2013 NFL Mock Draft: How Each Team Can Get Better in Round One
Every franchise is furiously preparing for the 2013 NFL Draft, and each front office has the same goal: improve the roster.
There are many ways to go about this. Teams could opt to address their biggest need, or they can simply take the best player available.
However the team goes about the selection process, each will be hoping that they are bringing in a star.
Here are my predictions for every first-round pick, with the teams that will improve the most due to their selection in italics.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
There has been plenty of mystery surrounding this year’s No. 1 pick, as no player has established himself as the best player in this draft. However, the Chiefs may have just tipped their hand.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported recently that the team is looking to trade left tackle Branden Albert, leaving a spot for Joeckel to step in and contribute immediately. While Joeckel is a fantastic player, other prospects in the draft will be provide a more drastic upgrade.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
The Jaguars have an excellent opportunity to immediately improve their greatest weakness with this pick.
Jacksonville ranked dead last in sacks last season, and there are a handful of first-round talents at defensive end in this class. While there are several intriguing prospects, Jordan is the best fit.
His long arms, height, speed and athleticism make him a nightmare to block in passing situations, and he will be a player quarterbacks will come to fear.
Jordan is the most dynamic pass-rusher in this draft, and he will make an instant impact for the Jaguars' defense.
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Bringing in Vance Walker and Pat Sims was a step in the right direction, but Floyd has all the tools to be a star on Oakland’s defensive line.
He has the strength to be effective against the run, but his excellent athleticism will make him a pass-rushing threat as well. He is an ideal fit as a three-technique defensive tackle.
If the Raiders take Floyd, the heart of their defense will be much stronger.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Eagles thought they had an all-star secondary a couple years ago after bringing in Nnamdi Asomugha, but that did not turn out to be the case.
The team is now rebuilding its last line of defense, starting with two big free-agent signings. Both Cary Williams and Kenny Phillips will be playing in Philadelphia next season.
But the team has a chance to take its corps of defensive backs to the next level, as Milliner is one of the most complete prospects in this draft at any position.
He has the size, speed and polish to play at a high level immediately. The Eagles will finally have the dominant secondary they failed to create over the past two years if they draft Milliner.
5. Detroit Lions: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Lions needed to revamp their defense, but the team has been active in free agency in addressing many of its needs. The positions that still need work can be addressed in later rounds.
With this pick, the Lions should draft Jeff Backus’ replacement. Fisher is a fantastic prospect with the talent to start at tackle for Detroit for many years.
6. Cleveland Browns: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Defensive tackle is not necessarily a need for the Browns, but Lotulelei is too talented to pass up with this pick. He has the strength to play nose tackle in a 3-4 defense, but also has the athleticism to stay on the field for passing downs.
He is a fantastic prospect and has all the physical gifts to be a difference-maker on the Browns’ defensive line.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Larry Fitzgerald will be 30 when the new season starts, and the Cardinals cannot waste any more years of his career by trotting out more mediocre players at quarterback.
The team needs to take the best talent available at the position, and Smith has proved to be better than the other signal-callers in this draft.
He has excellent arm strength and mobility, and significantly more potential than the other QBs on the Cardinals' roster. Smith would be an immediate upgrade at the position.
Few teams are in greater need of a new quarterback, and Arizona cannot pass up on Smith if he is available with this pick.
8. Buffalo Bills: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Andy Levitre’s departure may have cause some Bills fans to worry, but it may also be a blessing in disguise.
Guards rarely go this high in the draft, but Warmack is a player who can play at a Pro Bowl level immediately. Losing Levitre provides the team with the perfect excuse to pass on players at sexier positions and shore up its offensive line.
9. New York Jets: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Rex Ryan needs dynamic pass-rushers to get his defense back to the level it was a couple years ago, and Ansah fits this bill better than any player in the draft. Jordan may be the better overall prospect, but Ansah’s combination of size and athleticism in unparalleled.
The 6’5” pass-rusher is remarkably fast and explosive. Drafting him would be a big step in the right direction for the Jets.
10. Tennessee Titans: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
The Titans have a star at running back and a quarterback with plenty of promise. The team also has a chance to put a fantastic offensive line in front of these players.
Tennessee already signed Andy Levitre, and teaming him with Cooper would give the team a potentially dominant set of blockers. Chris Johnson and Jake Locker would certainly approve of this choice.
11. San Diego Chargers: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The Chargers defense was at its best when it had two dynamic pass-rushers. Whether or not the team brings back Shaun Phillips, it should turn an eye to the future at outside linebacker.
Teaming Jones with Melvin Ingram will give San Diego a set of pass-rushers it can rely on for several seasons going forward.
12. Miami Dolphins: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Jake Long is now a St. Louis Ram, and Miami needs to replace the former top overall draft pick. If Johnson is available here, the team likely won’t hesitate to draft him.
Offensive linemen as strong and powerful as Johnson rarely have his athleticism. He is a unique prospect with incredible potential.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
The Bucs badly need to address their secondary, but there are no cornerbacks worth drafting here, and losing Michael Bennett opened up another hole in the team’s defense.
Tampa Bay must add a defensive end in this draft, and Mingo presents great value in this position. He is an elite athlete with all the necessary talent to be a disruptive force.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Panthers need to bolster their defensive line, and Richardson is a fantastic prospect. In another draft, he might already be gone at this point.
But this year’s class is loaded at defensive tackle, and Carolina has the opportunity to take advantage of this by adding the Missouri product.
15. New Orleans Saints: Kenny Vaccaro, Safety, Texas
The Saints' secondary was awful last year, and opposing quarterbacks continually torched both safeties. If Rob Ryan plans on executing an aggressive game plan, he is going to have to consider replacing Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins.
Vaccaro is an exciting prospect who has the ability to make plays close to the line of scrimmage in addition to playing center field. He is the type of player who can help revamp New Orleans’ pass defense.
16. St. Louis Rams: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
No wideout in this draft has Patterson’s combination of size, speed and ball skills. He has the ability to form an extremely productive partnership with Bradford.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The Steelers will be missing a playmaker now that Mike Wallace is in Miami, but the team may have the opportunity to immediately replace him in the draft.
Austin has incredible speed and agility. No skill-position player in this draft has as much big-play potential as the West Virginia product.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
Monte Kiffin needs a difference maker at defensive tackle in order for his Tampa 2 defense to be effective. Williams has the potential to play the three-technique extremely well.
He is an every-down player who can stuff the run on first and second down, then get after the quarterback on third down.
19. New York Giants: Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
The Giants need to add linebackers if they hope for their defense to play well enough for the team to compete for another title.
Even after signing Dan Connor, New York would greatly benefit from having a player with Ogletree’s talent and athletic abilities.
20. Chicago Bears: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
The Bears were wise to immediately address their offensive line in free agency by signing Jermon Bushrod, but this does not solve all of the team’s protection problems.
Chicago should continue spending draft picks on talented lineman, and this will give the team the depth it needs to protect Jay Cutler for an entire season.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame
Te’o quelled a lot of concerns when he shaved a tenth of a second off of his 40-yard dash time at his pro day. Now, teams will be more likely to draft him in the first round.
Going into next season with Rey Maualuga as the only option at middle linebacker would be a mistake, and Te’o would be a perfect fit in Cincinnati.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins): Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
Hedging bets is usually the way to go when a team has two first-round picks, but St. Louis will have trouble passing on the talented receivers still on the board at this point in the draft.
It would certainly be a gamble to take two wideouts in the first round, but it has the potential to pay off huge. Both Allen and Patterson are big, physical receivers with the speed to stretch the field and turn the Rams' passing attack into an elite unit.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Minnesota had to trade away Percy Harvin, and even though the team signed Greg Jennings it should still look to add young talent on the outside.
Hunter is a lanky prospect with fantastic ball skills, and he will give Christian Ponder a target down the field.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut
The Colts have been busy in free agency this offseason, but the secondary still needs some work, and Wreh-Wilson can provide immediate help.
He is a physical corner who will net get pushed around by bigger receivers, and he is the type of fundamentally sound player the Indianapolis defense needs.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle Seahawks): Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia
Not too long ago, the strength of the Vikings’ defense was its pair of defensive tackles. But Pat Williams in longer around, and Kevin Williams has suffered without a physical force next to him.
Jenkins is a massive player who can fill a void in the Minnesota defense and allow Kevin Williams to once again become a dominant pass-rusher.
26. Green Bay Packers: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
It has been far too long since the Packers had a reliable player in the backfield. Lacy is the type of back who can grind out yardage on first down and move the chains on 3rd-and-short.
With a powerful back like Lacy, Aaron Rodgers will be even harder to stop.
27. Houston Texans: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Hopkins is the best wide receiver left on the board, and this is why he will land in Houston.
The Texans need both a No. 2 receiver and an heir-apparent for Andre Johnson. While Hopkins may never be as good as Johnson, he will be an instant upgrade in the receiving corps.
28. Denver Broncos: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
The Broncos were set at defensive end before Elvis Dumervil was released due to a paperwork error and subsequently landed with the Baltimore Ravens.
Now, the team needs a pass-rusher and Hunt’s freakish blend of size, strength and speed makes him an intriguing prospect. He may be raw, but he is insanely athletic and capable of creating a scary pass-rush tandem along with Von Miller.
29. New England Patriots: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Trufant was born to play corner. He has all the athletic abilities necessary to excel at the position and has incredible instincts.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Werner was once viewed as a top five pick, but doubts about his athleticism have caused him to fall. Still, he has a fantastic work ethic and was an exceptional player in college.
Atlanta needs a pass-rusher and he is their best bet in this position.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Matt Elam, S, Florida
Dashon Goldson cashed in while on the open market and is now a Buccaneer, leaving the Niners with questions in the secondary.
Elam is the best safety in this class other than Vaccaro, and San Francisco would be wise to add him to their defense.
32. Baltimore Ravens: D.J. Swearinger, S, South Carolina
Swearinger has said all the right things leading up to the draft to land in Baltimore. He is a talented player who would be an ideal fit for the Ravens.
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