Best Case Scenario for All 32 Teams in the 2013 NFL Draft
Best Case Scenario for the 2013 NFL Draft
Every NFL franchise hopes to hit a home run with their first round pick in the NFL draft, but as fans we all understand at times we can only muster up a single, and sometimes we strike out looking. The unknown of the draft is what always makes fans and franchises nervous. Every team has their players that they want to be there when they pick, and at times, when they fear that their guy won’t be there, they trade up to get him. And some teams, when their guy isn’t on the board will instead trade back and roll the dice, hoping they can parlay that move into more picks and still get a player that can help them.
But what if every team could get their way? Obviously in the reality of the NFL draft, there are too many players these teams will have in common to have it really happen. But for this, I wanted to take a look at what the best case scenario would be for every NFL team in the first round. This will of course include a lot of trades and movement, but this would be how I think each team would be happiest in terms of how the first round would unfold.
What do you think? Is this what you’d love your team to do? Come find me on twitter @nfldraftboard and let me know how right or wrong I am. And keep checking back here at Rant Sports for even more NFL and NFL draft coverage.
The Cardinals are in dire need of a new quarterback, but in what will be a disturbing trend on this list, there really aren't any quarterbacks that stand out as high first round picks. Best case for the Cardinals is to trade down. Find a team looking for a pass rusher or maybe a big defensive tackle and move back 8 or 9 spots. Then see who's left on the board at quarterback. If a Tyler Wilson from Arkansas slips, the Cardinals would be very lucky to be able to swoop in and get him, and have some extra picks in their pocket. If Wilson is gone, they can deal back again, and look for a player like Tyler Bray from Tennessee near the end of the first round.
The Falcons will be picking late in the first, and for Falcons fans the later the better. Their primary needs are defensive end and tight end. If I were the Falcons GM, I'd try and get out of the first round altogether. There is an excellent crop of 2nd round rush ends and if they can find a team itching to get into the 1st for say a quarterback or running back, the Falcons could parlay that pick into several and still come away with a defensive end like Corey Lemonier from Auburn or a the top tight end in the draft, Tyler Eifert of Notre Dame.
The Ravens are a franchise that is known for a singular entity, linebacker Ray Lewis. And with his retirement this year, finding a player who can take the reigns of that insider linebacker position would be ideal. After a shaky final game, Notre Dame's star linebacker Manti Te'o is going to slide. But he won't fall back all the way to the Ravens, and at this point I'm not sure he's worth a trade up. If I am the Ravens I sit tight and see how things unfold. The player they should target, especially if they can move back to the end of the round is Alec Ogletree from Georgia. He fits that high energy, explosive linebacker mold the Ravens want.
Bad teams need a great quarterback. The Bills are in that same boat. And like the other teams in that boat, they have a crop of quarterbacks to pick from that all have some flaws. So, if they can find a team that is willing to move up, the Bills should try and slide back and look for a Mike Glennon from North Carolina State, or if they are willing to wait for the 2nd round, get another weapon in the passing game like Keenan Allen from Cal in the middle of the round.
The Panthers are a tough team to read. They have plenty of spots where they could upgrade, but I'm not sure there is a spot where they are in dire need for a change. So considering how high they are picking in the round, a franchise left tackle like Luke Joeckel from Texas A&M looks like a perfect fit. He's one of the best prospects to come out in 10 years and had an amazing season this year protecting and blocking for a very mobile quarterback which means he fits what the Panthers want to do to a tee.
The most overwhelming need for the Bears is offensive line, particularly offensive tackle, but picking so late in the first round going up to get the top prospect, Joeckel is going to be hard. But for a best case scenario, the Bears have to find a way to mortgage the future and go up in to the top of the first to snatch up Joeckel to protect quarterback Jay Cutler's blindside. It would probably take multiple first round picks, but for the best tackle prospect in 10 years you do what you have to do to get him.
The Bengals are in a tough spot because they are picking around 20, and by my estimation need a pass rusher above everything else. Best case for a franchise that does not like to move around would be that LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo slides into the mid teens and the Bengals are able to go up and get him. If that can't happen, maybe a move up to get Oregon's Dion Jordan would be an even better move for them to get a pass rusher that can come in and play right away.
With all the changes in the Browns organization, you can fully expect changes in scheme on both sides of the football. On defense that means the Browns will likely be moving to an attacking 3-4 base defense, and so best case scenario for the Browns at this point is that hybrid linebacker Jarvis Jones from Georgia slides to them in the first round without any moves. He'd be a huge disruptive force on the outside of that 3-4 defense.
The Cowboys are in a spot where they could really make some noise. They are picking smack dab in the middle of the round, and their primary needs, offensive guard and safety are both positions of quality depth in this draft. If I am the Cowboys, I watch the initial run of quarterbacks in the first round, and find a team behind them who still might want one, and try and slide back a little, get their safety in Kenny Vaccaro from Texas or their guard in Jonathan Cooper from North Carolina and get the opposite position in the 2nd. In theory they could trade back once, and draft one guy, then move back into the end of the round later on and draft the other, giving them 2 opening weekend starters.
The Broncos are hoping that they are picking 32nd in the first round when it's all said and done. And the Broncos primary need is at defensive tackle where they need to upgrade, especially in terms of a pass rusher. Best case scenario for the Broncos assuming they are picking in the last 3 or 4 picks would be if a player like defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd from Florida is there they snatch him up. But if he's gone, trade back a few picks into the 2nd and draft Bennie Logan from LSU and hoard back an extra pick or 2 for later on.
The Lions are in a great spot, because with their primary needs being defensive end and offensive tackle, the odds of them getting the top player at one of those spots is almost a lock. Best case for the Lions is to sit tight and if Joeckel or Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore are there, draft whichever one is left. If by chance both are gone, they Lions should immediately dial up one of the teams behind them who want a quarterback, and move back a few spots and try and land the next best offensive tackle or defensive end with an extra pick or 2 in their pockets.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers are another team planning to pick very late in the first round. You pair that up with their primary needs of running back and offensive line and it makes for an interesting situation. Best case for the Packers is that Alabama lineman Barrett Jones slips to them or it only takes a small move up to get him. But if they feel like they can address guard either later on or in free agency, they should trade back into the 2nd and draft running back Eddie Lacy from Alabama as that power back this team has been lacking for so long.
All the talk is about the Texans drafting a wide receiver to pair up with Andre Johnson, but I'm not sure. I think best case is the Texans are able to fill that complimentary role later on in the draft. Instead they turn their attention to the defense and the inside linebacker position where there are some questions. Best case scenario LSU's Kevin Minter is sitting there on the board waiting on them when they pick and he's a day one starter.
The Colts are in a spot where they need help on the interior offensive line, but in the same vein they also need to add players on defense that are a better fit for the 3-4 defense that was put in place this season. But in the final analysis protecting the franchise quarterback trumps the defense so best case scenario for the Colts if that they are able to draft Jonathan Cooper from North Carolina to protect the face of the franchise.
The Jaguars are a franchise in a serious state of flux. New coaches are in place, and we all know what that means. New quarterback. The Jaguars are in a similar position at the Chiefs in that they really should push hard to try and make a deal with a team that is itching to come up and get a certain player. They can work a trade back, and still get themselves a quarterback like Geno Smith from West Virginia, a little later in the round and if their asking price is high enough have some nice bonus picks for other positions of need.
Kansas City Chiefs
With the Chiefs picking number 1 overall, they are in an unique spot. It's typically the most coveted position in the draft, but in this draft it's nothing like that. There's no clear top player, and the quarterback class in particular is lined with talented players with some warts. Ideally for the Chiefs is a trade back and then look quarterback a little later one. I'm just not sure there is a player worth the trade up, or a team willing to make the deal to make it happen. But for a best case scenario, the Chiefs can slide down 4 or 5 spots, and Tyler Wilson from Arkansas is there waiting for them and they get a bucket of picks to go with him.
The Dolphins could end up with multiple needs and only a single 1st round pick. Offensive tackle, defensive end, and wide receiver are all spots they could have serious holes in for 2013. At 12 they should have the some nice options but best case scenario for them at this point would be either Jarvis Jones from Georgia for Bjoern Werner from Florida State are sitting there at 12 and they can pick from the 2. For their scheme, I'd lean Werner because he's so much better with his hand on the ground.
There is much debate over whether or not the Vikings can win with current starting quarterback Christian Ponder. I personally don't see him as a playoff winning quarterback and this team has the talent to be successful, particularly at running back. Best case for the Vikings here is they bite the bullet and draft a quarterback here at 23, whether it's Mike Glennon from North Carolina State or Tyler Bray from Tennessee and at least open up the quarterback competition and give their team some real depth.
New England Patriots
The primary needs on this team fall on the defensive side of the football. Whether it's in the secondary or at defensive tackle there are a lot of directions this team can go. Best case scenario for the Patriots would be that Florida safety Matt Elam or Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd are sitting there waiting on them when they pick. Both would be immediate contributors to the defense. But we understand how the Patriots work, so best case for them could be 5 trade backs and stockpiling picks.
New Orleans Saints
The main problem with the Saints continued to be on the edge for the entire season. They couldn't hold the edge against the run, and they struggled to pressure the quarterback. The Saints pick 15th and best case for them is that they are able to get LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo there or Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan without having to make a move. If both are gone, best case is to move back and try and get LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery or Texas defensive end Alex Okafor later in the round.
New York Giants
This team will have to choose when their pick comes up whether defensive end or cornerback is a greater need. If they determine it's defensive end, BYU defensive end Ezekial Ansah might be the best fit for what they want to do. but if they can get Alabama cornerback DeMarcus Milliner that would be an ideal pick.Best case scenario is they draft Milliner and are then able to move back into the end of the round to draft a defensive end.
New York Jets
The Jets owe it to their fans to make a real move here and help their team win. I understand that this team is on the hook for a lot of money to quarterback Mark Sanchez, but they cannot do that at the expense of another losing season. So best case scenario for the Jets here is that they can snatch up either Tyler Wilson from Arkansas or Geno Smith from West Virginia at 9 because there's no reason they should pass on either. Even assuming they keep Sanchez, adding Smith or Wilson gives them real competition for the starting spot.
I have a sneaking suspicion that the Raiders are going to cut ties with quarterback Carson Palmer, but it won't be to draft a quarterback early. Best case scenario for the Raiders is that they make a big trade down. Maybe 10 or 12 picks to a team that does want to go up and get a player, and they draft Notre Dame inside linebacker Manti Te'o in the middle part of the round. Te'o would be an instant starter for the defense and a move like that could probably score them an extra day 2 pick, which they could then use to draft a quarterback if they need to.
The Eagles are in an ideal situation sitting at No. 4. Their top 2 players are both Texas A&M stars; defensive end Damontre Moore and tackle Luke Joeckel so best case for them is to just sit tight and draft one of those 2. If by some chance both go in the first 3 picks, their best bet is to slide back if they are set on an offensive tackle as the drop off is so significant there's no reason to reach for a player at 4. Their options will remain open at both positions should they have to move back.
The Steelers need to upgrade at multiple positions so their best bet is to sit tight and see who lands at 17. If Notre Dame linebaker Manti Te'o is there, he'd be a hard one to pass on. Same for Mississippi State cornerback Johnthan Banks who would fill an instant need. Either guy would be a best case scenario for a Steelers defense that need to get younger and more athletic in a hurry. If both are gone I would start trading back until you get to a spot where you can draft a player like LSU linebacker Kevin Minter or Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree.
San Diego Chargers
The Chargers are in a tough spot this year. They pick 7th, and their primary need is offensive tackle. But it's a lock that the top tackle in this draft, Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel will not be there. So what do they do? I think the best case for the Chargers will be for them to trade back several picks, add in an extra pick or two and then draft Tennessee tackle Dallas Thomas. He's not a player the level of Joeckel, but he's still a very good player and at 13 or 14 a much better value pick.
San Francisco 49ers
The Niners are in a nice position that they don't have any glaring needs but they do have some spots where they can upgrade. Primarily at safety and nose tackle. I'm not convinced the 49ers aren't going to be able to snatch up some talent at safety. If they 49ers can get a bigtime nose tackle it would allow the to let nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga walk via free agency. Best case scenario for the 49ers is that either Jesse Williams from Alabama or John Jenkins from Georgia falls to them in the first round.
The Seahawks need to adopt the concept of helping their franchise quarterback and get Russell Wilson some help in the passing game. This is an interesting group of wide receivers as many of them are really good at one or two things but doesn't have a complete game. Best case for the Seahawks would be if the Seahawks would be if Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson were on the board when they picked. He could add so much to their passing game and take some heat off the running game.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams are in a tremendous position to make some noise in this draft. They have 2 first round picks, the 16th and 22nd picks. I've thought a lot about what would be ideal for the Rams. They have a multitude of possible scenarios but here's what I would do. The main needs for the Rams are offensive tackle, wide receiver, and defensive tackle. The problem is offensive tackle is a less than spectacular group, the wide receivers are deep but not top heavy, and most of the top defensive tackles are run stoppers and they need a pass rusher. Best case scenario for the Rams is to trade the 16th pick and move way back, maybe even into the 2nd round and stockpile picks in those later rounds when they can add a defensive tackle and wide receiver where the depth is solid. Then when they get to the 22nd, draft the best offensive tackle of the board whether that's DJ Fluker from Alabama or Eric Fisher from Central Michigan.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With the real likelihood that the Buccaneers are going to part ways with quarterback Josh Freeman, their top priority at this point may be a quarterback in the draft. But I'll believe it when I see it. For now their top need is cornerback, so for the Buccaneers the best case scenario for them is they sit tight at and allow Alabama cornerback DeMarcus Milliner to fall to them at 13. Obviously if they let Freeman walk, this entire scenario has to change.
The Titans have a terrible pass defense and are sitting at 10 in the first round. They could try and improve it through the cornerback, but instead I want to see them improve it through the defensive line. Specifically the defensive end position where no player had more than 6.5 sacks on the season. Ideally the Titans can even trade back from 10, get an extra pick or 2 and still land a rush end like Dion Jordan of Oregon or if they really want to roll the dice, they could find some quarterback hungry squad and trade way back and see if they can land Alex Okafor from Texas closer to the end of the round.
Obviously, the Redskins don't have a first round pick, having traded it last year to the St. Louis Rams to let them go up and draft quarterback Robert Griffin III. So what's the best case scenario for the Redskins this year? I think ideally the Redskins aren't in a position where they have any needs so pressing they must move up into the first, but I think they must be very smart about selecting a safety in the 2nd round. There's a real chance Eric Fisher from LSU falls out of the first round, or Phillip Thomas of Fresno State. Both are safetys that could come in and contribute right away, and at least one of them should be around when the Redskins pick in the 2nd round. I would not trade up under any circumstances. This team has already mortgaged too many picks to do it again.