The excitement surrounding the 2013 NFL draft is ramping up significantly as the event draws nearer. This is going to be a spectacular event, and a number of young men are going to be selected on Day 1 that will wind up changing the landscape of the NFL forever—for better or worse.
If you’re interested in finding out which direction your team could be leaning in or want to know where some of the biggest college stars will wind up playing next season, it’s definitely worth it to check out our latest mock.
Here’s an updated look at the entire first round.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT (Texas A&M)
Not only is this the safest pick, but Joeckel is arguably the best player in the draft as well. After acquiring Alex Smith this offseason, the Chiefs will need to provide the veteran quarterback with protection along the offensive line. Snagging a player of this caliber gives the Chiefs an opportunity to solidify the left side of the line for the foreseeable future.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Shariff Floyd, DT (Florida)
After finishing near the bottom of the league in both total defense and rushing defense last season, the Jags will look to upgrade their defensive line via the draft. Floyd is an ideal pick, as he not only possesses terrific size (6’3", 297 lbs.) but also brings good pressure from the inside.
The Jags have a ton of holes to fill on both offensive and defensive side of the ball, but a guy with the ability to stuff the run and create pressure from the interior is hard to pass up.
Although Floyd only recorded 4.5 sacks over a two-year span at Florida, he has the athleticism and explosiveness to get to the quarterback and should reach that total quickly in the NFL.
3. Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei, DT (Utah)
Defensive tackles Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly are gone, meaning the Raiders have big holes to fill in the middle of their front seven. With the possibility of the team switching over to a 3-4 defense, Lotulelei should be the first player that Oakland targets.
Standing at a massive 6’2", 311 pounds, the Utah product can play anywhere along the defensive line. Because he is powerful enough to line up at the nose and agile enough to slide down to either end position, Lotulelei would be the perfect pick for Oakland.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dee Milliner, CB (Alabama)
The failed Nnamdi Asomugha experiment is officially over. The arrangement didn’t last long, as the cornerback was cut this offseason after signing a five-year, $60 million dollar contract in 2011. Factor in that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is also out of the picture now, and there is a clear need for a corner in Philly.
Milliner has a great combination of pure size and quickness. His 6’0", 200-pound frame affords him the ability to press wide receivers, and his 4.37-second 40-yard dash time should allow him to bump and run with the best of them and cover up any mistakes.
The former ‘Bama star can shut down his man in coverage and has the speed to go stride-for-stride with the fastest wide outs in the game. Throw in an incredible 36-inch vertical, and you are looking at a complete physical resume for this young stud.
If the Eagles are looking to get the production that they expected from Asomugha, this is the right call.
5. Detroit Lions: Bjoern Werner, DE (Florida State)
The Lions glaring weakness on the defensive side of the ball is their pass-rush. Werner, the 2012 ACC Defensive Player of the Year Award winner, could be the right guy to address this issue.
A great anticipator of the snap count, Werner fires off the ball and navigates his way to the quarterback extremely well. With Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh playing inside, Detroit can add some finesse to its stout line and improve upon its ability to collapse the pocket.
6. Cleveland Browns: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR (Tennessee)
Lacking weapons on the offensive side of the ball outside of elite running back Trent Richardson, the Browns find themselves in desperate need of a wide receiver. Considering that new head coach Rob Chudzinski will want to take shots down the field and that quarterback Brandon Weeden has the arm to make those throws, this pick makes perfect sense.
Patterson provides the Browns with vertical speed and the potential to separate himself from defenders. If the Browns are looking for a tremendous player who can compliment their power running game, they should take a chance on Patterson.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Chance Warmack, OG (Alabama)
The biggest weakness for the Cardinals the past few years has been the offensive line. Newly acquired quarterback Carson Palmer will need protection if Arizona expects to get the ball downfield this season.
Not only does Warmack boast good run-blocking abilities, but he also possesses terrific pass-blocking skills. Considering that coach Bruce Arians is known for dialing up the long-ball quite often, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald may be looking at another All-Pro year with Warmack on the offensive line.
8. Buffalo Bills: Dion Jordan, OLB (Oregon)
Jordan is an elite pass-rusher that can line up practically anywhere on the field in any scheme and find success. At Oregon, he spent time with his hands in the dirt as well as being a standup linebacker.
He would bring great length, quickness and versatility to a Bills defensive line that could use some more help. Add in the fact that Jordan can easily use his hands and athleticism to bat balls down at the line—in addition to recording sacks and hurries—and you have a home run selection for Buffalo.
9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, OLB (LSU)
Coach Rex Ryan’s defense is missing a prolific rusher off the edge. Mingo would be the perfect pick to slide right in and instantly provide the Jets with something that they have been lacking over the past few seasons.
The LSU product’s long arms and elite athleticism will allow him to knife into the backfield and harass the signal-caller.
10. Tennessee Titans: Jonathan Cooper, OG (North Carolina)
After Warmack, Cooper is regarded as the top guard prospect in this draft. If Tennessee is going to be a serious threat on the ground in 2013, it needs to add an elite prospect like this to its struggling offensive line.
The Titans already brought in Shonn Greene to compliment Chris Johnson in the backfield, and they could get steady production from both players with a mauler like Cooper leading the way.
11. San Diego Chargers: Eric Fisher, OT (Central Michigan)
Fisher bears tremendous size for an offensive tackle at 6’7”, 306 pounds. He is known for his terrific pass-blocking ability, and he would help Philip Rivers with excellent protection that will give him plenty of time in the pocket. The offensive tackle anchored a Central Michigan line that only allowed 14 sacks and ranked second in the MAC conference by allowing just 6.2 yards-per-play.
12. Miami Dolphins: Lane Johnson, OT (Oklahoma)
The void that left tackle Jake Long left when he defected to the Rams this offseason will need to be filled during this upcoming draft. GM Jeff Ireland could immediately replace Long’s production by nabbing this Oklahoma star at No. 12, as Johnson’s long arms allow him to slow down the pass-rush of opposing teams and his footwork is impeccable.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Xavier Rhodes, CB (Florida State)
The Bucs need to upgrade their secondary after having one of the worst passing defenses in the league in 2012. One way to accomplish that would be nabbing Rhodes, the best cornerback on the board.
This Seminoles star possesses tremendous size for the position, as he can press and push around opposing wide receivers while also having the speed to hang with all but the fastest players in the NFL.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT (Missouri)
Carolina’s terrible rush-defense stems from the lack of firepower on the interior portion of its defensive line. Richardson could fix this by bringing run stuffing ability and serving as an anchor that can eliminate lanes for opposing backs. Considering his 6’3", 295-pound stature, the Mizzou star is quite an athlete to boot.
15. New Orleans Saints: Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah, DE (Brigham Young)
The Saints defense was historically awful last season, mostly due to its inability to put pressure on the quarterback. Ansah’s uncanny athletic ability and power would be ideal to help repair the defense in NOLA. While his 4.5 sacks in 2012 certainly may lead to some questions, the BYU standout was constantly pressuring the quarterback.
16. St. Louis Rams: Kenny Vaccaro, S (Texas)
One of the very few holes on the stout St. Louis defense is at the safety position. Losing Craig Dahl to free agency means that the team would be wise to nab a replacement via the draft. Vaccaro flashes good speed and athleticism along with the ability to make an impact in the run game.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: D.J. Fluker, OT (Alabama)
Fluker is a massive tackle at 6’5”, 340 pounds, and he can fill a position that the Steelers find themselves with a dearth of talent at. He’s a great run-blocker who would fit in well with offensive coordinator Charles Haley’s “dink and dunk” type of offense. The Crimson Tide star would also lessen the hits that Ben Roethlisberger constantly takes, year-in and year-out.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Sylvester Williams, DT (North Carolina)
With Monte Kiffin taking over as defensive coordinator in Big D, he needs a big defensive tackle to plug up the lanes, stuff the run and allow the pass-rushers to concentrate on getting to the quarterback.
Williams is a giant defensive tackle that can do exactly that, and he would immediately improve the effectiveness of the Cowboys defensive front.
19. New York Giants: Jarvis Jones, OLB (Georgia)
The Giants need a young linebacker to get their fans excited and also to bolster a meek rushing defense. Jones is easily the best available talent on the board here, and he fills a need, meaning the G-Men should not pass him up if he is available.
20. Chicago Bears: Tyler Eifert, TE (Notre Dame)
Eifert would provide Jay Cutler and the Bears offense with another big weapon to pair with wide receiver Brandon Marshall. After a very productive junior season at Notre Dame—63 receptions, 803 yards and five scores—Eifert had somewhat of a down year during his senior season due to inconsistencies at the quarterback position. Still, that should not impact his ability to make an immediate impact for Chicago.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Datone Jones, DE (UCLA)
The Bengals are unsure if defensive end Michael Johnson will remain with the team beyond next season, so they’ll need to start addressing the possibility of him moving on. Jones provides the athletic ability and long body that general managers look for in first-round prospects.
Coach Marvin Lewis will surely be thrilled to bolster the depth on his already impressive defensive line, and at this point in the draft, Jones is too valuable to pass up.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Redskins): Tavon Austin, WR (West Virginia)
If the Rams find themselves in a position to grab a wide receiver that will not only make an impact in the passing game but will also pose a threat on the ground, they’d be foolish not to jump at the chance.
Austin is that type of prospect, as he led the country with 198 all-purpose yards per game in 2012 and looks like one of the most potent weapons in this draft class.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Geno Smith, QB (West Virginia)
The Vikings haven’t to given up on Christian Ponder yet, but he just may not have all the tools to get it done over the long term. With Smith still on the board at No. 23, the front office would be hard pressed not to nab the WVU star, due to his upside and potential to become a franchise signal-caller.
Ponder should still go into the season as the starter and should have a fire lit under him to succeed. If he fails, though, Smith deserves a chance to take over for this team.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Damontre Moore, DE (Texas A&M)
Coach Chuck Pagano and GM Ryan Grigson should be seeking out an outside linebacker in this upcoming draft. Moore has the prototypical size that the franchise would be looking for at 6’5”, 250 pounds. His long body bodes well for adding more muscle, and his pass-rushing ability could be at the top of the league once it is polished.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seahawks): Desmond Trufant, CB (Washington)
A four-year starter at the University of Washington, Trufant developed the reputation as a lock-down cornerback in college.
Although his statistics were nothing to rave about, the fact that opposing quarterbackss avoided throwing at his side of the field proves how truly excellent he was in coverage. The Huskies star is a prospect that doesn’t need to rack up a ton of interceptions or make a handful of tackles per game to have an impact on the final score.
With Minnesota deciding not to bring back Antoine Winfield, the organization has a big hole at the cornerback position. With Trufant on the board this late in the draft, the Vikings would be foolish not to pull the trigger.
26. Green Bay Packers: Eddie Lacy, RB (Alabama)
Lacy is projected to be the first running back off the board in a fairly deep draft class. The ‘Bama star is a muscular specimen with the ability to move piles and grab those extra yards when he gets his legs churning.
The Packers have been in need of a top-tier running back for quite some time, and Lacy would provide coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers with yet another weapon to augment the already-dangerous Green Bay offense.
27. Houston Texans: Robert Woods, WR (Southern California)
Although highly productive, Andre Johnson has been plagued by injuries at times over the past few seasons, and as he continues advancing in age, it’s time for the Texans to develop a “Plan B.”
Woods possesses good size (6’1”, 200 pounds) and speed, a combination that is even more dangerous when factoring in his pass-catching abilities. If the USC standout were to be drafted here, he’d likely make an excellent No. 2 receiver, and he would be able to learn from one of the best in Johnson.
28. Denver Broncos: Kevin Minter, ILB (LSU)
With D.J. Williams out of the picture, the Broncos could search for an interior linebacker in the draft. The Butkus Award finalist racked up 111 tackles in his junior year, with 13.5 of those being for a loss. As an instinctive, smart player that has great athleticism, Minter would be a terrific inside linebacker in Denver’s ferocious defense.
29. New England Patriots: Matt Elam, S (Florida)
Elam would provide the New England defense with a hard-hitting, aggressive run defender. The Florida product is solid in coverage and isn’t afraid to give his all on special teams, making him well worth first-round consideration. He’s just the type of versatile defensive back that coach Bill Belichick would love to add to his team.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Cornellius "Tank" Carradine, DE (Florida State)
In search of a replacement for John Abraham, who was cut in the offseason, the Falcons should look towards Florida State’s Tank Carradine. Although he’s recovering from a torn ACL, Carradine still has the raw talent and upside to become a late-first or early-second round pick.
With Atlanta in need of a pass-rusher, and with Carradine on the board this late on Day 1, the Dirty Birds could do much worse than rolling the dice on him.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Johnathan Hankins, DT (Ohio State)
49ers GM Trent Baalke never tends to make a fashionable pick, and this one shouldn’t draw a huge reaction, either. However, with Justin Smith aging and not much depth along the defensive line, don’t be surprised if the team tabs Hankins at No. 31.
San Francisco utilizes versatile defensive linemen, and the 6’3, 320-pound Hankins can play anywhere along the team’s line.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te’o, ILB (Notre Dame)
What was once a very strong linebacking corps has turned into a weak-spot for the Ravens. Te’o would immediately bolster this unit with his strong tackling ability and coverage skills.
He’s a great value here at No. 32 and could help the Ravens compete for a championship again next season.