NFL Mock Draft 2013: Best-Case Situations for Every NFL Team
But with the NFL Scouting Combine in the books, and with most of the notable free agents having agreed to new deals this spring as well, the draft picture is becoming much clearer as we approach the pinnacle of the NFL's offseason.
Here we'll mock the entire first round of the 2013 NFL draft, highlighting some of the best case scenarios for each team.
*Top best case situations are italicized.
No. 1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M, OT
Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel is the top player available in this year's class, and even though the Chiefs have already placed the franchise tag on offensive tackle Branden Albert this offseason, they would be foolish to pass on an opportunity to draft a franchise cornerstone in Joeckel.
There is also the possibly that the Chiefs trade out of the top spot.
No. 2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Eric Fisher, Central Michigan, OT
Behind Luke Joeckel, Central Michigan's Eric Fisher, who stands 6'7", is arguably the best player available. Jacksonville can go in a number of different directions this April, seeing as how the Jaguars have plenty of needs, but Fisher certainly shows great promise as a starting tackle.
No. 3. Oakland Raiders (4-12) : Sharrif Floyd, Florida, DT
Sharrif Floyd has watched his draft stock rise considerably since the NFL Scouting Combine, and that means that he could go as soon as the top-5 this year. Floyd has power and versatility, both of which would be welcomed by the NFL's 18th-ranked rushing defense in 2012.
No. 4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): Dee Milliner, Alabama, CB
With the addition of linebacker Connor Barwin in free agency and the depature of cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, it's likely that Philly targets a playmaking defensive back like Alabama's Dee Milliner at No. 4.
If Milliner is still on the board when the Eagles come on the clock, that would have to be considered a best case scenario for Chip Kelly and company. Milliner possesses great speed and exceptional cover skills. His presence in the defensive backfield for the Eagles would be huge as they look to bounce back in 2013.
No. 5. Detroit Lions (4-12): Dion Jordan, Oregon, DE
With leading sack man Cliff Avril signing with the Seattle Seahawks this offseason, Detroit needs to aim for a pass-rusher in this year's draft. Oregon's Dion Jordan is definitely top-5 material.
No. 6. Cleveland Browns (5-11): Barkevious Mingo, LSU, DE
The addition of Paul Kruger is noteworthy, but it's not a reason for the Cleveland Browns to look away from their defense in the first round. Defense wins championships, and Cleveland ranked 25th against the pass and 19th against the run last season.
No. 7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11): Geno Smith, West Virginia, QB
The best case scenario for the Arizona Cardinals this April will be that Geno Smith falls to them at No. 7. The Cardinals have lots of needs this offseason, but it's impossible to win in the NFL without a capable passer under center.
Smith has the arm strength to be a consistent starter in the league, and his accuracy is promising as well. He's not going to be as threatening a runner as players like Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, but he has excellent awareness and escapability in the pocket.
No. 8. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Jarvis Jones, Georgia, LB
Jarvis Jones is one of the top talents available in this year's draft class, but concerns about his health have raised questions. If Smith is off the board, Buffalo could look to shore up a defense that severely underperformed in 2012 by adding Jones to the mix.
No. 9. New York Jets (6-10): Star Lotulelei, Utah, DT
For now, we'll assume that Utah's Star Lotulelei can overcome his health issues and continue to play football at a high level. He's a difference maker, and he is definitely worth the risk for a team like the New York Jets at No. 9.
Rex Ryan's crew ranked 26th against the run last year, and they must improve in that area in order to challenge the Patriots for the division crown this coming season.
No. 10. Tennessee Titans (6-10): Lane Johnson, Oklahoma, OT
Tennessee has addressed the guard position this offseason by bringing in Andy Levitre from Buffalo, but offensive tackle is still an area where the Titans could improve. Lane Johnson is one of the most athletic players coming out of college in 2013, and his impact on the outside of the Titans' offensive line could be felt almost immediately.
No. 11. San Diego Chargers (7-9): Chance Warmack, Alabama, G
With the addition of 6'9" tackle King Dunlap from Philadelphia, San Diego is on the right track to make sure that Philip Rivers is sacked fewer than the 49 times he was last season in 2013.
Still, Alabama's Chance Warmack would be a good fit on the inside of the Chargers' offensive line. He can clear paths consistently and shine in passing situations.
No. 12. Miami Dolphins (7-9): Keenan Allen, California, WR
With a game-breaking, big-play wideout in Mike Wallace already on board, the Dolphins could opt to draft a sure-handed possession type receiver in Cal's Keenan Allen.
No. 13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9): Damontre Moore, Texas A&M, DE
Damontre Moore's stock has dropped since the combine, but Michael Bennett's move to Seattle means that the Buccaneers have a glaring need at defensive end. Moore is a bit of a risk, but his ceiling is seemingly endless if he figures it all out.
No. 14. Carolina Panthers (7-9): Ezekiel Ansah, BYU, DE
Ziggy Ansah could certainly go before No. 14, perhaps within the top-10, but he would be a quality pickup for a team like Carolina at No. 14. Although West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin is a good selection here as well, the Panthers' defensive needs outweigh their limited struggles on the offensive end.
No. 15. New Orleans Saints (7-9): Bjoern Werner, Florida State, DE
New Orleans has to target defense in the first round this year after ranking 31st and 32nd against the pass and run, respectively, last season. Florida State's Bjoern Werner would provide the Saints with a high-energy player on the edge that is capable of disrupting each and every play.
No. 16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): Tavon Austin, West Virginia, WR
This selection is a no-brainer for the St. Louis Rams in the wake of Danny Amendola's signing with the New England Patriots. Tavon Austin has immense speed and playmaking ability. He was lightning quick at the Combine in February, and he affirmed the greatness that he put on tape in three seasons in West Virginia.
Austin could play in the slot and also as a return man on special teams for St. Louis, which is just a few pieces away from potentially becoming a playoff team in 2013.
It's no guarantee that the Mountaineers playmaker will be on the board at No. 16, but if he is, then this is the best case scenario for the Rams, who will select again at No. 22 overall.
No. 17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina, G
Pittsburgh's rushing attack ranked 26th in the NFL a season ago, which was due in large part to the massive amount of injuries sustained to its offensive line. North Carolina's Jonathan Cooper is a versatile guard who plays with power in the running game and has great awareness as a pass protector.
No. 18. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Sheldon Richardson, Missouri, DT
Like the Jets, the Dallas Cowboys are a team that must get better at defending the run in order to elevate themselves from playoff hopeful to championship contender next season. The best way to do that is by drafting a game-changing defensive tackle to shore up the defensive line.
Missouri's Sheldon Richardson has very few weaknesses in his game, and he would make for an ideal first-round selection for Jerry Jones' franchise.
No. 19. New York Giants (9-7): Datone Jones, UCLA, DE
UCLA's Datone Jones would bring a lot of energy to the table for Tom Coughlin's team. The Giants' dominant defensive line has always been key to their success, so this pick is vital for New York as it heads toward the future.
No. 20. Chicago Bears (10-6): Arthur Brown, Kansas State, LB
Kansas State's Arthur Brown is one of those undersized linebackers with immense potential. He can cover sideline-to-sideline and tackle with the best defenders in the country. If the Bears opt to draft defense in the first round, this route is a possibility.
No. 21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Justin Hunter, Tennessee, WR
Cordarrelle Patterson has stolen the spotlight from fellow Tennessee standout Justin Hunter as of late, but the 6'4" Hunter still has a lot to offer an NFL team, especially the Cincinnati Bengals.
Cincy's offense was underwhelming last season, ranking 17th in passing yards and 18th in rushing yards. Adding Hunter and pairing him with superstar A.J. Green would provide quarterback Andy Dalton with two huge targets on the outside, giving him zero excuses for failure.
No. 22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins) (10-6): Kenny Vaccaro, Texas, S
If St. Louis goes offense with its first pick, then it should switch to defense for its second first-round pick. Texas' Kenny Vaccaro would be a promising selection for a team that has lacked an intimidating presence at safety for quite some time.
No. 23. Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Desmond Trufant, Washington, CB
Minnesota's secondary has been among the worst in the league last season in terms of yards allowed, and after releasing veteran Antoine Winfield this offseason, it's safe to say that the Vikings need to be thinking defensive back for at least one of their two first-round picks.
No. 24. Indianapolis Colts (11-5): Sylvester Williams, North Carolina, DT
The Colts' run defense can't get much more worse than it was in 2012, and that's why drafting a big, gap-plugging defensive lineman in North Carolina's Sylvester Williams would be the best move for Indianapolis at No. 24.
Indy surrendered nearly 138 rushing yards per game on the ground last season, and will be a lock to miss the playoffs if that happens again, assuming the Colts play a tougher regular season schedule in 2013.
Williams possesses great quickness and the power to blast through opposing offensive lineman.
No. 25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle Seahawks) (11-5): Alec Ogletree, Georgia, LB
Georgia's Alec Ogletree would be a big move for the Vikings at No. 25. He's a bit of a risk given his off-field history, but the intensity in which he plays with is unrivaled.
No. 26. Green Bay Packers (11-5): Eddie Lacy, Alabama, RB
Seattle sends this years first round pick and a 7th rounder as well as a mid-round pick next year for Harvin. Win-win for both teams— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) March 11, 2013
Green Bay could decide to bolster its offensive line through the draft this spring, but if Alabama's Eddie Lacy is available, this would be a best case scenario for the Pack.
Mike McCarthy's club has lacked consistency in the running game for a long time now, and in order to take some of the pressure off of Aaron Rodgers, the front office would be smart to add a bruising back to the mix. Lacy can break through defenders will ease if he has an angle, and there's no reason to believe that he won't excel in short-yardage situations at the next level.
Lacy isn't a star receiver out of the back field, but his physical style would make for a refreshing blend in Green Bay's offense.
No. 27. Houston Texans (12-4): Kevin Minter, LSU, LB
Kevin Minter would be a great fit in Houston. The defense is Super Bowl-caliber already, and his presence on the interior would ensure that the Texans remain a contender in the AFC well beyond 2013.
No. 28. Denver Broncos (13-3): John Cyprien, Florida International, S
After adding Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from Philadelphia this March, Denver could continue its mission to retool the secondary by picking up a big-time safety in John Cyprien.
No. 29. New England Patriots (12-4): Matt Elam, Florida, S
Losing Wes Welker and adding Danny Amendola in free agency does nothing to help New England's shaky secondary. The Pats ranked 29th against the pass in 2012, and they would love to get their hands on a playmaking safety like Matt Elam.
No. 30. Atlanta Falcons (13-3): Khaseem Greene, Rutgers, LB
The good news is that Tony Gonzalez is coming back and Steven Jackson is set to join the Atlanta Falcons next season as well. Unfortunately, Atlanta is likely going to begin the post-John Abraham era next season, meaning that the Falcons would be wise to look for linebacking help in the draft.
Rutgers' Khaseem Greene is a bit undersized, but he's a sure tackler and has great range in run defense.
No. 31. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State, CB
San Francisco's secondary is largely responsible for its loss in Super Bowl XLVII last February. Joe Flacco had his way against the Niners' defensive backs, and on top of that, star safety Dashon Goldson was lost to Tampa Bay this offseason.
Mississippi State's Johnthan Banks may not be a popular pick, but he would give San Francisco some depth in the secondary.
No. 32. Baltimore Ravens (10-6): Manti Te'o, Notre Dame, LB
Let the search begin for the next anchor on the Baltimore Ravens defense. Ray Lewis' decision to hang up his cleats will likely have Baltimore targeting a replacement with the last selection in the first round this year.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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