The 2013 NFL draft will be interesting.
Maybe not so for teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets, who are a year late on the "Class of 2012 Quarterback Sweepstakes" and don't have much elite quarterback talent to look at this year.
The top 18 players in my rankings consist of offensive linemen, defensive linemen, linebackers and just one cornerback. You have to dig down all the way to the 19th ranked player on my list to find the top-ranked quarterback.
This is obviously much different from last year's situation, as three quarterbacks were off the board after the Top 10 picks.
It would be difficult for a team like the Kansas City Chiefs, who are expected to be drafting first, to take a guy ranked outside of the Top 10 players available.
If you are up first on the podium, you take the best player available, and that's defensive tackle Star Lotulelei out of Utah. Star is a 6'4", 320-pound defensive tackle who is a nightmare for running backs. He can clog the hole and make it nearly impossible for running backs to have success between the tackles.
The only issue is his speed and ability to rush the passer. He is definitely worthy of the first overall pick in this draft. The issue here is that Kansas City needs to improve its offense much more than its defense.
Although I have Geno Smith ranked as my 19th best player, it is very likely the Chiefs could take him with the first pick (assuming they lose their last two games). It wouldn't be too bad watching Geno develop alongside Jamaal Charles. That running game would be ridiculous to watch.
As far as other quarterbacks go, we got word today that Tyler Bray out of Tennessee would be entering the draft. I don't know what to make of that right now.
Matt Barkley was projected in the 2012 preseason to be the first guy taken in this year's draft, but a poor season for the USC Trojans has his stock declining downhill at a 90-degree angle.
However, I still think Barkley, with the right coaching, could develop into a star quarterback in the NFL. I have seen him make some tremendous throws rolling to his left that are extremely difficult to make. He may have had a poor season this year, but I still am not sold on the fact that he will turn out to be a bust.
At other key offensive positions, the best guys available are Tennessee's wide receiver Justin Hunter, West Virginia's wide receiver Tavon Austin, North Carolina's running back Giovani Bernard and Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell.
You will be able to see that it is a defense-heavy Top 10, in my opinion. Unfortunately, most of the teams that will likely be positioned to draft in the Top 10 are struggling more on offense.
We could see teams such as the Buffalo Bills take advantage of guys like Manti Te'o being available somewhere around the eighth pick, while teams such as the Philadelphia Eagles, who are in desperate need of help on their offensive line, could go after Luke Joeckel or Chance Warmack.
I am not saying by any means that this is not a solid draft class.
Every draft class brings plenty of surprises. What I am saying is that there isn't nearly as much offensive talent in this draft that there was last year.
Below you will find the top 100 players, in my opinion, who are likely to be available come April.
|3||Damontre Moore||DE||Texas A&M|
|5||Luke Joeckel||OT||Texas A&M|
|6||Bjoern Werner||DE||Florida State|
|7||Manti Te'o||ILB||Notre Dame|
|10||Sylvester Williams||DT||North Carolina|
|11||Johnathan Hankins||DT||Ohio State|
|15||Jonathan Cooper||OG||North Carolina|
|19||Geno Smith||QB||West Virginia|
|21||Eric Fisher||OT||Central Michigan|
|22||Ezekiel Ansah||DE||Brigham Young|
|28||Louis Nix III||DT||Notre Dame|
|30||Johnthan Banks||CB||Mississippi State|
|34||Tyler Eifert||TE||Notre Dame|
|35||Mike Glennon||QB||North Carolina State|
|37||Cornellius Carradine||DE||Florida State|
|38||Jake Matthews||OT||Texas A&M|
|39||Tavon Austin||WR||West Virginia|
|47||David Amerson||CB||North Carolina State|
|54||Everett Dawkins||DT||Florida State|
|58||Giovani Bernard||RB||North Carolina|
|59||Le'Veon Bell||RB||Michigan State|
|61||Brennan Williams||OT||North Carolina|
|65||Brian Winters||OG||Kent State|
|67||Kevin Reddick||ILB||North Carolina|
|68||Markus Wheaton||WR||Oregon State|
|71||Brandon Jenkins||OLB||Florida State|
|73||Arthur Brown||ILB||Kansas State|
|75||Xavier Rhodes||CB||Florida State|
|76||Gavin Escobar||TE||San Diego State|
|78||William Gholston||DE||Michigan State|
|79||Kaleb Ramsey||DT||Boston College|
|80||DeVonte Holloman||S||South Carolina|
|81||Marquess Wilson||WR||Washington State|
|88||Jordan Poyer||CB||Oregon State|
|89||Da'Rick Rogers||WR||Tennessee Tech|
|91||Dion Sims||TE||Michigan State|
|97||Kapron Lewis-Moore||DE||Notre Dame|
|100||EJ Manuel||QB||Florida State|