The NFL is still extremely far away for the elite players in the 2013 college football recruiting class, but that said, it's never too early to start talking NFL draft, right?
Football at it's core is a game of fundamentals and technique, and that's something that we can see from the high school level on up.
These elite 2013 5-star recruits may have a long way to go before they can start realistically thinking about the NFL, but they already possess the skill set that many NFL teams will be looking for once it is their turn to step up to the league.
Here are three 2013 recruits that display the best NFL skill sets right now:
Jaylon Smith, 5-star OLB, Notre Dame commitment, Bishop Luers High School (IN)
Outside linebacker Jaylon Smith checks in at 6'3'', 218-pounds as a senior in high school, and he runs a 4.44 40 according to 247Sports. He has decent size right now, and he'll only get bigger as he continues to work out and add mass through training at the college level.
As it stands, he plays an extremely physical and aggressive style of football though. He can quickly get down to the line of scrimmage and plug up a gap, but his elite speed also allows him to move laterally to be a sideline to sideline defender.
There's really not a spot on the field Smith can't defend.
Right now in the NFL we're seeing elite pass rushing outside linebackers being utilized more and more to stop potent passing attacks, and Smith has the intangibles to be one of those players in time. He projects to be dominant on the edges of the line of scrimmage and I have no doubt that he can get into the backfield in a hurry.
Derrick Henry, 5-star RB/ATH, Alabama commitment, Yulee High School (FL)
Derrick Henry has the size of an elite linebacker and the speed of an elite running back. He's committed to Alabama, so he'll get a ton of looks from NFL scouts in the future, and he projects to be the next star running back for the Crimson Tide.
He's 6'3'', 240-pounds and runs a 4.54 40-yard dash according to 247Sports, so there's proof of that elite size and speed.
Henry is a physical runner that can run be effective between the tackles, but he also has good speed, field vision and footwork that allow him to be a home run threat. He's a north and south runner that hits the hole hard and then uses his vision to find lanes, and his size will allow him to stay home and block as well.
It's really hard not to be impressed with what Henry can bring to the table. If he can stay healthy and eventually make his way into a premier role for Alabama, the NFL will have no choice but to take notice.
Max Browne, 5-star QB, USC commitment, Skyline High School (WA)
I often compare Max Browne to both Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger. At 6'5'', 210-pounds he has the size and arm strength of a young Roethlisberger (6'5'', 241), but he also possesses the agility, footwork and accuracy of Rodgers.
If that's not incredible NFL-esque praise for a senior in high school than I don't know what is.
Browne has a strong and fluid motion, but he's more than just a pocket-passer, pro-style quarterback. His tremendous footwork allows him to escape the pocket when need be and he can still be just as effective throwing on the run as he is from the pocket.
He displays good vision, touch and accuracy as a quarterback, and since he's going to USC, he has the chance to get a lot of publicity once it's his turn to take over for the Trojans.
NFL scouts will be watching Browne's growth as a quarterback closely at USC.