2013 NFL Mock Draft: Best Selections for Every Team in First Round

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2013

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 24:  Luke Joeckel #76 of the Texas A&M Aggies is seen on the field during the game against the Missouri Tigers at Kyle Field on November 24, 2012 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The outlook of the NFL draft changes on a daily basis, but things are finally falling into place with only a few weeks until draft day.

Every trade or free-agent signing forces a team to change its needs. These moves show that many organizations feel more comfortable with a proven player over a high-risk prospect available in this class.

However, this stage of the offseason features teams turning their attention to the college players that will make an impact at the next level.

These selections represent the best moves each squad could make to improve for next season and beyond.

1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

Branden Albert is a solid left tackle, but a good organization needs a player it can trust to hold the position for years to come. As a result, the Chiefs should select Luke Joeckel with the first overall pick.

The offensive lineman might not be as athletic as players like Eric Fisher or Lane Johnson, but his great technique that he showed against elite competition throughout his career is enough to make him the best prospect in the class.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia 

Thanks to a lack of urgency for a starting quarterback, many people are questioning whether anyone at the position will be selected in the Top 10 or even in the first round. 

However, it is important not to overlook the Jaguars' need for a starting quarterback. Blaine Gabbert has only played two years in the NFL, but he struggled in both of them and eventually lost his job to Chad Henne last season. 

Geno Smith might not be as good as Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III from the 2012 draft, but few are. He still has very good accuracy and is mobile enough to make defenses account for his legs as well as his arm.

He will be in the NFL for a long time, and Jacksonville will be smart to pick him right away.

3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida 

For a team that needs to improve against both the pass and the run, Sharrif Floyd is a blessing with the third overall pick. The versatile player can get penetration into the backfield to mess up anything the offense attempts to do against him.

The Florida star can be used as either a defensive tackle or end, and he is certain to succeed at either spot in the NFL. 

4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon 

The Eagles could elect to grab one of the top offensive linemen if they are available, but Dion Jordan gives new coach Chip Kelly more versatility on the defensive side of the ball.

Jordan has the athleticism to be an elite pass-rusher or someone to drop back in coverage. This ability might be too much for Philadelphia to pass up with this pick.


5. Detroit Lions: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan 

No matter what happens, the Lions must find an offensive tackle at some point in the draft. Jeff Backus retired, and there are now few options left to protect young quarterback Matt Stafford.

If Eric Fisher is still available with the No. 5 pick, this is a no-brainer for Detroit as he is a natural pass-blocker who will quickly be one of the best tackles in the league.

6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

Although the offense remains a work in progress, Cleveland can make a huge upgrade to the defense by selecting Dee Milliner with this pick.

Pairing the best cornerback in this draft with Joe Haden could create one of the best tandems in the NFL and it will make it difficult for any opposing quarterback to pass against.

7. Arizona Cardinals: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

Obviously, offensive line is a huge need for the Cardinals after allowing the most sacks in the NFL last season. Trading up to get either Fisher or Joeckel is not out of the question.

However, Ezekiel Ansah might be worth the risk if he is still available at this point in the draft. The defensive end is incredibly raw, but he has arguably the biggest upside in the entire class.

Scouts love his size and athleticism, and he could become a Pro Bowler if given time to develop at the next level.

Arizona needs to compete in a division with two of the best teams in the NFL between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. Grabbing an elite defensive player will be a better long-term decision to help the team. 

8. Buffalo Bills: Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse

Once again, teams could elect to wait until later rounds to draft a quarterback and hope for the best. However, there is no guarantee that the player they want will still be around at that time.

Although this would be a reach, Ryan Nassib has shown plenty of promise and the Bills should draft him right away if they feel that he could be the future franchise quarterback.

9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU

Like Ansah, Barkevious Mingo is high on draft boards due to his potential. He did not produce a lot of sacks at LSU, but he has great athleticism and enough speed to get to quarterbacks off the edge.

The Jets need someone to improve the pass rush in a hurry, and they hope that this skill will translate into sacks at the next level.

10. Tennessee Titans: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

A defensive tackle does not often get a lot of credit, but the position is vital to the success of the defense. Tennessee had one of the top units in the league when Albert Haynesworth was at his best in the middle.

Star Lotulelei has that ability to cause constant disruptions from the defensive line, and he would make an immediate difference on the Titans.

11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

Lane Johnson went from a player that was a borderline first-round pick to now a potential Top-10 selection.

While this is good news for the team that gets him, it might mean that San Diego will have to trade up to be safe. There is a big drop-off at the position, so the Chargers must do anything necessary to get their man at left tackle.


12. Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State 

With the top tackles off the board, Miami has to look at cornerback to fill another pressing need. Xavier Rhodes is very big for his position and has the athleticism to be good against both the pass and the run.

In this new age of bigger receivers, Rhodes has the physicality to stick with the best in the league.


13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington 

Tampa Bay has a huge hole at cornerback, and it is important for the team to fill this player with the best available.

Fortunately, Desmond Trufant is not much of a downgrade from Rhodes, and is actually one of the fastest players in the draft. His speed will help him in coverage as the Buccaneers look to improve the worst pass defense in the NFL.

14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri 

Sheldon Richardson not only has the ability to push through the offensive line from the defensive tackle position, but he can also take on multiple blockers and free up space for his teammates.

Adding a strong defensive tackle like this will lead to huge seasons from the talented defensive ends already on the roster.

15. New Orleans Saints: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

New Orleans struggled to defend both the pass and the run last season, ranking 32nd in total yards allowed. In an ideal world, the team would add a player in the first round who could help in both areas.

Kenny Vaccaro is that player, as he has the speed to handle pass coverage and the strength to make plays closer to the line of scrimmage. In addition, he has the agility to cover receivers in man coverage if he was needed.

The Texas safety would be an upgrade in the secondary and his versatility will make the entire defense better.

While a solid pass-rusher would also help, Vaccaro is the best option available at this point in the draft.


16. St. Louis Rams: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama 

The Rams need an upgrade in the middle of the offensive line, and Chance Warmack is the best offensive guard in the class. In reality, he is one of the best players overall, but he is certain to drop due to positional value.

Either way, the big man will clear a lot of space for running backs in St. Louis and could be a perennial Pro Bowler at guard.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia

Although Jarvis Jones did not have good workouts this offseason, the Steelers are a smart enough team to know a good football player when they see one.

The former Georgia star led the nation with 14.5 sacks last season and will be able to take over James Harrison's spot as the best pass-rusher on the team. 

18. Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina 

Jonathan Cooper is in the same boat as Warmack as a player who will drop far below his value due to his position. This ends up being a huge steal for the Cowboys, who end up getting a top guard in the second half of the first round.

Cooper is one of the stronger players in the draft and is certain to provide improvement up front for Dallas.

19. New York Giants: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State 

The Giants are never shy about drafting a good defensive end if they see potential. Bjoern Werner has dropped on draft boards, but he still has the strength to be a productive player in the NFL.

Werner's ability to get into the backfield will make things easier on the cornerbacks, which will make the entire defense that much better.

20. Chicago Bears: Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia 

Although there are a few talented middle linebackers in this draft, Alec Ogletree is the best of the bunch. He has great speed to get from sideline to sideline, and he is a solid tackler that does not allow too many players to get away.

Chicago needs someone to replace Brian Urlacher after years of service, and Ogletree can be that person.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Matt Elam, S, Florida 

Adding a right tackle might be a useful move if Andre Smith does not re-sign. In this scenario, grabbing D.J. Fluker or Menelik Watson would be a smart decision.

However, safety might be a bigger need overall, and Matt Elam is the best available. He has good instincts for the position and his addition could make the Bengals' defense one of the best in the league.

22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia 

Tavon Austin has been all over the place in draft projections.

He has the speed and playmaking ability to be a game-changing player at wide receiver. However, his lack of height at 5'9" will prevent him from ever being a true No. 1 target.

One certainty is that the Rams would make a huge mistake by passing on him if he is still available at this point. Sam Bradford needs players he can trust, and there are not many on the current roster.

Austin has the ability to turn any play into a touchdown, and he will transform the offense in his first year in the league. 

23. Minnesota Vikings: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU

Minnesota has a few major needs in this draft, which makes it a good thing that the squad has two first-round selections.

One way to help the team is by selecting Kevin Minter, who can start right away after leading a very good defense with LSU last season. The Vikings have little experience in the linebacking corps as of now, so adding a strong player with Minter's abilities would be a huge plus.

24. Indianapolis Colts: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M 

Quarterbacks had way too easy of a time throwing against the Colts defense last season with little pressure coming from the pass rush. Damontre Moore has the ability to get into the backfield with consistency to make things more difficult on opponents.  

25. Minnesota Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

After adding a linebacker with the first pick, the Vikings need to add a receiver with the second selection. The team needs someone that defenses will respect enough to give Adrian Peterson space in the middle.

Cordarrelle Patterson is still raw and must work on his routes, but he has loads of upside with great hands and leaping ability. He will be Christian Ponder's new best friend after continually turning poor throws into receptions.

26. Green Bay Packers: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA 

Helping the offensive line would be useful, as well as selecting a running back at some point in the draft. Unfortunately, neither of these positions would represent good value at this stage.

As a result, the Packers would be wise to grab the talented Datone Jones. The end is an excellent pass-rusher and will give the team a lot of depth on the defensive line. 

27. Houston Texans: Keenan Allen, WR, California 

Andre Johnson is still one of the top receivers in the game, but the Texans have very few alternative options in the passing game.

Keenan Allen would provide them with a perfect No. 2 target with the speed, size and ability that every coach could want in a wide receiver. This balance will make Houston much more dangerous on offense. 

28. Denver Broncos: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina 

Denver needs help somewhere along the defensive line. Adding a pass-rusher would be nice, but Sylvester Williams is just as useful as someone who can continue the trend of great run-stoppers.

Defensive tackle is one of the deepest position in the draft, and the Broncos should be able to grab at least one of the top players at the end of the first round.

29. New England Patriots: Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State 

Jamar Taylor has been one of the quickest-rising players in the class after some very good workouts at the combine and his pro day. The cornerback has very good speed and enough agility to project as a top cornerback in the NFL.

New England will always need help in secondary, and Taylor is the type of player who will help out right away.

30. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame 

Atlanta has needs at cornerback, but the team could end up with great long-term value by selecting Tyler Eifert. The Notre Dame star is the top tight end in the draft, and his size and hands will give him a long future in the NFL as a red-zone target.

While Tony Gonzalez will be around next season, Eifert can be a big-time player in a few years that helps the Falcons maintain one of the top passing offenses in the league.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama 

The 49ers are known for their linebackers, but it is the defensive line that makes the unit so good. This is why the team must grab a defensive tackle that will be ready to step in and anchor the 3-4 system.

Jesse Williams has made many other players look good over his career at Alabama, and this will continue if he lands in San Francisco.

32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame

There is no denying that the Ravens are in need of a linebacker to replace multiple departed starters. However, there is a question as to which is the best available.

Arthur Brown has great speed and athleticism compared to Manti Te'o, although the Heisman finalist has better instincts and better tackling ability.

In the end, the need for someone to play right away should force the Ravens to lean closer to Te'o. He has experience of playing at a high level and should be able to bring his solid play to Baltimore next season. 


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