While each and every pick in the NFL draft is integral to the future of the teams that make them, there is no question that the stakes are higher in the first round. The cream of the crop generally flies off the board at that point and they inevitably receive the most money as well.
Some first-round selections work out great, but others inevitably fizzle. Since there is no foolproof way to evaluate talent, there is bound to be a mixed bag in terms of success this year and for many years moving forward. In order to mitigate risk, teams should make sensible picks that fit in with their systems and philosophies.
Along with a full, first-round mock draft, here are logical selections that every first-round team should make in the 2013 NFL draft.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
There is no dominant player in this draft, so it wouldn't be a surprise if the Chiefs tried to move out of the top spot, but they'll go with Joeckel if they stay put.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Smith is a guy who can go anywhere from No. 2 through the second round, but the Jaguars desperately need a spark of some kind, so they'll take the risk.
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Floyd has shot up draft boards in recent weeks due to great measurables and workouts, and no team is more enamored with those factors than the Raiders.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
The Eagles need a quality rush linebacker as they are switching to a 3-4 defense. Jordan is an ideal fit due to his time with head coach Chip Kelly at Oregon.
5. Detroit Lions: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
After making the playoffs in 2011, the Detroit Lions took a big step back last season. Detroit simply couldn't win close games, so it is now in position to pick No. 5 in the NFL draft. The Lions are still extremely talented, so it could ultimately be a good thing. They have one obvious deficiency on each side of the ball in the form of pass protection and pass defense, and their pick needs to bolster one of those areas.
The Lions may very well have a choice between Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher and Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner. They can't really go wrong either way, but Fisher would be the more sensible pick. Quarterback Matthew Stafford is arguably the most important player on the team, and it is absolutely paramount that the Lions do everything possible to protect him.
With Jeff Backus retiring, the need for a competent left tackle is greater than ever. Some argue that Fisher is as good or better than Joeckel, so taking him at No. 5 seems like a slam dunk. The Lions' front office is probably quite familiar with the in-state product and there likely won't be any hesitation when it comes to taking him.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
It can be argued that Milliner is the most talented overall player in the 2013 draft, so the Browns will be very happy to nab him at this juncture.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The Cardinals have been stifled for years by their inability to protect the quarterback, so it's time to get a potential stud left tackle in the form of Johnson.
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8. Buffalo Bills: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Although there are definitely some question marks attached to Patterson as he only had one big season at Tennessee, he is a supreme talent and the Bills desperately need a receiver.
9. New York Jets: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Ansah could potentially go as early as No. 2 to the Jaguars, but a lack of experience and on-field production will allow the Jets to scoop him up at No. 9.
10. Tennessee Titans: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Titans seem to be fairly solid at every position, but not necessarily great anywhere, so they'll go with a strong corner in Rhodes to finally replace the departed Cortland Finnegan.
11. San Diego Chargers: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Guards generally aren't taken very early in the NFL draft; however, Warmack is clearly the best player at his position and will be an immediate starter for the Chargers.
12. Miami Dolphins: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Early in the draft process it seemed like Lotulelei had a chance to be taken No. 1 overall, and while that is no longer the case, Miami will be thrilled to land him here.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Buccaneers have taken pass-rushers early in the draft many times over the past few years, but none of them have developed the way they hoped. Defensive end is still a major need for Tampa, but luckily there are quite a few promising players at the position in this year's draft. One of the most intriguing prospects is Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner, who would make a lot of sense at No. 13.
There are some question marks regarding the German-born Werner as he may not be as fluid and athletic as some of his counterparts, but he clearly has the will to succeed and he has been a very productive player for the Seminoles. After racking up seven sacks as a raw sophomore, Werner made a huge leap during his junior season. He got to the quarterback on 13 occasions and became one of the most consistent pass-rushers in all of college football.
The Bucs have picked pass-rushers based on upside and potential in recent years and very few of them have panned out. Werner certainly has upside, but he is already polished and has shown definitively that he can get the job done. Werner may not be the most physically gifted defensive end in the draft, but he may ultimately be the best.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Run defense has been a major problem for the Panthers over the past couple years, so taking a stud tackle like Richardson who excelled against elite competition is a no-brainer.
15. New Orleans Saints: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
Many of the top pass-rushers in the draft are likely to fall compared to where they were slated to go during the season, but Mingo would be a great fit in the Saints' new 3-4 defense.
16. St. Louis Rams: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Austin is arguably the most explosive overall player in the draft. He also fills a huge need for the Rams as wide receivers Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson left via free agency.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Jones is another promising pass-rusher who is falling down the board, but he could potentially land in the perfect situation if the Steelers decide to take him.
18. Dallas Cowboys: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
The Cowboys have been slowly rebuilding their offensive line over the past couple years. Fluker would accelerate that process as he can lock down the right tackle spot.
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19. New York Giants: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
No team utilizes multiple pass-rushers better than the Giants, so Jones would immediately be placed in a situation that would allow him to produce from day one.
20. Chicago Bears: Jonathan Cooper, OG, UNC
The Bears' mediocre offensive line has been a topic of conversation for the past few years, but Cooper is a guy who can help solidify it and make it a strength.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Vaccaro could potentially go a bit earlier since he's easily the best safety in the draft, but the Bengals are hoping he drops to them and gives them another playmaker in the secondary.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington): Matt Elam, S, Florida
The Rams would love to get their hands on Vaccaro as well, but they'll be content if they have to settle for the hard-hitting Elam instead.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
Minnesota needs more playmakers at the linebacker position, so it'll take arguably the most athletic linebacker in the entire draft in the form of Ogletree.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
Hunt is a guy who could potentially slip to the second round, but he is such a good fit for the Colts defense that the team may be inclined to reach for him.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle): Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC
The Vikings have a golden opportunity to strengthen their defense in this draft and they'll take it by adding the stout Williams to the previous selection of Ogletree.
26. Green Bay Packers: Damontre Moore, OLB, Texas A&M
Moore is considered a second-round prospect by many due to inconsistency, but he is extremely talented and could be the ideal complement to Clay Matthews.
27. Houston Texans: Keenan Allen, WR, California
Perhaps no team in the entire NFL has ignored an obvious need longer than the Houston Texans. Andre Johnson is unquestionably one of the best wide receivers in football, but he has never had a reliable complement on the other side of the field. The Texans have tried many different players, including the likes of Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones, but none of them have truly stepped up. Since Houston is so strong at nearly every other position, this could finally be the year that it goes for a receiver.
There aren't many elite-level pass-catchers in the 2013 draft, but there is a lot of depth and plenty of talent to be found late in the first round. California's Keenan Allen is a particularly interesting prospect as he has ideal size at 6'3" and 206 pounds, as well as the ability to beat corners down the field. Had he entered the draft after racking up 98 catches for 1,343 yards as a sophomore, he might have been a top-10 pick, but the best he can hope for at this point is a late-first-round selection.
Allen fell off as a junior as he only totaled 737 yards. Although, that was partially due to the fact that he missed the final three games of the season. Also, his drug test was reportedly red-flagged at the NFL combine, according to Derek Harper of CBSSports.com, so there are some character concerns. Even so, he is a high-upside pick who could finally take some pressure off of Johnson.
28. Denver Broncos: Cornellius "Tank" Carradine, DE, Florida State
It's no secret that the Broncos need to add depth to the defensive line after losing Elvis Dumervil. Carradine would be a fantastic addition.
29. New England Patriots: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
The Patriots managed to replace Wes Welker with Danny Amendola; however, an outside threat is still needed at receiver and Hunter is a guy who could pay big dividends.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Provided tight end Tony Gonzalez retires at the conclusion of the season, the Falcons need to have a contingency plan in place and Eifert is the best possible option.
31. San Francisco 49ers: John Cyprien, S, Florida International
The 49ers appear to be a perfect team on paper, but they can afford to add some depth and talent in the secondary. Therefore, Cyprien makes a lot of sense here.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
Everyone is wondering where Te'o will ultimately land. The Ravens will ensure that he doesn't fall out of the first round by handpicking him to replace the legendary Ray Lewis.
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