Everyone has their own opinion – especially hardcore fans – on what NFL teams should do in the draft. Some think the franchise should address the biggest need, while others recommend selecting the best player available when your icon is on the ticker.
Let's start at the end of the first round, where the Texans will select. Houston doesn't have any gaping holes on this roster, but they do have one need that has to be filled. Andre Johnson needs help and I think this is the year the Texans finally heed the call. Tavon Austin out of West Virginia may not fall to pick No. 32, but this is the guy Houston should target, even if they have to trade up to get him.
The Falcons aren't lacking much, but they do have one position that needs to be upgraded. Mike Smith is a great defensive minded coach and he needs a field general out there. C.J. Mosely out of Alabama would be a perfect fit in Atlanta. The SEC has pumped out some really good linebackers in recent years (just look at New England's corps) and Mosely fits the bill.
Denver is a team that has done better than many thought. The addition of Peyton Manning was one of the best offseason moves of all time. That being said, there is one position that I feel needs to be addressed. Champ Bailey isn't getting any younger and the Broncos should think about getting a young corner that can learn under Bailey. Xavier Rhodes, if available, would be a nice fit in Denver. I don't think John Elway will reach on a corner though and if Rhodes isn't available they will likely take the best player on the board.
Jumping down the list a bit, we fall on Chicago. The Bears have plummeted since starting the year 7-1 and currently sit at No. 23. Jay Cutler has spent too much time on the ground this season, which is why the Bears should add a few players to the offensive line in this draft. I feel the linebackers available in the first round might be too good to pass up though. Chicago needs to start thinking about replacing Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher to keep that defense looking good. One player that I feel will fall in the draft is Jarvis Jones, and if he's on the board when Chicago picks, I think they'll grab him rather than the best offensive linemen available.
The defending Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants, have fallen flat in recent weeks. They have played so inconsistently it is hard to point out the biggest need on the roster. Some believe the Giants will select a tight end in the first round, but I think getting a pass rusher would be more beneficial. They've had trouble getting to the quarterback down the stretch of the season and a guy like Sam Montgomery or Dion Jordan could be the right choice for the G-Men.
St. Louis – as of now – is the only team with two picks in the first round, Nos. 16 and 20 respectfully. The Rams desperately need to get a stud on the offensive line and I believe they'll do so with their second pick, grabbing either Taylor Lewan of Michigan or Jonathan Cooper out of UNC. With pick 16 the Rams should nab Keenan Allen, the best receiver in the class. He is coming off an injury, but the Rams need a wide receiver. If Miami takes Allen a few picks ahead of them, look for them to alter plans a bit, probably taking an offensive lineman instead.
One team that has been in the headlines all season will continue to make news in the draft. The Jets don't seem to have a game plan and never seem to please the franchise's fans in attendance. Look for New York to grab linebacker Barkevious Mingo out of LSU, solely based on his name. They do need a younger backer though, so Mingo makes a lot of sense here.
As for the top three picks in the draft, not too much has changed. Oakland sits at No. 3 and I feel they still address the defense. The one thing that has changed from my last mock draft is who they select. Jumping up a few picks I see the Raiders grabbing Heisman Trophy Finalist Manti Te'o from Notre Dame. He had an amazing year and helped the Irish get to the National Championship game. Oakland needs a playmaker on defense and Te'o is a leader that this team desperately needs.
Jacksonville hasn't had the best luck in the draft when selecting defensive ends. I feel they'll roll the dice again in 2013 by taking either Damontre Moore out of Texas A & M or Bjoern Werner from Florida State. The Jags could use Moore at either the end or outside linebacker, so he gives them some versatility. Werner would also be an instant upgrade as well. Jacksonville has recorded just 18 sacks on the year, which won't do in this league.
The Chiefs still hold the first pick in the draft and have a huge hole to address: the quarterback position. All year Geno Smith out of West Virginia has been the player that everyone has Kansas City taking. I don't doubt this will be the pick, but I feel the Chiefs need to stock pile picks to fill multiple holes on this roster. The problem is I'm not sure what team would trade up to the top pick, sticking the Chiefs with Smith. I don't feel Smith will have a rookie year anywhere close to that of an Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III or Russell Wilson. Kansas City needs a quarterback, and will likely get Smith, but he's not the answer.
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