In a draft class short on premier quarterbacks and running backs, the 2013 NFL draft should see linemen on both sides of the ball come off the board early and often.
Many teams either traded for or signed free agent veteran quarterbacks, meaning this could be the first year since 1996 that no quarterback gets selected in the first round of the draft.
In February, teams like Arizona, Oakland, Buffalo and Kansas City were searching for a quarterback. All but Buffalo seem to have found an opening day starter and the Philadelphia Eagles have five quarterbacks on the roster, but it’s uncertain which of them - if any - will start the 2013 season.
We had a trade this week that did not involve a quarterback, but addressed a big need for Tampa Bay at cornerback. The Bucs acquired Darrelle Revis from the New York Jets for the 13th overall pick, meaning the Jets now have the ninth and 13th selections. It's doubtful New York would use either pick for a quarterback, but stranger things have happened.
The running backs are a productive group, but none have received a high first-round grade. A couple may go late in the first round, but it is possible that running backs get shut out of the first round.
Where the draft is deep in on the offensive and defensive lines, where eight of CFU’s top 10 players line up. Linemen could comprise the first seven picks of the draft, and the top overall pick is almost certain to be an offensive lineman.
***Update April 22, 2013***
The New York Jets dealt disgruntled cornerback Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday and acquired the 13th overall pick. The trade doesn't affect the initial CFU mock draft much, as we had the Bucs taking a cornerback and now have the Jets selecting a corner in the same spot. Check out the updated Mock Draft here.
2013 NFL Mock Draft First Round
1. Kansas City Chiefs - Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Now that the Chiefs have what they hope will be their franchise quarterback after trading for Alex Smith, the priority is upgrading a porous offensive line that allowed 40 sacks last season. Joeckel is a fluid athlete and excellent pass blocker with impeccable footwork and good hands.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Jordan is a freakish athlete whose length and athleticism make him a natural pass rusher and a must-have for a team that registered a league-worst 20 sacks last season.
3. Oakland Raiders - Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Raiders filled a need at quarterback when they traded for Seattle’s Matt Flynn and then sent Carson Palmer to Arizona. Oakland had just 25 sacks last season while allowing the fifth-most points in the league. Floyd is a strong, powerful player capable of eating double teams to free up linebackers, stuff running lanes and even generate a middle pass rush.
4. Philadelphia Eagles - Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Eagles have plenty of questions at quarterback, but gambling on another project player with the fourth overall pick is too risky when the team has several other needs. Fisher might be the most complete tackle in the draft and should help an offense that had the league’s fourth-worst scoring output.
5. Detroit Lions - Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
In a division that includes several top-tier receivers like Greg Jennings, Brandon Marshall, Jordy Nelson and James Jones, the Lions need to grab the best corner in the draft. Milliner is a superb athlete with excellent cover skills and would fill one of Detroit’s most glaring needs.
6. Cleveland Browns - Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The Browns would love to have Milliner and could trade down if he’s off the board. If they stand pat, Jones would be an excellent addition. While the Browns were 11th in sacks last season, they could still use another pass rusher.
7. Arizona Cardinals - Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
One of the best athletes in the draft, Johnson is an instinctive player who moves well and uses his hands and long arms to keep pass rushers at bay. He can improve has a run blocker, but his pass blocking is a necessity with the aging Carson Palmer now at quarterback.
8. Buffalo Bills- Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Bills cut ties with Ryan Fitzpatrick and really do not have a starting caliber quarterback on the roster. Smith is the consensus top quarterback in the draft.
Although Smith is not considered a top-10 player, the Bills don’t have much of a choice but to reach for a guy they hope will be their franchise quarterback. Should the Bills pass on a quarterback here, look for new coach Doug Marrone to reunite with his quarterback from Syracuse, Ryan Nassib, in the second round.
9. New York Jets - Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
The Jets still have a mess at quarterback, but reaching for somebody here would be a mistake. The Jets were near the bottom of the league in sacks and Mingo can rush the quarterback.
10. Tennessee Titans - Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Tennessee coach Mike Munchak was a high first-round pick - eighth overall - as a guard. He spoke highly of Warmack at the Combine and the big Alabama guard
will fill a big hole on the Titans offensive line.
11. San Diego Chargers - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Chargers need help on the offensive line, but their biggest need is for interior defensive linemen. Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson might be a better option here, but the Chargers really like Lotulelei despite his health risks.
12. Miami Dolphins - Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Ryan Tannehill had a promising rookie season at quarterback. The Dolphins added some weapons for him via free agency this offseason and now must upgrade its offensive line after losing tackle Jake Long to St. Louis. Alabama’s DJ Fluker is an option here, but Cooper is a higher-rated player and still fills a need inside.
13. New York Jets (from Tampa Bay) - DJ Hayden, CB, Houston
We originally had Xavier Rhodes from Florida State here going to Tampa, but the Bucs now have Darrelle Revis and Hayden's stock is rising fast.
14. Carolina Panthers - Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
If Richardson slides this far, it’d be a steal for Carolina, which needs help inside. Richardson is a top-10 talent who could slip because of other teams’ needs. Richardson is a freakish athlete with a high-motor and the ability to consistently generate an inside pass rush.
15. New Orleans Saints - Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Pick a defensive position and that’s where the Saints need help. Vaccaro is a tough competitor who has gained steam since his pro day. He can definitely help improve a defense that ranked last in total yards and second-to-last in passing yards allowed.
16. St. Louis Rams - Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Austin is the top-rated receiver in the class. Although a bit undersized, his speed is matched only by his fluidity as a runner and natural pass catcher. The Rams haven’t had a player with that skill set in years and he should be welcomed with open arms by quarterback Sam Bradford.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers - Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
The Steelers could use another receiver outside to replace the loss of Mike Wallace, now with the Dolphins. But they can’t pass on Ansah slipping to them. The Steelers were uncharacteristically a middle-of-the-pack pass rushing team last year and then they released James Harrison. Ansah is a freakish athlete with a ton of upside, but he’s also still fairly new to football, so there is also a lot of risk.
18. Dallas Cowboys - Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky
The Cowboys re-upped Tony Romo with a nice fat contract, now they must ensure they keep their franchise quarterback protected. Warford impressed at both the Senior Bowl and Combine and stood out on a poor Wildcats team last year. The Cowboys desperately need interior line help and Warford could be an opening day starter.
19. New York Giants - DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama
The Giants need a pair of tackles and Fluker is a big, fierce competitor who should help upgrade the position. A strong run blocker and good athleticism for his size, Fluker should be a road grader in the Giants running game.
20. Chicago Bears - Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
With Nick Roach and Brian Urlacher both now gone from the Windy City, the Bears continue to revamp their linebacking corps with the athletic Ogletree. Just as Urlacher was, Ogletree is a former safety with a nose for the ball.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
At 6-2, 216, Patterson has good size and would be an excellent complement to AJ Green. Patterson is a smooth runner with speed and would be a reliable target for quarterback Andy Dalton.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington) - Jonathan Cyprien, S, FIU
A tackling machine for the Panthers, Cyprien really shined at the Senior Bowl. FIU’s all-time leading tackler covers well, loves to blitz and is a hard hitter. The Rams have a big need at safety and Cyprien might be the best safety in this draft class.
23. Minnesota Vikings - Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
While Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o is an option here, Brown is a better athlete and a move versatile player. The Vikings need to seriously upgrade the position. Brown has great range and is an instinctive sure tackler with a nose for the ball.
24. Indianapolis Colts - Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Colts addressed needs at defensive tackle and safety in free agency and still could use a pass rusher as well as running back and interior lineman. Werner is the best player available and fits a need, especially after the team cut ties with franchise sack leader Dwight Freeney.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle) - Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
Letroy Guion was not very good last year and the Vikings need another productive big body next to Kevin Williams. At 6-3, 313, Sylvester Williams is just that. The former Tar Heel is quick off the snap, a violent tackler and surprisingly nimble for his size.
26. Green Bay Packers - Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
Lacy is just a natural fit in the Packers offense. He’s a big, powerful back with quickness and great hands out of the backfield. The Packers haven’t had a runner like and, after losing out on Steven Jackson, Lacy is cut from the same cloth and should make a dynamic offense even more potent.
27. Houston Texans - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
The Texans have a good group of tight ends, but do not have a solid No. 2 receiver to complement Andre Johnson. Hopkins has the potential to eventually succeed Johnson as the Texans’ top wideout. With good size, decent speed and excellent route running, Hopkins does an excellent job of creating separation downfield.
28. Denver Broncos- Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Following their playoff loss to Baltimore, it was painfully obvious that the Broncos need to upgrade their secondary. Trufant comes from NFL bloodlines and has good size and speed to be a solid NFL starter, and he isn’t afraid to play a little bump-and-run press coverage.
29. New England Patriots - Keenan Allen, WR, California
The Patriots could use a pass rusher, but after losing Wes Welker and cutting Brandon Lloyd, the Pats need a receiver. Allen is 6-2, 206, isn’t a burner but runs precise routes, has a long stride and reliable hands. If New England does go defensive end, Texas A&M’s Damontre Moore and SMU’s Margus Hunt would be excellent choices.
30. Atlanta Falcons - Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
While grabbing Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert as an eventual replacement for Tony Gonzalez will be tempting, Atlanta’s need for another pass rusher is more pressing. The team could still bring back John Abraham, but Moore would still be an excellent choice. Moore is 6-4 with long arms and can line up at either end.
31. San Francisco 49ers - Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
The 49ers could use another receiver like Tennessee’s Justin Hunter, or a safety like Florida’s Matt Elam. But once Delanie Walker bolted to the Titans, another tight end opposite Vernon Davis became the top priority for Jim Harbaugh’s team. Eifert has all the skills to be a successful tight end in the NFL. At 6-6, 251, his size and strength are ideal and he’s got very good hands - especially when going over the middle.
32. Baltimore Ravens - Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame
The Irish complete the first round as the Ravens grab the heir apparent to the now-retired Ray Lewis. Te’o
, despite the fake girlfriend hoax, is an aggressive, instinctive player with a nose for the ball. He blitzes well and is excellent in coverage and could actually be an upgrade over Lewis’ on-field production the last two years in Baltimore.
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