NFL Mock Draft 2013: Moves Your Team Must Make with First-Round Pick
With NFL free agency mostly complete, the NFL draft is starting to take shape and mock drafts seem more realistic.
The draft presents the last big chance for teams to improve heading into next season. With the ever-changing landscape of the NFL, there is plenty at stake for each team that has a first-round selection.
Here is a look at moves that your team must make with its first-round pick.
Highlighted players are italicized
1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
While some have said Eric Fisher is deserving of the top pick, Luke Joeckel is the best decision for the Chiefs. He's not the athlete that Fisher is, but he's better overall and the film shows it. He has a better understanding of the game and does a great job giving protection.
The Chiefs offense will be much better with Joeckel on the offensive line. With Alex Smith at quarterback and Jamaal Charles at running back, the Chiefs have an offense that can be much improved in 2013.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Jaguars defensive line struggled as the team gave up the third most rushing yards and the third most yards overall. They will take a strong look at both Sharrif Floyd and Star Lotulelei, but Floyd is the surest thing at this point.
3. Oakland Raiders (4-12): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Raiders have had a huge turnover this season as general manager Reggie McKenzie looks to clean house. The team needs to land a sure-fire prospect who will be a beast for this team for the next decade. With the third pick in the draft, the best option for that is Star Lotulelei. The big man out of Utah is an absolute force on the defensive line.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
The Eagles are looking to become more athletic on defense. Dion Jordan fits the bill as a freakish athlete who can step in and contribute right away. Head coach Chip Kelly is very familiar with Jordan and will look to get the most out of the talented player.
5. Detroit Lions (4-12): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Lions are in great position to have multiple options when it's their turn on the clock. They are sure to get a strong prospect and will do so in Eric Fisher. Should the Chiefs decide on Fisher over Joeckel, the Lions would gladly take Joeckel as well.
6. Cleveland Browns (5-11): Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Browns defense isn't far away from competing and adding another cornerback to the bunch will just make it better. Milliner isn't an elite prospect for the position, but he's the best in the class and capable of competing from day one.
7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11): Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
If Geno Smith is still on the board at the seventh pick, the Cardinals will have a challenging decision to make. They need a quarterback, despite adding Carson Palmer, but they also need to improve their offensive line. Lane Johnson has to be the pick because it won't matter who plays quarterback unless they improve their offensive line.
The best option for the Cardinals is to take Johnson and wait on a quarterback. They can get a good prospect in the second round and let Carson Palmer start the year. That way the rookie can learn under Palmer and take over when ready.
8. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Bills need a quarterback and should bounce on Geno Smith if he's available. The run of offensive tackles early should help the Bills land Smith. He's not like the elite prospects of last year's draft, but Smith is still a very solid player.
9. New York Jets (6-10): Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
The Jets defense has to get pressure on the quarterback. They only got 30 sacks on the season, which ranked 27th overall. An incredible athlete, Mingo provides great pass-rushing skill with his blazing speed. He needs to add some bulk, but he's definitely a good option for the Jets.
10. Tennessee Titans (6-10): Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
The Titans might be tempted by other players on the board, but the smartest decision is to take the best guard. Cooper allows them to replace Steve Hutchinson and gives them a player who can hold down the position for the next 10 years.
11. San Diego Chargers (7-9): Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
With offensive tackles going off the board quickly, the Chargers need to be prepared to miss out. While they likely won't get one of the top three tackles without trading up, they are still in great position to get one of the two top guards. Warmack will come in and help tighten up the poor offensive line.
12. Miami Dolphins (7-9): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Brigham Young
The Dolphins have some flexibility with this pick, which should ensure they get good value. With a rush of offensive linemen being selected in the top 10, the Dolphins should be able to get an elite defensive lineman. Ansah would be another big get for the Dolphins, who have gathered a haul this offseason.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9): Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers struggled to stop anybody through the air as they gave up the most passing yards last season. They need better play from the cornerback position. If they don't trade for Darrelle Revis, Rhodes is a great option with the 13th pick.
14. Carolina Panthers (7-9): Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Panthers defense wasn't bad last season, ranking 10th overall in yardage allowed. That said, they must do better than they did last season, giving up the 15th most points. They need to improve their power and athleticism in the trenches.
Sheldon Richardson provides great value at the defensive tackle position. While he's not up to the level of Lotulelei or Floyd, Richardson is definitely the next best thing. He's incredibly athletic and provides good effort on every down. He needs to tighten up some of his technique, including pad-level, but the ceiling is quite high.
15. New Orleans Saints (7-9): Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The Saints are in need of an identity change on their defense. Jarvis Jones, while risky, presents great value and opportunity. If he stays healthy, he can be the face of their defensive rebuild.
16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The Rams need to put more weapons around Sam Bradford. Austin will be an incredible weapon with his size and well-rounded receiving skills. At 16, this has the potential of being the steal of the draft.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Steelers defense needs to get younger and more athletic. It struggled to get consistent pressure on the quarterback last season, coming up with 37 sacks on the year. Werner will be able to come in and help bring the Steelers back to that top tier of defenses.
18. Dallas Cowboys (8-7): Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
The Cowboys could be in the market for an offensive lineman here to protect their expensive franchise quarterback, but they also need serious help on the defensive line. Sylvester Williams gives the Cowboys a player that can come in and takeover for the 31-year-old Jay Ratliff.
19. New York Giants (9-7): D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
The Giants could use improvements on the offensive line both in the passing and running games. Fluker offers a lot in the running game and should definitely help David Wilson put up even better numbers next year.
20. Chicago Bears (10-6): Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia
The Bears defense needs younger and more athletic players in order to compete with all the talented offenses in the NFC. Ogletree comes with some question marks, but if the Bears can get him to buy into their system, he has a lot of potential.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Cornellius Carradine, DE, Florida State
The Bengals defense isn't far away from being among the top in the league. Geno Atkins was a beast last season. Putting another quality pass-rusher on the line should help the Bengals defense make the leap for the next level.
Carradine, while talented, does come with some injury baggage. In November, he torn his ACL and missed the rest of the year. There is some risk involved here, but the athleticism and upside are enough to take him in the first round.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins 10-6): Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The Rams need to replace Quintin Mikell after releasing him this offseason. By grabbing Vaccaro, they'll get the best safety in the draft and a player that will be a vital part of that defense for years to come.
23. Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
The Vikings don't have a dire need on the defensive line, but Jared Allen (31) and Brian Robison (29) are getting up there in years. Adding Jones' quickness and length gives the Vikings an impact rotational player now and a bright future later on.
24. Indianapolis Colts (11-5): Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
The Colts defense could use some reinforcements on the line. Hankins gives them a big-bodied nose tackle who is also versatile enough to move around. His presence on the defensive line will make things easier for the rest of the unit.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle Seahawks 11-5): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
While they brought in Greg Jennings, the Vikings still need help at the wide receiver position. Cordarrelle Patterson gives them a young, talented receiver that can be a part of their offensive core for years to come. He's raw, but he has the highest ceiling among receivers in the draft.
26. Green Bay Packers (11-5): Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
The Packers have some talent in the secondary, especially at cornerback. They have a talented safety in Morgan Burnett, but they are missing a consistent impact player next to him. Cyprien fills that hole and makes the Packers defense more physical, which is much needed.
27. Houston Texans (12-4): Keenan Allen, WR, California
Outside of Andre Johnson, the Texans don't have much talent at the receiver position. They need to take pressure off Johnson and open up the field more for Matt Schaub and Arian Foster. Keenan Allen will give them another solid, all-around receiver who adds a bit more speed to their offense than what they had last year.
Allen doesn't do any one thing extremely well, but does everything very well. He's got good hands and runs solid routes, making him a legitimate threat from the first day of training camp.
28. Denver Broncos (13-3): Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
The Broncos need a nose tackle that can free up rushing lanes for Von Miller. Jesse Williams is an absolute monster on the defensive line. He's a freakish athlete capable of taking up a ton of space, but also capable of penetrating on occasion.
29. New England Patriots (12-4): Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
The Patriots secondary was a huge downfall this season, including in their postseason loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Getting Trufant in the draft should improve their defense and make them a more well-rounded football team.
30. Atlanta Falcons (13-3): Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
While Tony Gonzalez is coming back for another year, the Falcons need to groom a replacement. Getting the best tight end in the draft makes certain that they can. While Eifert will be the tight end of the future, he can come in right away and have an impact as well.
31. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): Eric Reid, S, LSU
The 49ers' biggest weakness all season long was their secondary. They gave up too many big plays, letting wide receivers get behind them. Eric Reid can come in and change that, while still maintaining the team's hard-hitting attitude.
32. Baltimore Ravens (10-6): Kevin Minter, LB, LSU
The Ravens need to replace Ray Lewis at inside linebacker. Kevin Minter not only offers a replacement, but likely an upgrade as well. Minter is a hard-hitter who plays fast and makes plays. He's a tad slow in his reaction times, but he can make up for it in other ways.
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