NFL beat writers make picks for 2013 mock draft

Texas A&M; offensive lineman Luke Joeckel addresses the media during a news conference at the NFL combine in February.
(Michael Conroy / Associated Press)

Few people know the 32 NFL teams better than the writers who cover those teams on a day-to-day basis. Those beat writers made the selections for this mock draft, choosing the players as if Thursday night were to unfold this way:

1. KANSAS CITY (Adam Teicher, Kansas City Star) — Luke Joeckel, T, Texas A&M;: “With all the uncertainty over Branden Albert, the Chiefs need to do something to secure that position for the long term. That’s a priority.”

2. JACKSONVILLE (Vito Stellino, Florida Times-Union) — Eric Fisher, T, Central Michigan: “The Jaguars have only one tackle, so they need one, and it’s a safe pick. The rest of the top players are too much of a gamble.”


3. OAKLAND (Phil Barber, Santa Rosa Press Democrat) — Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama: “Oakland’s secondary was a black hole last season, and drafting Milliner would be a big step toward filling the need there.”

4. PHILADELPHIA (Les Bowen, Philadelphia Daily News) — Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon: “The Eagles don’t have anybody who was drafted as a 3-4 linebacker. They’d like someone who can both rush the passer and drop back in coverage.”

5. DETROIT (David Birkett, Detroit Free Press) — Ziggy Ansah, DE, Brigham Young: “The Lions lost Cliff Avril in free agency and released Kyle Vanden Bosch, so there’s definitely a need at the position.”

6. CLEVELAND (Tony Grossi, — Barkevious Mingo, DE, Louisiana State: “This would be the Browns’ worst nightmare and intensify efforts to trade down. But barring that, Cleveland would settle on Mingo as a pass rusher.”

7. ARIZONA (Kent Somers, Arizona Republic) — Chance Warmack, G, Alabama: “The Cardinals like a guy who can step in and play right away. They feel better about their tackles than outsiders do, so that’s why they would pass on Lane Johnson.”

8. BUFFALO (Mark Gaughn, Buffalo News) — Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse: “He played for the head coach and offensive coordinator at Syracuse, and the Bills need a quarterback. Simple as that.”


9. N.Y. JETS (Brian Costello, New York Post) — Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina: “Both of the Jets’ starting guards are gone from last year. They signed Willie Colon for one spot, but it’s a pretty gaping hole at guard.”

10. TENNESSEE (Jim Wyatt, The Tennessean) — Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida: “The Titans obviously like the two guards, but Floyd helps them get bigger and more athletic on the defensive line.”

11. SAN DIEGO (Michael Gehlken, U-T San Diego) — Lane Johnson, T, Oklahoma: “A blue-chip prospect to protect Philip Rivers’ blind side is too good for the Chargers to pass up.”

12. MIAMI (Omar Kelly, South Florida Sun-Sentinel) — Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame: “The Dolphins spent all off-season giving Ryan Tannehill playmakers, and Eifert will become a red-zone threat.”

13. TAMPA BAY (Rick Stroud, St. Petersburg Times) — Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah: “They might try to move up for Dee Milliner, but Lotulelei would fill a need at defensive tackle and could pair nicely with Gerald McCoy.”

14. CAROLINA (Joe Person, Charlotte Observer) — Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia: “The Panthers have more pressing needs on defense, but the chance to get another offensive playmaker — to go along with quarterback Cam Newton — might be too much for offensive coordinator Mike Shula to pass up.”


15. NEW ORLEANS (Mike Triplett, New Orleans Times-Picayune) — Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas: “The Saints need to find a disruptive playmaker, and that could be at any position on defense after a historically bad 2012 season.”

16. ST. LOUIS (Jim Thomas, St. Louis Post-Dispatch) — Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee: “Patterson might be more of a project, but he’s a guy that’s got a lot of potential. They lost two of their top three guys in Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson, and they have only three receivers on the roster who have played in an NFL regular-season game.”

17. PITTSBURGH (Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) — Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia: “Outside linebackers drive that 3-4 defense, and the Steelers may never have been as thin as they are now. Not only could they use one or two this year, but also they’ve got to restock the position.”

18. DALLAS (Clarence Hill, Fort Worth Star Telegram) — Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri: “Richardson is the wide body the Cowboys need for their Tampa Bay-2 defense, while Jay Ratliff plays the role of Warren Sapp.”

19. N.Y. GIANTS (Ralph Vacciano, New York Daily News) — Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia: “With the loss of Michael Boley, and with Mathias Kiwanuka moving to defensive end, the Giants are desperate for a playmaker at outside linebacker.”

20. CHICAGO (Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune) — Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame: “Te’o is the best interior linebacker available, and the Bears have a pressing need with Brian Urlacher not returning.”


21. CINCINNATI (Joe Reedy, Cincinnati Enquirer) — D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama: “Andre Smith is unsigned and while it’s a good safety class, 21 might be a little high for Mike Brown to take a safety.”

22. ST. LOUIS from Washington (Howard Balzer, The Sports Xchange) — Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International: “The Rams don’t have any returning starters at safety. If they can’t trade down, Cyprien would be the best value.”

23. MINNESOTA (Mark Craig, Minneapolis Star Tribune) — Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State: “The Vikings made corner a much high priority once they decided to release Antoine Winfield rather than paying him the $7.25 million he wanted.”

24. INDIANAPOLIS (Mike Chappel, Indianapolis Star) — Datone Jones, DT, UCLA: “Losing Dwight Freeney, the Colts don’t have a second pass rusher other than Robert Mathis and he’s on the wrong side of 30.”

25. MINNESOTA from Seattle (Craig) — Keenan Allen, WR, California: “The Vikings have no one other than Greg Jennings. If they ever want to find out if Christian Ponder is the guy, they have to put more than one receiver around him.”

26. GREEN BAY (Bob McGinn, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) — Matt Elam, S, Florida: “Charles Woodson is gone, and they only have Morgan Burnett at safety. Elam is physical and brings toughness and that’s what they need.”


27. HOUSTON (John McClain, Houston Chronicle) — DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson: “Hopkins is a three-year starter the Texans think would be ready to start as a rookie.”

28. DENVER (Mike Klis, Denver Post) — Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama: “Lacy would be the last piece to an offensive powerhouse. He would replace an aging Willis McGahee.”

29. NEW ENGLAND (Shalise Manza Young, Boston Globe) — D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston: “The Patriots are in need of a cornerback, although they could use a defensive end too. They only have five picks, so they would like to trade out of that spot, if possible.”

30. ATLANTA (D. Orlando Ledbetter, Atlanta Journal-Constitution) — Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington: “Trufant fills a need after the Falcons let three of their top five cornerbacks leave in the off-season.”

31. SAN FRANCISCO (Matt Barrows, Sacramento Bee) — Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State: “The 49ers could do the same thing with him they did with Aldon Smith as a rookie, making him a situational pass rusher his first year then moving him into a starting role as the heir apparent to Justin Smith.”

32. BALTIMORE (Aaron Wilson, Baltimore Sun) — Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU: “With Ray Lewis retired, the Ravens have a void in the middle of their defense.”