This is our fifth-annual backward mock draft. It's what it sounds like: What would the 2013 NFL Draft look like if the order were reversed? Whom would the Ravens take with the first pick? My annual Backward NFL Mock Draft is listed below.
Baltimore Ravens: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The 2013 NFL Draft didn't have a consensus No. 1 pick for a long time, so it's a bit ironic that the top selection would be the same in the Backward Mock.
One of the primary reasons Baltimore was able to go on an incredible playoff run was the play of left tackle Bryant McKinnie, who allowed Michael Oher and Kelechi Osemele to move to right tackle and guard, respectively. However, McKinnie is currently unsigned, so the Ravens would love to land Luke Joeckel to protect Joe Flacco's blind side.
San Francisco 49ers: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
When the 49ers acquired an extra second-rounder in the ridiculous Alex Smith trade, there was some speculation that they would move up in an attempt to acquire someone like Sheldon Richardson if he slipped to the teens. Star Lotulelei, who has been cleared medically, would be even better. San Francisco needs a long-term solution at five-technique once Justin Smith moves on in the near future.
Atlanta Falcons: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
The Falcons signed Osi Umenyiora, but they still need one more pass-rusher. Dion Jordan, who is in the running to go No. 2 overall in the real 2013 NFL Draft - see 2013 NFL Mock Draft here - fits the bill and seems like he'd be a perfect fit in Mike Nolan's defense.
New England Patriots: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Patriots are expected to consider a defensive tackle like Sylvester Williams or Kawann Short at the bottom of the first round. Imagine how happy they'd be if they could obtain a dynamic talent like Sharrif Floyd. The Florida product has the size and scheme versatility that Bill Belichick loves out of defensive linemen.
Denver Broncos: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU
Faxgate was a disaster. The Broncos were enjoying a great offseason until a clerical error forced them to cut Elvis Dumervil, who went on to sign with the Ravens. Denver is fully expected to address the defensive end position early in the 2013 NFL Draft. Ezekiel Ansah would look great rushing across from Von Miller.
Houston Texans: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle told Path to the Draft that the Texans are expected to address the right tackle position in the 2013 NFL Draft. That's understandable, given that Houston doesn't have much depth whatsoever at tackle. Eric Fisher would be perfect in Gary Kubiak's zone-blocking scheme.
Green Bay Packers: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Ted Thompson tends to go with the top player on his board, and I think that would be Dee Milliner in this scenario. Cornerback is not a need at all for this upcoming season, but it will be soon. Sam Shields will hit free agency next spring, while Tramon Williams, 31, will be due $7.2 million in a walk year.
Minnesota Vikings: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The Vikings dealt Percy Harvin to the Seahawks, so why not take the player whom Harvin is compared to? Christian Ponder would have a pretty formidable receiving corps with Tavon Austin and Greg Jennings, provided the latter can stay healthy.
Indianapolis Colts: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
The Colts added Gosder Cherilus and Donald Thomas in free agency, but they still have a big hole at right guard, occupied by the pedestrian Mike McGlynn. Chance Warmack is the top player available and has a shot of going in the top 10 during the real 2013 NFL Draft.
Minnesota Vikings: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Here's another replacement for a player Minnesota lost this offseason. Antoine Winfield was cut, which opened up a need at cornerback. Xavier Rhodes would definitely fill that hole.
St. Louis Rams: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The Rams wanted to move Rodger Saffold to right tackle after acquiring Jake Long, but Jeff Fisher hasn't had any contact with his former blind-side protector. There's speculation that St. Louis could trade Saffold, which would create a hole at right tackle.
Cincinnati Bengals: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The Bengals would absolutely love to get Kenny Vaccaro at No. 21 in the real draft, but it's very unlikely that the Texas safety will be there. Cincinnati could definitely get him at 12, however.
Chicago Bears: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The Bears made a nice signing this offseason to land Martellus Bennett, but they still lack a speed element on offense to complement the new tight end, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Cordarrelle Patterson would definitely give them that.
New York Giants: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
There are going to be some boring, duplicate selections in the middle of the Backward Mock because these picks are essentially the same as the ones in the real order. Go to my 2013 NFL Mock Draft to read why I've mocked Bjoern Werner to the Giants.
Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Cooper, G/C, North Carolina
I had this pick in last week's mock draft. Might as well do a copy-paste job: The interior of Dallas' offensive line is an abomination. The front office actually found two downgrades at guard last offseason, while center Phil Costa is a sieve. The Cowboys have to find some help for Tony Romo.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
Oh, Jarvis Jones to the Steelers? Where have I seen that before? Hmm...
I believe dumb groupthink will cause Jarvis Jones to fall on Draft Day. General managers will be petrified of his medical. But, as smart teams like the Steelers, Giants, Ravens, etc. often do, they'll snatch up a plummeting draft prospect and laugh at all of the dumb organizations constantly picking in the top 10 as they field yet another Pro Bowler.