Published Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 9:22 pm / Updated at 10:40 pm
FOOTBALL
Sam McKewon's NFL Mock Draft

It's been years since so much uncertainty ruled the top half of the NFL draft. Not only is there little agreement on which players teams will pick, there's no clear answer to which teams those will be, and what players are the best at a given position. The draft is particularly strong at defensive line, defensive end and linebacker, and particularly weak at quarterback and cornerback. Here's the breakdown of the first round, complete with some guesses on potential trades.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan: He's better than Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel in the long term. Kansas City wouldn't mind trading out of the spot, but there's no dominant player to use as bait.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars

Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon: Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley is a Pete Carroll disciple who struck gold by drafting Bruce Irvin last year for the Seahawks. Jordan's better.

3. Miami Dolphins

Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M: Miami jumps from No. 12 after a trade with Oakland. Joeckel replaces the recently departed Jake Long.

4. Philadelphia Eagles

Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Chip Kelly intends to run his fast-paced no huddle in the NFL. A Dana Holgersen protégé with a big arm is a place to start.

5. Oakland Raiders

Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida: The Raiders move back up, swapping with Detroit to get the player they want, a big, physical space-eater.

6. Cleveland Browns

Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama: The Browns could trade down, but DB is a need, and Milliner is the best in a so-so class.

7. Arizona Cardinals

Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma: I think Sooner OL have been soft in recent years, but Johnson, a converted tight end, is a fine athlete.

8. Buffalo Bills

Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse: Jon Gruden's favorite QB in the draft. Streaky, decent scrambler and his former 'Cuse head coach, Doug Marrone, is now the boss in Buffalo.

9. New York Jets

Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah: If this kid wants it, he'll be All-Pro. He was inconsistent in college.

10. Carolina Panthers

Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri: The Panthers jump from 14, swapping with the Tennessee Titans. Richardson is a stud who proved it in the SEC last year. I like him more than Floyd.

11. San Diego Chargers

Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama: San Diego needs linemen, and Warmack is a good place to start. This franchise is close to hitting rock bottom after many good years.

12. Detroit Lions

Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State: Detroit has needs at DE, too, but there are more of those in the draft than there are good DBs.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU: Tampa Bay picks this skilled pass rusher and trades him to the New York Jets — who need one — for cornerback Darrelle Revis, who wants out.

14. Tennessee Titans

Jonathan Cooper, OG, N. Carolina: Tennessee gets a blocker for Chris Johnson.

15. Minnesota Vikings

Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia: The Vikings have 11 picks overall and two in the first round. To replace Percy Harvin — and beat St. Louis to the punch — they trade up with New Orleans, which also fields — and rejects — trade offers from Dallas, which wants the next pick.

16. St. Louis Rams

Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas: A true versatile safety, Vaccaro helps the Rams in more ways than a WR would.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers

Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee: Pittsburgh's offense stunk to high heaven at times last year. With Mike Wallace leaving, QB Ben Roethlisberger needs someone who can run the fly pattern.

18. Dallas Cowboys

D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama: Dallas is committed to Tony Romo, so it had better get him a better offensive line.

19. New York Giants

Matt Elam, FS, Florida: I'm betting on the Giants to keep tinkering with the defense in the first round while addressing the offensive line in later rounds.

20. Chicago Bears

Alex Ogletree, LB, Georgia: The Bears' new defensive coordinator is a Nick Saban/Romeo Crennel disciple, which translates to big, physical inside linebackers. Midway, meet Ogletree.

21. Cincinnati Bengals

Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia: I think Jones hangs around on the board because of some average offseason workouts and rewards the Bengals with his play.

22. St. Louis Rams

Keenan Allen, WR, California: If he can recover from a torn ACL, Allen may be the best WR in the draft. Steady and tough, he caught passes from his half-brother — who's not a good thrower — at Cal.

23. New Orleans Saints

Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU: A match made. Mingo's a good fit for the Saints' new direction on defense.

24. Indianapolis Colts

Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M: The Colts will have many good ends from which to choose. They go with Moore.

25. Minnesota Vikings

Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame: A 10-year player.

26. Green Bay Packers

Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina: Big brute for the line. The Packers still need a better defense.

27. Houston Texans

Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee: Opposite Andre Johnson, he could be the NFL rookie of the year.

28. Denver Broncos

Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State: Physical, consistent star in college will get a shot at starting in Denver opposite Von Miller.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State: New England dumps the draft pick to move back four spots, while the Jags get their next QB.

30. Atlanta Falcons

Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame: He may be gone by mid-round, as popular as TEs are these days. At any rate, the Falcons know they have one more year with Tony Gonzalez.

31. San Francisco 49ers

Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State: With 13 picks, the Niners could move to the middle of the first round to get a safety or top-flight end. If they stay here, I like the versatile Seminole end.

32. Baltimore Ravens

Da'Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech: The Ravens can't reasonably replace the genius of Ed Reed with any of the remaining safeties, so they shift to a 6-foot-2, 215-pound wideout to replace Anquan Boldin.

Contact the writer: Sam McKewon

sam.mckewon@owh.com    |   402-219-3790    |  

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him. Follow him on Twitter. Call him.

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