They say idle hands are the devil's workshop. Idle draftniks are just a nuisance to friends and family. Addictions must be fed. Outlets must be found and used. After a good couple of weeks off, I find myself beginning the slow process of getting my sea legs back under me in preparation for the 2013 NFL Draft.
Tape will be watched, re-watched, and re-watched again. Observations will be made, forgotten, written down, lost, remembered and forgotten again. Proper draft evaluation is like painting a new car: you're not done after one coat. You have to keep putting fresh coats on it to get it right.
Rather than start with everyone's favorite obsession, the quarterback position, I wanted to take a look at some of the top-billed defensive ends and pass-rushers that could be available in the 2013 NFL Draft. I have 12 of the best pass-rush prospects ranked and described within this piece.
Before getting to the individual players, I wanted to sum up a few things about the 2013 class relative to the 2012 class.
I felt the 2012 class of pass-rushers to be lacking in depth. As I went through the rank and file of the 2012 class, I found the number of players that could consistently bend the arc on an outside pass rush to be at a minimum.
The best example I can cite is Bruce Irvin of West Virginia going in the 1st round to the Seattle Seahawks. Irvin is an explosive player and he can be relied upon to provide pass rush in certain situations. However, he has a criminal past and once told his coaches that he did not want to be a starter, that he preferred to only come on the field perhaps a dozen times a game. Later, he also claimed his coaches at West Virginia never taught him properly.
In order to buy the explosive pass rush ability that Bruce Irvin possesses, the Seattle Seahawks were forced to pay by accepting poor character history, poor stamina, poor attitude and a diminutive frame that does not promise three-down potential. This was a simple result of supply and demand. The supply on genuine pass-rush ability was very weak, whereas the demand was as strong as ever. This forced teams to pay higher prices for their pass-rush products than to which they are usually accustomed.
Similarly, in order to buy the pass rush potential of a player like Melvin Ingram of South Carolina, the San Diego Chargers were forced to take a risk on his very short arms, part-time player status, and inconsistent production. Many would say that, in order to buy the pass rush potential possessed by Quinton Coples of North Carolina, the New York Jets were forced to accept his laziness and lack of effort.
While the future can never truly be predicted, I believe the 2013 class of pass-rushers will be much stronger and full of depth. Just looking at the top seniors and potential underclassmen, I see an abundance of players that consistently bend the arc on an outside pass rush. I see explosiveness. It may take me only five snaps to find plays in this pass rush that I might have had to sift through twenty snaps in order to find from the 2012 class.
Now that I've whet your appetite, let's look at some players.