NFL Mock Draft
This is how I see the first round shaping up for the 2013 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 25.
No. 1 Pick: Kansas City Chiefs
While the Chiefs franchised starting left tackle Branden Albert, they have been rumored to be looking to trade him for additional draft picks. Even if Albert sticks around one more year, they released starting right tackle Eric Winston. I fully expect Kansas City to address this need with no quarterback worthy of the No. 1 overall pick. The Chiefs surprisingly don’t have as many holes as you would expect for a team that finished with the worst record.
Selection – Luke Joeckel OT Texas A&M
No. 2 Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars
It looks as though the Jaguars have given up on Blaine Gabbert, leaving them once without a franchise quarterback to build around. They could reach here and go after West Virginia QB Geno Smith, but I think they will be a little gun shy after failing miserable on Gabbert in 2011 (No. 10 Overall). That likely leaves them looking to improve their pass rush, which produced an NFL-worst 20 sacks last season.
Selection – Ezekiel Ansah DE BYU
No. 3 Pick: Oakland Raiders
Oakland has a couple of different option they could turn to with this pick on both sides of the ball. In this case I think they will target the best talent on the board in an area where they need help. They just cut DT Tommy Kelly, creating a void in the interior of their defensive line. Look for the Raiders to take either Utah’s Star Lotulelei or Florida Sharrif Floyd.
Selection – Star Lotulelei DT Utah
No. 4 Pick: Philadelphia Eagles
Most would expect the Eagles to draft an offensive tackle with this pick, but Jason Peters and Todd Herremans will both be back from injury. I expect Philadelphia to shift their focus to a secondary that has lost corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha.
Selection – Dee Milliner CB Alabama
No. 5 Pick: Detroit Lions
The Lions have a major void at offensive tackle with Jeff Backus deciding to retire and Gosder Cherilus departing in free agency. Detroit will look to take the best tackle available, which should be either Central Michigan’s Erick Fisher or Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson.
Selection – Erick Fisher OT Central Michigan
No. 6 Pick: Cleveland Browns
The Browns could use some help at wide receiver, but this is probably too early to reach for that need. Instead, I expect Cleveland to address a pass rush that needs to find someone who can put pressure on the quarterback other than Jabaal Sheard.
Selection – Dion Jordan OLB Oregon
No. 7 Pick: Arizona Cardinals
There’s a lot of teams in the market for a new quarterback, but no team has a bigger need for this than the Cardinals. While I’m not completely sold on this year’s quarterback class, Arizona needs to take a shot and go after Geno Smith of West Virginia.
Selection – Geno Smith QB West Virginia
No. 8 Pick: Buffalo Bills
The Bills would like take a shot on Smith if the Cardinals were to pass, but I don’t think that option will be available. That leaves them looking for help up front on the offensive and defensive lines. There’s going to be some decent options available to improve their pass rush, but I look for them to make the safe pick here and bolster the interior up front on offense.
Selection – Chance Warmack OG Alabama
No. 9 Pick: New York Jets
The Jets offense could use some help, but with Rex Ryan still in charge I look for New York to go after a play-maker on defense that can cause chaos at the outside linebacker spot.
Selection – Jarvis Jones OLB Georgia
No. 10 Pick: Tennessee Titans
The Titans will be focusing on the defensive line with this pick and there’s plenty of option to consider. However, if Florida’s defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd falls this far I don’t know how they could pass him up.
Selection – Sharrif Floyd DT Florida
No. 11 Pick: San Diego Chargers
The Chargers biggest need coming into the draft is offensive tackle and I think they are going to be fortunate enough to be able to fill that need. If all the top-tier tackles are off the board, don’t be surprised if the Chargers take a shot on one of the top wide receivers.
Selection – Lane Johnson OT Oklahoma
No. 12 Pick: Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins have filled a huge hole at wide receiver with the addition of Mike Wallace, likely shifting their focus to the defensive side of the ball. There’s a glaring hole at left tackle with the departure of Jake Long, but taking a tackle here would be a reach. The next best scenario would be to fill the void left at middle linebacker after releasing veteran Karlos Dansby.
Selection – Manti Te’o LB Notre Dame
No. 13 Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers don’t have any glaring needs on offense, which has me thinking they will go after the best defensive player left on the board. The loss of defensive end Michael Bennett will only make it that much easier to jump on Mingo out of LSU, who would be an absolute steal at this point in the draft.
Selection – Barkevious Mingo DE LSU
No. 14 Pick: Carolina Panthers
The Panthers have some holes they need to address on the defensive side of the ball, but they are also coming into the draft looking to get Cam Newton some more targets in the passing game.
Selection – Tavon Austin WR West Virginia
No. 15 Pick: New Orleans Saints
It’s no secret that the Saints top priority will be to improve one of the worst defenses in NFL history. With New Orleans shifting to a 3-4 this year, it only makes sense that they find a big body up front who can hold his own at defensive end.
Selection – Sheldon Richardson DT Missouri
No. 16 Pick: St Louis Rams
The Rams needed help at wide receiver prior to losing Danny Amendola in free agency. The Rams are one of two teams who currently have two picks in the first round, which means they could end up trading down if they think there will still be options at receiver later on. If they keep the pick, I look for them to go out and get Sam Bradford a big time weapon on the outside.
Selection – Cordarrelle Patterson WR Tennessee
No. 17 Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have had a difficult time protecting Ben Roethlisberger and it’s time they go out and add some help at offensive tackle.
Selection – D.J. Fluker OT Alabama
No. 18 Pick: Dallas Cowboys
I thought the Cowboys needed to find another pass rusher to play opposite of DeMarcus Ware in last year’s draft, but it’s hard to argue with the decision to trade up and get top corner. Georgia’s Alec Ogletree would be a perfect fit in Dallas.
Selection – Alec Ogletree LB Georgia
No. 19 Pick: New York Giants
The Giants big concern is resigning wide out Victor Cruz, which could have some thinking that they will be looking to add another wide receiver. I don’t think that will be the case, but I do like New York to fill a need in the passing game. With the loss of starting TE Martellus Bennett, New York won’t find a better option than Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert.
Selection – Tyler Eifert TE Notre Dame
No. 20 Pick: Chicago Bears
The Bears have to improve their offensive line if they want to get the full potential out of quarterback Jay Cutler. I think it would do wonders for this team if they were to go out and get a left guard who they could cement in the lineup for the next decade.
Selection – Jonathan Cooper OG North Carolina
No. 21 Pick: Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals used their first round pick a year ago on Alabama corner Dre Kirkpatrick, but injuries only allowed him to play in five games. They have decent depth here, but you can’t have enough talent in the secondary in today’s NFL.
Selection – Desmond Trufant CB Washington
No. 22 Pick: St. Louis Rams (From Washington Redskins)
As long as the Rams don’t trade their early pick, I look for them to add some help on the defensive side of the ball here. They could use some depth on the defensive line, but I think they go after one of the top safeties instead.
Selection – Kenny Vaccaro S Texas
No. 23 Pick: Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings surprised a lot of people when they traded away Percy Harvin to the Seahawks. While they went out and signed veteran wide out Greg Jennings, there’s no reason to stop there. With the attention defenses have to put on stopping Adrian Peterson, Minnesota needs playmakers who can make teams pay for loading up the box.
Selection – Keenan Allen WR Cal
No. 24 Pick: Indianapolis Colts
The Colts struck gold when the took Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft. Now their main objective will be to protect their investment.
Selection – Menelik Watson OT Florida State
No. 25 Pick: Minnesota Vikings (From Seattle Seahawks)
The Vikings got the playmaker they needed with their first pick and I look for them to come back and get someone who can help them out defensively. They could use some depth behind Jared Allen and Brian Robison, but they can find that later in the draft.
Selection – Xavier Rhodes CB Florida State
No. 26 Pick: Green Bay Packers
The Packers offensive line struggled to protect Aaron Rodgers and it was a big reason why this team failed to live up to expectations in 2012. Look for Green Bay to take the best option available whether it be a tackle or guard.
Selection – Justin Pugh G Syracuse
No. 27 Pick: Houston Texans
The Texans need to find someone who can take some of the pressure off Andre Johnson and open up the passing game for Matt Schaub. If Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins is still available, they shouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger.
Selection – DeAndre Hopkins WR Clemson
No. 28 Pick: Denver Broncos
The Broncos secondary was exposed by the deep ball in the playoffs and I fully expect them to go out and add some help at safety to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
Selection – Matt Elam S Florida
No. 29 Pick: New England Patriots
While it’s nearly impossible to predict what Bill Belichick will do in the draft, you have to think he’s looking for ways to improve their pass rush. Florida State’s Bjoern Werener is an ideal fit and a steal at this point in the draft.
Selection – Bjoern Werener DE Florida State
No. 30 Pick: Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta decided to part ways with running back Michael Turner, which opens the door for the Falcons to go out and get one of the best backs in the draft in Alabama’s Eddie Lacey, who would be a great compliment to Jacquizz Rodgers.
Selection – Eddie Lacey RB Alabama
No. 31 Pick: San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers don’t have a ton of holes to fill, which will allow them to take a risk on someone like Georgia’s John Jenkins.
Selection – John Jenkins NT Georgia
No. 32 Pick: Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens traded away Anquan Boldin and it only makes sense for them to try and fill that void with this pick. While others might slot Quinton Patton or Justin Hunter here, I think USC”s Robert Woods is going to sneak his way into the first round.
Selection – Robert Woods WR USC