2013 NFL Mock Draft: Smartest Picks for Entire First Round

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2013

MORGANTOWN, WV - NOVEMBER 17:  Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers drops back to pass against the Oklahoma Sooners during the game on November 17, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Success in the NFL draft often leads to positive results on the field. This is why it is so important to make a smart pick in the first round.

Too often, teams try to out-think themselves by reaching for bad picks and letting good players pass them by.

Fortunately, there are plenty of very good options available for every team. Here is a complete look at the first round of the 2013 NFL draft. 



1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

If the Chiefs want to draft the best overall player, Luke Joeckel is the guy. The offensive tackle is a force on the outside on both passing and rushing plays and he is certain to make the entire offense better.

While Branden Albert might not enjoy being moved from left tackle, it would be in the best interest of the team and it would make the entire roster stronger.



2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia 

It is almost impossible to win in the NFL without a steady quarterback. While the team can give Blaine Gabbert another chance as a starter, it is more likely he once again proves that he is not the long-term answer.

As a result, the Jaguars should select the top quarterback in the draft: Geno Smith. The West Virginia passer has great accuracy should be able to get this team headed in the right direction.



3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida 

The Raiders need defensive linemen who can help create a pass rush, as well as players who can stop the run. Fortunately Sharrif Floyd is someone who can do both.

Floyd is quick for his size and can consistently disturb teams by penetrating into the backfield. This will immediately improve an inconsistent defense in Oakland.

While grabbing a quarterback in the later rounds to develop might still be a smart long-term decision in case Matt Flynn does not pan out, the Florida defensive tackle will be a huge addition at this point.



4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon 

Former Oregon coach Chip Kelly will not change his unique ways now that he is in the NFL. Instead, he is going to surprise the league with a versatile, quick-moving offense and defense.

One key ingredient will be defensive end Dion Jordan, who can either rush the quarterback or drop into coverage as an outside linebacker. Either way, he will be a huge part of the team's success.



5. Detroit Lions: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan 

A team that throws the ball as often as the Lions (740 pass attempts last season) needs to have someone who can protect Matt Stafford. 

Eric Fisher will be able to immediately step in as the starting left tackle and handle the pressure guarding the blind side. 



6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

If the Browns manage to draft Dee Milliner, he would combine with Joe Haden to become one of the best cornerback duos in the NFL. 

The best part is that these two players will be good for a long time, solidifying the pass defense that will become a strength of this team.



7. Arizona Cardinals: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

When you are the worst team in a division, it makes sense to take risks. The Cardinals acquired Carson Palmer to presumably be the new starting quarterback, and they need to take another one in the draft.

Ezekiel Ansah is possibly the biggest boom-or-bust prospect in the class, but his athleticism is undeniable. If he can put it all together, he could be a Pro Bowler.

This could be a worthy risk for a squad that went 5-11 a year ago.



8. Buffalo Bills: Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse

If you are a Bills fan and are confident with Kevin Kolb as the future quarterback, you are in serious denial. However, it is also good to know that Ryan Nassib is not just gaining hype because he used to play for current Buffalo coach Doug Marrone.

Nassib has a lot of potential at quarterback with his strong arm and high football IQ. If he is brought along slowly, he has the chance to be a very good player in this league. 



9. New York Jets: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia

When evaluating NFL talent, you do not always want to trust college production, whether good or bad. However, you also cannot discredit what a player does on the field.

Many are dropping Jarvis Jones down draft boards due to his struggles in workouts. In his pro day, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.92 seconds (via David Ching of ESPN), a relatively slow time for his position.

Still, he has a natural ability to get to the quarterback, and his technique will take him a long way in the NFL.

The Jets would be smart to grab a true football player like Jones over a workout warrior who could end up being a bust.



10. Tennessee Titans: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

When the Titans were at their peak a few years ago, the strength of the team was the offensive and defensive lines.

Drafting Star Lotulelei will help the squad get back to that point. He is a big-time talent in the middle of the defense that will help get the unit back to the top of the league.



11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

Lane Johnson does not have much experience playing on the offensive line, but that almost makes his skill to this point even more impressive.

In a few years, the tackle has a chance to be one of the top players in the league at his position, making this a smart selection for the Chargers.



12. Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State 

Miami was not only around the bottom of the league in passing yards allowed last season, but the secondary forced very few interceptions.

Xavier Rhodes is the best all-around cornerback available and he will be able to make plays in the secondary to help put the offense back on the field quickly.



13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington 

With Rhodes off the board, the Buccaneers will have to look further down the list of the top cornerbacks. Even after signing Dashon Goldson, the team still needs a cornerback to improve the worst pass defense in the NFL last season.

Desmond Trufant is one of the fastest cornerbacks in the draft and his speed will allow him to stick with receivers and make up for mistakes at the next level.



14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri 

The Panthers were 14th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed last season, which was largely due to the great play of rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly. 

With a good run stopper like Sheldon Richardson, this unit can move into the top 10 and become an actual strength of this young team. 



15. New Orleans Saints: Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas

After finishing last season with one of the worst overall defenses in the league, any pick would probably be an improvement.

New Orleans could definitely do much worse than Kenny Vaccaro, the top safety in the draft. He is very athletic and has the speed to cover a lot of ground in the secondary.



16. St. Louis Rams: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama


If Chance Warmack is still around at this point of the draft, the Rams should jump at the opportunity to grab him. The talented guard is certain to make a huge impact in the NFL and could be a perennial Pro Bowler.

Fortunately for St. Louis, guards are often undervalued in the first round and he should fall to this point, despite being one of the top players in the class.



17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU 

It is tough to get a read on Barkevious Mingo. The defensive end is one of the best athletes in the entire draft, putting together great numbers at the combine in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump.

However, he had very little production at LSU, totaling only 4.5 sacks in his final season. 

One issue is a lack a strength. Even if he is used as an outside linebacker instead of a defensive end, he will still have to beat linemen around the edge. That will be tough to do if he is constantly being pushed around.

The Steelers should be able to utilize his speed to make him into a good starter, but teams at the top of the first round should avoid Mingo at all costs.



18. Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina 

The Cowboys were never able to get a rushing attack going last season, but it was not the running backs' fault. Instead, there was very little space to run through.

Jonathan Cooper is one of the strongest offensive linemen in the class and he knows how to create room to improve the run game.



19. New York Giants: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State 

New York has shown in the past that it is willing to draft a top defensive lineman when it already has big names on the roster. No one will say at this point that selecting Jason Pierre-Paul was a mistake.

The same can be said about Bjoern Werner, who is one of the best pure pass-rushers in the draft. He will come in right away and put more pressure on the opposing quarterback, making it easier for the secondary to succeed.



20. Chicago Bears: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia 

No team in the league has a prouder tradition of great linebackers than the Chicago Bears. Alec Ogletree could be the next in line. 

Georgia's leading tackler has great speed to cover the entire field and is certain to rack up over 100 tackles every season that he is healthy.



21. Cincinnati Bengals: Matt Elam, S, Florida 

It is less common for teams to have "enforcers" in the middle of the field since penalties for big hits became more frequent. However, Matt Elam's reputation of a hard hitter should carry into the NFL and make a positive impact on this team.

The Bengals will certainly give up much fewer passes over the middle with the Florida safety patrolling that area.



22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins) Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee 

With Danny Amendola no longer in the picture, Sam Bradford needs another consistent target to give him help on offense.

Cordarrelle Patterson is a little raw, but he has great hands, which allow him to grab almost anything near him. For a quarterback that sometimes struggles with accuracy, this could be a great addition.



23. Minnesota Vikings: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia 

Few players in this draft have more playmaking ability than Tavon Austin. Throughout his career, he routinely took short passes or runs and turned them into 50-yard touchdowns or longer.

With this type of talent on the field, teams might have to start respecting the passing attack, freeing up more space for Adrian Peterson next season.



24. Indianapolis Colts: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M 

Like Jarvis Jones, Damontre Moore is much better than his workout numbers indicate. The defensive end led his team in both sacks and tackles, and has great instincts to make plays all over the field.

He will help improve a Colts pass rush which ranks ninth-worst in the NFL last season. 



25. Minnesota Vikings: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina 

Sometimes all you need from a defensive lineman is a big body to take up space in the middle of the field. Sylvester Williams does that as well as anyone, as he can use his size to take on blockers, which frees up space for teammates to make plays in other parts of the field.



26. Green Bay Packers: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA


Green Bay has been improving its defensive front over the past two years, but you can never have enough pass-rushers. Datone Jones could play in either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense and will be successful regardless.

With solid strength and great quickness, he will help make the Packers dangerous on that side of the ball.



27. Houston Texans: Keenan Allen, WR, California

Andre Johnson had over 1,000 more receiving yards than the second-best wideout on the Texans. This is great for fantasy owners, but not good for the team.

Houston has lacked someone to be a secondary target opposite of Johnson to take the pressure off and give Matt Schaub another option during games.

Keenan Allen has everything you look for in a receiver. He has good size, speed and the catching ability to allow him to possibly be a No. 1 target down the line. 

Until that point, however, he will be a very good No. 2 on what is becoming a deep offense with a lot of weapons. 



28. Denver Broncos: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State 

Adding a run-stopper like Johnathan Hankins on a defense like the Broncos would almost make things unfair. They already have a good secondary with a talented linebacking corps and a dangerous pass rush.

Hankins is not the top defensive tackle in the class, but he is exactly what this team needs.



29. New England Patriots: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State


The Patriots saw last season how important it is to have a physical cornerback in the secondary like Aqib Talib. Adding a second one in Johnthan Banks would finally solidify the position after years of trying to find the right players.



30. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame 

While the Falcons seemed one-dimensional last season, the defense was actually much better than people realized. Despite ranking 24th in the NFL in yards allowed, they only gave up the fifth-most points.

This allows the team to keep improving on offense, where Tyler Eifert could be a good long-term move to eventually replace Tony Gonzalez. This will help the young core continue to shine for many more years.



31. San Francisco 49ers: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama 

The key to the 49ers' defensive success over the past few years has been in the dominant front seven. While the linebackers get all of the publicity, the defensive line does the dirty work.

Jesse Williams will need to be the player to continue that tradition after anchoring a great defensive front with Alabama. His size and quickness is exactly what the 49ers need up front next season.



32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame

Manti Te'o might have seen his stock drop quite a bit over the past few months, but he is still an excellent football player. His tackling ability will take him far, especially if he is behind a good defensive tackle like Haloti Ngata.

While he might not have the best straight-line speed, he has the skill to be in the NFL for a long time. 



    Martellus Bennett Announces Retirement

    NFL logo

    Martellus Bennett Announces Retirement

    Tim Daniels
    via Bleacher Report

    Warrant Issued for Michael Bennett's Arrest

    NFL logo

    Warrant Issued for Michael Bennett's Arrest

    Timothy Rapp
    via Bleacher Report

    Police: Bennett Assaulted Woman, Told Cops 'F--k Off'

    NFL logo

    Police: Bennett Assaulted Woman, Told Cops 'F--k Off'

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report

    Greedy NFL Is Killing the Draft

    NFL logo

    Greedy NFL Is Killing the Draft

    Mike Freeman
    via Bleacher Report