Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
1. Kansas City
Player Selection: Geno Smith - QB - West Virginia
Notes: It's no secret that the Chiefs have a number of holes to fill, and assuming they retain OT Brendan Albert, their biggest will be at QB, where the high-priced Matt Cassel has been a huge disappointment. In Smith, the Chiefs would have an athletic, strong-armed signal-caller with size, accuracy and good pocket presence. Andy Reid would have a franchise QB to build around from year one.
Player Selection: Bjoern Werner - DE - Florida State
Notes: The Jags had an NFL-low 20 total sacks as a defense in 2012, and Werner may be the most technically-sound edge rusher in the draft. He's not the athlete that Mingo or Jarvis Jones are, but he's stronger, can play the run, and flashes an array of secondary moves that should translate to quick success at the next level. Having Werner lined up opposite Jason Babin, the Jags' pass-rush woes could turn around relatively quickly in 2013.
Player Selection: Barkevious Mingo - DE/OLB - LSU
Notes: The Raiders, like the Jaguars, really struggled to get to opposing QBs in 2012 (25 sacks - 31st in the league), and sorely crave more speed at the edges. Mingo is a fascinating prospect, possessing extremely rare flexibility, speed, length and surprising power for his size. He has dropped in some mocks, due to underwhelming 2012 numbers, but recent success of guys like Aldon Smith - who experienced similar production drop-off the year prior to coming out - should have him near the top of many NFL boards once they get a closer look at the tape.
Player Selection: Luke Joeckel - OT - Texas A&M
Notes: With the Eagles front office hitting the reset button, and considering the injury to Jason Peters, there's no better player available to fill a need here, than Joeckel. Assuming Joeckel comes out, the Eagles would get a future All-Pro caliber talent here, whose combination of size, athleticism and strong technique make him a day one starter in Philly.
Player Selection: Damontre Moore - DE - Texas A&M
Notes: Though the Lions would hope to upgrade their defensive unit, they're left to fill a need here, assuming they lose Cliff Avril (9.5 sacks in '12) to free agency. Damontre Moore is a relentless, high-motor competitor who may lack elite get-off and speed, but makes up for it with sound technique, good flexibility and strong closing burst.
Player Selection: Jarvis Jones - OLB/DE - Georgia
Notes: The Browns are in need of an explosive pass-rushing presence to come off the edge, and Jones would be an immediate upgrade. He may lack an elite first step, but he flashes a wide array of secondary moves, and is an explosive closer. He can also cover and play the run, providing the versatility to stay on the field in any situation.
Player Selection: Matt Barkley - QB - USC
Notes: Arizona's biggest weakness in 2012 was at quarterback, where Kevin Kolb hasn't lived up to his contract, John Skelton took significant steps backwards, and Ryan Lindley simply couldn't keep up with the speed of the game. Barkley possesses the intangibles you look for in a franchise QB, and although he's not they eye-popping athlete or rifle arm that you'd like him to be at No. 7, he's an immediate upgrade with good mechanics, poise and a natural ability to lead.
Player Selection: Lane Johnson - OT - Oklahoma
Notes: The Bills take a step to bolster their front line here, as free agent guard Andy Levitre probably opts to hit the road in free agency. This may not be all bad though, as the Bills may already have their future left guard on the roster, in 2012 rookie left tackle Cordy Glenn. I was one who had Glenn projected best as a guard coming out last year, and the selection of Johnson here allows new head coach Doug Marrone to move the former Georgia Bulldog to his rightful spot, and upgrade the blind side with a more ideal tackle in the athletic Johnson, who is still raw and learning to play the position, but has exhibited an ability to learn quickly and has big-time upside.
9. New York Jets
Player Selection: Dion Jordan - OLB - Oregon
Notes: You could write down the names of the best player available at each position, tape them all to a dart board, blindfold Rex Ryan, give him a dart, tell him to throw, and the name he hit would probably be the right pick. That's how bad this Jets roster is. While the QB position has received the majority of the criticism, there simply isn't a high enough value here to upgrade it, and it shouldn't be overlooked that the Jets managed only 30 sacks on defense in 2012. Dion Jordan possesses a rare length-speed combo with a high ceiling, and has double-digit sack potential, with experience coming off the edge in a 3-4 scheme.
Player Selection: Chance Warmack - OG - Alabama
Notes: The Titans aren't getting any younger up front, and they ranked 21st both in running the football, and in protecting their QB (39 sacks surrendered). They need to get younger and more athletic up front if they're going to put Chris Johnson and Jake Locker in position to succeed, and Warmack is the best interior lineman in the 2013 crop. His combination of athleticism and power, to go with an extremely physical style of play, will give the Titans an enforcer and day-one elite talent up front, to build around for years to come.
11. San Diego
Player Selection: Dee Milliner - CB - Alabama
Notes: Quentin Jammer is done in San Diego, and even if he weren't, the Chargers would need to significantly upgrade the corner spot. Milliner can press or play off, and possesses the size and physicality that NFL coaches covet at the position. Would be a day-one starter with relatively quick Pro Bowl capability. Left tackle is another huge need, but Milliner is the best player available here.
Player Selection: Sheldon Richardson - DT - Mizzou
Notes: Randy Starks would be a notable loss in free agency, but a rare talent like Richardson could replace Starks' production relatively quickly. His impressive combination of quickness and power enable him to beat opposing blockers in a variety of different ways, and give him true double-digit sack potential out of the gate.
13. Tampa Bay
Player Selection: Xavier Rhodes - CB - Florida State
Notes: Rhodes is a physical press-corner who can play the ball, and is good against the run. He's not a burner, but his physicality at the line puts him in position to make plays consistently. The Bucs gave up more yards through the air in 2012 than any other team, so Rhodes would be a welcomed addition to the press-heavy Tampa D-backfield that saw its corners abused far too often.
Player Selection: Cordarelle Patterson - WR - Tennessee
Notes: Steve Smith isn't getting any faster, and while Brandon LaFell has shown some nice things since coming into the league, he's not the game-breaker that the Panthers had in Smith for so long. Patterson may be the most physically gifted athlete of the WRs in this year's group, and has elite big-play potential. Other WRs like Terrance Williams or Keenan Allen are viewed by many as safer picks here, but the rare skill set of Patterson, and the big arm of Cam Newton could be a deadly combo for years to come.
15. New Orleans
Player Selection: Sam Montgomery - DE - LSU
Notes: Will Smith will almost certainly be gone in light of his bulky contract, and Montgomery has the size and athleticism to be a double-digit sack artist at the next level.
16. St. Louis
Player Selection: Keenan Allen - WR - California
Notes: The Rams like what they saw out of rookie Chris Givens this year, but Brian Quick was a huge disappointment. Allen has true No. 1 potential, and would give Sam Bradford a big, athletic target to compete with the physical DBs of Seattle, Arizona and San Francisco in the NFC West.
Player Selection: Alec Ogletree - ILB - Georgia
Notes: The Steelers have built their identity on playing physical and big up the middle, but they took some steps backward this year in terms of linebacker play. Larry Foote struggled mightily, and he's certainly not getting any younger. Ogletree plays with the toughness and physicality to uphold the Pittsburgh tradition, but also possesses instincts and fluidity in coverage to upgrade the pass defense right away.
Player Selection: Sharrif Floyd - DT - Florida
Notes: The Cowboys will be moving to a 4-3 now with Monte Kiffin coming on as the new defensive coordinator, and they'll need another talented defensive tackle to put alongside Jay Ratliff. You'll see Floyd rise up boards as the draft nears, and as scouts begin to study tape more thoroughly. Two things are evident immediately when you zero in on Floyd - he's quick, and he's powerful. I project him to be able to line up at either of the inside positions, and even flip out to the 5-technique on run plays.
19. New York Giants
Player Selection: Star Lotulelei - DT - Utah
Notes: The Giants have done a great job of stock-piling edge rushers who have the versatility to move inside on passing downs. However, they've struggled to generate consistent pressure up the middle on early downs, and Lotulelei is a fascinating interior prospect. Though inconsistent, he possesses perhaps the strongest combination of size and athleticism in the class, and has potential to be a devastating force for a lot of years.
Player Selection: Eric Fisher - OT - Central Michigan
Notes: Fisher may drop to 20 (or lower), but he has the talent of a top-10 pick and would be a great grab for a pass-pro needy Bears team here. Chicago's inability to consistently protect Jay Cutler, and its run-blocking woes would both be addressed in picking up the Senior out of Central Michigan.
Player Selection: Ezekiel Ansah - DE - BYU
Notes: The Bengals may lose breakout DE Michael Johnson to free agency, but could replace him with the similarly built BYU lineman here. Ansah reminds some scouts of Jason Pierre-Paul in terms of his raw athleticism and length, but, again similar to Johnson, he'll need time to develop, as his football experience is limited.
22. St. Louis
Player Selection: Barrett Jones - OL - Alabama
Notes: (Pick acquired from WAS) The Rams address another big need here with the versatile Jones, who can line up anywhere along the O-line, and whose instincts and toughness would be a huge upgrade to both the passing and running games.
Player Selection: Terrance Williams - WR - Baylor
Notes: The Vikings' lack of weapons in the passing game hampered them severely this season. Percy Harvin is at his best when he's lined up inside, and Williams possesses the size and separation to become a primary target at the next level.
Player Selection: Jonathan Banks - CB - Mississippi State
Notes: The Colts should look to get bigger and more physical at the corner spot, and Banks would fill the need here. He's explosive when asked to close on the ball, but also possesses the length and physicality to press and mirror. He's not a burner, so he'll need to continue to play physical, if he's to consistently keep up with NFL WRs on the outside.
Player Selection: Khaseem Greene - OLB - Rutgers
Notes: If the Seahawks had a glaring weakness on defense in 2012 outside of their pass-rush, it was at the weak-side linebacker spot where Leroy Hill is aging, and the young Malcolm Smith has been inconsistent. Greene is rated by many as a 2nd round prospect, due mostly to perceived size limitations. However, at 6'1, 234lbs, there shouldn't be any hesitation from a Seattle front office that craves Greene's versatility (former safety) and physical style of play. Greene recovered from a gruesome broken leg in 2011, to post 125 tackles, 10.5 TFLs, 5.5 sacks and a whopping 6 forced fumbles in 2012. A play-maker with the toughness and instincts of Greene would be a welcomed addition to a young, aggressive Seattle defense that may be one player away from being the most dominant in the league for a while.
26. Green Bay
Player Selection: Jonathan Hankins - DT - Ohio State
Notes: The Packers need to get stronger and quicker up front, on both sides of the football. Hankins is an impressive athlete for his size, and possesses all the natural tools of a dominant NFL interior lineman. His instincts are questionable though, and on tape, he doesn't exhibit the greatest effort consistently. The height of his ceiling may simply be too tough to pass on here at the end of round one, as he clearly has the potential to be something special.
Player Selection: Robert Woods - WR - USC
Notes: Outside of the aging Andre Johnson, the Texans don't have a receiver with No. 1 potential, and 2013 boasts a strong class of big-play WRs. Woods isn't the eye-popping athlete that Patterson or Hopkins are, but he possesses good size, runs some of the best routes in the class, can play the ball in the air and has tremendous hands and catch radius.
Player Selection: Sylvester Williams - DT - North Carolina
Notes: With Bannan and Vickerson up for free agency at the end of the season, the Broncos should look to bolster the interior D-line with some young, athletic talent, and Williams could be a great fit. He's big and powerful, but also possesses quickness to get upfield and disrupt QBs.
Player Selection: Kevin Minter - LB - LSU
Notes: With Ray Lewis set to call it quits after the 2012 postseason, the Ravens will need an incumbent to hold down the middle, and while Minter doesn't possess eye-popping measurables or athleticism, he's instinctive, tough and possesses a motor that rivals anyone in the class. Minter is not "elite" in any one area, but no glaring weaknesses to speak of.
30. San Francisco
Player Selection: DeAndre Hopkins - WR - Clemson
Notes: The 49ers can't live on Michael Crabtree alone, and last year's No. 1 pick A.J. Jenkins was all but abscent for the entire '12 season. Hopkins would give the ‘Niners a much needed dynamic play-making threat at the position. Maybe then, Jenkins could settle in where the tape from last year showed he fits best anyway - as a 3rd option. Oh, and Randy Moss could finally retire.
31. New England
Player Selection: Tavon Austin - WR - W. Virginia
Notes: With Wes Welker a free agent, Austin may be a great fit for the infamous New England slot position. Although a completely different athlete than Welker, Austin has the make-you-miss ability in open space that the Pats haven't had in their WR corps. Where Welker has made a living off crisp, sudden routes and the intelligence to identify and sit down in space, Austin is a bit raw as a route runner, but would be a huge upgrade after the catch, and a true game-breaker to stretch defenses, and give Brady a much-needed vertical option.
Player Selection: Jordan Reed - TE - Florida
Notes: Tony Gonzales says he's retiring at the end of the season, and Reed fits the athletic "move" tight end mold that Gonzales has embodied for so long. With Eifert and Ertz still on the board here, Atlanta opts for the best athlete, and the most versatile receiver of the available tight ends, despite his shortcomings as a blocker.
Derek also runs a Seahawks-centric draft, free agency, & pro player personnel site called "ScoutTheSeahawks." Head over and bookmark it - he maintains a really great free agent tracker in addition to his Draft focus that is much more in-depth than most places because of his background doing deep scouting of NFL Draft prospects.