Round 1: A pick-by-pick analysis

April 25, 2013 

A pick-by-pick look at the first round of the 2013 NFL draft, by the Observer’s Jonathan Jones:

1 Kansas City: Eric Fisher, T, Central Michigan

There wasn’t a clear No. 1 in this year’s draft between Fisher and Texas A&M Luke Joeckel, but the Chiefs decided on Fisher to boost their offensive line. Fisher shot up the board after his third-team All-America senior year with Central Michigan, and he will instantly start on Kansas City’s line that allowed 40 sacks last year and enabled the league’s worst passing offense.

2 Jacksonville: Luke Joeckel, T, Texas A&M

Joeckel was considered by many to be the safest pick in the draft after proving his worth at Texas A&M. The Aggie spent his senior season protecting the blind side of Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, and he’ll likely move to right tackle this year for the Jaguars. Jacksonville has a lot of holes to fill, but protecting Blaine Gabbert was one of their biggest.

3 Miami-1: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon

It seemed all but certain the Dolphins would take Lane Johnson after they traded up from No. 12 with the Oakland Raiders. Instead, Miami took a 3-4 outside linebacker/defensive end to help its pass rush. Though he’s only 240 pounds, Miami will look to bulk up the former Oregon Duck and potentially transform him into the next Jason Taylor in South Florida.

4 Philadelphia: Lane Johnson, T, Oklahoma

With three tackles taken in the first four picks, teams are hoping they won’t have to worry about that position for a decade. Johnson joins a Philadelphia Eagles offensive line that was banged up last season and struggled to protect Michael Vick, and later Nick Foles, all season long. Both Eagles’ tackles are 31 years old, and new coach Chip Kelly is looking toward the future as he continues to add pieces to his high-octane offense.

5 Detroit: Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU

It was only three years ago Ansah was running track after coming from Ghana. Now, he’s a top-five pick in the NFL. Ansah has a boatload of potential and showed he could learn quickly at BYU after just two seasons of play. The Lions will look to Ansah to get more pressure on the quarterback after giving up 223 passing yards per game last season.

6 Cleveland: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU

In his first draft as a coach, former Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski went with defense, which his Browns desperately need. Cornerback Dee Milliner was linked to Cleveland earlier, but the Browns went with Mingo to help in their new 3-4 defensive scheme. Mingo will likely be used as an outside linebacker rather than a down lineman.

7 Arizona: Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina

Cooper may be the most athletic guard in the draft. The Tar Heel moved from center to guard midway through his career in Chapel Hill and impressed scouts all year long. Arizona fills its biggest need on the offensive line with Cooper. The Cardinals allowed a league-high 58 sacks last season and need a big guy to protect quarterback Carson Palmer.

8 St. Louis-2: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

The Rams were hurting for offense this season after RB Stephen Jackson and WR Danny Amendola both left St. Louis. QB Sam Bradford finally has an offensive weapon in Tavon Austin, but the Rams had to trade in front of the Jets to get him. The 5-foot-8 Austin will play the same slot receiver role that guys like Amendola and Wes Welker have made popular around the league.

9 N.Y. Jets: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

After trading away arguably the best cornerback the NFL has seen since Deion Sanders, the Jets had to get some help in the secondary. The Darrelle Revis trade, along with Cleveland passing on Milliner, put New York right in line to take the first Crimson Tide player. Milliner is the top cornerback in the class who’s able to tackle well in the open field.

10 Tennessee: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama

The Draft of the Linemen continued with Warmack at No. 10. The Titans needed either a guard or a pass rusher and picked up the former with Alabama’s top guard from the national title-winning team. Warmack showed his ability to pick up a blitz early while with the Crimson Tide and will be a solid addition on the other side of the line from Andy Levitre.

11 San Diego: D.J. Fluker, T, Alabama

Fluker’s big 340-pound frame attracted the Chargers, who are getting help for Philip Rivers on the line. His long arms are also good for run blocking, which he was known for at Alabama blocking for running backs Trent Richardson two years ago and Eddie Lacy last season.

12 Oakland-3: D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston

The cornerback bounced back from a near-death experience months ago to be the No. 12 overall selection. Hayden was 12th in the nation in interceptions with four last season, including two returned for a touchdown. He also wowed scouts with his 4.33 40-time.

13 N.Y. Jets-4: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri

The Jets got a solid run stopped in Richardson, but Richardson was considered the third-best DT in the class. Richardson had 79 tackles last season, including 30 stops on third and fourth down.

14 Carolina: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

The Panthers had their eye on Lotulelei the past few months, and the defensive tackle who was at one time considered to be a top-three selection fell into the Panthers’ lap at No. 14. He’ll immediately be considered the starter at tackle alongside veteran Dwan Edwards in the middle and Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson on the ends.

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