NFL Mock Draft 2013: Selections to Drastically Improve Every First-Round Team
Several moves have been made in free agency thus far, and as a result, the first round of the NFL draft is beginning to look very different than it did just one week ago.
While many of these first-round picks will help their respective squads, there are other prospects who stand to make an immediate, drastic improvement to the team that drafts them.
Let's take a look at which players will make the biggest impact right away in the NFL, as well as how the opening round of the draft will shake out.
*Note: Players piece focuses on are in italics.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The Chiefs have their quarterback, now the next step to building a strong offense is to beef up the offensive line. Joeckel is the best offensive lineman in this draft and will be a great fit at the left tackle position for KC.
The upgrade is very much needed as the Chiefs were No. 11 in the NFL in sacks allowed last season, and that helped lead them to the No. 32 passing attack in the NFL. While Joeckel will also be an improvement for the running game, the passing attack is clearly the area where he will make the biggest impact.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Jaguars were one of the worst teams in the NFL last season against the run, so adding a stud up the middle should be a major priority in the draft.
Floyd has been surging of late after a great showing at the combine, and that has landed him as a potential top-five pick. Jacksonville can benefit from a great player like Floyd, who looks like he has what it takes to clog the lanes and be a great run-stopper in the NFL.
3. Oakland Raiders: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Now that Jones has received a clean bill of health in regard to his spinal stenosis condition, teams can rest a bit easier about drafting the NCAA's sack leader this high in the first round.
The Raiders happened to be one of the worst teams at getting to the quarterback last season and desperately need a solid pass-rusher in their front seven. Jones was a terror in college and is as good as they come at getting to the quarterback, so this is a perfect match for both sides.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Fisher solidified himself as the second-best tackle prospect in the draft and has slowly moved up the boards as April approaches. There's no doubt he's an NFL-ready player.
That's great news for the Eagles, who could use the help. Philly has a ton of talent on offense, but that talent won't be realized fully unless its blocking improves. The Eagles were the fifth-most sacked team in the NFL last season, and that's exactly where Fisher can make an immediate impact.
5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Lions' pass defense wasn't that bad last season, but they are still lacking a shutdown corner in their secondary. Milliner is the very best corner on the board and has the most potential to be an elite corner in this league down the road.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Now that the Browns have their man at outside linebacker in Paul Kruger, it's time to focus on the defensive end position. Jordan had a great showing at the combine and he should draw some serious interest from the Browns.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
With the Cardinals set to cut quarterback Kevin Kolb according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, this team needs a signal-caller more than ever. Arizona seemed to be impressed with Barkley at the combine even though he didn't throw the ball, so this pick should happen unless Barkley totally blows it at USC's pro day.
8. Buffalo Bills: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
After the Bills cut the turnover machine that was quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo will be in the market for a new quarterback as it looks to build a winning team. Smith recently had a great showing at West Virginia's pro day, and that might be enough to land him the No. 8 pick.
9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
The Jets have had issues getting to the quarterback in recent years, so an upgrade at defensive end makes sense. Mingo is a raw prospect, but he could develop into a dominant pass-rusher down the road.
10. Tennessee Titans: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
If the Titans want Chris Johnson to succeed next season, adding some talent to the offensive line will be absolutely necessary. Tennessee's rushing attack ranked No. 21 in the NFL last season.
Warmack is an NFL-ready player the day he steps onto the field and should make an immediate impact on the Titans. That's great news for Tennessee as it ensures Warmack will be a major improvement right away.
11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Johnson was downright awesome at the combine, and he even outperformed both Joeckel and Fisher in some of the workouts. There's no question Johnson has the strength, athleticism and footwork to be a great tackle at the next level.
The Chargers had major issues protecting the quarterback last season and that seriously halted their passing attack, which is normally a strength. If the Chargers hope to protect Philip Rivers better and get the passing game back on track, drafting Johnson would be the best bet toward reaching that goal as soon as possible.
12. Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Now that the Dolphins got their No. 1 receiver in free agency, they can address the pressing need in their secondary. Rhodes has already proven he is the second-best corner in this year's draft, and he should be a major upgrade for the Dolphins in the very near future.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Bucs were dreadful at getting to the quarterback last season and need to make a move to bring in a solid pass-rusher. Werner was excellent in college at getting to the quarterback and that's why this pick is the right one for Tampa Bay.
14. Carolina Panthers: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The Panthers would love to get Steve Smith and Cam Newton some help, so finding a wide receiver in this spot is ideal. Patterson has a ton of talent and could develop into a solid No. 2 receiver for Carolina.
15. New Orleans Saints: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Saints have a host of issues on the defensive side of the ball and stopping the run is one of them. Lotulelei's stock has taken a hit over the past month, but that's OK for the Saints who would love to have him up the middle of their defense.
16. St. Louis Rams: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The Rams will have some tough offenses to stop as they try to navigate their way through the talented NFC West, so making some additions on defense is a must. Vaccaro is an intriguing safety prospect who can play both positions and even line up against slot receivers.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Ansah's stock has been soaring since the college football season ended, thus making him a first-round lock. The Steelers were reportedly "drooling" over the prospect of him playing as a 3-4 linebacker on their defense, so this pick will happen if Ansah is still on the board.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Cowboys will be moving to a 4-3 defense under new coordinator, Monte Kiffin. That means Dallas could use some extra help up the middle of its defensive line, and Richardson is the best fit as he's the top tackle in this spot.
19. New York Giants: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
The Giants pass-rush could use an upgrade for next season, and they should focus on making that move in this draft. Moore's stock is declining and that has sent him down the draft boards. The Giants will have no problem taking a chance on a pass-rusher who had a solid college career.
20. Chicago Bears: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Without a real sure option at the guard position and an overall lackluster offensive line, the Bears will continue to look to build better protection for their quarterback. Cooper can do just that as well as open things up for Chicago's running backs on the inside.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia
Ogletree is a talented linebacker prospect who can not only be an effective pass-rusher, but he also has the talented to drop back into pass coverage. If he pans out, the Bengals would have a scary linebacker corps.
22. St. Louis Rams (From Washington): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Without a true impact offensive lineman in this spot, the Rams need to look for a playmaker on offense. Now that Danny Amendola is gone, the Rams should draft Austin, who could be an explosive player in the slot in the NFL.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR, California
The Vikings lost their best receiver this offseason, so now it's vital for this team to add a playmaker on offense. Allen will be the best receiver left on the board in this spot, so he's a natural fit for Minnesota.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
The departure of Dwight Freeney has left the Colts with a void at the defensive end position. Hunt has slowly climbed his way up draft boards after an impressive scouting combine, and he should be the answer the Colts are looking for in the pass-rushing department.
25. Minnesota Vikings (From Seattle): Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
The Vikings already have a solid defense, but they could use an upgrade at the defensive tackle position. Williams is a big, strong prospect who comes from a winning program, and he should be able to make an impact at the next level right away.
26. Green Bay Packers: Barrett Jones, C, Alabama
Green Bay needs major help on the offensive line for next season, and that's a fact all over. With that in mind, taking an offensive lineman like Jones makes sense since he has experience playing all over the O-line during his college career.
27. Houston Texans: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
With only Andre Johnson as a major threat in the receiving corps, the Texans need to add some more weapons to take pressure off of him. Hopkins is an explosive player with great hands who has the potential to be a serious threat in the NFL.
28. Denver Broncos: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
Denver already has a ton of weapons on offense, so defense will definitely be the focus here. The Broncos could use an addition in the linebacker corps, namely on the inside, so drafting a player like Minter is logical.
29. New England Patriots: Eric Reid, S, LSU
The Pats have already addressed Wes Welker's departure, so defense should be their primary concern moving forward. After last season, it's clear New England could use help in its secondary, so expect it to draft Reid in this spot.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
A lackluster pass-rush last season should drive the Falcons to add a defensive end, especially since John Abraham is no longer with the team. Montgomery will be the Falcons' best option at adding an end this late in the first round.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
The Niners need to add some depth on defense after injuries began to catch up to them last season. Also, Justin Smith won't be around forever, so adding an heir-apparent now wouldn't be a bad idea. Jones is a solid pass-rusher who will have plenty of time to develop with all the talent currently on the 49ers roster.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
The Ravens have lost several key players from their Super Bow-winning squad, and that's particularly true on defense. Head coach John Harbaugh may not like what he saw in Te'o's 40-yard dash performance, but the Notre Dame product still looks great on film, and the Ravens desperately need a linebacker to fill the void.
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