NFL Mock Draft 2013: Smart Plays for First 32 Picks

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2013

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02:  Defensive end Dion Jordan #96 of the Oregon Ducks calls out in the second quarter as the Ducks take on the Wisconsin Badgers at the 98th Rose Bowl Game on January 2, 2012 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The 2013 NFL draft is setting up to become one of the most interesting in history. That's mainly because there are so few surefire picks in the top 10, which will have a trickle-down effect throughout the rest of the round.

Following the combine, it's usually easy to start putting the pieces together, at least for the first handful of selections. This year, however, it's hard to nail down even the first overall pick since the Kansas City Chiefs have several different options.

It makes the entire draft process more intriguing. Even without a prospect like Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III to lead the class, there are plenty of story lines. With that in mind, let's take a look at a complete mock draft of Round 1.

A deeper dive is taken into a couple ideal fits as denoted by italics.


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

Putting the franchise tag on tackle Branden Albert doesn't have a major impact on the first pick. The Chiefs still have a need at the position, so they will still take Joeckel if he's atop their draft board.


2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon

A fast riser in recent weeks, Jordan was originally slated for the middle of the opening round. Now it appears he would be a solid match for the Jaguars, who finished with the fewest sacks in the league last season.


3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida

Floyd isn't as close to reaching his potential as most of the other players that will come off the board in the top 10. That said, his upside is outstanding, which makes him worth the risk for Oakland.


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

A candidate for the first pick, Fisher is another tackle capable of stepping into a starting lineup without missing a beat. Regardless of who starts at quarterback for the Eagles, they need better protection.


5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

Detroit gave up more than 27 points per game last season. Until the team can improve its defense, it won't matter how many points the offense puts up. A lockdown corner like Milliner is needed.


6. Cleveland Browns: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

Ansah is a natural pass rusher who combines size and athleticism to put a lot of pressure on opposing offensive lines. He's still a work in progress but should be able to make a situational impact right away.


7. Arizona Cardinals: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

The fact that Johnson is the third offensive tackle off the board in the first seven picks illustrates the lack of depth at the playmaker positions. That's not to say he doesn't deserve the spot, though.


8. Buffalo Bills: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

Buffalo could be in the market for a quarterback here, but Ryan Nassib seems like a better fit in Round 2. Adding Patterson to a lackluster receiving group would bring more explosiveness to the offense.


9. New York Jets: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

Mark Sanchez has been given enough chances. A career quarterback rating barely above 70 after four seasons is enough to see he's not the long-term answer for the Jets, who need a more dynamic offense now that the defense isn't as dominant.

While it's true Smith isn't on the same level as Luck or Griffin, who both excelled as rookies, he's the top quarterback in the class and does have upside. He's an accurate passer with above-average athleticism and good arm strength.

Even if the Jets have their minds set on Sanchez starting Week 1, taking Smith so he can assume the starting role at some point this season is still the right move. It's time for a fresh face under center, and New York's front office shouldn't wait another year.


10. Tennessee Titans: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama

Although Warmack definitely has enough talent to go higher in the draft, there just isn't a good fit. Heading to Tennessee would allow him to blast open running lanes for the dynamic Chris Johnson.


11. San Diego Chargers: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

In a perfect world, one of the top three offensive tackles would be available for San Diego here. Since they are all off the board, they should target a top defensive player like Lotulelei instead of reaching.


12. Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

The Dolphins ranked 27th in passing yards allowed last season and intercepted just 10 passes. Rhodes would help the defense by bringing more natural playmaking ability to the secondary.


13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

If Werner falls to Tampa Bay, it's hard to imagine the team passing on him. The Bucs finished near the bottom of the league in sacks, and he's ready to be a major contributor right out of the gate.


14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri

There have been times when Richardson looked like he belonged in the top 10 and others when it seemed like the first round would be a stretch. It would be a steal if he pans out as Carolina would hope.


15. New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia

It's no secret that the Saints defense is nowhere near to the same level as their offense. Taking a chance on Jones, who was a superstar at Georgia, should help start closing that enormous gap.


16. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina

Sam Bradford has been sacked at least 34 times in each of his first three seasons with the Rams. The offensive line must improve for the team to see if he's truly a franchise quarterback.


17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M

Moore's versatility makes him attractive to the Steelers, which would be able to utilize him either in a stand-up passing-rushing role or along the defensive line. The defense certainly needs some youth.


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

The Cowboys have enough skill players on offense to become on of the league's top units. The line isn't quite good enough to support that, however, but adding Fluker to the mix would be a positive step.


19. New York Giants: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU

New York's normally vaunted pass rush was mundane last season. Adding a prospect with a lot of potential like Mingo, who can learn from the team's veterans, would be a wise move.


20. Chicago Bears: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU

Suddenly, Hunt is one of the most talked-about prospects in the draft. He's an extremely intriguing athlete with terrific quickness and the strength to fight off tackles at the next level. His lack of experience is main reason he wasn't high on draft boards to begin with.

He didn't begin playing football until he arrived at SMU. So, as you'd expect, there are still some technical issues he will have to iron out at the next level. He doesn't have the same natural instincts as somebody who's been playing the position for a long time.

That said, taking a chance on his raw talent and athleticism would be a smart move for the Bears. He wouldn't be forced to deal with much pressure thanks to the presence of Julius Peppers, and he could also learn a lot from the veteran pass-rusher.


21. Cincinnati Bengals: Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas

There's no doubt Cincinnati needs an upgrade at safety, it just comes down to where it ranks among the Bengals' offseason priorities. Since the top safety is still on the board, it would be too hard to pass up.


22. St. Louis Rams (via WSH): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

The Rams have virtually no depth at the receiver position, making it tough to achieve any level of consistency on offense. Austin's lightning quickness makes him a perfect slot option.


23. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR, California

Minnesota needs to surround Christian Ponder with more weapons if it expects him to become anything more than a game manager. Allen would be a nice option behind Greg Jennings.


24. Indianapolis Colts: Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia

Ogletree is a prospect that will probably need a full season to adapt to the next level, but he possesses the across-the-board skills that would make him a good fit for Indianapolis.


25. Minnesota Vikings (via SEA): Alex Okafor, DE, Texas

Originally, after the Vikings received this pick in the Percy Harvin trade, it seemed like they might go with two wideouts. The arrival of Jennings obviously changes that thinking and brings Okafor into play.


26. Green Bay Packers: Arthur Brown, OLB, Kansas State

Green Bay should address the defensive side of the ball. It just comes down to which level the Packers want to target first. Brown is a sideline-to-sideline linebacker that would fit well with the Pack.


27. Houston Texans: Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech

Another season went by without the Texans getting any help for Andre Johnson. Even though Patton would be a slight reach at this point, Houston needs to address the wide receiver position.


28. Denver Broncos: Matt Elam, SS, Florida

Peyton Manning's first season in Denver didn't have a storybook ending, but the Broncos are close. Adding an impact defensive player like Elam would help the team's secondary, which let down the team late.


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

It would be a surprise if the Patriots let Trufant slide past them if he's still available. They have an obvious need in the secondary. He's a player with loads of talent but is still putting it all together.


30. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame

Tony Gonzalez is back in the fold, which is awesome news in the short term for the Falcons. It doesn't alter the long-term outlook at the tight end position, however. Taking Eifert would give them confidence that somebody will be prepared to take over once Gonzalez does walk away.

Atlanta's pass-heavy offense, led by Matt Ryan, wouldn't be nearly as effective without a tight end who can pose matchup problems over the middle. It forces defenses to respect the seam routes and leaves more space on the outside for Julio Jones and Roddy White.

Picking Eifert now doesn't mean he will have to sit on the bench, either. The Patriots have shown the advantages of playing two tight ends. The Falcons would be able to do that with Gonzalez and Eifert while still having their dynamic duo on the outside.


31. San Francisco 49ers: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State

The 49ers should certainly be targeting a corner with this selection. It works out well for them because there's a pretty big drop off after Banks, so they are able to get some value while filling a need.


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

Te'o had a disappointing showing in the national title game, and he didn't blow anybody away at the combine. Yet, it would still be a surprise if he slides completely out of the first round.



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