NFL Mock Draft 2013: Latest Projections for All 32 First-Round Picks
With the 2013 NFL draft about to begin, years of preparation for this weekend's tough decisions will culminate in a franchise-shaping draft class for all 32 teams. No matter whom you have on your roster, no team can undermine the value of a single draft class in the building of a team's long-term success.
There's no doubt with the excellent athletes at the top of the draft board that some teams will find themselves extremely improved heading into the 2013 season, but who will those players be and which teams will they head to?
Will the first round be dominated by offensive linemen like we've seen possible in mock drafts over the past few months? Or will some skill players sneak into the top 10 and shock all of us?
Let's answer all of those questions and more in this full first-round mock draft.
No. 1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M, OT
There is an abundance of reasons why Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel should be the No. 1 overall pick, but the biggest reason is this: There is no single reason NOT to pick him.
Joeckel boasts excellent footwork, some of the best strength we've ever seen, can play every down all game long, can shut down even the best pass-rushers and simply does not give up on a play.
The 2012 Outland Trophy winner (awarded to the nation's best interior offensive lineman) also was a consensus All-American and played his best football after the Aggies made the daunting conversion to the SEC, where they faced by far the most imposing defenses in college football.
If you're the Chiefs and have the ability to take the best player in the class and one that will stack up Pro Bowl appearances, you can't pass up on it.
No. 2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Dion Jordan, Oregon, DE
Other than his menacing 6'6", 250-pound frame, scary pass-rusher Dion Jordan brings bundles of positives to any football team. For the Jaguars, they could use his natural talent more than anyone, with a league-worst 20 sacks during their 2012 campaign.
Jordan has a Jevon "The Freak" Kearse style of play and frame, only with a higher ceiling.
No. 3. Oakland Raiders (4-12): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
The Raiders are continuing to become more and more irrelevant in the AFC West, and much of that has to do with their defensive struggles.
Oakland is in the midst of a defensive face lift, and there is no better player to build your unit around than an elite defensive end. Ansah is just that, and the Raiders are his destination.
No. 4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
It's become increasingly likely that the Eagles will trade down if the player they want isn't falling right in their laps (via The Philadelphia Inquirer), but Floyd should be a player that they're happy picking at No. 4.
Floyd is a run-stuffer, but also has the complete package that you want to have in a defensive lineman. With Chip Kelly's 3-4 scheme impending, Floyd could turn into a cog that helps that new scheme become successful and contain the NFC East's stellar quarterbacks.
No. 5. Detroit Lions (4-12): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Jeff Backus' retirement puts the Lions in a tough spot, needing to put talent on an offensive line that is protecting franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford. Fortunately for Detroit, one of the best offensive lineman prospects we've seen in some time is readily available at No. 5.
Fisher played in 42 games throughout his college career, so durability isn't a concern. Also, his best attribute is pass protection, which is obviously valuable to the pass-happy Lions.
No. 6. Cleveland Browns (5-11): Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The news coming out recently of Milliner's five career surgeries couldn't have come at a worse time for the Alabama cornerback, but it won't affect too much. He remains hands down the best secondary option in this draft.
Milliner joined a stacked list of elite college cornerbacks heading into 2012, but was the only one to put his best effort into climbing draft boards up into the top 10. And that's for a reason, as he has the complete package you want on the perimeter.
Should we go ahead and claim "Milliner Island"?
No. 7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11): Lane Johnson, Oklahoma, OT
The Cardinals are beyond lucky to be in the market for an offensive lineman in 2013, as the third-best player at the position is still one you can build an offensive line around. Arizona desperately needs that, having given up 58 sacks last year.
Johnson knows what it's like to head up a pro-style offensive line, and that experience will pay dividends when he shows up in a Cardinals locker room desperate for leaders.
No. 8. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Geno Smith, West Virginia, QB
Last year, the eighth overall pick could hardly get you the No. 3 quarterback in the class. But in a much worse class, a gunslinger of Geno Smith's potential is there at No. 8.
Smith struggled throughout much of 2012, but he's shown enough in his decorated college career to prove he's got an NFL arm and the mobility that is becoming more and more necessary in the big league.
No. 9. New York Jets (6-10): Star Lotulelei, Utah, DT
The Jets wouldn't be surprising anyone if they went with one of a few wide receivers (Tavon Austin, Cordarrelle Patterson) at this pick, but they can't pass up the best player left on the board.
Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei was once heralded as a top overall pick, and his fall to the ninth spot is a godsend for New York. His impact on the line will be felt for years and will shore up a huge need for Rex Ryan's crew.
No. 10. Tennessee Titans (6-10): Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina, G
There's no doubting that North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper is one of the safest picks in the draft. That's a huge reason why the Titans will go with him at No. 10.
Tennessee has struggled picking high-risk players who didn't quite live up to the expectations (see: Vince Young and Adam "PacMan" Jones). Locking down a pick that will add to an offensive line already bolstered by the acquisition of Andy Levitre will help Titans fans feel a bit better about their future.
No. 11. San Diego Chargers (7-9): Chance Warmack, Alabama, G
With San Diego's current offensive line, it won't be in the hunt for the AFC West any time soon. To have any hope of making a Super Bowl run in the Philip Rivers era, the Chargers will have to significantly upgrade their pass protection.
Alabama's Chance Warmack knows what it takes to win. All you have to do is look at his school to know that.
No. 12. Miami Dolphins (7-9): Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Miami has done a great job improving itself in free agency, but it was unable to address a glaring need in the secondary. Just out of the running for Milliner, the Dolphins will go with Florida State shutdown corner Xavier Rhodes.
Rhodes was avoided during much of the Seminoles' ACC slate last season, but still picked up three interceptions and finished as a first-team All-ACC player. He's one of the fastest players in this draft class and will use that to his advantage to plug up speedy receivers.
No. 13. New York Jets (via Tampa Bay Buccaneers) (7-9): Tavon Austin, West Virginia, WR
In case if you lived under a rock during the 2012 season, the Jets are in desperate need of a playmaking wide receiver. Tavon Austin will be just that.
Austin is one of the fastest prospects to come out in some time, and his potential just barely edges that of Cordarrelle Patterson. His similarities to Percy Harvin are just too much to ignore.
No. 14. Carolina Panthers (7-9): Sheldon Richardson, Missouri, DT
Missouri's Sheldon Richardson is one of the best defensive tackles in this draft class, and the Panthers couldn't get much worse in the trenches defensively. It makes for a perfect fit in Carolina.
No. 15. New Orleans Saints (7-9): Jarvis Jones, Georgia, LB
After a dominating senior season for the Georgia Bulldogs, linebacker Jarvis Jones has his sights set on becoming one of the next elite middle men in the NFL.
The Saints pride themselves on hard-hitting defense, and that's something that will continue in the future. Jones lining up next to Jonathan Vilma could turn into a menacing linebacking crew.
No. 16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): Kenny Vaccaro, Texas, S
The Rams may go with Tavon Austin if he's still available here, but that's unlikely and their need for a wide receiver isn't bad enough to pass on better talent.
In this case, that talent isn't too shabby. Kenny Vaccaro will bring tons of skill to any secondary, doesn't have any glaring weaknesses and should mesh in St. Louis perfectly.
No. 17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Barkevious Mingo, LSU, DE
The Steel Curtain defense is going through a transitional period with the departure of James Harrison, so one thing it needs more than ever is an elusive defender.
Barkevious Mingo is the definition of elusiveness and versatility. With a small frame for his position, Mingo can play at linebacker but also bulk up and rush the passer from the end.
No. 18. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): D.J. Fluker, Alabama, OT
Offensive line isn't the Cowboys' biggest need, but with a player of D.J. Fluker's skill and potential falling to No. 18, Jerry Jones will have to make this pick.
Fluker is no fluke. He's one of the best run-blocking linemen in the class, and that will help the Cowboys continue to find success behind the growth of DeMarco Murray.
No. 19. New York Giants (9-7): Alec Ogletree, Georgia, OLB
The Giants are searching for another young pass-rusher to join the list of New York legends. While Alec Ogletree might not live up to Michael Strahan-like expectations, he'll turn into a solid defensive end who can also play pass coverage and greatly help out a defensive unit that has lost plenty of starters from last season.
Ogletree is a high-risk pick, which is a huge reason why he's fallen on draft boards, but at No. 19, you can't find much better than him.
No. 20. Chicago Bears (10-6): Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee, WR
Chicago has reaped the benefits of Brandon Marshall's arrival in the Windy City and adding Martellus Bennett was a great move, but it'll take more weapons than that to take the pressure off Jay Cutler.
Cordarrelle Patterson is one of the most skilled players at any position in this draft. This would've been much more apparent had he played more than one full season at the University of Tennessee, but even the 12 games he starred in earned him a first-round spot.
No. 21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Eddie Lacy, Alabama, RB
The Bengals have tried to fill their void at running back with veterans, but that isn't going to breed success with a growing team. They need a guy that can carry the load for the next five to eight years.
Eddie Lacy has shown he's capable of running hard and often, and that's exactly why he'll defy the critics and go in the first round here to Cincinnati.
No. 22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins) (10-6): Justin Hunter, Tennessee, WR
After Danny Amendola's departure to New England, St. Louis will surely go with a wide receiver in one of its two first-round picks. Despite two receivers already off the board by No. 22, they won't be settling with Tennessee's Justin Hunter.
I had the chance to cover the 6'4" wideout in person, and he's got the full package. Hunter's got track speed (no, literally, he ran track at UT), can leap for the deep ball and has excellent route-running skills.
No. 23. Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Sylvester Williams, North Carolina, DT
A player that could go either early or late in the first round, the Vikings will be lucky to have Sylvester Williams fall in their laps with this pick. He's got tremendous potential and could turn up as being the cog in this Vikings' defense.
No. 24. Indianapolis Colts (11-5): Bjoern Werner, Florida State, DE
Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner was pegged as a sure-fire top-10 pick before failing to impress at the NFL combine and in pro-style workouts. But regardless, he has great football ability and an instinct to chase down the quarterback.
The Colts have rebuilt incredibly well given their time frame, and the biggest missing piece to that is arguably a pass-rusher. With this pick, Werner is a good fit.
No. 25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle Seahawks) (11-5): Keenan Allen, California, WR
The Vikings will benefit from the recent addition of veteran wideout Greg Jennings, but that won't be enough to answer their massive passing woes. A rookie with loads of potential should help out massively.
Adrian Peterson can't do it all for Minnesota, but if it can bolster its passing attack, it will greatly help the pressure on the run game.
No. 26. Green Bay Packers (11-5): Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame, TE
Green Bay seems to recycle efficient pass-catchers with its current system, and it'll continue to invest in that department by picking an elite tight end in Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert.
Eifert's complete game at the position will also help the Packers' run-blocking, but it's what he'll be able to do in the middle of the field that will make him famous in Green Bay.
No. 27. Houston Texans (12-4): DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson, WR
The Texans boast one of the game's best wide receivers in Andre Johnson, but their receiving unit is quite thin after him. Despite three wideouts already off the board, Houston will get a great playmaker in DeAndre Hopkins.
No. 28. Denver Broncos (13-3): Desmond Trufant, Washington, CB
A player who could very well go in the top 15, Desmond Trufant may surprise everyone and become the best cover corner in this draft class. If that's the case, the Broncos will be fortunate to pick him at No. 28.
No. 29. New England Patriots (12-4): Matt Elam, Florida, S
Don't let the Patriots' stellar regular season fool you–they ranked 29th in pass defense last season. Secondary will surely be the direction they go in with this pick, and they couldn't go wrong with Florida's Matt Elam.
No. 30. Atlanta Falcons (13-3): Jamar Taylor, Boise State, CB
As the secondary players continue to fly off the draft board, Jamar Taylor seems to be a great fit in Atlanta. His speed and instinctive style of play fit perfectly with the ball-hawking Falcons.
No. 31. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): Jesse Williams, Alabama, DT
One of the biggest personalities from Alabama's 2012 title run, Jesse Williams brings menacing run-stuffing abilities to the game. The 49ers are already stout on defense, but Williams would provide depth and a potential future starter in the trenches.
No. 32. Baltimore Ravens (10-6): Manti Te'o, Notre Dame, LB
Despite weaknesses in pass coverage and speed, Manti Te'o's efficiency can't be ignored. He tackles like a machine and is one of the greatest leaders in the draft class.
With Ray Lewis gone and Ed Reed moving on to Houston, the Ravens defense will be in desperate need of two things: leadership and tackles. Those just happen to be Te'o's biggest attributes.
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