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2013 Fourth Estate NFL mock Draft

Marques Eversoll, Jacob Westendorf, Alec Dopp and Dan Turczynski, Sports Writers
April 24, 2013
Filed under Sports

1. Kansas City Chiefs: OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M

Unfortunately for the Chiefs, there’s no clear-cut No. 1 pick this year. But still, the Chiefs will have the chance to add a franchise left tackle, and they’ll choose between Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel and Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher. Joeckel may not be Joe Thomas, but he should be a solid starter for the next 10 years.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE/OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon

The Jaguars’ defense ranked near the bottom of the league and suffers from a lack of playmakers. With new head coach Gus Bradley bringing the aggressive defense he used in Seattle, more pressure will be needed from the front seven. Dion Jordan, arguably the draft’s top player, will bring that when the Jaguars select him here.

3. Oakland Raiders: DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida

The Raiders are in desperate need of defensive line help after they released veterans Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly. Floyd would give the Raiders a formidable force on the defensive line to replace Kelly and Seymour. Floyd has a great first step and tremendous strength to go along with his speed at defensive tackle.

4. Philadelphia Eagles: QB Geno Smith, West Virginia

Smith probably isn’t worth the No. 4 pick, but the Eagles won’t be able to resist the temptation of what could be a future franchise quarterback. Michael Vick’s time is waning, and Nick Foles didn’t step up in his opportunity last season. With Smith, head coach Chip Kelly has the chance to run the dynamic, fast-paced offense he wants to employ in Philadelphia.

5. Detroit Lions: OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan

If Eric Fisher slides to No. 5, the Lions should take about five seconds to make their pick. The Lions have money tied up in quarterback Matt Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson, but they need to strengthen the offensive line if they want their passing game to remain effective. Fisher will step in and start at left tackle.

6. Cleveland Browns:CB Dee Milliner, Alabama

The Cleveland Browns spent money this offseason on OLB Paul Kruger in hopes of further fixing a defense that improved last year. Pairing Dee Milliner, this draft’s best defensive back, with Joe Haden would give the Browns a secondary to help compete against receivers in their division like AJ Green and Torrey Smith.

7. Arizona Cardinals: OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma

The Cardinals allowed the most sacks in the NFL last season and are desperate for offensive line help. Enter tackle Lane Johnson. If it weren’t for offensive tackles Luke Joeckel and Eric Fischer in the draft this season, Johnson could have been the best tackle available and has a chance to develop into an All-Pro player.

8. Buffalo Bills: QB Ryan Nassib, Syracuse

The Bills have a new head coach in Doug Marrone and a need for a franchise quarterback. What better way than to pair Marrone with Nassib? Both worked together last season at Syracuse University with Marrone at the helm and Nassib behind center. This would certainly be a surprise, but what would draft day be without surprises?

9. New York Jets: OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU

The Jets need help on both sides of the ball — badly. Barkevious Mingo would make sense as the No. 9 pick. He’d step in and be a rookie starter as a pass rusher. Mingo is the perfect fit for the Jets’ aggressive 3-4 scheme. If they decide to ignore the defense and go offense, matchup nightmare Tavon Austin is a possibility.

10. Tennessee Titans: DE Ziggy Ansah, BYU

The Titans defense was ravaged by injuries last season and finished at the bottom of the league. Ansah is raw but talented, and the Titans like to build their defense starting with the defensive line. After Jordan, Ansah could be the best pass rusher in this draft and makes sense for the Titans here.

11. San Diego Chargers: WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia

Phillip Rivers and the Chargers offense missed Vincent Jackson last season. Enter Tavon Austin. With his speed and route-running abilities, Austin is the best wide receiver in this draft. Austin has a similar skill set to Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin with the ability to take the ball the distance on every touch.

12. Miami Dolphins: DE Tank Carradine, Florida State

Though the Dolphins’ 42 sacks last season ranked seventh-best in the league, a youth movement on their defensive line is needed. Drafting Carradine to play opposite Cameron Wake at defensive end would slide Jared Odrick over to defensive tackle, giving Miami one of the best defensive front fours in the league.

13. New York Jets: DT Star Lotulelei, Utah

Concerns over his long-term health cooled Star Lotulelei’s draft stock, but he checked out medically and is once again considered a potential top-ten selection. The Jets got this pick from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for Darrelle Revis. After adding a pass rusher with their first pick, the Jets have found a massive defensive linemen to their front seven.

14. Carolina Panthers: DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri

The Panthers defense struggled since the departure of Julius Peppers three seasons ago. After spending money on defensive end Charles Johnson, adding a guy like Richardson in the middle would help them create more pressure against elite quarterbacks they see twice a year, like Matt Ryan and Drew Brees.

15. New Orleans Saints: S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas

The Saints are a potential Super Bowl contender with quarterback Drew Brees and their prolific offense. However, the weak link is their defensive play. Last season, the Saints ranked 31 in pass defense. Vaccaro has tremendous range and is a great playmaker, which would be an upgrade over aging safety Roman Harper.

16. St. Louis Rams: OG Chance Warmack, Alabama

One of the best guard prospects to ever grace the draft, Warmack would be an immediate impact along St. Louis’ offensive line. With Jake Long, Scott Wells, Harvey Dahl and Rodger Saffold already in place, Warmack’s presence would make for possibly the best front-five in the league.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia

If not for serious medical concerns regarding his spinal stenosis, Jarvis Jones would likely be a top-five pick in the draft. Jones will likely fall into the middle of the first round before a team like New Orleans or Pittsburgh ends his slide and sprints to the podium with the pick. He’s a natural replacement for James Harrison.

18. Dallas Cowboys: C/OG Johnathan Cooper, North Carolina

The Cowboys just gave quarterback Tony Romo a massive extension, but it won’t matter much if they can’t keep him upright. The Cowboys surrendered 36 sacks last season, and adding Cooper’s versatility would help aid that. Some teams have Cooper rated higher than fellow guard Chance Warmack, and he would be a day one starter for the Cowboys.

19. New York Giants: OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama

A season ago, the Giants were middle of the pack in rushing and solid up front, ranking No. 1 in sacks allowed with just 20 on the season. But Alabama’s D.J. Fluker would be too good to pass up at No. 19. Fluker is an animal and is great in the running game, and he’d step in and compete with incumbent starting right tackle David Diehl.

20. Chicago Bears: LB Arthur Brown, Kansas State

Brian Urlacher is gone, and something needs to be done about it. Brown lacks the ideal size for a middle linebacker, but he makes up for it with superb instincts and physicality. He hasn’t been much of a turnover-inducer in college, though his skills could make him one down the road. The Bears need a linebacker, and Brown is the best on the board.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: LB Alec Ogletree, Georgia

Off-field concerns cooled Ogletree’s draft stock. After serving a four-game suspension his senior year at Georgia, Ogletree was arrested for a drunken drivin in February. But while most teams tend to knock players for such character concerns, the Cincinnati Bengals seem to simply turn their head.

22. St. Louis Rams: S Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International – From Washington

After adding Chance Warmack with their first pick, the Rams use this selection on the little-known safety from Florida International. What he lacks in notability, he makes up for with physicality and coverage skills. Cyprien is the second-best safety in this class after Kenny Vaccaro and would give the Rams another piece in the secondary.

23. Minnesota Vikings: MLB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame

Perhaps the most scrutinized and talked about prospect in this years’ NFL draft, Te’o had a great college career, minus the National Championship game. Te’o brings a physical style of play that the Vikings have been missing at linebacker. The Vikings moved Erin Henderson to weak side linebacker opening up a vacancy at middle linebacker. Te’o is a great leader,       – and his play recognition is second to none.

24. Indianapolis Colts: CB Desmond Trufant, Washington

The Colts aren’t overly talented defensively, and their cornerback depth chart leaves something to be desired.  Drafting the 6-foot, 190-pound Trufant would be ideal with this pick. He would help neutralize AFC South receivers such as Andre Johnson, Justin Blackmon and Kenny Britt. After already adding safety LaRon Landry this offseason, the Colts’ secondary would be much improved.

25. Minnesota Vikings: WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee – From Seattle

Although raw and inexperienced, Cordarrelle Patterson has a set of physical skills that could one day turn him into one of the most dangerous receivers in the league. And even after adding former Packers receiver Greg Jennings, the Vikings are in desperate need of wide receivers. Minnesota continues to upgrade its supporting cast around quarterback Christian Ponder.

26. Green Bay Packers: DE Datone Jones, UCLA

The Packers season ended prematurely partially due to a lack of playmakers along the defensive line. Outside of BJ Raji and Ryan Pickett, no Packers defensive lineman was able to make a consistent impact. And with Pickett in the last year of his contract and 2012 second-round pick Jerel Worthy sustaining a major knee injury late last season, the Packers would be wise to select Jones to address their biggest need with their first pick.

27. Houston Texans: WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee

The Texans have been looking to put another weapon on the opposite side of star wide receiver Andre Johnson for the last several seasons. At 6-feet-4-inches and 200 pounds, Hunter is a big, physical wide receiver that is capable of playing in the slot as well. Hunter might be a surprise if he is taken in the first round, but if the Texans get their hands on him, defenses should look out in 2013.

28. Denver Broncos: CB D.J. Hayden, Houston

No player’s stock has risen more than the 5-foot-11-inch, 191-pound Hayden’s over the past few weeks and with good reason. He is a physical corner with great skills in man-coverage, something the Broncos want with veteran cornerback Champ Bailey’s time running out. With Hayden, Denver’s defense takes another huge step in the right direction.

29. New England Patriots: CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State

As is typically the case, the Patriots could go a number of different directions in the draft. They have one of the best rosters in the NFL, but by adding a couple impact defenders, the Patriots could get back to their Super Bowl-winning ways. Xavier Rhodes is an elite athlete with the versatility to play cornerback or safety, much like Devin McCourty.

30. Atlanta Falcons: DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State

The Atlanta Falcons finally got over the hump by winning their first playoff game in the Matt Ryan era but fell one play short of the Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers. The Falcons went out and added Steven Jackson to a core on offense that includes Ryan, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and budding star Julio Jones. The Falcons, however, have lost some of their punch on defense, pairing Bjoern Werner with free agent acquisition Osi Umenyiora would help add to a pass rush that was non-existent in both playoff games last season.

31. San Francisco 49ers: TE Tyler Eiffert, Notre Dame

This might be a head-scratcher to some, and you might be asking yourself why the 49ers would want another tight end when they have arguably the best tight end in the NFL in Vernon Davis? The 49ers lost back up tight end Delanie Walker in free agency and need to replace him. Adding another weapon for quarterback Colin Kaepernick would be great for the 49ers. And if Eiffert is available at No. 31, the 49ers will not hesitate to pick him.

32. Baltimore Ravens: S Matt Elam, Florida

The Ravens need a young safety to help make up for vacancy after Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard signed elsewhere. They signed former Raiders safety Michael Huff but need someone to play alongside him. Elam could be the guy for the job. He’s a bit undersized for the position, but his physicality and instincts at the position are on par with the best safeties in this year’s draft class.