2013 NFL Mock Draft: First-Round Moves That Will Help Each Team
Every NFL team will be looking for immediate help in the first round of April's draft, and for the most part, all should find it. This is such a deep class of pro hopefuls, and those fortunate enough to have high picks can't do much wrong.
Having said those positive things, here are some prospects who may not necessarily fill a need for a team, but will nevertheless be major impact players in the future.
Here is a complete mock of the first round with a focus on polarizing players who will either establish or continue a winning tradition with their organizations.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Nearly a consensus No. 1 overall pick, there is no reason the Chiefs' new regime should take any unnecessary risks here. Branden Albert is a franchise left tackle, but is missing the team's offseason workouts. No matter what Albert's fate is, Joeckel is a logical pick to fortify pass protection and improve run blocking.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
New head coach Gus Bradley will want to improve his defense immediately, since that is his area of expertise. No one struggled more than the Jags to rush the passer in 2012, and Ansah could fill in right away as a dynamic weapon in that regard for Jacksonville.
3. Oakland Raiders (4-12): Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
With uncommon speed for his size and the versatility to play anywhere on the defensive front, Floyd will give a much needed boost to Oakland's front four. This is a safe pick, and the Raiders must hit on it absent a selection in Round 2.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The type of offense that new head coach Chip Kelly is going to implement would benefit greatly by having a quarterback of the future with Smith's skill set.
Michael Vick is not the long-term solution despite his likely strong fit in the new scheme, and Nick Foles doesn't have the athleticism to be the man. Smith makes a lot of sense at No. 4. He didn't run much in college, but has enough speed to be dangerous in zone-read situations alongside RB LeSean McCoy.
Combine that with adequate size, a strong arm and uncanny accuracy, and Smith fits the mold of where the quarterback position seems to be going.
5. Detroit Lions (4-12): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Moving Riley Reiff to right tackle and sticking Fisher on Matthew Stafford's blind side would help the pass protection immensely. Fisher can also help seal the edge for newly acquired RB Reggie Bush and be an effective blocker downfield on screen plays.
6. Cleveland Browns (5-11): Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The new Browns regime is thrilled to continue enhancing their 3-4 defense by adding the best cornerback in the draft. Milliner is exceptional in zone coverage and would team up with Joe Haden to be one of the league's premier cornerback duos.
7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11): Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
A third offensive tackle in the first seven picks seems a bit much, but now that Carson Palmer is in the fold, he needs time to hit the Cardinals' playmakers. Johnson is an outstanding, athletic prospect who would allow Levi Brown to move to right tackle.
8. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
Ryan Nassib should be on the board in the second round if new head coach Doug Marrone wants to add his most recent Syracuse QB to the positional battle.
Regardless of whether it's a rookie, Kevin Kolb or another signal-caller under center, the Bills need to make up for the departure of Andy Levitre. Cooper is a great pass-blocker and will fill in as a starter from the beginning.
It would be interesting to see how Kolb would do with much better blocking in front of him in addition to a running game spearheaded by C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. The selection of Cooper would give some insight into what the Bills have in Kolb.
9. New York Jets (6-10): Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
Jordan may not fall this far, but the Jets—who need as many young assets as possible—will gladly take Jordan here. The 3-4 scheme Rex Ryan deploys is a perfect fit, and Jordan's ability to rush the passer off the edge and cover makes him extremely dangerous as an outside linebacker.
10. Tennessee Titans (6-10): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The offensive line could still use some work, but Lotulelei is too talented to pass up here. He is an absolute force against the run and should immediately command a double team due to his strength at the point of attack.
11. San Diego Chargers (7-9): Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
The acquisition of King Dunlap should help protect Philip Rivers for the time being, and outside linebacker is a place the Chargers can upgrade. Mingo is a boom-or-bust proposition; but if he's a hit, he can easily become a double-digit sack master for years to come.
12. Miami Dolphins (7-9): Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
GM Jeff Ireland addressed most of the team's needs in free agency, most recently by signing CB Brent Grimes. Thus, the Dolphins should look to add depth on the defensive line in the form of a new pass-rusher, and Werner fits the bill.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9): Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Another Seminole will remain in the Sunshine State with the next pick, as Rhodes has the size and natural skills to instantly start in the pros. It will help absorb the ludicrous free agent signing of Eric Wright last offseason.
14. Carolina Panthers (7-9): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
With only one season of experience against SEC competition, there are concerns about how raw Patterson is.
However, the Panthers could definitely use an explosive asset like Patterson to take pressure off of Cam Newton, who essentially must lead Carolina to the playoffs in 2013 to avoid scrutiny—and a possible regime change in the organization.
Patterson has the size to line up on the outside but would be a matchup nightmare in the slot, either catching passes or motioning into the backfield for a jet sweep.
15. New Orleans Saints (7-9): Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The Saints badly need to improve on defense, and Rob Ryan's 3-4 scheme demands an instant difference maker. Jones can do just about anything, and is also excellent at pressuring the quarterback. That will be vital in a division featuring Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and Josh Freeman.
16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
It's pretty incredible that a 5'8" player can go this high, but Austin is that much of a game-changer. The Rams badly need a weapon to create mismatches against the NFC West's stout defenses, and Austin would provide QB Sam Bradford with a new security blanket in lieu of Danny Amendola.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
The off-field concerns drop Ogletree down here, but he is actually one of the best athletes in the entire class—which is saying something.
Ogletree started his career with the Bulldogs as a safety, so he can cover with the best of them. His sideline-to-sideline range is extremely impressive, and he simply has a knack for being in the proper place.
Going to a top-notch organization such as Pittsburgh is the best thing that could happen to Ogletree. He would be able to learn from the likes of LaMarr Woodley—and possibly perform well enough to start opposite him as the other Steelers' outside linebacker.
18. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Vaccaro is the best safety in the class, and it is a position that must be upgraded for Monte Kiffin's new 4-3 scheme to work. Ogletree would have been a nice option here, but the former Longhorn is too good to pass up at this juncture. Staying in the Lone Star State will help Vaccaro adjust to the pros, and former Pittsburgh Steeler Will Allen would help him adjust to the steep learning curve.
19. New York Giants (9-7): Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Richardson is a wonderful athlete who is extremely quick off the ball. Combining him with Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul would likely restore the dynamic defensive line the Giants are used to fielding.
20. Chicago Bears (10-6): Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
With Brian Urlacher and his effective fill-in Nick Roach both gone, the Bears need to upgrade the heart of their defense to keep pace in the NFC North. Minter was a total stud in his only year as a starter with the Tigers, and has played the elite competition necessary to fill in at the NFL level immediately.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
He may be considered slightly undersized to play on the inside, which means that Brown could thrive as an outside linebacker in a 4-3 alignment. Dontay Moch may not exactly cut it on the strong side, and providing him with competition in Brown couldn't possibly hurt the Bengals' defense.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins): Matt Elam, S, Florida
The first-team All-American is a physical, versatile and passionate player who can really lay the wood while also covering well. Elam can play either free or strong safety, and would help compensate for the loss of All-Pro Quintin Mikell.
23. Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
The first of two selections in the Top 25 sees Minnesota fill a need at corner after the release of wily veteran Antoine Winfield. After Milliner, Trufant is widely considered the No. 2 CB in this class, which justifies the rationale for this pick.
24. Indianapolis Colts (11-5): Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Supplying Andrew Luck with another weapon would be a wise move by reigning Executive of the Year Ryan Grigson. Hunter is 6'4", 200 pounds and has the speed to be a threat in the open field and stretch a defense vertically. His 40.5" vertical leap also allows him to be an amazing red zone target.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle Seahawks): Keenan Allen, WR, California
Christian Ponder is another young quarterback who needs as many receivers around him as possible to help him. Allen is a polished route-runner with the size to play outside and the slippery moves in the open field to be a force in the slot.
26. Green Bay Packers (12-4): Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
Whatever deficiencies the Packers have on the offensive line can be addressed in later rounds. Lacy likely won't be there once Round 2 rolls around, so the Pack should snag the 230-pound bruiser to give the running game some stable production.
27. Houston Texans (12-4): DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Outshining a talent like Sammy Watkins is no small feat, and that's what Hopkins did as a junior for the Tigers. Hopkins is just the type of No. 2-caliber receiver the Texans have been searching for, and would make their offense much more dangerous.
28. Denver Broncos (13-3): Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie signed, but he wasn't all that strong for the Eagles in his most recent stint. Banks is a physical corner who will at the very least provide depth to an area the Broncos need due to the aging of future Hall of Famer Champ Bailey.
29. New England Patriots (12-4): Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
Williams would pair with Vince Wilfork on the interior of the Pats' defensive line to open up opportunities for the rest of the unit. The former Tar Heel has a ceaseless motor and should create problems for guards and centers with his ability to quickly disengage from blocks.
30. Atlanta Falcons (13-3): Cornellius Carradine, DE, Florida State
Carradine tore his ACL in the regular-season finale against the rival Gators. Before that, it was pretty much a lock that Carradine would be a first-round pick. Atlanta adds him along with Osi Umenyiora to upgrade the only position in truly dire need of improvement.
31. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
For a team that has so many picks in the draft, it would be exciting to see GM Trent Baalke take a flier on Hunt with the first pick. Hunt has as much physical upside as anyone in the draft, and wouldn't be pressured to contribute to the Niners' stout defense immediately.
32. Baltimore Ravens (10-6): Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
Te'o's natural instincts are undeniable, and anything he lacks in foot speed or other metrics can be made up for by his high football IQ. It would be fitting for him to step in to the middle of a 3-4 defense and attempt to replace the legendary Ray Lewis.
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