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2013 NFL Mock Draft: Perfect Predictions for the First Round

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2013 NFL Mock Draft: Perfect Predictions for the First Round
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Let's get one thing straight, folks—in no way, shape or form am I saying that the following mock draft is perfect. By the time April rolls around, I'm sure I will have changed my selections at least five times.

But as we stand right now, before we've hit free agency, I do think each pick reflects the perfect blend of need and value for every team.

Which means that, even though I think the Oakland Raiders will end up taking Geno Smith with the third pick, I didn't include that here because I think the perfect selection for the team would actually be Jarvis Jones.

If you're looking for perfection, I'm sure I'll disappoint you. If you're looking for every team's perfect selection as of today, well, that I'm willing to take a stab at. 

 

1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

After trading for quarterback Alex Smith, signing wide receiver Dwayne Bowe to a contract extension and slapping the franchise tag on left tackle Branden Albert, predicting this pick has become increasingly difficult. I'm guessing the Chiefs will try to move down, but if they don't Joeckel is the top player available.

Remember, Albert could always be moved inside to guard, out to right tackle or the Chiefs could choose to drop his tag. For now, Joeckel remains the favorite here and the best player on the board.

  

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida 

The Jaguars could go any number of places with this pick, but I think new coach Gus Bradley would love to improve a weak defensive line.

I don't love any of the 4-3 defensive ends at this slot—and until we know more about Star Lotulelei's heart condition, he'll be dropped down the board—so Sharrif Floyd is the logical pick at No. 2.

 

3. Oakland Raiders: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia  

While I still think the Raiders will end up taking Geno Smith, I think a dynamic playmaker on the defensive side of the ball is exactly what this team needs. And there might not be a more dynamic player in this draft, period, than Jones.

Is he an absolutely perfect pick for Oakland? Not quite—he's a risk considering he has spinal stenosis. But he'll give the Raiders a slightly watered-down version of Von Miller, which is just what the doctor ordered for a team that lacks playmakers on defense.

 

4. Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Really, this pick will improve two positions.

Adding Fisher would allow right tackle Todd Herremans to move back to guard, his natural position. Fisher could either move to right tackle himself or the team could move Jason Peters to the right, seeing as he's 31 years old and recovering from a ruptured Achilles.

Suddenly, a former weakness of the Eagles would be a strength, with Evan Mathis playing the other guard position and Jason Kelce returning from a torn ACL to hold down center. Fisher will instantly give the Eagles an excellent offensive line.

 

5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

USA TODAY Sports

Again, as draft picks go it doesn't get much more obvious than the Lions selecting Dee Milliner.

While the Lions would love to select either Joeckel or Fisher, neither will fall to them. No matter—cornerback is just as big a need for the team, and Milliner is easily the top cornerback left on the board. He'll instantly improve a weak secondary.

 

6. Cleveland Browns: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon

With the move to the 3-4 defense, the Browns need to add dynamic players off the edge. Jordan is one of the finest athletes in this draft and will not only fill a position of need but add some bite to the Browns' mediocre pass rush.


7. Arizona Cardinals: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia 

I'm sure the Cardinals wish this year's quarterback crop was stronger, but you can bet that if the top two tackles are off the board and Smith drops to them at No. 7, they won't hesitate to make him the future of the franchise.

 

8. Buffalo Bills: Ezekiel Ansah, BYU, DE/OLB 

Who do I actually think the Bills will draft here?

Matt Barkley. Quarterbacks have a way of making teams disregard their draft boards.

Who do I think they should draft here?

Ansah. The team needs to upgrade the outside linebacker position, and Ansah is one of the most impressive physical specimens in this draft. He has far more upside than Barkley and is simply a superior value.

 

9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU

Mingo is a player that doesn't have great tape because he wasn't really used in a role that suited his abilities at LSU, but he's an excellent athlete and should thrive playing on the edge in Rex Ryan's 3-4 scheme.

 

10. Tennessee Titans: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

The two biggest needs in Tennessee, at least in my opinion, are defensive end and guard. On one hand, Chance Warmack is probably the better player. On the other, Werner is the better value.

It's much easier to find solid guards later in the draft, but players like Werner won't be available down the board. I think the right move for the Titans is to select the productive end from Florida State.

 

11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, LT, Oklahoma

R. Yeatts/Getty Images

The only reason the Chargers wouldn't make this pick would be because Johnson wasn't available. 

As team needs go, few are more pronounced than the need for the upgrade at left tackle in San Diego. Philip Rivers didn't look like the same guy last year, and a huge reason why was simply because he rarely had time to throw the ball. 

The Chargers need to keep Rivers on his feet. Johnson is as obvious a pick as you'll see on this mock draft.

 

12. Miami Dolphins: Chance WarmackOG, Alabama

Most folks would probably prefer to see a wide receiver taken at this point, but in an ideal world the Dolphins would sign Mike Wallace or Greg Jennings and focus on other positions in the draft. Warmack might be the best player in the draft, and he only drops because guards are rarely taken in the top 10. This is a great pick for Miami.

 

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State  

There isn't a bigger need in Tampa Bay than at corner. Some may think this is a reach, but I think Rhodes will shoot up draft boards after a solid combine.

 

14. Carolina Panthers: Star LotuleleiDT, Utah

Look, I think there is still a very good chance that Lotulelei will be cleared of any issues with his heart and could possibly even be taken No. 1. But for now he presents a risk and I have to drop him down the board. That bodes well with the Panthers, who will upgrade a major need and get a huge steal if Lotulelei is available here.

 

15. New Orleans Saints: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas   

The Saints would love to draft a dynamic 3-4 outside linebacker here, but they're off the board. Free safety is a pretty big need as well, however, and Vaccaro is the best available. This probably isn't what the Saints will envision, but those 3-4 edge rushers are going to get drafted pretty quickly.

 

16. St. Louis Rams: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee  

Sam Bradford needs weapons. Patterson is a bit of a one-hit wonder but has unbelievable athleticism and crazy upside. Pairing him with Danny Amendola would make the Rams' passing attack dynamic.

 

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina 

The Steelers have plenty of needs, but given how the board has developed Cooper is the best player available at a major team need. Cooper may be a guard, but this is a solid value.

 

18. Dallas Cowboys: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama

The Cowboys have a lot of talent, but the team really needs to improve in the trenches. Fluker is best suited to remaining at right tackle, and it just so happens the Cowboys have a need there.

 

19. New York Giants: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri

For years, the Giants' biggest strength was their pass rush. Those days are well in the past, and the team must focus on replenishing in the trenches. Richardson is a steal here and fills a huge need.

 

20. Chicago Bears: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia 

I know, I know, Ogletree's character will be questioned after his DUI. But he's very athletic, and the Bears really need to upgrade at linebacker. The team could also use help on the offensive line or at tight end, but I think Ogletree's upside is going to be too hard to ignore.

 

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M  

Here's what we learned at the NFL combine—Damontre Moore probably isn't athletic enough to play outside linebacker in a 3-4. Here's what he proved last year—he will make plays at defensive end in the NFL in a 4-3.

The Bengals will gladly end his slide down draft boards and pair him with Michael Johnson.

 

22. St. Louis Rams (via Redskins): Menelik Watson, LT, FSU

The Rams got Bradford a wide receiver. Now, they get him some extra protection. He is going to be loving this first round.

 

23. Minnesota Vikings: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia J

Austin isn't just Percy Harvin insurance, he's a bona fide playmaker who will make this offense a matchup nightmare next season. 

 

24. Indianapolis Colts: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State 

The Colts have plenty of needs, so at this slot I think they'll simply select the best player on their board. Banks is going to slide after a poor showing at the combine—though he did run better at his pro day—and the Colts will gladly snatch the Jim Thorpe Award winner here.

 

25. Seattle Seahawks: Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia

Seattle needs to upgrade its defensive line. At this point in the draft, Jenkins is the best defensive lineman on the board.

 

26. Green Bay Packers: Jonathan Cyprien, SS, FIU

The Packers will be thrilled to see the top strong safety available here. For a team with a pretty deep roster, maximizing need and value at this spot is a plus.

 

27. Houston Texans: Keenan Allen, WR, California 

Hey, you guys, Andre Johnson doesn't have to be so lonely as the team's only dangerous wide receiver anymore! Hooray!

 

28. Denver Broncos: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama

Denver's going to be even tougher to run against after making this selection.

 

29. New England Patriots: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington

Here's what the Patriots need to do in the first round—draft the best corner on the board. At this point, Trufant is the best player on the board.

 

30. Atlanta Falcons: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama

If Tony Gonzalez indeed retires, this pick could be a tight end. But I still think the Falcons should look to find a bruiser to replace Michael Turner, and the combination of Lacy and Jacquizz Rodgers would be fun to watch.

 

31. San Francisco 49ers: Eric Reid, S, LSU

The one weakness the 49ers consistently proved to have in the playoffs was defending against vertical passing games. It's time for an upgrade at free safety. Seeing as Dashon Goldson might go elsewhere in free agency, adding a free safety like Reid makes all the more sense.

 

32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te'o, Notre Dame, LB  

Ah, there's Mr. Te'o, rounding out the first round. There's some sort of poetic justice in Te'o replacing Ray Lewis, as two of the biggest football stories of the past year just miss crossing paths.

 

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