2013 NFL Draft logo2013 NFL Draft

2013 NFL Draft: Full 1st-Round Mock, Complete with Projected Trades

Jamal CollierAnalyst IIIApril 20, 2013

2013 NFL Draft: Full 1st-Round Mock, Complete with Projected Trades

1 of 33

    In a year with so much parity in the NFL draft, the unpredictable has become borderline random.

    Analysts and evaluators spend months—if not longer—doing preliminary research on an annual basis to try to predict what will go down each April, when every fan has reason for optimism regarding his or her team finding its next big star.

    At their core, mock drafts should fall into one of two categories: what one thinks should happen on draft day and what one thinks will happen on draft day.

    This one takes the form of the latter, attempting to sift through the smokescreens of GMs’ comments, assess team needs and match highly rated prospects (from several sources) to each draft position in the first round.

    Eight trades—plus the St. Louis Rams’ and Washington Redskins’ pre-draft pact concerning Robert Griffin III—took place on Day 1 in 2012. I projected seven.

    Will your team be the one to hurdle the draft order for its franchise cornerstone?

1. Kansas City Chiefs

2 of 33

    2012 Record: 2-14

    Passing Offense: 169.6 YPG (32nd)

    Rushing Offense: 149.7 YPG (5th)

    Passing Defense: 220.8 YPG (12th)

    Rushing Defense: 135.7 YPG (27th)

    The Pick: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

     

    Unless the Kansas City Chiefs allow their time on the clock to expire, chances are that they’re going to have to pick somebody first overall.

    Trade rumors surrounding Kansas City have gone from the Chiefs’ desire to manufacture interest in the No. 1 pick to looking for long-term value from their franchise-tagged left tackle, Branden Albert.

    Their offseason personnel moves have left the possibility open to draft a left tackle, while all but eliminating the quarterback position. That’s why anyone desperate to trade up for West Virginia QB Geno Smith can wait until Kansas City has made its selection.

    Alex Smith isn’t going to have much success with the Chiefs if he isn’t well-protected. Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel will be tasked with keeping defenders off of the passer.

    If the draft’s best prospect fits your team’s need, you take him and keep it moving. No need to keep trying to trade the pick, especially when your team already had six Pro Bowlers last year.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars

3 of 33

    2012 Record: 2-14

    Passing Offense: 213.7 YPG (21st)

    Rushing Offense: 85.6 YPG (30th)

    Passing Defense: 239.5 YPG (22nd)

    Rushing Defense: 141.0 YPG (30th)

    The Pick: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida

     

    Quarterback A started 10 games as a sophomore, completed 191-of-357 (53.5 percent) of his passes and amassed 2,164 passing yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions. Quarterback B also started 10 games in his sophomore season, completed 162-of-278 balls (58.3 percent) and totaled 1,662 yards, nine TDs and six picks.

    Quarterback B got hurt in his 10th game after just two passes—both completions—for 24 yards. He, of course, is Jacksonville Jaguars signal-caller Blaine Gabbert.

    Quarterback A?

    The No. 1 overall pick in 2010, St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford.

    Geno Smith is a popular selection for the Jacksonville Jaguars in a number of mock drafts, but Gabbert deserves another year to prove whether he’s a top-32 signal-caller. The new Jags front-office regime isn’t necessarily tied to him, but they probably aren’t enamored with any of this year’s crop of passers at No. 2.

    General manager Dave Caldwell told Ryan O’Hallaran of the Florida Times-Union that they’re ready to make a selection at the second spot, saying, “It’s down to two people.”

    Two people’s all you really need if you’re picking second. The worst-case scenario is that both guys are still on the board and you actually have to make a decision, rather than simply being able to walk the remaining of the two names up to the podium.

    He also mentioned regarding QBs that “I actually believe the group is better than it has been in years past, top to bottom,” which, if true, opens the door for a later-round selection to place a signal-caller in a Jaguars uniform.

    As for the first-rounder, Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd sticks out as a potential difference maker on Gus Bradley’s D-line. The Jaguars were horrendous at stopping the run last season, so they’ll relish the opportunity to add a quality lineman to help corral rushers at or behind the line of scrimmage.

    This isn’t too high for a defensive tackle to be selected. Ndamukong Suh went No. 2 to the Detroit Lions in 2010, and those guys aren’t complaining. The Seattle Seahawks drafted pass-rushing specialist Bruce Irvin last year, but they could already stop the run.

3. PROJECTED TRADE: Miami Dolphins from Oakland Raiders

4 of 33

    2012 Record: 7-9

    Passing Offense: 198.9 YPG (26th)

    Rushing Offense: 112.6 YPG (17th)

    Passing Defense: 248.4 YPG (27th)

    Rushing Defense: 108.4 YPG (13th)

    The Pick: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

     

    With no second-round selection in this year’s draft and their guy Sharrif Floyd off the board, the Oakland Raiders would love to trade down from their No. 3 slot and pick up an additional pick or two.

    Luckily, the Miami Dolphins are armed with a pair of second- and third-round picks as well as a pressing need at offensive tackle.

    The elite ones will be gone at 12.

    Projected trade: Miami Dolphins trade No. 12, No. 42 and No. 111 picks for Oakland Raiders’ No. 3 pick.

    By prematurely entering the draft picture with one top offensive tackle off the board, the Dolphins have their pick of Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher, Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson and every other OT in the draft not named Luke Joeckel.

    In the wake of Jake Long’s departure, they go with the 300-pounder who can do 360 dunks—according to Johnson, at least—to protect their 2012 first-round pick, Ryan Tannehill, for years to come.

    Trading up at this stage of the draft gives the Dolphins a little leverage. They’ll have to pay to jump nine spots so early, but the need at the tackle position could propel the price of a later top-seven pick to a similar haul if Fisher came off the board first.

4. Philadelphia Eagles

5 of 33

    2012 Record: 4-12

    Passing Offense: 236.9 YPG (13th)

    Rushing Offense: 117.1 YPG (13th)

    Passing Defense: 216.9 YPG (9th)

    Rushing Defense: 126.3 YPG (13th)

    The Pick: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

     

    And just like that, the 2013 NFL draft has seen three offensive tackles fly off the board in the first four picks. Every Philadelphia Eagles quarterback that took the field felt the absence of Jason Peters on the offensive line, tasting turf on a regular basis.

    The Eagles allowed 48 sacks in 2012, fifth-worst in the NFL.

    Even if Peters is himself following the ruptured Achilles’ tendon he suffered last spring, Philadelphia needs long-term help along the offensive line. Peters is 31 and right tackle Todd Herremans will turn 31 during the 2013 season.

    Philly takes the tackle who’s sometimes projected as the No. 1 overall pick to address their astonishing lack of productivity up front.

5. Detroit Lions

6 of 33

    2012 Record: 4-12

    Passing Offense: 307.9 YPG (2nd)

    Rushing Offense: 100.8 YPG (23rd)

    Passing Defense: 223.1 YPG (14th)

    Rushing Defense: 118.1 YPG (16th)

    The Pick: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

     

    The Detroit Lions can’t believe that three offensive tackles are off the board before their No. 5 is called. Their consolation prize is the draft’s top cornerback, Alabama’s Dee Milliner, who becomes available two years after the Lions tried to trade up for the Arizona Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson.

    Since a cover corner has been coveted so long in the Motor City, offensive tackle becomes secondary to the secondary’s best player for Detroit. The Lions tied for the seventh-fewest interceptions in 2012 (11), and tackle would be a reach at this point.

    They sorely need a pass-rusher as well as a blind-side protector for Matthew Stafford, but only one first-round selection will leave Detroit with a couple of major holes to fill on Day 2.

6. Cleveland Browns

7 of 33

    2012 Record: 5-11

    Passing Offense: 214.7 YPG (19th)

    Rushing Offense: 99.6 YPG (24th)

    Passing Defense: 245.2 YPG (25th)

    Rushing Defense: 118.6 YPG (19th)

    The Pick: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

    If one of the three offensive tackles that have already been selected in this mock is still on the board at No. 6, the Cleveland Browns will have no shortage of trade suitors to come snatch him up from the Arizona Cardinals, who pick at No. 7.

    The Browns have no second-round pick, so they should be an accommodating trade partner in that scenario. However, the absence of the trio of tackles here results in a lack of interest from the league at that position. All of the pass-rushers are still on the board, so there’s no urgency there, either.

    Like the Jacksonville Jaguars before them, the Browns have an underperforming quarterback and a new regime. Brandon Weeden will be 30 years old this season (his second in the NFL), but still deserves a legitimate shot to do something in the league.

    He completed 297-of-517 balls (57.4 percent) for 3,385 yards, 14 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 15 games.

    Unfortunately, we already know his general manager hasn’t exactly driven his bandwagon as a rookie. Mike Lombardi worked in TV while Weeden was slinging passes for the Browns. He called the sophomore passer’s first-round selection a “panicked disaster.”

    With the top quarterback still on the board, Weeden’s shot at a second season under center seems less assured than Blaine Gabbert’s chance at a third. Lombardi hangs up with the inquiring Buffalo Bills and selects West Virginia QB Geno Smith with the No. 6 pick.

    Smith threw 42 touchdowns and six interceptions as a senior.

7. PROJECTED TRADE: Minnesota Vikings from Arizona Cardinals

8 of 33

    2012 Record: 10-6

    Passing Offense: 171.9 YPG (31st)

    Rushing Offense: 164.6 YPG (2nd)

    Passing Defense: 244.3 YPG (24th)

    Rushing Defense: 105.8 YPG (11th)

    The Pick: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

     

    After watching the draft’s consensus top three offensive tackles and quarterback fly off the board in the first six picks, the Arizona Cardinals want to bail out on No. 7 as quickly and painlessly as possible. When the Minnesota Vikings come calling, they listen.

    Projected Trade: Minnesota Vikings send No. 23, No. 52 and 2014 second-round picks for Arizona Cardinals’ No. 7 and No. 174 picks.

    Kevin Williams will be 33 in August and just had his contract reworked so that 2013 is his last committed season to Minnesota. To potentially replace him in the future—and have a guy learn alongside him now—they can acquire the services of Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei.

    Although each case is cleared by doctors on a team-by-team basis, Lotulelei has the medical green light from the NFL. Star has long been associated with the No. 1 pick overall, so Minnesota may even feel fortunate if he falls this far.

8. Buffalo Bills

9 of 33

    2012 Record: 6-10

    Passing Offense: 204.3 YPG (25th)

    Rushing Offense: 138.6 YPG (6th)

    Passing Defense: 217.1 YPG (10th)

    Rushing Defense: 145.8 YPG (31st)

    The Pick: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

     

    The Buffalo Bills have a few glaring holes. They need to stop the run, but there isn’t an inside linebacker who’s made a big enough splash to go this high. If they go that route, look for Alec Ogletree (Georgia) or Manti Te’o (Notre Dame) to hear his name called.

    There are a ton of safeties, so Kenny Vaccaro (Texas) still might have to wait while Buffalo browses through the class in later rounds to find their guy.

    Their interior offensive line has been poached in free agency, making guards Jonathan Cooper (North Carolina) and Chance Warmack (Alabama) potential selections. The Bills could grab a solid guard at No. 41 in the second round, though.

    Cordarrelle Patterson won’t be around that late.

    Buffalo might want to move back from this slot, but the No. 8 pick is a little too rich for mid-to-late round squads to trade up and grab one of the sliding pass-rushers. The Bills, therefore, grab an outside playmaker to plug in opposite Stevie Johnson.

    Putting Patterson in a position to play as a secondary wideout gives the Tennessee product a better chance to succeed early. Aside from Johnson (79 receptions, 1,046 yards and six TDs in 2012), the Bills are devoid of production at receiver.

    No other wideout on the roster produced more than T.J. Graham’s 322 yards last season.

9. New York Jets

10 of 33

    2012 Record: 6-10

    Passing Offense: 180.7 YPG (30th)

    Rushing Offense: 118.5 YPG (12th)

    Passing Defense: 189.8 YPG (10th)

    Rushing Defense: 133.6 YPG (26th)

    The Pick: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

     

    Rex Ryan needs to win now. Mark Sanchez needs a place to throw the football. The New York Jets need offense.

    Tavon Austin is offense.

    He met with the team, which could mean that they’re looking into spending a first-rounder to secure his services. It could also mean nothing, but given New York’s near-worst passing numbers in 2012, it’s doubtful that this visit was a smokescreen.

    Austin turned heads at the NFL combine with a 4.34-second 40-yard dash after averaging 149.1 yards per game from scrimmage—and doing damage in the return game—as a senior. For instant offense, the Jets could do much worse than to snatch up the smallish slot receiver.

    Last yr, SEA hit the jackpot on a player that was considered "too short". Tavon Austin could be the winning ticket this yr. #NFLDraft

    — Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) February 28, 2013

10. Tennessee Titans

11 of 33

    2012 Record: 6-10

    Passing Offense: 207.7 YPG (22nd)

    Rushing Offense: 105.4 YPG (21st)

    Passing Defense: 247.8 YPG (26th)

    Rushing Defense: 127.2 YPG (24th)

    The Pick: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama

     

    The Tennessee Titans already picked up guard Andy Levitre from the Buffalo Bills. To make running back Chris Johnson an even happier man, they can double back and grab Chance Warmack with the No. 10 pick.

    Adding those two guys on the interior instantly makes things more difficult for opposing defensive lines to disrupt Jake Locker’s success from the pocket as well as enabling No. 28 to hit the open field. Warmack is even excited about the idea of working with Tennessee’s coaches.

    The Titans have two Hall of Fame trench warriors on their coaching staff.

    There may or may not be groans about a guard going in the top 10, but whoever gets Warmack is going to feel very secure with whichever position they choose to play him.

    Alabama G Chance Warmack - “I’m not a glamorous person. Look at what I’m wearing. I love being big and mean. That’s what I like.”

    — St. Louis Rams (@STLouisRams) February 23, 2013

11. San Diego Chargers

12 of 33

    2012 Record: 7-9

    Passing Offense: 205.9 YPG (24th)

    Rushing Offense: 91.3 YPG (27th)

    Passing Defense: 230.1 YPG (18th)

    Rushing Defense: 96.4 YPG (6th)

    The Pick: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina

     

    By this point, the San Diego Chargers have already watched four elite offensive line prospects get taken off the board. There’s one left, though, and Philip Rivers will be a very unhappy man if Jonathan Cooper’s name isn’t called at No. 11 overall.

    He needs some help up front.

    Only three teams (the Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars) allowed more sacks than San Diego’s 49 in 2012. The Chargers converted a league-worst three pass plays of 40 yards or longer.

    They produced the seventh-fewest pass plays of 20 yards or more.

    It’s flagrantly obvious that the Chargers need to address the offensive line in the draft. There are no more non-reach prospects at left tackle available to them at 11, but Cooper gives them a little security on the interior.

12. PROJECTED TRADE: Oakland Raiders from Miami Dolphins

13 of 33

    2012 Record: 4-12

    Passing Offense: 255.3 YPG (8th)

    Rushing Offense: 88.8 YPG (28th)

    Passing Defense: 235.9 YPG (20th)

    Rushing Defense: 118.6 YPG (18th)

    The Pick: Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU

     

    The disparity between the Oakland Raiders’ passing and rushing offensive ranks can easily be explained: They couldn’t keep their running backs healthy in 2012. Darren McFadden missed four games, as did backup rusher Mike Goodson.

    Fullback Marcel Reece was second on the team in carries (59).

    Oakland’s biggest area of need is the defensive line. Whether they build one from the inside out or the outside in is anyone’s guess, but the Raiders accumulated the second-fewest sacks last season—and stud defensive tackles Sharrif Floyd (Florida) and Star Lotulelei (Utah) are off the board.

    But nobody has taken a pass-rusher.

    Bruce Irvin was the first one selected last season when the Seattle Seahawks took him at No. 15.

    This year’s crop has questions: lack of productivity, health concerns and even age uncertainty. Ziggy Ansah falls into the first and third categories, but the 23-year-old’s age was confirmed. He knocked down twice as many passes (nine) as he had sacks (4.5) in 2012 and manhandled dudes left and right, despite being a relative newcomer to the game.

    Ansah was a legitimate defensive starter for one season in college, and the age issue was apparently questioned because he looks older than he is.

    So…that’s at least two things he has in common with Greg Oden.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

14 of 33

    2012 Record: 7-9

    Passing Offense: 248.9 YPG (10th)

    Rushing Offense: 114.8 YPG (15th)

    Passing Defense: 297.4 YPG (32nd)

    Rushing Defense: 82.5 YPG (1st)

    The Pick: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

     

    One look at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ dead-last pass defense ranking screams a singular need: cornerback. They’ve been in talks with the New York Jets to acquire the game’s best, Darrelle Revis, but his price may be too steep.

    With their No. 13 pick still in hand, Florida State standout Xavier Rhodes can begin to fill the void for Tampa Bay. If the Jets end up with the pick, cornerback is still a possibility, but so is a pass-rusher—or anyone who can help their offense escape from the league’s cellar.

14. Carolina Panthers

15 of 33

    2012 Record: 7-9

    Passing Offense: 230.2 YPG (16th)

    Rushing Offense: 130.5 YPG (9th)

    Passing Defense: 223.0 YPG (13th)

    Rushing Defense: 110.1 YPG (14th)

    The Pick: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri

     

    The Carolina Panthers could use a dynamic receiver to pair with 33-year-old Steve Smith, but defensive tackle has been a Panthers need for a while.

    With Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson on the board, it’s about time that need becomes a priority. Richardson was told by his agent not to participate in Missouri’s pro day, but he did drills anyway—and topped his combine 40 time by .14 seconds.

    The scouts liked that.

    Carolina may be impressed by his competitiveness, as well.

15. New Orleans Saints

16 of 33

    2012 Record: 7-9

    Passing Offense: 312.3 YPG (1st)

    Rushing Offense: 98.6 YPG (25th)

    Passing Defense: 292.6 YPG (31st)

    Rushing Defense: 147.6 YPG (32nd)

    The Pick: Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon

     

    The New Orleans Saints need to rebuild their historically inept defense.

    Without a second-round pick, the Saints are essentially prevented from moving up higher in the first round to take a pass-rusher for their new 3-4 scheme under Rob Ryan.

    Seeing pass-rushers slip at the top of the draft order might force them to strongly consider packaging their third with their first to leap-frog their division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers.

    Ultimately, it doesn’t happen. They need bodies.

    Cameron Jordan, New Orleans’ leading sack artist in 2012, has two years left on his rookie deal. Will Smith, No. 2 in the sacks department, has a $13.9 million club option for 2014.

    He’s 31.

    Enter potential-laden Oregon rush linebacker Dion Jordan, who is most often associated with top-five picks in mock drafts. He’s not DeMarcus Ware—who more than doubled Jordan’s sack potential in their respective final collegiate seasons—but Ryan knows what to do schematically with elite pass-rushing talent.

    Ware averaged 15.5 sacks under Ryan with the Dallas Cowboys, including a 2011 season during which he tallied 19.5. Dallas’ defensive backs were a huge problem that season—as New Orleans’ were in 2012—but Ware wreaked havoc anyway.

    His career high is 20, set three years prior.

16. St. Louis Rams

17 of 33

    2012 Record: 7-8-1

    Passing Offense: 221.9 YPG (18th)

    Rushing Offense: 107.1 YPG (19th)

    Passing Defense: 225.1 YPG (15th)

    Rushing Defense: 117.5 YPG (15th)

    The Pick: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

     

    The pair of top offensive guard prospects, Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper, are long gone before the St. Louis Rams are on the clock at No. 16. Tavon Austin and Cordarrelle Patterson are, too.

    Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro is the player most popularly attributed to the Rams who’s still on the board.

    St. Louis has just three safeties on its roster, who have a combined 13 starts—all belonging to fourth-year man Darian Stewart—under their belts. The Rams don’t need any more projects at wide receiver, and they have their starting cornerbacks and pass-rushers in-house.

    Plugging Alec Ogletree in at outside linebacker could be in play here, but the versatile Vaccaro fills the void vacated by the still-unsigned veteran Quintin Mikell.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers

18 of 33

    2012 Record: 8-8

    Passing Offense: 236.7 YPG (14th)

    Rushing Offense: 96.1 YPG (26th)

    Passing Defense: 185.2 YPG (1st)

    Rushing Defense: 90.6 YPG (2nd)

    The Pick: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia

     

    The Pittsburgh Steelers utilized their pass-rushing weapon of James Harrison until they felt the clip was empty—or close to it—and can reload their rush linebacker position with Jarvis Jones opposite Lamarr Woodley.

    Health scares notwithstanding, Jones could be the 2013 draft class’ top player. Those have been alleviated for the former Georgia sack master, who has already met with Pittsburgh.

    Jones had 14.5 sacks in 12 games as a junior.

18. Dallas Cowboys

19 of 33

    2012 Record: 8-8

    Passing Offense: 295.6 YPG (3rd)

    Rushing Offense: 79.1 YPG (31st)

    Passing Defense: 230.3 YPG (19th)

    Rushing Defense: 125.2 YPG (22nd)

    The Pick: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama

     

    A staple of the Dallas Cowboys’ construction in recent years has been offensive line play best described as suspect or disappointing. The 8-8 Cowboys were top-three in passing yards last season, but that’s because they had to throw to get back into games.

    Running the rock has been a different story: The Cowboys were second-to-last.

    The Cowboys are 3-15 in games that Tony Romo has thrown 40 or more passes. A multi-dimensional offense necessitates that Dallas and D.J. Fluker get together. At 6’5”, 339 pounds with 36 3/4” arms, Fluker has the menacing size to open running lanes as a right tackle.

    DeMarco Murray should be quite pleased with this acquisition.

19. New York Giants

20 of 33

    2012 Record: 9-7

    Passing Offense: 239.1 YPG (12th)

    Rushing Offense: 116.4 YPG (31st)

    Passing Defense: 254.3 YPG (28th)

    Rushing Defense: 129.1 YPG (25th)

    The Pick: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU

     

    The New York Giants are used to having three legitimate pass-rushing threats, so much so that they rode their NASCAR package to a Super Bowl XLVI win. With Osi Umenyiora departing this offseason, Big Blue is going to need an additional guy to send after the quarterback.

    Let’s just hope Barkevious Mingo likes cold weather.

20. PROJECTED TRADE: San Francisco 49ers from Chicago Bears

21 of 33

    2012 Record: 11-4-1

    Passing Offense: 206.1 YPG (23rd)

    Rushing Offense: 155.7 YPG (4th)

    Passing Defense: 200.2 YPG (4th)

    Rushing Defense: 94.2 YPG (4th)

    The Pick: Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International

     

    Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery has made it no secret that he’d like to bail on the 20th overall pick. Only one safety, Kenny Vaccaro, has been taken off the board. The San Francisco 49ers—loaded as they are—need a safety.

    San Francisco holds 13 picks in the 2013 draft. Those selections won’t all be making a team that just lost a Super Bowl and retained a number of key pieces. There’s a solid chance that at least one safety goes in the next four picks with the Cincinnati Bengals, St. Louis Rams, Arizona Cardinals (projected trade) and Indianapolis Colts on deck.

    The 49ers won’t know who those teams like best, but they’ve got more than enough ammunition to move up and get their guy.

    Projected trade: San Francisco 49ers trade No. 34, No. 74, No. 128 and No. 131 picks for Chicago Bears’ No. 20 and No. 188 picks.

    Jonathan Cyprien is second to Vaccaro on at least two boards, and plays with the ferocity that fits the 49ers’ roster. San Francisco still has its own first-rounder to play with later on.

21. Cincinnati Bengals

22 of 33

    2012 Record: 11-4-1

    Passing Offense: 223.6 YPG (17th)

    Rushing Offense: 109.1 YPG (18th)

    Passing Defense: 212.5 YPG (7th)

    Rushing Defense: 107.2 YPG (12th)

    The Pick: Eric Reid, S, LSU

     

    A second consecutive first-round safety could fill a spot in the Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive backfield. LSU safety Eric Reid has visited with the Bengals following a strong combine performance and seven passes defensed as a junior.

22. PROJECTED TRADE: Atlanta Falcons from Washington Redskins Via St. Louis Rams

23 of 33

    2012 Record: 13-3

    Passing Offense: 281.8 YPG (6th)

    Rushing Offense: 87.3 YPG (29th)

    Passing Defense: 242.4 YPG (23rd)

    Rushing Defense: 123.2 YPG (21st)

    The Pick: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington

     

    With Brent Grimes and Dunta Robinson in different zip codes for 2013, Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant is on the Atlanta Falcons’ radar. They’re not yet on the clock, but they are interested in trading up—and GM Thomas Dimitroff has a relationship with the guy on the other end of the phone, St. Louis Rams GM Les Snead.

    They used to work together.

    Projected trade: Atlanta Falcons trade No. 30, No. 92 and No. 163 picks for St. Louis Rams’ No. 22 pick.

    Trufant is likely to be a coveted player if he’s still on the board at this juncture in the first round. Aside from Asante Samuel, the remaining four corners on Atlanta’s roster have started a combined 11 games in their careers.

    Samuel has started 14 or more in each of seven seasons.

23. PROJECTED TRADE: Arizona Cardinals from Minnesota Vikings

24 of 33

    2012 Record: 5-11

    Passing Offense: 187.8 YPG (28th)

    Rushing Offense: 75.3 YPG (32nd)

    Passing Defense: 200.8 YPG (5th)

    Rushing Defense: 137.0 YPG (28th)

    The Pick: Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas Pine-Bluff

     

    Carson Palmer is going to be a sacrificial lamb if he doesn’t get a lot of help up front. The Arizona Cardinals were far and away the most accommodating offensive line unit in terms of giving up sacks.

    The difference between Arizona’s 58 sacks allowed and the second-place Green Bay Packers’ 51 is the same as the seven-sack differential between Green Bay and the eighth-place Chicago Bears’ 44.

    Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson have all been drafted, leaving rookie GM Steve Keim with no real opportunity to attack the top of the draft order and get one of the consensus top guys. Arizona would desperately want to trade back in this scenario.

    Unfortunately, all of the top pass-rushers are still available. Someone may want to trade up and grab Dion Jordan, Jarvis Jones or whoever they fancy, but the volume of options reduces the urgency on that front—and if Keim waits until the second round, his perceived franchise left tackle may be off the board.

    Plenty of teams have been disappointed by their production up front. Arkansas Pine-Bluff left tackle Terron Armstead has even been discussed as a possible Packers target at No. 26 overall.

    With a 4.71 40 and 31 bench reps at 306 pounds—Johnson ran a 4.72 at 303 pounds—Armstead proved to be a combine wonder. He’ll hope to be more than that at the next level.

    Armstead didn’t go to a small school because he was ignored by major programs. Arkansas Pine-Bluff is the lone school that allowed the big man to participate in track on top of football. As a result, his football strengths derive from his athleticism. Mirror steps in pass-blocking and second-level run-blocking are staples of the 300-pounder’s game.

    Those are coveted qualities in a division marked by speed rushers on the defensive right side: Aldon Smith (San Francisco 49ers, 4.78 40), Bruce Irvin (Seattle Seahawks, 4.50 40) and Robert Quinn (St. Louis Rams, 4.70 40).

24. Indianapolis Colts

25 of 33

    2012 Record: 11-5

    Passing Offense: 258.0 YPG (7th)

    Rushing Offense: 104.4 YPG (22nd)

    Passing Defense: 236.8 YPG (21st)

    Rushing Defense: 137.5 YPG (29th)

    The Pick: Damontre’ Moore, OLB, Texas A&M

     

    Indianapolis Colts sack leader Dwight Freeney is looking for work, which means the Colts are looking for a pass-rusher. Freeney, 33, was second on the team in sacks with five in 2012. Indianapolis, along with the Pittsburgh Steelers, did their due diligence with the former Aggie.

    The Steelers got their man in Jarvis Jones seven picks ago, freeing Moore to be installed into Chuck Pagano’s defense.

25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle Seahawks)

26 of 33

    2012 Record: 10-6

    Passing Offense: 171.9 YPG (31st)

    Rushing Offense: 164.6 YPG (2nd)

    Passing Defense: 244.3 YPG (24th)

    Rushing Defense: 105.8 YPG (11th)

    The Pick: Manti Te’o, MLB, Notre Dame

     

    Rumor has it that the Minnesota Vikings would like to trade up and grab a wide receiver, but they already moved up as Star Lotulelei slid to meet them at the No. 7 spot in this mock. Ultimately, they still have their third-round pick to address the position—which they have already attacked in free agency with Greg Jennings—in this scenario.

    General manager Rick Spielman has a fondness for players from Notre Dame, and Manti Te’o played himself into national recognition long before the hoax unraveled.

    The 2012 Heisman finalist seems to be a good bet to wear purple as a rookie.

26. Green Bay Packers

27 of 33

     2012 Record: 10-6

    Passing Offense: 253.1 YPG (9th)

    Rushing Offense: 106.4 YPG (20th)

    Passing Defense: 218.3 YPG (11th)

    Rushing Defense: 118.5 YPG (17th)

    The Pick: Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina

     

    No matter how much the position seems to be devalued in today’s NFL, running backs continue to be selected in the first round. Since 2010, seven have heard their name called in the draft’s opening frame.

    The Green Bay Packers haven’t selected a running back in the first round since 1990. They selected Nebraska’s Brandon Jackson in the second round in 2007 and nabbed Hawaii’s Alex Green in the third two drafts ago.

    It’s about time they get a consistent helper out of the backfield. They haven’t been able to do so post-Round 1 for quite some time. A different running back has led Green Bay in rushing in each of the last four seasons; the last guy to repeat was Ryan Grant, from 2007 to 2009.

    He was undrafted.

    Since Grant last led the Packers in rushing—he was on the team every season since—no one has accumulated a single-season tally greater than Jackson’s 703 yards in 2010. Green Bay’s is a passing offense, though, meaning the running back has to do more than just take handoffs.

    They need to protect Aaron Rodgers by re-routing blitzers and catching passes.

    North Carolina’s Giovani Bernard is aware of that and (via Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel), by his estimation, he fits the bill:

    Nowadays the running back position is not a ground-and-pound guy that you need every single game. It’s really the back that can really do everything. You look at guys like Terrell Davis and Emmitt Smith, they gained their yards in the trenches but there were times they needed to catch the ball out of the backfield to continue the drive. For me, that’s what I am. I emphasize to myself being able to do everything on the field.

    Bernard averaged 46 receptions per season with the Tar Heels and ran two punts back to the house on just 16 returns. He may not be relied upon for return duties with Randall Cobb in town, but it doesn’t hurt that he can do it.

    Bernard has been compared to Philadelphia Eagles shifty stud playmaker LeSean McCoy, but he resembles the Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Rice more in stature.

    Both of those guys are pretty successful.

27. Houston Texans

28 of 33

    2012 Record: 12-4

    Passing Offense: 239.4 YPG (11th)

    Rushing Offense: 132.7 YPG (8th)

    Passing Defense: 225.8 YPG (16th)

    Rushing Defense: 97.5 YPG (7th)

    The Pick: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee

     

    Like the Green Bay Packers before them, the Houston Texans have a longstanding need at a vital skill position. Andre Johnson hasn’t had even a 700-yard wideout play opposite him since Kevin Walter fell one shy of 900 in 2008—and he’s gone to the division-rival Tennessee Titans.

    Unlike the Packers, Houston hit an undrafted-free-agent rookie home run with a guy from Tennessee named Arian Foster.

    Another Tennessee product, receiver Justin Hunter, might be this draft’s best at the position in two or three years.

    After winning double-digit regular-season games and a playoff contest in each of the last two seasons, the Texans are built to make a run now. Hunter may not be the draft’s best wide receiver from Day 1, but Johnson would relieve the pressure of being Matt Schaub’s primary look early on in his career.

    Hunter, in turn, would attract some coverage away from Johnson on the football field.

    Dre (1,598 yards) more than tripled Walter’s (518) receiving yardage in 2012. He also doubled the team’s second-leading receiver’s production; tight end Owen Daniels contributed 716 yards.

28. Denver Broncos

29 of 33

    2012 Record: 13-3

    Passing Offense: 283.4 YPG (5th)

    Rushing Offense: 114.5 YPG (16th)

    Passing Defense: 199.6 YPG (3rd)

    Rushing Defense: 91.1 YPG (3rd)

    The Pick: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

     

    How ridiculous would the Denver Broncos' offense be if they went after Tyler Eifert or Zach Ertz, the draft’s two highest-rated tight ends, here? Denver isn’t going to be hamstrung into drafting a pass-rusher just because Elvis Dumervil got away in the bizarre fax machine incident.

    It’s just a fortunate circumstance that potentially the best remaining player is a defensive end.

    This particular end, Florida State’s Bjoern Werner, is used to being dominant and productive, having notched 13 sacks as a junior. He’ll look to continue that trend with Denver.

29. PROJECTED TRADE: Philadelphia Eagles from New England Patriots

30 of 33

    2012 Record: 4-12

    Passing Offense: 236.9 YPG (13th)

    Rushing Offense: 117.1 YPG (13th)

    Passing Defense: 216.9 YPG (9th)

    Rushing Defense: 126.3 YPG (13th)

    The Pick: E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State

     

    The New England Patriots may be interested in Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden at the No. 29 spot to help shore up their 29th-ranked pass defense. However, New England has only five selections entering the 2013 NFL draft and is anything but afraid to trade picks with another team.

    Bill Belichick likes second-round picks, having made six selections in that round since 2010.

    New England has a special kind of leverage at this spot: The remainder of teams drafting in the first round aren’t seeking quarterbacks, but first-round selections can be tied to the team for as long as five years in their rookie deals.

    Second-rounders get four.

    The Philadelphia Eagles spent their first pick on Eric Fisher; now they make a move to get a guy for him to protect.

    Projected trade: Philadelphia Eagles trade No. 35 and No. 101 picks for New England Patriots’ No. 29 and No. 226 picks.

    E.J. Manuel wouldn’t have to start right away. The Eagles still have Michael Vick for that. But Vick is only under contract for a year, so it’s time for them to seriously consider whether Nick Foles is the future at quarterback.

    Considering that the Chip Kelly regime neither drafted him nor gave him an unequivocal vote of confidence, that’s far from guaranteed. 

30. PROJECTED TRADE: Buffalo Bills from Atlanta Falcons Via St. Louis Rams

31 of 33

    2012 Record: 6-10

    Passing Offense: 204.3 YPG (25th)

    Rushing Offense: 138.6 YPG (6th)

    Passing Defense: 217.1 YPG (10th)

    Rushing Defense: 145.8 YPG (31st)

    The Pick: Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse

     

    The St. Louis Rams have so many options at No. 30—Alec Ogletree, Keenan Allen and Kyle Long to name a few—that they may want to simply add draft value by trading down…again. Les Snead traded down three times in the first two rounds in 2012, but his roster could still stand to add depth in addition to dynamic players.

    This draft happens to be touted as phenomenal in the first regard, so St. Louis is in a position to take advantage of the five-year rule when an AFC East team comes calling to get its quarterback.

    Unless they meet in the Super Bowl between now and then, the Rams won’t even see him until his fourth NFL season.

    Projected trade: Buffalo Bills trade No. 41 and No. 71 picks for St. Louis Rams’ No. 30, No. 113 and No. 149 picks.

    If the Buffalo Bills jump back into the first round to select Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib—at least one guy’s favorite QB—he’ll make the transition to the NFL with his college coach, Doug Marrone. Bills GM Buddy Nix endorses this quarterback class, saying there are at least five guys, “maybe seven, that do a lot of things good and do ‘em good enough to win.”

    In the same press conference, he also said, “I hate giving up draft picks. I hope in some way we get that seventh [traded away for Tarvaris Jackson] back.”

    That’s not a problem for a deal in which the Bills both move up and receive the higher volume of selections. 

31. San Francisco 49ers

32 of 33

    2012 Record: 11-4-1

    Passing Offense: 206.1 YPG (23rd)

    Rushing Offense: 155.7 YPG (4th)

    Passing Defense: 200.2 YPG (4th)

    Rushing Defense: 94.2 YPG (4th)

    The Pick: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA

     

    Somebody would have to show up with a very good offer—like first-rounder next year and second-rounder this year good—in order to move down from their No. 31 spot. They have plenty of late-round picks to play around with.

    This one could come down to a number of players at different positions: defensive ends Margus Hunt and Datone Jones, tight ends Tyler Eifert and Zach Ertz and cornerback D.J. Hayden all warrant consideration.

    Justin Smith will be 34 years old in September and is entering a contract season. Despite the addition of Glenn Dorsey, San Francisco would be in a less-than-ideal situation on the D-line if he leaves.

    Bringing Jones in via the draft has the potential to soften that blow down the road, strengthens the 49ers’ defensive line rotation and allows Jones to learn behind one of the game’s best.

32. PROJECTED TRADE: Arizona Cardinals from Baltimore Ravens

33 of 33

    2012 Record: 5-11

    Passing Offense: 187.8 YPG (28th)

    Rushing Offense: 75.3 YPG (32nd)

    Passing Defense: 200.8 YPG (5th)

    Rushing Defense: 137.0 YPG (28th)

    The Pick: Matt Barkley, QB, USC

     

    A mass exodus of players leaves the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens looking like a very different team heading into the 2013 season. Six guys have agreed to terms or signed with other teams. Ten more have either been released or were free agents who are still unsigned.

    And Ray Lewis retired.

    Baltimore has 12 picks in this draft and, like every other team organically set to pick in this neighborhood of the order, has its franchise quarterback locked up.

    Really locked up.

    Naturally, quarterback isn’t a priority for the Ravens in the draft. The Arizona Cardinals, however, are an entirely different story: They picked up Carson Palmer (33 years old) and Drew Stanton (28) this offseason.

    It shouldn’t be much of a surprise at all to hear of Arizona resurfacing to draft a young arm on Day 1.

    Projected trade: Arizona Cardinals send No. 38 and No. 103 picks for Baltimore Ravens’ No. 32 and No. 238 picks.

    The Cardinals would make this leap to secure the services of USC quarterback Matt Barkley, who was associated with the franchise’s No. 7 pick in February.

    Text I received from a scout this morning: Matt Barkley will not get past the Arizona #Cardinals at No. 7 overall.

    — Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 24, 2013

    Trading for Palmer since gave them some leverage, but doesn’t rule out their pursuit of the four-year starter. As such, Barkley would be the fourth quarterback off the board—more than most expect, but a reflection of the new rookie wage scale.

    Drafting a young QB who doesn’t pan out won’t hurt as much financially as it used to, and a surprisingly productive signal-caller reaps even more benefits.

    That’s precisely how the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers made it to the playoffs, unlike their NFC West counterparts in Arizona and the St. Louis Rams. Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick balled out.

    Wilson ($681,085) and Kaepernick ($1,164,610) will combine to count less than $2 million against their respective teams’ caps.

    In other words, Palmer doubles the financial hit of those two combined, and Sam Bradford costs his team more than six times that amount of flexibility in 2013.

    Barkley would cost around $1.7 million per season, based on the rookie deal of the No. 32 pick before him: David Wilson of the New York Giants.

     

    Trade compensation was guided by this value chart. Jamal Collier is the St. Louis Rams Draft Correspondent for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @StatManJ.

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices