Williams put up solid numbers for his 6'3", 313-pound frame.
Anticipate him to immediately produce for Big Blue as well, because New York still presents reliable complements in Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck.
20. Chicago Bears: D.J. Fluker, OT (Alabama)
The Bears have a competitive advantage with the overall talent around Jay Cutler. Improving the ground game to set up the play action, however, will take Chicago's offense to another level. D.J. Fluker is a sound run-blocker and has the ability reach from the backside. Thereafter, he'll benefit as a pass-blocker courtesy of Chicago's established rushing attack.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Matt Elam, Safety (Florida)
Matt Elam is certainly a reach for Cincinnati at No. 21, but the Bengals need better coverage to make a stronger postseason impact. Elam has the speed and body control to cover one-on-one and the quickness to react in Cover 1 and 3. Cincy already fields a sound front seven, so upgraded coverage just makes the Bengals stronger AFC contenders.
22. St. Louis Rams (via WAS): Terrance Williams: WR (Baylor)
Possessing good size and acceleration for a wide receiver, Terrance Williams is a great pick for St. Louis. Sam Bradford needs a true deep-threat playmaker and with Cooper improving the ground attack, Williams will benefit accordingly. The Rams would be able to stretch defenses to set up the run and get man coverage mismatches on the outside.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR (California)
All Minnesota truly needs is one standout receiver to get a secondary on its heels. Keenan Allen offers this because his size and leaping ability must be respected. And he'll never face double coverage, as the presence of Adrian Peterson will keep opponents stacking the box early in the season.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Damontre Moore, DE (Texas)
Damontre Moore definitely must improve his strength, but the guy still brings the athleticism to contribute as a defensive end or outside linebacker. His lateral quickness and knack for finding the ball will pay dividends for Indianapolis, because the Colts have to increase their pass rush and run defense.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Kawann Short, DT (Purdue)
Although defending the run was a minute issue for Seattle in 2012, it did affect the pass rush to a certain extent. This is where Kawann Short enters the equation with his talent for disrupting a backfield. His nose for the ball and ability to knife double-teams is menacing to an offense, which leaves the rest of Seattle's front seven free to react and stuff the run.
26. Green Bay Packers: Barrett Jones, Center (Alabama)
Green Bay won't make another Super Bowl run without getting more physical up front. Landing Barrett Jones provides more reliable pass protection to Aaron Rodgers and his versatility will help establish the run. We know the Packers will have success through the air, but finding balance only enhances Mike McCarthy's offensive efficiency.
27. Houston Texans: Johnthan Banks, CB (Mississippi State)
Along similar lines as Cincinnati, Houston becomes stronger AFC contenders with an upgraded pass defense. Johnthan Banks is quick enough to blanket in underneath zone and sink back in Cover 3, so the solid front seven will only get additional quarterback pressure. Backed by a balanced offense, drafting Banks is the next piece to completing the defensive puzzle versus elite quarterbacks.
28. Denver Broncos: Desmond Trufant, CB (Washington)
Arguably the most athletic defensive back at the combine, Desmond Trufant is just the solution for Denver. The Broncos, for one, need a standout corner to complement Champ Bailey and eventually take over his No. 1 role. Secondly, Trufant's field awareness and top speed will lock down man-to-man and provide consistent dependability in zone.
29. New England Patriots: Jonathan Cyprien, Safety (Florida International)
Bill Belichick desperately needs to upgrade his secondary for any chance at another Super Bowl.
Pass defense was New England's greatest weakness in 2012, as the Patriots ranked No. 29, gave up 27 passing scores and a 62.1 completion percentage. To that end, Joe Flacco's AFC title game performance was bound to happen.
Getting safety Jonathan Cyprien out of Florida International; however, is a sharp turn for the better. Sure it's a reach at the back end of Round 1, but Cyprien provides the hitting, tackling, awareness and size to make a fast impact.
When suiting up for the Golden Panthers, Cyprien recorded 365 tackles, defended 28 passes and generated 12 turnovers. His instincts and ability to dissect plays quickly will benefit New England the most, because the Pats' front seven is capable of halting running plays at the line and applying quarterback pressure.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, TE (Notre Dame)
Atlanta could definitely go with a defensive tackle or end here, but the position is deep enough that impressive talent resides in Rounds 2 and 3. That said, Tyler Eifert is the future for the Falcons at tight end. He'll dominate as a receiver never facing double coverage and supplies the run-blocking skill set to add balance.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Jesse Williams, DT (Alabama)
The 49ers need some youth along the defensive line. Jesse Williams is the perfect answer, because his power and explosiveness will draw extra blockers to close running lanes. In turn, San Francisco stuffs more against the run and gets additional exterior quarterback pressure to control the line of scrimmage.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Alec Ogletree, LB (Georgia)
Alec Ogletree suits Baltimore to its exact needs. With the quickness and proven playmaking skills to impact in coverage and by filling lanes, Ogletree works nicely as a 3-4 inside 'backer. By that same token, he can blitz when needed and hang with running backs, tight ends and slot receivers in man coverage. The Ravens then don't miss a beat when 2013 kicks off.
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