2013 NFL Mock Draft: Best Moves for 1st-Round Contenders
Playoff contenders should be happy heading into the 2013 NFL draft. While the franchises near the top are likely bemoaning the lack of top-tier prospects available, the amount of depth throughout the class is good, meaning there will be value near the end of Round 1.
It means teams that enter the draft with one major need to fill should be able to address the issue in the opening round, regardless of position. Normally, the teams that are restricted to just one serious hole are the ones already in contention. The rich should get richer.
Here's a complete mock draft of the first round featuring the updated projections for all 32 picks. A deeper dive is taken into three contenders with a perfect chance to fill a need with their first pick, as denoted by italics.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Offensive tackle remains an area of weakness for the Chiefs. Andy Reid will attempt to revamp the offense heading into next season after a dreadful 2012, and a reliable line is a key building block.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
No team had fewer sacks than the Jaguars last season. They had 20, and every other team had at least 25. They must rebuild the entire pass rush, and a versatile option like Jordan would be a good place to start.
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
As their draft position would indicate, the Raiders have no shortage of holes to fill. Ultimately, it's an organization that's always been enamored with a player's upside, and Floyd has plenty.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
It's tough to imagine the Eagles passing on Fisher if he's still on the board. He's a contender for the top overall pick, and Philadelphia's line could use an anchor to hold down the left side for years to come.
5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Detroit has needs at every level of the defense, which means this pick should come down to taking the best player available. There's no doubt that would be Milliner, the draft's top corner.
6. Cleveland Browns: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
The Browns generated a pass rush using a committee approach last season. But they lack that one star player coming off the edge who can get constant pressure on the QB, which Ansah projects to be.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Although Arizona's quarterbacks were undoubtedly terrible last season, the fact the offensive line gave them virtually no protection can't be overlooked. Johnson is a rising prospect worthy of a top-10 spot.
Which prospect is a better option for Buffalo?
8. Buffalo Bills: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Buffalo might be attracted to Geno Smith with this pick. A quarterback upgrade is needed. However, the better option would probably be taking Patterson then grabbing Ryan Nassib in Round 2.
9. New York Jets: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
It appears the Jets are committed to bringing in as much competition for Mark Sanchez as possible. Smith would actually give them some hope for the future of the position and could win the job.
10. Tennessee Titans: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The Titans would be pleased if Warmack is still on the board here. He's got top-five ability in this class, which is rare for a guard, but there just isn't a good fit until Tennessee.
11. San Diego Chargers: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
San Diego's front office will sit with its fingers crossed during the first 10 picks with hope one of the top three offensive tackles falls. If not, Lotulelei would be a solid backup plan to fill another void.
12. Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Dolphins intercepted just 10 passes last season, ranking them higher than just three teams. They need to add some playmakers to the secondary, and Rhodes certainly fits that category.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
It wasn't long ago that Werner was getting projected inside the top five, so the Buccaneers should be happy with the value they receive if he's still on the board at No. 13.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Carolina is one of the round's turning-point picks because there are so many different directions the team could go. Richardson would provide the best combination of value while eliminating a need.
15. New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
A report from the National Football Post states that Jones' neck injury is looking less like a major concern heading into the draft. If that's true and teams feel comfortable with his health situation, Jones probably jumps back into the top 10.
We'll wait to see how that plays out before changing his status, though. As for now, the Saints look like an ideal fit in the middle of the round. New Orleans ranked dead last in yards allowed last season at over 400 per game. and the lack of a pass rush contributed to those woes.
If healthy, Jones possesses the natural talent to become a defensive superstar. For a team like the Saints, who have relied heavily on offensive stars to carry the load in recent years, that would be a welcome addition. His stock will be better understood as draft day approaches.
16. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Since the Rams offense remains a work in progress around Sam Bradford, the team should focus on upgrading the line in front of him, which will give him a much better chance to show his potential.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Moore is another pass-rusher that's been sliding down the projections lately, but he would be a good fit in Pittsburgh. He can adapt his playing style to fit the team's scheme and will help revitalize the defense.
18. Dallas Cowboys: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
While the Cowboys have no shortage of talent at the skill positions, their average point total was a pedestrian 15th last season. Look no further than the offensive line, which needs improvements.
What should the Giants address with their first pick?
19. New York Giants: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
Getting the pass rush back to being one of the most feared in the NFL is vital to the Giants making a run toward another championship. Mingo isn't a surefire prospect, but his potential makes him worth it.
20. Chicago Bears: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
The Bears offense made some positive strides last season, but there still aren't enough weapons at Jay Cutler's disposal. Eifert would be a massive upgrade at tight end and would really help in the red zone.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas
Vaccaro is the top safety on the board. He's shown the ability to help get in the box and help in run support or drop into coverage. He would help take the Bengals' secondary to the next level.
22. St. Louis Rams (via WSH): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
After providing the offensive line with a boost a couple picks ago, the Rams can now get a player in Austin who's capable of making a lot of big plays out of the slot.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR, California
The Vikings have a gigantic need at wide receiver. Adrian Peterson is tremendous, but even he is going to need some supporting cast members like Allen to help him carry the offense.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
The Colts should feel comfortable with the state of their offense. Andrew Luck's arrival should ensure the unit remains dangerous for the foreseeable future. It also means Indianapolis can focus on upgrading the defense in the draft.
Trufant would be a wise target. The athletic corner has been steadily moving up draft boards over the past few months. He's illustrated a good combination of cover skills and run-support ability while receiving plenty of experience at the college level.
That experience is crucial because the Colts could really use a prospect who's ready to contribute from day one, which Trufant should be. As long as his technique improves with help from the coaching staff at the next level, he should be a solid pickup late in Round 1.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via SEA): Robert Woods, WR, USC
Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported the Vikings will receive this pick from the Seahawks in the Percy Harvin trade. Going with another wideout to pair with Allen isn't out of the question.
26. Green Bay Packers: Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia
Ogletree is the type of player that isn't going to stand out every game. He's just a solid, reliable producer that would be a good addition to a Packers defense that needs more consistency.
Should the Texans draft a WR in Round 1?
27. Houston Texans: Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech
Until the Texans address the void opposite Andre Johnson, their first-round pick will continue to be occupied by the best available receiver. It's been an issue for awhile, but they haven't fixed it.
28. Denver Broncos: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Multiple defensive tackles projected to go in this general area, which means it will come down to each team's preference. Hankins received big-game experience with Ohio State.
29. New England Patriots: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
There doesn't seem to be a perfect fit for the Patriots with this selection, which could lead them to trade it and stockpile future picks. If not, Short would be another piece to build the defense with.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
Okafor is an intriguing prospect. He hasn't received the same amount of attention as they other potential first-round pass-rushers, but he's got the talent to become a major steal for the Falcons.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
The emergence of Colin Kaepernick will help mask some weaknesses on offense for San Francisco. It gives the team a chance to key in on improving a defense that didn't match expectations in the playoffs.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
Adam Schefter of ESPN previously reported that Te'o won't make it out of the first round. After 31 picks, he remains on the board, which leaves the Ravens as the final possibility to make that statement come true—and it's a logical fit.
Ray Lewis' retirement left a void at inside linebacker for the Ravens. Although Te'o didn't shine in the national title game, he had a solid career at Notre Dame, and that on-field success shouldn't be wiped away due to one poor showing.
If Te'o is still on the board, Baltimore should take him. It's a good fit for both the player and the team, and he should be able to step right into the lineup to make an impact. A team can't ask for more than that with the final pick of the round.
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