Luke Joeckel or the field?
That's the top question coming into the 2013 NFL draft, which will begin on Thursday. Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel is the favorite to go No. 1 overall to the Kansas City Chiefs this April. But the Chiefs could go in a number of different directions with the top pick.
With talented defensive ends and a standout cornerback on the board, who will go No. 1 remains a mystery for now.
Here, we'll run through the entire first round and break down the ideal target for each team.
*Top ideal targets are italicized.
No. 1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M, OT
In a year where very few talented skill position players stand out, Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel looks like a smart selection for the Kansas City Chiefs. There isn't a whole lot Joeckel doesn't do well, and his potential to develop into a franchise tackle is simply too good to pass up at No. 1 overall.
No. 2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Dion Jordan, Oregon, DE
Jacksonville must address its lackluster pass rush this spring. With the Jags picking No. 2 overall, Oregon's Dion Jordan will likely be on the board, making him a no-brainer for a team that recorded a league-worst 20 sacks in 2012.
No. 3. Oakland Raiders (4-12): Sharrif Floyd, Florida, DT
Florida's Sharrif Floyd can become the disruptive force that Oakland desperately needs on the defensive side of the ball. A physical, versatile talent, Floyd has power and a quick burst.
No. 4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): Eric Fisher, Central Michigan, OT
Given how poor the Eagles' protection has been in recent seasons, Philadelphia would be foolish to pass on Central Michigan's Eric Fisher in the top five. Fisher has tremendous size and would ensure that the Chip Kelly era in Philly get off on the right foot.
No. 5. Detroit Lions (4-12): Dee Milliner, Alabama, CB
The hands-down best corner in the 2013 draft class is Alabama's Dee Milliner, a speedy cover corner who can not only shut down his man, but change the game with a big-time defensive play.
Detroit could certainly use a playmaker in its secondary, and Milliner would provide just that.
Milliner only picked off two passes last season for the Crimson Tide, but he broke up 20 passes and recorded four tackles for a loss, proving that he can hold up against the run as well.
No. 6. Cleveland Browns (5-11): Ezekiel Ansah, BYU, DE
The AFC North is arguably the toughest division in football, and Cleveland will need to boast a scary pass rush in order to be competitive in a division that includes the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals.
No. 7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11): Lane Johnson, Oklahoma, OT
After surrendering 58 sacks in 2012, the Arizona Cardinals have no choice but to address their disappointing offensive line. With Carson Palmer on board in the desert, Oklahoma's Lane Johnson looks like the smart target for the Cards.
No. 8. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Geno Smith, West Virginia, QB
While the Buffalo Bills can feel a little bit better about themselves after bringing in Kevin Kolb this offseason, I'm sure they would feel a whole lot more confident if they had another top-notch passer to hands the keys to next season.
No. 9. New York Jets (6-10): Star Lotulelei, Utah, DT
Teams ran through, over and around the New York Jets last season, making Utah's Star Lotulelei an absolute must for Rex Ryan's club at No. 9.
How else is the league's 26th-worst rush defense going to improve?
No. 10. Tennessee Titans (6-10): Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina, G
With Andy Levitre already set to begin his first season in Tennessee, the Titans can target a young, versatile guard like North Carolina's Jonathan Cooper and produce one of the league's top guard tandems.
No. 11. San Diego Chargers (7-9): Chance Warmack, Alabama, G
Alabama's Chance Warmack is no worst-case scenario, though. He'd be a huge pickup for an offensive line with tons of room to improve.
No. 12. Miami Dolphins (7-9): Desmond Trufant, Washington, CB
Miami fielded one of the league's worst secondaries in 2012, ranking just 27th against the pass. Therefore, the Dolphins should target a gifted corner in the first round. Washington's Desmond Trufant would be an ideal target.
No. 13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9): Tavon Austin, West Virginia, WR
Tavon Austin's speed would add another dimension to the Tampa Bay offense, one that's been lacking for far too long. While there are concerns about the West Virginia star's size, his ability to break free from defenders and create big plays heavily outweighs the risk.
No. 14. Carolina Panthers (7-9): Sheldon Richardson, Missouri, DT
One of Carolina's biggest needs this offseason is up front defensively, where the Panthers were beaten up badly in 2012. Opposing offenses seemed to do whatever they wanted against Carolina, but Missouri's Sheldon Richardson would change all of that.
Richardson recorded 10.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks last season with the Tigers.
This is an addition that would help the Panthers build a formidable defensive front in the coming years and become a legitimate contender in the NFC with Cam Newton already anchoring the offense.
No. 15. New Orleans Saints (7-9): Jarvis Jones, Georgia, LB
Georgia's Jarvis Jones offers excellent value for the New Orleans Saints at No. 15. The Saints were unthinkably bad defensively in 2012, ranking 31st and 32nd against the pass and run, respectively, and it could use Jones' play-making talents in the middle of their defense.
Jones led the nation with 14.5 sacks last season, and his ability to force turnovers would be huge for a defense that created just 26 takeaways last season.
If Jones is on the board in the mid-first round, don't be shocked if the Saints make him their first selection in 2013.
No. 16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): Kenny Vaccaro, Texas, S
With Tavon Austin off the board, St. Louis can't afford to reach for a wide receiver. Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro would be an ideal fit for the Rams at No. 16 considering they'll pick again at No. 22.
No. 17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame, TE
It's hard not to get excited just thinking about the possibility of Ben Roethlisberger throwing to Tyler Eifert. The Notre Dame star is a ridiculously tough matchup in the red zone and can be called upon to move the sticks each and every time.
No. 18. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Barkevious Mingo, LSU, DE
Defense wins championships, yes, but it also earns playoff berths. The Dallas Cowboys must continue to focus on the defensive side of the ball this offseason if they hope to contain Robert Griffin III and the rest of the NFC East.
No. 19. New York Giants (9-7): D.J. Fluker, Alabama, OT
The G-Men's declining defensive line is concerning, but the lack of stability on New York's offensive line is as well. At No. 19, don't be surprised to see the Giants take Alabama's D.J. Fluker, a big-time offensive tackle who can hold his own in the running game.
No. 20. Chicago Bears (10-6): Justin Hunter, Tennessee, WR
Tennessee's Justin Hunter is still developing, but he has all the potential to become a reliable No. 2 option for Jay Cutler.
No. 21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Alec Ogletree, Georgia, LB
Despite Alec Ogletree's off-field issues, the Georgia linebacker brings a hard-hitting style to the table that might just be too good to pass up for the Bengals. After all, Cincinnati has to find a way past Baltimore and Pittsburgh again in 2013.
No. 22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins) (10-6): Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee, WR
As mentioned before, the Rams desperately need a wideout. At No. 22, Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson looks like the best fit for St. Louis. Patterson produced as a wide receiver and a kick returner in 2012 and has tremendous big-play ability.
No. 23. Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Sylvester Williams, North Carolina, DT
Like St. Louis, Minnesota will draft twice in the first round this year thanks to last month's Percy Harvin trade. That said, the Vikings would be wise to go defense at No. 23, where North Carolina's Sylvester Williams offers great value as a young, gap-clogging defensive tackle.
No. 24. Indianapolis Colts (11-5): John Jenkins, Georgia, DT
After ranking 29th in rush defense in 2012, the Indianapolis Colts must address their weaknesses up front on defense. With Sylvester Williams off the board, Georgia's John Jenkins is another top prospect with the potential to make an early impact.
No. 25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle Seahawks) (11-5): Keenan Allen, California, WR
Greg Jennings was a much-needed offseason acquisition for Minnesota, but Jennings alone isn't enough to spark the Vikings' underwhelming passing attack.
Minnesota would be wise to target a wideout at No. 25.
No. 26. Green Bay Packers (11-5): Eddie Lacy, Alabama, RB
It seems like the Green Bay Packers haven't had a dependable runner in the backfield since the Ahman Green era.
If the Packers are going to contend with the San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons in the NFC next season, they'll need to be able to hand the ball off, get yards and score touchdowns in the red zone. Alabama's Eddie Lacy is the best back coming out this year, and he's just the player to wear down big-time defenses in San Francisco and Atlanta.
Lacy doesn't have to average five yards per carry in order to be successful; if he's keeping defenses honest and allowing Rodgers to utilize play-action more effectively, he's excelling.
No. 27. Houston Texans (12-4): Kevin Minter, LSU, LB
Kevin Minter is just what the doctor ordered for the Houston Texans at No. 27. The productive LSU star is a durable leader who just seems to get the job done.
No. 28. Denver Broncos (13-3): Xavier Rhodes, Florida State, CB
With Champ Bailey heading into the twilight of his career, the Denver Broncos must look to the future while addressing their declining secondary. Florida State's Xavier Rhodes has first-round talent and still has room to get better.
No. 29. New England Patriots (12-4): Matt Elam, Florida, S
The Pats did plenty of things well in 2012. But if there's an obvious weakness, it's in the secondary, where New England ranked 29th against the pass last season.
Florida's Matt Elam is a hard hitter, and his presence in New England's defensive backfield could potentially change how the Pats are perceived by opposing offenses.
No. 30. Atlanta Falcons (13-3): Jamar Taylor, Boise State, CB
It's no secret that the NFL has become a passing league. If the Falcons hope to take the next step and reach the Super Bowl in 2013, they'll need to be able to shut down the pass in big moments.
Boise State's Jamar Taylor may not be ready to lock down opposing wideouts right away, but he displayed a consistent ability to make plays with the Broncos over the past few seasons. Taylor would make plenty of sense for Atlanta in the late-first round.
No. 31. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): John Cyprien, Florida International, S
Dashon Goldson's departure to Tampa Bay this offseason makes this selection an easy one for Jim Harbaugh's Niners. Florida International's John Cyprien is one of the top safeties in this year's class and boasts above-average cover skills.
No. 32. Baltimore Ravens (10-6): Manti Te'o, Notre Dame, LB
While a big fuss has been made about Manti Te'o's poor combine performance, let's not forget that this is a player who recorded 113 total tackles, seven interceptions and came incredibly close to winning the Heisman Trophy last season.
The Ravens would be wise to close out the first round by adding the Notre Dame star.
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