2013 NFL Mock Draft: Last-Minute Advice for Each First-Round Team
Inching closer to the 2013 NFL draft, squeezing out the last-minute analysis for every team will occur all week.
Unsurprisingly, this will feel like one of the longest weeks of the year as the suspense increases.
So, how does the entire Round 1 slate unfold?
Considering the impact from pro football's offseason, it won't be that predictable. There aren't as many prospects that stood out compared to 2012, not to mention the lack of top-heavy talent at the quarterback and running back positions.
Nevertheless, here's a look at what to expect when the Chiefs go on the clock.
Note: Highlighted players in italics.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, Tackle (Texas A&M)
Kansas City's best option for adding balance is with Luke Joeckel. His addition not only makes the ground game stronger, but also helps seal the edge for pass protection. Now play action becomes a legit threat and the Chiefs don't commit many turnovers.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Star Lotulelei, DT (Utah)
The Jaguars ranked No. 30 in rush defense, managed just 20 sacks and gave up 19 rushing touchdowns. Yikes. Fixing these weaknesses, though, is Star Lotulelei. With the instant quickness and lateral balance to dominate the interior, Lotulelei will plug gaps and get quarterback pressure so Jacksonville better defends the immediate point of attack.
3. Oakland Raiders: Dee Milliner, CB (Alabama)
Oakland won't fend off any high-powered offense without Dee Milliner. The Raiders were incredibly suspect in coverage last year, which allows for Milliner to impact from the start. Although he won't generate many turnovers, Milliner's ability to get physical at the line and isolate one-on-one complements the rest of the defense.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher, Tackle (Central Michigan)
Filling the dire need for quarterback protection is what will lead Philadelphia back to the postseason. Eric Fisher brings the talent to wall off the NFC East pass-rushers, which in turn, allows the Eagles to generate balance and ball control.
5. Detroit Lions: Bjoern Werner, DE (Florida State)
Bjoern Werner supplies a solid pass rush for Detroit. That said, he's a more disciplined run defender than at first glance. The Lions struggled to close lanes in 2012, and Werner lining up on the edge derives blocking schemes away from Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.
When will Dion Jordan get selected?
6. Cleveland Browns: Dion Jordan, DE (Oregon)
Cleveland needs its pass rush to take over in 2013. Well, drafting Dion Jordan addresses this aspect since Milliner is off the board. Featuring an impressive burst at the snap, Jordan's ability to pressure the quarterback and monitor the perimeter against the run gets the Browns to halt drives early on.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Chance Warmack, Guard (Alabama)
When an offense ranks last in rushing and first for most sacks allowed, addressing the offensive line is certainly obvious. Here, Arizona lands Chance Warmack to establish a punishing ground game in the tough NFC West. A by-product of that helps set up the pass, where Warmack's strength and balance barricade the pocket's interior.
8. Buffalo Bills: Geno Smith, QB (West Virginia)
Buffalo's approach this season must revolve around C.J. Spiller. Selecting Geno Smith simply ensures consistently reliable decision-making under center. As a result, the Bills sustain drives and win the possession battle through efficient balance.
9. New York Jets: Sharrif Floyd, DT (Florida)
Last year the Jets gave up 4.3 yards per carry, managed a dismal 30 sacks and were not consistent at getting off the field on third down. Opponents were able to outwork coach Rex Ryan's front seven up front, which did leave the secondary more vulnerable to play action.
Solving this puzzle won't happen overnight, but landing Sharrif Floyd out of Florida is a strong first step toward rebuilding. Floyd is an explosive defender for his size and offers a reliable nose to crash the backfield.
He accounted for 10 quarterback hurries the past two seasons, as well as 19.5 tackles for loss.
That initial jump at the snap also bodes well depending on the game situation. On expected running downs, Floyd can fluctuate between head-up the guard and inside shade of the tackle. For strict passing downs, nose tackle or shading the inside shoulder of either guard will suffice.
In short, his athleticism and strength allows for a dynamic approach, instead of just being limited to a specific technique or gap.
10. Tennessee Titans: Ezekiel Ansah, DE (BYU)
Another pass-rusher will take Tennessee's defense to another level. Possessing a solid core group of linebackers, bringing Ezekiel Ansah into the defensive line mix gives the Titans a strong third-down advantage. All that's left is to spruce up the secondary.
11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, Tackle (Oklahoma)
Despite his abundance of turnovers last season, Philip Rivers still managed to sport a 64.1 completion percentage. Now picture his production with Lane Johnson walling the blindside. It'll be much more effective. And with Rivers surveying better from the pocket, that also sets up the running game.
12. Miami Dolphins: Desmond Trufant, CB (Washington)
Even with the add of Brent Grimes through free agency, (via Mike Garafolo of the USA Today) Miami keeps it going with Desmond Trufant. Supplying excellent explosiveness and speed, Trufant's field awareness and playmaking instincts greatly benefit behind the Dolphins' solid pass rush.
13. New York Jets (via Tampa Bay): Xavier Rhodes, CB (Florida State)
The Jets are the first of three teams with two first-round picks because Gang Green dealt Darrelle Revis to Tampa Bay:
Yes! It's officially a done deal: Darrelle Revis is a Buccaneer! Bucs trade 2013 1st-rounder and conditional 2014 4th or 3rd to Jets.— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) April 21, 2013
Therefore, quickly filling the void is Xavier Rhodes. His size and quick power develop as an advantage in Cover 1 press and Cover 2, while also using that to help with perimeter run support.
14. Carolina Panthers: Kenny Vaccaro, Safety (Texas)
The NFC South sports two of the NFL's most dominant aerial onslaughts in New Orleans and Atlanta.
Not far away are the Buccaneers who improved in this regard last season. Therefore, when facing the Panthers we can easily anticipate these offenses attacking Carolina downfield. After all, the Cats gave up a 66.8 completion percentage in 2012 and recorded only 11 picks.
So, it's imperative for Carolina to snag Kenny Vaccaro out of Texas. The guy is consistent at seeking out the rock in coverage, while also bolting downfield to fill any open running lane.
Definitely an explosive defender, yet an underrated aspect, Vaccaro defended 24 passes and accounted for 213 tackles from 2010 through 2012. His instincts alone will cut Carolina's allowed completion percentage down, but also give the pass-rushers more time to apply pressure.
And once the Panthers start slowing drives down, they then win the field position battle to make a run at January.
15. New Orleans Saints: Barkevious Mingo, DE (LSU)
Defense is more important now than ever before because it becomes an advantage in a league driven by offense. Unfortunately for New Orleans, that was nowhere near the case in 2012. Flipping the switch for better won't be easy; however, taking Barkevious Mingo bolsters the run defense and presents a capable rusher for third-down situations.
16. St. Louis Rams: Tavon Austin, WR (West Virginia)
Tavon Austin is easily among the draft's most versatile threats. Contributing a significant amount as a receiver, ball-carrier and return specialist, Austin's entire arsenal provides St. Louis with a favorable edge. Whether it's on offense or special teams, his impact leads to sufficient balance and ball movement.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarvis Jones, LB (Georgia)
Jarvis Jones has a strong knack for creating quarterback pressure and constricting running lanes. The Steelers must field a defense that generates more sacks and turnovers, which leads to Jones' acquisition at No. 17. Ultimately, a tougher front seven carries Pittsburgh back into the playoff discussion.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Cooper, Guard (North Carolina)
Already possessing the aerial assault to up the tempo versus anyone, Dallas must get Jonathan Cooper to establish a better ground attack. Cooper's physical capabilities in the trenches build a more dependable running game, which then lets the Cowboys find balance to reduce turnovers.
19. New York Giants: Sheldon Richardson, DT (Missouri)
Sheldon Richardson is a defensive tackle with a strong scent for disrupting the backfield. The Giants missed having a consistent interior presence last season, so getting Richardson clogs running lanes and collapses the pocket's interior to dominate the line.
20. Chicago Bears: Alec Ogletree, LB (Georgia)
Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune reported the Bears' signing of D.J. Williams. And although he's a solid add, Williams turns 31 before this season. Opting for Alec Ogletree just solidifies the future at the second level, courtesy of his quick instincts to react by filling lanes and shelling in coverage.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Matt Elam, Safety (Florida)
The Bengals have the front seven to win the battle up front. Fielding Matt Elam to boost the secondary allows for the linebackers to be more aggressive. Elam's ability to locate the ball and make plays results in an influx of turnovers, because he brings the talent to roll down for a blitzing 'backer or read back deep.
22. St. Louis Rams (via WAS): Arthur Brown, LB (Kansas State)
Since the Rams allowed an average of 4.3 yards per rush last season, choosing Arthur Brown will complete the front seven to suffocate the trenches. Providing reliable awareness and reactionary skills, Brown's overall talent reads well against the run and shields the second level for coverage.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR (Tennessee)
Regardless of who resides in Minnesota's receiving corps, the Vikings will continue to be a run-first offense with Adrian Peterson taking handoffs.
Still, featuring playmakers to occupy a secondary is what Minnesota needs at the very least for balance. Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson brings the capability for pressing a secondary on its heels, because he averaged 16.9 yards per reception last season.
Even though he was just a one-hit wonder for the Volunteers, Patterson's impact in the SEC shall not go unnoticed. He even amassed 308 rushing yards and collected 772 total return yards with two touchdowns (one punt, one kickoff).
Possessing marketable acceleration and route-running versatility, Patterson's general impact will be to produce off play action. This is to Minnesota's advantage, however, because he'll never face double coverage or even a bracketed zone with Peterson residing in the backfield.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Damontre Moore, DE (Texas A&M)
Damontre Moore is a true sack-master. And it's that exact presence Indianapolis needs to field a complete defense. Having already spruced up the secondary, a forceful pass rush simply puts the Colts in favorable positions on second and third down.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via SEA): Manti Te’o, LB (Notre Dame)
The final team with another first-rounder—per Jay Glazer of FOX Sports—Minnesota elects for Manti Te'o to patrol the interior of its front seven. The defensive line will take care of plugging specific gaps and getting quarterback pressure, so all Te'o needs to do is fill where needed and continue making plays in coverage.
26. Green Bay Packers: Kawann Short, DT (Purdue)
Kawann Short recorded 45 tackles for loss and defended 14 passes from 2010 through 2012. This menacing production is just what Green Bay must get in its front seven. Because failing against the run in 2013 will give the Packers an early postseason exit.
27. Houston Texans: DeAndre Hopkins, WR (Clemson)
Houston can't afford to lack in the passing department this year. So, the Texans haul in DeAndre Hopkins to complement Andre Johnson. With the speed and deep playmaking skills to stretch a defense, that just diverts attention away from Arian Foster.
28. Denver Broncos: Alex Okafor, DE (Texas)
Denver watched Elvis Dumervil bound across the country to Baltimore, as Mike Klis of the Denver Post reported. The quick fix, though, occurs with Alex Okafor. As a defensive end with the tenacity to rush the passer, Okafor fits perfectly to immediately develop as Von Miller needs a trusty sidekick.
29. New England Patriots: Keenan Allen, WR (California)
A receiver capable of expanding the playbook is what Keenan Allen offers. Given New England's ground game, Allen benefits off play action and Tom Brady dices per usual. And although there were drug testing concerns, Allen's agent commented on the situation as reported by Mike Wilkening of Pro Football Talk, last week:
The agent for California wide receiver Keenan Allen told PFT Tuesday he has not been informed of any problems regarding the drug test his client took at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.
JT Johnson, Allen’s agent, said he has not been notified regarding his client’s test results.
“We have received no notifications. None,” Johnson told PFT Tuesday afternoon.
That said, Allen's overall talent will take advantage of man-to-man situations and when inside the red zone.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Sylvester Williams, DT (North Carolina)
Winning the battle at the line of scrimmage is where Atlanta desperately must improve.
Part of that was addressed when Osi Umenyiroa came on board (via Jay Glazer) in free agency. The next piece to the Falcons' defensive puzzle is North Carolina defensive tackle Sylvester Williams.
For one, Atlanta gave up an average of 4.8 yards per rushing attempt in 2012. Second, the Dirty Birds recorded a measly 29 sacks and ranked No. 21 versus the run.
Plugging Williams into the equation, though, addresses each area. Over the past two seasons he compiled 20.5 tackles for loss, defended four passes and even snagged an interception. If anything, Williams' power burst at the snap will jolt blocking schemes and minimize the extension of running lanes.
With the linebackers given a clearer path to make plays, Atlanta starts winning more often on first down. The end result will be more sack opportunities for Umenyiora, because Williams collapsing the pocket flushes the quarterback outside.
31. San Francisco 49ers: John Cyprien, Safety (Florida International)
John Cyprien is a complete defender. And because of the exclusivity, San Francisco will be able to utilize him a variety of ways. From rolling down for a blitzing linebacker, reading in Cover 1 or 2, blitzing from the nickel spot or manning up on a tight end, Cyprien simply impacts everywhere.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Robert Woods, WR (USC)
Robert Woods' route-running and short-area quickness is a complement for Baltimore's offense. The Ravens present two deep threats in Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones to stretch the field. Well, that allows Woods to produce underneath against man coverage and rack up impressive yards after the catch.
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