2013 NFL Draft: Breaking Down Top 5 SEC Senior Prospects
No conference churns out quality NFL players like the SEC, and this year's crop of senior prospects features a number of talented linemen, a potential franchise quarterback and the top cornerback in the country.
It's no coincidence that Alabama—who will attempt to win its third national championship in four years—leads the way with several of the top seniors in the SEC. Beginning with the best guard in the draft, Chance Warmack, the Crimson Tide will make plenty of noise on draft day.
Elsewhere around the conference, Arkansas' Tyler Wilson entered the season as a favorite to go No. 1 overall, but he instead could be a draft-day steal after his numbers slipped slightly in 2012.
While a number of quality seniors like Florida's Jon Bostic and Mike Gillislee just missed the cut, let's take a closer look at the five best SEC senior draft prospects.
5. Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
Once considered a candidate to be selected first overall in 2013, Arkansas' Tyler Wilson has seen his draft stock slip this season. However, the 6'2", 218-pound signal-caller still remains one of the top players at his position and the best senior quarterback in the SEC.
In 2011, Wilson posted elite numbers for the position, completing 63 percent of his passes for 3,638 yards, 24 touchdowns and just six interceptions.
2012 wasn't as kind to the redshirt senior, as his interception total more than doubled to 13.
Despite the increase in turnovers, scouts still love Wilson's potential as a franchise quarterback due to his arm strength and NFL size, but he'll have to answer questions about his accuracy at the Senior Bowl.
Draft Projection: Pick 25-32
4. Barrett Jones, C/G, Alabama
No player epitomizes the Crimson Tide like center Barrett Jones.
Since arriving at Alabama, Jones has starred at every position along the offensive line, garnering All-American honors at left tackle, guard and center.
Although the 6'5", 302-pounder won't wow anyone with his physical skill set, his intelligence, versatility and experience make him a first-round prospect. He's definitely a notch behind teammate Chance Warmack as a pro prospect, but settling for Jones later in the first round isn't such a bad consolation prize.
Jones' experience at multiple positions is certainly a plus, but he should make his money as a guard at the next level.
Draft Projection: Pick 30-40
3. Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
With so many NFL teams employing 3-4 defenses, Alabama nose tackle Jesse Williams will be a valued commodity this April.
Checking in at a menacing 6'4", 320 pounds, Williams has the girth, hand strength and tenacity to be a Pro Bowl defensive tackle at the next level. His physical gifts, combined with his warrior mentality, has earned him the label of a young Vince Wilfork from Rob Rang of CBS Sports.
Because he isn't a great pass-rusher yet, Williams may be limited to a two-down role early in his career. However, as soon as the beast refines his moves and learns to play with better leverage, he could be the next great defensive lineman to emerge from the SEC.
Draft Projection: Top 25
2. Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
The pass-happy NFL demands that teams have at least three quality cornerbacks, and for clubs in need of a No. 1 corner, Mississippi State's Johnthan Banks fits the bill.
Ever since he first stepped on the field for the Bulldogs, Banks has been one of the nation's premier ball hawks. As a freshman he snagged four interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. He followed that up with three picks as a sophomore before picking off four passes in each of the last two seasons.
Blessed with great length for the position, the 6'1", 185-pound senior is also a strong tackler, as evidenced by his 217 career tackles (11.5 for loss), four sacks and five forced fumbles.
Banks may not run a 4.3 40-yard dash, but his overall package of size, production, instincts and coverage skills earned him the 2012 Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's best defensive back.
Draft Projection: Top 20
1. Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
Chance Warmack is so good he may buck the trend of teams not selecting a guard in the Top 10.
As complete a prospect as you can get, the 6'3", 320-pounder has the size, strength, tenacity and experience to be an immediate starter and multi-time All-Pro guard at the next level.
Since breaking into the starting lineup as a sophomore, Warmack has paved the way for four 1,000-yard backs in Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon. A mainstay at right guard, Warmack is also an adept pass protector, utilizing his impressive lower-body strength to anchor against some of the country's best defensive tackles.
With no holes in his resume, Warmack is the clear-cut top guard prospect for the 2013 NFL draft and the best senior the SEC has to offer.
Draft Projection: Top 15