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2013 NFL Draft: Preseason Top 10 by Position

Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterDecember 7, 2016

2013 NFL Draft: Preseason Top 10 by Position

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    Who will be the first-overall pick of the 2013 NFL draft? 

    It may be too early to predict that, but it's definitely not too soon to take a look at the top players at each position as the 2012 college football season nears.

    There may not be any Andrew Luck-type prospects here, but early indications are that the 2013 NFL draft class will be loaded at quarterback, running back, offensive tackle and defensive end. Which players come out as the best of the bunch?


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    There is no Andrew Luck here, but there might be another Robert Griffin III-type player in Logan Thomas. 

    Thomas headlines a class that could put as many as five quarterbacks in the first round of the 2013 class. The biggest name, though, isn't the top prospect. Matt Barkley will receive a fair share of hype before and during the season—and as a great college quarterback it is deserved—but questions about Barkley's size, arm strength and system push him down my list.

    Biggest Upside: Logan Thomas

    Biggest Sleeper: Keith Price

    Bust Potential: Matt Barkley


    1 Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech

    2 Tyler Wilson, Arkansas

    3 Matt Barkley, USC

    4 Aaron Murray, Georgia

    5 Tyler Bray, Tennessee

    6 Keith Price, Washington

    7 EJ Manuel, FSU

    8 Landry Jones, Oklahoma

    9 Casey Pachall, TCU

    10 A.J. McCarron, Alabama

Running Backs

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    The 2013 running back class is full of potential, but the top players all come with major question marks.

    Top backs Marcus Lattimore and Knile Davis are both coming off injury. Next in line, Michael Dyer has had issues off the field that led to his leaving Auburn for Arkansas State. If the top three can all answer questions, they have the look of first-rounders.


    Biggest Upside: Marcus Lattimore 

    Biggest Sleeper: Eddie Lacey

    Bust Potential: Michael Dyer


    1 Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina

    2 Knile Davis, Arkansas

    3 Michael Dyer, Arkansas State

    4 Eddie Lacey, Alabama

    5 Cierre Wood, Notre Dame

    6 Kenjon Barner, Oregon

    7 Andre Ellington, Clemson

    8 Henry Josey, Missouri

    9 Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State

    10 Montee Ball, Wisconsin

Wide Receivers

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    The 2012 NFL draft class of wide receivers was regarded as just average. In 2013, prepare to be shocked with the amount of talent at the position.

    Robert Woods and Keenan Allen are legitimate No. 1 wide receivers, and sleepers like Cobi Hamilton have the potential to make major waves with increased playing time this fall.


    Biggest Upside: Robert Woods

    Biggest Sleeper: Cobi Hamilton

    Bust Potential: Kenny Stills


    1 Robert Woods, USC

    2 Keenan Allen, Cal

    3 Kenny Stills, Oklahoma

    4 Marquess Wilson, Washington State

    5 Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas

    6 Terrance Williams, Baylor

    7 Markus Wheaton, Oregon State

    8 Devin Street, Pitt

    9 Tavon Austin, West Virginia

    10 Justin Hunter, Tennessee

Tight Ends

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    As the NFL transitions to more of a wide-open passing game, the tight end position will see a resurgence of importance. Especially when athletic pass-catchers are available.

    Tyler Eifert and Michael Williams both fit the mold of today's tight end, bringing the size to separate up-field and the speed to make plays post-catch.


    Biggest Upside: Tyler Eifert

    Biggest Sleeper: Dion Sims

    Bust Potential: Joseph Fauria


    1 Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame

    2 Michael Williams, Alabama

    3 Philip Lutzenkichen, Auburn

    4 Joseph Fauria, UCLA

    5 Jordan Reed, Florida

    6 Zach Ertz, Stanford

    7 Jacob Pederson, Wisconsin

    8 Dion Sims, Michigan State

    9 Kyler Reed, Nebraska

    10 Jake Stoneburner, Ohio State


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    Offensive tackles are inevitably compared to Jake Long or Joe Thomas by all scouts and evaluators, and rarely does a prospect match up with those lofty expectations. Enter DJ Fluker.

    The Alabama tackle prospect has the size, agility, strength and technique to be among the better tackle prospects of the last decade.


    Biggest Upside: DJ Fluker

    Biggest Sleeper: Dallas Thomas

    Bust Potential: Seantrel Henderson


    1 DJ Fluker, Alabama

    2 Ricky Wagner, Wisconsin

    3 Alex Hurst, LSU

    4 Dallas Thomas, Tennessee

    5 Cyril Richardson, Baylor

    6 Xavier Nixon, Florida

    7 Jake Matthews, Texas A&M

    8 Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M

    9 Chris Faulk, LSU

    10 Seantrel Henderson, Miami 


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    NFL scouts and general managers were lucky to find two guards worthy of a first-round selection in 2012 (David DeCastro, Kevin Zeitler). The 2013 class doesn't have the same promise, but Alabama's all-world guard, Barrett Jones, should excite evaluators.


    Biggest Upside: Barrett Jones

    Biggest Sleeper: Travis Frederick

    Bust Potential: Lane Taylor


    1 Barrett Jones, Alabama

    2 Larry Warford, Kentucky

    3 Lane Taylor, Oklahoma State

    4 Travis Frederick, Wisconsin

    5 Chance Warmack, Alabama

    6 Alvin Bailey, Arkansas

    7 Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech

    8 Josh Williford, LSU

    9 Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina

    10 Blaize Foltz, TCU


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    Finding a quality center seems to happen equally in Round 1 and Round 6. NFL teams do a great job assigning value on the position and not over-reaching for players. One future NFLer who has first-round skills comes from USC, where Khaled Holmes locks down the middle of the offensive line.


    Biggest Upside: Khaled Holmes

    Biggest Sleeper: James Ferentz

    Bust Potential: Dalton Freeman


    1 Khaled Holmes, USC

    2 Tyler Larsen, Utah State

    3 Dalton Freeman, Clemson

    4 Graham Pocic, Illinois

    5 Mario Benavides, Louisville

    6 Travis Swanson, Arkansas

    7 Western Richburg, Colorado State

    9 P.J. Lonergan, LSU

    10 James Ferentz, Iowa

Defensive Ends

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    Pass-rushers, pass-rushers, pass-rushers.

    The 2013 draft class of defensive ends is absolutely loaded with athletes who can go after the quarterback. At least six players below carry a first-round grade heading in to the 2012 college football season.


    Biggest Upside: Jackson Jeffcoat

    Biggest Sleeper: William Gholston

    Bust Potential: Devin Taylor


    1 Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas

    2 Alex Okafor, Texas

    3 Sam Montgomery, LSU

    4 Devin Taylor, South Carolina

    5 Barkevious Mingo, LSU

    6 William Gholston, Michigan State

    7 Ronald Powell, Florida

    8 John Simon, Ohio State

    9 Corey Lemonier, Auburn

    10 Travis Long, Washington State

Defensive Tackles

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    There hasn't been a dominant defensive tackle since Marcell Dareus went No. 3 overall to the Buffalo Bills in 2011, but this year that could change with the entry of Star Lutuleilei. The big man from Utah has amazing strength, size and speed. Keep an eye on this Ute throughout the season.


    Biggest Upside: Star Lutuleilei

    Biggest Sleeper: Akeem Spence

    Bust Potential: Shariff Floyd


    1 Star Lutuleilei, Utah

    2 Kawann Short, Purdue

    3 Kwame Geathers, Georgia

    4 Shariff Floyd, Florida

    5 Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State

    6 Jesse Williams, Alabama

    7 Akeem Spence, Illinois

    8 Joe Vellano, Maryland

    9 Baker Steinkuhler, Nebraska

    10 Jordan Hill, Penn State

Outside Linebackers

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    The 2013 outside linebacker class is the best in recent memory. Stud playmakers like Jarvis Jones, Sean Porter and Nico Johnson make this position star-studded and full of potential first-round picks.

    Best Prospect: Jarvis Jones

    Sleeper: Jelani Jenkins

    Bust Potential: Brandon Jenkins


    1 Jarvis Jones, Georgia

    2 Sean Porter, Texas A&M

    3 Nico Johnson, Alabama

    4 Jelani Jenkins, Florida

    5 Brandon Jenkins, FSU

    6 Tom Wort, Oklahoma

    7 Jonathan Brown, Illinois

    8 Dion Bailey, USC

    9 Chase Thomas, Stanford

    10 Sio Moore, UConn

Inside Linebackers

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    The inside linebacker class is stock-full of instant impact players who can line up in multiple locations to best stop the offense. There is no shortage of talent in the top three for 2013's inside linebackers.


    Biggest Upside: CJ Mosley

    Biggest Sleeper: Chris Borland

    Bust Potential: Arthur Brown


    1 Manti Te'o, Notre Dame

    2 CJ Mosley, Alabama

    3 Kevin Reddick, North Carolina

    4 Arthur Brown, Kansas State

    5 Max Bullough, Michigan State

    6 Jordan Zumwalt, UCLA

    7 Chris Borland, Wisconsin

    8 James Morris, Iowa

    9 Michael Mauti, Penn State

    10 Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech


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    For all the talent over the last few drafts at the cornerback position, the 2013 crop has a player who just might surpass them all.

    David Amerson has rare size, speed and length for the position. If he can make similar improvements before the 2012 season that he did last year, watch out for this stud to be a Top 5 pick in the 2013 NFL draft.

    Much will be made about Tyrann Mathieu this season, but as of this writing, his draft stock is highly questionable. Mathieu is undersized, undisciplined and was exposed by teams this year when he was asked to track back away from the line of scrimmage. 

    Biggest Upside: David Amerson

    Biggest Sleeper: Dee Milliner

    Bust Potential: Tyrann Mathieu


    1 David Amerson, North Carolina State

    2 Dee Milliner, Alabama

    3 Jonthan Banks, Mississippi State

    4 Xavier Rhodes, FSU

    5 Branden Smith, Georgia

    6 Rod Sweeting, Georgia Tech

    7 Tyrann Mathieu, LSU

    8 Desmond Trufant, Washington

    9 Johnny Adams, Michigan State

    10 Nickell Robey, USC


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    After a very weak safety class in 2012, the position will make a rebound in 2013 with playmakers and hard-hitters like Baccari Rambo and Kenny Vaccaro. Even more so, the top players at the safety position for 2013 are all good in coverage. As the NFL finds more athletic tight ends, finding safeties who can cover will be incredibly important.

    Biggest Upside: Kenny Vaccaro

    Biggest Sleeper: Eric Reid

    Bust Potential: Ray Ray Armstrong


    1 Baccari Rambo, Georgia

    2 Kenny Vaccaro, Texas

    3 Robert Lester, Alabama

    4 Hakeem Smith, Louisville

    5 Ray Ray Armstrong, Miami

    6 Eric Reid, LSU

    7 Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma

    8 TJ McDonald, USC

    9 Matt Elam, Florida

    10 Kenny Tate, Maryland (OLB)

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