The 2013 NFL Draft is approaching fast (April 25-27), and the focus on which stars’ stock is dropping and which stars are on the rise is the talk of the football world.
These are the days that franchises can win and lose Super Bowls, and each franchise is trying to find the best fits and the best future prospects.
With less than a month until draft day, let’s look at the latest mock draft.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The Kansas City Chiefs must get better fundamentally, and with new head coach Andy Reid looking to have a successful first draft, taking consensus No. 1 pick and offensive tackle Luke Joeckel is the right choice for the franchise.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
The Jacksonville Jaguars were one of the worst teams in the league last year because of their lack of a pass rush (just 20 sacks in 2012), and taking a talented outside linebacker like Oregon’s Dion Jordan will be a huge boost for the defense.
3. Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
While Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei had a heart condition discovered at the scouting combine this year (h/t ESPN), a clean bill of health and a team with serious defensive tackle issues like the Oakland Raiders should see him taken at No. 3 overall.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The wide-nine defensive scheme Philadelphia used last year was a failure, and the transition to a 3-4 defense yields the need for an elite outside pass rusher. With a clean bill of health (h/t Dan Pompei of the National Football Post), the Eagles would be foolish to pass on the elite talent of Georgia’s linebacker Jarvis Jones.
5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Detroit Lions have issues across the depth chart, and with that in mind, the team should be taking the best prospect available that fits a need. With so much trouble coming from the secondary, Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner would be a great addition to the Lions.
6. Cleveland Browns: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU
The Cleveland Browns have already spent the offseason trying to improve their defense by signing Paul Kruger (h/t NFL.com), and taking a potential star to play opposite the former free agent is a smart move. Ezekiel Ansah could be the best pure 4-3 defensive end in the entire draft.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
New quarterback Carson Palmer (h/t ESPN) will beg the Arizona Cardinals to protect him this year after the team allowed a league-leading 58 sacks in 2012. Drafting a franchise left tackle like Eric Fisher should be a no-brainer at No. 7.
8. Buffalo Bills: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Buffalo Bills have Kevin Kolb in a quarterback competition (h/t Yahoo! Sports), but there is no doubt that if teams aren’t selecting QBs before No. 8, the team should seriously consider taking Geno Smith in the first round.
9. New York Jets: Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
The biggest stunner of the draft will be the New York Jets' decision to draft Notre Dame middle linebacker Manti Te'o at No. 9. With off-the-chart intangibles, this could be the shrewd risk that turns into a legendary move down the line. Or a complete bust.
10. Tennessee Titans: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Tennessee Titans need fundamental help in the trenches (both the offensive and defensive lines), and the best player available at those positions is Florida’s gifted defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd.
11. San Diego Chargers: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
The San Diego Chargers could take an offensive tackle with this pick, but the loss of star guard Louis Vasquez (h/t ESPN) means that grabbing a future star like Alabama’s Chance Warmack is a great move for the future.
12. Miami Dolphins: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
When Jake Long signed with the St. Louis Rams in the offseason (h/t ESPN), the Dolphins’ first-round pick was sealed. Miami will take the best tackle available and that will be Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking to get a deal done for cornerback Darrelle Revis (h/t Pro Football Talk), so in the draft, the franchise will be looking to take a big defensive lineman that can help clog the middle. Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson is the perfect fit.
14. Carolina Panthers: Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas
The defensive front seven has been excellent for the Carolina Panthers, but the lack of talent behind them in the secondary is the biggest void that needs to be filled. A talented safety like Kenny Vaccaro of Texas would be an ideal fit.
15. New Orleans Saints: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The New Orleans Saints were decimated on defense in 2012, and if the franchise wants to change the fortune of the team, they must select a promising pass-rushing defensive end with a huge upside, like Florida State’s Bjoern Werner.
16. St. Louis Rams: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The loss of Danny Amendola has left a void for a pass-catching slot receiver, and the St. Louis Rams must use the first of their two first-round selections on highly talented wide receiver like Cordarrelle Patterson. The risk will be well worth the reward.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
The Pittsburgh Steelers are desperate to get younger on defense, and the possible addition of Texas A&M pass-rusher Damontre Moore would be the change the franchise needs heading into 2013.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Cooper, G/C, North Carolina
The Dallas Cowboys need helps across the entire offensive line, and taking the best player available at No. 18 will result in the selection of North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper.
19. New York Giants: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
The New York Giants are in need of an elite pass-rushing defensive end, and when LSU’s Barkevious Mingo falls to No. 19, the franchise will make the easy selection.
20. Chicago Bears: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
No matter what the Chicago Bears do with Brian Urlacher (h/t NFL.com), the team has to think long-term and select Kansas State’s Arthur Brown. The future is now.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
While the Cincinnati Bengals already have one of the best wide receivers in the league (A.J. Green has emerged as a bona fide star), the addition of Tavon Austin from West Virginia would be the versatile weapon the franchise needs.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Redskins): Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The second pick of the first round for the St. Louis Rams will be Xavier Rhodes of Florida State, a player that can transition easily from cornerback to safety. His versatility in the secondary will be a great selection for the team.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
The Minnesota Vikings gave Percy Harvin the trade he wanted (h/t FOX Sports) and signed free agent Greg Jennings (h/t Vikings.com), but the need for a long-term solution will lead the team to take Keenan Allen of California.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
The Indianapolis Colts were atrocious in the secondary last year, but the NFL-ready CB prospect Desmond Trufant is exactly what the team needs in the first round in order to make an impact in the AFC next season.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seahawks): Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
With the pick the team acquired from the Seattle Seahawks (h/t FOX Sports), the Minnesota Vikings will take the best player available and upgrade their defensive line with Alabama’s Jesse Williams.
26. Green Bay Packers: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Aaron Rodgers is the Green Bay Packers' heart and soul, so protecting him should be the franchise’s top priority. Despite picking in the later stages of the first round, Green Bay and Alabama’s D.J. Fluker would be an ideal fit.
27. Houston Texans: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
While the defensive line for the Houston Texans has been excellent over the last two years, the need for an inside linebacker that can be a dominant force against the run is still there. That’s where Alec Ogletree fits perfectly.
28. Denver Broncos: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Denver Broncos head coach John Fox loves to add defensive tackles that can play tough against the run but still impact the pass rush on the appropriate down. When Ohio State’s Johnathan Hankins falls into his lap at No. 28, the coach will get his perfect player.
29. New England Patriots: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
The turnover at wide receiver for the New England Patriots—lost Wes Welker, cut Brandon Lloyd and signed Danny Amendola—should signal at least one more addition, and Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins would be a perfect fit.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
While the Atlanta Falcons may have Tony Gonzalez back for another season (h/t ESPN), the need for his long-term replacement is a glaring need. With a potential star like Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert sitting on the board at No. 30, Atlanta must take the risk.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
As if the San Francisco 49ers needed anymore help on the defensive side of the ball, the long-term solution at cornerback will come in the form of underrated Johnthan Banks of Mississippi State falling all the way to No. 31.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
The very public retirement of Ray Lewis has left a very blatant gap in the middle of the defensive front seven for the Baltimore Ravens. The best fit at No. 32 overall is LSU’s standout middle linebacker Kevin Minter.