History could be in the making for the state of Utah on Thursday night when the NFL draft kicks off with the first round.

With former Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and former BYU defensive end Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah predicted to be high draft picks, this could be the first year that two players with Utah collegiate ties are taken in the first 10 picks in the same year.

Beyond the state of Utah, there is plenty of intrigue surrounding the first round. There is no sure-fire No. 1 pick, and plenty of offensive and defensive linemen are expected to be selected on the draft's opening night.

But with a weak quarterback draft class, will there be a QB who hears his name called from the Radio City Music Hall podium Thursday night?

Since 1963, there has been at least one running back taken in the first round. Will that historic streak be broken this year?

Here's a look at how Thursday's first round could shake out, with picks from the Associated Press' mock draft included (go to the end for a roundup of predictions of where prospects from Utah universities not named "Ansah" or "Lotulelei" will land in the seven-round draft):

Email: bjudd@deseretnews.com; Twitter: @brandonljudd

1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Courtesy Texas A&M University

The trend the past several years in the NFL draft is that the team picking first has revealed who they will select before the draft clock starts. That isn't expected to happen this year, though most experts believe Kansas City will choose between a pair of offensive tackles: Joeckel or Central Michigan's Eric Fisher.

New Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith needs a strong left tackle to protect his blind side, and Joeckel would be provide that. The former Texas A&M standout is projected to be an All-Pro caliber tackle in the NFL for the next decade and has little downside to his game. A solid player with good technique, Joeckel is especially strong in pass protection.

NFL.com compares Joeckel to Ryan Clady, who is currently protecting Peyton Manning's blind side for the Broncos.

AP pick: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M. The Chiefs already have their quarterback — not that it is worth taking one at the top this year — and a good running game. The guy who could be the cornerstone for the entire offense, as well as QB Alex Smith's protector for the next few years, plays left tackle.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
Courtesy University of Oregon

The Jaguars finished last in the NFL in 2012 in sacks with 20, five below the next-worst team, Oakland. Jordan, whose athletic ability has NFL personnel and media members raving and has helped him move up on draft boards, would aid the Jaguars' pass-rushing woes.

The former Oregon linebacker had 14 1/2 sacks during his college career, including a high of 7 1/2 his junior year. He was hampered by a shoulder injury near the end of his senior season, making his senior stats less impressive. But Jordan has displayed versatility, as he was consistently asked in college to cover wideouts and tight ends out of the slot. Jordan showed off his athletic abilities at the NFL combine, registering top-performer numbers among defensive ends in the 40-yard dash (4.6 seconds), broad jump and 3-cone drill.

AP pick: Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon. Unlike the Chiefs, the Jaguars are virtually devoid of talent everywhere. So anyone they choose will be an upgrade. There's talk they could jettison Blaine Gabbert, their first-round pick two years ago, and go for Geno Smith at quarterback. They'd love to trade down, but if not, they'll upgrade the pass rush and defensive athleticism instead.

3. Oakland Raiders: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Courtesy Central Michigan University

If Fisher isn't taken by the Chiefs with the first pick, Oakland is a logical destination for the former Chippewa. The Raiders need help along both lines, but in a draft top-heavy with offensive line talent, Fisher would add strength on the Oakland O-line.

Fisher has the build of an NFL left tackle, with his 6-foot-7, 306-pound frame, and a strong performance at the Senior Bowl helped his draft status. Fisher has shown agility and speed in both the run and pass game, and was a top performer among offensive linemen at the NFL combine with a time of 4.44 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle.

Fisher is listed as the No. 1 offensive tackle in this year's draft class by NFL.com's Mike Mayock.

AP pick: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan. By far the worst team in drafts over the last decade. But now there's a new regime under Reggie McKenzie, who learned his trade in Green Bay, one of the best drafting clubs of recent years. Like Jacksonville, Oakland could go anywhere with this pick, but is less likely to look to move down.

4. Philadelphia Eagles: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Tom Smart, University of Utah Athletics

When Lotulelei was diagnosed with a heart condition at the NFL combine, there seemed to be little chance the former Utah defensive tackle, once thought to be a potential top-5 draft pick, could rise back to that status. But recently, there has been buzz that the Eagles, under new coach Chip Kelly, could be looking at taking Lotulelei with the fourth pick overall.

"The stock doesn't go down and up as much as most people think," Mayock said about Lotulelei. "We in the media talk about it and create excitement. But everybody knew where Star was, and it was just a matter of whether he was going to be cleared or not, and he did get cleared. There are apparently no issues."

In addition to his skills as a defensive tackle, Lotulelei is a sought-after prospect because of his ability to play a variety of positions and schemes along the defensive line. The Eagles are expected to run a 3-4 defense, and it's anticipated Lotulelei could start at any position along the Philadelphia defensive front.

Another possibility here is Tavon Austin, who would seem to fit well in a Kelly offense.

(DeseretNews.com has a comprehensive rundown of all 19 draft prospects from universities in the state of Utah on another page.)

AP pick: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida. The Chip Kelly no-holds-barred, breakneck offense needs speedy playmakers, something the Eagles already have. What they don't have: enough big-time defenders. They go for a huge one here.

5. Detroit Lions: Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU
Mark A. Philbrick, Courtesy BYU

What could Ansah have in common with Jim McMahon after Thursday?

If he is picked by the Lions, Ansah will tie McMahon as the highest NFL draft pick in BYU history. All this comes after Ansah wasn't even on NFL radars going into the 2012 season.

Since Ansah's dominating performance at the Senior Bowl in late January, his draft stock has soared. And since Detroit coach Jim Schwartz was among his coaches at the Senior Bowl, predictions and speculation have circulated that the Lions would select the former Cougar defensive end.

"He stood out during the Senior Bowl, and his raw athleticism makes teams drool," MLive.com reporters Anwar Richardson and Justin Rogers wrote.

With Detroit losing defensive linemen Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril this offseason, the speculation could turn to truth here.

(DeseretNews.com has a comprehensive rundown of all 19 draft prospects from universities in the state of Utah on another page.)

AP pick: Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU. Coming off a distressing collapse in which they gave up 437 points, the Lions must find a way to close the wide-open door to their end zone. They're fortunate to have several options here, and go for the pass rusher.

6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Kent Gidley, Courtesy University of Alabama

The Browns made a move to shore up their pass rushing earlier this offseason when they signed former Ute Paul Kruger. Milliner would fill a big need at cover corner for Cleveland, and would team with rising star Joe Haden to man the Browns' defensive backfield. That kind of a duo could work well with Kruger and the rest of the Browns' defensive front.

During his time as a three-year starter at Alabama, Milliner recorded six interceptions and 38 pass breakups, showing the ability to make plays when called upon. His physicality and closing speed will help him in the NFL.

If Ansah were to slip past the Lions, he could end up in Cleveland, where it's anticipated the Browns will look for help for Kruger in providing pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

AP pick: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama. After holding their breath that the cornerback they seek will be on the board — the previous three teams all have a need there — the Browns can exhale and call the name Milliner.

7. Arizona Cardinals: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
John Williamson, Courtesy University of Oklahoma

Recently acquired quarterback Carson Palmer is going to need all the help — and time in the pocket — he can get. Last season, the Cardinals gave up an NFL-worst 58 sacks. If Johnson, the likely third offensive tackle taken in the draft, slides this far, it's tough for Arizona to pass on the former Sooner.

Johnson made a strong impression at the NFL combine by putting up top-performer numbers among offensive linemen in five out of six categories. That included a top-place effort in the broad jump (9 feet, 10 inches) and second-place finishes in the 40, vertical jump and 3-cone drill.

AP pick: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama. If they can't trade down, the Cardinals won't have to swallow hard to upgrade their offensive line with a proven winner and another Crimson Tide player.

8. Buffalo Bills: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Courtesy University of West Virginia

The first quarterback could come off the board for a Bills team that is in dire need of a signal-caller. It's a move that would be surrounded by buzz, as Smith has had to deal with plenty of critics leading up to the draft.

Smith has impressive college statistics (11,662 passing yards, 98 touchdowns and 21 interceptions), including a senior season stat line of 4,205 passing yards, 42 touchdowns and six interceptions. But his play down the stretch — which included 17 touchdowns and six interceptions while West Virginia lost five of its last seven games — has raised concerns about his abilities. Regardless, while he is not an Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, Smith appears to be the class of the 2013 quarterback class.

AP pick: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia. Every team puts up smoke screens before the draft. And the Bills sure seem to have polluted the air with them because we think they aren't convinced Kevin Kolb or Tarvaris Jackson is more than a backup or fill-in QB.

9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
Steve Franz, Courtesy LSU

The Jets lack a truly menacing pass rush, and Mingo could provide help on that front. He needs some development after leaving college a year early, but his speed and quickness could help his transition to the pro game.

Mingo has a lean frame, standing 6-4 and weighing 241. But it's his explosiveness that has helped him climb the draft boards, and it's envisioned Mingo could excel as a 3-4 rush linebacker in the NFL. While his numbers dropped off his junior year in 2012, Mingo posted 15 tackles for loss and eight sacks his sophomore season.

AP pick: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU. Having finally dealt Darrelle Revis, the Jets could look at a cornerback here, perhaps FSU's Xavier Rhodes. And, yes, they might have considered Smith. But someone who can get to the quarterback from the outside is a must for Rex Ryan's defense.

10. Tennessee Titans: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Timothy M. Casey, Courtesy University of Florida

One of Floyd's top assets is his versatility. Much like Utah's Lotulelei, it is expected that Floyd would be a player an NFL team could move around the defensive line to create havoc. Though the Titans don't have a major need for a pass rusher, Floyd would be tough to pass up this far into the draft. (Many experts have him going No. 3 to the Raiders.)

Because of his ability to play several different positions and gaps on the defensive line, which he did during his time at Florida, Floyd is marketable to teams in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. While Floyd's sack totals in college are low (he had a career-high three sacks last year) compared to other prospects, he did have 13 tackles for loss in 2012.

AP pick: Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia. The Titans sang a sour song on defense all through 2012, so it's time to fix some of that in Music City. They might look at the offensive line, but their needs are so hefty on D, and there are lots of solid prospects on the board, like Jones.

11. San Diego Chargers: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
Kent Gidley, Courtesy University of Alabama

The Chargers, now coached by former Utah quarterback Mike McCoy, are in serious need of talent all over their roster. Warmack could come in and provide much-needed help on a depleted offensive line.

Warmack is a sturdy player at 6-2 and 317, and he blocked the way for several big-time backs at Alabama, including Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy. While Warmack may not be the quickest lineman, he is agile and his techniques are sound; he also has a strong punch against oncoming defenders that helps him in pass protection.

AP pick: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma. Another team starting over after the talent base was erased by ill-advised moves in the last few years. New coach Mike McCoy is offense-minded, and he sees all the holes on the line.

12. Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Courtesy Florida State University

Former Utah cornerback Sean Smith, who was a free agent this offseason, signed with the Chiefs, leaving the Dolphins in need of cornerback help. One option is to build through the draft, and while Rhodes may be a stretch at the 12th pick, he is among the top cornerback options this year.

Rhodes started every game the past three years at Florida State and is known for being physical in press coverage. In his final year with the Seminoles, Rhodes had three interceptions and seven pass breakups.

AP pick: Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina. Yet another team needing blocking help. After the Dolphins made so many splashes in free agency, they can afford to fill a void, especially when one of the better offensive linemen still is available.

13. New York Jets: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Courtesy University of West Virginia

Austin is seen as one of the X-factors to the draft's first round; where he is drafted could affect several teams' draft strategies. Some experts believe he could go as high as fourth overall to the Eagles, where he would seem to fit well into a Chip Kelly offense. But in this scenario, Austin would head to New York to try and help revive an anemic offense.

With the 4.34 40 speed Austin displayed at the NFL combine, the 5-8 wide receiver showed he can catch passes and be expected to make plays on kickoff and punt returns. This acceleration has helped him earn consideration as the best wide receiver available in this year's draft by many pundits. Last season, Austin finished second in the country in all-purpose yards, averaging 224.4 per game.

AP pick: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State. They didn't miss on Rhodes, but they will consider an offensive playmaker here such as Tavon Austin or DeAndre Hopkins. In the end, the back end on defense will be the target, and because this seems too high to take a safety, New York grabs the Seminole cornerback.

14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Dak Dillon, Courtesy University of Missouri

This former junior college player is highly coveted because, like fellow defensive tackle prospects Lotulelei and Floyd, he is able to play in a variety of alignments on the defensive line. Richardson could help fill in the gaps on a Carolina defense that gave up 110.1 rushing yards per game last season.

Richardson has a strong first step off the snap, which helps him get into the backfield quickly. Expected to be the third defensive tackle to come off the boards, Richardson had seven QB hurries and 10 1/2 tackles for loss last season. He also has shown the ability to drop into short zone coverage over the middle.

Another possibility for the Panthers in this spot could be a wide receiver, depending on how the draft progresses.

AP pick: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia. The Panthers will be tempted to go back to the big guys. Then they will spot the little guy with the game-breaking skills on kick returns, as a receiver and even perhaps in a version of the wildcat. They can't resist.

15. New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Wes Blankenship, Courtesy University of Georgia

Jones' draft stock was hurt by a poor pro day performance, but if he falls this far, the Saints would be wise to take a chance on the former Georgia 'backer. New Orleans gave up a league-worst 147.6 rushing yards per game last season and only had 30 sacks, tied for 25th in the NFL.

In the always-tough SEC, Jones proved to be a menace, with 14 1/2 sacks and 24 1/2 tackles for loss last season. That came after he had 13 1/2 sacks and 19 1/2 tackles for loss in 2011. Jones could play either inside or outside linebacker at the pro level, and has shown to be adept against both the run and the pass.

AP pick: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State. The Saints will take about 10 seconds of their allotted time to write down their pick, instantly improving their pass rush with a guy with good feel for getting to the quarterback and plenty of upside.

16. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
Jeffrey A. Camarati, UNC Athletic Communications

This is the first of two Rams picks in the first round, and Cooper would help St. Louis' continuing efforts to keep quarterback Sam Bradford healthy. That's not an easy feat, considering Bradford was sacked 35 times last season.

Cooper, a four-year starter in college, appears up to the task. With his experience at the collegiate level, Cooper could likely make an immediate contribution as a rookie. Though he only has average size and weight for his position, Cooper has shown to be a force in the run blocking game with his ability to pull to the left and the right.

AP pick: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas. St. Louis would have liked a shot at Austin — receiver definitely is a need — and could go for one here. But with another pick coming up soon where they can get a pass catcher, the Rams opt for the best safety in this draft.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennesee
Wade Rackley, Tennessee Athletics

The aging Steelers have several holes on their team, and Patterson could fill the void left by Mike Wallace, who signed with the Miami Dolphins earlier this offseason. Patterson had just one year of experience at the major college level, but his athleticism has led to him being considered a top wideout prospect.

Patterson's receiving stats from last season aren't mind-blowing; he had 46 catches for 778 yards and five touchdowns. But at 6-2 and running a 4.42 40 at the NFL combine, he has shown glimpses of what his natural ability could deliver. That ability is also evident in his all-purpose yards last year, as he averaged 154.8 yards per game and had three rushing touchdowns.

AP pick: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah. As the Steelers keep insisting they are not a team in transition, one look at the roster says otherwise. Free agency losses hurt them, and they lack the depth they've had in their contending seasons. The first upgrade this year is the former Ute defensive tackle.

18. Dallas Cowboys: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Matt Hempel, UT Athletics

Vaccaro is regarded by several media outlets as the best available safety in this year's draft. On the back half of the first round, this would be a solid pickup for the Cowboys, who could use better secondary play and possibly get a first-year starter out of the deal. Dallas finished last season in the middle of the pack among NFL teams in passing yards given up (3,684).

During his senior season, Vacarro proved his versatility with 59 tackles (37 solo), 3 1/2 tackles for loss, two interceptions, five pass breakups, three QB hurries and two fumbles forced. He was also used as a nickelback throughout his Texas career.

AP pick: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina. They would have loved Vaccaro in their secondary. The Rams spoiled that, and the Cowboys consider bolstering their backfield and offensive line before taking the best man still unclaimed.

19. New York Giants: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Kent Gidley, UA Athletics

The Giants, who've developed players like Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck in recent years, could use this pick to select a number of enticing defensive ends who would be available. But with bigger needs on the offensive line, New York and Fluker make a good match.

Fluker is a load at 6-5, 339. After the early selections of offensive tackles in the draft, Fluker is a solid mid-round right tackle prospect. His size gives him an edge in rush and pass blocking; it also hurts him, however, as he doesn't have the recovery speed to stay in front of his man during extended periods.

AP pick: Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State. As the noise in the theater reaches a crescendo, with chants from blue-shirted Giants fans of "MAN-TI, MAN-TI," the Giants indeed fill their need for an inside linebacker with good instincts, passion and leadership skills.

20. Chicago Bears: Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
John Kelley, Courtesy University of Georgia

The second Georgia linebacker to be selected would provide the Bears a youthful option in the interior of the defense now that longtime Chicago 'backer Brian Urlacher is no longer on the team. Another player to consider here is Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o.

While teammate Jones racked up tackles for loss, Ogletree racked up tackles in 2012, finishing with 111. One of his top traits is his closing speed, which helps him chase down plays from behind. He could play either inside or outside linebacker at the pro level.

AP pick: Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia. There won't be as much noise when the Bears step up. There will be the same need for a linebacker, especially with Brian Urlacher gone. They find their man in Athens, Ga., a player who could play inside or outside.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: John Cyprien, S, Florida International
Richard Lewis, ImageReflex

There is no clear-cut consensus on which safety is second-best following Vaccaro, making Cyprien one of a number of safeties the Bengals could choose with this pick. The Bengals have pressing needs at strong safety and offensive tackle; with Vaccaro off the board and with four offensive tackles already taken, Cyprien could fit the bill. Another possibility is safety Matt Elam of Florida.

Cyprien is known for being a hard hitter, and for playing smart. Though he didn't play at a big-time college, Cyprien could provide a solid option in the Bengals secondary alongside Reggie Nelson.

AP pick: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama. With the Andre Smith free agency situation still cloudy — do the Bengals really want him back? — Cincinnati makes a move to put pressure on the veteran. Or to let him walk.

22. St. Louis Rams: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Donald Page, Tennessee Athletics

Among the top wide receivers in this year's draft, Hunter is the tallest at 6-4. And with Danny Amendola leaving the Rams for the Patriots, St. Louis is in need of another wide receiver option. Hunter could provide not only a deep threat, but create mismatches out of the slot.

Hunter, playing alongside Patterson, had a solid 2012 season, with 73 receptions for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns. But an ACL tear he suffered in 2011 appeared to affect him, as he "apparently lost his reliable hands that were a staple of his game prior to the knee injury," NFL.com said.

AP pick: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson. Wisely, the Rams went with Vaccaro at No. 16 and still get the wideout to boost their passing game at this spot.

23. Minnesota Vikings: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
Jeffrey A. Camarati, UNC Athletic Communications

The Vikings will have plenty to work to do in a short span when they use their first of two picks — and then pick again just two spots later. If Notre Dame's Te'o is there, does Minnesota grab him? Is there someone the Vikings must take at No. 23 to avoid the Colts "stealing" at No. 24?

If Williams is still available, it's a tempting pick for Minnesota. A player who quit the game after high school, only to go from junior college to North Carolina, he is at times undisciplined. But as his 20 1/2 tackles for loss and 8 1/2 sacks in two years as a Tar Heel show, he has athleticism that makes him an appealing draft pick.

AP pick: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame. With two selections in the next three slots, Minnesota is going to help itself on defense both times. First up, yes, the Vikings see plenty of value in that Notre Dame linebacker.

24. Indianapolis Colts: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Courtesy Florida State University

The Colts could be looking to find a replacement for longtime Colt Dwight Freeney, who was released. Among the defensive end prospects who may be available at this stage in the draft is Werner.

At 6-3 and 266, one of Werner's most appealing draws for Indianapolis would be his ability to play either defensive end position or at outside linebacker in the team's 3-4 scheme. At one time considered a top-end first-round draft pick, Werner could be a good-value pick at this stage.

AP pick: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M. Seeking a pass rusher to replace Dwight Freeney, the Colts look at Damontre Moore of Texas A&M, Datrone Jones of UCLA and Alex Okafor of Texas. Moore is most ready to step in.

25. Minnesota Vikings: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Anthony Bolante, Photo for REDBOX

By releasing veteran Antoine Winfield, the Vikings created thinness at cornerback on their depth chart. Trufant is among a number of cornerbacks who may find themselves selected by Minnesota in the first round.

The younger brother of two NFL players, Trufant has the talent to become a Day 1 draft pick and possible starter. While he has technique breakdowns at times, Trufant has the speed, clocked at 4.38 in the 40, to keep up with better receivers.

AP pick: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri. More help for the interior defense in a real bargain this late in the first round. Although the Vikes are tempted to go for a wideout, they see excellent value in Richardson.

26. Green Bay Packers: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Susan Bennett, Courtesy University of Notre Dame

For a team that has few glaring weaknesses, this pick becomes a chance to choose a player more out of overall ability and less out of need. With tight ends like Eifert and Stanford's Zach Ertz still available, there are options for bringing in another offensive weapon for Aaron Rodgers.

What Eifert brings to the table is his ability, at 6-6 and 251, to line up at both tight end and wide receiver sets and excel. With the strength and height to catch the ball in traffic, as well as his blocking skills, Eifert has the opportunity to give the Packers a solid second option at tight end, in addition to Jermichael Finley.

AP pick: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame. The Packers never expected to be in this position, choosing between the best running back in this crop, the two best tight ends or an effective defensive tackle who never stops coming. Does the question become which helps Aaron Rodgers more, a pass catcher or a running back?

27. Houston Texans: Keenan Allen, WR, California
Michael Pimentel, isiphotos.com

While Houston has an aging star wide receiver in Andre Johnson, the team hasn't been shy in announcing its intentions of looking hard at drafting a wide receiver. Allen could provide the Texans the type of No. 2 wide receiver they are seeking.

At 6-2, Allen is a solid outside wide receiver who can win jump balls downfield and can line up inside in the slot. A strong route runner, Allen missed the final three games of last season with a knee injury. He finished the year with 61 catches for 737 yards and six touchdowns.

AP pick: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee. Houston has a very obvious need: finding a receiver to complement the superb but aging Andre Johnson. That void has been a major reason the Texans flopped in the playoffs the last two years. There are three possible choices for that position, and the answer is Patterson.

28. Denver Broncos: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
Don Liebig, ASUCLA Photography

The Broncos don't have a dire need at really any position. But with the loss of Elvis Dumervil during a bizarre scenario where a fax wasn't sent in on time by his agent and Dumervil was released, Denver could use a young defensive end to bring along.

Jones is one of several defensive ends, including Florida State's Tank Carradine and Texas A&M's Moore, who could be considered here. Jones had a solid senior campaign, with 62 tackles — 19 for loss — 6 1/2 sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. He also blocked two kicks.

AP pick: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas. Getting past the Elvis Dumervil error that made him a free agent will be a whole lot easier when the Broncos find a nice replacement — and a surprise first-rounder who impressed with 4 1/2 sacks in the Alamo Bowl.

29. New England Patriots: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Courtesy University of Clemson

The Patriots are down a pair of starting wide receivers after Wes Welker left for Denver and Brandon Lloyd was released. Though the team signed Amendola, it still needs depth — and options — at the position.

Hopkins had a breakout year in 2012, catching 18 touchdowns, which set a Clemson record. He goes to catch the ball at its highest point and can be a threat in the short, medium and long passing game. Hopkins also showed progression at Clemson, improving his stats each season.

AP pick: Matt Elam, S, Florida. Predicting anything Bill Belichick will do, other than scowl or wear a hoodie, is impossible. Clearly, the Patriots need help virtually everywhere on defense, although they should be a runaway winner in the AFC East even if they skip all their picks. Now that would be different for Belichick.

30. Atlanta Falcons: Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
John C. Kelly, Boise State University

Already with a pair of solid cornerbacks in Asante Samuel and Robert McClain, the Falcons could use this pick to take another corner and use McClain at nickelback. D.J. Hayden of the University of Houston is another cornerback option here for the Falcons.

Taylor is the latest Boise State cornerback headed to the NFL, as the team has had five drafted in the past seven years. At 5-11 and 192, Taylor can be physical with receivers. He forced seven turnovers last season.

AP pick: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington. After giving lots of thought to Alabama RB Eddie Lacy, Atlanta backs off and turns to a defensive unit damaged in the offseason by cuts and defections. With visions of defending Brees and Newton twice a season, they go for Trufant.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
Craig Mitchelldyer, isiphotos.com

The 49ers lost backup tight end Delaney Walker last month to the Titans; by picking Ertz, San Francisco could have a nice complement to starting tight end Vernon Davis. Ertz would also be reunited with his college coach, Jim Harbaugh.

NFL.com compares Ertz to Jason Witten. The former Stanford standout led the nation in receiving yards for a tight end last season, finishing with a team-high 69 catches for 898 yards and six touchdowns. He has the chance to become the first Cardinal tight end to be drafted in the first round.

AP pick: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama. The Niners almost won the Super Bowl, and they are loaded heading into the draft. So much so that they don't have to flinch about grabbing the best guy on their board. No selection for need here.

32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
Michael & Susan Bennett, Notre Dame

If the Vikings (or perhaps Bears) don't take the former Fighting Irish linebacker, the Ravens could use the final pick of the first round on a potential replacement for the retired Ray Lewis. Baltimore has seen plenty of shake-up this offseason, especially on the defensive side of the ball, and this move could help solidify the new Ravens identity.

Questions surround Te'o and his fake girlfriend scandal, leaving people to wonder just how much it may scare teams away from selecting him. His numbers from last season, however, speak to the type of damage he can incur from his inside linebacker position: 113 tackles (including 55 solos), seven interceptions, a fumble recovery and four pass breakups.

AP pick: Kevin Minter, LB, LSU. The 2013 Ravens already don't resemble the team that won the championship. Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Anquan Boldin, Dannell Ellerbe, Paul Kruger and Bernard Pollard — all gone. But GM Ozzie Newsome is one of the best talent evaluators around. He'll get this pick right.

Predictions for prospects from universities in the state of Utah:
Ryan Talbot, Utah State Athletics

Here's a look at where prospects from Utah universities — besides Ansah and Lotulelei — were picked in five seven-round mock drafts:

Josh Norris, NFL.com:

Round 5: Pick 168. Joe Kruger, Utah DE, Ravens

Round 7: Pick 231. Kerwynn Williams, Utah State RB, Seahawks

Peter Schrager, FoxSports.com:

Round 4: Pick 129. Will Davis, Utah State CB, Ravens

Round 6: Pick 180. Moe Lee, Utah CB, 49ers

Round 6: Pick 203. Kerwynn Williams, Utah State RB, Ravens

Round 6: Pick 206. Joe Kruger, Utah DE, Steelers

Round 7: Pick 211. Braden Hansen, BYU OL, Lions

Round 7: Pick 241. Reggie Dunn, Utah WR/RS, Seahawks

Round 7: Pick 246. DeVonte Christopher, Utah WR, 49ers

Charlie Campbell, WalterFootball.com:

Round 4: Pick 120. Joe Kruger, Utah DE, Vikings

Round 5: Pick 144: Will Davis, Utah State CB, Saints

Dan Klausner, Bleeding Green Nation:

Round 3: Pick 85. Will Davis, Utah State CB, Redskins

Round 6: Pick 182. Kerwynn Williams, Utah State RB, Panthers

Round 7: Pick 219. Brad Sorensen, Southern Utah QB, Raiders

Round 7: Pick 224. Braden Brown, BYU OL, Dolphins

Matt Miller, Bleacher Report:

Round 4: Pick 111. Will Davis, Utah State CB, Dolphins

Round 7: Pick 229. Braden Brown, BYU OL, Vikings

Round 7: Pick 251. Brad Sorensen, Southern Utah QB, Bengals

Round 7: Pick 252. Sam Brenner, Utah OL, 49ers