Following the first week of free agency, projecting the draft becomes a bit clearer. In version 2.0, our version 1.0 No. 9 overall pick leaped all the way to No. 1. Enjoy, and feel free to comment with any thoughts!
No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs- DE/OLB Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
The Chiefs placed the franchise tag on left tackle Branden Albert and traded for quarterback Alex Smith, taking Luke Joeckel and Geno Smith out of the discussion for the No. 1 overall pick. The team lost defensive end Glenn Dorsey in free agency, and re-structured Tyson Jackson’s contract. Ansah is a versatile boom-or-bust player that can play nearly every position on the front seven, from the five-technique defensive end position, to rushing the passer from outside linebacker.
No. 2 Jacksonville Jaguars- DE/OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon
New Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley runs a unique defensive scheme that utilizes a “Leo” position. The Leo is basically a stand-up defensive end that’s sole responsibility is to rush the passer. Dion Jordan will fit perfectly in that role immediately, and is capable of being an every down player at defensive end and strongside linebacker as he grows into his lanky frame.
No. 3 Oakland Raiders- DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida
The Raiders lost their best defensive tackle in Desmond Bryant to the Cleveland Browns via free agency, and Florida’s Sharrif Floyd could be an immediate upgrade. Hes a penetrating force up the middle and will anchor the Raiders’ defensive line for years to come.
No. 4 Philadelphia Eagles- LT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
Once seen as a consensus No. 1 overall pick, Joeckel slid right into the Eagles’ lap. Jason Peters is coming off a nasty leg injury and the team lost right tackle King Dunlap in free agency. Joeckel is the best pass protector in the 2013 NFL Draft, and will solidify a shaky Eagles offensive line for whoever is under center in Chip Kelly’s offense.
No. 5 Detroit Lions- DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU
The Lions released defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and lost Cliff Avril in free agency, creating a huge void at pass rusher. While Mingo may not be stout enough against the run, but with Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley eating up blockers, Mingo should have the ability to get after quarterbacks.
No. 6 Cleveland Browns- CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
While the Browns spent a recent top-10 pick on cornerback Joe Haden, the team still needs help in the secondary. After adding Paul Kruger and Desmond Bryant via free agency to shore up the front seven, cornerback Dee Milliner could be the missing piece to the puzzle in Cleveland.
No. 7 Arizona Cardinals- OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
The Arizona Cardinals offensive line is a disaster. Selecting a quarterback here is attractive, but without any protection, that signal caller is doomed. Eric Fisher is the 1A to Luke Joeckel and will hold down the blindside for years to come.
The best quarterback in the 2013 NFL Draft class falls right into the Bills lap to fill a position that’s been atrocious since Jim Kelly retired. Smith is a day one starter in the National Football League and instantly makes the Bills division contenders.
No. 9 New York Jets- OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
The Jets need a pass rusher, but with the possibility of losing Brandon Moore in free agency, the team could add the best guard prospect in years. Warmack is a true road grader that is a mauler in the run game and is a solid pass protector.
No. 10 Tennessee Titans- S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
Jonathan Cooper was an attractive option here, but after signing Andy Levitre, the Titans look to shore up their secondary. Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner are solid corners, but Michael Griffin’s play at safety is declining, and Kenny Vaccaro is the perfect fit for the Titans’ defense. Vaccaro can play both safety spots and even fill in at nickel corner.
No. 11 San Diego Chargers- OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
Philip Rivers was a disaster last season, and much of his miserable play can be attributed to the poor offensive line play. Lane Johnson had an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl and Combine, and solidified himself as a top-15 pick.
No. 12 Miami Dolphins- CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
After the Dolphins’ spending spree to kick off free agency, the only real need on the team is a cornerback. Xavier Rhodes is a big, long corner that can press and has the ability to take receivers out of games. Adding Rhodes makes Miami a scary defense.
No. 13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers- CB Jonathan Banks, Mississippi State
The Buccaneers desperately need help at cornerback, but with Rhodes taken a pick ahead, they add the next best cornerback in Jonathan Banks. Banks is a great corner that displays great ball skills. He’s intercepted 16 passes in his four years at Mississippi State and will be a welcome addition to the Bucs’ secondary.
No. 14 Carolina Panthers- WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
The Panthers need help in the secondary and at defensive tackle, but Cordarrelle Patterson is too talented to pass up. Cam Newton needs to take the next step and Cordarrelle Patterson could be the playmaker that takes the Panthers to the next level.
No. 15 New Orleans Saints- DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
Despite the transition to a 3-4 defense and the need for a pass rushing outside linebacker, the New Orleans Saints add one of the most talented defensive linemen in the drat in Sheldon Richardson. Richardson will likely play defensive end in the three-man front opposite Cam Jordan.
No. 16 St. Louis Rams- WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
Sam Bradford hasn’t had a play-maker to get the ball to, and Tavon Austin is the most explosive prospect in the draft. While he isn’t a big outside target, he’s an exceptional slot receiver with criminally underrated strength.
No. 17 Pittsburgh Steelers- OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
Jarvis Jones’ medical issues dropped him out of the top 15, but he finds a home in Pittsburgh. James Harrison is aging, and is expected to be released if he doesn’t re-structure his contract. Jones is the most productive pass rusher in the ’13 draft class and would make an immediate impact on a Steelers defense that prides itself on pressuring quarterbacks.
No. 18 Dallas Cowboys- S Johnathan Cyprien, Florida International
The Dallas Cowboys have needed help at safety for several years, and Johnathan Cyprien is one of the more under the radar defensive backs in the 2013 draft class. Cyprien is a physical strong safety that will instantly make a difference in Monte Kiffin’s Tampa 2 defense.
No. 19 New York Giants- DE Alex Okafor, Texas
The Giants opted against retaining Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck is aging. Texas’ pass rusher Alex Okafor is a solid defensive end that can be slowly phased into the “Nascar” defensive line package before eventually taking over for Tuck.
No. 20 Chicago Bears- OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
The Bears filled big needs in the first week of free agency, adding a left tackle in Jermon Bushrod and a tight end in Martellus Bennett. Jonathan Cooper could be the final piece that will give Jay Cutler the protection he needs to become that “elite’ quarterback many believe he can become.
No. 21 Cincinnati Bengals- LB Arthur Brown, Kansas State
The Bengals need help at weakside linebacker with Vontaze Burfict expected move back to his more natural “Mike” position, with Rey Maualuga sliding over to strong side linebacker. Arthur Brown is one of the best linebacker prospects in the draft and is a day-one starter on the weakside for Cincinnati’s defense.
No. 22 St. Louis Rams- LB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
The Rams added Jake Long via free agency, eliminating a tackle as a major need to fill via the draft. James Laurinitis is a force in the middle of St. Louis’ defense, but Jo-Lann Dunbar is ineffective as the weakside linebacker. Alec Ogletree played inside linebacker at Georgia, but the former safety projects well to that spot in a 4-3 defense. Jeff Fisher has taken risks on players with character concerns in the past, and Ogletree should fit in well under his guidance.
No. 23 Minnesota Vikings- CB Desmond Trufant, Washington
Following the release of cornerback Antoine Winfield, the Vikings have a big void at the position. With the safety positions secure with Harrison Smith and Jamarca Sanford, Minnesota looks to add the final piece to their secondary in Desmond Trufant, a solid corner out of the PAC-12.
No. 24 Indianapolis Colts- DE/DT Datone Jones, UCLA
The Colts need a pass rushing linebacker, but their defensive line also needs help in order to operate the 3-4 defense. Datone Jones projects well to the five-technique end position and is an underrated player.
No. 25- Minnesota Vikings- WR Keenan Allen, California
The Vikings recently signed Greg Jennings, but he’s about to be 30, and the team has very little depth at wide receiver. Keenan Allen is one of the most complete receivers in the draft, and will provide another weapon for Christian Ponder, as well as forcing opposing defenses to be honest, creating more space for Adrian Peterson.
No. 26- Green Bay Packers- OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama
Aaron Rodgers needs protection in the worst way, and Alabama right tackle D.J. Fluker is a mammoth that will solidify the right side of the Packers’ offensive line. With Bryan Bulaga expected to move over to left tackle, Fluker fills a need.
No. 27- Houston Texans- WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
Andre Johnson isn’t getting any younger, and the Texans really don’t have a No. 2 option at wide receiver for Matt Schaub. DeAndre Hopkins is one of the most exciting receivers in the draft, and has the potential to become a true No. 1 option in the future. He doesn’t have eye-popping measurables, but he plays bigger and faster than any receiver in the draft.
No. 28- Denver Broncos- DE/OLB Bjoern Werner, Florda State
The Broncos really need a defensive end to fit their 4-3 defense, especially after the Elvis Dumervil fiasco. Bjoern Werner was thought of as a top-five pick during the season, but after further evaluation, his value is in the late first round.
No. 29 New England Patriots- NT Jesse Williams, Alabama
The Patriots need a cornerback, but they also need to find a long-term replacement for Vince Wilfork. Jesse Williams is a stout nose tackle from Alabama that can play anywhere in the hybrid three-man front the Patriots operate.
No. 30- Atlanta Falcons, OLB Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
Another player thought of as a top five pick just months ago, a poor combine and poor tape drop Moore all the way to the No. 30 overall pick. With the departure of John Abraham, the Falcons need a pass rusher to get after the quarterback.
No. 31- San Francisco 49ers- DE/DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina
After losing Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean-Francois via free agency, the 49ers need to add some bulk back to their defensive line. Sylvester Williams can play nose tackle as well as defensive end, which makes him a solid fit for the 49ers.
No. 32- Baltimore Ravens- LB Kevin Minter, LSU
The Ravens really need to revamp their linebacking corps after losing Ray Lewis via retirement and Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger via free agency. Kevin Minter is arguably the best inside linebacker in the draft and he fills an immediate need for the Ravens as they look to contend for another Super Bowl.
Note: Utah DT Star Lotutelei was left off of this mock draft due to his recently reported heart condition.