With only twenty days remaining until the 2013 NFL Draft, we should be getting more of a definitive idea of what the first round should look like. However, we’re no closer now than we were just two weeks ago. DraftInsider’s 4.0 mock will do it’s best to emulate what should go down on day one of the 2013 NFL Draft just a few short weeks from now.
1. Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Joeckel OT Texas A&M
The Chiefs are in a unique situation with this year’s first overall pick. They have a top level offensive tackle in Branden Albert, so one would certainly question why they would select one here. However, Albert was recently given the franchise tag by the Chiefs, and isn’t too happy about. It doesn’t look like the relationship between the two parties is getting better any time soon, and Albert could be with another team in 2014. Joeckel is the best player available in this year’s draft, and provides a better long-term solution for the Chiefs.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars — Geno Smith QB WVU
New Head Coach Gus Bradley needs to draft a player here at second overall that’s going to ignite a fan base and a locker room. Geno Smith is a versatile quarterback that can flourish in multiple offensive schemes. If the Jaguars are willing to bite the bullet on Blaine Gabbert by selecting Smith, they’ve already taken the first big step in the right direction towards fortifying their future.
3. Oakland Raiders — Sharrif Floyd DT Missouri
The Raiders released veteran defensive tackles Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly, leaving a gaping hole in the middle of their defensive line. Floyd can play DT in the 4-3 base defense, and could even slide outside to play end in passing situations if the Raiders use a hybrid front. Floyd is one of, if not the most athletic defensive lineman I’ve scouted in quite some time. His relentless motor and instinctive mentality is an asset the Raiders would be happy to acquire.
4. Philadelphia Eagles — Dion Jordan OLB Oregon
Chip Kelly couldn’t have it any easier in his transition from the college game to the NFL, could he? He was blessed with a ton of cap room to sign free agents to better his team, now he gets a player he coached at Oregon that knows his defense, and will be able to contribute immediately. Jordan has the makings of a star defender at the next level, and with the comfort of knowing the scheme he’ll be playing in at the next level only makes it that much more of a smooth transition for both parties.
5. Detroit Lions — Eric Fisher OT Central Michigan
Head Coach Jim Schwartz needs to hit on nearly every pick in this year’s draft, or he could be on the unemployment line next winter. The Lions saw long-time left tackle Jeff Backus retire this off season, and last year’s first round pick Riley Reiff is not the answer at left tackle, but would be best suited at right tackle. By implementing Eric Fisher at the left tackle position, the lions begin the transformation into solidifying the trenches to protect their franchise quarterback who needs to remain upright to get the ball to Calvin Johnson.
6. Cleveland Browns — Dee Milliner CB Alabama
This might have been the easiest pick for me so far in this mock draft. Milliner is a no-brainer for the Browns here at sixth overall. Pairing him with young studs Joe Haden and TJ Ward, along with front seven key players like Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard gives the Browns a defense that could be in contention for top five consideration.
7. Arizona Cardinals — Lane Johnson OT Oklahoma
The Cardinals finally have a quarterback that will be able to ensure that star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald gets the ball. The only problem with that, is that the Cardinals offensive line is down right embarrassing. Lane Johnson provides an absolute upgrade from any player currently on the roster, and would start right away. With Johnson, the Cardinals give new quarterback Carson Palmer the protection he needs to see that Fitzgerald becomes who he was a few years ago with Kurt Warner.
8. Buffalo Bills – Cordarrelle Patterson WR Tennessee
There’s no question the Bills are looking for a quarterback in this year’s draft, but I highly doubt they’re going to reach on a quarterback at 8th overall. Wide receiver Stevie Johnson has been clamoring for the bills to add skill players alongside of him, and the Bills can patch up that issue by taking Patterson here at eighth overall. Patterson is a raw talent, but a natural play maker. The Bills could solve their quarterback issues in round two.
9. New York Jets – Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah DE/OLB BYU
Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan gets a young and hungry pass rusher here with Ansah at ninth overall. While Ansah is extremely raw, and doesn’t have much under his belt as far as production, Rex will be drooling over the fact that he can mold Ziggy into whatever type of pass rusher he pleases. Some may consider this pick a reach, while others may feel there’s no way Ziggy lasts this long, Ansah is a great fit for the Jets.
10. Tennessee Titans – Chance Warmack OG Alabama
The Titans added veteran guard Andy Levitre this off season, further solidifying their holes along the offensive line. However, there is still a need at guard. Chance Warmack is the best available interior offensive lineman, and would be an immediate contributor for a Titans team that’s looking to protect valuable skill players in quarterback Jake Locker and runningback Chris Johnson.
11. San Diego Chargers – Xavier Rhodes CB Florida State
Veteran defensive back Quentin Jammer will be entering his 11th season in the NFL, and is no longer the top level corner he once was for the bolts. Rhodes would be entering a great situation in San Diego where he can learn from a long-time, seasoned veteran in Jammer.
12. Miami Dolphins – Desmond Trufant CB Washington
The Miami Dolphins are in desperate need of a corner, despite signing free agent Brent Grimes. Trufant is a younger, and healthier option for the ‘fins, who need to continue to solidify their defense to maintain their competitive edge in the AFC east. Trufant is arguably the second best cornerback in this draft and gives the Dolphins an immediate upgrade at a position of need.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Star Lotulelei DT Utah
Star’s health has officially checked out, and he now finds himself right outside the top ten in my latest mock. While star is my third rated defensive tackle in this year’s class, he’s the second off the board because he fits the Buccaneers style of defense better than Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson. Star’s scheme versatility is exactly what Greg Schiano is looking for out of his interior lineman, and gets great value with this pick, considering Star was once in consideration for the first overall pick not too long ago.
14. Carolina Panthers – Tavon Austin WR West Virginia
The Panthers know that Cam Newton wants a variety of weapons at his disposal, so what better than Austin here at 14th overall? Austin will have the chance to be mentored by long-time Panthers veteran Steve Smith, as well as grow a solid chemistry with Newton. Austin is in a league of his own when it comes to athleticism and play making ability, and the Panthers grab an absolute stud here.
15. New Orleans Saints – Jonathan Cooper OG North Carolina
The Saints lost Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks to free agency in 2012, and never filled the void he left when he bolted for more money in Tampa Bay. Cooper is neck-and-neck with Chance Warmack, and is a great value pick for the Saints at 15th overall who can never have enough protection for franchise quarterback Drew Brees.
16. St. Louis Rams – Kenny Vaccaro S Texas
Yet another prospect from “Secondary U” finds himself being selected in the top-half of the first round. Vaccaro is easily the best safety in this year’s draft class, and looks to maintain the long line of success for Longhorn defenders. Vaccaro has the versatility to play either the free or strong safety position in St. Louis.