2013 NFL Mock Draft: Round 1 Picks That Will Help Every NFL Team
Tavon Austin would be a dynamic addition to the St. Louis Rams—one of the teams that could select him in the 2013 NFL draft.
Every team is looking for players in Round 1 who can instantly produce and provide an upgrade to the players currently on their rosters.
Obviously, not all picks pan out the way the teams envision they will when they make them. That said, the players featured in this mock draft would be a big help to the teams they're matched up with—on paper, that is.
Certain featured selections will be highlighted with italics for deeper analysis.
1. Kansas City Chiefs—OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
Branden Albert may not want to play right tackle, but the Chiefs would be smart to draft Joeckel to play on the left side. Alex Smith will have a big year for Kansas City if he is protected, and Joeckel is the best left tackle in the draft.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars—DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
Jacksonville lost 14 games last year, and it has needs across the board. Lotulelei is one of the top players in the draft, regardless of position, and he'll be an anchor for the team's defensive line in 2013 and beyond.
Lotulelei was recently cleared medically by University of Utah cardiologist Josef Stehlik, via Mike Garafolo of USA Today:
"A treadmill stress test showed normal response of the heart to exercise and an ambulatory EKG monitor revealed normal findings," Stehlik wrote. "This evaluation suggested that the initial heart function abnormality was likely transient, resulting from a viral infection."
The former Utah star is ready to take his game to the next level in the NFL. He is capable of playing all over the line, which will fit Gus Bradley's defense perfectly. He's also extremely agile and plays with excellent balance, and he'll be a key contributor as a rookie for whichever team that drafts him.
3. Oakland Raiders—DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida
Floyd is a prototypical three-technique defensive tackle. He's big, quick, strong and aggressive in the trenches, and he'll give Oakland's defense a huge boost right off the bat in 2013.
4. Philadelphia Eagles—OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon
The Eagles will likely be making the difficult switch from a 4-3 scheme to a 3-4 in 2013 under new defensive coordinator Billy Davis. Athletic outside linebackers who can rush the passer are key to finding success in this scheme, and Jordan would be a phenomenal addition to the team's roster.
5. Detroit Lions—OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
Detroit is a passing team on offense, first and foremost. Matthew Stafford loves to sling the ball all over the field, and the best way to help him succeed is by bringing in offensive linemen who are adept at pass-blocking. Fisher is a top prospect in this year's draft, and he'll slide into the starting lineup for retired lineman Jeff Backus.
6. Cleveland Browns—CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
Cleveland's front seven is locked and loaded for success in 2013, but the team's secondary could still use some work. Adding Milliner to start opposite Joe Haden would give the Browns one of the top young duos at the cornerback position in the NFL.
7. Arizona Cardinals—OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
Carson Palmer can still be an effective quarterback in the NFL, but he'll struggle badly if he's under as much pressure as Arizona's offensive line allowed last year. Johnson is a fantastic left tackle who is just starting to reach his potential, and he'll continue getting better in the years to come.
8. Buffalo Bills—QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
Kevin Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson won't help Buffalo defeat the New England Patriots in the AFC East. The Bills need a quarterback, and though there aren't any sure-fire locks this year, Smith is the best passer in the 2013 draft class.
9. New York Jets—OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
The Jets need to upgrade their offensive line. Veteran guard Brandon Moore is a free agent, and though he's still one of the top guards in the NFL, his best years are behind him. New York would be smart to move on without him and draft his replacement in Warmack—a truly dominant run-blocker.
10. Tennessee Titans—DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
Tennessee could use another pass-rusher to pair with Kamerion Wimbley. Derrick Morgan is a solid, but not great pass-rusher, and Ansah would be a big upgrade. Though he's inexperienced and a bit raw, Ansah has the potential to make a huge impact in 2013.
11. San Diego Chargers—S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
San Diego would likely love to be able to draft one of the top offensive tackles in this year's draft. If Joeckel, Fisher and Johnson are all gone at this point, however, it will need to wait until a later round to fill this need.
Vaccaro paired with Eric Weddle would give the Chargers two incredible safeties. The team featured a middle-of-the-road defense last season that allowed 28 touchdowns—tied for the No. 23 mark in the NFL.
The former Longhorns star possesses a multi-faceted skill set that will allow the Chargers to be more creative in the way they cover opponents' passing attacks. He can cover deep in zone schemes, cover slot receivers man to man and attack the running game with skill.
12. Miami Dolphins—OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
Miami could use an upgrade on its offensive line. Ryan Tannehill has plenty of weapons to work with now, after the team spent heavily in free agency. Protecting him will be the next priority, and Cooper is a phenomenal pass-blocker at the guard position.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
The Buccaneers featured the worst pass defense in the NFL last season, allowing 297 yards per game. Second-year safety Mark Barron is a terrific player, but the team's situation at the cornerback position is bleak. Adding Rhodes would be a smart move to improve the team's secondary.
14. Carolina Panthers—WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
Cam Newton can be deadly from the pocket on long bombs, and Steve Smith is getting up there in age. The Panthers would be wise to add a young deep threat like Patterson to give Newton a young receiver to build a long-term relationship with.
15. New Orleans Saints—OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU
Rob Ryan's 3-4 scheme will be a work in progress for the Saints in 2013. The team recently signed Victor Butler, who was a backup linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys for four years. That said, you can never have too many good pass-rushers, and Mingo has the potential to become one of the NFL's most explosive defenders.
16. St. Louis Rams—WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
Sam Bradford is a better quarterback than his stats suggest. He simply hasn't had enough protection or enough weapons to work with, and his health and production have suffered.
The Rams did some work already this offseason to improve his lot, signing tight end Jared Cook and offensive tackle Jake Long. But Danny Amendola signed with the New England Patriots and Brandon Gibson signed with the Miami Dolphins, leaving a big void at the wide receiver position.
Austin isn't a prototypical No. 1 wide receiver, as his 5'8", 174-pound frame will keep him from becoming a dominant presence on the perimeter. That said, he possesses world-class speed, outstanding agility and change-of-direction skills and open-field moves that are reminiscent of Barry Sanders.
He'll be a more dynamic player for the Rams than Amendola was when he could stay on the field, and he's a no-brainer pick here at No. 16.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers—OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
Jones didn't impress anyone recently at his pro day, when he ran a 4.92-second 40. That said, his 28 sacks the past two seasons with Georgia in the SEC are proof enough that he has the game to produce at a high level in the NFL. He'll instantly give the Steelers a boost as a pass-rusher.
18. Dallas Cowboys—OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama
Dallas recently paid Tony Romo a boatload of money, and now the team must protect its investment. Doug Free was horrible last year for the Cowboys, and the team would be smart to let him go and draft Fluker to protect Romo on the right side.
19. New York Giants—ILB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
The Giants haven't fielded a solid linebacking corps in years now, and 2013 is as good a year as any to flip the script. Ogletree's ability to cover ground in a hurry will be a big boost to the team's ability to cover the middle of the field.
Which linebacker will have the biggest impact as a pro?
20. Chicago Bears—ILB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
Right now, the Bears are looking at heading into the 2013 season with D.J. Williams starting at the inside linebacker position. Williams was signed to a one-year contract, and he isn't the long-term answer. Te'o would give Chicago another potential long-term star inside linebacker.
21. Cincinnati Bengals—S Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International
Cincinnati needs to snag a safety in this year's draft to play next to Reggie Nelson. There are some nice players who might be available later on in the draft, but Cyprien looks to be a potential star. Adding him would give defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer another dynamic player to plug into the starting lineup.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins)—S Matt Elam, Florida
St. Louis doesn't have a starting safety currently on its roster. The team lost Craig Dahl to free agency and released Quintin Mikell, and it will be looking at safeties in this year's draft. Elam is a bit undersized, but he is a fantastic player who does a lot of little things right.
23. Minnesota Vikings—WR Keenan Allen, California
Minnesota added Greg Jennings, but the team still needs another dynamic receiver to take pressure off Adrian Peterson and the running game. Allen will be a terrific player in the NFL, and he'd benefit from playing next to Jennings for the next few years.
24. Indianapolis Colts—DT Jesse Williams, Alabama
Two of the biggest keys for any 3-4 defense are possessing outside linebackers who can rush the passer and a dominant nose tackle who can clog up the middle. The Colts have the pass-rushers, but Williams would be an upgrade over the players currently on Indy's roster at the nose tackle position.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle Seahawks)—CB Desmond Trufant, Washington
Antoine Winfield was unexpectedly released this spring, and the Vikings need to draft his replacement. Trufant is a man-to-man specialist who possesses elite speed. Adding him to the team's secondary to play with second-year safety Harrison Smith would give Minnesota a solid foundation for years to come.
26. Green Bay Packers—DT Kawann Short, Purdue
The Packers have struggled to find Cullen Jenkins' replacement ever since he left left via free agency in 2011 to play for the Eagles. Short would be a rock-solid pick for Green Bay here, and he'd be a plug-and-play starter in 2013.
27. Houston Texans—WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
It seems like the Texans have been without a solid No. 2 receiver for years now. Andre Johnson is still one of the league's best receivers, but he needs a complementary player on the other side of the field to take pressure off of him. Hopkins is a polished receiver who is ready to step into the starting lineup right away and produce at a high level.
28. Denver Broncos—DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State
After losing Elvis Dumervil, the Broncos are in the market for a defensive end. Werner would be a steal at the bottom of the first round. A player who many thought could be a top-10 pick before the combine, his quick first step and solid repertoire of moves will translate to solid production in 2013.
29. New England Patriots—CB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State
The Patriots re-signed Aqib Talib, but there's no doubt the team is still in need of talented defensive backs. Banks is a ball hawk who has the speed and quickness to hang with most of the NFL's top receivers, but he'll need to stay disciplined or suffer embarrassment.
30. Atlanta Falcons—DE Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
Atlanta purged its roster of a few veterans, including John Abraham, leaving a void at the defensive end position. Moore dropped down draft boards in a major way the past couple of months, thanks to poor performances at the combine and at his pro day. That said, his 21 sacks in the SEC the past two years shows he can get the job done at the next level.
31. San Francisco 49ers—TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
San Francisco lost tight end Delanie Walker this spring. If Eifert is on the board when the 49ers pick at the bottom of the first round, the team will be hard-pressed to take another player. Providing Colin Kaepernick with two phenomenal tight ends could make the 49ers unstoppable on offense in 2013.
32. Baltimore Ravens—ILB Kevin Minter, LSU
Ray Lewis retired, and Dannell Ellerbe was overpaid by the Dolphins. These two moves left a huge void in the middle of Baltimore's defense, but adding Minter would alleviate the team's losses.
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