It's almost here, folks—the 2013 NFL draft. Yes, I'm pretty darn excited, too.
At this point, we know all the team needs, we've seen players shoot up the board or see their draft stock take a hit and we've dissected all of the various smokescreens, trade possibilities and sleepers. We may not know what every team will do, but we have a pretty good idea.
With that in mind, I've compiled the mock draft that I think best represents what each team will do at the draft on Thursday night. One thing I think you'll see but wasn't reflected here is a slew of trades. All I know for sure is this—the draft this year promises to be a lot of fun.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Ho-hum. The one pick in the top 10 that seems predictable is the Chiefs selecting either Joeckel or Eric Fisher. Unless they trade this pick, the Chiefs will take a tackle.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
This is the first pick that could be moved, hence the Jags posturing as though they could take one of the top two tackles. But I doubt teams will want to pay the price to move up to No. 2, and Jacksonville will end up bolstering the defense with the freakishly athletic Jordan.
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
I've had the Raiders selecting Floyd for awhile now, and I still think it is the most logical selection. Knowing the Raiders, that could mean the team will go in a different direction, but Floyd really is the ideal fit for Oakland.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
I'm about 75 percent certain that the Eagles will trade out of this pick. The team has plenty of needs on both sides of the ball, namely defense, and stockpiling picks or adding another second-round pick would be huge.
At this point in the draft, teams will covet this pick for two reasons—Fisher and cornerback Dee Milliner are still on the board, two players the Detroit Lions could be interested in. With plenty of teams needing tackles and a team like the New York Jets in the market for a corner, that makes this No. 4 pick very valuable.
If the Eagles stay here, I'm torn between Fisher and Star Lotulelei. In the end, I go with Fisher for a few reasons. He's the safer product, he plays a more valuable position and by sliding him to the right side for a year or two with Jason Peters still on the team, it will also allow Todd Herremans to move to guard, his more natural position.
It's hard to argue with improving two positions with one selection. So many things could happen with this pick, but for the moment I'm sticking with Fisher.
5. Detroit Lions: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU
I know the Lions need a cornerback—and could also target Lane Johnson at tackle—but defensive end is a huge need and you could argue no prospect has more upside than Ansah. I think the Lions are going to go the defensive end route here.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Here's another really intriguing pick. The Jets could trade up a few spots to land Milliner, while the San Diego Chargers or Miami Dolphins could trade up to here to take Lane Johnson ahead of the Arizona Cardinals.
Plus, it wouldn't be shocking to see the Browns take a quarterback here, likely Geno Smith if they went that route. Brandon Weeden is not the answer.
But if they keep this pick, it's hard to see them passing up Milliner. Pairing him with Joe Haden would give the Browns one of the best cornerback pairs in a passing league. Much like the Eagles at No. 4, however, this pick will be a pressure point for the entire draft.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
If Johnson drops to them at No. 7, the front office will do a little jig and Carson Palmer will yell "Hallelujah!" toward the heavens several times. Or something like that.
8. Buffalo Bills: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
I still believe Buffalo will draft a quarterback here, and since Smith is my top-rated quarterback, he's the guy. If you honestly think Kevin Kolb is the long-term solution at quarterback, well, we'll just have to agree to disagree.
9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
The Jets are one of the most intriguing teams in the draft with the Nos. 9 and 13 picks, and I think the team is going to focus on rebuilding the defense. Rex Ryan and company will start on the edge, picking up the freakishly athletic Mingo.
10. Tennessee Titans: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
With Ansah off the board, I think the Titans will focus on solidifying the guard position and building one of the best run-blocking lines in the league. The combination of Warmack and Andy Levitre would be devastating.
11. San Diego Chargers: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
It's a run on guards! Don't be surprised if the Chargers trade up to land one of the top three tackles, but if they stay put, they could do a lot worse than Cooper.
12. Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Don't be shocked if the Dolphins try to trade up and nab one of the top three tackles. Given how aggressive the team has been this offseason, it's clear the team wants to compete for a playoff spot next year. Corner is also a big need, however, and Rhodes has the size and speed to be an impact player for this defense.
13. New York Jets (via Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Received in the Darrelle Revis trade, I originally tabbed Tavon Austin as the pick here, as the Jets really need offensive playmakers. But if Star Lotulelei is here, I have a hard time imagining the Jets passing up the versatile lineman. Ryan is a defensive coach, and he would be getting two studs on that side of the ball if this is how the draft plays out.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
A run on defensive tackles! Nothing has changed here. The position is a huge need and Richardson is a stud. In a draft of uncertainties, this seems like a safe bet.
15. New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
This is likely the last pressure point of the first round. The Saints have plenty of needs, and could easily go after a player like Kenny Vaccaro, D.J. Fluker, a defensive tackle or a rush linebacker, as I have them selecting here.
If a team wants Vaccaro, it might have to move up to No. 14 to get ahead of the Saints, but it will almost surely have to move ahead of the Rams at No. 16.
If the Saints do keep the pick, I think Jones has to be the guy. Sure, his speed was disappointing and he's undersized, but he did register 14.5 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss last season, tops in college football. Watch the tape, folks—this kid can play.
16. St. Louis Rams: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
There's no way Vaccaro will drop to No. 22 when the Rams pick again, and safety is a huge, huge need for the Rams. Plus, Vaccaro is a nice value here, so this selection seems obvious enough.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
Yes, Ogletree comes with some character concerns, but his athleticism and potential is unrivaled at the linebacker position. Pittsburgh will straighten him out and once again land another stud at a great value.
18. Dallas Cowboys: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
There may not be a better run blocker in this draft, and right tackle is a position that could use an upgrade in Dallas. Fluker is a nice value here, and will instantly improve the Cowboys' run game.
19. New York Giants: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
It's hard to picture the Giants passing up Werner if he drops to No. 19. This is a team that is at its best when it can collapse the pocket without blitzing, and Werner is one of the top 4-3 ends in this draft.
20. Chicago Bears: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
I've had Te'o dropping further than this in prior mocks, but with the Steelers selecting Ogletree, I don't see Te'o getting past a Bears' team that really needs to upgrade at linebacker.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Matt Elam, S, Florida
Safety is a big need, and Elam is a missile at safety. When need meets value, you strike. Look for the Bengals to add Elam.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
This could also be Tavon Austin, but I think the Rams will be looking to add a bigger receiver that can stretch the field deep but also has the athleticism after the catch to have a similar impact to Austin. Patterson is a risk, but his potential is immense.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The Vikings will be thrilled if Austin falls to them here. He's tailor-made to take over Percy Harvin's role in this offense, and combined with Greg Jennings will give Christian Ponder a lot of weapons at receiver.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
This probably isn't the team's biggest need, but Trufant is too talented to pass up. In a passing league, athletic corners that can blanket a receiver in man coverage come at a premium.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle Seahawks): Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
The Vikings need to solidify the interior of the defense, and Williams is a mauler that will improve the team's run defense. The Vikings will come away very happy with this first round.
26. Green Bay Packers: Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia
Another run on defensive tackles! I thought about adding an offensive player like running back Eddie Lacy or tight end Tyler Eifert here, or perhaps a safety, but the Packers need to improve on the defensive line and Jenkins is a solid value here. This is a safe, smart pick that represents solid value as well.
27. Houston Texans: Keenan Allen, WR, California
It's time to get Andre Johnson a running mate at wide receiver. Allen's 2012 season was marred by an injury and a poor Cal squad, but he's a safe, solid selection.
28. Denver Broncos: Cornellius "Tank" Carradine, DE, Florida State
Following an ACL tear last November, Carradine doesn't come without some risk. But this kid really gets after the quarterback, exactly what Denver needs.
29. New England Patriots: D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston
Hayden will continue to climb up the board now that he's been medically cleared. He's extremely talented, and the Patriots will be getting a steal here.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
I had Damontre Moore here in previous mocks, but I think Jones' versatility and superior size will make him the pick. Jones is an asset in rushing the passer and slowing down an opponent's running game, and a great value for Atlanta.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
The 49ers love to run double tight end sets, and I've seen Eifert going in the teens in some mock drafts. I can't imagine him getting past the 49ers here, who can address a major need at safety in the second round.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
With Ray Lewis retired and Dannell Ellerbe lost in free agency, linebacker is the main need for the Ravens. Arthur Brown, come on down.
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