The official start to the NFL Draft season will begin after Sunday’s contest between the 49ers and Ravens.
It’s a bittersweet time of the year as it signals the end of an NFL season but is ushered in with the optimism of the NFL Draft. The 2013 NFL Draft is full of intrigue with no definitive No. 1 pick. Over the course of next 83 days, we will hotly debate the many issues that present themselves in the 2013 NFL Draft.
1. Kansas City Chiefs – Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Chiefs have said they will take the best player regardless of position. Geno Smith isn’t the top player in the draft but until they sign/trade for a veteran QB he will be my selection. There’s no sense in drafting Luke Joeckel here to have him block for Brady Quinn or Matt Cassel.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida St.
This pick could go any of two ways in my mind. Both of them are on the defensive line. Rumors began swirling this week that Jacksonville was honing in on a pass rusher in the draft. I tend to buy into that one as Gus Bradley will be looking to apply loads of pressure on opposing QB’s.
3. Oakland Raiders – Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The right side of the Oakland line was pretty bad last season. Jared Veldheer is a more than capable left tackle but moving him to the right side with Joeckel taking over the left side gives Oakland a very solid core of the offensive line which will be important for Carson Palmer or Terrelle Pryor.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
I don’t know who the Eagles put at the nose when the inevitable switch to the 3-4 comes. This selection gives them flexibility to play in multiple fronts without changing personnel and gives them two solid building blocks for the future on their defensive front with Lotulelei and Fletcher Cox.
5. Detroit Lions – Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Cliff Avril just isn’t worth the money he will hope to command. Without Avril in the mix, the Lions are left without a starting caliber pass rusher in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and the ever so dangerous Christian Ponder.
6. Cleveland Browns – Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Jabaal Sheard will audition at open side end in Horton’s 3-4 base defense. The big question for the Browns will be the health of Chris Gocong, who appears perfectly suited to play the SAM spot on this defense. Taking Barkevious Mingo or Dion Jordan would be displacing Sheard as they don’t appear to be good fits on the strongside. With Sheldon Brown most likely done, this pick should be a no-brainer if Milliner is on the board. Milliner gives the Browns a physical presence on the outside that is an excellent fit opposite Joe Haden.
7. Arizona Cardinals – Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Kevin Kolb has to restructure his ridiculous deal or the Cards will be taking a QB in this spot. The Cards would be wise to sign Brian Hoyer as a backup and turn the reigns over to Kolb during training camp. A full offseason as a No. 1 may be good for his development. Even if this is the case, they have to find a QB in rounds two or three to compete for the backup job.
Many are pointing to the Senior Bowl as the contributor for Eric Fisher blowing up. That’s just one example of his dominance. Turn the tape on and see him do it week in and week out. The guy is really good and deserves to be selected in the top 10 and could challenge for a spot in the top five.
8. Buffalo Bills – Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
The Bills are in an unenviable position. They need a QB in the worst of ways as another season of Ryan Fitzpatrick is not an option. While Wilson was voted as the best QB of the week in Mobile he didn’t inspire much confidence that he was the answer as anyone’s franchise QB. I think Wilson grittiness plays out well come draft time and he gets the nod here.
9. New York Jets – Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
The Jets are going to have to be creative to work this draft in their favor. I can’t see them drafting a QB here with needs at OLB and the board being loaded with talent at the position at this point. The Jets may be a prime candidate to trade back into the first round to take a QB.
The Titans struggles running the ball consistently begin on the interior of the offensive line. If they want to maximize the dollars they have invested in Chris Johnson, they will take Warmack in this spot. He’s as dominant a guard prospect that you will find.
11. San Diego Chargers – Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
As good as Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher are, neither may carry the upside that Johnson does long-term. That’s saying a lot as both Joeckel and Fisher are carrying top 5 grades on my board. Johnson is three season removed from playing QB at the JUCO level and will be a first round tackle. That’s incredible to wrap your mind around. He will have to learn to anchor against power but he’s as good athletically as they come. Reminds me a lot of Nate Solder and that’s worked out pretty well for New England.
12. Miami Dolphins – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The Dolphins have some work to do this offseason. First and foremost is deciding on the future of Jake Long. Losing a LT, no matter how poorly he played this year, is not something that would make this franchise better. I’m not sure what I would pay Long, but I wouldn’t let him leave Miami without make a solid offer.
If Long bolts they could look for a LT or move Jon Martin over to the left side. Either way, finding a receiver early in the draft will be a priority. The Dolphins receivers combined for three touchdowns this season. That’s right, three. Patterson brings elite size and athleticism to the position. A couple of weeks ago, I took to the film to show you why he may be the top receiver in the draft. I don’t think I’m alone on that assessment.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Defensive tackle may not be the biggest need in Tampa but Richardson falling any further is just criminal. Teaming Richardson with Gerald McCoy is sick. The amount of pressure that could be created through the A-gaps will be troublesome for Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, and Cam Newton. As much as I like Vaccaro here, I can’t see them passing on Richardson if he’s available.
14. Carolina Panthers – Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Ron and Dwan Edwards make up the completely inept Edwards Wall in Carolina. With any luck neither will be back next season.
News starting filtering out of the Senior Bowl that Floyd was being talked about as a fast riser and top ten pick. I don’t doubt that one bit. He’s explosive and versatile. Recipe for success in today’s NFL. His speed, burst, and ability to turn speed to power will have teams salivating after him. He’s a great fit in Carolina as they could use someone to pressure from the inside and disrupt the backfield.
15. New Orleans Saints – Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
I think Ansah best spot in the NFL is going to be as a 5T. With Sedrick Ellis and Turk McBride heading towards free agency, the Saints are left with Cam Jordan and Akiem Hicks to man the outside in their shift to the 3-4. Ansah could be an immediate upgrade at the position and move Hicks inside. With his strength and length he could be a major factor at the position.
16. St. Louis Rams – D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Ideally, the Rams could move Rodger Saffold to right tackle but with no left tackles worthy of this selection they opt for taking a pure RT. Fluker is an NFL ready run blocker that is a bit of a work in progress in pass protection. He’s not as bad as some would have you believe but there is work to do.
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