NFL Mock Draft 2013: Breaking Down Picks 1 Through 32
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Ah, it's finally April, NFL draft month for pro football fans! Ahead, we break down another 2013 mock draft.
There is a shakeup this time around, because teams continued to address needs via free agency since last week. At the same time, pro days impacted to a certain degree throughout March as well.
The offensive and defensive lines continue to dominate the Round 1 board, but we can't look past other talent residing at wide receiver, linebacker or in the secondary. It's still a pass-oriented league and playmakers on each side remain marketable.
That said, late April can't get here soon enough.
Note: Highlighted players in italics.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, Tackle (Texas A&M)
Continuing to emphasize the offensive line is to Kansas City's advantage. With a reliable ground game to control up front, the addition of Luke Joeckel upgrades this aspect and the pass protection for impressive balance.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Sharrif Floyd, DT (Florida)
Jacksonville must address the rush defense in a run-oriented division. Having to face solid AFC South backs in Arian Foster, Chris Johnson and Vick Ballard, the Jaguars need Sharrif Floyd to dominate the line of scrimmage.
What should Oakland do at No. 3 overall?
3. Oakland Raiders: Dee Milliner, CB (Alabama)
Oakland's suspect coverage cost it quite a bit in 2012. Selecting Dee Milliner immediately closes off half the field against the pass. Plus Milliner's physical forte will benefit the Raiders for perimeter run support.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher, Tackle (Central Michigan)
Needing to enhance the pass protection, Philadelphia lands Eric Fisher for a stronger offensive line. Presenting the total skill set to drive-block for the rushing attack, Fisher's athleticism will also seal the edge of the pocket to create more efficient balance.
5. Detroit Lions: Bjoern Werner, DE (Florida State)
Detroit won't threaten as postseason contenders without a sustained pass rush combined with an improved run defense. Bjoern Werner bolsters each area courtesy of excellent instincts and agility to control the outside, not to mention his ability to break up quick passes at the line.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dion Jordan, DE (Oregon)
With Milliner off the board the Browns still address the defense with Dion Jordan. Although Paul Kruger was signed (via Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun), Cleveland can use Jordan's overall athleticism. He'll inflate the pass rush's impact and constrict the edge against the run to complement the vulnerable coverage.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Chance Warmack, Guard (Alabama)
Arizona ranked last in rushing offense and gave up 58 sacks last season. No matter how much talent resides at the running back and receiver positions, an offense won't move the rock without a reliable offensive line.
This is where Chance Warmack enters the equation for the Cardinals.
His tenacious run-blocking skill set will bulldoze defenders at the snap. Combine that power to isolate one-on-one, and Warmack's explosiveness helps extend lanes by chipping to the second level. In the defensively tough NFC West, his ferocity in getting upfield will keep Arizona physical up front.
As a result, this assists in establishing a better passing game. Not only does a stronger ground game make play action relevant, but Warmack is a rock on the interior. Offering the wherewithal to pickup delayed blitzes, the inner walls of the pocket will allow the quarterback to step up comfortably.
In short, he brings much needed balance to one of pro football's worst offenses.
8. Buffalo Bills: Geno Smith, QB (West Virginia)
Even with the addition of Kevin Kolb, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, he is not the long-term solution under center. Geno Smith is the answer with his quick release, strong arm and better-than-given-credit mobility. He'll also benefit from Buffalo's impressive ground attack.
9. New York Jets: Ezekiel Ansah, DE (BYU)
Ezekiel Ansah's initial quickness to beat blockers around the edge amplifies Rex Ryan's pass rush. The Jets have to apply more pressure and Ansah's knack for wrecking a backfield becomes a competitive advantage. By the same token, his talent also helps against the run.
10. Tennessee Titans: Xavier Rhodes, CB (Florida State)
Tennessee lacked considerably in 2012 versus the pass. Drafting Xavier Rhodes quickly fixes one half of the field and assists with edge run support. His presence alone will also help the Titans generate turnovers and win the field position battle.
11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, Tackle (Oklahoma)
Many of Philip Rivers' turnovers in 2012 came from an unreliable pass protection. Well, that is no longer an issue since Lane Johnson's athletic prowess shields the blindside. In turn, San Diego attacks more downfield to complement the potential of its running game.
12. Miami Dolphins: Desmond Trufant, CB (Washington)
According to Mike Garafolo of the USA Today, Miami acquired cornerback Brent Grimes. That takes away part of the field for the Dolphins' susceptible pass defense. Still, with the potential capabilities of Nolan Carroll the Dolphins taking Desmond Trufant completes the coverage.
Trufant can impact as a nickel/dime back from the start, and he possesses No. 1 cornerback potential to counteract the offensively-improving AFC East.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Star Lotulelei, DT (Utah)
The pass rush of Tampa Bay must find an upgrade otherwise 2013 will finish in similar fashion to 2012. So, Star Lotulelei comes aboard with his dynamic ability to menace a backfield from anywhere along the line. Given his impressive pro day, according to NFL.com's Gil Brandt, Lotulelei is a key get for the Buccaneers.
14. Carolina Panthers: Kenny Vaccaro, Safety (Texas)
Carolina struggled with creating turnovers and consistently blanketing in coverage last season. Kenny Vaccaro's impact quickly helps minimize the allowed completion percentage from 2012 (66.8), which is an advantage in the pass-happy NFC South.
15. New Orleans Saints: Barkevious Mingo, LB (LSU)
New Orleans just needs defense. Here, Barkevious Mingo will control the outside against the run and apply quarterback pressure when needed. The Saints have the offense to make a playoff run, but it's improving on defense to return as legit NFC contenders.
How many WRs go in Round 1?
16. St. Louis Rams: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR (Tennessee)
Sam Bradford needs an immediate deep threat target to challenge a secondary. Cordarrelle Patterson brings this capability after averaging 16.9 yards per catch in 2012.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarvis Jones, LB (Georgia)
Uncharacteristically lacking a dominant pass rush last fall, Pittsburgh immediately fixes its defensive glitch with Jarvis Jones. He's a nightmare for quarterbacks, and Jones' knack for pressure and causing fumbles simply gives the Steelers more turnover opportunities.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Cooper, Guard (North Carolina)
Fielding the No. 31 ranked rushing offense warrants the selection of Jonathan Cooper. His run-blocking forte will punish defenders at the immediate point of attack, and his lateral balance bodes nicely for interior pass protection.
19. New York Giants: Sheldon Richardson, DT (Missouri)
Giving up 4.6 yards per rush in 2012 significantly hurt New York's ability to control the line of scrimmage. A by-product of that was lacking its typical pass rush, which managed only 33 sacks.
Therefore, Big Blue opts for Missouri's Sheldon Richardson to immediately take over and replenish the trenches. He accounted for 10.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, three defended passes and three forced fumbles in 2012.
This all-encompassed effort in wrecking backfields will generate turnovers for New York at the very least. But with the presence of Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck up front as well, Big Blue quickly rebounds its pass rush and ability to stuff the run.
20. Chicago Bears: Alec Ogletree, LB (Georgia)
Even with the signing of D.J. Williams as reported by Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com, the Bears can solidify the long-term future at linebacker with Alec Ogletree. His versatility at the second level gives Chicago the luxury to utilize a 4-3 over/under look. He's a dependable rusher when called upon, and has the quickness to fill running lanes and shield in coverage.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Matt Elam, Safety (Florida)
Turnovers and cutting down the allowed completion percentage will take Cincinnati to the next level. Matt Elam is a slight reach, but his playmaking ability and instincts will isolate slot receivers one-on-one and level off nicely in zone.
22. St. Louis Rams (via WAS): Arthur Brown, LB (Kansas State)
The overall athleticism of Arthur Brown completes the front seven for St. Louis. He collected 201 tackles and defended nine passes for Kansas State the past two seasons, so the knack for finding the ball is to the Rams' favor.
After all, head coach Jeff Fisher's squad gave up an average of 4.3 yards per rush last year and no postseason will happen without improving. The NFC West's punishing running backs will set up the pass and St. Louis must suffocate against the run to help its secondary.
Factor in the dominant pass rush and Brown will benefit from cleaner paths when blitzing. The impact of fellow 'backers James Laurinaitis and Jo-Lonn Dunbar will control gaps, which then allows Brown to read and react accordingly.
Include his agility and lateral quickness in coverage and St. Louis shells consistently at the second level. The end result will be a spot in the NFC playoff mix when December rolls around.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Tavon Austin, WR (West Virginia)
Minnesota has to get Tavon Austin, because Percy Harvin was traded to Seattle (via Jay Glazer). And his short-area quickness and top speed alone will attract a defense's attention. Adrian Peterson then faces fewer defenders in the box to produce even more.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Damontre Moore, DE (Texas A&M)
Failing to stop the run and apply constant quarterback pressure was a major weakness for Indianapolis throughout 2012. Damontre Moore's potential for slipping blocks and squeezing against the run, though, is a great complement to the upgraded secondary.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via SEA): Kawann Short, DT (Purdue)
Following up the trade of Harvin, Jay Glazer also reported that Minnesota received this selection from Seattle. Thus the Vikings land Kawann Short, who has an impeccable talent to disrupt a backfield, which significantly benefits Jared Allen.
26. Green Bay Packers: Sylvester Williams, DT (North Carolina)
The Packers have to improve against the run. And Sylvester Williams spruces this area up with the ability to eat blocks and siphon double-teams. This impact derives attention away from Clay Matthews and Green Bay suffocates more up consistently up front.
27. Houston Texans: DeAndre Hopkins, WR (Clemson)
Giving more balance to Houston's offense is DeAndre Hopkins. The Texans already feature an impressive ground game, so adding Hopkins assists Matt Schaub more off play action and will prevent opponents from loading the box.
28. Denver Broncos: Alex Okafor, DE (Texas)
Now that Elvis Dumervil is gone to Baltimore, Denver can reload at defensive end with Alex Okafor. His explosive power suits well on the end and Von Miller won't constantly face double-teams with Okafor creating turbulence.
29. New England Patriots: Keenan Allen, WR (California)
Tom Brady needs a deep threat wide receiver to immediately stretch defenses in 2013.
Measuring at 6'2", 206 pounds Keenan Allen offers up the talent to out-jump cornerbacks and safeties man-to-man. His quick burst at the line becomes a slight edge in going over the middle as well, since linebackers will be focused on locking down Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
Because of that versatile tight end duo, Allen never faces double coverage and will impact on slants, drags and deep crossing routes over the middle. In catching 159 passes for 2,080 yards between 2011 and 2012, Allen's becomes a third-down and red-zone advantage for Brady and Co.
Presenting a strong rushing attack to also keep defensive fronts occupied, New England's utilization for Allen expands the playbook. All that remains are his injury concerns, as Allen did miss the combine and his pro day, according to Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Jesse Williams, DT (Alabama)
As long as the Falcons address the front seven they'll become even stronger Super Bowl contenders. Jesse Williams supplies the potential to draw double-teams and close running lanes. Ultimately, the linebackers are given more playmaking opportunities.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Jonathan Cyprien, Safety (Florida International)
Featuring a size frame at 6'0", 217 pounds, Jonathan Cyprien will do it all for San Francisco. With a knack for constantly being around the ball, Cyprien will reduce yards allowed after the catch, help versus the run and increase turnovers.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te'o, LB (Notre Dame)
With Brown off the board Baltimore still helps itself with Manti Te'o. The Ravens' entire front seven unit will allow him to develop quickly, because Te'o in a limited role builds effectiveness from reduced responsibilities. Aside from filling running lanes, his field awareness also helps against the pass at the intermediate level.
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