2013 NFL Mock Draft: Teams Who Will Find Their Franchise Cornerstone

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2013

CLEMSON, SC - NOVEMBER 17:  Mike Glennon #8 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack drops back to pass against the Clemson Tigers during their game at Memorial Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The 2013 NFL Draft provides teams with plenty of players that can be building blocks for a Super Bowl run.

The Baltimore Ravens will be the team with the biggest target on its back next season. Thirty-one teams will be looking to knock the Ravens off their pedestal.

With the draft on the horizon, teams will have the opportunity to stockpile some young talent they can use to fuel their pushes for the postseason.

Here's how the first round of the 2013 draft could unravel, with the players who will benefit their new teams the most italicized for emphasis.

The order is via NFL.com.

1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

The question here is whether the Kansas City Chiefs will build around a No. 1 overall quarterback or select a left tackle to protect the QB. Geno Smith or Luke Joeckel make sense here.

Although he's the best on the board, Smith is far from a lock. There's plenty of question marks regarding how good he can be in the pros. Regardless, the Chiefs need a new QB, so Smith represents the team's future.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

Bjoern Werner would be a great help to what was a very poor pass rush for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Damontre Moore could also go here, but Werner's potential is through the roof.

Having played relatively little football compared to most of the other highly ranked prospects, it's scary to think where Werner's career could go from here.

3. Oakland Raiders: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M

Moore is the most polished defensive end in this year's draft. Aside from his somewhat lean frame, he has all the tools necessary to excel at the pro level.

Moore has the speed to get past offensive tackles, and that speed is also of benefit when he must drop back into coverage. He just needs to add a little more strength in order to not be bullied by more physical linemen.

4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

Joeckel has all the tools scouts look for when drafting an offensive tackle. He's got the size and flexibility to be a solid pass- and run-blocker. Joeckel is as close to a can't-miss prospect as there is in this draft.

Whoever is the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles next year, he's going to benefit from a much-improved offensive line after the selection of Joeckel.

5. Detroit Lions: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU

The Detroit Lions need to address a pass rush that wasn't very good last year and could be losing its best player—Cliff Avril—in free agency next year. Barkevious Mingo can play either on the line or as a blitzing linebacker.

6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

Dee Milliner is the best cornerback on the board. Putting him and Joe Haden together would be lethal for opposing quarterbacks.

7. Arizona Cardinals: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas

With Bruce Arians installed as head coach, it makes sense the Arizona Cardinals would target a quarterback in the draft. They used four different starting QBs during the 2012 season.

Tyler Wilson has the strongest arm of all the quarterback prospects in the draft. He's the kind of raw talent that will really benefit from Arians. In the right hands, Wilson is a franchise QB.

8. Buffalo Bills: Mike Glennon, QB, NC State

Simply because Doug Marrone is the head coach doesn't mean the Buffalo Bills will go after Ryan Nassib here. It's not as if a former college coach simply targets only his former players. He won't let emotion dictate his decision.

Mike Glennon is a bit of a reach here, as Nassib would be as well. Glennon has all the tools needed for a young quarterback to succeed. He'll benefit by being able to hand the ball off to C.J. Spiller.

9. New York Jets: Ezekiel Ansah, OLB/DE, BYU

Ezekiel Ansah is just a freakish athlete. He has the kind of tools that look great in showcase events like the Senior Bowl and combine. His stock will only continue to rise.

10. Tennessee Titans: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

The Tennessee Titans rush defense wasn't all that poor last year. They couldn't resist taking Star Lotulelei here, though, as he's the best defensive tackle on the board.

11. San Diego Chargers: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

The San Diego Chargers need to upgrade their offensive line. Getting more protection for Philip Rivers has to be a priority. After Joeckel, Eric Fisher is the best offensive tackle available.

12. Miami Dolphins: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

Ryan Tannehill is a quarterback with which the Miami Dolphins can move forward. Now it's all about supplying him with the weapons he needs in order to succeed.

In a class that doesn't have a ton of star power, Cordarrelle Patterson is a solid option, though a reach to go this early.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

No team was worse against the pass than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It's an issue they need to address this offseason, and the draft is the best place to do that.

Xavier Rhodes has the kind of physical game that will translate well to the NFL. He can jam receivers right off the line and throw them off their routes.

14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri

Sheldon Richardson looks to have all the skills necessary, but he needs to show he can maintain a consistently high energy level. That's the biggest thing holding him back right now.

15. New Orleans Saints: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon

The issues for the New Orleans Saints are clearly on one side of the ball—defense. Dion Jordan can help the Saints get much more pressure on the quarterback, thus avoiding giving up the most yards in NFL history again.

16. St. Louis Rams: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama

Sam Bradford is without a doubt the guy in St. Louis. Now it's time to surround him with a group of players that can provide the bedrock for the St. Louis Rams. Although he's a guard, Chance Warmack is well worth a pick in the middle of the draft.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia

It might be a bit of a reach to think Jarvis Jones falls this far. With the combine coming up, the red flags around Jones are going to become even more apparent, so the middle of the first round might be where he goes.

18. Dallas Cowboys: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama

Jesse Williams is one of the strongest players in this draft; however, that's his only real asset right now. He needs to become a little for athletic and develop some moves in order to get past offensive lines.

19. New York Giants: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU

Sam Montgomery might tumble further down the draft. He put up nice stats while in college, but he may not have the tools to succeed in the NFL.

20. Chicago Bears: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

Jay Cutler has been hassled in a harassed in a big way. Lane Johnson will be the best option available and can help to ease some of the pressure on Cutler.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame

Rey Maualuga can hit like a ton of bricks. Unfortunately, the flip side is that he sometimes looks to have an IQ like it, too. Manti Te'o could be an immediate upgrade at inside linebacker. He isn't the same kind of high-ceiling player that some thought he might be, but Te'o will be a dependable player for years.

22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins): Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame

With the lack of elite receivers, the Rams would be wise to go after the best tight end on the board. Tyler Eifert gives Bradford a steady option and St. Louis can get a little more value for pick by waiting a little bit for a receiver.

23. Minnesota Vikings: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson

The Minnesota Vikings need a receiver for Christian Ponder. He's not going anywhere, and the team must start giving Adrian Peterson more support.

24. Indianapolis Colts: Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia

The Indianapolis Colts were extremely thin through the middle of their defense. Johnathan Jenkins can help the Colts defense against the run, which was particularly troublesome.

25. Seattle Seahawks: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA

Datone Jones has a ton of potential, but there's a definite risk in taking him in the first round. He's hasn't shown the kind of consistency you'd want from a first-round pick at this stage in the draft process.

26. Green Bay Packers: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina

Aaron Rodgers needs an offensive line in front of him. It was surprising to see how little push the Green Bay Packers got up front. Jonathan Cooper is a good option because he can shift to whichever guard position the Packers need him for.

27. Houston Texans: Keenan Allen, WR, Cal

The Houston Texans would be very lucky to have Keenan Allen fall right into their laps. He's the best receiver on many people's boards, and he would be a very good partner for Andre Johnson in the Houston receiving corps.

28. Denver Broncos: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue

The Denver Broncos don't have a ton of holes defensively. Kawann Short would be a solid run-stuffer, yet his size and wingspan allows him to swat down passes at the line of scrimmage.

29. New England Patriots: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

Whether or not Wes Welker leaves, the New England Patriots could use another receiver. In spite of his size, Tavon Austin isn't a serious game-breaker, so that's hurting him in the draft. He could still be a reliable option for Tom Brady.

30. Atlanta Falcons: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas

The injury to John Abraham illustrated the need for another pass-rusher for the Atlanta Falcons. The unit was struggling in his absence. Alex Okafor is a very strong player, so he won't have a hard time wrestling with opposing tackles.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas

Selecting Kenny Vaccaro would allow the 49ers to let Dashon Goldson go this offseason. Vaccaro can come in and produce at almost the same level as Goldson. This would be a great pick for the 49ers.

32. Baltimore Ravens: Matt Elam, SS, Florida

Ray Lewis is getting all the headlines, but the Ravens are going to need to do something to replace an aging Ed Reed. That won't be easy. Selecting Matt Elam would be a good start.


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