2013 NFL Mock Draft: What You Need to Know About Each First Round Pick
Luke Joeckel is the most pro-ready player in the 2013 NFL draft, and he's likely going to be the first player taken when the draft kicks off on April 25.
The draft isn't just a one-round affair, but the most prominent players are usually selected in the first 32 picks. While there are sure to be a few picks featuring players not on this mock draft, most of these upcoming players are locks as first-round selections.
With that in mind, let's take a look at what each potential first-round pick brings to the table in 2013. Selections with more in-depth analysis are noted in italics.
1. Kansas City Chiefs—OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
As technically sound a player as you're going to see coming right out of college, Joeckel is this year's Andrew Luck. He possesses all the qualities scouts look for in elite left tackles—size, strength, excellent mechanics, a relentless work ethic and a bit of an attitude.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars—QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
Smith is a raw, talented quarterback prospect who has the arm strength and athleticism to become a dynamic player in the NFL. There's no consensus about him, though, heading into the draft. NFL Films legend Greg Cosell recently revealed his opinion that Smith has, "slow eyes," in an appearance on Rich Eisen's Podcast.
Jacksonville hasn't had recent luck with its quarterback situation. Blaine Gabbert has been absolutely horrid as a starter, and his 5.98 yards-per-attempt average last year ranked as the worst number for any starter in the league.
Drafting Smith would at least ensure that the Jaguars had a quarterback who could stretch defenses. At this point, after winning just five games the past two seasons, the Jaguars could do a lot worse than drafting Smith.
3. Oakland Raiders—DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida
Oakland is shy on talent in the middle of its defense and adding Floyd would be a terrific move to make that problem go away. Floyd is an extremely disruptive defensive tackle who is strong at the point of attack, has the agility and speed to chase down the line and the nasty attitude to dominate the trenches.
4. Philadelphia Eagles—OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon
Defenses that operate within a 3-4 scheme need explosive, quick pass-rushers on the outside. Perhaps no two words define Jordan more than quick and explosive. He's a player who has yet to tap into his full potential, but once he does, he'll be one of the most dynamic pass-rushers in the NFL.
5. Detroit Lions—OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
Joeckel is as solid as a rock on the left side, but Fisher's natural athleticism and quick feet will make him a consideration for the Chiefs at the No. 1 spot. If he isn't taken at No. 1, however, Detroit will not waste time making its selection.
6. Cleveland Browns—CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
Speed, quickness, ball skills, size, instincts, a competitive nature—Milliner has it all. Adding him to play opposite Joe Haden will give new defensive coordinator Ray Horton a dynamic duo at cornerback, allowing him to have more leeway to send blitzers from other positions.
7. Arizona Cardinals—OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
Arizona allowed an astonishing 58 sacks last year—the most by any team in the NFL. Needless to say, it's imperative for the team to upgrade its offensive line in 2013. Johnson, a former tight end, has the foot speed, agility, athleticism and raw talent to be an immediate impact player for the Cardinals.
8. Buffalo Bills—DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
The Bills need to get more consistent production from their pass-rushers—especially against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Mario Williams and Mark Anderson were brought on at great cost to do just that last year, but Anderson was a huge disappointment.
Ansah is as raw a player as there is in this year's draft, but his upside is nearly limitless. This young man possesses prototypical size (6'5" and 271 pounds), elite speed (4.63-second 40) and a ferocious, indomitable attitude that will help him succeed at the next level.
Adding him to the Bills' roster in 2013 would give the team an excellent chance of wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks on a regular basis. Furthermore, Williams would be an excellent mentor for Ansah, as the former No. 1 overall pick has seen more than his fair share of pressure over the years.
9. New York Jets—OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
The Jets were not a strong running team last season, averaging just 3.8 yards per rushing attempt. This was a big reason Mark Sanchez was under so much pressure, as teams weren't afraid of being gashed by the running game. Warmack is a certified road-grader who would be a huge upgrade inside.
10. Tennessee Titans—DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
The NFL is a league in which games are won and lost in the trenches. Lotulelei is a phenomenal defensive tackle, and he was recently medically cleared by a third party, per ESPN's Chris Mortensen, via Rotoworld.com. He was a "standout" at his pro day, per ESPN's Joe Schad, and he'll be a steal here at No. 10.
11. San Diego Chargers—WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
Raw speed, athleticism and game-breaking after-the-catch skill is what Patterson brings to the table. The Chargers need help on their offensive line, but after the top linemen were swiftly selected, the team should do the next-best thing for Philip Rivers and give him a dynamic weapon for his aerial attack.
12. Miami Dolphins—DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State
Though Werner doesn't possess the elite speed of Jordan or Ansah, he does possess one of the quickest first steps of any defender in this year's draft. Werner is also an excellent technician who is adept at sniffing plays out before they develop. He'll be a terrific addition to play opposite Cameron Wake.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
The Bucs featured the NFL's most abused secondary last season—one that allowed 297 yards per contest, the worst mark in the league. Rhodes is a big cornerback in the mold of a young Nnamdi Asomugha, who is excellent at press-man coverage. He also proved at the combine that he has the speed to keep up with fleet-footed NFL receivers by posting a 40 time of 4.43 seconds.
14. Carolina Panthers—DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
Richardson is a young man who possesses uncanny agility and quick feet for his size at 6'2", 294 pounds. He is also a disruptive pass-rusher from his defensive tackle spot, and he'll demand double teams in the NFL more often than not. He's a perfect fit for the Panthers defense, as he'll open up more opportunities for Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy up front.
15. New Orleans Saints—OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU
Mingo is a rare athlete who could end up becoming one of the NFL's most terrifying pass-rushers. He's extremely quick off the line, has the long speed to make plays all over the field and the ability to change direction with ease. He'll be a perfect weapon for Rob Ryan's 3-4 defense in New Orleans.
16. St. Louis Rams—WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
The Rams lost Danny Amendola—a player who'd missed a lot of time the past two years—to the New England Patriots in free agency. Adding Austin would be the perfect move to make up for the loss.
Unlike Amendola, Austin isn't just a slot specialist. He's one of the most exciting players in this year's draft class, featuring world-class speed (4.34-second 40), unrivaled open-field skills and the ability to change direction on a dime.
Austin is also a terrific special-teams player who will be an electric punt-return man in the NFL. Adding him to the Rams offense would give Sam Bradford an elite weapon on offense for the first time in his young career.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers—DE Datone Jones, UCLA
Jones is a big defensive end (6'4", 283 pounds) who projects more as a 3-4 defensive end than one who will excel in a 4-3. He's strong at the point of attack, uses excellent leverage to gain control of his spot and will be an upgrade for the Steelers in place of Ziggy Hood.
18. Dallas Cowboys—OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
Tony Romo just got paid (h/t ESPN's Adam Schefter), and the Cowboys must now provide him with the protection he needs to stay healthy. Cooper is a phenomenal pass-blocker who will be a big help on that front, and he's also a player who can shift to center if need be.
19. New York Giants—OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama
At this time, David Diehl is penciled in as the starting right tackle for the Giants heading into the 2013 season. Diehl was the No. 60-ranked offensive tackle in the NFL last season (h/t Pro Football Focus; subscription required), and the team must do a better job protecting Eli Manning.
Fluker is a huge man. At 6'5", 339 pounds, he carries his weight beautifully, and his long arms are incredibly strong. He handles edge-rushers with speed a bit awkwardly, as his feet aren't as swift as most elite left tackles. That said, Fluker's length and strength give him the leverage he needs to hold his own on the right side.
20. Chicago Bears—ILB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
The Bears signed D.J. Williams to replace Brian Urlacher, but the one-year deal by no means precludes the team from drafting an inside linebacker. Ogletree is an athletic, rangy middle linebacker with the coverage skills and run-stuffing mentality to play all three downs in the NFL, and he'd give the Bears a better presence inside than Williams.
21. Cincinnati Bengals—S Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International
After retaining Michael Johnson and re-signing Rey Maualuga, the Bengals' front seven is once again rock solid heading into the 2013 season. The only thing missing from Mike Zimmer's defense is a dynamic safety to pair with Reggie Nelson. Cyprien would be a perfect player to fill that roll and adding him would give the Bengals an incredibly potent defense next season.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins)—OLB Arthur Brown, Kansas State
Playing the NFC West's Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson twice a year, the Rams need to be able to cover a lot of ground on defense. Brown is a rangy, speedy linebacker who will be a phenomenal weak-side linebacker in the NFL. His ability to cover in space and attack the line of scrimmage gives him the tools to be a big-time player for the Rams.
23. Minnesota Vikings—DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina
Minnesota must upgrade its defensive line—especially at the defensive tackle position. Williams is a stout run defender who is strong enough to eat up a couple of offensive linemen on most plays. Adding him will do wonders for the team's ability to stuff the run.
24. Indianapolis Colts—CB Desmond Trufant, Washington
The Colts need to focus on bolstering their defense, and the team could go in a number of different directions with this pick. One of the areas of need for Indy is at the cornerback position, and Trufant is too good to let slide further. A rock-solid cover corner, Trufant has elite speed to go along with his coverage skills.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle Seahawks)—WR Keenan Allen, California
Allen is a highly skilled receiver who was considered to be the top prospect at his position for much of the 2012 season. A nagging knee injury has caused his stock to fall, but he'll be a steal here at No. 25 for the Vikings, where he'll play alongside Greg Jennings.
26. Green Bay Packers—RB Eddie Lacy, Alabama
Aaron Rodgers has suffered for lack of a running game the past few years. His numbers are impressive, but the quarterback has been taking a lot of punishment. Lacy is a powerhouse running back with impressive vision, speed and balance. He's also an adept receiver, which is highly valuable in the Packers offense.
27. Houston Texans—WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
Size, speed, hands and polish is what Hopkins brings to the NFL. He's not as "explosive" as Austin or Patterson, but Hopkins is ready to be a big-time receiver in the NFL. Playing opposite Andre Johnson will be beneficial for Hopkins, giving the Texans a balanced offense in 2013.
28. Denver Broncos—ILB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
Manti Te'o would be a phenomenal pickup for the Broncos. He's not as athletically gifted as some of the top linebackers who have come out in the past few years, but his instincts, savvy and intelligence help him make up for any lack of speed.
29. New England Patriots—WR Robert Woods, USC
The Patriots replaced Wes Welker with Danny Amendola and signed Donald Jones, but New England still needs to bring in another receiver—preferably one who has his entire career ahead of him. Woods had a phenomenal pro day on March 27, displaying his excellent route-running and hands. He'll be a perfect fit in Tom Brady's offense as a perimeter receiver.
30. Atlanta Falcons—TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
Tony Gonzalez is back, but the Falcons would be smart to draft his replacement before it's too late. Eifert is a tremendous athlete in the mold of Jimmy Graham, but his hands are what set him apart from other tight ends in this year's draft class. He catches everything thrown his way.
31. San Francisco 49ers—S Eric Reid, LSU
Losing Dashon Goldson wasn't as big a deal as some have made it out to be. The 49ers have 14 draft picks, and the team would be smart to spend one of its top picks on Reid. The safety from LSU has the size, athleticism and speed that Goldson provided the team, and he has a chance to become great playing behind the 49ers' dominant front seven.
32. Baltimore Ravens—ILB Kevin Minter, LSU
Ray Lewis' retirement put an onus on the team to draft an inside linebacker in 2013. Then Baltimore lost Dannell Ellerbe to the Miami Dolphins in free agency, which puts an even greater urgency on the matter. Minter isn't as fast as Ogletree or Te'o, but he's an incredibly instinctive inside linebacker with a knack for making big plays.
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