The 2013 NFL draft is one of the most exciting times on the football calendar, and the anticipation around what each general manager across the league will do with his first-round selection has the fans in a frenzy.
Now that it’s officially less than a month away—the draft is scheduled for April 25-27—and free agency has cooled off a bit, the chatter about the moves each team will make is the talk of the NFL.
This is what every franchise and GM across the NFL will do in the first round.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey and new head coach Andy Reid have made it very clear through their actions this offseason which player the team would take at No. 1 overall. Trading for Alex Smith (h/t Pro Football Talk) and releasing tackle Eric Winston (h/t USA Today) gives credence to the notion that KC will take Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
The Jacksonville Jaguars have been abysmal defensively over the last three years, and the franchise needs to find a game-changer with the No. 2 overall pick. With new GM David Caldwell (h/t Jaguars.com) trying to make a statement with his first draft in Jacksonville, expect the team to go big with Oregon’s pass-rushing outside linebacker Dion Jordan.
3. Oakland Raiders: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
With the rumors starting to circulate that Carson Palmer will not restructure his deal with the Oakland Raiders (h/t Adam Schefter), GM Reggie McKenzie likely will have no choice but to cut Palmer and take the best quarterback prospect on the board at No. 3, West Virginia star Geno Smith.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The transition to new head coach Chip Kelly has been great for Philadelphia Eagles GM Howie Roseman—as seen by the many smart free-agent signings this offseason (h/t ESPN)—and that success will continue as the team takes the medically cleared (h/t Dan Pompei of the National Football Post) outside linebacker from Georgia, Jarvis Jones.
5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Detroit Lions GM Martin Mayhew knows the issues with the team because they are abundantly obvious this offseason. The Lions allowed 223 yards passing per game and it is clear that they need serious help in the secondary. That’s where Alabama’s Dee Milliner fits the bill.
6. Cleveland Browns: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU
The Cleveland Browns were 25th in the league against the pass last year (245.2 yards allowed per game), and while signing free agent Paul Kruger (h/t NFL.com) was a great addition, GM Michael Lombardi knows another pass rusher like Ezekiel Ansah of BYU is a move that could make the team elite on defense.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
New head coach Bruce Arians and GM Steve Keim will have to work well together to turn the struggling Arizona Cardinals around, but taking a franchise left tackle at No. 7 like Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher is a no-brainer.
8. Buffalo Bills: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Buffalo Bills GM Buddy Nix knows the team is at a crossroads—he released starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (h/t ESPN)—and the best fit for the Bills at No. 8 overall is USC’s Matt Barkley. While many discount his talent, he'll be a steal for Buffalo in retrospect.
9. New York Jets: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Despite a heart condition (h/t ESPN) that could drop Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei down many scouts draft boards, the New York Jets new GM John Idzik will take the best player available. If he passes all the medical tests, Lotulelei will be a top-10 pick.
10. Tennessee Titans: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Tennessee Titans GM Ruston Webster and head coach Mike Munchak are on the hot seat this season, and their first-round pick must be perfect. After allowing 127.2 yards rushing per game last year, the team must take a talented star like Florida’s Sharrif Floyd to fill the gap in the middle of the Titans’ defensive line.
11. San Diego Chargers: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
While there are plenty of positions the San Diego Chargers must fill through the draft, the team’s first-round pick should be used to replace the departed offensive guard Louis Vasquez (h/t ESPN). New GM Tom Telesco will make the safe pick and take Alabama guard Chance Warmack.
12. Miami Dolphins: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The loss of left tackle Jake Long (h/t ESPN) has created a void too big to ignore for Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland, and selecting a potential franchise left tackle with big-game experience like Lane Johnson of Oklahoma is the perfect pick.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik will be on the hot seat if his team doesn’t play well in 2013, so taking the best player available is the only way to draft. That will lead to the team taking Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.
14. Carolina Panthers: Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas
The Carolina Panthers allowed 223 yards passing per game last season, and new GM Dave Gettleman knows what his first plan of action must be. Expect the team to address their need for secondary help by selecting Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro at No. 14.
15. New Orleans Saints: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The New Orleans Saints were atrocious on defense in 2012, boasting the 31st-ranked pass defense and the 32nd-ranked rush defense. With head coach Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis back together, the need for a game-changer on defense will have the team snagging Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner.
16. St. Louis Rams: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The combination of GM Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher has already changed the culture of the St. Louis Rams franchise. Losing oft-injured wide receiver Danny Amendola (h/t Pro Football Talk) has made the need for a wide receiver even more obvious, so the team will have to take the best wide receiver in the draft, Cordarrelle Patterson.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
The Pittsburgh Steelers and GM Kevin Colbert made some hard choices in the offseason—including cutting veteran James Harrison (h/t NFL.com)—and they have opened up spots that must be filled. The outside linebacker position should be filled by Texas A&M outside linebacker Damontre Moore.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Cooper, G/C, North Carolina
The right pick for the Dallas Cowboys at No. 18 is North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper, but what is right for the betterment of the franchise and what owner and GM Jerry Jones does are two completely different things.
19. New York Giants: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
New York Giants GM Jerry Reese can just sit back and make the easiest pick of the draft if LSU star Barkevious Mingo falls to the team at No. 19. The perfect pass-rush complement to Jason Pierre-Paul.
20. Chicago Bears: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
The move to let Brian Urlacher walk (h/t USA Today) was bold for the Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery, but the right choice in the long run. They must replace him immediately, though, and a star like Kansas State’s Arthur Brown would be a great fit.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
There is no question that Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis will find himself on his annual hot seat, so taking a player like West Virginia’s Tavon Austin as a complement to A.J Green could give the offense the boost it needs to enter the upper echelon of the AFC.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Redskins): Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
After taking Cordarrelle Patterson at No. 16 overall, the St. Louis Rams will follow that up by filling a major void in the secondary with Florida State CB Xavier Rhodes. Two smart picks with huge upside.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
The need for depth at wide receiver will force the Minnesota Vikings to snag a potential star like Cal’s Keenan Allen, even after the fact that the team dealt Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks (h/t FOX Sports) and signed free agent Greg Jennings (h/t Vikings.com). With so much turnover, adding another WR now is a smart move for the future.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Indianapolis Colts GM Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano will be looking to make major upgrades on the defensive side of the ball. When a potential star like cornerback Desmond Trufant falls all the way to No. 24 overall, the selection will be easy for a team desperate for help at that position.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seahawks): Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
After acquiring the No. 25 pick from Seattle for Harvin (h/t FOX Sports), the Minnesota Vikings should be looking to take the best player available. The need for depth on the defensive line will make selecting Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams an easy choice.
26. Green Bay Packers: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Aaron Rodgers is unquestionably the most important player on the Green Bay Packers, and the team must do a better job protecting him. Taking a potential starting left tackle like Alabama’s D.J. Fluker should be a no-brainer for everyone in the organization.
27. Houston Texans: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
The Houston Texans lost veteran linebacker Connor Barwin to the Philadelphia Eagles (h/t CBS Sports), and the need for a viable replacement has left a glaring void. GM Rick Smith should look to Georgia’s Alec Ogletree this late in the first round.
28. Denver Broncos: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
As much as the Denver Broncos are building for the long-term development of the team, the need for immediate help at defensive tackle will force the franchise’s hand. Ohio State’s Johnathan Hankins is too good to fall past Denver.
29. New England Patriots: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
The New England Patriots' mind trust runs through head coach Bill Belichick, and with the loss of Wes Welker to free agency (h/t Sports Illustrated) and the release of Brandon Lloyd (h/t Boston Globe), Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins is the affordable alternative the team is looking for at No. 29.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Now that tight end Tony Gonzalez is coming back (h/t ESPN), the Atlanta Falcons and GM Thomas Dimitroff can’t waste any more time drafting the heir apparent to the throne. That selection should be Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
As if the San Francisco 49ers and GM Trent Baalke needed any more defensive talent for arguably the most complete unit in the NFL, the addition of a promising cornerback like Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks this late in the first round is an easy decision.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
After any team wins the Super Bowl, replenishing the roster after many players cash in on their team’s success is the hardest job for a GM. Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome knows the most important piece he needs is in the center of his defense, and that’s why the team should draft LSU standout middle linebacker Kevin Minter.