The offseason for NFL draft writers is non-existent. As one draft ends, preparation for the next year begins almost instantaneously. And we wouldn't have it any other way. With the 2012 draft in the rear-view, prep work for the 2013 draft has begun.
Each week during the offseason, I'll be taking questions from Twitter (#MillerMailbag) and answering them in a weekly mailbag column here. Special thanks to those who asked their questions and allowed the use here.
On to the mailbag...
Not yet. The 2013 NFL draft class has very strong depth, but no one prospect has the look of an Andrew Luck-type prospect. That said, the 2014 class has a player by the name of Jadeveon Clowney, a defensive end from South Carolina, who has the potential to be the "Luck" of defensive players. Just a true sophomore this season, Clowney isn't eligible for the 2013 NFL draft, but he's already my No. 1 player among all college football players.
@nfldraftscout where does Tyrann Mathieu go in the draft? I'm see mocks saying top-5 and others out of the 1st round so idk what to expect.— David Daniels (@TheRealDDaniels) May 9, 2012
LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu will be one of the more polarizing prospects for the 2013 draft class. The undersized cover man is a natural playmaker, but he lacks the discipline of a true cover corner and he fails in the size department (listed at 5'9", 175 lbs). Mathieu's play in the National Championship game was equally troubling. He's a dynamic playmaker who has a knack for the ball, but as of right now, I have him ranked as a middle second-round player.
Of the players listed here, former USC pass-rusher Nick Perry is more Brian Orakpo to me. The size/speed ratio is a better comparison, but so to is the fact that Perry is a phenomenal athlete who hasn't quite mastered the every-down aspect of the position. This isn't a knock on either Perry or Orakpo—who is one of my favorite pass-rushers in the NFL.
This speaks to the perception, generated largely by ESPN and the NFL Network, that Quinton Coples was a Top-10 prospect by the end of the 2011 regular season. He wasn't on most boards—including mine—and his stock was wrongfully inflated during the Senior Bowl when he was made a focal point of the telecast. The truth is, Quinton Coples started the 2011 season as a top prospect, but his poor play during the season quickly pushed him down boards.
Based purely on athletic ability and potential, it's easy to compare Dontari Poe to Haloti Ngata when he was coming out of Oregon. Like Poe, at that time Ngata was a freakish athlete with rare quickness and raw potential, but limited production. The biggest difference was that with Ngata you had zero question marks about his work ethic and motor. If Poe can respond to coaching and live up to his amazing potential, the Kansas City Chiefs will have a monster on their hands.
I definitely think so. Not only was Alshon Jeffery the most talented receiver in the 2012 NFL draft class, he finds himself in a situation with the best quarterback of any of the early receivers drafted. Jay Cutler has the arm strength and confidence to push the ball deep to Jeffery, and Brandon Marshall is the type of player who can draw attention away from Jeffery—opening up the offense for more explosive plays.