I am going to give you my predictions for this year’s first round in the NFL Draft. Lots of picks are a toss up and who knows how it will play out, which will certainly make this interesting. I know I can’t wait for it and hope that I can get some of these picks right. Here’s how I think this year’s first round will play out.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Pretty much the only lock in this draft in my opinion. Joeckel can be one of the best ever at this position and a piece Andy Reid certainly wants to get. KC has made a lot of off season additions and making the offensive line better to protect their new addition in Alex Smith is a must and a need for them.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars:Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
A guy that has really stood out, and with no quarterbacks worth taking at this point, might as well get a guy who can protect what ever you are going to have back there. That’s the only way to better the poor QB situation they are in at this point.
3. Oakland Raiders: Shariff Floyd, DT, Florida
Raiders need some help all over and a good place to start is the interior and build outwards. Floyd will be that nasty inside guy to set the tone for the defense. He is more of a run stuffer and doesn’t give as much help on the pass rushing side of it, but his presence will improve their defense all the way around.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dion Jordan, DE/LB, Oregon
Jordan is a speed rusher that can really make plays all over the field and make a living in the backfield of opposing offenses. Makes sense for two reasons, Eagles need some defensive help and a pass rusher would be huge for them, and Chip Kelly will want his former player playing for him. It’s the perfect match.
5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Best DB in the draft and the best value at this point, Lions have to take advantage of this one. He can cover, tackle and make tremendous plays on the ball in the air and rightfully so compared to as the next Darrelle Revis, yeah, Lions you have to take him.
6. Cleveland Browns: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Best guard in the draft and with Jordan and Milliner off the board, the Browns will look to bolster their offensive line filling another need they have. No reason to take a QB, just try to go with what you got now and improve that situation by improving your protection situation.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
There is always a first round reach or two and this is where I see it happening. Cardinals are desperate for a QB and will want to grab Geno Smith before he winds up in the grasps of another team later in the first round. Geno can make all the throws, but the questions are can he do that consistently and lead an offense in the NFL. I think his stock is higher because it’s a weak QB class but we’ll get a chance to see what he can pretty early on in his career.
8. Buffalo Bills: Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
Here would be my other first round reach and this one a little bigger than the previous one. In a draft with a less than stellar QB class, I predict two will be taken in the top 10 simply because the need is too great for these two teams to pass up. Plus reports are Bills love this local guy.
9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
The first of the Jets two first round picks will be used on a guy to help bolster their defense. Mingo can be the deadly pass rusher on the outside to help bring back the tenacity that this defense once had.
10. Tennessee Titans: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
A steal at this point if he falls this fall, Johnson is the third best tackle in the draft but not far off the top two. He would fill a need at offensive line for the Titans that need it to help protect their oft-injured QB Jake Locker.
11. San Diego Chargers: Johnathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
The second best guard in the draft and a guy that is needed to help keep Phillip Rivers upright. If they can add him, it would certainly boost their offensive line and could help Rivers become a better, more consistent QB.
12. Miami Dolphins: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
A big nasty offensive tackle that has a big wing span and can move guys all over the field. All the fancy Dolphin off season additions cover many of their needs but still leave offensive tackle as a must. Fluker, as you see pitcured left, is a big physical presence that the Dolphins could really use to protect their young budding star Ryan Tannenhill. That’s why they will pull the trigger on Fluker.
13. New York Jets (from Tampa Bay in Revis trade): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The run of offensive lineman are over and the Jets get the most explosive player in the draft. They have to take him at this point to have a guy to add some excitement to an anemic offense and give Sanchez some help because as of right now, Sanchez is still the guy. Adding a star on defense and offense already would easily give the Jets a leg up on the best draft, can’t believe I’m actually saying that.
14. Carolina Panthers: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
A big physical corner that are all the rage now a days. Carolina must nab him to improve their porous secondary and be able to contend with the other NFC South teams and their true number one receivers. He would be a big addition to helping improve their overall pass defense.
Yes, this is where I think he will fall, forgive me Falcons’ fans but it is the best fit and pick for the Saints at this time, taking one of your own and using him and against you. Jones gives them the ferocious pass rusher on the outside and a guy that can disrupt offenses’ rhythm. He’ll be fine from the spine issues and the Saints will come away with one of the biggest steals in the draft.
16. St. Louis Rams: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
An extremely talented but raw specimen is Patterson. He is electrifying and if he can improve on his hands and route running he could really be a dangerous wide receiver in the NFL. Bradofrd needs a target like this to stretch the field and really open up the offense. This would be the ideal selection for the Rams who need a playmaker on offense especially after losing Danny Amendola and Steven Jackson.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
A major need for the Pittsburgh Steelers because they don’t have very much on the back in at corner. A bit of a reach but if they don’t get him now they won’t ever get him. A fast, solid man to man corner that can help in going up against those true number one receivers, aka AJ Green twice a year. He also brings some spunk and tenacity to an aging Pittsburgh team that needs it.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas
Jerry Jones is going to keep this guy in state for sure if he falls this far. An outstanding safety and the best in the draft, Dallas has to pounce on this opportunity. He can cover, hit, track the ball in the air and just do it all. They need a guy like this because they have consistently had a weakness at safety ever since Roy Williams retired.
19. New York Giants: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
A really good defensive tackle that really got tested this past season in the SEC and made him more prepared for the NFL than he will ever be. A solid pass rusher and run stopper, Richardson would help a defensive line that needs it with Justin Tuck really slipping lately.
20. Chicago Bears: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
An outside or inside linebacker, Ogletree would fill the void left by the releasing of Brian Urlacher. If he can straighten out his off the field issues Ogletree has the chance to be a really good one. He can run like a safety and hit like a linebacker. Only other questions are taking on blocks consistently and block shedding but he’ll get more coaching on that in the NFL. His ability to cover tight ends and run down running backs makes him a very valuable commodity.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Johnathan Cyprien, SS, Florida International
A guy that has flown up draft boards in the past months, Cyprien can make all the plays and really be a help in the run game. A big hitter and guy with solid ball skills, he could most definitely help the Bengal defense on the back end.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington in RGIII deal): Eric Reid, FS, LSU
Another good safety and the second best free safety in the draft, Reid is a playmaker on defense. Rams get their playmaker on offense and now defense with Reid. Reid got all the seasoning of playing in the SEC and now is ready for the big time. He can hit, cover receivers and tight ends and make plays on the ball in the air. This would certainly fill a secondary need for the Rams.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
I have him falling this far because all though he has stood out in college for a season and recently in the combine, he still is very raw and I don’t see teams taking the risk when there are more sure things ahead. Even still it is a great pick at this point for the Vikings who could add him to the other side of Jared Allen and have a dominant pass rushing attack.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Bjoern Warner, DE, Florida State
Forget about him? At one point predicted as high as going number two overall but has fallen because others have risen above. The Colts will gladly take that as they can add a power defensive end to help their pass rush and run stopping defense. Warner is big, and nasty and is effective in both the pass and run situations. So ends the Freeney era, now begins the Bjoern Warner era.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle in Percy Harvin trade): Manti Teo, ILB, Notre Dame
Yes, here he is, the infamous one himself. Avery tumultuous ending to his career in college and very below average performance in his combine showing. Better in his pro day but still fell farther than he was projected before the national championship game. He is strictly an inside backer that is smart and can get into the right position to make the play, always finds himself around the ball and can get into position to make the tackle.
26. Green Bay Packers: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
The best back in the draft, Lacy has power and great ball carrier vision. He isn’t the fastest back and he’s a bit banged up but he knows how to follow his blockers and he is extremely difficult to bring down. Cedric Benson is supposed to be coming back and be healthy but who knows at this point, if they add Lacy then at worst they have two stout backs to add to their already dangerous aerial attack.
27. Houston Texans: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
I think the better of the two receivers at this point is Justin Hunter. He is around 6’4 and can snatch the ball out of the air. He has great leaping ability and body control. The Texans would love to add him to the other side of Johnson and if they do, this guy could be really special for them.
28. Denver Broncos: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
In the draft there is always someone who falls far and farther than expected and that guy for me is Lotulelei. Reasons, because he has the health issues, even though he has been cleared, that teams are going to be leery about. Not the Broncos though, they want to improve their defensive line and if he falls this far believe me they will grab him up and instantly plug him in at nose tackle.
29. New England Patriots: Johnathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Banks is another big physical corner that could come right in a start. He can lock up one on one and has the physicality bred into him from playing in the SEC that he would make a great fit on any NFL defense. In this case that is a Patriots defense that always plays with a make shift secondary and with this guy, they can rely on him to be a corner-stone on one side.
The Falcons will be adding another weapon for their already stout offense. Eifert is the best tight end in the draft and has the potential to be one of the best on the game. He has great hands, he can jump, uses his body well against defenders and he can block. This pick is Atlanta getting the heir apparent to Tony Gonzalez, but don’t be surprised to see him splash onto the scene right away and make a name for himself early.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
Although kicker is a huge need, they won’t likely spend their first round pick on a kicker. I see them getting a big force in the middle like Williams to just flat-out clog up the middle. He would just consume blocks and let the Smith tandem on the outside thrive getting to the quarterback.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Matt Elam, SS, Florida
I think the Ravens will be looking to start this draft by adding a talented guy in the defensive secondary to begin to fill the void of Ed Reed. Yes, Redd is more of a FS and Elam is a SS, but Elam possess some of the same skill set as Reed does. He can hit, make plays on the ball in the air and help out in both the run and the pass. He also brings a defensive nastiness that the Ravens like to have on their defense. He fills a definite need right away for the Ravens.
Well there you have it, my predictions for the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Let me know what you think and let me hear your input. Should be filled with lots of surprises and more trades than are shown here, but we’ll have to wait and see, we can only predict picks as we know it right now, had to predict trades. All I know is I am ready for the draft, I can’t wait. I’m ready to post up and watch as much as possible. Kansas City, you are on the clock..