2013 NFL Mock Draft: USA TODAY
The completion of Super Bowl XLVII means the NFL is ready to kick off its second season — free agency and the draft. As we inch closer to the scouting combine in Indianapolis later this month, here's a look at how the first round might play out:
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1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
In a draft with no elite talent, Joeckel is the safest pick. He offers the Chiefs an immediate upgrade at the all-important left tackle spot.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Jacksonville has been searching for a good pass rusher for almost a decade. Werner fills the need and brings a hometown flavor.
3. Oakland Raiders: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
The Raiders ranked 31st in sacks last season (1.6 a game). Moore offers a quick fix.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Some will argue Lotulelei is the draft's top player. He offers a remedy for the Eagles' porous run defense and the ability to line up in a 3-4 or 4-3.
5. Detroit Lions: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
Mingo would be the perfect replacement for Cliff Avril, whose return to the Lions is in doubt. Mingo's upside is incredible, with all-pro ability.
6. Cleveland Browns: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Jones is a game-impacting linebacker with a complete skill set. His experience in Georgia's 3-4 defense puts him ahead of the curve.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Cardinals gave up a league-high 58 sacks last season and desperately need an offensive tackle. Fisher is swiftly rising up draft boards.
8. Buffalo Bills: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Buffalo signed Ryan Fitzpatrick to a $62 million contract in 2011, then found out he was not the answer. The franchise starts again with Smith.
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9. New York Jets: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
Ideally, the Jets would like a pass-rushing linebacker. But Warmack fills a desperate need at guard. He will immediately move to the top of the depth chart in New York.
10. Tennessee Titans: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Tennessee's defensive ends generated little in the way of a pass rush last season. Ansah is being compared to Jason Pierre-Paul and has the wow factor teams like.
11. San Diego Chargers: DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
Starting cornerback Quentin Jammer is 33, and his game has deteriorated. Milliner brings much-needed youth and talent to the position.
12. Miami Dolphins: Keenan Allen, WR, California
Second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill needs a consistent playmaking threat at receiver. Allen fills the void, and his ability to stretch the field complements the sure-handed possession receivers on Miami's roster.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Bucs need a defensive tackle who can start immediately, and Richardson is a Day 1 starter. His athleticism and playmaking skills are a perfect fit for Greg Schiano's defense.
14. Carolina Panthers: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Carolina would prefer a receiver, but Hankins further stiffens the middle of the defense and will make second-year linebacker Luke Kuechly even more effective.
15. New Orleans Saints: Dion Jordan, DE-OLB, Oregon
Jordan's versatility to line up at defensive end or drop into coverage as a linebacker fills a pair of needs for the Saints. Pending surgery on his shoulder could send up red flags.
16. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
Plain and simple, the Rams' offensive line needs help. Cooper improves the run blocking and most important upgrades the protection of quarterback Sam Bradford.
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17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
Ogletree's ability to play sideline to sideline on all three downs and rush the passer makes him the best replacement for veteran Larry Foote.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia
Jenkins is a dominant interior run stuffer with all-pro potential if he applies himself. He's also a terrific fit for the Cowboys' new 4-3 alignment.
19. New York Giants: Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
Many thought the Giants would select tight end Coby Fleener in the first round last year. In Ertz, they get a more complete player at the position and a replacement if free agent Martellus Bennett signs elsewhere.
20. Chicago Bears: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The Bears' pass protection ranked in the bottom half of the league last season. Johnson, a former tight end, impressed scouts throughout 2012 and is the type of blocker quarterback Jay Cutler desperately needs.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
Starter Michael Johnson and his 11˝ sacks are gearing up for free agency; he might not be back. Okafor would be a fine replacement on the field and in the locker room.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins): Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Despite shoring up the corners in the secondary last year, center field remains a problem for the Rams. Vaccaro is a rangy safety.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
The Vikings will consider a receiver with this pick, but Williams offers good ability for an interior defensive line thin on talent.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
Injury and age destabilized the Colts defensive line. Jones fits Chuck Pagano's defense as a 3-4 end.
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25. Seattle Seahawks: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
The Seahawks want another pair of reliable hands for quarterback Russell Wilson. They also want a wideout who can stretch the field. Williams satisfies both.
26. Green Bay Packers: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
The Packers' running game ranked in the bottom third of the league last season. Green Bay needs a back capable of pounding opponents on the interior, which is Lacy's specialty.
27. Houston Texans: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
Minter was one of the few bright spots for an LSU defense that underachieved last season. He'll bring intensity and stability to Houston's run defense.
28. Denver Broncos: Shariff Floyd, DT, Florida
Denver has three veteran defensive tackles set to hit the free agent market, including a pair of starters. Floyd is a three-down defender whose stock is on the rise.
29. New England Patriots: Matt Elam, S, Florida
Safety has been a sore spot for the Patriots, and deep center field continues to be an issue. Elam's range and pass-coverage skills are the perfect remedy.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
The Falcons will try to coax Tony Gonzalez back for another season, yet the franchise must address the tight end position at some point.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Niners general manager Trent Baalke always looks for value in the draft, dating to his days as a scout. Trufant offers not only value but also a future starter at a critical position.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
Ray Lewis' retirement makes inside linebacker a need position. Enter Te'o, a terrific run defender who plays with Ravens-like intensity.
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