The NFL is now inching closer to the offseason. New head coaches are taking over for different teams, and one of the first moves these coaches will be known for is their first round pick. Here are my picks for the players who will hear their names called in the first round of the NFL draft in 2013.
1. Kansas City Chiefs- Luke Joeckel , Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M.;
The Chiefs desperately need offensive line help. They most likely need a quarterback too, but a good quarterback is nothing without a good offensive line. Joeckel, at 6’6 and 310 pounds, is the perfect tackle to shore up a poor offensive line in Kansas City. Protecting Johnny Manziel’s blindside, Joeckel was a main reason Manziel was able to come away with the Heisman Trophy.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars- Damontre Moore , Defensive End, Texas A&M.;
Jacksonville needs a lot of defensive help, and Moore is the best option to help them. The more I watch of Moore, the more I realize how well his game can transition to the next level. He had double digit sacks on the year, and can really help out the Jaguars and their pathetic defense.
Previous Pick: Star Lotulelei-DT-Utah
3.Oakland Raiders- Star Lotulelei , Defensive Tackle, Utah.
Lotulelei is a beast in the middle of the defensive line at Utah. He was the focus of every offensive game plan when teams faced off against the Utes, and he still managed 41 tackles, and 5 sacks. Oakland needs a lot of defensive help, and that starts with the defensive line. Lotulelei is a big body that can really make a difference for Oakland.
Previous Pick: Jarvis Jones-OLB-Georgia
4. Philadelphia Eagles- Bjoern Werner , Defensive End, Florida State.
Philly just needs some help, and Werner may be the answer to some of their problems. Werner could help with the pass rush, as he accounted for 13 sacks on the year. He also had 42 tackles, and 7 passes defended. He’s a well rounded athlete that can make an immediate impact on a poor Eagles defense.
5. Detroit Lions- Jarvis Jones , Outside Linebacker, Georgia.
Detroit had an off year this year. They are incredibly strong on offense, so defense seems to be the way to go. They can take the best player available, and that is Jones. Jones registered 14.5 sacks on the year, a new Georgia record, and finished with 86 tackles, and a pick. He did all of this while missing two games. Jones is the type of exciting player that can really make a difference for the Lions.
Previous Pick: Manti Te’o-ILB-Notre Dame
6. Cleveland Browns- Dee Milliner , Cornerback, Alabama.
When you think about poor pass defense, Cleveland comes to mind. They were near the very bottom of the league this season in that category. One way to help change that is to draft a dynamic cornerback. Milliner fits into that category perfectly. While he only had two interceptions on the year, he broke up 16 passes, and 51 tackles. He’s a smart player that knows how to get to the football, and make plays.
7. Arizona Cardinals- Geno Smith , Quarterback, West Virginia.
Arizona goes through quarterbacks like nobody ever should have to. They need to find a solution, and one may just fall to them in the draft. Geno Smith was the talk of the nation for the beginning of the season, as he did not throw an interception until the seventh game of the year. However West Virginia’s offense was soon figured out by opposing teams, and Smith went from being talked about as the number one pick, to just being in the Heisman chase, to no consideration at all. He still finished with 42 touchdowns, and just 6 interceptions, and could solve Arizona’s quarterback problem.
8. Buffalo Bills- Jonathan Hankins , Defensive Tackle, Ohio State.
The Bills are just awful at stopping the run. They were by far one of the worst teams at it in the NFL this season. One way to get past that is to have a huge Jonathan Hankins in the middle of your defensive line stuffing inside runs. That is what Hankins is good for, as he is a polished player who is very capable of neutralizing opponent’s run game.
9. New York Jets- Matt Barkley , Quarterback, USC.
Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow are definitely not working out well for the Jets. They ended up toward the very bottom of league in terms of passing offense, and could never get much going. Matt Barkley has the potential to change that. He is incredibly poised, and experienced from his years at USC. While his junior year was better than his senior year by far, he still had a very good year, and is a safe choice for the Jets to make. I still believe the Jets should attempt to acquire Alex Smith from the 49ers, but if that doesn’t happen, the Jets need to take their chances with Barkley.
10. Tennessee Titans- Barkevious Mingo , Defensive End, LSU.
Tennessee just needs help. They need help everywhere, so they need to take the best player available, and that is Mingo here. He only registered 4.5 sacks on the year, but he is an incredible, raw athlete capable of becoming a star, which is something the Titans need.
Previous Pick: Damontre Moore-DE-Texas A&M;
11. San Diego Chargers- Eric Fisher , Offensive Tackle, Central Michigan.
The Chargers just got a new head coach, which is very exciting for them. This could be a job saver for Phillip Rivers, hence me no longer having a quarterback going to the Chargers here. The Chargers could use some offensive line help though, and with players like Taylor Lewan staying at school, Eric Fisher has shot up draft charts. He is a beast at 6’7, and could do a great job protecting Rivers.
Previous Pick: Tyler Wilson-QB-Arkansas
12. Miami Dolphins- Keenan Allen , Wide Receiver, Cal.
Ryan Tannehill has proven his ability to play quarterback in the NFL at a high level. The next step for the Dolphins is to surround him with talent to improve their team. Allen could be an answer for them, as he is a 6’3 beast of a receiver who had 737 yards and six touchdown catches before missing his last three games of the year.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Jonathan Banks , Cornerback, Mississippi State.
Tampa Bay was literally the worst team in pass defense in 2012. Jonathan Banks has the ability to help turn that around. Banks finished the year with four interceptions, and seven passes defended. When Banks was doing well, the team was doing well. He would be able to make an immediate impact in Tampa.
14. Carolina Panthers- Sheldon Richardson , Defensive Tackle, Missouri.
Carolina really was not awful in any category this year. They were simply average, and they are in a position to draft the best available player here. This would be Richardson, the beast from Missouri is a stat stuffing tackle that could easily start right away and make the Carolina defensive line that much better.
15. New Orleans Saints- Dion Jordan , Defensive End, Oregon.
The Saints need defensive help badly. They were in the very bottom of the NFL in terms of defense, and they need to shore it up. Dion Jordan is a dynamic athlete at the defensive end position, and will be able to make an impact in New Orleans immediately.
Previous Pick: Barkevious Mingo-DE-LSU
16. St. Louis Rams- Chance Warmack , Offensive Guard, Alabama.
The Rams need to get offensive line help to keep their franchise quarterback, Sam Bradford, on his feet, and Steven Jackson or Daryl Richardson running effectively. Warmack was part of an outstanding offensive line at Alabama, and looks to translate very well to the NFL level.
Previous Pick: Taylor Lewan-OT-Michigan
17. Pittsburgh Steelers- Manti Te’o , Middle Linebacker, Notre Dame.
Pittsburgh will not be able to pass up Te’o here after his free fall as a result of the Championship game. Though he fell flat on his face during the National Championship, he is an inspirational leader, and, in my opinion, should have won the Heisman. He has 111, along with 7 interceptions on the year, and can make an impact for the Steelers.
Previous Pick: Chance Warmack-OG-Alabama
18. Dallas Cowboys- Mike Glennon , Quarterback, North Carolina State.
Tony Romo’s tenure in Dallas should be coming to an end soon. He has a plethora of amazing offensive weapons, yet cannot find a way to win. Mike Glennon has never been surrounded by a ton of weapons in North Carolina State, yet has found a way to win anyway. He has a very strong arm, and if he finds himself with the weapons Dallas has he can be very successful.
19. New York Giants- Ezekial Ansah, Defensive End, BYU.
Ezekial Ansah is the defensive end with the most potential in the draft. At 6’6 and 270 pounds, he registered four and a half sacks on the year, 60 tackles, and even grabbed an interception. He is extremely athletic, and a combination of Ansah and Jason Pierre-Paul could wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks for years to come.
Previous Pick: Dion Jordan-DE-Oregon
20. Chicago Bears- Alec Ogletree, Inside Linebacker, Georgia.
Brian Urlacher’s days as Chicago’s middle linebacker are numbered, and Ogletree is a player that can step right in for him. The Bears need offensive line help badly, but with Fisher off the board earlier, it will be hard to pass up on Ogletree. He finished with 112 tackles, three sacks, and an interception for the year. He did all this while missing four games, and is a great athlete who, like Urlacher, was previously a safety.
Previous Pick: Eric Fisher-OT-CMU
21. St. Louis Rams (From Washington)- Eric Reid , Safety, LSU.
St. Louis went with offensive help with their first pick, and with this pick they can shore up their secondary. The pick of Janoris Jenkins last year proved to be immensely successful, and Reid can be a dynamic playmaker as well. With 91 tackles on the year, seven passes defended, and two interceptions, Reid is a well rounded safety that can turn into a really good safety at the next level.
22. Minnesota Vikings- Xavier Rhodes , Cornerback, Florida State.
The Vikings made the playoffs on the back of Adrian Peterson, and the collapse of the Chicago Bears. If they want to stay competitive, the defense needs to get better. This is mainly directed at their secondary, and the dynamic Rhodes would be able to help out with that. With three interceptions and seven passes defended on the year, Rhodes is a very good coverage corner that could help keep the Vikings in the playoff chase.
23. Cincinnati Bengals- Alex Okafor , Defensive End, Texas.
The Bengals already have a very good defensive line, one of the best in the NFL. However, Okafor is too dynamic to pass up with this pick. With 12.5 sacks, and 52 tackles on the year, Okafor is strong, fast, and would make a good line even better.
24. Indianapolis Colts- Jesse Williams , Defensive Tackle, Alabama.
Williams could play well in the Colts’ 3-4 defense. He is 6’4, and 320 pounds, and as strong as any player in the NFL today. With his size, toughness, and strength, Williams is capable of stuffing the middle for the Colts, and could even play some defensive end for a below average Colts defense.
25. Seattle Seahawks- Tyler Eifert , Tight End, Notre Dame.
The Seahawks need some more weapons for Russell Wilson, and Eifert would be perfect. At 6’6 with soft hands, Eifert is a tight end with the ability to catch any ball thrown his way, and one who can block effectively as well. Eifert would be a good fit for a Seahawks team that just keeps getting better.
26. Green Bay Packers- Barrett Jones , Center, Alabama.
Barrett Jones is a winner, an All-American, and most importantly for Green Bay, he is a fantastic run blocker. Green Bay needs to get better at running the football if they want to stay competitive in a tight NFC North. With Jones there to clear paths for whichever running back Green Bay has next year, the Packers can become a little more two dimensional.
27. Houston Texans- Tavon Austin , Wide Receiver, West Virginia.
The Texans need wide receiver help pretty badly, as their passing game lives and dies with Owen Wilson and Andre Johnson. Austin is one of the fastest players in the entire NCAA, and he can flat out catch. He is on the small side at 5’9, but he finds a way to get open, and he rushed for almost 650 yards on the year to go along with his near 1300 yards receiving. All in all he had 17 touchdowns on the season, and would be a versatile treat for the Texans.
28. Denver Broncos- Kevin Minter , Inside Linebacker, LSU.
Denver had a very good year, and had a very good defense. Here is where the rich get richer. Keith Brooking is nearing the end of his career, and Minter is a very solid inside linebacker that could take his place. Minter had 130 tackles on the year to go with four sacks and an interception. He could fit well in the Broncos’ defensive scheme as the Broncos continue trying to make playoff runs in years to come.
Previous Pick: Giovani Bernard-RB-UNC
29. Baltimore Ravens- Cordarrelle Patterson, Wide Receiver, Tennessee.
Patterson is a big receiver at 6’3, and he just shows a natural ability to catch the ball. He has speed, and has the ability to contribute on special teams as well as really give the passing attack a boost. With Anquan Boldin coming toward the end of his career, a Torrey Smith and Cordarrelle Patterson duo could make Joe Flacco a very happy quarterback for years.
Previous Pick: Terrance Williams-WR-Baylor
30. San Francisco 49ers- Jonathan Cooper , Offensive Guard, UNC.
San Francisco is one of the NFL’s best teams, and one of the most well-rounded teams as well. One area they could shore up a little bit is the offensive line, particularly the guards, and center position. Cooper has been one of the NCAA’s best offensive linemen all year, and could be some good insurance for San Francisco.
31. New England Patriots- Robert Woods , Wide Receiver, USC.
Robert Woods has the potential to be a star in the NFL. He was underutilized this year by USC with the amazing play of Marqise Lee, but he is a well rounded athlete, and has some of the best hands in college football. Outside of Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker the Patriots did not have a lot of wide receiver production this year, and Woods could help pick things up.
32. Atlanta Falcons- Sam Montgomery , Defensive End, LSU.
Atlanta did not rank highly in any category this year besides pass offense, yet they found a way to win. They need some defensive help, and Sam Montgomery will be the best available prospect for them to take here. He registered eight sacks this year, and 37 tackles for a great LSU defense. He could contribute immediately bolstering the Falcons’ pass and rush defense.
That concludes my second version of my first round mock draft for 2012. Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Please do leave a comment, and let me know what you think!