With the 2013 NFL Draft just over three weeks away, let’s look at some updated first-round 2013 NFL mock draft projections.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
After striking a trade for QB Alex Smith and releasing starting right tackle Eric Winston, Kansas City’s decision with the No. 1 overall pick is almost a foregone conclusion, albeit Eric Fisher and trading down are also options.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Sharrif Floyd is a versatile, explosive defensive tackle and has skyrocketed up draft boards and Jacksonville desperately needs to improve in the trenches after finishing dead last in the league in sacks last season.
3. Oakland Raiders:Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
Oakland finished next-to-last in the league in sacks last season. Enter Dion Jordan, arguably the top outside pass rusher in this year’s draft It’s worth noting though that the team could consider any of these five prospects.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Star Lotulelei, DE/DT, Utah
The Eagles opt to take the best available and complete the overhaul along the front seven with the addition of Star Lotulelei, who possesses a lethal combination of power and speed at the position with the No. 4 pick.
5. Detroit Lions: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, Brigham Young
The departures of Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch are an indication that the Lions are looking to add new, fresh talent in the trenches. General Manager Martin Mayhew once again takes the best player available. Ezekiel Ansah is a raw, but versatile NFL-ready run-defender who has seen his stock soar since the Senior Bowl and provides a big boost to Detroit’s pass rush.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Cleveland could opt to continue to revamp its new 3-4 defense along the front seven, but Jabaal Sheard led the team with 7.0 sacks last season and the Browns have a bigger need at corner opposite Joe Haden.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Though the team has to roll the dice on a quarterback early in the draft, it reportedly won’t be with the No. 7 pick. After allowing at least 50 sacks in each of the last three seasons, Arizona can’t afford to pass on Eric Fisher, anyway.
8. Buffalo Bills: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Bills GM Buddy Nix has said he plans on drafting a franchise QB and albeit that could easily end up being Ryan Nassib—who would be reunited with Doug Marrone—Nix won’t be able to pass on Geno Smith—this year’s top QB—at No. 8.
9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
New York needs to bolster its front seven this offseason. The team picks up Barkevious Mingo—arguably the top overall prospect available and premier pass-rusher who will make life easier for the entire Jets defense.
10. Tennessee Titans: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The Titans acquired Andy Levitre in free agency, but they still need another guard and GM Ruston Webster has stressed interest in overhauling the offensive line this offseason. Chance Warmack is also a huge steal here.
11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
San Diego surrendered 49 sacks in 2012 and finished 27th in rushing, 24th in passing and next-to-last in total offense. After a stellar showing at the combine, Lane Johnson is a lock for the Top 11 and will make life easier for Philip Rivers.
12. Miami Dolphins: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
After bolstering their secondary with the addition of Brent Grimes, the Dolphins decide to turn their attention to the offensive line, making a slight reach in some eyes for D.J. Fluker, who looks to line up as the starter opposite Jonathan Martin.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Tampa Bay continues to repair its secondary right away on draft day, picking up a big, physical cornerback and lock for the Top 15. Xavier Rhodes is also a local product and will be a terrific fit in the team’s coverage scheme.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Panthers pounce on former Missouri Tigers DT Sheldon Richardson, who addresses one of the team’s top offseason needs and is also being recruited by one of its premier players—veteran wide receiver Steve Smith.
15. New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
New Orleans needs to revamp its front seven this offseason. Jarvis Jones falls to No. 15 for medical concerns (spinal stenosis), but he’s a sure-fire steal from a talent perspective and adds much-needed young talent to the Saints’ defense.
16. St. Louis Rams: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Wide receiver was the Rams’ most pressing need before Brandon Gibson took his talents down to South Beach and Danny Amendola landed in New England, so they need to find a new versatile tool for Sam Bradford right away on draft day.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
With the top 3-4 rush linebackers taken, the Steelers decide to take the best available and pick up a replacement for Mike Wallace. Scouts have cooled on Cordarrelle Patterson due to his limited major-college experience, but he’s a steal in this spot.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Safety is one of this team’s top priorities after the departure of Gerald Sensabaugh. The Cowboys are alsoreportedly very interested in Kenny Vaccaro, who is one of the top prospects still available at the No. 18 spot.
19. New York Giants: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
After acquiring ex-Eagles defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, the Giants complete the overhaul in the trenches with the addition of Bjoern Werner, arguably the best 4-3 defensive end in this entire draft.
20. Chicago Bears: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
The Bears find their replacement for long-time star linebacker Brian Urlacher and decide to kick D.J. Williams out to the strongside with the addition of Arthur Brown, who has drawn some comparisons to Ray Lewis as of late.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
The weakside linebacker spot looks to be opened up as Vontaze Burfict moves to the middle for Rey Maualuga, who slides to the strongside spot. Alec Ogletree bolsters the Bengals front seven, which is already pretty rock-solid.
22. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
St. Louis shores up its offensive line selecting a sure-fire steal in Jonathan Cooper, who will install much more stability up front for Bradford and open more more lanes for Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson.
23. Minnesota Vikings: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Minnesota must add another receiver to compliment Greg Jennings and replace Percy Harvin. DeAndre Hopkins fits the bill as a very well-round receiver who also excels in intermediate part of the field.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
After solidifying the secondary with the additions of LaRon Landry and Greg Toler and signing Gosder Cherlius to bolster the protection up front for quarterback Andrew Luck, Indianapolis turns its focus to improving in the trenches on defense. Jesee Williams provides a big boost to the Colts’ D-Line, which just lost Dwight Freeney to free agency.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
The Vikings need multiple upgrades in the front seven and especially up front in the trenches. Johnathan Hankins fits the bill and is one of the best players on the board at the No. 25 spot, which previously belonged to Seattle.
26. Green Bay Packers: Margus Hunt, DE, Southern Methodist
Green Bay needs to generate a more consistent pass-rush in the trenches. Margus Hunt adds a different, much-needed element to the Packers’ D-Line and is a huge upgrade over C.J. Wilson at 3-4 DE on the right side of the line.
27. Houston Texans: Keenan Allen, WR, California
Houston has to find a new No. 2 receiver in the first round this April who will have a significant and immediate impact to line up opposite Andre Johnson. Keenan Allen fits the bill and adds much-needed versatility to the Texans’ offense.
28.Denver Broncos: Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
Denver continues to bolster its front seven with the addition of Damontre Moore, one of this year’s premier pass-rushers who falls for his performance in Indianapolis. He’ll line up opposite Derek Wolfe as Elvis Dumervil’s replacement.
29.New England Patriots: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
The Patriots don’t have much of an interior pass rush. They may spend an early draft choice on a complement for Vince Wilfork. Sylvester Williams has the size and scheme versatility that Bill Belichick likes in his defensive linemen.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Cornellius Carradine, DE, Florida State
Tank Carradine is a Top-10 talent, but his stock dropped after he tore his ACL in November. However, he’s reportedly recovering quicker than expected and his stock is rising as a result. He’ll have a huge impact along the Falcons’ front four, after the team recently cut ties with veteran defensive end John Abraham and Ray Edwards was released about five months ago.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Datone Jones, DE/DT, UCLA
San Francisco strikes gold with an injury insurance and eventual replacement for Justin Smith, who turns 34 before the start of the season. Jones can also rotate right away with veteran 3-4 defensive end Glenn Dorsey.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Kevin Minter, LB, LSU
The Ravens needed to add new talent and leadership to their defense with the departure of Ray Lewis. After also losing Dannelle Ellerbe, Cary Williams and Paul Kruger, among others, the team must take the top linebacker here.
Oren Shiri is the Creative Director and an analyst at GridironGrit and Founder of NFL Draft Insiders. Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow @NFLorentime and @GridironGrit on Twitter to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!