2013 NFL Mock Draft: Easy Moves with Big Upside for Each 1st-Round Team
The Kansas City Chiefs have a relatively easy decision with the No. 1 overall pick, as the team will almost surely draft offensive tackle Luke Joeckel.
Joeckel is a rock-solid player who has plenty of upside, but he's not the only player who will only get better in the years to come.
This year's draft is full of players with the potential to become elite players in the NFL. This mock draft will focus on players with the biggest upside, with featured selections highlighted in italics for more in-depth analysis.
1. Kansas City Chiefs—OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
Eric Fisher has been getting a lot of love from the media lately, but Joeckel is still the top tackle in this year's draft for my money. He's ready to step into the starting lineup at left tackle and dominate the line of scrimmage from Day 1.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars—DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
Lotulelei has been fully cleared to play without restriction, and his pro day proved eye-opening. This big man can move his feet with agility and speed, and he'll be a cornerstone player for Gus Bradley's defense in the years to come.
3. Oakland Raiders—Sharrif Floyd, Florida
The Raiders desperately need to revamp their entire defensive line, and Floyd has the tools to become a dominant three-technique defensive tackle. A player who can play inside and out, Floyd's ability to rush the passer will be a big help to Oakland's porous defense.
4. Philadelphia Eagles—Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
When talking about upside, there aren't many players that can hold a candle to Fisher.
Some NFL analysts, like NFL Network's Mike Mayock, view Fisher as the No. 1 left tackle in this year's draft. Mayock said that Fisher is "longer, more athletic, and has a bit more upside."
It's Fisher's athleticism and speed that have elevated his draft stock since the Senior Bowl, when he dominated the line of scrimmage, no matter who he went up against in both practices and the game.
He is a mobile tackle who possesses an excellent slide step and leverage against speedy pass-rushers and who can get out in front of screens and sweeps with skill. He's a perfect fit for Chip Kelly's offense and could end up becoming one of the best players in this year's draft class.
5. Detroit Lions—OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
After Jeff Backus retired, the Lions were suddenly in the market for an offensive tackle. Johnson is an athletic player who started out his career as a tight end. His upside is tremendous, and the Lions would be foolish to pass on a franchise left tackle.
6. Cleveland Browns—CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
Cleveland's defense is shaping up to be one of the most dangerous in the NFL next year. The team's front seven is loaded with talent, and if its secondary can lock down receivers on the outside Ray Horton's blitzers will wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks. Adding Milliner to play opposite Joe Haden would give Horton the talent he needs to dial up the pressure.
7. Arizona Cardinals—OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
Arizona’s acquisition of Carson Palmer could be a positive development for Larry Fitzgerald and the team's aerial attack. That said, Palmer won't have success unless he gets protection—both in the passing game and with a strong rushing attack.
Warmack isn't known for his pass-blocking, but he's strong and agile enough in the middle to handle NFL defensive tackles. His biggest strength, and the one that will help the Cardinals and Palmer the most, is his ability to create massive running lanes.
Arizona averaged just 75.3 yards per game on the ground last year. Teams were able to send pass-rushers without fear of retribution, and the team's quarterbacks were crushed as a result. Adding Warmack to the team's offensive line would be a smart move to get the entire offense moving in the right direction.
8. Buffalo Bills—QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
Neither Kevin Kolb nor Tarvaris Jackson give the Bills a chance to win the AFC East. Both quarterbacks are backups, and though Smith may not be ready to win many games in the NFL, the Bills would be better off with him in the long run.
9. New York Jets—DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
Ansah's raw abilities and freakish athleticism would give Rex Ryan's defense some teeth. This young man is short on experience but extremely high on upside. By the time this year's draft class pans out, he could well be one of the best players in the league.
10. Tennessee Titans—CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
Jason McCourty proved his worth as a No. 1 cornerback last year when Cortland Finnegan left town for the St. Louis Rams, but the Titans would be wise to invest in another cornerback to play on the other side of the field. Rhodes is a skilled man-to-man specialist who would be a perfect addition to the team's up-and-coming young defense.
11. San Diego Chargers—OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon
With all three top offensive tackles off the board, new general manager Tom Telesco would be smart to invest in his front seven. Jordan would be a phenomenal pickup here at No. 11, and he'd be a terror playing opposite Melvin Ingram in 2013 and beyond.
12. Miami Dolphins—CB Desmond Trufant, Washington
The Dolphins need another cornerback after losing Sean Smith to the Chiefs via free agency. Trufant is a lithe, speedy man-to-man corner who would be a huge upgrade over the players currently on Miami's roster.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State
After watching the top three cornerbacks go off the board, the cornerback-poor Bucs must upgrade their defense in a different way. Werner is an explosive pass-rusher with a quick first step who would upgrade the team's pass rush, which is another way to help the secondary.
14. Carolina Panthers—S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
Charles Godfrey and Haruki Nakamura don't inspire a ton of confidence on the back end of Carolina's defense. Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranked Nakamura No. 48 and Godfrey No. 82 in the NFL last year. Adding a stud safety like Vaccaro to play behind Luke Kuechly would be a huge move to upgrade the team's secondary.
15. New Orleans Saints—OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU
The Saints will be making a tough transition from last year's 4-3 defense to Rob Ryan's 3-4 scheme. This scheme is predicated on outside linebackers who can rush the passer, and Mingo would be an upgrade over the players currently on the team's roster.
16. St. Louis Rams—WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
Austin is lightning in a bottle, and the Rams could use a bit of lightning on offense. The versatile, speedy slot specialist would give the team more than it lost when Danny Amendola left for the New England Patriots.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers—OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
Though Jones disappointed at his recent pro day, his 28 sacks the past two years at Georgia is proof enough that he's capable of being a productive pass-rusher in the NFL. Adding him to the starting lineup would make up for the loss of James Harrison and then some.
18. Dallas Cowboys—G Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
Nate Livings is a decent guard, but he's aging. Mackenzy Bernadeau started 14 games at right tackle for Dallas last year and struggled horribly—especially in pass protection. Pro Football Focus gave him a rating of negative-10.4 for the season in pass-blocking situations, and Dallas must not start the season with him as its starting guard.
Adding a pass-blocking specialist like Cooper makes too much sense here. The Cowboys could flip Livings over the the right side and slide Cooper into the starting lineup from Day 1 as its left tackle. Not only would he be an upgrade on passing downs, but his ability to shield off defenders would upgrade the team's running game.
19. New York Giants—DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
Big Blue doesn't necessarily need a defensive tackle, but when one as talented as Richardson falls this far, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize he'd be a valuable asset. At the least, Richardson would be a pass-rushing defensive tackle on nickel downs, and at best, he'd beat out one of the team's veterans for a starting role.
20. Chicago Bears—ILB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
The Bears need an inside linebacker to replace the legendary Brian Urlacher. Like Urlacher, Ogletree, a former safety, has the speed and athleticism needed to play all three downs.
21. Cincinnati Bengals—S Matt Elam, Florida
The Bengals feature a dominant front seven capable of overwhelming opponents, but the team's secondary allowed quarterbacks to complete 61.8 percent of passes last year (No. 18 in the NFL). With excellent cornerbacks and a solid safety in Reggie Nelson, this team needs another safety to seal the back end.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington)—OLB Arthur Brown, Kansas State
Playing in the NFC West, the Rams face Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick twice a year. This team needs more speed and athleticism, and Brown is loaded with both. He'd be a terrific weak-side linebacker for St. Louis, given the team's excellent front four.
23. Minnesota Vikings—WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
General manager Rick Spielman would likely be giddy to see Patterson still on the board at this point. Speed, speed and more speed is Patterson's game, along with freakish athleticism and the ability to make huge plays after the catch. Adding him to the team's lineup would force opposing defenses to cover the back end, which would open up running lanes for Adrian Peterson.
24. Indianapolis Colts—OLB Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
The Colts need to invest in pass-rushers. Robert Mathis is still an amazing player, but he's aging. Moore, like Jarvis Jones, didn't show up well in workouts, but his tape doesn't lie. He can get after the passer with the best of them, and he'd be a nice addition to Indy's 3-4 defense.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle)—DT Kawann Short, Purdue
An underrated player with plenty of upside, Short would give the Vikings another dominant front-line defender. His ability to rush the passer inside would allow Jared Allen and the rest of the team's edge-rushers more chances at one-on-one opportunities on the outside.
26. Green Bay Packers—DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina
Green Bay featured a defense that wasn't solid against the run in 2012, allowing 4.5 yards per attempt on average. The San Francisco 49ers exploited this in a major way in the playoffs, and the Packers must get stouter up the middle. Adding a big man like Williams, who can also bring pressure, would be a smart move.
27. Houston Texans—WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
Houston featured an offense that struggled to score points via the passing game last year. Owen Daniels was the team's leading receiver in terms of touchdowns in 2012 with just six. Adding a legitimate No. 2 receiver would give Matt Schaub the weapons he needs to remedy this situation.
28. Denver Broncos—DE Cornelius "Tank" Carradine, Florida State
The Denver Broncos and Elvis Dumervil infamously parted ways recently, opening up a vacancy at the defensive end position—one that has yet to be filled.
After suffering a torn ACL at the end of the 2012 season, Carradine fell off the radar for the 2013 NFL Draft for a while. But with the recent news that his injury is healing well enough that he's scheduled a pro day on April 20, it stands to reason he'll be worthy of a first-round pick.
Carradine's teammate last year, Werner, has gotten all the media hype since the scouting process began, but there's no doubt who was more explosive for the Seminoles in 2012. In just 11 games, Carradine logged 11 sacks and 13 tackles for a loss.
29. New England Patriots—DE Margus Hunt, SMU
Perhaps a bit of a reach here, the Patriots would certainly be drafting for upside with this pick. Hunt, at 6'8" and 277 pounds, is an athletic freak of the first order. His raw ability, given proper coaching, gives him a chance to become an absolutely dominating defensive lineman in the mold of J.J. Watt.
30. Atlanta Falcons—TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
This team doesn't have many pressing needs, and tight end certainly isn't one of them. That said, there's nothing wrong with having two excellent tight ends, and Eifert would benefit greatly from playing with the game's all-time greatest for the 2013 season.
31. San Francisco 49ers—S Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International
After losing Dashon Goldson to the Buccaneers, the 49ers will certainly draft his replacement early on in the proceedings. Cyprien is a talented cover man who hits like a linebacker. He'd fit in perfectly with the players currently on San Francisco's roster.
32. Baltimore Ravens—ILB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?