2013 NFL Mock Draft: Each Team's Perfect 1st-Round Pick
The 2013 NFL draft is right around the corner now that the NCAA Tournament is underway.
Free agency started out hot and heavy, per usual, and there were plenty of moves that shook up the first round of the draft.
Every general manager hopes his first-round selection turns out to be a perfect fit for his team, but we know that's not always the case.
That said, I'll be focusing on players that fit each team's needs in this mock draft. Selected players who are ideal picks for their teams will be highlighted with italics for more in-depth analysis.
1. Kansas City Chiefs—OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
With the rumor that the Chiefs have placed Branden Albert on the trade block (h/t SI.com's Peter King), it seems more and more likely that Kansas City will select Joeckel in April.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars—DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU
Though Mingo struggled to produce last season for the Tigers (4.5 sacks), his dynamic athleticism and speed will be too intriguing to pass up for the Jaguars. New head coach Gus Bradley is installing the same defensive scheme he ran in Seattle, and Mingo is a perfect candidate to be his "leo."
3. Oakland Raiders—DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
Sharrif Floyd has been getting a lot of love nationally at the top of mock drafts, but don't fall asleep on Richardson as a potential top three pick. Richardson is a disruptive defensive tackle who projects as a dominant three-technique tackle or a five-technique end.
4. Philadelphia Eagles—OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon
The Eagles committed a lot of money to Connor Barwin in free agency, which signalled a move to a 3-4 scheme. The Eagles have been tight-lipped about whether or not they would be making the change, but this move, along with the signing of nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga, left no room for doubt.
Jordan is the top 3-4 outside linebacker prospect on my board. His experience in Kelly's system at Oregon makes him a perfect player to plug in to the Eagles' roster in 2013, and his physical traits make him more than worthy of being selected this high in the draft.
A former tight end, Jordan is an exceptional athlete who is just as adept at covering in space as he is at pinning his ears back and rushing the passer. His first step is extraordinarily quick, and he has the closing speed to punish quarterbacks off the edge.
Adding him to the lineup to play opposite Barwin will give new defensive coordinator Billy Davis the tools he needs to successfully make the switch to a 3-4 defense this year.
5. Detroit Lions—OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
Riley Reiff shouldn't be asked to switch to the left side in 2013. He's a terrific right tackle, but moving him to protect Matthew Stafford's blind side would be a terrible decision. Fisher is an elite left tackle prospect, and landing him here at No. 5 would give the Lions two excellent tackles to protect Stafford.
6. Cleveland Browns—CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
Milliner is good enough to be a top five pick and the Browns won't be able to resist taking him here to play opposite Joe Haden. With the team's free-agent additions of Desmond Bryant and Paul Kruger, the front seven is set for the 2013 season, meaning a pass-rusher isn't a necessity at this point in the draft.
7. Arizona Cardinals—OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
No team needs offensive linemen as badly as the Cardinals, which allowed 58 sacks last year. Johnson is an athletic left tackle who would be a huge upgrade over the players currently on Arizona's roster.
8. Buffalo Bills—QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
After the Bills released Ryan Fitzpatrick, it's clear the team plans on selecting a quarterback at some point in the draft. Smith isn't as polished as the top quarterbacks from last year's draft, but he has the raw tools to succeed in the NFL.
9. New York Jets—DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida
Most mock drafts have the Jets selecting a pass-rusher here, but Floyd is too good a player to pass on at this point. Furthermore, he's a pass-rusher from the inside and teams will be forced to commit two offensive linemen to stop him, which will open up more opportunities for outside pressure.
10. Tennessee Titans—DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
The Titans could decide to select safety Kenny Vaccaro to bolster their secondary or they could select one of the two top guards to boost production in the running game. Elite pass-rushers are more valuable in the long run, though, which is why Tennessee will select Ansah.
A player with little experience and production in college, Ansah is a raw player just waiting to be molded into a superstar. He showed his rare athleticism during practices at the Senior Bowl and then blew scouts away at the combine.
His ability to create havoc in the backfield with his quick burst off the line, violent hands and rare flexibility is the reason he's been projected by some "experts" as a potential top five pick in this year's draft.
Landing him here at No. 10 will be too tempting for the Titans to pass up.
11. San Diego Chargers—OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
With all three top offensive tackles off the board, new general manager Tom Telesco would be wise to take the best player left on the board. Jones was recently given a green light medically by renowned orthopedic surgeon Craig Brigham, who refuted any notion that Jones ever had spinal stenosis (h/t Dan Pompei of the National Football Post).
12. Miami Dolphins—OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
After shelling out cash in free agency, the Dolphins lost Jake Long to the St. Louis Rams. Cooper isn't an offensive tackle, but he's a phenomenal pass-blocking guard who will solidify Miami's offensive line.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
This is a pick that bucks the trend quite a bit, as the Bucs need secondary help in the worst possible way. That said, the opportunity to land this year's premier game-breaking wide receiver is too good to pass up. Pairing him with Vincent Jackson and running back Doug Martin would give the Bucs an offense to compete with any team in the league.
14. Carolina Panthers—DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
Lotulelei missed the combine after doctors found an abnormality in his heart. He's since been medically cleared to work out, and he showed up in a big way at his pro day. He'll add a much-needed element of power to the inside of Carolina's front seven.
15. New Orleans Saints—WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
Marques Colston is nearly 30 years old, believe it or not, and the Saints would be wise to add a receiver with youth and an ability to stretch the field in 2013. Thankfully for Mickey Loomis, Patterson is still on the board here, and he would be a tremendous weapon for Drew Brees this upcoming season.
16. St. Louis Rams—S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
Jeff Fisher will be giddy with delight to see Vaccaro's name still on the board.
The Rams were in the market for safety help a month ago. After releasing Quintin Mikel last week, the team is even more desperate to bring in a safety.
St. Louis already features a solid front seven and a dominating duo of cornerbacks in Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins. Adding a do-it-all safety like Vaccaro will give defensive coordinator Tim Walton the player he needs to orchestrate a stifling defense in 2013.
Vaccaro is a rare player who is just as comfortable staying with slot receivers in man coverage as he is playing as a safety valve in a deep zone scheme. He is easily the top safety in this year's draft class, and the Rams won't hesitate to add him to the roster.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers—CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
A pass-rusher would be nice here, but it would be a reach to take one at this point in the draft. Adding a big press corner like Rhodes will allow defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to send more blitzers in 2013 to dial up the pressure.
18. Dallas Cowboys—OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
The Cowboys need help up front to protect Tony Romo, who they're trying to sign to a contract extension (h/t ESPN's Calvin Watkins). Adding Warmack will make a huge difference, as he'll make a huge impact both in the running game and in pass protection.
19. New York Giants—ILB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
New York has been operating without a strong linebacking corps for years now, and it's time to invest in this unit. Ogletree is a talented player with sideline-to-sideline speed and the athleticism to cover the middle of the field.
20. Chicago Bears—OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama
Adding Jermon Bushrod was a start, but the Bears need to continue upgrading their offensive line. Fluker is a dominant right tackle who will solidify the team's line and anchor a strong running game for Matt Forte.
Who will end up becoming the better pro safety?
21. Cincinnati Bengals—S Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International
The Bengals kept Michael Johnson with the franchise tag and re-signed Rey Maualuga, but the team still needs to upgrade the talent at the safety position. Cyprien is a hard-hitting safety who is also adept in coverage, and he'll be a huge addition to a defense that is already dangerous.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins)—WR Keenan Allen, California
The Rams lost Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson via free agency, and bringing in wide receivers will be a high priority for general manager Les Snead. Allen is one of the top players in this year's draft, but a lingering knee problem continues to plague him, which is why he's still available here near the bottom of Round 1.
23. Minnesota Vikings—WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
Signing Greg Jennings was a huge move for Rick Spielman, and he'll be a valuable addition to the team's roster, but another receiver is still needed. Hopkins is as polished and pro-ready as any player in this year's draft, and his ability to make plays after the catch will be a perfect fit for Minnesota's offense.
24. Indianapolis Colts—DE Datone Jones, UCLA
In order for the Colts' 3-4 defense to continue developing in 2013, the team needs more talent and depth on its three-man front. Jones projects as a potential dynamo 3-4 defensive end, and he'll improve the team's run defense as well as its pass-rush.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle Seahawks)—CB Desmond Trufant, Washington
Harrison Smith was a home-run selection by Spielman last year and he helped the Vikings' secondary immensely. But the team recently released long-time veteran and hard-nosed leader Antoine Winfield, leaving a big void at the cornerback position.
Minnesota may yet bring Winfield back (h/t ESPN's Kevin Seifert), but at the age of 35, he's nearing the end of his career.
Trufant is a man-to-man specialist who loves the challenge of taking on the opposing team's best receiver. He's not as physical at the line of scrimmage as Winfield, but his ability and willingness to lock down one side of the field on passing downs is rare.
Adding him to the Vikings' young secondary to play with Smith will give Minnesota another dynamic playmaker on defense.
26. Green Bay Packers—S Eric Reid, LSU
With Charles Woodson's release, the already thin Packers secondary needs an upgrade. Adding a rangy safety like Reid would allow the team to be more aggressive up front to bring pressure to opposing quarterbacks.
27. Houston Texans—OLB Jamie Collins, Southern Miss
It wasn't a shock to see Connor Barwin leave Houston via free agency, but his departure does leave a void at outside linebacker. Whitney Mercilus began to emerge as a disruptive pass-rusher late last year, and adding Collins to the roster would give Wade Phillips two young studs to sick on opposing quarterbacks.
28. Denver Broncos—DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina
The Broncos re-signed Kevin Vickerson and signed Terrance Knighton via free agency, but the team still could use another talented defensive tackle for depth and for the future. Williams is a talented player who will be a valuable player for Denver's defense in 2013 and beyond.
29. New England Patriots—S Matt Elam, Florida
Re-signing Aqib Talib was an important move for New England, but the secondary is still in need of some TLC. Elam is an instinctive, rangy player—albeit a bit undersized—who will be in contention for a starting spot from the first day of training camp.
30. Atlanta Falcons—OLB Arthur Brown, Kansas State
The Falcons struggled to defend tight ends last year, and the team's linebacking corps lacks the athleticism it needs to do so. Adding an athlete like Brown to the team's roster would allow defensive coordinator Mike Nolan the flexibility he lacked last year to cover and send timely blitzes.
31. San Francisco 49ers—DE Margus Hunt, SMU
The 49ers added defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey to fill the void left by Isaac Sopoaga's departure to the Philadelphia Eagles. The team still needs to add talent to its defensive line, and Hunt would be a phenomenal player to sit behind Justin Smith for a year or two while filling in as a rotational player.
32. Baltimore Ravens—ILB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
The Ravens lost a lot of defenders via free agency and one via retirement (Ray Lewis). It's time to restock the roster, and Te'o's athleticism will be a good fit for Baltimore, which features some big bodies up front who will keep blockers off Te'o and let him run to the ball.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78
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