NEPD Editor: Matthew Jones
With the 2013 NFL Draft less than a month away, it’s time to take another look at how the first round could progress. As always, player rankings and values are provided via FRX.
1. Kansas City Chiefs – OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M* (FRX: #1 overall prospect, $4,081)
It looks like an offensive tackle will be the first pick in this year’s draft; Eric Fisher is another possibility, but Luke Joeckel still appears to be the most likely selection.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – QB Geno Smith, West Virginia (FRX: #4 overall prospect, $3,204)
Blaine Gabbert’s play has not been encouraging thus far, and Smith seems like a top-five pick right now. Jacksonville could also target Dion Jordan or Sharrif Floyd.
3. Oakland Raiders – DT Star Lotulelei, Utah (FRX: #8 overall prospect, $2,393)
Desmond Bryant left for Cleveland, Richard Seymour remains a free agent, and Tommy Kelly has been released; this pick should be either Lotulelei or Sharrif Floyd.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – CB Dee Milliner, Alabama* (FRX: #6 overall prospect, $3,050)
Eric Fisher is another possibility here, but with Jason Peters rumored to be completely healthy, Milliner makes sense as well; Bradley Fletcher is no lock to stay healthy.
5. Detroit Lions – OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan (FRX: #3 overall prospect, $3,281)
Dee Milliner would have been nice, but Eric Fisher is a coup as well; Riley Reiff could shift over to right tackle. Don’t count out a rusher such as Bjoern Werner or Ezekiel Ansash.
6. Cleveland Browns – WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee* (FRX: #15 overall prospect, $1,738)
A player such as Dee Milliner would be ideal, but Patterson is a nice consolation prize. Current starting receiver Greg Little has incredibly inconsistent hands.
7. Arizona Cardinals – OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma (FRX: #9 overall prospect, $2,298)
It’s too early for Matt Barkley; drafting an athletic stud such as Lane Johnson could finally solidify the left side of Arizona’s line, which has been a problem for years.
8. Buffalo Bills – OG Chance Warmack, Alabama (FRX: #11 overall prospect, $1,993)
The Bills could go in a few different directions here: a weapon such as Tavon Austin or Tyler Eifert, a pass rusher such as Barkevious Mingo, or a top guard.
9. New York Jets – LB Dion Jordan, Oregon (FRX: #5 overall prospect, $3,127)
Dion Jordan and Barkevious Mingo are both pass-rushing upgrades at number nine; Jordan may be a little bit safer as a prospect, so he gets the nod here.
10. Tennessee Titans – DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida* (FRX: #2 overall prospect, $3,386)
This may be a little bit further than Floyd slips on draft day; if he’s available with the tenth overall pick, he would represent an ideal compliment to Jurrell Casey.
11. San Diego Chargers – CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida St.* (FRX: #17 overall prospect, $1,704)
This is a worst-case scenario for San Diego, with Cordarrelle Patterson and all three top tackles off the board. Left cornerback Marcus Gilchrist struggled in 2012.
12. Miami Dolphins – DE Barkevious Mingo, Louisiana St.* (FRX: #13 overall prospect, $1,950)
Mingo makes a lot of sense in Miami; he could rotate with Jared Odrick at left end when additional pass rushers are needed, as well as with Koa Misi at linebacker.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri* (FRX: #14 overall prospect, $1,834)
Although selecting Richardson would leave Tampa Bay with what are essentially two three-techniques, a combination of Richardson and Gerald McCoy would be fearsome.
14. Carolina Panthers – WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia (FRX: #19 overall prospect, $1,628)
Tavon Austin would be the ideal complement for Cam Newton in a creative spread-option offense; the Panthers must find additional weapons for Newton in the passing game.
15. New Orleans Saints – DE Bjoern Werner, Florida St.* (FRX: #10 overall prospect, $2,009)
Physically and athletically, Werner bears some similarities to Paul Kruger; he would both drastically and instantly improve a stagnant New Orleans pass rush.
16. St. Louis Rams – FS Kenny Vaccaro, Texas (FRX: #18 overall prospect, $1,687)
This may be slightly early for Vaccaro, but St. Louis has a dire need at the safety spot; their current starters at the position are Rodney McLeod and Darian Stewart.