Tyler Wilson Passes Geno Smith on January Big Board for 2013 NFL Draft

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Tyler Wilson Passes Geno Smith on January Big Board for 2013 NFL Draft
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With the college football bowl season officially behind us, eyes will now shift towards the Super Bowl, and then free agency and the draft. Evaluations will start heating up, and rankings will continue to change as underclassmen declare for the draft and prospects prepare for pre-draft workouts. 

For clarification, a "big board" is not indicative of where a player may get drafted, it is merely a ranked list of prospects based off their projected success in the NFL. A player with great stats at the college level may not necessarily be a good fit for the NFL.

I've decided to expand this board from my previous 40-prospect list to 50, with draft season beginning to heat up. So remember, this is not a mock draft in any way; this is just ranking the 50 best draft-eligible college football players. 

*Denotes underclassmen 

 

1. *Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia

Jones set Georgia's single-season sack record in the Capital One Bowl, even though he missed two games and played against Georgia Southern, who only attempted four passes all game. Jones' athleticism and intensity are unmatched by anyone in the draft. The severity of his spinal stenosis condition will be the biggest factor in where he gets drafted. Previous: 1

2. *Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

Joeckel finished the season on a high note as A&M destroyed Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. Joeckel has phenomenal balance and technique, and is a very solid athlete. His play was a huge reason that Johnny Manziel had time in the pocket, and was also often able to take off on a scramble around the edge. Previous: 3

3. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

Lotulelei is the best defensive lineman in the draft. He is versatile enough to play as a 3-4 nose tackle or a 4-3 defensive end. His strength and ability to get leverage off the line of scrimmage allows him to swallow up double teams and move the pile play after play. Previous: 2 

4. Chance Warmack, G, Alabama

Butch Dill/Getty Images

Warmack is as good a guard prospect as there can possibly be. He's incredibly strong, fundamentally sound and extremely experienced, and dominated a very good Notre Dame defensive line in the National Championship. Previous: 4

5. Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon

Jordan's versatility is unmatched. He's listed somewhere between 6'6" and 6'7" and is a skilled pass-rusher, but is also quick enough that he sometimes drops back in coverage as well. A shoulder injury slowed him at the end of the season, but as long as that is fully healed by draft day, Jordan should be a high selection. Previous: 6

6. *Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri

Richardson is an incredible talent as a defensive tackle. His combination of sheer size, core strength, quickness and ferocity made him one of the most productive and disruptive linemen in the country this year. Previous: 17

7. *Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Lewan's stock was wavering a bit in my eyes, but an outstanding performance in the Outback Bowl solidified him as the No. 2 offensive tackle in this year's class, should he decide to enter the draft. Lewan did a commendable job handling Jadeveon Clowney, the extraordinary sophomore defensive end for South Carolina. Previous: 9

8. *Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

Werner didn't finish the season quite as strongly as he started it, but he still showed the outstanding athleticism that should make him one of the first defensive players selected in the draft. He gets great bend around the edge and is relentless in his effort to get to the quarterback. Previous: 10

9. *Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M

Moore officially declared for the draft a few days before he played a solid final collegiate game in the Cotton Bowl. Moore plays as a defensive end for the Aggies, but could possibly switch to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme in the NFL. His draft spot depends on what NFL teams want out of him in terms of position. Previous: 8  

10. *Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

Milliner is a talented cornerback who has plenty of big-game experience on an Alabama defense that just churns out NFL talent. He had an exceptional performance in the National Championship. Previous: 11

11. Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame

I think everyone, myself included, got a little carried away in Te'o's Heisman campaign. While there's no denying his natural ability and leadership, I'm not convinced he's a surefire top-10 talent at this point. The combine will be big for him. Previous: 4

12. Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

After finally getting to watch some tape on Fisher recently, I came away extremely impressed with the relatively unheralded left tackle. For his size (6'8", 305 lbs.), Fisher moves extremely well and displays excellent strength, balance and positioning on every play. You'll be hearing his name a lot more in the next couple months. Previous: 33

13. *Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU

Montgomery is one of the safer players in this year's draft in that he's experienced, consistent and has good technique and size already at this point. The problem is that he isn't overly athletic, so he doesn't have the ceiling of guys like Werner or LSU teammate Barkevious Mingo. Previous: 7 

14. *Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State

Hankins is still one of the draft's more intriguing players for me, because of his combination of size and raw ability. I don't see consistent effort, however, and I don't think he disengages particularly well, even when he's already pushed his blocker backwards and has good hand placement. With coaching and a more aggressive mindset, Hankins could become an elite player in the NFL. Previous: 12

15. *Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia

Ogletree will be one of the first three inside linebackers taken in this draft. I love Ogletree's length, athleticism, and tendency to always be around the ball. He led Georgia in tackles this season even though he missed four games. Previous: 14  

16. *Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU

Mingo's speed, quickness, flexibility and natural athleticism are off the charts, but it didn't translate to much production this year, and he wasn't on the field anywhere near as much as Montgomery. But his insane athletic ability is too rare for him to fall out of the first round. Previous: 13

17. John Jenkins, DT, Georgia

Jenkins was forced to sit out the Capital One Bowl due to academic issues. This didn't do anything to help his stock, but with others falling or returning to school, it didn't hurt it much either. His size and strength make him an ideal fit as a 3-4 nose tackle. Previous: 15

18. Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama

There's not much to say that hasn't already been revealed by announcers or stories leading up to the National Championship game. Jones is smart, strong, mature, experienced and has played every position on the line. Any NFL team would be lucky to have him. Previous: 21

19. Keenan Allen, WR, California

Not much has happened with Allen since he missed the end of the season with a PCL injury. Other receivers have played well though, and he's going to need a very good combine to show that his injury didn't affect his speed to keep his spot as the top receiver. Previous: 18

20. Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina

North Carolina's football team didn't play in a bowl game, but Cooper put together a great senior season and was a major reason for Giovani Bernard's breakout year. Cooper will almost certainly be a first-round pick. Previous: 19

21. Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State

Banks is tall, strong in the air and has the potential to be a great resource against taller receivers like A.J. Green and Brandon Marshall. He put together some impressive tape against some fast SEC offenses this season. Previous: 26

22. Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame

Eifert is immensely talented as a tight end. Even though he's the main focus for defenses game in and game out, he continued to beat double teams and have a productive season. Notre Dame's offense was dominated in the National Championship, but Eifert's effort was visible every time he got a chance. Previous: 25

23. Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

An incredible athlete who hasn't been playing football very long, Ansah has started gaining national attention as the draft process is just around the corner. He's a big, strong, athletic pass rusher who has been talked about as a 3-4 OLB, but I see as a 4-3 DE. The Ghana native will need a lot of coaching and practice, so whoever drafts him will need to know what they're doing. Previous: NR 

24. *Eric Reid, S, LSU

Reid's athleticism and experience in the SEC will make him one of the first safeties to get his named called in the draft. But Kenny Vaccaro and Matt Elam both made strong cases for themselves at the end of the season, so Reid will have to bring his "A" game to the combine. Previous: 22

25. *Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

I think Rhodes will turn some heads when he works out for teams and at the combine. His combination of size, strength and quickness is rare for a defensive back, and his potential versatility will be enticing to NFL teams looking to counter high-powered passing attacks. Previous: 29  

26. Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas

Wilson takes over as the top quarterback on the board. Geno Smith just continued falling throughout the season as he struggled against good defenses, and his wide receivers showed more and more that they contributed a lot to Smith's success. Wilson battled through a tough season in Arkansas and his potential shows consistently on tape. Previous: 28

27. Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

Vaccaro is extremely quick and fluid in small spaces, but his top gear isn't elite. He can be a real ballhawk when he positions himself well, but also gets beaten badly a little too often. Consistency will be the biggest factor to Vaccaro's success. Previous: 30

28. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

Austin's speed was mostly compromised in the snow in the Pinstripe Bowl, so he didn't make as big of an impact as normal. But his unparalleled explosiveness and elusiveness give him an edge over other receivers in the draft, because he can break a game open any time he touches the ball. Previous: 23

28. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

Smith had occupied the top quarterback spot for the past couple months, but I was never a huge fan of Smith. As his play continued to deteriorate and his team continued to lose, Smith's value dropped more and more. His poor play in the Pinstripe Bowl loss to Syracuse was the final straw. Previous: 27

29. Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor

I got to watch a little more tape on Williams recently, and his talent really shined through once again, but there are still some red flags. His effort isn't consistent, and he suffered from one or two spells where he dropped a number of easy passes. Previous: 40

30. *Robert Woods, WR, USC

Woods made the extremely smart decision of declaring for the draft. He went from being overhyped at the beginning of the season to underhyped by the end, due to the emergence of Marqise Lee and the struggles of USC. Woods will start to come back on strong as the draft process starts. Previous: 32

31. Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina

There are still some mixed opinions about Williams, who has very good size, strength, quickness and footwork, but isn't elite in any category and wasn't super productive during the season. His stock will be very dependent on his performance at the combine. Previous: 34

32. *Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU

Minter has gotten nowhere near the attention he deserves. I think that as more tape gets watched and people start discussing the inside linebackers more, everyone will realize that Minter actually has a chance of being the first inside linebacker taken. There's a good chance he rises up the board in the next couple months. Previous: NR

33. Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama

An interesting prospect because he's a latecomer to football, but Williams is a load on the inside. He's impossible to move due to his incredible full-body strength. The Aussie had a big part in shutting down Notre Dame in the National Championship. Previous: NR 

34. Matt Barkley, QB, USC

Some people think Barkley shouldn't be taken in the first round, while others still consider him a top-5 talent. I fall somewhere in between, because while I don't think he has a very high ceiling, there isn't as much risk with Barkley as with some of the other quarterbacks in this draft. Previous: 35

35. *Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina

Grant Halverson/Getty Images

As a redshirt sophomore, there were doubts as to whether or not Bernard would enter the draft. But since he declared, Bernard finds himself as the top eligible back. Bernard runs hard and low, and can break through tackles but also outrun defenders. Previous: NR

36. *Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee--Previous: 37

37. *Matt Elam, S, Florida--Previous: NR

38. *Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn--Previous: 24

39. *Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford--Previous: 38

 40. Khaseem Greene, OLB, Rutgers--Previous: NR

41. *D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama--Previous: NR

42. *Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma--Previous: NR

43. *Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida--Previous: NR

44. Alex Okafor, DE, Texas--Previous: 27

45. Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno State--Previous: NR

46. Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma--Previous: NR

47. Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech--Previous: NR

48. Mike Glennon, QB, NC State--Previous: NR

49. Jordan Poyer, CB, Oklahoma State--Previous: NR

50. Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse--Previous: NR

 

 

Dropped from ranking: Jake Matthews (rumored staying), Justin Hunter, Kawann Short, C.J. Mosley (staying)

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