2013 NFL Draft: Highlighting Question Marks for Top First-Round Prospects

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 23, 2012

MORGANTOWN, WV - SEPTEMBER 22:  Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers drops back to pass against the Maryland Terrapins during the game on September 22, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  WVU defeated Maryland 31-21.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The 2013 NFL Draft may be four months away, but it's never too early to put some of the top first-round prospects to the test.

No player is perfect, but in order to be worthy of being selected within the Top 32 picks, you have to be pretty close to it. But just because scouts, coaches and fans have questions heading into draft day doesn't mean they won't soon be answered.

Here we'll highlight a trio of question marks facing some of 2013's top first-round draft prospects.


Can Star Lotulelei Be a Superstar Against the Pass?

Utah senior defensive tackle Star Lotulelei is seen by many as the top player available in this coming spring's 2013 NFL Draft, but he is not without an important question mark.

At 6'3" and 320 pounds, Lotulelei has all the physical attributes scouts and coaches love, plus he's a stud against the run thanks to his bulk. But how will Lotulelei stack up against the pass at the next level?

He recorded just five sacks in 12 games with Utah this past season, and oftentimes struggles to break up the pocket and pressure the opposing passer. Lotulelei is certainly valuable as a run-stuffer, but if he isn't a lock to become an every down disruption for the opposing offense, is he really worth the No. 1 overall pick?

Don't get me wrong, there's a lot to love about Star Lotulelei and he's a sure-fire Top Five pick in next year's draft, but in order to be considered the best player coming out in 2013, he must excel at every aspect of his position in my eyes.


Will Geno Smith's Accuracy Hold Up in the NFL?

West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith has had a prolific college career with the Mountaineers, throwing for more than 4,000 yards in each of the past two seasons. 

But if there is a question that comes attached to Smith it's whether his accuracy is good enough to get it done consistently in the NFL. There's no arguing with his numbers and results at the college level, but defenses at the NFL level are an entirely different monsters.

Smith will surely need to improve on his deep ball as he'll have even smaller room for error at the next level. Plus, he'll have to maintain his accuracy while likely having less time to go through his reads in the pocket. 

There really isn't a whole lot to criticize when it comes to Smith and his potential to succeed, but if there's one thing that usually sets elite NFL quarterbacks apart from the average ones, it's accuracy.

Can he be an accurate passer play after play?


Is Justin Hunter Tough Enough For the Next Level?

Tennessee junior wideout Justin Hunter may be one of the best wide receiving talents available this coming spring, but his toughness has come into question this past year.

ESPN draft scout Todd McShay had the following criticism for Hunter recently:

I was underwhelmed by his toughness and aggressiveness over the course of the season. Hunter too often allowed oncoming defenders to affect the way he attacked the ball.

It's hard to argue with McShay though. Hunter was coming back from a torn ACL suffered in 2011, and although his production (73 receptions, 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns) was solid, it could have potentially been even better had he demonstrated more confidence and fearlessness at times.

The talent is obvious with Hunter, but the question of whether he's tough enough to excel as an NFL wide receiver is certainly a legitimate one. 


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