By Connor Rogers, Staff Writer
The official draft order is set and the combine is approaching fast. Let’s take a look at where some of college’s best prospects are projected to come off the board during the 2013 NFL draft.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Every analyst associated with the draft is claiming no quarterback stand’s out in this year’s draft, but Smith most likely has the most potential. The Chiefs need a franchise quarterback and with new management in town they’ll be looking to solve this problem sooner than later. Another option here could be Texas A&M’s OT Luke Joeckel.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Jones has been medically cleared from his spinal injury and will most likely light up the combine. He’s the best pure pass rushing playmaker in the draft and would be an absolute steal if he slides out of the top five. The Jaguars have needs everywhere and need to draft the best talent possible.
3. Oakland Raiders: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
The Raiders desperately need help at outside linebacker since the departure of Kamerion Wimbley. Jordan’s game isn’t overwhelming but his hybrid ability will fit nicely into the Raiders scheme. He can rush the passer and help immensely in coverage, a combination most prospect’s in this draft don’t have.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Joeckel could easily be the top pick in this draft, that’s how good he is. He play’s at an elite level at an impact position. The Eagles would be thrilled to land him here, but there’s a bigger picture to look at: for the first time in his career, Mike Vick would have superb pocket protection.
5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Milliner is the clear cut best corner in this years draft and that happen’s to be a need the Lions have overlooked for quite some time. They can solve their inside linebacker hole in free agency or later rounds. The only other direction I see them going here is a pass rusher like Bjoern Werner to fill a defensive end spot.
6. Cleveland Browns: Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
The Browns are another team that needs pass rush and will take advantage of the plethora of rusher’s in this draft class. I’ve seen Moore’s stock range from the top three picks to the end of round one, but his numbers and game type alone make him top ten worthy. His combine will be vital for his official draft stock.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Cardinals, much like the Eagles, are a team that has to take a tackle in this spot. Their protection is atrocious and they are in a perfect spot to grab a franchise tackle. Fisher might just be as good as Joeckel, the only thing holding him back is the level of competition he faced.
8. Buffalo Bills: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
I’ll stand by my statement I made months ago: If Lotulelei slides this far, the Bills will be ecstatic. Possibly the best overall player in the draft, he’d help the Bills run defense which has been the worst in the league.
9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
The Jets will most likely have a vacancy at both OLB spots, a position that is vital in Rex Ryan’s defensive scheme. They need a player that can rush off the edge now that former first round picks Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples are proving their worth as interior rushers. Mingo has all the potential in the world and fits their scheme perfectly.
10. Tennessee Titans: Bjoern Werner, DE, FSU
Former first round pick Derrick Morgan has not panned out as expected, leaving the Titans with a question mark at defensive end. If a talent like Werner slides this far, Tennessee will certainly jump at the bit to grab him.
11. San Diego Chargers: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
My gut feeling is that the Chargers will look to solve their offensive line problems in free agency, using the draft to bolster up the front seven. Hankins is severely underrated and could step right in at nose tackle for San Diego.
12. Miami Dolphins: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Miami is never afraid to reach for a player they deem as a need (Ted Ginn, Pat White, Ryan Tannehill). With Jake Long looking less likely to return, Lane Johnson would fit nicely on Miami’s offensive line, especially after an impressive Senior Bowl.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
This is a bit of a reach as I personally feel the Buccaneers trade out of this spot, but their desperate for help at the corner position. They’d love to find a way to land Dee Milliner, but Trufant is the next best cover corner in this draft. Another possibility could be Johnthan Banks from Mississippi State.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Richardson is an absolute monster up front and would really make a difference in Carolina’s front seven. Luke Keuchly could use a disruptive force in front of him to create space and Richardson fit’s perfectly for that role.
15. New Orlean Saints: Ezekial Ansah, DE, BYU
Ansah has dramatically improved his stock in the past year. He was virtually unknown his sophomore and junior seasons, but had a very nice senior year. He’s the prototypical size for a pass rusher (6-5, 274) and has all the potential in the world, much like many late bloomers. The Saints will be looking for the best pass rusher available at pick fifteen.
16. St. Louis Rams: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
Warmack’s landing spot is one of the biggest draft mysteries. He’s a top 5 talent on the big board playing at a position most will not consider an impact/premium spot. The Rams need to stock up on elite talent and won’t pass it up this deep into the first round.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee