NFL Draft Center


1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14) – LT Luke Joeckel/Texas A&M

The Chiefs land their new franchise left tackle. There’s a very high possibility that Branden Albert gets traded during the draft. Even if he remains on the team he’s only signed for one season and the Chiefs don’t appear interested in him for the long term, while they also cut right tackle Eric Winston this off-season. Luke Joeckel could take over the left tackle position immediately or the Chiefs could let him gain some NFL experience while at right tackle for a year before moving him back to the blind side. This pick could just as easily be Eric Fisher. 

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

63. FS D.J. Swearinger, South Carolina

96. ILB Kiko Alonso, Oregon

2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14) – DE/OLB Dion Jordan/Oregon

The pass-rush has been awful for years in Jacksonville and Jordan is a perfect fit for the dynamic “LEO” position in new Head Coach Gus Bradley’s defense. Jordan is drawing comparisons to future Hall of Famer Jason Taylor and 49ers star Aldon Smith and would bring much needed talent, speed and most importantly the ability to get to the quarterback to the Jags. There are a number of rumors flying around that left tackle Eric Fisher could be this pick.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

33. QB Matt Barkley, USC

64. CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut

3. Oakland Raiders (4-12) – DT Sharrif Floyd/Florida

This is the biggest rebuild job in sports right now and the Raiders need as much talent as possible. With Eric Fisher still on the board they could add him to their offensive line or they could more than likely use him to trade down and acquire more draft picks. If they can’t do that than adding one of the best defensive players in the draft should be their direction. In this case it is Florida’s defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd. The Raiders need three new starters on their defensive line and Floyd would be a fantastic addition to it. He would also give them scheme versatility if they ever switch to a 3-man front.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

66. QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas

4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12) – LT Eric Fisher/Central Michigan

The Eagles bolster their offensive line that has injury and age issues and has to get much more athletic by adding Eric Fisher. His addition allows them to move Todd Herremans back to his more natural guard position from right tackle upgrading two spots on the offensive line with one move. Fisher will also provide them with some insurance should Jason Peters go down with another season-ending injury.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

35. QB EJ Manuel, Florida State

67. CB Darius Slay, Mississippi State

5. Detroit Lions (4-12) – LT Lane Johnson/Oklahoma

The Lions lost both of their starting offensive tackles this off-season, but needed to better protect their best player quarterback Matthew Stafford anyway. They’re about to give Stafford a long term contract and a ton of money so their best move is to draft a franchise left tackle to protect him for the next ten years. The fast-rising Lane Johnson may be the best athlete in the entire draft standing 6’6”, 303lbs. with the ability to jump as high as A.J. Green and as far as Steven Ridley. He possesses arguably the highest ceiling of any prospect in the draft.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

36. DE Sam Montgomery, LSU

65. WR Terrance Williams, Baylor

6. Cleveland Browns (5-11) – QB Geno Smith/Cleveland

The Browns are the team that draws the first crazy reaction from the analysts, fans and Twitterverse when they draft Geno Smith to be their new franchise quarterback just a year after the old regime traded back into the first round to add Brandon Weeden. The new regime is not fans of Weeden and new Head Coach Rob Chudzinski wants to run some read-option in his offense which he cannot do. Smith can run the read-option and a whole lot more, plus he’s not 30-years old unlike their second-year man. Dee Milliner and Barkevious Mingo are likely two of Cleveland’s top options at this spot as well.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

68. CB David Amerson, North Carolina State

7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11) – OG Jonathan Cooper/North Carolina

This is one of the worst offensive lines in football and has to be improved. They would love one of the offensive tackles, but it’s not going to happen without a trade into the top five and GM Steve Keim has made it clear they won’t be trading up. Instead they add one of the top guards in Cooper (they apparently prefer him over Warmack), who is more athletic than Chance Warmack and can play all three interior offensive line positions. He’ll instantly upgrade their pass protection and run blocking. They could take a pass-rusher here if they don’t go with a guard.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

38. OLB Damontre Moore, Texas A&M

69. QB Mike Glennon, North Carolina State

8. Buffalo Bills (6-10) – OG Chance Warmack/Alabama

The Bills want to draft a new franchise quarterback this year to build around, but with Smith gone and this spot being just way too high to take Ryan Nassib means they have to go in another direction and find their new signal-caller later on. They could possibly add a pass-rusher here, but instead they fill the massive hole left by Andy LeVitre at left guard by bringing Warmack into the fold. He can do it all at the position and is one of the top guard prospects ever. As unlikely as it sounds, Nassib is a real possibility here as the Bills appear to be afraid that a few of the teams ahead of them in the second round will take him before they are up to pick again, unless they trade back into the second round or trade down from the no.8 spot.   

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

41. QB Ryan Nassib, Syracuse

71. WR Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech

9.   New York Jets (6-10) – OLB Barkevious Mingo/LSU

The Jets have two first round picks to work with after landing the 13th overall selection from Tampa Bay for Darrelle Revis. They could go any number of ways with these two picks whether it is defense-offense, defense-defense or offense-offense. They appear to be extremely high on Mingo and they do have a desperate need for a young, explosive pass-rusher. Mingo is a fantastic athlete that is still making rapid improvement s and possesses an incredibly high ceiling.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

13. TE Tyler Eifert, ND

39. CB Desmond Trufant, Washington

72. FS Bacarri Rambo, Georgia

10. Tennessee Titans (6-10) – DE Ezekiel Ansah/BYU

Tennessee was interested in drafting one of the top two guards here, except in this scenario they are both off the board leaving them to have to go in a different direction. They attack the pass-rush by scooping up the falling Ezekiel Ansah. Kamerion Wimbley and Derrick Morgan are decent players, but neither is particularly explosive or strikes much fear into opposing offenses. Ansah is a developing talent so using him in a rotation or as a situational pass-rusher behind their two starters would be a great situation for him and the Titans.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

40. OG Larry Warford, Kentucky

70. CB Robert Alford, Southeastern Louisiana

97. OLB Zavier Gooden, Missouri

11. San Diego Chargers (7-9) – RT D.J. Fluker/Alabama

This is probably the worst scenario for the Chargers as all five of the top offensive linemen are off the board. Unfortunately, San Diego is in a position where they are almost forced to go with an offensive lineman because of the current state of their line. They reach a few spots for Fluker, who is a massive pass-protector at right tackle and an absolute mauler when run-blocking. His addition helps both QB Phillip Rivers and RB Ryan Matthews. Trading down a few spots becomes a real possibility in this situation.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

45. OL Kyle Long, Oregon

76. SS Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse

12. Miami Dolphins (7-9) – CB Dee Milliner/Alabama

Miami was hoping to land one of the top offensive tackles, but it won’t happen without trading into the top five, although they do have the ammunition to do so with five picks in the first three rounds. In this scenario they probably trade one of those picks to Kansas City for Branden Albert. It’s not all bad as the top corner in the draft Dee Milliner drops to them here filling their need for a new starting cornerback after losing both of their starters from last year. With so many high picks, the Dolphins can afford to take a risk on Milliner’s injury history.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

42. OT Menelik Watson, Florida State

54. DE Alex Okafor, Texas

77. DT Akeem Spence, Illinois

82. RB Andre Ellington, Clemson

13. Tampa Bay (7-9) New York Jets – TE Tyler Eifert/Notre Dame

They added the pass-rusher their defense desperately needed earlier in Barkevious Mingo allowing them to turn their attention to rebuilding this ghastly offense. Geno Smith might have been a possibility here if he was still available and so could his former teammate wide receiver Tavon Austin, who is considered the top offensive playmaker in the draft. In this scenario they pass on Austin instead waiting until the second round to possibly add a wide out and go fill the hole left at tight end by Dustin Keller’s departure. Keller was Mark Sanchez’s favorite target and he likes to check down a lot anytime he thinks he feels any sort of pressure. Eifert may be the cleanest prospect in this draft and is on the rise. Ryan gets his stud tight end to match the Pats Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

9. OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU

39. CB Desmond Trufant, Washington

72. FS Bacarri Rambo, Georgia

14. Carolina Panthers (7-9) – DT Star Lotulelei/Utah

This is one of the better scenarios for the Panthers as they need to desperately upgrade their defensive tackle position and not only is Sheldon Richardson available, but so is Star Lotulelei. Richardson might be the better fit as an interior lineman that can penetrate and put pressure on the passer along with stuffing the run, but Star is just too talented to pass up and new general manager Dave Gettleman is a believer in taking the best player available and in this case it is Lotulelei.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

44. WR Robert Woods, USC

15. New Orleans Saints (7-9) – OLB Jarvis Jones/Georgia

Jarvis Jones might be falling, but the 3-4 outside linebacker market dries up pretty quickly and Jones is the last potential elite game-changer left at the position and the Saints desperately need a pass-rusher to fit their new 3-4 defense. Jones had just an awful pre-draft season, but his game film is as good if not better than any other defensive prospect in this draft. He gives New Orleans and new DC Rob Ryan the pass-rusher they need to rebuild this horrid defense.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

75. LT David Bakhtiari, Colorado

16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1) – WR Tavon Austin/West Virginia

A no-brainer pick here as Austin is still available giving the Rams and Sam Bradford the receiver they sorely need. Austin is not only great replacement for the departed Danny Amendola, but probably even an upgrade. He can do a lot of things with the ball in his hands and will quickly become Bradford’s favorite and most reliable target. Kenny Vaccaro is tempting here with the Rams in need of two new starting safeties and unlikely to still be available with the 22nd overall pick.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

22. FS Eric Reid, LSU

46. SS Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International

78. RB Jonathan Franklin, UCLA

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) – WR Cordarrelle Patterson/Tennessee

This doesn’t really feel like a Steelers first round pick, but with all of the outside linebackers off the board they have to go in another direction. In this scenario they land boom or bust receiver Cordarrelle Patterson giving them a guy who can break the game wide open every time the ball is in his hands. They lost Mike Wallace in free agency and nearly lost Emmanuel Sanders, who will be an unrestricted free in 2014 as well. You know a team needs a receiver when the quarterback has to beg the franchise to match an offer sheet for their no.3 wide out.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

48. DL Jesse Williams, Alabama

79. QB Tyler Bray, Tennessee

18. Dallas Cowboys (8-8) – DT Sheldon Richardson/Missouri

The Cowboys don’t get the offensive line help they need, but instead bolster their aging defensive line. They thought they would only have a shot at Sylvester Williams at this spot, but with Sheldon Richardson still available they jump all over him. He is exactly the type of penetrating, three-technique defensive tackle Monte Kiffin needs for his Tampa-2 defense the Cowboys are installing this season. He gives them Dallas the much needed youth they need on the defensive line while improving their run defense and pass rush.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

47. OL Justin Pugh, Syracuse

80. OL Barrett Jones, Alabama

19. New York Giants (9-7) – DE Bjoern Werner/Florida State

The Giants haven’t drafted a linebacker since 1984, but this could be the year that they change that given the state of their linebacker corps. Under GM Jerry Reese this has become a franchise that almost always goes with the best player available regardless of position or need. In this case its pass-rusher Bjoern Werner, who was considered one of the top prospects for most of the regular season before falling slightly down draft boards. In this scenario he falls right to the Giants giving them a third pass-rusher for their defense to replace the departed Osi Umenyiora. Werner is a special talent that is still developing and with the coaching he’ll receive from Tom Coughlin and his staff he could be one of the steals of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

49. OLB Sio Moore, Connecticut

81. OG Brian Winter, Kent State

20. Chicago Bears (10-6) – LB Alec Ogletree/Georgia

The Brian Urlacher era is over in Chicago, while Lance Briggs time is almost up as well as he gets older. The Bears lost Nick Roach and Geno Hayes in free agency, while free agent pickup D.J. Williams is an injury risk. Ogletree has some off the field red flags, but is supremely talented and one of the best athletes in this draft. He can play all of the linebacker positions giving the Bears some added versatility.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

50. CB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State

21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) – S Kenny Vaccaro/Texas

The Bengals land the safety prospect they have needed for a while. Vaccaro can play both safety positions and can be an immediate replacement for free agent Chris Crocker. The Bengals really like running back Eddie Lacy and could take him to be the workhorse ball-carrier they’re looking for. 

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

37. LB Arthur Brown, Kansas State

53. RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin

84. WR Markus Wheaton, Oregon State

22. Washington (10-6) St. Louis Rams – FS Eric Reid/LSU

The Rams just slumped over in their seats as both of the two players they were hoping to still be available at this pick come off the board right before them in Ogletree and Vaccaro. After adding Austin to their receiving corps earlier in the draft, their need at safety becomes even more important. Reid has bounced up and down draft boards arguably more than any other prospect, but appears to be rising in the right direction as the draft nears closer. He gives the Rams a player they can feel good about in any situation.  

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

16. WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia

46. SS Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International

78. RB Jonathan Franklin, UCLA

23. Minnesota Vikings (10-6) – DT Sylvester Williams/North Carolina

For a long time the Vikings were known for the “Williams Wall” in the middle of their defense, but when Pat stepped away from football they never really replaced him. Meanwhile Kevin turns 33 later this year and the Vikings don’t have any youth coming up behind him, let alone someone who can be an effective starter next to him. Sylvester Williams can do it all. He stuffs the run, attacks the passer and can move sideline to sideline to make a play. Some teams even had him display his athleticism in linebacker drills. The former Tar Heel helps rebuild the ‘Williams Wall” in Minnesota.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

25. MLB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame

52. WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson

83. CB Dwayne Gratz, Connecticut

24. Indianapolis Colts (11-5) – CB Xavier Rhodes/Florida State

The Colts spent every pick but one on offense in last year’s draft so this year it should be all about the defense.  Indy has done a nice job of rebuilding their cornerback corps in the last year trading for Vontae Davis during the season, resigning Darius Butler and adding Greg Toler in free agency. Toler can start next to Davis, but he’s better suited as a nickelback and third corner. Xavier Rhodes is still available and a perfect fit for Chuck Pagano’s defense. He can play man and zone and is just as good contributing in run support as he is in coverage. He’s also a big, physical corner giving the Colts someone who can match up with opposing tight ends as well.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

86. OLB Jamie Collins, Southern Mississippi

25. Seattle Seahawks (11-5) Minnesota Vikings – MLB Manti Te’o/Notre Dame

Vikings GM Rick Spielman loves his Notre Dame prospects and just so happens to have a gaping hole in the center of his defense at middle linebacker that needs to be filled. Manti Te’o seems to be too perfect of a fit here that it works. The Vikings get their guy and Te’o has a Fighting Irish support group already in place in the locker room to lean on when he gets to Minnesota. It’s probably the best situation possible for him.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

23. DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina

52. WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson

83. CB Dwayne Gratz, Connecticut

26. Green Bay Packers (11-5) – RB Eddie Lacy/Alabama

The Packers have been dealing with a running back by committee for a while now and it’s about time they drafted someone who can be a three-down feature running back. They add the one dimension their offense is missing and take it to the next level by adding Alabama’s BCS National Championship running back Eddie Lacy. He’s a bulldozer that welcomes contact, but can make defenders miss with an excellent spin move.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

56. OC Travis Frederick, Wisconsin

88. SS J.J. Wilcox, Georgia Southern

27. Houston Texans (12-4) – WR Justin Hunter/Tennessee

The Texans get the big play wide receiver to pair with Andre Johnson that they’ve been searching for. Hunter is a tall, lean Randy Moss-type of receiver. He’s silky smooth with good hands despite the problems with drops he had last season, knows how to run routes and most importantly he can make big plays down the field. He’ll have a terrific mentor in Johnson, who he will hopefully be able to take over for when he retires.  

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

57. NT Jonathan Hankins, Ohio State

89. TE Travis Kelce, Cincinnati

95. ILB Jon Bostic, Florida

28. Denver Broncos (13-3) – DE Tank Carradine/Florida State

The Broncos waited until the last minute to try and resign Elvis Dumervil and it cost them as the deadline passed and he ended up signing with the Baltimore Ravens instead, leaving a huge hole at defensive end in Denver. Rookie Derek Wolfe played well, but Robert Ayers continues to be a draft bust disappointment that can’t be counted on as a starter. The Broncos take a risk on Carradine who was one of college’s best pass-rusher until he tore up his knee and only started working out for teams a few weeks ago. If he is completely healthy the Broncos get great value with Carradine at this spot.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

58. RB Giovanni Bernard, North Carolina

90. DT Brandon Williams, Missouri Southern State

29. New England Patriots (12-4) – DE Margus Hunt/SMU

The Patriots added Chandler Jones to improve their pass rush last year, but still have a need across from him on the other side of the line where Jermaine Cunningham and Jake Bequette aren’t the answer and Rob Ninkovich is good, but not great. Margus Hunt gives the Pats a big, versatile defensive lineman that they can play on the edge or inside and in multiple schemes. Bill Belichick will have a lot of fun developing this guy. Hunt will also bring unprecedented ability on special teams as the massive athlete set an NCAA record for blocked kicks in his time at SMU.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

59. WR Keenan Allen, California

91. WR Stedman Bailey, West Virginia

30. Atlanta Falcons (13-3) – CB D.J. Hayden/Houston

One of the Falcons main priorities this off-season has been rebuilding their cornerback corps as three of their four corners from last year will be wearing new uniforms this season. Dunta Robinson was cut, while Brent Grimes and Chris Owens headed elsewhere as free agents. They still have Asante Samuel, but have yet to bring in someone to play next to him. Hayden may be the best story in the draft after overcoming a life-threatening injury to his heart during the season. He was finally cleared medically late in the off-season and was able to show that he was healthy at Houston’s Pro Day. He was so good at his pro day that he sent scouts flying back to the film room to watch him on tape. He’s been rising ever since and ends up as a first round pick in this scenario.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

60. TE Gavin Escobar, San Diego State

92. DE Corey Lemonier, Auburn

31. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1) – DE Datone Jones/UCLA

The 49ers have one of the best defenses in football, but their fantastic defensive line appears to be vulnerable. Justin Smith will turn 34 at the beginning of the season, while Ray McDonald will be 29. They also lost starting nose tackle Issac Sopoaga and backup defensive end Ricky Jean-Francois in free agency. Datone Jones is a tremendous talent that is only going to get better learning from Smith, McDonald and Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. He has the ability to overwhelm offensive linemen with his strength and speed and wreaks havoc in opposing back fields. It’s almost unfair that the 49ers end up with this kind of prospect.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

34. TE Zach Ertz, Stanford

61. NT John Jenkins, Georgia

74. CB/S Tyrann Mathieu, LSU

93. OC Brian Schwenke, California

32. Baltimore Ravens (10-6) – ILB Kevin Minter/LSU

The Ravens waited forever to find someone to eventually replace Ray Lewis and now they will have to do it as the future Hall of Fame linebacker retired following the Super Bowl. Baltimore thought they were only going to have to replace Lewis at the inside linebacker position this off-season, but Dannell Ellerbe shocked them by signing with Miami leaving the team’s other inside spot vacant. They signed former Raider Rolando McClain, but he can’t be counted on or off the field as he’s already had a run-in with the law since singing with them. Ogletree and Te’o are off the board so Baltimore goes with the underrated Kevin Minter. He has the talent and leadership that will allow them to plug him into the starting lineup immediately.

Other 2013 Draft Selections:

62. LT Terron Armstead, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

94. SS Shawn Williams, Georgia

Seattle Seahawks (11-5)

55. DT Kawann Short, Purdue

87. OLB Trevardo Williams, Connecticut

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9)

43. CB Jamar Taylor, Boise State

73. TE Vance McDonald, Rice

Washington Redskins (10-6)

51. FS Phillip Thomas, Fresno State

85. WR Aaron Dobson, Marshall

Written By: Mark Scott

What to Know About the 2013 NFL Draft

The 2013 NFL Draft is finally here and you better be prepared for the unpredictable. This year’s draft is wide open from top to bottom. Literally any one prospect could go anywhere as no one as this point in time really knows what is going to happen. The draft is filled with a ton of good, but very few exceptionally great players with every team giving prospects drastically different rankings. This has the makings of the most exciting NFL Draft in history. Here are just a few of the things you might need or want to know about this year’s draft.

More Drama Then Ever: Can anyone remember a year where we didn’t already know who the first overall pick in the draft was going to be. I can’t. That happens to be the case this year as the Kansas City Chiefs have yet to let it be known who they are taking with the top overall selection and remain quiet only revealing that they have their choice narrowed down to four players. Left tackles Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher have been the front-runners to be taken with the first pick for months now, although a different report seems to come out every day as to which one it will be. It gets pretty dicey after the Chiefs are done making their selection as nobody has really any idea what direction some of the new regimes selecting in the top eleven picks are going to take. There’s the Jags, who have been as secretive as any team, while nobody ever knows what the Raiders might do and then Chip Kelly is sitting there at no.4 and could select just about anybody to fit his system that no one has any clue as to what it will look like. This type of uncertainty goes throughout the draft. While teams usually have their own personal prospect rankings and big boards that differ from other teams, they are never this drastically different. Take Florida’s Sharrif Floyd who appears to be the consensus top defensive tackle for example. At least one team reportedly has him as their best prospect in the entire draft, while a couple of other teams apparently have him as their third-ranked defensive tackle and a mid to late first round pick. This is the case with a number of prospects and the intrigue as to where all of these guys may go continues all the way into the late stages of the third round, where a prospect like Tyler Bray may be available even though a number of teams view him as having the best pure arm talent of any quarterback in the draft. There is very little separating the top 100 or so prospects leaving open the very real possibility that anyone can go anywhere in the draft. So don’t hold your breath waiting for your team to take a certain player or hoping the prospect you want will still be available and certainly don’t put a lot of stock in yours or anyone else’s mock draft as this year it is wide open.

The Offensive Tackles: There are three left tackle prospects ranked at or near the top of the draft in Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson. All three are expected to come off the board very early. One appears to be a lock to land in Kansas City, while the destination of the other two remains unclear, but could very likely be within the first five picks. Whoever doesn’t end up with the Chiefs between Joeckel or Fisher is bound to go within the next couple of picks as the Jags, Raiders, Eagles and Lions all have a need at the position. If the second tackle is taken immediately after with the next pick or two, then Johnson becomes even more valuable and teams outside the top five like Arizona, Buffalo, San Diego, Miami and New Orleans that are in need of a left tackle may feel pressured to have to trade up to land him. These three guys will likely determine which direction the early portion of the draft heads.

The Quarterbacks: This is as interesting a quarterback draft class as you will ever see. There is not one sure-fire first round quarterback, although a couple of them could very likely still be selected with one of the first 32 picks. Every one of the top ten prospects has their strengths, but also possesses major flaws, even the position’s top ranked player Geno Smith.  Other than Smith, who seems to be rated as the top quarterback on most boards, there is no real consensus as to how to rank the rest of the class. However, most of them will be selected on Day 2 of the draft in the second and third rounds. This entire class really is made up of beauty in the eye of the beholder type players. There is not one player in the group who can fit any and all offensive schemes, so where these prospects end up will really depend on the type of scheme a team is running.

No Running Backs in First Round: For the first time since 1963 there is a chance a running back won’t be selected in the first round. It’s not like this is a poor draft class as six or seven backs could be off the board in the top 100 picks. The problem is that the only truly elite, game-changing running back in the class is South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore and he’s currently trying to recover from his second straight devastating season-ending knee injury and could miss the majority if not all of the 2013 season. He probably will come off the board around the fourth round, but a team with a strong roster could surprise and take him in the third. Alabama’s Eddie Lacy is the top ranked running back coming into the draft and the only one with a chance to be taken with one of the first 32 picks, most likely in the late portion of the round. Teams currently in the late first round that could consider a running back include the Bengals at 21, Green Bay at 26 and Denver at 28.

Draft Depth:  This might not be the sexiest draft in terms of elite, true first round level prospects as there are fewer than ever this year. But what this draft lacks in exceptional prospects, it more than makes up for it with the number of good players available. There are more late first, second round type prospects in this draft than ever that will still be around deep into the third round. Your team’s first round pick might not have you booking your season’s tickets right away, but when you see the number of good players your team has added by the end of the draft you might.

International Flavor: As the NFL’s popularity grows around the world, athletes from all kinds of countries with different athletic backgrounds have migrated to the United States to play football. This year’s draft may be the best example of the growth of American football across the world yet as the number of foreign-born prospects is higher and more talented than ever. These are not just athletes that are trying their hand at pro football, but young men that have proved themselves at the college level first and are some of the top prospects available in the draft. Five of these prospects could be first round picks, four of which happen to be defensive linemen. BYU’s Ezekiel Ansah is projected by most draft outlets to be selected among the top ten picks, while Bjoern Werner (Florida State), Margus Hunt (SMU), Jesse Williams (Alabama) and offensive tackle Menelik Watson (Florida State) will come off the board in the late first, early second round range.  Ansah and Hunt were some of the best performers at the NFL Scouting Combine and blew scouts away with their off the charts athleticism. Ansah came to America from Ghana and to join the BYU track team and had aspirations of playing in the NBA, however it was the coaching staff from the football team that saw him working out and convinced him to play football. The Estonian-born Hunt has a similar story as the former 2006 World Junior Championships Gold Medalist in the shot put and discus moved to Texas to attend SMU so he could train under famed track coach Dave Wollman, but after coming to SMU, the track and field program ended up being cancelled. Hunt wanted to keep training with Wollman, so the coach sent him over to the football team so he could remain on scholarship and he blossomed into the type of athlete football scouts dream about at 6’8”, 277lbs with 4.70/40 speed combined with incredible strength. Werner and Watson both found themselves playing football at Florida State. The German-born Bjoern Werner loved the sport so much as a teenager that he went on multiple student-exchange programs to the States during high school so he could play football before he eventually landed with the Seminoles in college. Watson meanwhile came to America from England on a scholarship to play basketball at Marist College. He spent two years there before deciding to try boxing and then eventually football. He ended up at Saddlebrooks Junior College in California where he played on an offensive line next to Oregon’s Kyle Long. From there he gained some recognition around the nation and ended up signing with Florida State. Finally Jesse Williams is a great story as the Australian-born rugby and basketball player decided to start playing American football as a teenager and took the opportunity to show off his skills as a 16-year old to coaches from the University of Hawaii that were in Australia teaching a clinic. After seeing him work out they immediately had him commit to their program.  It was later discovered he was a few required credits from being allowed to attend the school so he ended up attending Western Arizona Community College where he was a dominant force before being snatched up as a JUCO-transfer by Alabama’s Nick Saban. The international talent doesn’t end there as LSU punter Brad Wing is one of the nation’s best, while British-born and former Olympic discus thrower Lawrence Okoye showed up at one of the NFL’s Super Regional Combines at Cowboys Stadium this month and caused scouts’ jaws to drop. 

New Decision-Makers in Charge: Look out for the new regimes at the NFL draft this year. Kansas City, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Arizona and San Diego all have new general managers and head coaches in place, while Philadelphia, Buffalo, Carolina and the New York Jets have either a new general manager or head coach taking over this season. The Eagles may be the most interesting to watch of these teams at the draft as former Oregon Head Coach and innovative football mastermind Chip Kelly brings his bag of tricks to the NFL and could take just about anyone to fit his systems.

Top Players with Injury Concerns: Medical reports may be more important than ever this year as a number of the draft’s top prospects have injury concerns. Alabama’s Dee Milliner once looked like a for-sure top ten pick and he still might be when all is said and done, but recent reports have come out revealing the numerous injuries and surgeries he’s dealt with in his career and he could see his stock falling quickly. This is also an off-season where we’ve seen Star Lotulelei of Utah be forced to sit out the Combine with a heart issue that no doubt permanently hurt his stock, despite eventually being medically cleared to work out for teams and play in the NFL with no issues. Georgia’s Jarvis Jones was far and away the nation’s best pass-rusher in college last year, but a lifelong spinal stenosis condition discovered when he was at playing for USC has teams worried and was reported as one of the reason’s he decided not to work out at the Combine. Dion Jordan had shoulder surgery following the Combine, while late season knee injuries to Cornellius Carradine and Keenan Allen kept them out of workouts until early April and could see them be the main reason they are still available in the second round. Then there is South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, who is the best running back in the class and has no doubt first round ability, but is trying to battle back from his second straight devastating season-ending knee injury and will have to wait for a team that is comfortable with him likely being out for a full season while he recovers. That probably happens in the fourth round. There are also talented offensive linemen like Barrett Jones and Dallas Thomas that are recovering from injuries too. Finally some good news on the injury front as Houston’s D.J. Hayden is completely healthy and recovered from a life-threatening injury to his heart that he suffered during the season and is currently one of the hard-charging risers as the draft nears and could even be taken in the first round.

Trades: Sit back and enjoy because a lot of trades are expected this year with all the uncertainty going on between teams. Perhaps even an unprecedented amount of movement throughout the event could happen. There are very few clear cut elite prospects at the top of the draft that team’s are desperate to have  so that alone will put pressure on team’s that are just out of range in landing one to make a move up to get them. Also due to the uncertainty as to where each team values or ranks a certain prospect over another has left teams with no clue as to whether the guy they want will be there when they pick or not leading them feeling like they have to move up to ensure they get him.  A number of teams want to move down and get more picks. Teams like the Jags, Raiders, Jets and Saints have holes all over their rosters and not enough picks to fill them with, while a squad like New England, who like to trade down in most years have just five picks at the moment to work with. St. Louis, Minnesota and the New York Jets all have two first round picks and could deal up or down. There are number of teams that want to move up as well and have the ammunition to do so. San Francisco has an astounding thirteen draft picks, but not enough space on their roster to add that many prospects so watch for them to move up or try and turn some of those picks into higher ones for next year. The Ravens are another team that likes to move around the draft and this year should be no different as they have twelve draft selections they can deal from. Then there are the Dolphins and Vikings who both have a pair of first round picks this year and could move up or down, while the Jets do as well, but aren’t expected to be a team that is going to give one of them up.

Written By: Mark Scott


The 2013 NFL Draft is finally upon us. It’s an incredibly interesting draft in that every team has drastically different rankings for all of the prospects from top to bottom. A good example would be Florida’s Sharrif Floyd, who seems to be ranked as the top defensive tackle on most draft boards with at least one team reportedly having him listed as their overall top prospect in the draft, while some teams have him ranked as the third best defensive tackle and much further down their overall rankings. Then there is the Quarterbacks, who could go absolutely anywhere in the draft. There is just so much unpredictability in not just the first round, but the entire draft. Here’s my best effort at providing you with what should be a pretty reliable cheat sheet as to where the prospects might rank and which round they could come off the board in. I have listed every prospect that is ranked in my Top 100.

*Position Rank/Prospect Name/School/Overall Ranking/Projected Round



1.   Geno Smith/West Virginia/19/ First Round

2.   Matt Barkley/USC/36/ Second Round

3.    EJ Manuel/Florida State/48/Second Round

4.   Ryan Nassib/Syracuse/49/Second Round

5.   Tyler Wilson/Arkansas/58/Second Round

6.   Mike Glennon/North Carolina State/82/Third Round

7.   Tyler Bray/Tennessee/94/Third Round

8.   Landry Jones/Oklahoma/99/Third, Fourth Round

9.   Matt Scott/Arizona/Fourth Round

10.   Zac Dysert/Miami-Ohio/Fourth, Fifth Round


1.   Eddie Lacy/Alabama/28/Late First, Second Round

2.   Montee Ball/Wisconsin/63/Second, Third Round

3.   Jonathan Franklin/UCLA/67/Second, Third Round

4.   Giovanni Bernard/North Carolina/76/Third Round

5.   Le’Veon Bell/Michigan State/83/Third Round

6.   Andre Ellington/Clemson/86/Third Round

7.   Christine Michael/Texas A&M/90/Third, Fourth Round

8.   Marcus Lattimore/South Carolina/Third, Fourth Round

9.   Mike Gillislee/Florida/Fourth Round

10.   Stepfan Taylor/Stanford/Fourth Round


1.   Tavon Austin/West Virginia/13/First Round

2.   Cordarrelle Patterson/Tennessee/23/First, Early Second Round

3.   Justin Hunter/Tennessee/27/First, Early Second Round

4.   Keenan Allen/California/37/Late First, Second Round

5.   Robert Woods/USC/39/Late First, Second Round

6.   DeAndre Hopkins/Clemson/42/Second Round

7.   Terrance Williams/Baylor/60/Second, Third Round

8.   Quinton Patton/Louisiana Tech/61/Second, Third Round

9.   Markus Wheaton/Oregon State/78/Third Round

10.   Aaron Dobson/Marshall/84/Third Round

Stedman Bailey/WVU/89, Da’Rick Rogers/TNTC/92


1.   Luke Joeckel/Texas A&M/1/Top Five

2.   Eric Fisher/Central Michigan/2/Top Five

3.   Lane Johnson/Oklahoma/4/Early First Round

4.   D.J. Fluker/Alabama/17/First Round

5.   Menelik Watson/Florida State/30/Late First, Early Second Round

6.   Justin Pugh/Syracuse/32/Late First, Early Second Round

7.   Kyle Long/Oregon/46/Second Round

8.   Terron Armstead/Arkansas-Pine Bluff/51/Second Round

9.   David Bakhtiari/Colorado/87/Third Round

10.   Brennan Williams/North Carolina/Fourth Round


1.   Chance Warmack/Alabama/9/First Round

2.   Jonathan Cooper/North Carolina/10/First Round

3.   Larry Warford/Kentucky/53/Second Round

4.   Brian Winters/Kent State/69/Late Second, Third Round

5.   C/Brian Schwenke/California/71/Third Round

6.   C/Travis Frederick/Wisconsin/77/Third Round

7.   Barrett Jones/Alabama/96/Third, Fourth Round

8.   Hugh Thornton/Illinois/Fourth, Fifth Round

9.   Alvin Bailey/Arkansas/Fourth, Fifth Round

10.   C/Khaled Homes/USC/Fourth, Fifth Round


1.   Tyler Eifert/Notre Dame/14/First Round

2.   Zach Ertz/Stanford/29/Late First, Second Round

3.   Gavin Escobar/San Diego State/75/Third Round

4.   Vance McDonald/Rice/81/Third Round

5.   Travis Kelce/Cincinnati/83/Third Round

6.   Jordan Reed/Florida/Fourth Round

7.   Dion Sims/Michigan State/Fifth Round

8.   Nick Kasa/Colorado/Fifth, Sixth Round




1.   Sharrif Floyd/Florida/3/Early First Round

2.   Star Lotulelei/Utah/7/Early to mid-First Round

3.    Sheldon Richardson/Missouri/12/First Round

4.   Sylvester Williams/North Carolina/19/First Round

5.   Kawann Short/Purdue/45/Second Round

6.   Jesse Williams/Alabama/47/Second Round

7.   Jonathan Hankins/Ohio State/54/Second Round

8.   John Jenkins/Georgia/56/Second Round

9.   Brandon Williams/Missouri Southern State/95/Third Round

10.   Akeem Spence/Illinois/100/Third Round


1.   Ezekiel Ansah/BYU/8/Early First Round

2.   Bjoern Werner/Florida State/24/Late First Round

3.   Datone Jones/UCLA/26/Late First, Early Second Round

4.   Margus Hunt/SMU/38/Late First, Early Second Round

5.   Cornellius Carradine/Florida State/40/Late First, Early Second Round

6.   Damontre Moore/Texas A&M/41/Second Round

7.   Sam Montgomery/LSU/57/Second Round

8.   Alex Okafor/Texas/62/Second Round

9.   John Simon/Ohio State/95/Third, Fourth Round

10.   Corey Lemonier/Auburn/97/Third, Fourth Round


1.   Dion Jordan/Oregon/6/Early First Round

2.   Barkevious Mingo/LSU/11/Early to mid-First Round

3.   Jarvis Jones/Georgia/15/First Round

4.   Arthur Brown/Kansas State/43/Second Round

5.   Khaseem Greene/Rutgers/55/Second Round 

6.   Sio Moore/Connecticut/65/Second, Third Round

7.   Jamie Collins/Southern Mississippi/70/Second, Third Round

8.   Trevardo Williams/Connecticut/Fourth Round

9.   Zavier Gooden/Missouri/Fourth Round

10.   Chase Thomas/Stanford/Fourth Round


1.   Alec Ogletree/Georgia/20/Late First, Early Second Round

2.   Manti Te’o/Notre Dame/22/Late First, Early Second Round

3.   Kevin Minter/LSU/44/Second Round

4.   Kiko Alonso/Oregon/93/Third, Fourth Round

5.   Jon Bostic/Florida/Fourth Round

6.   Kevin Reddick/North Carolina/Fourth, Fifth Round

7.   A.J. Klein/Iowa State/Fourth, Fifth Round

8.   Nico Johnson/Alabama/Fifth, Sixth Round


1.   Dee Milliner/Alabama/5/Early to mid-First Round

2.   Xavier Rhodes/Florida State/21/First Round

3.   Desmond Trufant/Washington/25/Late First, Early Second Round

4.   D.J. Hayden/Houston/33/Late First, Early Second Round

5.   Jamar Taylor/Boise State/34/Late First, Early Second Round

6.   Johnthan Banks/Mississippi State/50/Second Round

7.   Blidi Wreh-Wilson/Connecticut/64/Second, Third Round

8.   Darius Slay/Mississippi State/66/Second, Third Round

9.   Dwayne Gratz/Connecticut/74/Third Round

10.   Tyrann Mathieu/LSU/79/Third, Fourth Round

Robert Alford/Southeastern Louisiana/80, David Amerson/North Carolina/88


1.   FS/Kenny Vacarro/Texas/16/First Round

2.   SS/Matt Elam/Florida/31/Late First, Early Second Round

3.   SS/Jonathan Cyprien/Florida Intern./35/Late First, Early Second Round

4.   FS/Eric Reid/LSU/52/Second Round

5.   FS/D.J. Swearinger/South Carolina/59/Second Round

6.   FS/Phillip Thomas/Fresno State/68/Second, Third Round

7.   FS/Bacarri Rambo/Georgia/91/Third Round

8.   SS/Shamarko Thomas/Syracuse/98/Third, Fourth Round

9.   SS/J.J. Wilcox/Georgia Southern/Fourth Round

10.   SS/Shawn Williams/Georgia/Fourth Round

Written By: Mark Scott



2013 Draft Picks: 31 (1st), 34 (2nd), 61 (2nd), 74 (3rd), 93 (3rd), 128 (4th), 131 (4th), 157 (5th), 175 (6th), 180 (6th), 227 (7th), 246 (7th), 252 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: WR A.J. Jenkins, ILL (30, 1st), RB LaMichael James, OREG (61, 2nd)

Decision Makers: GM Trent Baalke, Head Coach Jim Harbaugh

The 49ers have been a completely changed franchise since bringing in Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and have very quickly become one of the NFL’s true current powerhouses. They got to the Super Bowl last year, but fell just short to the Baltimore Ravens making this season about only one thing and that is winning the Lombardi trophy. They haven’t lost much from their NFC Championship roster and then brought in solid veterans like Anquan Boldin, Nnamdi Asomugha, Phil Dawson and Craig Dahl, while they also hold an incredible thirteen draft picks, including five among the top 100 selections. They could be one of the big movers at the 2013 NFL Draft.

1.   Free Safety – Starting free safety Dashon Goldson was the team’s lone major loss in the off-season as he landed a big deal from the Bucs. They brought in free agent Craig Dahl to replace him, but he was a guy the Rams were looking to upgrade and replace themselves in this draft. SS Donte Whitner could stand to be upgraded as well as he was continually picked on in and exposed in pass coverage. At least one safety should be drafted and maybe two.

2.   Defensive Line – The 49ers have one of the best defenses in the league and a lot of that has to do with their fantastic defensive line, although it does appear to be vulnerable at the moment. Age could become a problem as Justin Smith turns 34 at the beginning of the season, while Ray McDonald will be 29. Backup Ricky Jean-Francois also left for the Colts in free agency. Meanwhile, starting nose tackle Issac Sopoaga headed to Philadelphia as a free agent and backup Ian Williams has played in just four games in two years. A new starting nose tackle is needed for sure, while depth and youth at all three positions needs to be added. Former Kansas City draft bust Glenn Dorsey was picked up in free agency as depth, but what he can provide remains to be seen.

3.   Tight End – Vernon Davis remains one of the top tight ends in football, but the 49ers saw reliable, multi-purpose veteran Delanie Walker head to Tennessee as a free agent leaving a void at their no.2 tight end spot that has yet to be filled. Harbaugh is a big fan of using multiple tight end sets and used to use up to three on the field at the same time when he was at Stanford. Finding a prospect at the position that can catch and block should be one of their goals in this draft.


2013 Draft Picks: 56 (2nd), 87 (3rd), 123 (4th), 138 (5th), 194 (6th), 214 (7th), 220 (7th), 231 (7th), 241 (7th), 242 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: OLB/DE Bruce Irvin, WVU (15, 1st), MLB Bobby Wagner, UTST (47, 2nd), QB Russell Wilson, WISC (75, 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM John Schneider, Head Coach Pete Carroll

Under the guidance of John Schneider and Pete Carroll the Seahawks have become one of the best teams in the NFL in a very short amount of time. One of the main reasons has been their ability to draft the right talent. They have continually drafted the guy they wanted regardless of what all the experts and draft outlets have rated a certain prospect and it has seemed to work out for them. It hasn’t just been about landing the right guys in the first round or two as they’ve found some of the best talent on their team in the mid-rounds like Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Bobby Wagner, Kam Chancellor and Robert Turbin leaving very few holes on their roster. They’ve already spent their 2013 first round pick by acquiring wide receiver Percy Harvin from Minnesota in a great move. They have become one of the most interesting teams to watch at the draft every year.

1.   Defensive Tackle – Of all the areas on this team, this was the one unit Pete Carroll appears to be unhappy with as they struggled to hold up against teams with a physical run game. Alan Branch signed with Buffalo as a free agent, while fellow starter Brandon Mebane is just okay. They signed former Dolphin Tony McDaniel as a free agent to help. They need to find one potential starter, preferably a huge body that can take on multiple blocks freeing up all of their dangerous pass-rushers. John Jenkins or Jonathan Hankins could be there for them in the second round. Doubling up on the position in the draft is not a bad idea.

2.   Weakside Linebacker – Veteran Leroy Hill was resigned to a one-year deal late in the off-season last year after Seattle couldn’t find anyone better. He is currently in the same spot this year as he awaits word from the Seahawks as to whether they will bring him back again or not They’ve had great luck finding linebackers in the draft that can start right away as they’ve done it in back to back years landing middle linebacker Bobby Wagner last season and strongside linebacker K.J. Wright in 2011. I expect them to do that again this year.

3.   Best Player Available – There are very few holes or needs that have to be filled on this roster allowing the Seahawks to target any prospect or position they want with the majority of their draft picks.

ST. LOUIS RAMS (7-8-1)

2013 Draft Picks: 16 (1st), 22 (1st), 46 (2nd), 78 (3rd), 113 (4th), 149 (5th), 184 (6th), 222 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: DT Michael Brockers, LSU (14, 1st), WR Brian Quick, APST (33, 2nd), CB Janoris Jenkins, NALA (39, 2nd), RB Isaiah Pead, CIN (50, 2nd), DB Trumaine Johnson, MONT (65, 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM Les Snead, Head Coach Jeff Fisher

The Rams have made some nice strides as a franchise since Jeff Fisher took over as Head Coach, but they now find themselves having to battle it out in the toughest division in football with San Francisco and Seattle looking like two of the top Super Bowl favorites this season. This is a very competitive roster that doesn’t have too many holes that need to be filled. If they can find some elite young talent to add in the draft, while filling their few need areas, the Rams could give their NFC West rivals a good run for the division crown.

1.   Safety – The Rams will likely have two new starting safeties in 2013. Free safety Craig Dahl was allowed to leave in free agency, while strong safety Quintin Mikell was released, although there has been some talk about bringing him back at a cheaper rate. Even if he is brought back he won’t be the long term solution at 33 years old in September. They have yet to bring in another safety leaving backup holdovers Darian Stewart and Rodney McLeod as their potential starters for 2013.

2.   Wide Receiver – The wide receiver corps has been a problem area for the Rams the last few years. Slot receiver Danny Amendola was their best pass-catcher, but was constantly battling injuries and ended up leaving for New England as a free agent, while the reliable Brandon Gibson headed to the Dolphins. The franchise has spent five draft picks over the last three years to help upgrade this unit, but with not much luck. Rookie Chris Givens is the only one to show some good promise as he appears to be potential legit deep threat. Brian Quick could barely get on the field as a rookie, while Austin Pettis looks like a career backup. Greg Salas and Mardy Gilyard aren’t even on the roster anymore. The need for a true no.1 wide out is still their biggest hole, while they have yet to find a replacement for Amendola in the slot.

3.   Strongside Linebacker – Both of the Rams’ strongside linebackers are free agents at the moment in Rocky McIntosh and Mario Haggan and neither are expected to be brought back. It’s not a big deal as both of them are in their thirties and needed to be upgraded anyways. Adding a linebacker that can hold down the spot next to James Laurinaitis and Jo-Lonn Dunbar and provide some added pass-rush has to be brought in.


2013 Draft Picks: 7 (1st), 38 (2nd), 69 (3rd), 103 (4th), 140 (5th), 174 (6th), 219 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: WR Michael Floyd, ND (13, 1st), DB Jamell Fleming, OKLA (80, 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM Steven Keim, Head Coach Bruce Arians

The wheels fell completely off in 2012 after the team somehow started 4-0, but finished with eleven losses in their final twelve games leading to a new regime being put in place with new General Manager Steve Keim and Head Coach Bruce Arians taking over. They’ve added some solid veteran talent in free agency, but their first big move since taking over was trading for Carson Palmer to be their new starting quarterback. They still have some work to do namely on the offensive line especially now that they are suddenly in the strongest division in football.

1.   Offensive Tackle – This offensive line needs a lot of work and probably a complete makeover. They allowed 58 sacks last year, the most in the NFL and also finished last in rushing offense with just 75.3 yards/game.  They’ll need to make major improvements especially with the immobile Carson Palmer now under center. Bobby Massie and Nate Potter are a pair of good, developmental prospects that got some decent starting experience last year. Massie projects out the better of the two and could be the long term starter at right tackle, while Potter could become a solid backup. Meanwhile starting left tackle Levi Brown will return from a torn triceps that ended his season, but has seen his play steadily decline the last few years and should be upgraded.  If they can land one of the top three left tackle prospects in the draft then they should run up to the podium.

2.   Offensive Guard/Center – The interior of the offensive line is bad too. Adam Snyder struggled in 2012 after coming over as a free agent, while fellow starting guard Darren Colledge is just okay and late round rookie Senio Kelemete barely played. There’s not any depth behind them either, while there’s basically nothing at the center position right now.

3.   Outside Linebacker – Starters Sam Acho and O’Brien Schofield are decent young players, but neither guy has developed into the type of game-breaking talent that scares opposing teams and both produced just four sacks a piece last year. Solid veteran Quentin Groves departed in free agency. A potential elite pass-rusher should be available with no.7 pick and is a good backup plan if they can’t land one of the top offensive tackles at the spot.

Written By: Mark Scott



2013 Draft Picks: 26 (1st), 55 (2nd), 88 (3rd), 122 (4th), 159 (5th), 167 (5th), 193 (6th), 232 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: OLB Nick Perry, USC (28, 1st), DT Jerel Worthy, MSU (51, 2nd), CB Casey Hayward, VAND (62, 2nd)

Decision Makers: GM Ted Thompson, Head Coach Mike McCarthy

The Packers year ended in disappointment again when they bowed out in the divisional round of the playoffs for a second straight season after winning it all in 2010. However, it was their fifth double-digit win season in the last six years and they remain one of the NFL’s most consistent powerhouses on the arm of Aaron Rodgers. Landing a couple more good players in the draft should help keep them among the top teams.

1.   Running Back – This has been a problem area for a few years now, although it hasn’t hindered the Packers offense too much as Aaron Rodgers is just that good at finding his receivers. Veterans Cedric Benson and Ryan Grant are out, while DuJuan Harris provided a little spark late in the year. Drafting a young potential workhorse back could take this offense to an even higher level. They may never be stopped.

2.   Safety – Veteran Charles Woodson was cut and has yet to be replaced. Morgan Burnett is a fantastic strong safety especially in run support, while youngster M.D. Jennings made solid strides in his second pro season and is currently set to start at free safety.  There is literally nothing behind them so depth is sorely needed.

3.   Offensive Line – Aaron Rodgers is about to be handed probably the largest contract in NFL history so providing him with the best protection possible is needed, something the Packers can’t say they currently employ. Marshall Newhouse needs to be upgraded at left tackle in the starting lineup and right tackle Don Barclay should not be on the field let alone starting. Evan Dietrich-Smith played well at center after taking over for the now retired Jeff Saturday, but should be moved back to his natural guard position where he’s at his best leaving an opening in the middle. Meanwhile offensive tackle Derek Sherrod has been to slow to recover from a broken leg suffered as a rookie in 2011, while former 2010 first round pick Bryan Bulaga has missed multiple games the past two seasons as well. A new starting center needs to be added for sure along with just some more talent in general.


2013 Draft Picks: 20 (1st), 50 (2nd), 117 (4th), 153 (5th), 188 (6th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: LB Shea McClellin, BSST (19, 1st), WR Alshon Jeffrey, SCAR (45, 2nd), S Brandon Hardin, OSU (79, 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM Phil Emery, Head Coach Marc Trestman

The Bears are another team in the NFL entering a new era after they waved good bye to their long time Head Coach Lovie Smith despite a 10-6 season that saw them miss the playoffs by the smallest of margins. In for Smith is Marc Trestman, who returns to the NFL ranks following a fantastic run as the Head Coach of the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes that included a pair of Grey Cup Championships. This is a very talented squad that only fell out of contention after suffering numerous injuries to key players throughout the roster and still won ten games. The new era has started off well as Phil Emery filled quite a few of their biggest holes in free agency by landing left tackle Jermon Bushrod and tight end Martellus Bennett along with some good depth at linebacker and on the offensive line. It truly is a new era because legendary middle linebacker Brian Urlacher’s career in Chicago appears to be over as well. The Bears are still very close to being a contender and a great draft could put them over the edge in Trestman’s first season.

1.   Linebacker – The Great Brian Urlacher’s time in Chicago appears to be over as he and the Bears couldn’t come to terms on a new contract. They signed his potential replacement in former Bronco D.J. Williams, although he’s 31 and has battled injuries and suspensions over the past couple of years. A young, middle linebacker to install as the new leader of this defense is needed. Outside linebackers Geno Hayes and Nick Roach both departed in free agency, while Lance Briggs is still a fantastic player, but isn’t getting any younger as he’ll turn 33 during the season. Former Panther James Anderson was signed as a free agent and should be solid as a starter opposite Briggs if he can stay healthy. He’ll enter his thirties during the season as well so adding young guy to bring up behind them would be a good idea.

2.   Offensive Guard/Center – The Bears have done a good job in rebuilding their offensive line this off-season by adding Jermon Bushrod at left tackle and bringing in Matt Slauson and Eben Britton to help on the interior, while the new coaching staff appears to prefer 2011 first round pick Gabe Carimi at right guard instead of right tackle. Roberto Garza is solid at center, but just turned 34 years old. Guards Lance Louis and Chilo Rachal were allowed to sign elsewhere and backup center Chris Spencer remains a free agent. Continuing to add more talent to this unit to better protect Cutler is still needed.

3.   Wide Receiver – In 2012 it seemed like every time Jay Cutler threw a pass it was to Brandon Marshall. Now throwing the ball to Marshall is not the problem as he’s one of the game’s best, but in some games Cutler was seemingly only targeting him. Marshall and Cutler need some more help. When he did get the ball thrown his way, Alshon Jeffrey showed some solid development as a deep threat and legit no.2 wide out. Earl Bennett has not provided much over the last two seasons, while the new coaching staff is planning on using Devin Hester exclusively as a returner. Adding a dynamic, reliable slot receiver could take this offense to another level. Don’t forget that Trestman most recently coached in the CFL, where they use 4-WR sets and a lot of creativity on almost every down.


2013 Draft Picks: 23 (1st), 25 (1st), 52 (2nd), 83 (3rd), 102 (4th), 120 (4th), 155 (5th), 189 (6th), 213 (7th), 229 (7th) 

2012 Early Draft Selections: LT Matt Kalil, USC (4, 1st), S Harrison Smith, ND (29, 1st), CB Josh Robinson, UCF (66, 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM Rick Spielman, Head Coach Leslie Frazier

The Vikings went on a surprising run to the playoffs last year mostly on the back of Adrian Peterson, who rushed his way to an MVP. The crazy thing about their run and Peterson’s season for the ages is that he did it with very little help. The defense was just okay and the passing game contributed very little when Percy Harvin went down for the year with an injury. Speaking of Harvin, he was traded to the Seahawks this offseason landing the Vikings a bevy of picks to work with in this draft. They currently have six selections in the top four rounds, including a pair of first-rounders and could certainly use them to provide Peterson with some more help on both sides of the ball.

1.   Wide Receiver – The Vikings finished the season ranked 31st in the league in passing offense last year. A lot of that had to do with the ups and downs of young quarterback Christian Ponder, but it also had to with their lousy receiver corps. Their one superstar Percy Harvin couldn’t stay healthy and then got his way this off-season when they traded him to Seattle. They replaced him with former Packers star Greg Jennings, who has also battled his share of injuries over the years. They resigned Jerome Simpson, while Michael Jenkins signed with the Pats. This unit needs at least two promising receivers added to it with one of them ready to step in and contribute right away.

2.   Middle Linebacker – This may be the biggest hole on the roster at the moment as veteran backup Tyrone McKenzie is currently slated to be their starter right now. Jasper Brinkley was allowed to leave in free agency as the Vikings were planning on replacing him anyways, while seventh round pick Audie Cole hasn’t played very much. The front office and coaching staff has made it known they are looking to land a new starting middle linebacker with one of their early picks. They could use some better depth as well.

3.   Cornerback – Veteran Antoine Winfield was the team’s best corner, but that didn’t stop the Vikings from releasing him this offseason, only to see him be quickly scooped up by the Seahawks. They’ve yet to replace him and the rest of this unit is just average and could stand to be upgraded. They were highly interested in Morris Claiborne in last year’s draft before deciding to go with left tackle Matt Kalil.


2013 Draft Picks: 5 (1st), 36 (2nd), 65 (3rd), 132 (4th), 137 (5th), 171 (6th), 211 (7th), 245 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: OT Riley Reiff, IOW (23, 1st), WR Ryan Broyles, OKLA (54, 2nd), CB Bill Bentley, LALF (85, 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM Martin Mayhew, Head Coach Jim Schwartz

The Lions finally broke through in 2011 making the playoffs to end an eleven-year drought, but reverted back to their usual selves by winning just four games last year. The current regime is probably under the hot seat if they can’t get back into the postseason in 2013. There are major holes on this roster specifically at offensive tackle and defensive end that need to be filled in the draft and they may not have enough picks to add the right talent to get them back into the playoffs.

1.   Offensive Tackle – The Lions saw both of their starting offensive tackles depart this off-season as long time left tackle Jeff Backus finally called it career following the season and right tackle Gosder Cherlius headed for the Colts as a free agent. They drafted Riley Reiff in the first round last year and he could fill the spot left by Cherilus on the right side, although there has been talk of moving him inside to guard to improve their interior. At the moment they need him to play right tackle. Backup Corey Hilliard was resigned as well. One of their main goals for the 2013 NFL Draft should be to land a new franchise left tackle that can play immediately to protect Matthew Stafford, who is set to receive a very big pay day in the near future.

2.   Defensive End – Detroit will also need two new starters at defensive end after they cut the declining Kyle Vanden Bosch and were unable to keep Cliff Avril, who left for Seattle as a free agency. Backup Willie Young was resigned, while Lawrence Jackson is still available in free agency. At least one pass-rusher that can start immediately must to be added, but the Lions should really spend two early draft picks on the position.

3.   Cornerback – When they don’t have an offensive lineman or pass-rusher prospect lined up that matches the value with one of their draft picks then they should think about spending it on a cornerback. This position has been neglected for years in the draft by Detroit. They resigned Chris Houston, but lost veteran Drayton Florence to the Panthers in free agency and nickelback Jacob Lacey is still on the market. This unit desperately needs more talent. ousHhhhhhhh

Written By: Mark Scott



2013 Draft Picks: 51 (2nd), 85 (3rd), 119 (4th), 154 (5th), 162 (5th), 191 (6th), 228 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: QB Robert Griffin III, BAY (2, 1st), OG Josh LiRibeus, SMU (71, 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM Bruce Allen, Head Coach Mike Shanahan

The Redskins not only stepped up to plate and swung for the fences in last year’s draft, but they crushed it out of the park when they ponied up multiple draft picks to land the second overall choice from St. Louis to select Robert Griffin III to be their franchise quarterback. Griffin completely turned around the franchise and led them into the playoffs bringing some respect back to Washington for the first time in a long while.  Although he will always be a major injury risk, the Redskins are a legitimate playoff contender with Griffin on the field.

1.   Cornerback – Washington finished 30th in the league in defending the pass in 2012. The return of pass-rusher Brian Orakpo for a full season will help to improve it, but the Redskins need to focus on making upgrades across the secondary and adding some young talent. Josh Wilson is a decent starter, while free agent pickup E.J. Biggers will compete for the other spot. DeAngelo Hall was cut, then resigned, but he is a major liability when he’s on the field. The Redskins will have the chance to land a talented corner with their second round pick to compete with Biggers for a spot in the starting lineup. Cedric Griffin is a free agent as well.

2.   Safety – Madieu Williams is a below-average  free agent that needed to be upgraded and won’t likely be brought back leaving a hole in the starting lineup at free safety, while there isn’t much at strong safety either other than the injury-prone Brandon Meriweather. Luckily for the Redskins this is a deep safety class so they should land at least one talented prospect.

3.   Inside Linebacker – As good as he still is London Fletcher cannot play forever so adding a young inside linebacker to learn behind him for a year or two to eventually lineup next to Perry Riley would be a great move for this team. The reliable, versatile Lorenzo Alexander was lost in free agency to the Cardinals so some depth is needed anyways.


2013 Draft Picks: 19 (1st), 49 (2nd), 81 (3rd), 116 (4th), 152 (5th), 187 (6th), 225 (7th), 253 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: RB David Wilson, VTCH (32, 1st), WR Reuben Randle, LSU (63, 2nd), CB Jayron Hosley, VTCH (94, 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM Jerry Reese, Head Coach Tom Coughlin

The Giants finished as one of the more disappointing teams of 2012 after failing to make the playoffs just a year removed from a Super Bowl victory despite starting the season 6-2. A number of the team’s top players had down years and they only missed the postseason by one game. If they can avoid the constant let downs in games they should win then expect the Giants to be back to being the top contender for the AFC East crown. 

1.   Linebacker – The Giants haven’t spent a first round pick on a linebacker since Carl Banks in 1984, but if they were to do it, this would be the year. This unit has to be upgraded with immediate help.  They resigned veteran backup Keith Rivers and added some depth and toughness with former Cowboy Dan Connor. While they needed to be upgraded, they now need to be replace them as well as the Giants saw starting middle linebacker Chase Blackburn leave as a free agent, while they cut weakside linebacker Michael Boley themselves. Strongside linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka is being moved back to defensive end also. New York probably needs to add a pair of linebackers in the draft.

2.   Offensive Line – The starting offensive line still remains a solid unit as they allowed just 20 sacks last season. However, this is an aging group that won’t last much longer and could be in for a major drop off at any point. The left side of the line is very good with left tackle Will Beatty resigned to a new long term contract and Kevin Boothe brought back for another year at left guard. The rest of the line could stand to be upgraded. Veteran right tackle David Diehl is probably the weakest link on the starting unit, while interior linemen David Baas and Chris Snee are decent players now in their thirties. There isn’t much behind any of these guys so young depth will need to be added in the draft for sure.

3.   Defensive End – Jerry Reese loves to draft pass-rushers and this year seems like a good time to take one if one of the top prospects drops down the board. Justin Tuck has produced only nine sacks over the past two seasons and just turned 30, while Jason Pierre-Paul also had a down year recording just 6.5 sacks after putting up 16.5 in 2011. Long time Giant Osi Umenyiora was allowed to leave for Atlanta in free agency. Mathias Kiwanuka will be moved back to defensive end this season after playing linebacker last year and he should help improve the pass rush. A third guy that can bring some heat is needed.


2013 Draft Picks: 18 (1st), 47 (2nd), 80 (3rd), 114 (4th), 151 (5th), 185 (6th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: CB Morris Claiborne, LSU (6, 1st), DE Tyrone Crawford, BSST (81, 3rd)

Decision Makers: Owner/GM Jerry Jones, Head Coach Jason Garrett

It was another disappointing season for the Cowboys as they finished with an 8-8 record for the second straight year and haven’t made the postseason since 2009. Jerry Jones won’t sit idle for very long and Jason Garrett will be on the hot seat this season, although Tony Romo won’t as he was just signed to a new, massive contract. The one major change Jones did make was to replace Rob Ryan and his 3-4 defensive scheme with Monte Kiffin and his famous Tampa-2 defense that features a 4-3 alignment. Numerous changes to the defensive personnel could be coming. The offensive line needs to desperately be upgraded as well.

1.   Offensive Line – This unit is in need of an infusion of talent where four of the five spots with the exception of left tackle Tyron Smith have to be upgraded, especially with the money they just invested in Tony Romo. Right tackle Doug Free has been bad the past two years and makes a good chunk of change, while they have tried to patchwork the interior of the offensive line with cheap, veteran talent that hasn’t worked out. Center Phil Costa is decent in the middle and was resigned, but is coming off foot surgery and may be slow to return to full health. This was also a unit that was a major reason the Cowboys ranked 31st in the NFL in rushing last year.

2.   Safety – This has been a problem area for Dallas the past few years. Gerald Sensabaugh was cut this off-season, while backups Charlie Peprah and Eric Frampton won’t be back either. Backups Barry Church and Matt Johnson are currently slated to be the new starters, while Danny McCray was resigned and free agent veteran pickup Will Allen will be in the mix as well. None of those guys should be starting in an ideal scenario, especially in Kiffin’s Tampa-2 defense that requires the safeties to possess great range, cover skills and above-average open space tackling ability.

3.   Defensive Tackle – The Cowboys defensive line has quietly become an older unit with three starters, Demarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher all in their thirties and Anthony Spencer approaching it at 29. These are also players who have been in a 4-3 defense for a number of years and may struggle to transition to the new scheme. They also saw Kenyon Coleman head to the Saints as a free agent, while Marcus Spears was released. The defensive tackles in particular may need to change or be upgraded where Ratliff hasn’t been the same player since signing a big contact. None of the tackles on the roster can penetrate or get into opposing back fields on a consistent basis which is the type of player Kiffin likes to have in the middle of his defensive front.


2013 Draft Picks: 4 (1st), 35 (2nd), 67 (3rd), 101 (4th), 136 (5th), 210 (7th), 212 (7th), 218 (7th), 239 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: DL Fletcher Cox, MSST (12, 1st), LB Mychal Kendricks, CAL (46, 2nd), DE Vinny Curry, MARSH (59, 2nd), QB Nick Foles, ARIZ (88, 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM Howie Roseman, Head Coach Chip Kelly

It’s a new era in Philadelphia as talented Oregon Ducks Head Coach Chip Kelly makes the jump from college to take over for longtime Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid. Expect the Eagles to look completely different as Kelly’s personality and offensive/defensive schemes take over this roster, which includes a switch to a 3-4 defense. They’ve already done a nice job in free agency adding a lot of talent at multiple positions that fit what they want to do on both sides of the ball. They are one of the most intriguing teams to watch at the 2013 NFL Draft.

1.   Offensive Line – The Eagles are expected to take the up tempo offense to another level this season under Chip Kelly so expect some athletic offensive linemen with good gas tanks that can stay on the field to be added to this roster. Left tackle Jason Peters is one of the most talented tackles in the league, but is coming off his second straight season-ending torn Achilles and can’t be counted upon to stay healthy for a full season anymore. Todd Herremans is also coming off a season-ending injury. He played well at right tackle, but is better suited at guard and would help bolster the interior of their line. OT Demetress Bell was horrible trying to fill in for Peters and was released, while King Dunlap wasn’t much better and was allowed to leave as a free agent. 2011 first round pick Danny Watkins has been a major disappointment at guard. Adding some young, athletic prospects to provide depth with the potential to step into the starting lineup are expected.

2.   Cornerback – Philadelphia will have two new starting corners when the 2013 regular season gets rolling. Nnamdi Asomugha was a massive disappointment after coming over as a free agent and was released this offseason, while Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was allowed to leave as a free agent. They signed Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher in free agency, but neither one is a top corner with the ability to cover opposing no.1 receivers. The hunt for a new no.1 corner is on. Dee Milliner could be an option with the fourth overall pick.

3.   Quarterback – Who Chip Kelly’s signal-caller will be in 2013 remains unclear. Michael Vick looks like he may get the first chance at the job, but whether he can stay healthy or even handle Kelly’s offense is still up in the air. Nick Foles showed some promise last year, but doesn’t appear to be a fit at all for the new system and could be a trade target for a team that might miss out on one of the quarterbacks in the draft. Former Oregon Duck and Pittsburgh Steeler Dennis Dixon was added for depth. If Kelly doesn’t like Vick or Foles to run his offense then they could add a quarterback with one of their top three picks.

Written By: Mark Scott



2013 Draft Picks: 30 (1st), 60 (2nd), 92 (3rd), 127 (4th), 133 (4th), 163 (5th), 198 (6th), 236 (7th), 243 (7th), 244 (7th), 249 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: OC/OG Peter Konz, WISC (55, 2nd), OT Lamar Holmes, SMSP (91, 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM Thomas Dimitroff, Head Coach Mike Smith

The Falcons current regime finally broke through last season by winning their first playoff game defeating Seattle in the second round before exiting the postseason and will look to take that next step this year by getting to a Super Bowl. Most of the cast is back so they will remain one of the top teams in the NFL, although they need to rebuild their cornerback corps, add a young pass-rusher ready to contribute immediately and a pair of offensive linemen to play on the right side.

1.   Cornerback – The Falcons saw their once deep cornerback corps be dismantled this off-season. Dunta Robinson was cut, while Brent Grimes and Chris Owens signed elsewhere in free agency. Asante Samuel still remains a dangerous ball-hawk and Atlanta likes Robert McClain. Still, they need to draft at least one corner they feel comfortable about starting next to Samuel and probably a second one slightly later in the draft they can develop.

2.   Defensive End – They cut veteran John Abraham and replaced him with former Giant Osi Umenyiora this offseason, which some consider a downgrade. Osi turns 32 this season and has seen a steady decline in his production the last few years and isn’t in the long term plans. They also waved goodbye to Ray Edwards during the season. Meanwhile, Kroy Biermann remains a solid starter and they like 2012 fifth round pick Jonathan Massaquoi, although he barely saw the field as a rookie. A young pass rusher is needed.

3.   Tight End – Dimitroff was able to convince future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez to come back for one more season after last year’s playoff run showed that Atlanta isn’t far away from getting to the Super Bowl. Regardless of what happens this season, it is unlikely he’ll put off retirement again so finding a tight end to learn under the legend for a year should be on their radar during the draft.


2013 Draft Picks: 15 (1st), 75 (3rd), 109 (4th), 144 (5th), 183 (6th)

2012 Draft Selections: NT Akiem Hicks, REG/Canada (89, 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM Mickey Loomis, Head Coach Sean Payton

2012 was a year to forget for the Saints and their faithful as they had to deal with the “Bountygate” scandal that saw them lose Sean Payton for the season along with a number of other personnel that was suspended for parts of the year. A tough start to the season ultimately doomed them, but it was their legendarily bad defense that couldn’t stop anything that cost them most of their games. They weren’t able to add much in last year’s draft as they didn’t make a pick until late in the third round, while they will have to make their draft selections this year count with just five of them to work with. The defense switches to a 3-4 scheme this year so a lot of new talent needs to be added to this roster.   

1.   Outside Linebacker – New Orleans has a collection of interesting pass-rushers in Junior Galette, Martez Wilson, veteran Will Smith and free agent pickup Victor Butler. Galette and Wilson are still developing talents, while Will Smith is an unlikely fit for a 3-4 defense. Only Butler, who was a solid backup in Dallas has pro experience in the system, although he comes over after having just played under Rob Ryan with the Cowboys. Drafting a stud pass-rusher for this defense needs to be priority number one for the Saints.

2.   Left Tackle – The Saints saw Jermon Bushrod head to Chicago in free agency leaving a huge hole on their offensive line. 2010 second round pick Charles Brown appears to be his replacement at the moment, although he’s battled injuries in his career and hasn’t impressed when in the lineup. They signed draft bust Jason Smith for depth. While the Saints value guards more than tackles they still need someone who can legitimately protect Brees’ blind side and be in the lineup on a consistent basis.

3.   Best Defensive Player Available – The 2012 Saints defense was one of the worst in the history of the NFL. They couldn’t stop the run or the pass and now they transition from a 4-3 scheme that they’ve run for the last number of years under Gregg Williams and Steve Spagnuolo to a 3-4 scheme led by Rob Ryan. The transition is not going to be easy and may take some time. They have holes everywhere on defense, so focusing on landing the best available defensive prospect throughout the draft that can fit their new 3-4 system should be their overall goal.


2013 Draft Picks: 14 (1st), 44 (2nd), 108 (4th), 148 (5th), 182 (6th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: MLB Luke Kuechly, BC (9, 1st), OG Amini Silatolu, MWST (40, 2nd)

Decision Makers: GM Dave Gettleman, Head Coach Ron Rivera

New General Manager Dave Gettleman takes over for the fired Marty Hurney and is tasked with finding the talent to take this franchise back to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. There are some good pieces to start with in Cam Newton, a solid pass rush and a talented linebacker corps, but they still need a lot more talent if they plan on surpassing the Falcons or Saints in the NFC South. Gettleman is on the record as saying he is looking to land at least two immediate starters in this draft and is specifically targeting the trenches. Finding a long term replacement for veteran left tackle Jordan Gross who will turn 33 before the season and be a free agent next year should be on their radar if a prospect falls to them.

1.   Defensive Tackle – The Panthers group of interior defensive linemen is one of the worst in the NFL. They resigned Dwan Edwards, while fellow starter Ron Edwards was released. They spent a pair of third-rounders on Sione Fua and Terrell McClain in 2011 out of necessity, but neither has developed into a starter and they need to be upgraded. Edwards, Fua and McClain are all big, space-eaters so finding someone with the ability to penetrate and get into the backfield from the inside would be their best move. Adding a defensive tackle or two should be at the top of Carolina’s draft priorities.

2.   Defensive Back – While they’ve added some nice cornerback depth in Drayton Florence and D.J. Moore to help the resigned Captain Munnerlyn, they still have a need for a young stud corner at the top. Josh Norman was solid as rookie, but he’s probably not that guy. Playing in a division with receivers like Julio Jones, Roddy White, Marques Colston and Vincent Jackson along with quarterbacks Drew Brees and Matt Ryan, the Panthers need to get as many talented corners as possible. They signed free agent Michael Mitchell to start next to Charles Godfrey at safety, but there’s not much behind them and they could both be upgraded anyway.

3.   Wide Receiver – Steve Smith will be 34 when the season starts and can’t play forever. Brandon LaFell has become a solid target that may be ready to take the next step after averaging just under 40 catches a season in his first three years, while the rest of the receivers they’ve drafted over the past few years haven’t worked out. Louis Murphy also signed with the Giants. Carolina needs to find Cam Newton some more weapons, preferably someone who might be able to take over for Smith when he calls it a career.


2013 Draft Picks: 43 (2nd), 73 (3rd), 112 (4th), 126 (4th), 147 (5th), 181 (6th), 196 (6th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: SS Mark Barron, ALA (7, 1st), RB Doug Martin, BSU (31, 1st), OLB LaVonte David, NEB (58, 2nd)

Decision Makers: GM Mark Dominik, Head Coach Greg Schiano

The 2012 season started so promising for the Bucs as they won six of their first ten games, but then just won one the rest of the way and looked awful doing so. There is some work to be done on both sides of the ball if the Bucs plan on avoiding a sixth consecutive season without the playoffs. General Manager Mark Dominik made his first big move in doing so this season as he recently acquired CB Darrelle Revis from the Jets for their 13th overall pick this year along with another conditional 2014 mid-round selection. A great move considering there wasn’t really a cornerback prospect worth taking at that spot in the first round. They also need to figure out if Josh Freeman is their quarterback of the present and future as he appears to have fallen slightly out of favor with the coaching staff.

1.   Defensive End – They spent a pair of early draft picks in 2011 on Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers, but both have battled injuries in their short football careers and more recently Bowers was busted for trying to bring a gun on a plane and is facing some legal issues. Meanwhile their most consistent and productive pass-rusher Michael Bennett left for Seattle as a free agent. They need someone who can contribute immediately to replace him. This should be their top priority. Adding a defensive tackle that can stuff the run to replace the reliable, but departed Roy Miller should also be on the docket.

2.   Cornerback – Despite making a great move by adding the best cornerback in the league in Darrelle Revis, he is still coming off a torn ACL and may take some time to get back to full speed. Eric Wright continues to deal with injuries and suspensions, while under performing when in the lineup and E.J. Biggers headed to Washington as a free agent. They also traded the troubled, but talented Aqib Talib during last season.  Adding a corner still remains one of their top needs.

3.   Tight End – The tight end position needs some help. Dallas Clark is a 34-year old free agent, while Luke Stocker has been slow to develop. They brought in Packers backup Tom Crabtree, but he’s not the game breaker or productive player Josh Freeman and this offense needs at the position. There are some intriguing mid-round options they could look at in the draft.

Written By: Mark Scott



2013 Draft Picks: 28 (1st), 58 (2nd), 90 (3rd), 125 (4th), 161 (5th), 24 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: DT Derek Wolfe, CIN (36, 2nd), QB Brock Osweiler, AZST (57, 2nd), RB Ronnie Hillman, SDST (67, 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM John Elway, Head Coach John Fox

The Broncos took a major risk on Peyton Manning’s surgically repaired neck and it paid off as they finished with the best record in the AFC in 2012. That didn’t help much in the playoffs though as they failed to win a game or advance any further than Tim Tebow led them the year before. They still remain one of the top teams in the NFL, but do have needs that have to be filled, particularly on defense.

1.   Defensive End – A ridiculous front office mistake saw Elvis Dumervil end up signing with the Ravens instead of Denver leaving a massive hole on their defensive line. Derek Wolfe was excellent as a rookie, but Robert Ayers has shown nothing so far in his short career to show that he can be counted on for another year as a starter. Backup Jason Hunter also left in free agency. Adding a young defensive tackle is needed as well.

2.   Middle Linebacker – The middle of the defense is a major weakness for the Broncos. Keith Brooking was pretty good for them in 2012, but he’s a 37-year old free agent, while Joe Mays is coming off a season-ending injury and D.J. Williams departed in free agency. They need to find someone to quarterback their defense.

3.   Cornerback – Unfortunately future Hall of Famer Champ Bailey can’t play forever so finding someone for the long term future to learn behind him would be a good idea. The Broncos franchise has not drafted a corner of note since the late Darrent Williams in 2005. They made a great signing in bringing in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on a one year deal. Chris Harris has been a solid player for them as well. Tracy Porter signed with Oakland as a free agent.


2013 Draft Picks: 1 (1st), 63 (3rd), 96 (3rd), 99 (4th), 134 (5th), 170 (6th), 204 (6th), 207 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: DL Dontari Poe, MEM (11, 1st), OG Jeff Allen, ILL (44, 2nd), OT Donald Stephenson, OKLA (74, 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM John Dorsey, Head Coach Andy Reid

A new era begins in Kansas City as former long time Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid takes over the reins following a 2012 season that everyone would love to forget with the exception of the 2013 first overall pick they received for their misery. The Chiefs still have a lot of talent on this roster, including a number of Pro Bowlers, most of who are still in the early stages of their careers. Despite just two wins last year, they have the potential for a quick turnaround with better coaching, improved quarterback play and a good draft. They traded for Alex Smith, but Reid loves his quarterbacks so look him to take one to develop with one of their mid-round picks, perhaps someone like Tyler Bray, who has the best pure arm talent of any quarterback prospect this year.

1.   Offensive Tackle – The Chiefs have been rumored for months to be taking either Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher with the first overall pick and for good reason. They franchised left tackle Branden Albert, but that’s just for one year and they recently gave Miami permission to talk to him in order to work out a trade after shopping him around the league. Even if Albert remains in Kansas City for 2013, they still have a hole at right tackle after releasing Eric Winston. Joeckel or Fisher could play on the right side for a year and then take over at left tackle when Albert isn’t resigned following the season or the Chiefs could move Albert over to right tackle and let either of the prospects start on the blind side from day one.

2.   Inside Linebacker – The Jovan Belcher tragedy has left a spot open next to Derrick Johnson on the inside that has yet to be filled. The Chiefs did sign a pair of decent linebackers in Akeem Jordan and Zac Diles, but they figure to be more for depth. Johnson is still one of the top inside linebackers in the league, but he’ll be 31 in November and in his tenth season. Adding a young linebacker to learn from Johnson for however long he keeps playing would be beneficial.

3.   Free Safety – They need to add someone better than Kendrick Lewis or Abram Elam to play free safety next to strong safety Eric Berry in the starting lineup.  Georgia’s playmaking Bacarri Rambo or the hard-hitting T.J. McDonald out of USC in the late third or fourth round could be options.


2013 Draft Picks: 11 (1st), 45 (2nd), 76 (3rd), 110 (4th), 145 (5th), 179 (6th), 221 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: OLB Melvin Ingram, SCAR (18, 1st), DT Kendall Reyes, CONN (49, 2nd), S Brandon Taylor, LSU (73, 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM Tom Telesco, Head Coach Mike McCoy

The Chiefs aren’t the only franchise entering a new era as San Diego will do the same after finally deciding to move on from the A.J. Smith/Norv Turner regime and replacing them with Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy. The Chargers still possess a roster with some very talented players on it, but also have brutally glaring holes specifically on their offensive line and in the secondary. Their offensive line may be the worst in football right now. They probably need to add three offensive linemen in this draft.

1.   Offensive Tackle – Left tackle Jared Gaither was cut this offseason after he was unable to stay healthy or adequately protect Phillip Rivers when he was in the lineup, while right tackle Jeromey Clary is awful. Two new staring offensive tackles need to be added. San Diego has no hope if they can’t protect Rivers.

2.   Offensive Guard/Center – The interior offensive line wasn’t any better than the their tackles and is in need of major upgrades, especially after their only reliable player, RG Louis Vasquez signed with the rival Broncos as a free agent. Tyronne Green and Rex Hadnot are free agents who probably won’t be resigned. They did sign former Bill Chad Rinehart who was good in 2011, but was injured for almost all of last season. San Diego hasn’t drafted an offensive lineman in any of the first three rounds in the past four years, so whether it is tackle, guard or center, they need to draft as many good linemen as possible regardless of position.

3.   Cornerback – The Chargers will have a pair of new starting corners when the 2013 season begins. Antoine Cason signed with the Cardinals, while Quentin Jammer is a 34-year old free agent. Neither was expected to be brought back. They did sign former Jag Derek Cox to start at one spot, but he’s missed 14 games due to injury over the past two seasons and was let go by the Jags because of his inability to stay healthy. The other starting spot remains unfilled.


2013 Draft Picks: 3 (1st), 66 (3rd), 100 (4th), 172 (6th), 176 (6th), 205 (6th), 209 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: OG Tony Bergstrom, UTA (95, 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM Reggie McKenzie, Head Coach Dennis Allen

Reggie McKenzie continues to try to rebuild the dreadful Raiders, perhaps one of the toughest rebuilding projects we’ve ever seen in sports. Since taking over he’s cleaned out as many big, mostly bad contracts as possible, but in doing so he has depleted this roster of any of the talent that they did have. Dealing with a horrible cap situation, McKenzie has filled most of the holes on this roster with cheap, stop-gap players that were backups on other teams. This is a team that just needs to take the best, most talented player available with every pick regardless of need. At least this year he has a first round pick to work with.

1.   Defensive Tackle – Their best interior defensive lineman Desmond Bryant departed for Cleveland in free agency, while Richard Seymour is an aging, declining free agent that probably won’t be brought back and Tommy Kelly was rightfully cut. They signed former backups Pats Sims and Vance Walker, who are currently set to start for them. A pair of defensive tackles need to be added in the draft.

2.   Cornerback – The Raiders added Mike Jenkins and Tracy Porter as free agents to an underwhelming group of corners. None of which a potential playoff team would want starting for them and that includes stopgaps Jenkins and Porter. Finding a young cornerback is another massive need.

3.   Defensive End – Oakland finished 31st in sacks last year only ahead of the dreadful Jags. Lamarr Houston has developed into a solid starting defensive end, but is better at stopping the run than putting constant pressure on opposing passers. They also saw Matt Shaughnessy go to Arizona in free agency, while the Raiders signed Jason Hunter and brought veteran Andre Carter back for another year. Houston is the only legit starting defensive end on the roster at the moment. Like with defensive tackle and cornerback, they need to find potential star talent throughout the draft, but any prospects with talent are a boost to this depleted roster.

Written By: Mark Scott



2013 Draft Picks: 27 (1st), 57 (2nd), 89 (3rd), 95 (3rd), 124 (4th), 160 (5th), 195 (6th), 201 (6th), 233 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: OLB Whitney Mercilus, ILL (26, 1st), WR DeVier Posey, OSU (68 , 3rd), OG Brandon Brooks, MIA-O ( , 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM Rick Smith, Head Coach Gary Kubiak

Another successful regular season in 2012 helped the Texans establish themselves as one of the top teams currently in the NFL, but they failed for a second year in a row to advance past the second round of the playoffs. This season will be about taking that next step by getting to the Super Bowl. They’ve found immediate game-changing talent over the last couple of drafts and if they can add a couple more of those guys this year than that next step should come a lot easier.

1.   Wide Receiver – The Texans have needed someone to pair with Andre Johnson for a while now and it appears to be their top focus heading into the draft. Any new receiver would also ideally be a potential heir apparent for the aging Johnson. Adding a young slot receiver would be a good idea as well. Long-time Texan Kevin Walter was allowed to leave in free agency.

2.   Nose Tackle – Sean Cody did a nice job at Nose Tackle for Wade Phillips’ defense the past few seasons, but he’s a free agent and probably needed to be upgraded anyways. Backup Earl Mitchell has been quietly getting better and has shown flashes throughout his first three seasons that he may be ready to move into the starting lineup. If the Texans fully believe in Mitchell than that lessens their need, but there is still nobody behind him should he struggle or get injured. Phillips prefers to use a smaller, more athletic tackle that can move around rather than the standard, mammoth nose that just takes up the middle of the field.

3.   Outside Linebacker – Connor Barwin departed for the Eagles in free agency leaving Houston in need of a third pass-rusher to go with Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus. There is nothing on the roster behind them.


2013 Draft Picks: 24 (1st), 86 (3rd), 121 (4th), 192 (6th), 230 (7th), 254 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: QB Andrew Luck, STAN (1, 1st), TE Coby Fleener, STAN (34, 2nd), TE Dwayne Allen, CLEM (64, 3rd), WR T.Y. Hilton, FIU (92, 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM Ryan Grigson, Head Coach Chuck Pagano

The 2012 season was a magical one for the Colts as they won eleven games and went to the playoffs after winning just two games the previous year, all while new Head Coach Chuck Pagano fought and defeated Leukemia. The key was landing Andrew Luck with the first overall pick in last year’s draft along with a number of prospects on offense that contributed immediately. This year’s draft should be about building their defense that continues to transition from a long-time 4-3 scheme to the type of 3-4 Pagano ran when he was defensive coordinator in Baltimore.

1.   Outside Linebacker – Long-time Colt Dwight Freeney was not resigned and probably wasn’t a good fit in the 3-4, while Robert Mathis made a successful transition and turned in another solid campaign, although he just turned 32 years old. 2010 first round pick Jerry Hughes had his best year to date, but still wasn’t all that impressive and left a lot to be desired. They also added Erik Walden and Lawrence Sidbury as free agents to upgrade their depth at the position. It’s probably time to find someone to play across from Mathis instead of Hughes.

2.   Offensive Guard – They filled one guard spot through free agency by adding Donald Thomas from the Patriots, while Mike McGlynn and Jeff Linkenbach desperately need to be upgraded on the right side. Andrew Luck was hit way too many times as a rookie and the Colts should find him the best protection possible.

3.   Defensive Line – Finding big, versatile defensive linemen is imperative to running a 3-4 defense and the Colts are in need of upgrades across their line as they continue to make their transition from a 4-3 scheme. They signed Aubrayo Franklin and Ricky Jean-Francois, but they have their flaws and would be better suited as reserves if Indy can find better talent. Cory Redding is a terrific player, but he will turn 33 during next season and isn’t getting any younger. Adding a young five-technique defensive end or nose tackle or both to build the defense around would be fantastic.  


2013 Draft Picks: 10 (1st), 40 (2nd), 70 (3rd), 97 (3rd), 107 (4th), 142 (5th), 202 (6th), 216 (7th), 248 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: WR Kendall Wright, BAY (20, 1st), OLB Zach Brown, UNC (52, 2nd), DT Mike Martin, MICH (82, 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM Ruston Webster, Head Coach Mike Munchak

The Titans missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year and Mike Munchak will be on the hot seat if they fail to qualify for them again this season, especially if they endure another year like 2012 where they were blown out six times. Tennessee could be in for a major rebuild should that happen so upgrading this roster in the draft is a must.

1.   Offensive Guard – The Titans added coveted left guard Andy Levitre from Buffalo in free agency, but still have a hole at right guard that needs to be filled to complete their offensive line. A run-blocking mauler to clear the way for Chris Johnson would be ideal. Selecting at the tenth pick overall, Tennessee will likely have the opportunity to land the top guard prospect in the draft, which would give them one of the best guard tandems in the league.

2.   Defensive End – The Titans have a nice group of defensive ends led by Kamerion Wimbley and Derrick Morgan, but don’t have anyone that strikes fear into opposing teams or forces them to alter their protection. Adding another young pass-rusher, hopefully with game-changing potential would be a big help in elevating this defense.

3.   Best Player Available – The Titans don’t really have too many glaring holes in their lineup, however the majority of this roster is made up of a lot of good or solid players, but not the type of elite, game-changing talent they need to take their team to the next level. Adding elite talent should be their main goal to the point that the front office can sit there and take the best player of their board regardless of risk with every pick.


2013 Draft Picks: 2 (1st), 33 (2nd), 64 (3rd), 98 (4th), 135 (5th), 169 (6th), 208 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: WR Justin Blackmon, OKST (5, 1st), DE Andre Branch, CLEM (38, 2nd), P Bryan Anger, CAL (70, 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM David Caldwell, Head Coach Gus Bradley

A new regime takes over in Jacksonville led by GM David Caldwell and former Seahawks Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley as the new Head Coach. The Jags have won just seven games over the past two years and haven’t had a winning season since 2007.  There are huge holes that need to be filled throughout the lineup, but upgrading the current talent and adding elite prospects to the roster is what this new front office has to do more than anything else.

1.   Quarterback – New regimes mean new quarterbacks and Blaine Gabbert has struggled badly since coming into the league two years ago and appears to be an early first round bust, while Chad Henne remains a solid backup that actually played pretty well and was able to help young wideouts Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts start to produce. The Jags front office has worked out the majority of top quarterback prospects and will have the opportunity to draft one early in the first or second round if they want.

2.   Defensive End – The Jags finished dead last in sacks in 2012 where they’ve been at or near the bottom of the league in for the last four years. Houston’s J.J. Watt actually had more sacks himself than the entire Jacksonville team last season. Their top pass-rusher Jeremy Mincey produced just three sacks, while 2012 second round pick Andre Branch was slow to adjust to the pro level. Jason Babin was brought over from Philadelphia during last season and could be an intriguing guy if he can get back to the form he showed in 2012 and 2011. While a defensive end is needed, Bradley will be looking for a certain type of player that will be able to play his “LEO” position, which features an athletic, versatile pass-rusher with great speed that lines up wide on the weak side and has the ability to rush with his hand in the dirt or standing up and can be lined up from multiple spots on defense.

3.   Cornerback – The Jags cornerback corps has been almost as bad as the pass rush these past few years and is in desperate need of new and better talent. Derek Cox left for San Diego in free agency, while Aaron Ross was cut before heading back to the Giants. Meanwhile Rashean Mathis will be 33 when the 2013 regular season begins and Mike Harris is still a developing talent.  Adding at least one corner that can start is a must in this draft.

Written By: Mark Scott



2013 Draft Picks: 32 (1st), 62 (2nd), 94 (3rd), 129 (4th), 130 (4th), 165 (5th), 168 (5th), 199 (6th), 200 (6th), 203 (6th), 238 (7th), 247 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: LB Courtney Upshaw, ALA (35, 2nd), OG/OT Kelechi Osemele, IWST (60, 2nd), RB Bernard Pierce, TEMP (84, 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM Ozzie Newsome, Head Coach John Harbaugh

The Baltimore Ravens finally won their second Super Bowl in 2012, but the celebration didn’t last long as they faced a major roster exodus in the off-season losing multiple starters, especially on defense. Ray Lewis retired as expected, but what followed was surprising to say the least. They made a couple nice moves in free agency to slow the bleeding, but a number of holes on both sides of the ball still need to be filled. Ozzie Newsome has twelve picks to work with, so watch for the Ravens to be a team that could move up the board throughout the draft.

1.   Inside Linebacker – Future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis finally called it a career and retired on top, but also left a hole the team has been trying to find an heir apparent to fill with for a number of years. The team was shocked when fellow starter Dannell Ellerbe spurned them and signed with Miami as a free agent. Solid backup Jameel McClain is also coming off a season ending spinal cord contusion. They signed former Raider and high draft pick Rolando McClain, but he was a major disappointment in Oakland and has had a few off the field problems with the law.

2.   Left Tackle – Bryant McKinnie remains a free agent and there is at least a little bit of interest from the Ravens in bringing him back, although teams like the Saints and Chargers are also interested. The Ravens offensive line was at their best when they put McKinnie back in as the starting left tackle and moved Michael Oher back to the right side. Oher can play left tackle and 2012 second round pick OG Kelechi Osemele has been talked about as a possible option as well.

3.   Safety – The Ravens need to add a young starting safety. Longtime Raven Ed Reed signed with Houston, while fellow starter Bernard Pollard was cut before signing with the Titans. They brought in another former Raider in Michael Huff on a 2-year deal and he will be one starter. Backup James Ihedigbo was resigned, but should remain a reserve.


2013 Draft Picks: 17 (1st), 48 (2nd), 79 (3rd), 115 (4th), 150 (5th), 186 (6th), 206 (6th), 223 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: OG David DeCastro, STAN (24, 1st), OT Mike Adams, OSU (56, 2nd), LB Sean Spence, MIA-F (86, 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM Kevin Colbert, Head Coach Mike Tomlin

Age finally caught up to the Steelers in 2012 as they failed to make the playoffs and may be in for a bit of a rebuilding period. Their defense is especially old with multiple aging starters still remaining and is in need of some young talent. A few of which will probably need to start right away. The offense needs multiple players as well, especially at the skill positions. The 2013 NFL Draft is an important one for the Steelers.

1.   Outside Linebacker – The outside linebacker position for the Steelers has been the weakest it has been in years. Lamarr Woodley remains solid on one side, but recorded just four sacks in 2012, his fewest since his rookie year. James Harrison got old and slow and was released this off-season, while Jason Worilds has yet to really break out in his three seasons in the league.

2.   Running Back – Pittsburgh used a number of different backs throughout last year and will come into 2013 with just Jonathan Dwyer and Issac Redman on the roster. Both are solid backups, but neither is the workhorse back the Steelers need and desire. The Steelers also want to get back to being a more run-oriented offense this season. They’ve talked to former Giants starter Ahmad Bradshaw, while Rashard Mendenhall signed with Arizona.

3.  Wide Receiver – They lost Mike Wallace in free agency to the Dolphins and nearly lost Emmanuel Sanders to Patriots after he signed an offer sheet with them before the Steelers matched. Although, Sanders will be an unrestricted free agent following the season. They found Wallace and Sanders late in the third round and their top wide out for 2013 Antonio Brown was a sixth round selection, so look for Pittsburgh to add a guy or two in the mid-rounds.


2013 Draft Picks: 21 (1st), 37 (2nd), 53 (2nd), 84 (3rd), 118 (4th), 156 (5th), 190 (6th), 197 (7th), 240 (7th), 251 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: CB Dre Kirkpatrick, ALA (17, 1st), OG Kevin Zeitler, WISC (27, 1st), DT Devon Still, PSU (53, 2nd), WR Mo Sanu, RUTG (83, 3rd)

Decision Makers: Owner/GM Mike Brown, Head Coach Marvin Lewis

It has been extremely impressive how the Bengals have turned their much maligned franchise around the last few years, particularly by doing it through the draft. They have added talent and depth across the board using the draft and will look to do so again with ten picks, including a pair of second-round selections that could allow them to trade up for a particular prospect they may desire. With the Steelers set for a potential step back and the Ravens possibly reeling from losing a number of starters, the AFC North could be prime for the taking for the Bengals. If they can’t come to terms with Andre Smith, adding a right tackle in the draft will become imperative.

1.   Strong Safety – The safety position has been an area of weakness for the Bengals the last number of years, although Reggie Nelson turned in a good year last season at free safety. Chris Crocker wasn’t nearly as good next to him and is a free agent that probably won’t be back and needed to be upgraded anyway. Nate Clements spent some time at safety in 2012, but is a 33-year old free agent on the decline. Taylor Mays continues to be awful.

2.   Running Back – They brought in Benjarvus Green-Ellis last year and while he is a reliable, consistent back, he’s not the dynamic three-down workhorse they’ve been searching for the past few seasons. Adding a feature ball-carrier could take this offense to the next level.

3.   Linebacker – The linebacker corps may be going through a slight transition period. They found a diamond in the rough when they signed Vontaze Burfict, who went undrafted last year following a legendary drop down draft boards. He was fantastic for them last year and is the only linebacker with a guaranteed starting job this season. Starting MLB Rey Maualuga was resigned, but he was terrible in 2012 and finished the year as one of the worst rated starting linebackers in the league. Thomas Howard is a solid outside linebacker, but missed almost all of last season with a torn ACL and is still a free agent, while Manny Lawson signed with Buffalo in free agency. They recently signed former Steeler James Harrison, but at 35 years old, injury prone and in decline, he may not contribute much. Another young linebacker or two should be added.


2013 Draft Picks: 6 (1st), 68 (3rd), 104 (4th), 139 (5th), 175 (6th), 227 (7th)

2012 Early Draft Selections: RB Trent Richardson, ALA (3, 1st), QB Brandon Weeden, OKST (22, 1st), RT Mitchell Schwartz, CAL (37, 2nd), DT John Hughes, CIN (87, 3rd)

Decision Makers: GM Mike Lombardi, Head Coach Rob Chudzinski

A new regime begins again in Cleveland in 2013, although it starts directly at the top with new owner Jimmy Haslam taking over the franchise during last year. NFL Network analyst and former executive Mike Lombardi returns to the Browns to handle general manager duties, while Rob Chudzinski starts his first Head Coaching job. Lombardi has already done some nice work adding talent in free agency leaving this roster just a few players away at key positions from challenging for a playoff spot. Cleveland fans hope this regime is the one that finally turns this franchise in the right direction. They are without a 2013 2nd round pick after sacrificing it to select WR Josh Gordon in the 2012 Supplemental Draft. Part of the new regime involves a switch from a 4-3 defensive scheme to a 3-4.

1.   Cornerback – Joe Haden remains one of the top corners in football, but the Browns don’t have anyone sufficient enough to start across from him. Former 2011 fifth round pick Buster Skrine was a nice late round find and is set to start, but someone better should be brought in ahead of him. Sheldon Brown is 34-year old free agent and has yet to be resigned by the Browns.

2.   Quarterback – New regimes often mean new quarterbacks and in the Browns case the new guys in charge aren’t fans of 2012 first round pick and starter Brandon Weeden. They’ve made it pretty clear that they are on the hunt for new signal-caller to build the franchise around. They also traded backup Colt McCoy to San Francisco and replaced him with veteran Jason Campbell.

3.   Offensive Guard – The Browns could use upgrades at both guard positions, but in particular RG Shaun Lauvao continued to struggle in 2012 and hasn’t developed into a legit NFL starter. He’s in the last year of his rookie contract and should be replaced with a better prospect. John Greco was decent at LG after replacing Jason Pinkston in the starting lineup mid-season.

Written By: Mark Scott