2013 NFL Mock Draft: Best Player Targets for Every GM

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2013 NFL Mock Draft: Best Player Targets for Every GM
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After nearly a week of free agency, NFL general managers now have a better understanding of the needs of their respective teams heading into the 2013 NFL Draft.

Filling needs on the roster doesn't necessarily preclude teams from taking the best player available, though, no matter what position he plays. 

The draft is a pseudoscience that every team approaches differently. Should the draft be held today, these are the moves that make the most sense for each team.

Note: Italicized selections will highlight a more in-depth look into why a particular player is the best target for that particular team.

 

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

John Dorsey would be wise to take Joeckel—the projected best offensive lineman in this year's draft. 

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Even though the Chiefs used the franchise tag on Branden Albert, there's no guarantee he'll be a long-term player for the team. And though he has voiced displeasure about possibly playing on the right side, the Chiefs can't go wrong with two dominant tackles in 2013. 

 

2. Jacksonville Jaguars—OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan

The Jaguars have needs on defense, but there's no doubt the team needs help on its offensive line, too, having given up 50 sacks in 2012 and 44 sacks in 2011. Fisher is an athletically gifted tackle who will make an immediate positive impact on Jacksonville's ability to protect the passer, and he's a solid run-blocker, too.

 

3. Oakland Raiders—DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida

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Having just lost Desmond Bryant to the Cleveland Browns via free agency and having voided the contract of Richard Seymour this past season, General Manager Reggie McKenzie needs a dominant defensive tackle to anchor his defensive line. 

Floyd is just the man for the job, too. The 6'3", 297-pound powerhouse from Florida will wreak havoc inside as a dominant three-technique tackle in the NFL. 

Not just a run-stuffing big body, Floyd possesses excellent hands and quick feet that allow him to penetrate opposing offensive lines on both run and pass plays. He's a player in the same mold as Geno Atkins and Henry Melton who will bring plenty of pressure to opposing quarterbacks and generate sacks with regularity.

 

4. Philadelphia Eagles—OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma

The Eagles offense is going to feature a lot of movement, both on running and passing plays, and its offensive linemen will need to be athletic and fast. This fits Johnson's game to perfection, and he'll be an instant starter for Philly in 2013, either on the right or left side of the line. 

 

5. Detroit Lions—DE Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah, BYU

Having lost Cliff Avril to the Seattle Seahawks via free agency, the Lions need to draft a dominant pass-rusher to take his place. Ansah is a dynamic pass-rusher with seemingly unlimited upside, and he fits the Lions' "wide-nine" scheme to perfection.

 

6. Cleveland Browns—CB Dee Milliner, Alabama

Having signed Paul Kruger to play opposite Jabaal Sheard in Ray Horton's 3-4 scheme, the Browns would be better served picking the top cornerback in the draft, rather than taking another pass-rusher. Adding Milliner to play opposite Joe Haden will make Cleveland's defense incredibly strong against the pass.

 

7. Arizona Cardinals—QB Geno Smith, West Virginia

With all three top offensive tackles off the board, the Cardinals will take a gamble on the best quarterback in the draft. Smith has plenty of raw talent, and Bruce Arians has a track record of getting the most out of his quarterbacks. 

 

8. Buffalo Bills—OG Chance Warmack, Alabama

The Bills lost a key offensive lineman when guard Andy Levitre signed with the Tennessee Titans via free agency. Adding Warmack would soften the blow. Levitre was a pass-blocking specialist, but Warmack is a run-blocker extraordinaire. He'll pave superhighways for C.J. Spiller in 2013. 

 

9. New York Jets—OLB Jarvis Jones

The Jets need to get younger and faster on defense, and Jones is the top 3-4 outside linebacker in this year's draft class. 

More than one NFL team apparently shied away from Jones as a first-round talent after medical concerns were raised at the combine regarding his spinal stenosis. But more recently, "leading orthopedist Craig Brigham refutes that Jones ever had a significant spinal cord contusion," according to the National Football Post's Dan Pompei

Jones racked up 14.5 sacks last year at Georgia to lead the nation, and he came in second to Whitney Mercilus in 2011 with 13.5 sacks. Twenty-eight sacks in the past two years against SEC talent is proof of Jones' pass-rushing prowess.

Adding him would immediately upgrade the team's pass-rush, and his experience in a 3-4 scheme would allow him to step in from the opening day of training camp as a starter.

 

10. Tennessee Titans—S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas

The Titans are in need of secondary help, having allowed more passing yards in 2012 than all but six teams in the league. Michael Griffin, who was at one time one of the NFL's top safeties, has struggled in coverage the past two years. Adding Vaccaro would be a smart move to shore up the team's secondary.

 

11. San Diego Chargers—OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon

Offensive line is a big need for the Chargers, but when a player like Jordan is still sitting around, waiting to be called, you don't pass him up. Jordan would be a phenomenal addition to a young defense. He and Melvin Ingram would make a dynamic pass-rushing duo for the Chargers in the years to come. 

 

12. Miami Dolphins—OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina

Having shored up many of the team's needs through free agency, General Manager Jeff Ireland would be smart to now concentrate on solidifying his offensive line. Cooper is a terrific pass-blocking specialist as a guard, and adding him would be another move to help Ryan Tannehill develop into a star.

 

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

No team allowed more passing yards last year than the Buccaneers. The team's front seven is a strong unit, and safety Mark Barron showed a lot of promise, but there isn't a starting-caliber cornerback on the team's roster at this time. Rhodes could be an instant starter.

 

14. Carolina Panthers—DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri

With Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson on the edge and a talented trio of linebackers, the Panthers feature a formidable front-seven. All the unit needs to become dominant is a blue-chip defensive tackle. Richardson is a disruptive tackle who would immediately give the Panthers a presence inside. 

 

15. New Orleans Saints—OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU

As the Saints transition to a 3-4 defensive scheme under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, the team's need for pass-rushers has become more important. Adding an athletic freak like Mingo would give Ryan the speed he needs on the edge to attack opposing quarterbacks.

 

16. St. Louis Rams—WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia

After losing Danny Amendola to the New England Patriots and Brandon Gibson to the Miami Dolphins via free agency, the Rams need to add receivers for Sam Bradford in 2013. 

Austin is one of the most dynamic players in this year's draft. At 5'8" and 174 pounds, he isn't your typical receiver, though. Austin can turn a simple bubble screen into six points, he can take it to the house as a running back and can return a punt or kickoff for a score. 

He posted a 4.34-second 40 time at the combine, which is impressive enough, but it's not his best quality. Austin can shift gears in a heartbeat, and he can also make lateral cuts just as fast as he can bolt forward. 

Adding him to the Rams lineup with newly acquired and speedy tight end Jared Cook would give the Rams two of the most electric receiving threats in the NFL. 

 

17. Pittsburgh Steelers—WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee

The Steelers let Mike Wallace walk as a free agent, and he signed a mega-contract with the Miami Dolphins. In his stead, Pittsburgh would be smart to add Patterson to take over as the deep threat, allowing Antonio Brown to continue doing work as the team's No. 1 option underneath. 

 

18. Dallas Cowboys—DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina

The Cowboys are frightfully thin on talent at the defensive tackle position. Adding a big, strong tackle like Williams is a must for Monte Kiffin's 4-3 scheme, and the Cowboys won't likely stop at just one defensive tackle in this year's draft.

 

19. New York Giants—DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State

After a lackluster year by the Giants' front seven in terms of bringing pressure to opposing quarterbacks (33 sacks), Jerry Reese must bring in new talent on the edge. Adding a skilled technician like Werner to pair with Jason Pierre-Paul will give New York what it needs to improve in this area.

 

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20. Chicago Bears—ILB Alec Ogletree, Georgia

Talks with Brian Urlacher are reportedly going slowly (h/t Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune), and even if he does come back to play for Chicago, the Bears need to draft his replacement. Ogletree, like Urlacher, is a former safety with good range who will be a perfect eventual replacement for the team's legendary captain.

 

21. Cincinnati Bengals—S Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International

The Bengals feature a strong group of defensive backs, but the team only has one starting-caliber safety to cover the back end. Cyprien is a do-it-all defender who can cover deep and play tough at the line of scrimmage. He's the perfect player to line up next to Reggie Nelson in 2013. 

 

22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins)—OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama

After landing a prized offensive playmaker with their first selection, the Rams would be smart to acquire a cornerstone offensive lineman with their second first-round pick. Fluker isn't fleet-footed enough to be a left tackle, but his dominance on the right side will allow the Rams to be more balanced in 2013. 

 

23. Minnesota Vikings—CB Desmond Trufant, Washington

The Vikings shocked a lot of people when they released long-time veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield. Trufant isn't a tough-as-nails run defender like Winfield, but his ability to lock down one side of the field on passing plays will be crucial for the Vikings against the pass-heavy teams of the NFC North.

 

24. Indianapolis Colts—OLB Jamie Collins, Southern Miss

The Colts signed Erik Walden to come in and compete as an outside linebacker, but the team would be foolish to rest its laurels and count on him. Adding a dynamic athlete like Collins to come in and provide pressure off the edge would be a wise move for the future, if not the present. 

 

25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle Seahawks)—WR Keenan Allen, California

Adding Greg Jennings via free agency was a savvy move by General Manager Rick Spielman, but the Vikings still need to add talented pass-catchers to the roster for Christian Ponder. Allen is a receiver who compares favorably to Jennings—a talented route-runner with the ability to make plays after the catch. 

 

26. Green Bay Packers—OLB Damontre Moore, Texas A&M

The Packers have been trying to find a pass-rusher that can complement Clay Matthews for the past couple of seasons. Nick Perry was drafted last year, and he could still prove to be that guy. After he missed the year with an injury, though, the Packers would be wise to add another pass-rusher.

Moore was highly productive for the Aggies, improving every year at Texas A&M. He totaled 12.5 sacks and 21 tackles for a loss in 2012, and he was consistently productive throughout the year, posting zero sacks in just four of his 13 games.

A horrible showing at the combine—specifically in the 40 and bench press—dropped Moore's stock significantly, but he managed to salvage it with a better showing at his pro day, despite the fact that he was struggling with a hamstring injury. 

A player who many had pegged as a top-five pick before the combine, due to his undeniable production, the Packers would be getting a steal here at the bottom of Round 1 to land Moore.

 

27. Houston Texans—DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson

Adding a legitimate playmaker to the offense for Matt Schaub should be the first priority for Rick Smith and the Texans. Hopkins is one of the most polished, pro-ready players in the draft, and he'll be a tremendous asset to the Texans on offense in 2013. 

 

28. Denver Broncos—DT Star Lotulelei, Utah

One of the best players in the draft, Lotulelei didn't participate at the combine when it was discovered that he has a heart condition. It's not yet known what effect this condition will have on his draft stock, but if he checks out medically and is available at this point in the draft, the Broncos would be getting a huge steal.

 

29. New England Patriots—WR Robert Woods, USC

The Patriots lost Wes Welker to the Denver Broncos and added Danny Amendola in his stead, but the team also released Brandon Lloyd. The team still needs to add an outside receiver, and Woods is a skilled player who makes big plays after the catch. 

 

30. Atlanta Falcons—TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame

With the return of Tony Gonzalez, the Falcons aren't in dire straits to land a tight end. That said, Eifert is one of the best offensive weapons in this year's draft, and it would do him good to play behind Gonzalez for a season.

 

31. San Francisco 49ers—DE Margus Hunt, SMU

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After adding Glenn Dorsey to play the nose in the absence of Isaac, Sopoaga, who left to play for the Eagles, the 49ers would be smart to add another talented defensive lineman.

Hunt isn't ready to step in and start right away, but the 49ers don't need him to. He'll be a rotational player that will benefit from playing behind Justin Smith for a year or two before becoming one of the most dominant 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL. 

 

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

After Ray Lewis' retirement, the Ravens surprisingly let Dannell Ellerbe sign with the Miami Dolphins in free agency. Baltimore needs inside linebackers (plural), and adding Te'o here at the end of Round 1 would be a good start.

 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 

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