Friday, February 15, 2013

2013 NFL Draft: Initial Impressions

By: Brian Sanchez

I've been deeply entrenched in this years NFL Draft crop for about ten days now and have formed some early opinions about the class. Granted, these opinions come before the NFL Draft Combine, so these are only my initial impressions; a.k.a take them with a grain of salt.

1. Depth
The first thing I noticed when trying to establish my Big Board this year was how uniquely difficult it was. This problem stems from the fact that this draft is as deep as one I can remember. And I am looking at this depth in multiple ways. The first issue NFL GM's will have problems with is the fact that in the first round alone it is difficult to separate players. I can find at least ten players that are ranked in the twenties and thirties that could easily end up being better than a number of top ten picks. Then if you look past that, this draft goes three rounds deep of solid players in my opinion. The first round is stacked with immediate starters. The second round will have plenty of immediate starters as well. Then the back end of the second round and the entire third round is chalked full of players that should immediately step in to a rotation and help their team in year one. Since there will be a number of teams reaching as usual, you can look for this talent pool to spill over in to the fourth round. What does this mean? Stay tuned for day two of the Draft, because your team should be drafting players that will impact the upcoming season in rounds two, three, and even four.

2. The Trenches
Alabama Guard, Chance Warmack
Oh man do I love physicality in all sports, especially football. I think if you can win the battle in the trenches, you are already on the road to success. For guys like me, and teams that think the way I do, this draft is like Christmas. What could be even better than that? The dominance in the trenches of this draft is on both sides of the ball. On my Big Board right now, the top five players are either an offensive or defensive lineman. In fact, 15 of my top 32 players available play either the offensive line or the defensive line. The scarier part, the positions do not carry great value in the NFL Draft so they will fall on draft day. What does this mean? It means that very skilled and strong linemen are going to be falling down to the playoff teams at the bottom of the draft, thus supplying the good teams in the NFL with immediate starters in the trenches.

3. QB
West Virginia QB, Geno Smith
For every awesome Qb there was in last years draft, there is a marginal talent that teams will reach for in this years draft. As of right now there are many people, myself included, that think Geno Smith will be the number one overall pick this year. He is certainly not an Andrew Lick or a RGIII and may just end up as a mobile QB that can't really play the position. The best WB in the draft may just be Tyler WIlson from Arkansas, but his team last year was so inept that it made him look bad and may cost him when teams look at tape. After those two you have Mike Glennon, Matt Cassell EJ Manuel, Zac Dysert, Ryan Nassib, Landry Jones, and Tyler Bray. This whole draft class screams out, "Christian Ponder" in my eyes.

4. RB
Alabama RB, Eddie Lacy
"Hello? Anyone home? No? OK." This is the standard conversation between draft evaluators and the RB class. There is a very strong chance that no RB is taken in the first round. Eddie Lacy form Alabama grades out as my highest rated back so far, but I doubt he is a first rounder. After him the cupboard is pretty bare. Giovanni Bernard from North Carolina and Joseph Randle from Oklahoma St. are likely second round picks but they are not immediate starters or solutions for any team. This class has a lot of third to fourth round backs that can run between the tackles and do everything decently, but no starters and no game breakers. In the middle rounds I see some value as backups in: Stepfan Taylor, Montee Ball, Marcus Lattimore, Johnathan Franklin, and Le'Veon Bell.

5. WR
Tennessee WR, Cordarrelle Patterson
Take everything is said about the RB position and throw it out the window when it comes to this years wide outs. Through the first two rounds there are plenty of receivers for teams to take that will make immediate impacts. And not only that, it's the type of receiver that will be available. Every one of the top 10-15 wide outs has a unique skill that not only makes them good, but makes them game breakers. The best in my opinion is Cordarrelle Patterson from Tennessee. One of the most underrated prospects is Keenan Allen from Cal if there is another receievr who deserves more respect it's Tavon Austin from West Virginia. The one player who can make the biggest leap through the combine is Terrance Williams from Baylor. Finally, my sleeper pick for a big time receiver is Aaron Dobson from Marshall.

6. CB
Alabama CB, Dee Milliner
There is good depth at the position, but the real story is the top end of the class. There is a lot of talent within the top five corner backs, paced by Alabama's Dee Milliner. But the guys like Xavier Rhodes, Desmond Trufant, Johnathan Banks, and Blidi Wreh-Wilson all have the ability to be named starters in their first year. The truly intriguing part of this CB class is that there is plenty of talent after those initial five but they come from small schools where you have to question the competition they faced. The schools I'm talking about are: Southeast Louisiana, San Diego St., Boise St., and William & Mary. The corners from each one of those schools has either good size or good coverage skills but they were not going against elite talent, so it will be up to each GM individually to grade them.

No comments:

Post a Comment