Get to know the top NFL Draft Prospects

4/23/13 in NFL   |   Dan_B   |   1066 respect

The 2013 NFL Draft has really crept up this year and the first selection will be made in about 48 hours from the time of writing. Unlike last season, when Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were the consensus top prospects in the draft, this year's draft is chock full of uncertainty. Writers have put out a number of mock drafts, (and I encourage you do the same), but those are just that -- mocks. Nobody can even say for sure who the Kansas City Chiefs will take with the first overall pick. 

Oct 20, 2012; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies offensive linesman Luke Joeckel (76) against the LSU Tigers during the third quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Thomas CampbellSince there is so much mystery in this draft, I am here to introduce you, albeit briefly, to some of the draft's top prospects.

Luke Joeckel, OT Texas A&M

Joeckel is the most likely No. 1 overall selection. Joeckel was paramount in helping Johnny Manziel win the Heisman Trophy last year. Joeckel is the type of player that can step in immediately and play left tackle in the NFL. When you look at Joeckel on tape you see a player with great fundamentals, excellent technique and who is well disciplined.

Eric Fisher, OT Central Michigan

If Joeckel doesn't go first overall, it will likely be Fisher in his place. I know a lot of people will read this and think, "Central Michigan??" and immediately have thoughts of the Los Angeles Clippers drafting Michael Olowokandi out of Pacific No. 1 overall in 1998. (Okay, maybe only me). Still, Fisher is versatile (he can play on the left or right side)  and has perfect size (6'7", 306 lbs) for an NFL offensive tackle.

September 22, 2012; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks defensive end Dion Jordan (96) during the game against the Arizona Wildcats at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY SportsDion Jordan, DE/OLB Oregon

Scouts salavate over Jordan because of his size, athleticism and versatility. Jordan can be a hand-in-the-ground 4-3 defensive end or a stand up 3-4 outside linebacker. He is 6'6" and 248 lbs., yet he rand a 4.60 40 at the scouting combine. Still, the question with Jordan is his on-the-field performance. He was a very talented college player -- one that opponents had to game plan around -- but he was not dominant in a manner you'd expect from a potential top-5 pick. 

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Dec 29, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith (12) drops back to pass during the second quarter against the Syracuse Orange at the 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY SportsGeno Smith, QB West Virginia

Scouts and talent evaluators are all over the map on Smith. Most like him as a prospect -- they see his strong, accurate arm and athlete ability as a lot to handle for a defense. Others think he is overrated and not worthy of a first-round pick. One thing is for sure, Smith put up great numbers at West Virginia, and almost assuredly will be the first QB off the board in the draft. 

Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah, DE BYU

Ansah, who referred to his body as a "delicate flower" before joining the BYU football team in 2010, is a newbie to football, but you wouldn't be able to tell that by watching him on film. He is a physical specimen (6'5", 271 lbs.) with speed (4.63 40), strength (21 reps of 225 on the bench press) and surprisingly good technique. Drafting football newcomers can be a a hit-or-miss practice, but regardless, Ansah is likely to go in the top 10. 

Sharrif Floyd, DT Florida

November 17, 2012; Gainesville FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd (73) points against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida Gators defeated the Jacksonville State Gamecocks 23-0. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsDefensive tackles are always big commodities come draft time, but they also come in the hit-or-miss variety. Floyd could be a 3-technique in a 4-3 defense or a 5-technique end in a 3-4 defense, like he was in college. I'm not sure what to make of Floyd, some of me says he has Tyson Jackson written all over him (not a compliment), while he could also be a Pro Bowler. What worries me is that he did not produce all that much in college. Sure, playing defensive tackle, especially the 5-technique in a 3-4, is not about stats, but you'd like to see more than 26 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in two seasons.

Dee Milliner, CB Alabama

There is no question that Milliner is the top defensive back in the draft. Frankly, I'm shocked it took me this long to mention an Alabama player. Milliner can cover, he can blitz and he has the necessary size to play physically against the NFL's big receivers. The question is, can he stay healthy. He is currently rehabbing from surgery -- one of the five he has had in his life.

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Lane Johnson, OT Oklahoma

I think of Johnson as the forgotten offensive lineman in this draft. In most drafts, he is the top offensive tackle, however this year, with Fisher and Joeckel, he is relegated to No. 3. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, there are a lot of tackle-needy teams, and it is likely that Johnson will be gobbled up in the top 5 to 7 picks. By the measurables, and the game tape, there is little that separates Johnson from the other two.
Jan 7, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide guard Chance Warmack (65) in action against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2013 BCS Championship game at Sun Life Stadium. Alabama won 42-14.  Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Chance Warmack, OG Alabama

Okay, I have to admit my bias here. Well, maybe it isn't a bias, but if I was picking early, this is my guy. Sure, guards are not valued at the top of draft boards, but if you're looking for the best bet to be a multiple All-Pro in this draft, it is Warmack. He is as dominant as any guard I've watched in recent years. In fact, he reminds me a lot of David DeCastro, who was the first guard off the board last season, though he went later than expected because of the positional bias. I hope whatever team drafts Warmack continues to let him wear his pseudo-cutoff jersey next year too.

Tavon Austin, WR West Virginia

Austin won't go in the top-10. He likely won't go in the top-15. But hell, I wouldn't want to have to play against him. Not to sound cliche, but he has the word, "playmaker" written all over him. He can line up in the backfield and be Darren Sproles, or he can line up in the slot and be Wes Welker. He can return kicks and punts like Devin Hester. In short, he is a player opposing teams will have to specifically game plan for, hence calling him a game changer. Austin's downside is his size. He is only 5'8", 174 lbs., which means he could be injury prone. Or at leas that is what the teams that skip over him will likely be thinking.
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4/25/13   |   JenX63   |   31554 respect

the Skins could use a Lane Johnson and/or a Chance Warmack......