2013 NFL Mock Draft: Who Every Team Should Select with First-Round Pick
Folks, the NFL draft is a month away! Are you as excited as I am?
Of course you are. With just 30 days to go until the first round commences, I'm sure you are ingesting every bit of information you can about the top prospects in the draft. That's where I come in, to help you identify the perfect player for your team.
Some of these picks may not be what you would hope for, but I tried to incorporate team needs when making my projections. For my money, the following 32 selections make a lot of sense for teams with a pick in the first round.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The Chiefs could also end up going with Star Lotulelei or Eric Fisher here, but I think Andy Reid solidifies the offensive line and adds Joeckel.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
Jordan is a perfect fit as the Leo linebacker in Gus Bradley's new defense. He'll instantly upgrade the pass rush, but he's also athletic enough to blanket tight ends and running backs in coverage.
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Floyd has the look of a player that will consistently shoot gaps as a 4-3 defensive tackle, disrupt the running game in the backfield and collapse the pocket on passing plays. This isn't the sexiest selection for the Raiders, but if fills a big need.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
I think there are a ton of different directions the Eagles could go here—Geno Smith, Dee Milliner, Eric Fisher, a pass-rusher—but after his solid pro day, I think the Eagles will solidify the trenches in their new 3-4 scheme with the beastly Lotulelei, who can play both nose tackle and end.
5. Detroit Lions: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Selecting Fisher would allow the Lions to slide last year's first-round pick, Riley Reiff, inside to guard and improve two positions at once. Matt Stafford would certainly approve of that math.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Now, they'll add Dee Milliner opposite Joe Haden and boast the best young pair of cornerbacks in the NFL.
The Browns still need to upgrade at wide receiver (and probably cornerback), but with an upgraded defense and Trent Richardson pounding the ball against opposing defenses, the Browns look like a team capable of grinding out seven or eight wins next season.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
If he drops to No. 7, the Cardinals have to select him. I don't care how much Bruce Arians says he likes Drew Stanton, the Cardinals aren't going to ignore the quarterback position here.
8. Buffalo Bills: Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
Who that quarterback ends up being, however, remains to be seen. To me the top two candidates are Nassib and USC's Matt Barkley. Nassib has been a popular pick given that he played under Doug Marrone at Syracuse.
And for what it's worth, Greg Cosell—a man who knows his stuff, mind you—thinks Nassib is the top quarterback on the board (via Kareem Copeland of NFL.com):
"My No. 1 quarterback based on the film study I've done is (Syracuse's) Ryan Nassib. I like him overall more than Geno Smith," Cosell said Thursday on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft." "I think he's a much more precise intermediate thrower. I think the ball comes out with a little bit better velocity at the intermediate level. And I think he's a little more accurate. And I like his footwork a little bit better.
"No one here is at the (Andrew) Luck, RG3 level. Maybe not even the (Ryan) Tannehill level. At the end of the day, Nassib, at this point, would be the guy I like the most."
Look, I think drafting a quarterback here is a reach, but there is no bigger need in Buffalo and I simply don't see them passing up the position in the first round. Nassib wouldn't be my pick, but I'm guessing he's Buffalo's selection.
9. New York Jets: Ezekiel Ansah, BYU, DE/OLB
Ansah is a ridiculous athletic specimen, standing at 6'5" and 271 pounds while running a 4.63 40-yard dash and posting a 34.5-inch vertical at the NFL Scouting Combine. He may take some time to develop as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but there might not be a prospect with a higher ceiling in the entire draft.
10. Tennessee Titans: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
After signing Andy Levitre, the pass rush becomes the primary need in Tennessee. Werner's 13 sacks last year for Florida State will have the Titans fanbase excited for next season.
11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
King Dunlap is not the answer. The Chargers need to upgrade the tackle position, and Lane Johnson has put his name in the mix as a potential top 10 pick this season. The Chargers will be glad to add him if he's available.
12. Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
After signing Mike Wallace, Brandon Gibson and Dustin Keller, the Dolphins finally have some playmakers for young quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Now, upgrading the defense should take priority. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes might be a slight reach here, but the need is great and Rhodes has the size and speed to develop into a shutdown corner.
13. New York Jets (from Tampa Bay): Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Eventually Darrelle Revis is going to get traded, and I believe the team to make that move will be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, giving up this first-round pick in the process. Guard is a huge need and Warmack is arguably the best prospect in the past decade. Jets fans may want a sexier selection for the Revis pick, but adding a future all-pro guard makes a lot of sense.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
See a need, fill a need. The Panthers desperately need to improve the defensive tackle position, and Richardson is the right man for the job.
15. New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The Saints will gladly end his descent.
Jones was a beast for Georgia last year, leading the nation with 14.5 sacks, 24.5 tackles for loss and seven forced fumbles. He tallied 28 sacks over the past two seasons in the highly competitive SEC. The man can flat-out rush the quarterback, and the fact that his spinal stenosis has been rendered a non-issue is huge.
But his lack of speed and size is going to hurt him. He'll have plenty to prove in the NFL, and the Saints will gladly give him the chance to do so.
16. St. Louis Rams: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
The Steelers need to add youth to the linebacking corps, and the unbelievably athletic Mingo will be flying around the edge for the Steelers in no time.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
Cooper is an absolute steal at No. 18. Yes, I know he's just a guard, but he may be one of the five best players in this draft, period, and fills a big need for the Cowboys.
19. New York Giants: Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State
The Giants could go in a lot of different directions with this pick, but adding a solid right tackle to protect Eli Manning makes the most sense to me.
20. Chicago Bears: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
With Brian Urlacher leaving the team, linebacker becomes the biggest need for the Bears. Ogletree comes with some character concerns, but he is an explosive talent and the one player in this draft that could somewhat replicate Urlacher's sideline-to-sideline abilities in his prime.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Every now and again, value meets need in the perfect storm. Well, the Bengals really need to upgrade at safety and Vaccaro is the best safety available. The Bengals may never open up their pockets in free agency, but the team will continue to draft well if they land Vaccaro.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Redskins): Matt Elam, SS, Florida
After signing Jake Long in free agency, the next biggest need is safety. The Rams would likely love if Vaccaro dropped to them here, but they'll gladly settle for the hard-hitting Elam.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
After Percy Harvin was traded to the Seattle Seahawks, wide receiver was a glaring need. After signing Greg Jennings, the Vikings could have one of the most dynamic pairs of wide receivers in the league if they draft Austin.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
The Colts could target a pass-rusher here, but I think the Jim Thorpe Award winner is a great value here and won't get past the Colts at No. 24.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle): Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia
Received in the Harvin trade from Seattle, the Vikings could go in a number of directions here but should focus on the trenches after selecting Austin a few picks prior.
26. Green Bay Packers: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
The Packers don't have a ton of needs, but adding the big-bodied Williams to the defensive line would allow the team to give B.J. Raji a breather now and again or slide him to end on occasion.
27. Houston Texans: Keenan Allen, WR, California
In Allen and Andre Johnson, the Texans will have the most dangerous pair of wideouts in the AFC South. Allen will help take pressure off of Arian Foster and the Texans running attack.
28. Denver Broncos: Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State
29. New England Patriots: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Even after re-signing Aqib Talib, the Patriots still need to upgrade at corner. With his athleticism and ideal size, Trufant is an absolute steal here.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Moore is sliding down draft boards, but remember, he did register 12.5 sacks last season in the SEC. He won't be the top 10 guy as once projected, but the Falcons will be thrilled to land him at No. 30.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Eric Reid, S, LSU
With Dashon Goldson signing in Tampa Bay, safety is the most obvious need in San Francisco. Eric Reid, come on down!
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 signing Elvis Dumervil, I think the Ravens will focus on upgrading at middle linebacker with this pick. Good luck, Te'o—you only have to follow the legacy of one of the greatest middle linebackers to ever play.
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