The excitement around the 2013 NFL draft scheduled for April 25-27 is through the roof, and the anticipation around what each team will do with their first-round picks is the talk of the football world.
After watching some huge names jump from one team to another via free agency or trade, the tumultuous offseason will get a little clearer as teams get ready for the first round of the draft.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The Kansas City Chiefs have traded for Alex Smith to solve their need for a quarterback, so expect new head coach Andy Reid to go with the safest move at No. 1 and take Texas A&M standout left tackle Luke Joeckel.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
There are more than a few areas of need on both offense and defense for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but with a game-changing pass-rusher like Oregon’s Dion Jordan on the board at No. 2, the decision should be simple.
3. Oakland Raiders: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
After moving Carson Palmer and trading for Matt Flynn, the possibility that the Oakland Raiders could still bite on West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is very real. Smith has elite accuracy and strength, and the Raiders have never been afraid to take chances.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The Philadelphia Eagles are making major schematic changes on both sides of the ball, and Chip Kelly will be looking for playmakers. With the need for an elite pass-rushing outside linebacker, Georgia’s Jarvis Jones would be an ideal fit.
5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Detroit Lions need help on the offensive line and in the secondary. The depth at the offensive line positions in this class will afford the Lions the ability to draft a potential star cornerback like Alabama’s Dee Milliner in the first round and wait for a tackle and guard later.
6. Cleveland Browns: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU
The Cleveland Browns made strides on offense last year with a batch of talented rookies, and the team will look to do that again in 2013 on the defensive side of the ball. That effort begins with BYU pass rusher Ezekiel Ansah.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The addition of Carson Palmer to the Arizona Cardinals has shifted focus to protecting the investment at QB, and selecting a talented prospect like tackle Eric Fisher out of Central Michigan is the safest decision for the franchise.
8. Buffalo Bills: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Just as it happens every year at the NFL draft, the Buffalo Bills will be set on taking Geno Smith at No. 8, only to be stunned by the Oakland Raiders taking the risk at No. 3. Instead of trading back, the Bills will take Matt Barkley in the same way the Minnesota Vikings ended up taking Christian Ponder in 2011.
9. New York Jets: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The New York Jets should be trading back to stockpile picks in order to fill as many of the team’s needs as possible. If the Jets choose not to move back, selecting a defensive tackle that can dominate like Utah’s Star Lotulelei would be a smart fundamental decision.
10. Tennessee Titans: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Tennessee Titans—like most teams in the top 15—should be looking for the best player available. With the 10th pick overall, the team will snag one of the best defensive linemen in the 2013 draft class, Florida’s Sharrif Floyd.
11. San Diego Chargers: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
The San Diego Chargers know that the team can’t underestimate the loss of a guard as talented as Louis Vasquez, and the franchise will make a smart fundamental football move by taking star guard Chance Warmack out of Alabama as his replacement.
12. Miami Dolphins: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
After losing franchise left tackle Jake Long in free agency, the need for a replacement will result in the Miami Dolphins getting Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson. The need for offensive line help is so great that Miami could even move up to ensure they get Johnson.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
It’s just a matter of time before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade this pick to the New York Jets for Darrelle Revis, but if Tampa Bay keeps it, look for Texas A&M pass-rushing specialist Damontre Moore to fit right in.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Carolina Panthers need help through the middle of their defensive line, and when Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson falls to No. 14, Ron Rivera and Co. will ensure they have a spot for a player this talented.
15. New Orleans Saints: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The New Orleans Saints were the worst defensive team in the NFL last season. The franchise needs a game-changer, and when a talented defensive end prospect that still has so much room to grow like Bjoern Werner falls to No. 15, the Saints will have the face of their defense.
16. St. Louis Rams: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Help in the secondary is the St. Louis Rams’ biggest need, but with the Pittsburgh Steelers picking after them, the need for an elite wide receiver will force the team to select Tennessee star Cordarrelle Patterson.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Pittsburgh Steelers need help all across the defense. When a talented defensive back like Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes that can play cornerback or slide back and play safety falls to No. 17, this should be a no-brainer for Pittsburgh.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Cooper, G/C, North Carolina
The Dallas Cowboys have to do a better job of protecting Tony Romo and establishing a rushing attack. That all starts with a strong interior of the offensive line, and the perfect fit for Dallas would be North Carolina star Jonathan Cooper.
19. New York Giants: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
The loss of Osi Umenyiora has opened up a void behind Justin Tuck and as his eventual replacement. LSU’s Barkevious Mingo may be a long-term project, but as we have seen from the Giants and Jason Pierre-Paul, the team can work magic with pass rushers.
20. Chicago Bears: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
With Brian Urlacher out of the picture, the team will be desperate to find another on-field general that can lead the defense with authority. The Chicago Bears will take Notre Dame’s middle linebacker Manti Te'o at No. 20.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
As a wide receiver, Tavon Austin showed at West Virginia that he could be a star cut from the same cloth as Percy Harvin, and that’s the kind of game-changer that the Cincinnati Bengals are looking for as a complement to A.J. Green.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Redskins): Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas
The St. Louis Rams will continue to look to improve in the first round by addressing the team’s biggest fundamental need; the secondary. The need for a safety is glaring, and the Rams will take Texas standout Kenny Vaccaro to fill that void.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
After trading Percy Harvin and signing Greg Jennings, the Minnesota Vikings will continue on the wide receiver carousel by taking the second-best prospect at that position in the 2013 class, Cal’s Keenan Allen.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant has the lineage to be a player at the NFL level, but it will be on his raw talent and skill shown on both film and at the combine that will lead him to become the Indianapolis Colts’ first-round pick.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seahawks): Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
The Minnesota Vikings are looking to get a game-changer with this pick, and with the kind of raw ability Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams possesses, this should be a natural fit along an already impressive defensive line.
26. Green Bay Packers: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and the Green Bay Packers must do a better job protecting him. If the team doesn’t snag an interior lineman here, expect Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker to be the Packers’ first-round selection.
27. Houston Texans: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
After losing Connor Barwin via free agency, addressing the need for major upgrades at the linebacker positions became a top priority. That’s where a gifted player like Alec Ogletree would be a perfect addition.
28. Denver Broncos: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
The Denver Broncos were already one of the best teams in the NFL on defense—third against the run and the pass—but with defensive tackle like Johnathan Hankins on the board, John Fox won’t be able to contain himself.
29. New England Patriots: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
While the New England Patriots had a solid rushing attack in 2012, the loss of Danny Woodhead will force one of the current backs into the pass-catching role and make the team take a bruising between-the-tackles runner like Eddie Lacy.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
The Atlanta Falcons’ need for a long-term solution behind Tony Gonzalez is undeniable. The best tight end available at No. 30 will be the player the team takes, and right now that would shake out to be Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert.
31. San Francisco 49ers: John Cyprien, S, FIU
The San Francisco 49ers lost safety Dashon Goldson via free agency, and the need for a playmaker in the back end will result in the team snagging underrated safety prospect John Cyprien from Florida International.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
While there will be middle linebackers taken before Kansas State’s Arthur Brown, the Baltimore Ravens will get the player at that position in this draft. While Manti Te'o has better leadership qualities and Alec Ogletree has more notoriety, Brown is the best pure football player.