The 2013 NFL draft commences Thursday night from Radio City Music Hall.
The Minnesota Vikings have two picks in the opening round. The 23rd and 25th selections could net a very good player or a few very good trade options.
While the national experts peg wide receiver and cornerback as the biggest needs for the Vikings, the team actually needs a defensive tackle and linebacker more. The wide receiver and cornerbacks are still needs, but those can be filled in the second, third and fourth rounds.
The ideal draft for the Vikings would have the team selecting a defensive tackle and middle linebacker with its first two picks, whether they are both in the first round or one is in the first round and the other is early in the second round. The ideal draft would continue with a wide receiver and cornerback in the second and third rounds.
Every writer has a mock draft of how they think the first round will go or how they think the first round should go. Very few accurately predict more than a few selections. There is always a selection that comes out of nowhere that throws the rest of first round off for the experts. Also, it is impossible to predict trades, especially the ones at the end of the first round.
No. 1 – Kansas City Chiefs, OT Eric Fisher (pictured – No. 79)
The Chiefs have a new head coach, new management and new quarterback. Cornerstone left tackles are hard to find. The Chiefs have so many needs and there are so many players within the discussion of the top spot, that they can’t go wrong.
If I were GM of the Chiefs, I would take DE Dion Jordan, Oregon. No one, two or three players have separated themselves as the best player in the draft. The Chiefs can keep their starting left tackle while upgrading their pass rush.
No. 2 – Jacksonville Jaguars, OT Luke Joeckel
Joeckel and Eric Fisher are believed to be the top two players in the draft. With Fisher off the board, Joeckel it is. The Jaguars have so many holes that taking the best player will fill a need.
If I were GM of the Jaguars, I would take DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida. Floyd is a highly talented local product that will upgrade the defensive line.
No. 3 – Oakland Raiders, DT Sharrif Floyd
The Raiders have too many needs to pass on the best player on the board.
If I were GM of the Raiders, I would take OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan. The Raiders offensive line has been bad for awhile and getting a cornerstone left tackle is a must.
No. 4 – Philadelphia Eagles, DE/OLB Dion Jordan
New Eagles head coach Chip Kelly knows all about Jordan and his immense talent.
If I were GM of the Eagles, I would take OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma. With Jordan off the board, the Eagles can get the size and athleticism they need to run Kelly’s high-tempo offense.
No. 5 – Detroit Lions, OT Lane Johnson (pictured)
The Lions need to protect the backside of Matthew Stafford with Jeff Backus retiring. Getting the best offensive lineman on the board is a good move.
If I were GM of the Lions, I would take CB Dee Milliner, Alabama. The Lions need to get better in the secondary and getting the best corner is a good play.
No. 6 – Cleveland Browns, CB Dee Milliner
The best player on the board doesn’t necessarily fill a need, but pairing Milliner and Joe Haden together at corner sure is attractive.
If I were GM of the Browns, I would take DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU. The Browns have a solid corner, but need to get to the quarterback. Ansah is a project that could pay big dividends in a year or two.
No. 7 – Arizona Cardinals, G Chance Warmack
The Cardinals offensive line was as bad as anyone’s in the league last year, getting the best guard is a pretty good pick.
If I were GM of the Cardinals, I would take Warmack. See above.
No. 8 – Buffalo Bills, DE/OLB Ezekiel Ansah
The Bills can have a pretty good pass rusher to have opposite Mario Williams, if they don’t reach for a quarterback.
If I were GM of the Bills, I would take OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M. The Bills have had trouble protecting the blind side of their quarterback since they traded Jason Peters to the Eagles. Get the cornerstone left tackle, if possible.
No. 9 – New York Jets, WR Tavon Austin (pictured)
The Jets need playmakers on offense. A pass rusher is also in play, but there could be more pass rush options at No. 13 than receivers.
If I were GM of the Jets, I would take Austin. See above.
No. 10 – Tennessee Titans, G Jonathan Cooper
The Titans really struggled with their interior offensive line last season. Getting one of the two best guard prospects is a wise decision.
If I were GM of the Titans, I would take Cooper. See above.
No. 11 – San Diego Chargers, DT Star Lotulelei
The Chargers would like to get an offensive lineman, but getting the best available player is a better option, especially if that also fills a need.
If I were GM of the Chargers, I would take CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State. I would be happy with the pick of Lotulelei, but Rhodes is a physical, shutdown corner that can take away half the field.
No. 12 – Miami Dolphins, OT D.J. Fluker
The Dolphins don’t have many needs. But, following the departure of Jake Long, left tackle is one of them. Fluker is the best one on the board.
If I were GM of the Dolphins, I would take CB Desmond Trufant, Washington. The Dolphins should take the best player available and that is Trufant.
No. 13 – New York Jets, DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo (pictured – No. 49)
Most mock drafts have Mingo going to the Jets at nine, but there is a good chance he could still be there at 13.
If I were GM of the Jets, I would take TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame. The Jets have selected pass rushers before and they still need offensive playmakers. Eifert is too good to pass up.
No. 14 – Carolina Panthers, DT Sheldon Richardson
The Panthers did not have playmakers at defensive tackle. It was one of the worst teams at getting penetration up the middle.
If I were GM of the Panthers, I would take DT Star Lotulelei, Utah. Lotulelei is the best defensive tackle in the draft – if cleared of his heart condition.
No. 15 – New Orleans Saints, DE/OLB Jarvis Jones
The Saints have hired Rob Ryan to run the defense. They need a 3-4 edge rusher. Jones is pretty good.
If I were GM of the Saints, I would take DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo. Mingo is the best edge rusher in the draft.
No. 16 – St. Louis Rams, S Kenny Vaccaro
The Rams have a few needs that could be filled at this spot, but Vaccaro is the best and fills the most glaring need.
If I were GM of the Rams, I would take Vaccaro. See above.
No. 17 – Pittsburgh Steelers, TE Tyler Eifert (pictured)
The Steelers would be ecstatic to get a receiving playmaker like Eifert.
If I were GM of the Steelers, I would take DE/OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia. The Steelers are now suddenly thin on edge rushers.
No. 18 – Dallas Cowboys, CB Xavier Rhodes
The Cowboys could have a pretty good secondary with Rhodes in it.
If I were GM of the Cowboys, I would take LB Alec Ogletree, Georgia. The Cowboys need playmakers on defense and Ogletree is a special player.
No. 19 – New York Giants, CB D.J. Hayden
The Giants need to upgrade a number of areas on defense and they like to take corners in the first round.
If I were GM of the Giants, I would take DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina. Williams is a physical specimen. He can control the middle to let their pass rushers do their thing.
No. 20 – Chicago Bears, MLB Manti Te’o
The Bears need a replacement for Brian Urlacher. Te’o just feels like a perfect fit for the Bears.
If I were GM of the Bears, I would take Te’o. See above.
No. 21 – Cincinnati Bengals, CB Desmond Trufant (pictured – No. 6)
The secondary is deep in this draft. So the best player on the board will probably be a corner or safety.
If I were GM of the Bengals, I would take S Eric Reid, LSU. Reid is a playmaker that can take the deep pass away from their division rivals.
No. 22 – St. Louis Rams, WR Cordarrelle Patterson
The Rams need to get Sam Bradford some weapons and Patterson gets the most mention to be the second receiver off the board.
If I were GM of the Rams, I would take OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama. Fluker is the best player on the board and can give the Rams more options to protect their franchise quarterback.
No. 23 – Minnesota Vikings, DT Sylvester Williams
All the talk is that the Vikings need a cornerback or wide receiver. The truth is defensive tackle is a greater need and Williams could be one of the best players out of this draft.
If I were GM of the Vikings, I would take WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee. With the top defensive tackles off the board, Hunter is the next best player for the Vikings.
No. 24 – Indianapolis Colts, CB Jamar Taylor
The Colts can go a number of different ways, so grabbing a corner to compete with the division’s best is a good idea.
If I were GM of the Colts, I would take S Matt Elam, Florida. Elam may not have ideal height, but he is a true playmaker in the secondary.
No. 25 – Minnesota Vikings, QB Geno Smith (pictured)
The Vikings don’t need a quarterback, but a number of teams do. GM Rick Spielman has talked about the likelihood of the Vikings trading back with one of their first round picks. This is the time to do it. Someone will want Smith bad enough to pull the trigger.
If I were GM of the Vikings, I would take MLB Kevin Minter, LSU. If trading the pick is not an option, grab the best player. Minter is a sneaky good player that can start from day one.
No. 26 – Green Bay Packers, S Eric Reid
The Packers have tried to address its pass defense for several years. Getting one of the best playmakers in the secondary will help.
If I were GM of the Packers, I would take DT John Jenkins, Georgia. Jenkins is a mammoth defensive tackle that is the perfect fit in a 3-4 defense.
No. 27 – Houston Texans, WR Justin Hunter
The Texans need to upgrade its depth at receiver. When Andre Johnson speaks, the Texans better listen.
If I were GM of the Texans, I would take WR Keenan Allen, California. Allen may be the most talented receiver in the group, but poor workout numbers have hurt his stock.
No. 28 – Denver Broncos, DE/OLB Bjoern Werner
The Broncos need to replace Elvis Dumervil. That is about all. Werner is the best pass rusher left on the board.
If I were GM of the Broncos, I would take CB Jamar Taylor, Boise State. The Broncos looked bad when the Ravens were able to complete the game-tying touchdown in the AFC Championship game. Taylor will help ensure that doesn’t happen again.
No. 29 – New England Patriots, QB Ryan Nassib (pictured)
The Patriots do not have middle round picks. Bill Belichick likes to trade on draft day and is looking to add picks. Someone (the Bills) may get scared with Geno Smith already off the board.
If I were GM of the Patriots, I would take OL Justin Pugh, Syracuse. The Patriots need to upgrade their offensive line and Pugh presents some options.
No. 30 – Atlanta Falcons, LB Alec Ogletree
With the top corners off the board, there is no telling what the Falcons might do. Ogletree is the best player on the board, so why not?
If I were GM of the Falcons, I would take DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri. Again, the top corners are gone and the best player on the board is the best way to go.
No. 31 – San Francisco 49ers, S Jonathan Cyprien
The 49ers need to replace Dashon Goldson. It is between Cyprien and Elam. They couldn’t go wrong with either.
If I were GM of the 49ers, I would take Cyprien. See above, but Elam is already selected.
No. 32 – Baltimore Ravens, S Matt Elam
The Ravens need to replace Ed Reed. Elam is the best player available and fills the need.
If I were GM of the Ravens, I would take WR Robert Woods, USC. Woods is weapon for Joe Flacco. That is the way to go with the top players at need positions already taken.