The Buffalo Bills need to select a quarterback in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Every team wants to land a difference-maker with its first-round pick, but we know from experience that not all of the players selected will make a positive impact.
That said, at this juncture in the proceedings, every player with a first-round grade has the potential for greatness.
In this mock draft, we'll look to pair first-round players with teams that most need their services. Certain selections will be highlighted with italics for more in-depth analysis.
1. Kansas City Chiefs—OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
Joeckel is as solid as any player at any position in this year's draft class. Branden Albert doesn't want to play right tackle, but the Chiefs need two excellent tackles to give Alex Smith the best chance to succeed.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars—DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
Jacksonville has many needs. This franchise won just two games last season and could go in a number of different directions with this pick.
Winning games in the NFL starts in the trenches, though, and Lotulelei is one of the most dominant interior defenders to come into the NFL in the past few years.
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."
This news puts Lotulelei right back where he was before the combine as one of the top players at any position in the draft. He'll be a stalwart for Gus Bradley's team as a rookie and beyond.
3. Oakland Raiders—DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida
Oakland could look at drafting a quarterback, defensive end or even a cornerback, but the smart move would be to draft a dominant interior defender. Floyd fits that description, and he'll anchor Oakland's defense in 2013.
4. Philadelphia Eagles—OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon
Eric Fisher could be on the radar for the Eagles here, but the opportunity to land an impact player on defense will likely be too tempting to pass up. Jordan is a freakish athlete who looks to have unlimited upside as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
5. Detroit Lions—OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
Fisher could go No. 1 to the Chiefs, but if he slides, the Lions won't hesitate to pick him up. This talented, athletic left tackle will immediately move into starting lineup for retired lineman Jeff Backus.
6. Cleveland Browns—CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
Milliner has the size, strength, speed and skill to become an elite cornerback in the NFL. Adding him to the Browns defense to play opposite Joe Haden would give Cleveland two of the best young cornerbacks in the NFL.
7. Arizona Cardinals—OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
Carson Palmer was brought on to revitalize Arizona's stagnant offense, but he'll not find success if he's on his back every other play. The Cardinals must look to the draft to upgrade the offensive line, and adding Johnson would be a terrific start.
8. Buffalo Bills—QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
Kevin Kolb doesn't inspire much confidence these days, and according to SI.com's Peter King, the Bills could still draft a quarterback in Round 1 or Round 2 this year. Smith may not be ready to start right away, but he has the physical tools to become a good starting quarterback.
9. New York Jets—OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
If the Jets want to rush for more than 3.8 yards per carry in 2013, the team must upgrade the interior of its offensive line. There's no better way to do that than by drafting Warmack—a certified road-grader in the running game.
10. Tennessee Titans—DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
If Ansah ends up falling to this point in the draft, Tennessee won't likely hesitate to add him. Though he's a raw player without a lot of experience, Ansah's upside is such that nobody will be surprised to see him lead the NFL in sacks in two years.
11. San Diego Chargers—S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
Although the Chargers desperately need to add offensive linemen, the team is also in need of secondary help. With the top three offensive tackles already off the board, Vaccaro would be a terrific pickup.
12. Miami Dolphins—OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
Young quarterbacks need a strong running game and good pass protection. Cooper would give Ryan Tannehill a boost on both fronts, and though drafting a guard is never sexy in the first round, it makes sense for the Dolphins.
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.
Dashon Goldson was signed in free agency to play with second-year safety Mark Barron, and the two of them will be a fearsome presence in the middle of the field. The team still lacks talent at the cornerback position, however, and that's where Rhodes fits in.
A big cornerback, at 6'1" and 210 pounds, Rhodes has the length, speed and man-to-man skills to cover the league's top receivers. He'll struggle against smaller, quick receivers, but he will more than hold his own on the perimeter against most No. 1 receivers.
14. Carolina Panthers—WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
With Steve Smith's age more and more becoming a factor, the Panthers would be smart to invest in Cam Newton's future. Adding Patterson to Newton's arsenal would give the young quarterback a top weapon for the future.
15. New Orleans Saints—OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU
The Saints recently signed Victor Butler to come in and rush the passer, but Rob Ryan will need at least one more dynamic pass-rusher for his 3-4 scheme. Mingo may take a year or two to get strong enough to dominate NFL tackles, but his athleticism and speed will serve him well in the meantime.
16. St. Louis Rams—WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
The Rams need to bring in more weapons for Sam Bradford. Austin is one of the most explosive players at any position in this year's draft, and he'd easily replace Danny Amendola as the team's slot specialist.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers—OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
Jones ran a 4.92-second 40 at his pro day, which isn't good for a 3-4 outside linebacker. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport spoke to scouts recently about Jones, however, and they don't think it hurt his stock as much as some have suggested. Jones will be a steal here for the Steelers.
18. Dallas Cowboys—OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama
After Dallas recently paid Tony Romo a king's ransom in a contract extension, it would behoove the team to invest in protecting its investment. Fluker is a dominant right tackle, and adding him would allow the Cowboys to release Doug Free, freeing up valuable cap space.
19. New York Giants—ILB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
New York must address its poor linebacking corps sooner rather than later. The team has gotten by without an elite inside linebacker for years, but now that Robert Griffin III is on the schedule twice a year, as are Chip Kelly's Eagles, it would be smart to upgrade to an athletic, speedy inside linebacker like Ogletree.
Which inside linebacker will be drafted first?
20. Chicago Bears—ILB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
While scouting Te'o this winter, I was often reminded of Brian Urlacher. Now, with Urlacher out of the picture in Chicago, it would be fitting for the Bears to draft his replacement. Te'o would be an instant starter, and the team's beefy defensive line would allow him to run free to the ball.
21. Cincinnati Bengals—S Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International
The Bengals could look to draft one of the top receivers with this pick, but safety is a bigger need. Reggie Nelson is good, but he can't cover the back end all by himself. Cyprien is a player many teams will covet, and the Bengals would be smart to pick him up here.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins)—S Matt Elam, Florida
After the Rams lost Craig Dahl to free agency and released Quintin Mikell, the team is in desperate need of safety help. Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins are phenomenal cornerbacks, but they'll get torched without proper safety help over the top.
23. Minnesota Vikings—WR Keenan Allen, California
The Vikings smartly added Greg Jennings to give Christian Ponder a weapon on the perimeter, but this team still needs to add another receiver. Allen isn't a burner, but with Ponder behind center, the Vikings don't need speed. He's terrific after the catch and isn't afraid to go into the middle—a perfect fit for Minnesota's offense.
24. Indianapolis Colts—DT Jesse Williams, Alabama
The Colts are in the middle of transitioning to a 3-4 scheme on defense. Last year was the first year of the transition, and the team struggled to stop the run. Indy would be smart to add a versatile interior lineman like Williams, who can play all three positions on the line.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle Seahawks)—CB Desmond Trufant, Washington
The Vikings have made a conscious decision to go younger on defense, having recently released Antoine Winfield. Adding a young, speedy man-to-man cornerback like Trufant would be a smart move to make up for Winfield's absence.
26. Green Bay Packers—DT Kawann Short, Purdue
The Packers are a tricky team to mock, as the team could draft an offensive lineman, a running back, a safety or another pass-rusher. That said, the team's defensive line hasn't been as strong as it needs to be the past two seasons, and adding a player like Short would go a long way towards remedying that situation.
27. Houston Texans—WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
Houston must address its need for a solid No. 2 receiver in this year's draft. Andre Johnson isn't getting any younger, and without proper help on the other side of the field, he only managed four touchdown receptions last year.
Hopkins is a pro-ready receiver who has enough speed and skill to give Houston the dual threat on offense it's been missing.
Adding him to the team's starting lineup would not only give Johnson some relief in the passing game, but it would also open up running lanes for Arian Foster. Houston's offense has been extremely conservative the past couple of years, and most of its scoring has come on the ground.
With Hopkins on one side of the field and Johnson on the other, Matt Schaub would finally have two dynamic receivers, and the team's entire offense would benefit.
28. Denver Broncos—DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State
The Broncos lost Elvis Dumervil to the Baltimore Ravens, and now the team is in need of another pass-rusher. Werner may be long gone before Denver picks on draft day, but if he falls to this point in the draft, he'll be an easy pick for the Broncos to make.
29. New England Patriots—CB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State
Hanging on to Aqib Talib was an important move for the Patriots, but the team is still in need of talented cornerbacks. Banks is a solid cover corner who will thrive in a zone scheme, and his ability to make game-changing interceptions will be a welcome addition to the team's up-and-coming corps of young defenders.
30. Atlanta Falcons—DE Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
Moore's draft stock has plummeted since the combine, but this kid didn't tally 21 sacks in the SEC the past couple of years on accident. He is a talented pass-rusher who will be a productive player in the NFL for a long time.
31. San Francisco 49ers—TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
Colin Kaepernick is one of the NFL's brightest young stars. He already has one of the NFL's top tight ends in Vernon Davis, but adding a player like Eifert would give him weapons akin to what Tom Brady has in New England.
32. Baltimore Ravens—ILB Kevin Minter, LSU
It's no secret that the Ravens are suddenly desperate for an inside linebacker or two. Ray Lewis retired after the Super Bowl, and Dannell Ellerbe signed a lucrative contract with the Dolphins, leaving a massive hole in the middle of Baltimore's defense. Minter is an underrated inside linebacker who has the talent and athleticism to step into this team's starting lineup from the first day of training camp.
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