2013 NFL Mock Draft: Guaranteed Selections for Every First Round Team
Let's get one thing straight, folks—I can't possibly know the minds of NFL general managers or front office folks, so I can't guarantee that this mock draft will be 100 percent correct.
What I can guarantee, however, is that each pick will make sense given the needs of these teams, each player is a talent worthy of this selection and each general manager would be wise to go this route. Well, with the exception of two teams who I project will drastically over-value quarterbacks.
And yes, I guarantee that will happen at some point in the first round. Here's my latest mock.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
There is exactly one pick I feel safe guaranteeing, and it is this one.
Luke Joeckel is the best player on the board, plays a premium position (left tackle, though he could move to the right side next season) and new coach Andy Reid loves taking lineman early in the draft.
Joeckel will be the cherry on top of the Chiefs' makeover, with new quarterback Alex Smith, Eric Winston released, Branden Albert given the franchise ta and cornerback Sean Smith added in free agency. I would be shocked if new coach Andy Reid doesn't solidify the trenches with Luke Joeckel.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
At this point, I expect the spinal stenosis business to be a non-factor for teams considering Jarvis Jones. He's a great fit for the Jags and would give the team a much-needed playmaker on the defensive side of the ball.
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Sharrif Floyd is going to make a lot of plays shooting gaps in a 4-3 defense. He'll instantly upgrade this Raiders defensive line.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Eagles made a lot of free-agent signings on the defensive side of the ball, so Chip Kelly and company may look to upgrade offensively at the draft. If they do, look for them to target Eric Fisher with this pick and set up Michael Vick with bookends at tackle in Fisher and Jason Peters.
5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Lions addressed two major needs via free agency, adding running back Reggie Bush and safety Glover Quin. Both will make instant impacts for the team.
That leaves cornerback as the team's primary need, and if the draft board falls like this, the Lions won't hesitate to select Dee Milliner.
The Alabama cornerback has everything NFL teams are looking for at the position. Top-end speed. Great length. Solid ball skills. Plenty of experience in big-game situations. This seems like as much of a lock as there is in this draft.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
Yes, I know the Browns signed Paul Kruger and Quentin Groves in free agency. But Groves is nothing more than a rotational pass-rusher, and the Browns will have a really hard time passing up one of the most dynamic athletes in this draft.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
If Geno Smith drops to the Cardinals, do you really think they'll—excuse the pun—pass on him?
I don't. This team desperately needs an upgrade at quarterback, and I don't think the draft could go any better for the team than Smith falling right into their laps. He may not be a prospect as talented as Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III last year—or possibly even Russell Wilson—but Smith can play, folks.
Last season, he threw for 4,205 yards, 42 touchdowns and just six interceptions while completing 71.2 percent of his passes. Some of that accuracy was a product of West Virginia's offense calling for a lot of quick hits and wide receiver screens, but Smith still has the look of a solid NFL quarterback.
8. Buffalo Bills: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
After the Bills cut Ryan Fitzpatrick, it became pretty obvious that the team would at least consider using a first-round pick on a quarterback. I don't love the Bills reaching for Barkley here, but I think it happens.
9. New York Jets: Ezekiel Ansah, BYU, DE/OLB
The Jets are pretty much a mess this offseason, but one thing they can nail is the draft. Needing an upgrade on the edge, selecting the explosive Ansah makes a ton of sense.
10. Tennessee Titans: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
After signing Andy Levitre, the biggest area of need in Tennessee is strengthening the pass rush. Luckily for them, Bjoern Werner—the best 4-3 defensive end available—will fall to them.
11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, LT, Oklahoma
The Chargers really need to upgrade at tackle. Thus, I feel very confident projecting Johnson to this slot for the Bolts.
12. Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
13. New York Jets (from Tampa Bay): Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Yes, I think the Jets will trade Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a package that includes the Bucs' first-round pick. After the Bucs went nuts in free agency last year, signing Vincent Jackson and Carl Nicks, I think the team has a win-now mentality. With the pick, look for the Jets to seriously upgrade at guard with a future Pro Bowler, Chance Warmack.
14. Carolina Panthers: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
I have a feeling Lotulelei is going to shoot up draft boards with his pro day behind him, but for now I'll remain cautious and keep him down the board. Make no mistake about it, however—he will not drop past the Panthers at this slot.
15. New Orleans Saints: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
Mingo is an explosive athlete and could very well be a top 10 selection. But with the Saints rolling out a 3-4 defense this year, the team would love to add an edge rusher like Mingo to ease the transition.
16. St. Louis Rams: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
I admit this may be a reach, but I actually like this pick for the Steelers. Ogletree is extremely talented, but teams may be concerned that he has some character issues. Still, if there is a team that can handle character issues—and one that needs an infusion of talent at linebacker—it's Pittsburgh.
18. Dallas Cowboys: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Jerry Jones loves to make a splash, but what the Cowboys really need to do is solidify in the trenches. A little more protection for Tony Romo is a good thing, Jerry, I promise.
19. New York Giants: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Yes, the Giants did recently sign Cullen Jenkins. Jenkins isn't a great three-down tackle at this point and Richardson is a great value at this slot. The Giants won Super Bowls with great defensive lines—it's time to return to that template.
20. Chicago Bears: Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
The Bengals will end Moore's slight drop down draft boards, and will get a player that will be very productive in the team's 4-3 scheme.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Redskins): Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
After signing Jake Long in free agency, the next biggest need is safety. The Rams will be thrilled with the draft if they can slot Kenny Vaccaro into a drastically improved secondary.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
After Percy Harvin was traded to the Seattle Seahawks, wide receiver became a huge need for the Vikings. After signing Greg Jennings, the Vikings could make the position a huge strength if they also added the explosive Austin to reprise Harvin's role with the team.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
The Colts have been busy in free agency, but one position of need they haven't really addressed is cornerback. Luckily for them, the position is a deep one and a stud like Banks will fall to them in the first round.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle): Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia
Received in the Harvin trade from Seattle, the Vikings will address a major need in the trenches with the beastly Jenkins.
26. Green Bay Packers: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
Jesse Williams is a big body that will give the Packers versatility on the defensive line. Expect the Packers run defense to markedly improve next year with Williams on the line.
27. Houston Texans: Keenan Allen, WR, California
It's hardly a secret that the Texans need a big, athletic receiver to pair with Andre Johnson. Allen fits the prototype perfectly.
28. Denver Broncos: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
After signing Wes Welker to give Peyton Manning another dangerous weapon, the Broncos won free agency by default. In the draft they can focus on solidifying positions of need, like adding the bulky Hankins to rotate in the trenches.
29. New England Patriots: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Even after re-signing Aqib Talib, corner is still a major position of need. The rangy, athletic Trufant is the perfect corner to pair with Talib.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
Look for Atlanta to focus on improving its pass rush via the draft. Okafor isn't getting a ton of buzz this draft season, but he's a solid player and a nice value for the Falcons here.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Eric Reid, S, LSU
After Dashon Goldson signied in Tampa Bay, free safety became a major need. Eric Reid may be a slight reach here, but he will instantly get the chance to start in San Francisco.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te'o, Notre Dame, LB
All Manti Te'o has to do is replace Ray Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe in Baltimore. After this offseason, however, I'm sure Te'o is plenty used to pressure. He may have been in the news for all the wrong reasons and lack elite athleticism, but don't forget that this kid can still really play.
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