2013 NFL Mock Draft: Best Choices Your Team Should Make
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The 2013 NFL draft offers your team plenty of talent to make the best selection in Round 1.
Mesh the order of picks with the pool of prospects and this year will be quite interesting to say the least.
We've already seen teams address proper areas in free agency, which will impact the draft strategy. On the other hand, not every team was fortunate during this period, so landing that key college star is imperative to ensure greater confidence when the season kicks off.
The major difference simply comes in the form of those who step up when the pads go on.
Note: Highlighted players in italics.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, Tackle (Texas A&M)
Kansas City continues to quickly rebuild offensively with Luke Joeckel. His impact simply inflates the production of Jamaal Charles and Joeckel upgrades the pass protection. Now with added balance the Chiefs will win the field position battle and score more consistently.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Sharrif Floyd, DT (Florida)
Last season Jacksonville ranked No. 30 in rush defense and gave up an average of 4.1 yards per carry. Even worse, defensive lineman Terrance Knighton signed with the Broncos in free agency according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post.
That only warrants the selection of Florida's Sharrif Floyd even more.
Although he's not the most electrifying of pass-rushers, Floyd's lateral body control and quick reactionary skills will seal open running lanes. The past two seasons he accounted for 92 tackles, 19.5 of which were for loss and 10 quarterback hurries.
Considering the AFC South features solid ball-carriers in Arian Foster, Chris Johnson and Vick Ballard the Jaguars can't afford to lose the battle up front. And Floyd's presence will get Jacksonville tougher regarding the immediate point of attack.
3. Oakland Raiders: Dee Milliner, CB (Alabama)
The AFC West is continuing to improve offensively and the Raiders need better coverage. Opting for Dee Milliner presents a shutdown corner to lock away half of the field. Plus his physical play is an advantage for press coverage and perimeter run support.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher, Tackle (Central Michigan)
The good news for Philadelphia is it can select virtually anywhere to address a weakness. Eric Fisher comes in at No. 4 overall as the Eagles desperately need better pass blocking. With the balance and technical skill set to wall the edge, Fisher can also reach downfield from the backside to extend running lanes.
5. Detroit Lions: Bjoern Werner, DE (Florida State)
Detroit needs to present a complete player on the outside. Bjoern Werner offers this talent with excellent instincts against the run and a reliable pass rush. Include an offense capable of scoring at will and the Lions fielding a stronger defense will get them back in the postseason discussion.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dion Jordan, DE (Oregon)
Unless the Browns look to trade up for Milliner, landing Dion Jordan is a great solution to enhance the front seven. Possessing the acceleration and agility to constrict the edge versus the run, Jordan's speed and quickness will also bolster the pass rush to complement the addition of Paul Kruger, (via Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun) and a vulnerable secondary.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Chance Warmack, Guard (Alabama)
The Cardinals will remain at the bottom of the NFC West until the offensive line gets fixed. Chance Warmack is the solution here, because of his power as a run-blocker and strength for pass protecting. In turn, Arizona controls better up front to slam the trenches and set up play-action.
8. Buffalo Bills: Geno Smith, QB (West Virginia)
Already fielding a sound running game and offensive line, Buffalo finds an extension of balance with Geno Smith. He'll benefit from C.J. Spiller's dual-threat talent and have time in the pocket to survey defenses. Opponents won't blitz him often either, because Smith's decision-making and accuracy will split zones and press the secondary on its heels.
9. New York Jets: Ezekiel Ansah, DE (BYU)
Ezekiel Ansah may be a one-hit wonder at the college level, but his natural athleticism will smoothly transition into the NFL.
In 2012 he collected 13 tackles for loss and defended nine passes, so the ability to deconstruct a backfield and knock down quick passes is to a defense's advantage. Plus his impressive combine numbers of 4.63 seconds on the 40-yard dash, 4.26 on the 20-yard shuttle and 118 inches on the broad jump reveals Ansah's explosive power to dominate the perimeter.
Rex Ryan and the Jets definitely need his capabilities, because Gang Green gave up an average of 4.3 yards per rush last season and allowed 17 rushing scores. Factor in only 30 sacks recorded and Ansah will propel New York toward improvement.
His lateral speed alone will set the edge versus the run and Ansah's athleticism will win one-on-one to get quarterback pressure.
10. Tennessee Titans: Xavier Rhodes, CB (Florida State)
Featuring one of pro football's most vulnerable secondaries in 2012, Tennessee addresses this weakness in Xavier Rhodes. He supplies the physicality to dominate in man coverage, but also the ball awareness to make plays. The Titans missed that No. 1 cornerback last year and Rhodes' impact will blanket half the field.
11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, Tackle (Oklahoma)
For as many times as Philip Rivers turned the ball over last year, plenty of that can also be attributed to a lack of pocket protection. Well, Lane Johnson quickly seals the outer walls for Rivers with supreme athleticism for the tackle position. San Diego's passing game becomes more effective and Johnson's burst to get upfield also establishes a stronger ground game.
12. Miami Dolphins: Desmond Trufant, CB (Washington)
Desmond Trufant is a slight reach for Miami at No. 12, but the Dolphins can't afford to remain susceptible in coverage. Count Sean Smith joining K.C., according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, and adding Trufant simply takes care of half the field in man coverage. His knack for finding the ball also helps generate turnovers and disguise a coverage mixture between zone, press and man-to-man.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Star Lotulelei, DT (Utah)
Shortly after the new league year began Tampa Bay lost Michael Bennett to the Seattle, per the Seahawks' official website. So, an immediate replacement comes in the form of Star Lotulelei who is a force in the trenches. Bringing the power and lateral balance to make plays across the line, Lotulelei also took part in Utah's pro day according to NFL.com's Gil Brandt:
Lotulelei worked out Wednesday at Utah’s pro day after seeing cardiologist Josef Stehlik, who was recommended to Lotulelei’s agent — Bruce Tollner — by the San Francisco 49ers. Lotulelei — who will continue to be monitored for the next two weeks — still has to go back to Indianapolis on April 15 for a recheck on his heart condition.
14. Carolina Panthers: Kenny Vaccaro, Safety (Texas)
Giving up a 66.8 completion percentage in a pass-oriented division warrants concern for Carolina's pass defense. Fortunately, Kenny Vaccaro will make an immediate impact courtesy of reliable tackling and allowing few yards after the catch. His ultimate impact in coverage provides the pass rush a bit more time to apply pressure, which leads to an influx of forced turnovers to win the field position battle.
15. New Orleans Saints: Barkevious Mingo, LB (LSU)
The best way to beat New Orleans is by keeping Drew Brees off the field. And to do so, running the rock against the Saints defense is the best approach. Given that they allowed 5.2 yards per rush in 2012, the Saints don't have a chance at the postseason this year without improving against the run.
Therefore, enter Barkevious Mingo who will squeeze the perimeter against the run and play with consistent discipline. His impact will restrict lanes and get New Orleans' defense off the field on third down.
16. St. Louis Rams: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR (Tennessee)
St. Louis is a playmaking receiver away from becoming an extremely dangerous postseason team. Drafting Cordarrelle Patterson allows Sam Bradford to stretch the field, but also attack off play-action. Patterson's deep threat will prevent a defense from blitzing heavily, thus giving the Rams an opportunity to establish the run and then Bradford more time to survey from the pocket.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarvis Jones, LB (Georgia)
Youth must begin to takeover for the Steelers this season. And that begins and ends with getting Jarvis Jones. His ability to apply pressure is incredibly appealing, but Jones will also create turnover opportunities. Pittsburgh needs to give its offense more possessions, otherwise opponents will continue to control the tempo more consistently.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Cooper, Guard (North Carolina)
As long as the Cowboys address the line of scrimmage there will be an improvement next season. The rush defense gave up 4.5 yards per carry, but the offense managed only 3.6 yards per attempt and ranked No. 31.
Jonathan Cooper is a great fit to enhance the ground game, because his ability to drive defenders down the line easily opens lanes. A byproduct of this displays Cooper's talent to reach in zone and let other lineman chip to the second level.
Regardless, Dallas fields an effective rushing attack with Cooper's awareness and quickness.
The ability to move well laterally will also create a comfortable pocket for Tony Romo. Cooper glides nicely and possesses the balance and strength to isolate rushers man-to-man. Include his athleticism to pull outside and Romo will find safety in a moving pocket when rolling out.
Ultimately, the Cowboys increase efficiency through balance and win the possession battle.
19. New York Giants: Sheldon Richardson, DT (Missouri)
The Giants will keep disappointing without a capable run defense. Sheldon Richardson not only has the tenacity to close lanes and draw blockers, but he'll enhance the interior pass rush when facing one-on-one situations. New York then finds its pass rush and dominates more in the trenches.
20. Chicago Bears: D.J. Fluker, OT (Alabama)
Chicago really helped Jay Cutler by adding Jermond Bushrod and Martellus Bennett in free agency, as reported by Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. In addition, the defense made a strong get in linebacker D.J. Williams per Larry Mayer of the Bears' official website.
All this leads to is selecting D.J. Fluker to help bring depth and talent along the offensive line. Fluker's ability as a run-blocker gives Chicago more power up front, and he's capable of impacting at guard if needed courtesy of good size and strength.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Matt Elam, Safety (Florida)
Cincinnati must generate more turnovers and lockdown consistently in coverage to strengthen its postseason odds. Matt Elam provides the skill set to roll down and shell underneath, but also the field awareness to react accordingly in Cover 1 and 3.
How many defenders from Georgia get selected in Round 1?
22. St. Louis Rams (via WAS): Alec Ogletree, LB (Georgia)
Courtesy of another Round 1 selection St. Louis spruces up its front seven with Alec Ogletree. First, the Rams allowed 4.3 yards per carry in 2012 and were vulnerable against the pass at the intermediate level. Ogletree's entire repertoire of quickly dissecting versus the run and sinking into coverage will complement the production of Jo-Lonn Dunbar and James Laurinaitis.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Tavon Austin, WR (West Virginia)
The receiving corps is changing in Minnesota. Percy Harvin was traded to Seattle according to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports. And then Greg Jennings signed in free agency per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. The need for a versatile slot player, though, still exists which allows Tavon Austin to impact immediately. His short-area quickness and top gear will widen zones underneath to keep opponents from stacking the box against Adrian Peterson.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Damontre Moore, DE (Texas A&M)
Damontre Moore is a great fit for the Colts. Indianapolis must field a stronger pass rush and Moore's athleticism bodes well darting off the edge. His lateral quickness also works to stop the run, as Indy gave up 5.1 per carry in 2012.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via SEA): Kawann Short, DT (Purdue)
Presenting a strong pass rush, Minnesota ups its defensive line impact with Kawann Short. Possessing a strong knack for crashing the backfield, Short's contributions will knife double-teams, close lanes from the backside and apply interior quarterback pressure. The Vikings then control the line of scrimmage even more on both sides of the ball.
26. Green Bay Packers: Sylvester Williams, DT (North Carolina)
The Packers are on the brink of really smashing opponents at the line of scrimmage.
Recording 47 sacks in 2012, Green Bay's next step is to suffocate better against the run: Green Bay gave up an average of 4.5 yards per carry and ranked No. 17 in rush defense.
Much like New Orleans, the blueprint for defeating Green Bay is by keeping its quarterback—Aaron Rodgers—off the field. Therefore, punching the Packers between the tackles and winning the possession battle is to the opposition's advantage.
As a result, landing Sylvester Williams to inflate the defensive line's production is a perfect complement to Clay Matthews. Williams amassed 20.5 tackles for loss between 2011 and 2012 for the Tar Heels, while also racking up six sacks this past year.
His size frame of 6'3", 313 pounds suits well as a 3-4 defensive end, not to mention this provides Green Bay the exclusive option of lining up in a 4-3 over/under look. The idea is to get Williams favorable mismatches in certain gaps, because his ability to wreck a backfield will draw blockers to free up the linebackers.
27. Houston Texans: Johnthan Banks, CB (Mississippi State)
The good news is the acquisition of Ed Reed according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. Still looking for a lockdown corner, Houston electing to take Johnthan Banks pits another playmaker in the secondary. With Reed baiting quarterbacks back deep, Banks will see numerous turnover opportunities to change the field position.
28. Denver Broncos: Alex Okafor, DE (Texas)
Denver just saw the departure of Elvis Dumervil per Garrett Downing of the Ravens' official website. Quickly replacing him with Alex Okafor, though, keeps the Broncos' front seven dominant. Okafor's impressive first step and ability to pass rush will significantly assist Von Miller. Include his agility to work against the run and Okafor produces nicely as a rookie.
29. New England Patriots: Jonathan Cyprien, Safety (Florida International)
As reported by Mike Jurecki of XTRA Sports 910 AM in Phoenix, the Patriots brought in safety Adrian Wilson. New England can't look past Jonathan Cyprien either since Wilson turns 34 years old next season.
So, opting for Cyprien now solidifies the future for the position as Bill Belichick's pass defense did rank No. 29 in 2012.
30. Atlanta Falcons: John Jenkins, DT (Georgia)
Atlanta has the offense to reach the Super Bowl. But the defense must get addressed to actually win the NFC. Allowing 4.8 yards per rush and managing only 29 sacks is not dominant enough to win in key situations. John Jenkins is the solution, because he will eat blocks and if not double-teamed, get impressive quarterback pressure.
In short, his impact forces a quarterback out of the pocket and the Falcons' opportunistic secondary capitalizes on generating more turnovers.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Tyler Eifert, TE (Notre Dame)
San Francisco saw playmaker Delanie Walker move across the country to Tennessee via free agency, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. No worries in the Bay Area, though, because Tyler Eifert will make a fast impact. His dependability as a receiver helps the 49ers attack more downfield, which also prevents defenses from constantly blitzing.
He's also a sound run-blocker to fit the mold of Jim Harbaugh's offense.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Arthur Brown, LB (Kansas State)
Baltimore will remain strong AFC contenders with the addition of Arthur Brown. He brings the awareness to sink in coverage and isolate tight ends, slot receivers and backs one-on-one. And by possessing the consistent tackling skill set, Brown suits well as a 3-4 inside 'backer to fill running lanes.
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