The 2013 NFL Draft features plenty of uncertainty but there a few teams sitting in perfect position to grab a player that will be an ideal fit.
There is no clear-cut option for the Kansas City Chiefs to kick off the draft with the first overall pick, even after the top prospects showed off their skills at the NFL Scouting Combine.
With draft boards still being put together, there is still plenty left up in the air for teams around the league.
Here are my predictions for the entire first round, with the picks that are perfect fits in italics.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Joeckel was on his way to securing the top overall spot in the upcoming draft, but now, his standing is anything but certain. He failed to wow scouts at the combine, and the Chiefs recently placed the franchise tag on left tackle Branden Albert.
But this does not remove the possibility of Kansas City choosing Joeckel, as both he and Albert have the ability to excel at other spots along the offensive line. He is ultimately the safest bet among the top prospects in the draft.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
The Jaguars were the worst in the league at pressuring opposing quarterbacks last season, and the team has no choice but to take the best pass rusher available. After the combine, a new crop of defensive ends is generating attention.
While Bjoern Werner and Damontre Moore were originally thought to be Top 5 picks, Jordan, Ziggy Ansah and Barkevious Mingo were incredibly impressive at the combine. Ultimately, Jordan’s athleticism makes him the best choice.
At 6’6”, he has incredible size and length, but he also possesses explosive speed and quickness.
While he needs to add bulk and continue improving his technique, no pass rusher has more upside, and this makes him an ideal fit for the Jaguars.
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
With Richard Seymour likely too expensive to keep around next season, according to USA Today’s Nate Davis, the Raiders need to find a way to replace him.
Luckily, Floyd’s draft stock is skyrocketing after a strong finish to the 2012 college football season and an excellent performance at the combine.
He proved to be strong and explosive at the workouts in Indianapolis, and his game tape with the Gators shows that he has the ability in be a factor in the run game while also creating pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
The Raiders will have a hole to fill in the middle of their defensive line, and the team is in an ideal position to shore up its front-seven with its first pick in the draft.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Eagles have enough needs that they are better off picking based on value than trying to fill a hole with their top pick. After impressing throughout the pre-draft process, Fisher will be the best player on the board.
He has the size, strength and athleticism to be a premier left tackle in the NFL, and Philadelphia certainly needs help on its offensive line.
5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Lions secondary is in desperate need of help, and if the best defensive back in the draft falls to them at No. 5, the team will not hesitate to take him.
At Alabama, Milliner showed he has the technique to shut down receivers and make plays on the ball.
At the combine, he ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash proving he has the speed to stay with elite receivers and recover when he gets beat.
No weaknesses have been revealed in his game in the lead up to the draft, and the Lions will be overjoyed if he is still available with this pick.
6. Cleveland Browns: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Ansah is another player who was incredibly impressive at the combine, and now he is unlikely to fall out of the first ten picks.
There may be no player in the draft with a more exciting combination of size, speed and explosiveness. While he is raw, Cleveland would love to add to him to their defense, which is in desperate need of a player with his physical gifts.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Cardinals have no choice but to move on from Kevin Kolb and John Skelton. Now that the Chiefs are set to land Alex Smith, options around the league are thin, and the draft will be the best place to land a new signal-caller.
Smith will face a steep learning curve upon entering the NFL, but his arm strength and production make him the best quarterback available in the draft.
8. Buffalo Bills: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
If the Cardinals take Smith, Buffalo will be put in a tough position. Any quarterback at this point in the draft is a reach based on value, but the team needs a major upgrade from Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Ultimately, Wilson is a fiery leader with all the physical tools to succeed, and he will be intriguing enough to the Bills for the team to draft him with its first pick.
9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
The Jets boasted one of the NFL’s best defenses for Rex Ryan’s first couple seasons in charge, but that is no longer the case. The team ranked 25th in sacks last season and needs an impact player on the edge.
Mingo showed remarkable speed and athleticism with a 4.58-second 40-yard dash at the combine, and he will be the perfect player to rush the passer in New York.
10. Tennessee Titans: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Titans will be surprised to see such a promising player still available here, and it will not hesitate to take Lotulelei.
Despite being diagnosed with a heart condition at the combine, Lotulelei will still be a Top 10 pick due to his incredible combination of strength and athleticism. He has the frame and explosiveness to dominate the trenches in the NFL.
11. San Diego Chargers: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Warmack is one of those players that makes a massive impact on a game without being noticed. He is a mauler at guard and has the ability to open huge holes in the running game.
San Diego needs depth along its offensive line, and Warmack is the type of player who the team can expect to play at a Pro-Bowl level upon arrival in the NFL.
12. Miami Dolphins: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The Miami offense desperately needs another playmaker, and while Patterson would be thrilled to hear his name called for this pick, Ryan Tannehill might be just as enthused.
The young signal-caller will continue to struggle without a go-to wide receiver, and Patterson has all the tools to play this role.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
At the beginning of the draft process, it did not appear that the Bucs would have a shot to draft Werner. But after the FSU product failed to stand out at the combine, and a few other defensive ends excelled, he will drop out of the Top 10.
The Bucs need help along the defensive line, and Werner has the size and strength to contribute both against the run and the pass.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Panthers will be eyeing the best defensive tackle available with this pick, and Richardson fits the description.
The 6’2”, 294-pound lineman has the ability to rush the passer and collapse the pocket. Carolina desperately needs a player with his skills and will jump at the chance to draft him.
15. New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
There is no doubt about which side of the ball New Orleans’ first-round pick will play on, and the team would be wise to simply go with the best defensive prospect available.
Jones proved to have elite playmaking ability in college, and if he can force a few turnovers as a rookie, he will drastically help the Saints’ depleted defense.
16. St. Louis Rams: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Johnson was one of the more impressive players at the combine after running a 4.72-second 40-yard dash. He also posted 28 reps in the bench press, and he undoubtedly has the athletic ability to be a productive lineman.
The Rams could certainly use another tackle, and Johnson brings excellent value at this spot.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Moore proved to be explosive at the combine with good showings in the vertical jump and the broad jump, but he posted disappointing scores in the 40-yard dash and the bench press.
This calls his speed and strength into question, but his production in college ultimately makes him too intriguing to pass up with this pick.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
Monte Kiffin will be looking for the next Warren Sapp in this draft in order to ensure a smooth transition form a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense.
The Tampa 2 scheme requires a quick defensive tackle who can pressure quarterbacks, and Williams has the skills to fit this scheme.
19. New York Giants: D.J. Fluker, Alabama
Eli Manning is not know for his mobility, and the Giants’ pass protection was worrisome at times last year.
Fluker is a polished player with the ability to help protect manning from Day 1 in addition to clearing holes in the running game.
20. Chicago Bears: Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
The Bears need an offensive tackle who won’t get pushed around by opposing pass rushers (and Jay Cutler), but any the remaining players at the position would be a reach here.
Chicago would be wise to give Ogletree—whose character concerns have hurt his draft stock—a year or two to learn under Brian Urlacher. Drafting Ogletree and bringing back Urlacher would set up the team’s defense to transition into a new era.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Kenny Vaccaro, Safety, Texas
The Bengals need to get Reggie Nelson help, and Vaccaro is the type of player who can make a significant impact in the secondary. He can play either safety spot and Reggie Nelson would surely be thrilled to line up next to the Longhorns product.
His ability to play the run and the pass effectively would be a significant boost to the Cincinnati defense.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins): Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
The San Francisco 49ers invested heavily in their offensive line during recent drafts, and it paid off in the form of a trip to the Super Bowl.
St. Louis would be wise to follow this strategy and spend its second first-round pick on another talented offensive lineman.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
How many yards would Adrian Peterson have gained last year if the Vikings had another productive option at wide receiver?
NFL fans will never know the answer to that question, but Minnesota has the chance to draft Allen—who is the best receiver available at this point—and ensure that opposing defenses cannot put nine or 10 men in the box.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut
The Colts will be looking to bolster their secondary as long as they have an option that presents good value, and Wreh-Wilson is a perfect pick.
He has excellent cover skills and Indianapolis will be extremely pleased to add a productive corner back.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
Head coach Pete Carroll and linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. know Jones well because of his Southern California roots, according Seahawks.com’s Clare Farnsworth, and the team needs a player with his schools on its defensive line.
Jones will likely be available with this pick, and this appears to be an ideal match.
26. Green Bay Packers: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Jermichael Finley is not worth the money the Packers are currently giving him, and he is unwilling to take a pay cut. Green Bay’s best option is to unload him and find a replacement in the draft.
Eifert has the edge over Stanford’s Zach Ertz after an impressive combine performance, and he is the best option for the Packers.
27. Houston Texans: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Houston needs a second option at wide receiver to help Andre Johnson and also should look to find a return man to fill the void Jacoby Jones left last season.
Austin is a more explosive special teams player than Keshawn Martin and would be an excellent addition to the Texans’ offense.
28. Denver Broncos: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Denver will be looking to add a run-stuffer, and few players take up more space than the 6’3”, 320-pound defensive tackle.
Hankins is a dominant force in the trenches with the ability to command double teams and free up the Broncos talented pass rushers.
29. New England Patriots: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
After running the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds, Trufant’s stock is on the rise, and New England can only hope the hype dies down and he lasts until the latter part of the first round.
If this happens, the Patriots will happily take the Washington corner back to add depth in their secondary.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
Montgomery is a polished product who has gone against the best offensive lineman the SEC has to offer and still produced.
He is a quality pass rusher and the best defensive end still available at this point in the draft, making him the best choice for Atlanta.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
The 49ers are one of the NFL’s best teams due to their ability to dominate in the trenches on both sides of the ball. After paying plenty of attention to the offensive line in the first round of recent drafts, San Francisco will turn its attention to the other side of the ball.
Short has the ability to play both the run and the pass at a high level, making him the type of versatile lineman that would be an excellent addition in the Niners’ 3-4 defense.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame
While Te’o certainly does not need more pressure and attention, the Ravens have a hole to fill at middle linebacker, and the Notre Dame star is easily the best player at this position still available.
The next Ray Lewis is not in this draft, but Baltimore could do much worse than Te’o.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!