The 2013 NFL draft is just weeks away, and the first round is beginning to take shape.
Expecting to predict exactly what every team will do is like expecting every player on your fantasy baseball team to produce big numbers for you every single night—it's not going to work.
That said, these mock drafts are a great way to get a feel for what might happen when NFL general managers get to work on April 25 when the draft kicks off in New York.
Should the draft be held today, this is a snapshot of how the first round could go down. Certain selections will be highlighted with italics for more in-depth analysis.
1. Kansas City Chiefs—OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
Unless the Chiefs find a trade partner dying to draft Joeckel or Geno Smith, the star left tackle will be the first player taken off the board. Joeckel is a franchise left tackle who will give Alex Smith the protection he needs to succeed in Kansas City.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars—DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
The Jaguars will likely go with a defender in Round 1, and a pass-rusher is desperately needed to bolster a unit that only sacked opposing quarterbacks 20 times last year. Ansah has ideal size to dominate the edge in a 4-3 scheme, and his upside seems to be limitless.
3. Oakland Raiders—DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU
Oakland needs to upgrade its level of talent at nearly every position on both sides of the ball.
The team could easily draft one of the draft's top defensive tackles here, but the allure of picking up an elite pass-rusher could cause general manager Reggie McKenzie to take a bit of a gamble on Mingo.
The pass-rushing specialist from LSU didn't have a phenomenal year for the Tigers in 2012, but neither did Ansah or Dion Jordan, who will also be a high draft pick this year. Mingo's elite speed, quickness and athleticism make him an intriguing player for teams in need of dynamic pas-rushers.
Adding Mingo to Oakland's roster for the 2013 season would be a bold, but necessary move. With Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning and Alex Smith on the radar twice a year, Oakland needs to be able to attack the pocket.
4. Philadelphia Eagles—OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon
Adding Connor Barwin was a bold move for the new-look Eagles under head coach Chip Kelly, but that doesn't preclude the team from drafting another pass-rusher this year. Jordan has the look of a future star, and if he can continue to get bigger and stronger, he'll be a dynamo for the Eagles in another year or two.
5. Detroit Lions—OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
The Lions need to keep Riley Reiff on the right side, and since Jeff Backus retired, the team must draft his replacement. Adding FIsher to the team's offensive line will be beneficial to Matthew stafford's development and health.
6. Cleveland Browns—CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
The Browns did some work to solidify their front seven. The team acquired Paul Kruger and Desmond Bryant, both of whom will be big-time players up front for Cleveland this season. Adding Milliner to play with Joe Haden would be a brilliant move that would give defensive coordinator Ray Horton as complete a unit as he's ever had.
7. Arizona Cardinals—OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
Carson Palmer will start behind center for the Cardinals, which puts an even greater onus on bringing in offensive linemen. Johnson is a fantastic offensive tackle with at least as much upside as Joeckel or Fisher. He'll be the team's starting left tackle from the first day of training camp.
8. Buffalo Bills—OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
After Andy Levitre departed to Tennessee, the Bills are suddenly in desperate need of an offensive guard to replace him. C.J. Spiller is one of the most electric running backs in the league, and adding a stud guard to give him room to run would be a smart move.
9. New York Jets—QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
If Smith ends up falling to this point in the draft, new general manager John Idzik won't likely hesitate to pull the trigger on drafting his potential franchise quarterback. With Mark Sanchez and David Garrard currently the team's best two options at this time, it's not a huge gamble.
10. Tennessee Titans—DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
Lotulelei has been cleared by the "gold standard" of heart tests. This dominant defensive tackle will be a boon for any team's defense. Adding him up front would give the Titans a cornerstone player to build around.
11. San Diego Chargers—OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
There's no doubt the Chargers will be looking to upgrade their offensive line after Philip Rivers was sacked 49 times a year ago. Louis Vasquez left to play for the Denver Broncos, and new general manager Tom Telesco would be smart to draft his replacement here.
12. Miami Dolphins—CB Desmond Trufant, Washington
After the Dolphins lost Sean Smith to the Chiefs, it makes sense that the team could use its first-round pick to draft his replacement. Trufant is a speedy, fleet-footed man-to-man cornerback who has the look of a lock-down player at the next level.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
No team gave up more passing yards than the Bucs last year. If that's not a sign your secondary needs fixing, it's hard to imagine what would be. Rhodes is a big, physical cornerback with the speed and skill to play man-to-man coverage against the NFL's top receivers.
14. Carolina Panthers—DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
No matter how the first round plays out in just about every mock draft I do, Richardson always seems to end up in this slot going to the Panthers. He's really a perfect fit, as Carolina needs a dynamic defensive tackle to solidify its front seven.
15. New Orleans Saints—OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
Renowned orthopedic surgeon Craig Bringham recently cleared Jones medically (h/t Dan Pompei of the National Football Post), saying he didn't see any indication of spinal stenosis.
Jones passed up on the opportunity to work out for scouts at the combine, but he bombed at his pro day, running the 40 in 4,92 seconds. This poor performance will surely keep him out of the top 10, but teams won't be able to discount the 28 sacks Jones tallied during the last two years at Georgia.
The Saints need pass-rushers to attack off the edges in Rob Ryan's new 3-4 defense. Adding Jones to play opposite newly acquired Victor Butler would give Ryan the players he needs to have a big first year with New Orleans.
16. St. Louis Rams—WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
The Rams finally gave Sam Bradford a big weapon on offense, adding tight end Jared Cook in free agency. With Cook attacking the vertical seams, Austin's elite speed and quickness would be deadly underneath.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers—WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
The Steelers let Mike Wallace walk to the Dolphins via free agency, and he'll be sorely missed by Ben Roethlisberger. Adding another burner like Patterson would give Pittsburgh the ability to continue attacking defenses deep, while Antonio Brown does the dirty work underneath.
18. Dallas Cowboys—S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
The Cowboys cannot expect to win on defense with the safeties currently on the roster. Vaccaro is a dynamic safety who can line up all over the field. He'll be a key player for Monte Kiffin's defense in 2013.
19. New York Giants—DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State
Werner has been overlooked of late while Jordan, Ansah and Mingo have emerged as top-10 candidates. That doesn't detract from the fact that Werner is still one of the top pass-rushers in this year's draft class.
A quick first step is key when attacking off the edge in a 4-3 scheme, which is Werner's forte. He is also a savvy player who sniffs out screens and draws with regularity.
Jason Pierre-Paul only logged 6.5 sacks in 2012. He could use another young stud pass-rusher to play opposite him on New York's front line. Werner would be a terrific addition, and he'd be an impact player for the Giants as a rookie in 2013.
20. Chicago Bears—ILB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
It's no secret that Brian Urlacher isn't part of Chicago's plans for the future. The Bears would be smart to draft one of the top inside linebackers early in the draft. Ogletree's speed and athleticism will serve the team well in the NFC North against the Green Bay Packers and Lions.
21. Cincinnati Bengals—OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama
The Bengals are rumored to be looking for a younger, cheaper tackle to replace Andre Smith, who is demanding a king's ransom in free agency (h/t Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio). Fluker would be able to step in right away and fill Smith's shoes should the Bengals decide to go that route.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins)—WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
After landing Austin, the Rams could score big by drafting another receiver. Hopkins is a polished outside receiver that would give Sam Bradford a third excellent target in the passing game, along with Austin and Cook.
23. Minnesota Vikings—ILB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
The Vikings don't have a starting inside linebacker on the roster right now. E.J. Henderson is still on the market, but the team doesn't seem interested in re-signing him at this time. Te'o would be reunited with safety Harrison Smith in Minnesota, and he'd be able to slide into the starting lineup playing between Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson.
24. Indianapolis Colts—DE Datone Jones, UCLA
The Colts added Ricky-Jean Francois to the roster via free agency, but the team's front line on defense could still use another dynamic defender. Jones looks the part of a 3-4 defensive end, and his ability to penetrate the pocket would greatly benefit the team's front seven.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle Seahawks)—WR Keenan Allen, California
The Vikings landed Greg Jennings in free agency, but another potent receiver is needed for true balance. Allen has fallen down draft boards due to a nagging knee injury, but once his knee is 100-percent healthy, he'll be ready to contribute in a big way.
26. Green Bay Packers—DT Kawann Short, Purdue
The Packers haven't found a balance up front on defense since Cullen Jenkins left for greener pastures in 2011. Adding Short to play with B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett would give Green Bay a stout base up front, which would give Clay Matthews more one-on-one opportunities on the outside.
27. Houston Texans—WR Robert Woods, USC
The Texans must bring in a dynamic receiver to play opposite Andre Johnson. The team has struck out in recent years, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't keep swinging for the fences. Adding Woods would give Johnson and Matt Schaub a better chance for success in 2013.
28. Denver Broncos—DE Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
Moore was being pegged by some as a potential top-five pick before the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine. After he bombed the combine, Moore's draft stock took a major tumble. His pro day wasn't much better, but Moore did manage to improve a couple of numbers.
This is one of those cases where measurable drills need to be thrown out the window somewhat. Moore logged 21 sacks and 38.5 tackles for a loss in his final two years with the Aggies. He's not as overpowering or quick as some of the other top prospects, but he finds a way to get the job done.
And after Denver lost Elvis Dumervil to the Baltimore Ravens, the team could pick up his replacement for a fraction of the cost.
29. New England Patriots—CB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State
New England must continue bolstering its secondary. Banks is a ball hawk (15 interceptions and 41 passes defended in his four years at college) who would add to the overall level of talent in the Patriots secondary.
30 Atlanta Falcons—TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
Tony Gonzalez has returned for one more season, so the Falcons aren't in desperate need of a tight end. That said, Eifert could greatly benefit from a season under Gonzalez, which would make him even more deadly as a second-year stud in 2014.
31. San Francisco 49ers—S Eric Reid, LSU
After Dashon Goldson signed a five-year contract with the Buccaneers, it's quite clear the 49ers will target a safety or two in this year's draft. Reid is a player who resembles Goldson somewhat—a big, athletic, rangy safety who can make big plays all over the field.
32. Baltimore Ravens—S Matt Elam, Florida
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