#1. Andrew Luck QB Indianapolis Colts: Picture perfect, Luck’s stats alone are ridiculous, (4,274 yards, 23 TDs and 18 INTS). An obvious 2013 Pro Bowl selection, Luck was the leader of an (11-5) Colts squad that will come back next year more inspired than ever. With a playoff berth in his first season, Luck is about to start doing things that fans never thought were possible as he is the ultimate QB specimen.
2013: The Colts are a few players away from being a legitimate threat for a Super Bowl appearance given that Luck continues to progress the way that he is. The offensive line is a main concern now that Winston Justice is on the outs. Additionally, a big name receiver or rising star would be nice to accompany the great Reggie Wayne, who will start to decline here in the near future. Something special is going on in Indianapolis.
#2. Robert Griffin III QB Washington Redskins: We all know how this went down. The guy is already a legend in the Washington area and around the league. Although he had a devastating injury last season RG3 should continue to be one of the best young stars in the game, given his rehab goes well. With his intelligence and humble nature and determination expect a great career.
2013: A completely revitalized system, the Redskins are just straight up fun to watch. RB Alfred Morris was an absolute stud, and Pierre Garcon and Santa Moss provide a nice balance to RG3. On defense DeAngelo is leaving town, but London Fletcher is a legend due to his consecutive Pro Bowl appearances and should continue to lead the unit until he decides to retire. The main concern here is help in the secondary, especially, at safety. Help on the offensive line is also a concern.
#3. Trent Richardson RB Cleveland Browns: Broken ribs didn’t hold this beast back as Richardson rushed for over 900 yards, and had 50 catches for 367 yards as the Browns began to rebuild. 2012 however, was a disappointment as a whole, but with a new offensive coordinator in Norv Turner and Richardson’s health back, 2013 could be a breakout year for this to be superstar.
2013: Weeden didn’t play as well as expected (14 TDs, 17 TDs, Overall record 5-11) in his first year given his age and maturity. This year is a make or break situation for his future as the starting QB. Although, a QB may be drafted to put pressure on Weeden, who will turn 30 come this October; a big name on defense is vital in order to give a blossoming offense the rest they need to be productive. Additionally, a legitimate receiver is a concern to get Weeden a solid target. Look for them to go defense first.
#4. Matt Kalil T Minnesota Vikings: Ended up being a Pro Bowler after year one. Started all 16 games. What’s not to love? The perfect bookend for QB Christian Ponder.
2013: Christian Ponder appears to have the situation under control and RB Adrian Peterson as we all know, had a 2012 campaign that fans will be remembering for years to come. The bottom line is that due to WR Percy Harvins departure a big name receiver is now a huge priority. Defensively, there are many concerns, and other productive players are needed besides LB Chad Greenway, DE Jared Allen and rookie standout S Harrison Smith.
#5. Justin Blackmon WR Jacksonville Jaguars: With 64 catches, 865 yards and 5 TD’s Blackmon has impressed and shown glimpses of greatness. If the QB situation can improve and he can stay healthy things should only get better as this kid is among the top athletes in the league when he is firing on all cylinders and focused.
2013: I’m still figuring out if QB Tim Tebow would make sense in this situation, however progression at QB is desperately needed. With the fewest sacks in the league last season Jacksonville needs help getting to the QB and a clear-cut #1 corner is needed if they are going to begin to compete against upper echelon passers such as Tom Brady. At an overall record of (2-14) last season there isn’t a lot of space to go anywhere but up.
#6. Morris Claiborne WR Dallas Cowboys: Although he had his fair share of injuries, Morris had an excellent first year. With a touchdown, and only one interception Claiborne made up for it as he recorded 55 total tackles.
2013: As defensive line standout Anthony Spencer has been franchise tagged, after another poor season in Dallas the pressure again rises and 2013 is going to be fun to watch. The offensive line needs vast improvement at Guard and Center and help in the secondary is a huge concern as last season the Cowboys were an absolute mess. The bottom line in the end, it will all come down to QB Tony Romo’s ability to step up in the big game; as they always seem to be on the cusp.
#7. Mark Barron S Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Became a staple of what used to be in Tampa Bay, as he recorded 72 total-tackles. Although he wasn’t necessarily a very flashy player in terms of ball-hawking ability, this Alabama product will be gracing the fields for many years to come as the Buc’s continue to build their defense.
2013: With WR Vincent Jackson, QB Josh Freeman and RB Doug Martin, things are on a major upswing in Tampa, Florida. If “The Muscle Hamster”, can continue to produce big plays and take the pressure off of Freeman, the Bucs have the potential to be dangerous. Therefore, the needs on the defense will be held to the forefront of this years draft, especially at CB and DE.
#8. Ryan Tannehill QB Miami Dolphins: Despite not having flashy stats Tannehill proved to be a gun-slinger as he impressed fans around the league with pinpoint throws and some great games. If the Dolphins can find a solid number one target Tannehill should build on a great (7-9) Miami season.
2013: A lot depends on whether Jake Long stays or goes. QB Tannehill looks like a keeper and will need a great O-line to progress. RB Reggie Bush has gone to Detroit and CB Sean Smith who is a physical stud is gone to the Chiefs. Personally, I think this team has a great platform to continue to build especially if a few big names come to the secondary, receiving core and defensive line.
#9. Luke Kuechly LB Carolina Panthers: Led the league in tackles as a rookie. To top it all off he had two interceptions, three fumble recoveries and eight passes batted. An absolute man-child, Kuechly resembles a younger version of Hall of Famer, Brian Urlacher.
2013: QB Cam Newton had a pretty difficult 2012 as the Panthers only achieved a (7-9) record. But in the end it was Newtons ability to continue to play well down the stretch, had people excited towards the end of the year. In order to get there the Panthers will need help on defense as addressing LB’s, CB’s and DT are huge needs. Additionally, Cam Newton will have to keep his cool.
#10. Stephon Gilmore CB Buffalo Bills: Ended up playing really well however didn’t get much press due to playing in: Buffalo. With 61 total tackles and 1 interception the Bills should be set as a complete season in the secondary his rookie season, should provide Gilmore the confidence to be a star in 2013.
2013: The Bills haven’t made the playoffs since 1999 and a large part of that is due to having no big name QB. Ryan Fitzpatrick is out, so this will be priority #1. Next on the list is grabbing some WR’s and getting DE Mario Williams back to full strength.
#11. Dontari Poe DT Kansas City Chiefs: After running a 4.8 40-yard dash at the combine at over 300 lbs Poe ended up being a good player his Rookie year towards the end once he learned the system and got completely comfortable. With 38 total-tackles, Poe will look to become more involved this year and should record his first sack in due time.
2013: Quite the chaotic off-season for the Chiefs as Matt Cassel and Glenn Dorsey are among a plethora of names to leave town. WR Dwayne Bowe was resigned so this is a huge upside. By acquiring Alex Smith, coach Andy Reid has the tools and the athletes to turn things around quickly. Look for the Chiefs to continue to solidify the defense with big names around LB Derrick Johnson and CB Brandon Flowers.
#12. Fletcher Cox DT Philadelphia Eagles: With 5.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble Fletcher had a great 2012 season as he led the defensive front of the Eagles in tackles. As a new coaching staff and system comes into town look for Cox to hold down a unit that is being rebuilt
2013: Michael Vick or Nick Foles? One will start. Under new coach Chip Kelly, Philadelphia will be all eyes, as the Eagles will try to recover from last years’ horrible play and utter meltdown. Draft wise, after Nnamdi Asomugha was cut the secondary is a huge issue as well as both the offensive and defensive lines.
#13. Michael Floyd WR Arizona Cardinals: A nice complement to Larry Fitzgerald, Floyd’s big frame and athletic ability provided the Cardinals a viable number two threat. Now they just need to find a QB.
2013: Arizona must find a QB and many options exist. Matt Barkley? Probably, not. Offensive line is also a huge concern as there stable of QB’s have been terrorized in past seasons. After the firing of Ken Whisenhunt, head coach Bruce Arians has a large task in front of him; however he is lucky due to a staff willing to make moves, and the presence of WR Larry Fitzgerald, DT Darnell Dockett and S Patrick Peterson.
#14. Michael Brockers DT St. Louis Rams: Although his rookie season did not start off the way he planned he came back with a bang in week 4. On the season he recorded 31 combined tackles, 1 forced fumble, and 4 sacks.
2013: With the loss of RB Steven Jackson the Rams and Jeff Fisher will have to figure out the situation quickly as QB Sam Bradford needs another target besides the great Danny Amendola. Offensive Tackle is also a huge concern.
#15. Bruce Irvin OLB Seattle Seahawks: With 8 sacks through 16 games, Irvin has the potential to be a really good player. Although, his playing time was regulated, he could develop into the specialized pass rusher that Seattle will need, as they try to make a playoff run behind standout Wilson.
2013: Pete Carroll has the Seahawks completely revitalized and CB Richard Sherman is a stud. A legitimate #1 WR would be awesome however to help Russell Wilson. As the defense is already stout, defensive line and the RT position are concerns as the team approaches draft day.
#16. Quinton Coples DE New York Jets: Made Mel Kiper’s All-Rookie team and should become a legitimate star come next season, as his size and versatility proved very effective. Given the plethora of defensive ends rated above him last season Coples production and durability proved to be a nice complement to a Jets defense that wasn’t in as much disarray as the Jets offense.
2013: Last year was a huge joke for New York and it will be interesting to see what happens next year with QB Mark Sanchez. RT needs to be taken care of as well as somehow working in another viable QB option to start the process of ridding Sanchez. RB is also high on Rex Ryan’s list as Shonn Green may not be back.
#17. Dre Kirkpatrick CB Cincinnati Bengals: A disappointing 2013 campaign this former Alabama standout will be most likely #1 corner on the roster due to his athletic ability; he need to catch up quickly however. At 6’2″, with lightning speed, this guy will be a rising star in 2013 and a potential Pro-Bowler.
2013: At (10-6) the Bengals have a lot of promise as QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green provide the spark needed to overpower opponents. This upcoming draft, look for the Cats to pick up an offensive lineman and then go defense. As the Bengals seem to have the necessary players for most positions it is crucial that they retain T Andre Smith to protect Dalton.
#18. Melvin Ingram DE San Diego Chargers: For being a number 18 overall pick, Ingram could have had an all around better season, however 40 tackles, 1 sack and 1 forced fumble provide a glimpse into the player the Bolts are really counting to blossom this fall.
2013: With QB Philip Rivers down and out all of 2012, look for him to be reborn as he and the team will enter 2013 revitalized. Although the Chargers have many needs especially in terms of helping out Rivers. Hopefully this season they can pick up a guy that makes an instant impact as a new coaching staff and GM will breathe new life into the franchise. Offensive line and linebacker are also concerns.
#19. Shea McClellin OLB Chicago Bears: The Bears are deciding what role would best suit McClellin as he exists as a linebacker-defensive end hybrid. Although, his production was nothing fancy, with only 2.5 sacks, 2013 will be a make or break year for his future in Chi-Town.
2013: QB Jay Cutler continues to live in the shadow of Aaron Rodgers up in Green Bay, but every year it seems that they are in the thick of things as RB Matt Forte and a defense that is in lieu over future Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher. The bottom line is Cutler needs to be protected due to his poor decision making when under pressure. If things can come together in 2013 and WR Brandon Marshall continues to produce you never know what the Bears could due given there toughness in the cold weather.
#20. Kendall Wright WR Tennessee Titans: With 64 catches for 626 yards Wright, proved to be an instant gamer as his unique blend of shiftiness and speed translated well into the NFL. 2013 should be a great year as he can be used in many different ways and is a solid #2/#3 option for a team in need of a WR.
2013: As Chris Johnson hasn’t compiled the amount of yardage that we have all come accustomed to, a big problem is the lack of blocking in front of him. This draft emphasis will be placed upon finding a new center as well as two guards. Additionally, safety is a huge problem as Michael Griffin and Jordan Babineaux have proved to be sub-par.
#21. Chandler Jones DE New England Patriots: With six sacks in his first eight games Chandler Jones was another smart choice by the Patriots. Towards the end of the season in Week 11, Jones badly rolled his ankle which forced him to miss two games; but he stuck through. The Patriots expect big things for Jones as he will come back wiser and healthy next season.
2013: At (12-4) this past season the Pats are once again at the back end of the pecking order. The big questions are of course WR West Welker and how to improve the secondary. Look for the Patriots to continue to look for underground wide receiving threats as Tom Brady (34 TDs, 8 INTS) looks to enter the back half of his career playing better than ever.
#22 Brandon Weeden Cleveland Browns…
#23. Riley Reiff OT Detriot Lions: Started 8 games as a rookie and didn’t get his first start until late in the season. An athletic blocker Reiff was the “six offensive line man” and in the future should make his way into a starting role as he gains confidence against nastier rushers.
2013: QB Matt Stafford honestly in my opinion is not the answer in the Motor City as he shows glimpses of greatness and then turns around and makes completely questionable throws; (4-12 is simply not good enough). As the Lions have been in the front of the first round religiously for quite some time, this team is full of athletes and if all put together could be dangerous. This year look for the Lions to keep building the defense as Kyle Vanden Bosch has lost a step. Safety is also a huge concern.
#24. David DeCastro Guard Pittsburg Steelers: Another weapon to what is always, a great rushing attack and offensive front in Pittsburg. Although, he had injury problems once he gets in a rhythm good things are ahead for DeCastro.
2013: An (8-8) season in Pittsburg is simply unheard of and Mike Tomlin will change things fast as Ben Rothlisberger is in his prime. The Steelers must find another weapon besides WR Mike Wallace, and need to get stronger on defense as a drop off in sack production hurt them down the stretch in 2012. Running back is also a concern as Jonathan Dwyer will not be able to carry the entire load.
#25. Don’ta Hightower ILB New England Patriots: With 60 combined tackles his rookie season he is yet another product of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Not only was Hightower productive, but he added an edge to a Pats defense that many felt needed a splash of youth. Will continue to progress in 2013. 2013 outlook see #21
#26. Whitney Mercilus DE Houston Texans: With 6 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 25 combined tackles, Mercilus is proving to be a true player on a nasty Texans defense led by All-Star J.J. Watt. Although, he may be possibly not be a huge name, 2013 will prove to be huge in making strides in that direction.
2013: The Texans ended up being a huge disappointment in 2012 as a spectacular start ended horribly. At (12-4 overall) without LB Brian Cushing Houston has plenty to build on. First priority is finding more WRs for QB Matt Schaub. Another goal is finding a player to help take the pressure off Brian Cushing as he most likely will never be quite the player he was before his devastating injury last season.
#27. Kevin Zeitler OG Cincinnati Bengals: Started all 16 games as a rookie and instantly became one of the best if not the best o lineman on the team. Despite getting robbed of a 2013 pro bowl appearance, this Wisconsin product has a huge future as a Bengals.
2013: The Bengals are a team that surprised a lot of people this past season as huge strides were made. After Franchising Michael Johnson, re-signing Robert Geathers and Wallace Gilberry the defense should be decent up-front however, gaining more continuity on offense and finding a RB who can take the pressure off of BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a must if the Bengals want to get anywhere come playoff time.
#28. Nick Perry DE Green Bay Packers: At 6’3″, 265 Perry is a force to be had in the Packers 3-4 scheme. Although his production was not outstanding this past season, Perry, many glimpses of greatness give Packers fans hope that Perry will become Clay Matthews right hand man.
2013: It ended up being a down year for the Packers and much of this is due to poor defensive play. QB Aaron Rodgers is spectacular and as long as Green Bay can continue to get help around him, they will always have a chance to win a Super Bowl. This year the Packer need to find a reliable game breaker as a running back to take the pressure off of Aaron Rodgers. That will be priority #1.
#29. Harrison Smith S Minnesota Vikings: Was an absolute stud as he had 103 combined total-tackles and 2 touchdowns in year one. A great tackler with instincts and a “center fielder” killer mentality, Smith will be a Viking for years to come.
2013: Getting rid of Percy Harvin in my opinion wasn’t the best move as Christian Ponder will have to gain comfort with another target. The bottom line is that as long as Adrian Peterson continues to perform at a high level this team is dangerous. Come draft time, receiver will be the number one priority as Jerome Simpson will not be able to carry the load himself.
#30. A.J. Jenkins WR San Francisco 49ers: Had an absolutely miserable debut as he was targeted just one time and recorded no stats. If Jenkins can get it together and learn the offense, GM Trent Baalke feels that Jenkins could blossom into a viable contributor despite his embarrassing start.
2013: The 49ers may in fact be the most complete team in the league given the defense, coaching and a dual threat offense. Acquiring Anquan Boldin via trade in my opinion is a smart move, however balance has to be present on defense, as the secondary was a problem last season and a big name must come through to make it to the next level.
#31. Doug Martin RB Tampa Bay Buccaneers: We all know how this situation turns out. It ends up that Tampa Bay got a player that should be around for a while. Put up ridiculous numbers on the ground and in the air. 2013 Pro Bowler, and Rookie of the Year finalist, (1,453 yards rushing, 11 TD, 49 receptions, 472 yards).
2013: The Buccaneers are one of the most exciting teams in the league as RB Doug Martin was outstanding this past season despite being (7-9) overall. Competition, will be brought in for Josh Freeman. The secondary needs to step it up as CB Aqib Talib was traded and Eric Wright has ended up being a joke. Expect exciting play next year.
#32. David Wilson RB New York Giants: Became more involved at the end of the season. Accumulated 358 yards and 4 TDs as he became part of a large running back stable. Next season, Wilson should get a more solidified role as a result of RB Ahmad Bradshaw being released.
2013: Last year ended up being a huge disappointment however I expect the Giants to come back to play in 2013. QB Eli Manning will continue to play great, however needs more offensive lineman to protect. Several important resigning such as CB Aaron Ross, and LB Keith Rivers will also help as this (9-7) squad should continue to be a threat.
Teams without first round picks in 2012 outlook:
Falcons: After losing Super Bowl the Falcons need to concentrate on what they have been doing and just get back to the big show. Not adding any distractions to the team to disrupt chemistry is crucial.
Broncos: Are on the rise, especially after acquiring WR Wes Welker. This is going to be fun to watch as Peyton I’m sure has been game planning since the last second of the 2012 season.
Ravens. With the loss of Ray Lewis, Baltimore needs to find players to step up and lead on defense. 2013 will be fun to watch as there first round pick will be spent on Lewis’ most likely replacement.