10 NFL Teams in Best Position Heading Into 2013 NFL Draft
10 NFL Teams in Best Position Heading Into 2013 NFL Draft
With the 2012 NFL regular season in the books, the majority of the league is now already in offseason mode and looking to build toward 2013. There are plenty of different ways to retool a team between seasons, but one of the primary ways to get younger and improve in via the NFL Draft.
Some teams set themselves up better than others heading into the league’s annual selection process and that allows them more flexibility when they are put on the clock. From stockpiling picks years in advance to simply maximizing a given allotment of selections, there are plenty of different strategies that work to produce a top notch draft class.
Many have said that this year’s draft will be one of the weakest in recent memory in terms of total talent, but there are always some hidden gems along the way that no one saw coming. Every team’s scouting department has been scouring over the collegiate landscape all season long to try and uncover just where those talented sleepers lie.
For several teams that have already drafted well in the past, this year will be a building process on what they have already accomplished. By continuing that success, clubs will get even closer to their ultimate goal of hoisting the Lombardi trophy in early February.
There are 32 teams to choose from, but here are the 10 best positioned franchises heading into the 2013 NFL Draft. Look for these teams to get some good grades when the draft evaluation shakes out in late April.
10. Kansas City Chiefs
The team with the first overall pick is officially on the clock the moment the season ends, but for the Chiefs, they have plenty of options. Although the number one pick is still difficult to trade, the idea isn’t nearly as implausible as it once was with the rookie wage scale now in place. It would be ideal for KC to deal this pick, but if they can’t, it’s really tough to go wrong. They have so many needs, the only player truly safe on their roster is Jamaal Charles.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This Bucs team really disappointed in 2012, but they have seven picks in the first six rounds. The team is without a seventh round selection, but they can do their damage with two fourth rounders and maneuver around if necessary. Tampa has an offense with plenty of potential and they just need to build up a passing defense that was worst in the league to compete with their run defense which was the NFL’s best.
8. Washington Redskins
Even though they have no first round pick, the Skins still have eight total picks and they have already shown the ability to turn late rounders into stars as evidenced by running back Alfred Morris. Robert Griffin III and this team filled with young talent will only continue to get better in this April’s draft. This is a new era in Redskins football where the team doesn’t foolishly trade away draft picks and will finally begin to build the right way.
7. Green Bay Packers
Ted Thompson always drafts well and the losses of both quarterback Matt Flynn and center Scott Wells in free agency last year have the Pack set up to receive some nice compensatory picks. Otherwise Green has its full allotment of picks in each round coming into the draft and it will be all about how they utilize those choices to maneuver and make the most of their 2013 draft class.
6. Seattle Seahawks
Eight picks will be Seattle’s coming into the draft, but their only extra selection is a seventh rounder. The main appeal of this team is how well they have draft with Pete Carroll and his college style make the decisions. There is no denying the fact that they have some great talent evaluators and find players who are sometimes off the radar, but generally have worked out quite well thus far.
5. Minnesota Vikings
Adrian Peterson has been the story of this team in 2012, but the 2013 draft will see the Vikes make five selections in the draft’s first four founds. That bevy of picks combined with Christian Ponder’s continued development and Peterson’s workhorse mentality has this team poised to have another successful season next year.
4. San Francisco 49ers
As the second overall seed in the NFC, the Niners are currently enjoying a week off. Even though they finished the 2012 season at 11-4-1, there is plenty of reason to believe that 2013 will be even better for this team. They enter the draft with 11 picks, the most of any team, and they need to continue to surround Colin Kaepernick with talent. Expect a nice haul from San Fran in the draft even if they wind up making a deep run in the postseason over the next month or so.
3. Miami Dolphins
Miami finished 7-9 and second in the AFC East with a rookie quarterback so there is plenty of reason to believe that their future is bright. Combine that with the fact that this team is stocked with picks including five of the top 90 in this year’s draft and that makes for a dangerous recipe for the rest of the AFC. If Ryan Tannehill can continue his development and the front office adds a few more pieces around him, this franchise should have some serious aspirations over the next four or five years.
2. Cincinnati Bengals
When an already young, talented team owns three of the draft’s top 50 picks, it’s tough to argue with them being in pretty good position heading into the selection festivities. Combine that with the Bengals making their second straight playoff appearance under their young leader Andy Dalton and this team appears poised for big things. Adding more talent along the line of scrimmage will likely be their main concern in getting the running game going offensively while applying pressure on opposing quarterbacks more frequently.
1. St. Louis Rams
The only team to own two first round picks has to hold down the top spot of the best positioned clubs heading into the draft. Couple that with the Rams impressive first season under Head Coach Jeff Fisher and this team is only going to get better. The Rams have the youngest roster in the league and have plenty of room to grow in terms of maturity over the coming years. Their first round pick will be 16th overall and depending on where the Redskins finish in the playoffs, their other first rounder will be no higher than 21st overall. Still, this team will again have a great deal of flexibility entering the draft and is unquestionably in an enviable position.