NFL Mock Draft 2013: Top First-Round Selections with Highest Potential
There are no more bowl games, combine workouts or pro days left to take in. The 2013 NFL Draft is less than three weeks away, and time is slowly running out for the 30 teams drafting in the first round to decide on their next big-time addition.
Of course, a lot will depend on how the first few picks shake out, as the Kansas City Chiefs could go a number of different ways at No. 1 overall.
Here we'll run through the entire first round of this year's draft, mocking all 32 selections and breaking down the players with the highest potential.
First-round selections with highest potential are italicized.
No. 1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M, OT
With very few standout talents at skill positions this year, Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel looks like the favorite to go No. 1 overall to Kansas City. Joeckel has the prototypical frame for an offensive tackle and looks poised to transition into a franchise cornerstone.
No. 2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Eric Fisher, Central Michigan, OT
Once again, the theme this year is offensive and defensive line. Central Michigan's Eric Fisher is a stud at 6'7", and will likely follow Joeckel onto the podium in the first round.
No. 3. Oakland Raiders (4-12) : Sharrif Floyd, Florida, DT
Oakland has its quarterback of the future after landing Matt Flynn in a trade this offseason, meaning that the Raiders will likely go defense with their first-round selection this April. Florida's Sharrif Floyd is a versatile lineman who can wreak havoc coming off the edge or plug gaps in the middle.
No. 4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): Dee Milliner, Alabama, CB
Although Philadelphia has addressed its secondary through free agency this spring, the Eagles will have a tough time passing on Alabama's Dee Milliner, a playmaking cornerback who happens to be a superstar in the making.
Milliner's speed and cover skills are unrivaled, and what an addition he would be for a team vying for the NFC East crown.
No. 5. Detroit Lions (4-12): Dion Jordan, Oregon, DE
With Cliff Avril gone to Seattle, Detroit must address its pass-rushing situation in the first round this year. Oregon's Dion Jordan is one of the most promising talents on the defensive edge and could wind up leading the Lions in sacks next season.
At 6'7", 240 pounds, Jordan is almost unstoppable when he's coming full speed off of the edge.
If Detroit puts him in the right positions to be successful, the sky is truly the limit for the former Oregon Ducks star.
No. 6. Cleveland Browns (5-11): Barkevious Mingo, LSU, DE
LSU's KeKe Mingo is one of the most physically gifted talents in this year's draft, and would be a huge addition in Cleveland. Mingo can play multiple positions on defense and would thrive as either a finesse defensive end or an outside linebacker.
Mingo is an exceptional mover for a player his size and can turn his hips in a hurry. Whether he's chasing down a running back or pressuring the quarterback from outside the pocket, Mingo is a non-stop worker who rarely takes a play off.
His numbers won't jump out at you, but after watching him dominate at the combine last February, it's safe to say his potential is limitless.
No. 7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11): Jarvis Jones, Georgia, LB
With Carson Palmer on board in the desert, the Cardinals can now go in a number of different directions in the first round, but Georgia's Jarvis Jones is no doubt the best player available in this scenario.
Jones led the nation with 14.5 sacks last season.
No. 8. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Geno Smith, West Virginia, QB
With Arizona, Kansas City and Oakland all landing quarterbacks via trade this offseason, Buffalo is looking more and more likely to land West Virginia's Geno Smith at No. 8 this April.
It's no secret that the Bills need a quarterback, and Smith brings tons of arm strength and accuracy to the table as a passer who threw for over 4,000 yards in each of his final two seasons with the Mountaineers.
No. 9. New York Jets (6-10): Star Lotulelei, Utah, DT
The Jets ranked 26th in rush defense a season ago and will need to shore up their defensive front in hopes of returning to the playoffs in 2013. Utah's Star Lotulelei could be the perfect fit in Rex Ryan's scheme.
No. 10. Tennessee Titans (6-10): Lane Johnson, Oklahoma, OT
Tennessee got a big boost up front this offseason by adding guard Andy Levitre, but the Titans can make life even easier for Chris Johnson by drafting Oklahoma's super-athletic tackle Lane Johnson, who shows limitless potential in both the run and pass game.
No. 11. San Diego Chargers (7-9): Chance Warmack, Alabama, G
The Chargers need to keep Philip Rivers on his feet and off his back in 2013 if they hope to live up to expectations. Bringing in King Dunlap from Philadelphia to protect on the outside was smart, but adding a young physical guard is the next step to making San Diego's offense fearsome again.
No. 12. Miami Dolphins (7-9): Desmond Trufant, Washington, CB
Miami's poor play in the secondary was a huge reason the Dolphins finished 3-6 after a 4-3 start to the season. The 'Fins ranked 27th in pass defense, allowing roughly 250 yards per game through the air. Washington's Desmond Trufant is one of the top cornerbacks on the board after Alabama's Milliner.
No. 13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9): Damontre Moore, Texas A&M, DE
Losing defensive end Michael Bennett in free agency has set the Bucs back at defensive end. Tampa Bay would be wise to take a shot at Texas A&M's Damontre Moore, a player who was once being discussed as a potential No. 1 pick.
He had a poor combine, which crushed his stock, but Moore has first-round talent without a doubt.
No. 14. Carolina Panthers (7-9): Ezekiel Ansah, BYU, DE
There's a whole lot to like about Brigham Young's Ezekiel Ansah. At 6'6", 270 pounds, Ansah has the size and frame to become a dominant defensive force in the NFL. But when you consider he runs like a track star, that's when you realize he is no ordinary defensive end prospect.
Although you don't want your first-round selection running down the field on kickoffs, Ansah has tremendous special teams potential given his combination of size and speed and looks to be a solid linebacker or pass-rusher at the next level.
The Panthers look like a smooth fit for the former Cougars star at No. 14.
No. 15. New Orleans Saints (7-9): Bjoern Werner, Florida State, DE
Considering how dreadful New Orleans was on the defensive side of the ball last season, the Saints really have no choice but to address their defense in Round 1. If available, Florida State's Bjoern Werner provides an energized piece to bring some pressure and sure tackling off of the edge.
No. 16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): Tavon Austin, West Virginia, WR
Imagine Tavon Austin and that breakaway speed of his on the quick turf inside St. Louis' dome. Sam Bradford could certainly use some weapons in the wake of Danny Amendola's and Steven Jackson's departures this offseason.
No. 17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Cornellius Carradine, Florida State, DE
Pittsburgh's defense has been its calling card for as long as the Steelers have been a winning franchise, so why not ensure that the defense remain dominant in 2013?
Florida State's Cornellius Carradine is a lesser-known talent coming out this year, but with a nickname like Tank, he's certainly someone to watch for as the draft picks up this April.
No. 18. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Sheldon Richardson, Missouri, DT
Dallas struggled to get its running game going in 2012, but was also a below average defensive team in terms of stopping the run. The Cowboys ranked 22nd in that category a season ago, allowing over 125 yards per game on the ground. Missouri's Sheldon Richardson is the player Dallas must look to in the first round if it hopes to slow down prolific running teams like the Washington Redskins in 2013.
No. 19. New York Giants (9-7): Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina, G
The Giants could used a boost on the defensive side of the ball, but New York's offensive line struggled throughout 2012, and must improve if its going to challenge for the Super Bowl next season. North Carolina's Jonathan Cooper is arguably the top guard in this year's draft, and his versatility would be hard to pass up at No. 19.
No. 20. Chicago Bears (10-6): Keenan Allen, California, WR
Chicago addressed its lack of depth at tight end this offseason by bringing in Martellus Bennett, so now all that's left to do is for the Bears to add a weapon opposite Brandon Marshall. Cal's Keenan Allen possesses a phenomenal pair of hands and could really shine while benefiting from all the attention Marshall receives from opposing defenses.
No. 21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Justin Hunter, Tennessee, WR
A.J. Green has developed into a superstar in no time in Cincinnati, but with the two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver earning more and more respect from opposing secondaries, the Bengals must bolster their wide receiving corps and find a solid No. 2 option on the outside for Andy Dalton.
At 6'4", Justin Hunter can elevate over the top of smaller defenders and would provide the Bengals with another deep threat. Hunter recorded 73 receptions for over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns last year with Tennessee, averaging close to 15 yards per catch.
With two long and athletic receivers on each side of the field, Dalton and the Bengals offense would have no reason not to succeed.
No. 22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins) (10-6): Kenny Vaccaro, Texas, S
Kenny Vaccaro and the Rams would be an ideal fit as we approach the later picks of the first round. The only question is whether the former Texas safety will still be available.
No. 23. Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee, WR
Stealing away veteran wide receiver Greg Jennings from the rival Packers this offseason was huge, but Minnesota won't be able to rely on Jennings to do it all himself in 2013. Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson would make a nice addition to a team that ranked 31st in the league in passing a year ago.
No. 24. Indianapolis Colts (11-5): Sylvester Williams, North Carolina, DT
Indy's run defense was nothing short of awful in 2012, surrendering nearly 138 yards per game on the ground. At No. 24, the Colts can't go wrong with North Carolina's Sylvester Williams. Not only can he clog running lanes, but the former Tar Heel can push opposing lineman back and win consistently at the point of attack.
No. 25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle Seahawks) (11-5): Alec Ogletree, Georgia, LB
Like Damontre Moore, Georgia's Alec Ogletree is perceived as a risky pick this spring despite his on-field ability.
Minnesota will draft No. 25. thanks to its trade with Seattle that sent Percy Harvin to the Seahawks. Acquiring a physical linebacker like Ogletree could go a long way towards helping the Vikings return to the NFC North throne.
No. 26. Green Bay Packers (11-5): Eddie Lacy, Alabama, RB
Green Bay could wait until the later rounds to draft a running back, but if the Packers want to select a game changer in the backfield they will need to take Alabama's Eddie Lacy in the first round. The former Crimson Tide bruiser runs with purpose and would come in handy in short yardage situations.
Lacy has the ability to take some of the pressure off of Aaron Rodgers and provide Green Bay with a multi-dimensional attack.
Who is the best inside linebacker in this year's draft?
No. 27. Houston Texans (12-4): Kevin Minter, LSU, LB
Kevin Minter isn't flashy, but he gets the job done, wrapping up ball-carriers and almost always making the right read. He's a steady producer and would shine playing for a championship contender in Houston.
No. 28. Denver Broncos (13-3): Xavier Rhodes, Florida State, CB
The Broncos secondary was playing well all the way up until the postseason last year, when it was shredded by Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens. With the offense looking to put up big-time numbers once again in 2013, Denver would be wise to take a cornerback like Florida State's Xavier Rhodes late in the first round this spring.
Rhodes recorded eight interceptions over the course of his college career with the Seminoles.
No. 29. New England Patriots (12-4): Matt Elam, Florida, S
New England ranked fourth, seventh and ninth respectively in pass offense, rush offense and rush defense in 2012. Unfortunately, the Pats ranked 29th defending the pass, and their lackluster secondary certainly showed in the AFC Championship Game loss to Baltimore.
Florida's Matt Elam is a very solid player against the pass and a hard hitter who could help bring a new mindset to New England's defense.
No. 30. Atlanta Falcons (13-3): Datone Jones, UCLA, DE
With the offensive side of the ball revamped through free agency, the Atlanta Falcons can turn their attention to the defensive side with their first-round pick. This late, a player like UCLA's Datone Jones wouldn't be a bad move considering the defensive talent Atlanta lost this offseason.
No. 31. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): John Cyprien, Florida International, S
Losing Dashon Goldson to Tampa Bay in free agency last month was big for San Francisco, and the Niners will need to address that loss in the draft this spring. Florida International safety John Cyprien brings a lot of upside and talent to the table.
He's no Goldson, but with development he can become a reliable starter in Francisco's defensive back field.
No. 32. Baltimore Ravens (10-6): Manti Te'o, Notre Dame, LB
This is a popular pick in mock drafts around the web and for good reason. Manti Te'o's poor combine performance paired with the fact that the Baltimore Ravens waved goodbye to one of the best to ever play middle linebacker this offseason has him on a course to land with the world champions at No. 32.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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