With the 2013 NFL Draft less than a month away, it’s time to reveal 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. (Check out the Chiefs’ updated post-free agency frenzy team needs here.)
Best Alternatives: OT Eric Fisher; Trade Down
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
Jacksonville must bolster its front seven after finishing dead last in the league in sacks last season. Enter Dion Jordan, who possesses the athletic ability to drop into coverage and defend tight ends and is a terrific fit in Gus Bradley’s defense in the Leo spot.
Best Alternatives: DT Sharrif Floyd; QB Geno Smith; Trade Down
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Oakland finished next-to-last in the league in sacks last season. Sharrif Floyd is a very versatile, extremely explosive defensive tackle and has skyrocketed up draft boards and will have huge impact in the trenches of the Raiders’ new-look defense.
Best Alternatives: QB Geno Smith; DL Star Lotulelei; Trade Down
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Philadelphia’s interest in Geno Smith is “not a smokescreen,” according to Sal Paolantonio, who recently revealed on 97.5 The Fanatic that the Eagles’ interest in the former WVU QB is “dead serious.” The team also sent its entire contingent to West Virginia’s Pro Day, which included Jeffrey Lurie, who has only visited one other draft prospect as team owner—Donovan McNabb.
Best Alternatives: DL Star Lotulelei; OT Eric Fisher
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.
Best Alternatives: OT Eric Fisher; CB Dee Milliner
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.
Best Alternatives: DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo; QB Matt Barkley
7. Arizona Cardinals: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Though the team has to roll the dice on a quarterback early in the draft, it won’t be with the No. 7 pick, per Ian Rapoport and Mike Jurecki. After allowing at least 50 sacks in each of the last three seasons, Arizona can’t afford to pass on Eric Fisher, anyway.
Best Alternatives: S Kenny Vaccaro; OG Chance Warmack
8. Buffalo Bills: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Losing Andy Levitre was a big blow, but Chance Warmack will provide an immediate impact in the Bills offense, giving C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson more running room and improving protection for the QB they draft in round two.
Best Alternatives: WR Cordarrelle Patterson; QB Ryan Nassib
9. New York Jets: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Yeremiah Bell took his talents down to South Beach and LaRon Landry landed in Indianapolis. The future is also uncertain with Darrelle Revis. The Jets overhaul the back-end of their defense with the star safety out of Texas.
Best Alternatives: WR Cordarralle Patterson; DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo
10. Tennessee Titans: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
The Titans acquired Andy Levitre in free agency, but they still need another guard and GM Ruston Webster has really stressed Tennessee’s interest in overhauling the offensive line this offseason. Enter Jonathan Cooper.
Best Alternatives: CB Xavier Rhodes; DT Sheldon Richardson
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 much easier for Philip Rivers.
Best Alternatives: DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo; WR Cordarrelle Patterson
12. Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Albeit Star Lotulelei is a tempting option, Miami must address the cornerback position after losing Sean Smith and Vontae Davis on the open market in back-to-back offseasons. Xavier Rhodes is a big, physical CB and now a lock for top dozen picks.
Best Alternatives: DL Star Lotulelei; Trade Up
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Star Lotulelei, DE/DT, Utah
The Buccaneers bolstered their secondary in free agency, but need to build back their front four after losing Michael Bennett and Roy Miller. Enter Star Lotulelei, a sure-fire steal in the No. 13 spot.
Best Alternatives: DT Sheldon Richardson; CB Desmond Trufant
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.
Best Alternatives: CB Desmond Trufant; WR Cordarrelle Patterson
15. New Orleans Saints: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
New Orleans needs to revamp its front seven this offseason and Barkevious Mingo is a local product and arguably the top overall prospect still available. He’ll also make life easier for an overmatched Saints secondary.
Best Alternatives: FS Eric Reid; OLB Jarvis Jones
16. St. Louis Rams: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
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 No. 1 WR for Sam Bradford right away on draft day.
Best Alternatives: WR Keenan Allen; WR Tavon Austin
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
An extremely explosive and very physical linebacker, Jarvis Jones falls to No. 17 for medical concerns (spinal stenosis), but he’s a sure-fire steal from a talent perspective and adds much-needed young talent to the Steelers’ defense.
Best Alternatives: DE/OLB Damontre Moore; WR Keenan Allen
18. Dallas Cowboys: Matt Elam, S, Florida
Safety is one of this team’s top priorities after the departure of Gerald Sensabaugh. With Kenny Vaccaro already off the board, the ‘Boys make a slight reach for the next best prospect at the position: Matt Elam.
Best Alternatives: OT D.J. Fluker; DE/OLB Alex Okafor
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.
Best Alternatives: LB Arthur Brown; OT D.J. Fluker; Trade Down
20. Chicago Bears: Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
Chicago takes a chance on the local product, linebacker Manti Te’o, who improved his 40-time and draft stock at Notre Dame’s Pro Day. D.J. Williams slides to the strongside, as Te’o looks to replace long-time star linebacker Brian Urlacher.
Best Alternatives: OT Menelik Watson; LB Arthur Brown
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.
Best Alternatives: OT D.J. Fluker; OT Terron Armstead
22. St. Louis Rams: D.J. Fluker, OL, Alabama
St. Louis selects D.J. Fluker, adding stability up front at either guard or right tackle for QB Sam Bradford and open more more lanes for Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson. There are rumors that the team will trade Rodger Saffold.
Best Alternatives: WR Tavon Austin; S Jonathan Cyprien
23. Minnesota Vikings: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Minnesota must add another receiver to compliment Greg Jennings and replace Percy Harvin. Enter Tavon Austin, who Marshall Faulk of NFL Network recently described as “Percy Harvin and Wes Welker wrapped into one.”
Best Alternatives: WR DeAndre Hopkins; WR Keenan Allen
24. Indianapolis Colts: Alex Okafor, DE/OLB, Texas
After solidifying the secondary with the additions of LaRon Landry and Greg Toler and signing Gosder Cherlius to bolster the protection up front in the trenches for quarterback Andrew Luck, Indianapolis turns its attention to the pass rush. Alex Okafor is one of the premier pass-rushers and provides a big boost to the Colts’ D-Line, which just lost Dwight Freeney to free agency.
Best Alternatives: OG Larry Warford; DE/OLB Damontre Moore
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.
Best Alternatives: CB Johnthan Banks; LB Arthur Brown
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.
Best Alternatives: RB Eddie Lacy; DE Datone Jones
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.
Best Alternatives: WR DeAndre Hopkins; WR Justin Hunter
The Falcons are really hurting in two areas: defensive end and cornerback. The latter is a huge issue with Dunta Robinson gone and Brent Grimes appearing as though he’ll sign elsewhere. Desmond Trufant fills a need and happens to be one of the top players available.
28.Denver Broncos: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
The Broncos plan ahead and select cornerback Johnthan Banks. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will hit the open market next spring and Champ Bailey will also be due $9 million in a walk year. Mike Klis of the Denver Post also recently revealed that the Broncos are looking to follow Seattle’s model and acquire larger cornerbacks. The 6-2, 185-pound CB from Mississippi State should fit the bill.
Best Alternatives: DT Bennie Logan; DE/OLB Damontre Moore
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.
Best Alternatives: DT Jesse Williams; WR DeAndre Hopkins; Trade Down
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 four months ago.
Best Alternatives: CB Desmond Trufant; TE Tyler Eifert
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.
Best Alternatives: SS Jonathan Cyprien; CB Desmond Trufant
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.
Best Alternatives: WR DeAndre Hopkins; LB Arthur Brown
Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com. He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website. Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter. Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!