Everyone who evaluates prospects for the NFL draft has his or her own view of the relative merit of each player. However, the rankings for the 2013 draft are going to vary more than most years. That's because this draft class has a lot of prospects with similar talent levels.
My rankings are in no way final at this early stage in the process. There's an excellent chance you'll find a few prospects missing. This is because I only ranked those players I've had time to evaluate.
It's important to me that I don't just plug a player's name into the ranking without first spending the time needed to properly evaluate him.
Player Highlight: Zac Dysert, Miami (Ohio)
There's a lot of love out there for Dysert, as some feel he has a shot to come off the board in the second or third round. However, there are plenty of holes in his game that would make that decision a risk.
Dysert has the natural talent to succeed in the NFL. He has ideal size, a powerful arm and decent athleticism. The issue is that he doesn't have a great feel for the position. He struggles to make sound decisions when faced with pressure, which is the biggest concern.
For an NFL quarterback to succeed, he must be able to make plays in the face of a pass rush. Dysert just isn't comfortable enough in the pocket and struggles to make quick decisions, which warrants nothing more than fifth-round consideration.
1. Geno Smith, West Virginia, Top 10
2. Matt Barkley, USC, Early Second Round
3. Tyler Wilson, Arkansas, Early Second Round
4. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse, Early Second Round
5. Mike Glennon, N.C. State, Early Second Round
6. Tyler Bray, Tennessee, Late Third Round
7. EJ Manuel, Florida Sate, Late Fourth Round
8. Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech, Early Fifth Round
9. Zac Dysert, Miami (Ohio), Early Fifth Round
10. Landry Jones, Oklahoma, Late Fifth Round
11. Matt Scott, Arizona, Late Sixth Round
12. Jordan Rodgers, Vanderbilt, Seventh Round
13. Brad Sorensen, Southern Utah, Seventh Round
Player Highlight: Eddie Lacy, Alabama
Lacy is much more than a big-bodied running back. He also has a ton of quickness. Lacy's size does give him the ability to push the pile and effectively run between the tackles. However, it's his quick-twitch ability that makes him an excellent prospect.
Lacy does a great job locating the hole and quickly getting up the field. His balance and quick feet help him make seamless cuts. This is a well-rounded running back who has the potential to be a real difference-maker.
1. Eddie Lacy, Alabama, Early Second Round
2. Giovani Bernard, North Carolina, Mid-Second Round
3. Johnathan Franklin, UCLA, Late Second Round
4. Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State, Late Second Round
5. Andre Ellington, Clemson, Early Third Round
6. Kenjon Barner, Oregon, Mid-Third Round
7. Mike Gillislee, Florida, Mid-Third Round
8. Stepfan Taylor, Stanford, Late Third Round
9. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina, Late Third Round with medical red flag
10. Ray Graham, Pittsburgh, Early Fourth Round
11. Kerwynn Williams, Utah State, Early Fourth Round
12. Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State, Fourth Round
13. Montee Ball, Wisconsin, Fourth Round
14. Alfred Blue, LSU, Fifth Round
15. Knile Davis, Arkansas, Fifth Round
16. Jawan Jamison, Rutgers, Fifth Round
17. Dennis Johnson, Arkansas, Fifth Round
18. George Winn, Cincinnati, Fifth Round
19. D.J. Harper, Boise State, Sixth Round
20. Silas Redd, USC, Sixth Round
21. Theo Riddick, Notre Dame, Sixth Round
22. Christine Michael, Texas A&M, Sixth Round
23. Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt, Sixth Round
24. Cierre Wood, Notre Dame, Seventh Round
25. Rex Burkhead, Nebraska, Seventh Round
Player Highlight: Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas
Hamilton is an explosive athlete who excels at making big plays. When focused, he attacks the ball at its highest point. Hamilton's quick-twitch ability and shiftiness make him dangerous with the ball in his hands.
The issue facing Hamilton is that he has a tendency to lose focus, which results in drops. However, he could be a real steal if he lands in the right situation.
1. Keenan Allen, California, Top 15
2. Tavon Austin, West Virginia, First Round
3. Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee, First Round
4. DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson, Late First Round
5. Stedman Bailey, West Virginia, Early Second Round
6. Quinton Patton, La. Tech, Mid-Second Round
7. Justin Hunter, Tennessee, Late Second Round
8. Robert Woods, USC, Late Second Round
9. Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas, Late Second Round
10. Da'Rick Rogers, Tennessee Tech, Early Third Round
11. Markus Wheaton, Oregon State, Early Third Round
12. Terrance Williams, Baylor, Late Third Round
13. Brandon Coleman, Rutgers, Fourth Round
14. Marquise Goodwin, Texas, Fourth Round
15. Dri Archer, Kent State, Fourth Round
16. Marquess Wilson, Washington State, Fourth Round
17. Aaron Mellette, Elon, Fifth Round
18. Kenny Stills, Oklahoma, Fifth Round
19. Chris Harper, Kansas State, Fifth Round
20. Marlon Brown, Georgia, Sixth Round
21. Marcus Davis, Virginia Tech, Sixth Round
22. Aaron Dobson, Marshall, Sixth Round
23. Denard Robinson, Michigan, Sixth Round
24. Ryan Swope, Texas A&M, Seventh Round
25. Emory Blake, Auburn, Seventh Round
26. Erik Highsmith, North Carolina, Seventh Round
27. Corey Fuller, Virginia Tech, Seventh Round
Player Highlight: Jordan Reed, Florida
Reed is the most well-rounded tight end in the 2013 draft class. He has the quickness to make plays in passing game and the strength to help in the running game. Most of the other tight end prospects, like Tyler Eifert, offer nothing as a blocker.
1. Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame, First Round
2. Jordan Reed, Florida, Second Round
3. Zach Ertz, Stanford, Late Second Round
4. Dion Sims, Michigan State, Third Round
5. Michael Williams, Alabama, Third Round
6. Joseph Fauria, UCLA, Fourth Round
7. Levine Toilolo, Stanford, Fourth Round
8. Gavin Escobar, San Diego State, Fifth Round
9. Mychal Rivera, Tennessee, Fifth Round
10. Jake Stoneburner, Ohio State, Fifth Round
11. Chris Gragg, Arkansas, Fifth Round
12. Ryan Otten, San Jose State, Fifth Round
13. Travis Kelce, Cincinnati, Sixth Round
14. Philip Lutzenkirchen, Auburn, Seventh Round
15. Vance McDonald, Rice, Seventh Round
Player Highlight: Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
Johnson is one of the more intriguing prospects in this draft. He has good height (6'6") but lacks ideal bulk (303 pounds). However, he plays with more power than his size would suggest.
Johnson's wide stance, inside hand placement and nastiness help him open running lanes and anchor in pass protection. He also has the agility to reach the edge and keep the quarterback upright.
With some of the top tackles deciding to return to school, Johnson has a good chance to squeak into the first round.
1. Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M, Top Five
2. Eric Fisher, Central Michigan, Top 15
3. Lane Johnson, Oklahoma, Early Second Round
4. Brennan Williams, North Carolina, Mid-Second Round
5. D.J. Fluker, Alabama, Mid-Second Round
6. Oday Aboushi, Virginia, Late Second Round
7. Kyle Long, Oregon, Late Second Round
8. James Hurst, North Carolina, Third Round
9. Ricky Wagner, Wisconsin, Third Round
10. Justin Pugh, Syracuse, Fourth Round
11. Chris Faulk, LSU, Fourth Round
12. Tanner Hawkinson, Kansas, Fifth Round
13. John Wetzel, Boston College, Sixth Round
14. Oscar Johnson, La. Tech, Sixth Round
15. Alex Hurst, LSU, Seventh Round
16. Xavier Nixon, Florida, Seventh Round
Player Highlight: Dallas Thomas, Tennessee
The versatility of Thomas is valued by every team in the NFL. During his college career, he spent time at tackle and guard. He showed that he's more than capable of handling each of those positions.
In the NFL, a team must be able to overcome injuries. Having a versatile player like Thomas makes that easier to accomplish.
1. Chance Warmack, Alabama, Top 10
2. Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina, Top 20
3. Dallas Thomas, Tennessee, Early Second Round
4. Larry Warford, Kentucky, Mid-Second Round
5. Brian Winters, Kent State, Late Second Round
6. Alvin Bailey, Arkansas, Third Round
7. Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech, Third Round
8. Travis Bond, North Carolina, Fourth Round
9. Lane Taylor, Oklahoma State, Fourth Round
10. Tyler Larsen, Utah State, Fourth Round
Player Highlight: Khaled Holmes, USC
Holmes is a highly talented prospect but falls down the draft board because of injuries and inconsistent play. He features the physical talent needed to come off the board in the second round. However, teams will be reluctant to take a risk on a player with an extensive injury history.
1. Barrett Jones, Alabama, Second Round
2. Travis Frederick, Wisconsin, Fourth Round
3. Braxston Cave, Notre Dame, Fourth Round
4. Khaled Holmes, USC, Fifth Round
5. Graham Pocic, Illinois, Sixth Round
6. Mario Benavides, Louisville, Sixth Round
Player Highlight: Tourek Williams, Florida International
Florida International's Tourek Williams is a good athlete with the burst, balance and suddenness to generate pressure on the quarterback. He possesses a lethal shoulder bend that makes it tough for the blocker to get a piece of his body. His quick hands and suddenness also help him remain clean on his path to the quarterback.
His closing speed is a real asset, especially after he uses that shoulder dip. FIU uses Williams out of a two-point and three-point stance and drops him into coverage from time to time. However, his strength is his ability to rush the passer.
1. Dion Jordan, Oregon, Top 10
2. Damontre Moore, Texas A&M, Top 10
3. Bjoern Werner, Florida State, Top 10
4. Barkevious Mingo, LSU, Top 15
5. Ezekiel Ansah, BYU, Top 20
6. Alex Okafor, Texas, First Round
7. Sam Montgomery, LSU, Second Round
8. Corey Lemonier, Auburn, Late Second Round
9. Datone Jones, UCLA, Early Third Round
10. Margus Hunt, SMU, Third Round
11. Tourek Williams, Florida International, Third Round
12. Dan Giordano, Cincinnati, Third Round
13. Trevardo Williams, Connecticut, Late Third Round
14. Morgan Breslin, USC, Late Third Round
15. Walter Stewart, Cincinnati, Fourth Round with medical red flag
16. Michael Buchanan, Illinois, Fifth Round
17. Malliciah Goodman, Clemson, Fifth Round
18. William Gholston, Michigan State, Fifth Round
19. Kony Ealy, Missouri, Fifth Round
20. Dave Kruger, Utah, Fifth Round
21. Wes Horton, USC, Sixth Round
22. Devin Taylor, South Carolina, Sixth Round
23. Abry Jones, Georgia, Sixth Round
24. Craig Roh, Michigan, Seventh Round
Player Highlight: Chris Jones, Bowling Green
Keep an eye on Jones throughout the draft process. He's the type of athlete who could quickly rise up the board. Jones has excellent raw athleticism, strength and size (6'1", 292 pounds). He's an active defender who never quits on the play. He's also versatile in that he can play either the 3-technique or 5-technique.
Jones just needs better coaching and time to develop.
His biggest weakness is his improper use of his hands. He'd be much more effective if he consistently gained inside hand placement.
1. Star Lotulelei, Utah, Top Five
2. Sylvester Williams, North Carolina, Top 15
3. Sheldon Richardson, Missouri, Top 15
4. Jesse Williams, Alabama, Top 25
5. Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State, First Round
6. John Jenkins, Georgia, Early Second Round
7. Sharrif Floyd, Florida, Second Round
8. Kawann Short, Purdue, Second Round
9. Bennie Logan, LSU, Third Round
10. Jordan Hill, Penn State, Fourth Round
11. Chris Jones, Bowling Green, Fourth Round
12. Everett Dawkins, Florida State, Fourth Round
13. Cory Grissom, South Florida, Fourth Round
14. Kwame Geathers, Georgia, Fourth Round
15. Kapron Lewis-Moore, Notre Dame, Fourth Round with medical red flag
16. Akeem Spence, Illinois, Fifth Round
17. Josh Boyd, Mississippi State, Fifth Round
18. Daniel McCullers, Tennessee, Fifth Round
19. Aaron Tipoti, California, Sixth Round
Player Highlight: Alec Ogletree, Georgia
Ogletree has good length, a thick lower half and good athleticism for the position. He plays with balance and features the burst to close on the ball-carrier. However, he's a hesitant player who lacks the instincts to consistently make impact plays.
Too often, he remains in his stance and makes the tackle five to seven yards down the field. He's slow to attack the line of scrimmage and seems to be waiting for the runner to reach him.
Ogletree does a decent job in coverage, but his deficiencies in run defense are concerning. His hand usage and trust in his reads are the key to his improvement.
1. Manti Te'o, Notre Dame, First Round
2. Arthur Brown, Kansas State, Early Second Round
3. Kevin Minter, LSU, Second Round
4. Alec Ogletree, Georgia, Second Round
5. Kevin Reddick, North Carolina, Third Round
6. Zaviar Gooden, Missouri, Third Round
7. Jordan Zumwalt, UCLA, Fourth Round
8. Max Bullough, Michigan State, Fourth Round
9. A.J. Klein, Iowa State, Fourth Round
10. Jonathan Bostic, Florida, Fifth Round
11. Jonathan Brown, Illinois, Fifth Round
12. Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech, Sixth Round
13. Chris Borland, Wisconsin, Seventh Round
14. Nick Clancy, Boston College, Seventh Round
Player Highlight: Quanterus Smith, Western Kentucky
Western Kentucky's Quanterus Smith is an very good athlete but undersized for the defensive end position. He will need to go through the process of learning how to play linebacker in a 3-4 alignment. In this system, he'll be able to use his good burst, suddenness and quick hands to get after the quarterback.
Smith really just has a knack for getting pressure. He has that really good change-of-direction ability that helps him step out and back inside to generate pressure. However, he'll need to learn how to set the edge and drop into coverage in order to become a complete player.
1. Jarvis Jones, Georgia, First Round
2. Dion Jordan, Oregon, First Round
3. Barkevious Mingo, LSU, First Round
4. Damontre Moore, Texas A&M, First Round
5. Bjoern Werner, Florida State, First Round
6. Adrian Hubbard, Alabama, Second Round
7. Prince Shembo, Notre Dame, Third Round
8. Quanterus Smith, Western Kentucky, Third Round
9. Trevardo Williams, Connecticut, Third Round
10. Lerentee McCray, Florida, Fourth Round
11. John Simon, Ohio State, Fourth Round
12. Jamie Collins, Southern Miss, Sixth Round
Player Highlight: Sio Moore, Connecticut
Moore is a versatile player who brings a lot to the table. He's capable of playing inside linebacker, outside linebacker, 3-4 outside linebacker and even defensive end. This is a player who knows the game and will continue to get better.
As a pass-rusher, Moore uses his long arms and quick burst to attack the edge. However, he also has the strength and inside hand placement to employ a strong bull rush. He can also use his quickness to get across the face of the blocker and shoot the gap. The way he uses his hands to keep clean and dip his shoulder around the edge is impressive.
Against the run as a regular linebacker, Moore attacks the line of scrimmage and uses his hands to take on blocks at the point of attack. He's also strong enough to disengage and make plays away from his frame.
1. Jarvis Jones, Georgia, First Round
2. Khaseem Greene, Rutgers, First Round
3. Sean Porter, Texas A&M, Second Round
4. Sio Moore, Connecticut, Second Round
5. Nico Johnson, Alabama, Second Round
6. Kiko Alonso, Oregon, Third Round
7. Gerald Hodges, Penn State, Fourth Round
8. Chase Thomas, Stanford, Fourth Round
9. Jelani Jenkins, Florida, Fourth Round
10. Justin Tuggle, Kansas State, Fourth Round
11. DeVonte Holloman, South Carolina, Fifth Round
Player Highlight: Melvin White, Louisiana-Lafayette
White is an aggressive and smart defender who's constantly making impact plays. He's not afraid to come up and support the run or get physical with a wide receiver. His technique as a tackler is excellent, as he breaks down with balance and wraps up.
White plays with that same type of tenacity in the passing game. He does a great job reading the quarterback and breaking on the ball. This allows White to either break up the pass, generate a turnover or make a tackle for a short gain.
White's size and commitment to supporting the run mean he could be in line for a move to safety. He also has excellent ball skills and does a great job attacking the ball at its highest point. Don't be surprised if White comes off the board somewhere in the third round.
1. Dee Milliner, Alabama, First Round
2. Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State, First Round
3. Xavier Rhodes, Florida State, First Round
4. Logan Ryan, Rutgers, Early Second Round
5. Jordan Poyer, Oregon State, Second Round
6. David Amerson, N.C. State, Third Round
7. Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut, Third Round
8. Melvin White, Louisiana-Lafayette, Third Round
9. Sanders Commings, Georgia, Fourth Round
10. Johnny Adams, Michigan State, Fourth Round
11. Desmond Trufant, Washington, Fourth Round
12. Brandon McGee, Miami (Fla.), Fifth Round
13. Nickell Robey, USC, Fifth Round
14. Will Davis, Utah State, Fifth Round
15. Bennett Jackson, Notre Dame, Fifth Round
16. Tharold Simon, LSU, Fifth Round
17. Rod Sweeting, Georgia Tech, Sixth Round
18. Micah Hyde, Iowa, Sixth Round
19. Terry Hawthorne, Illinois, Sixth Round
20. Leon McFadden, San Diego State, Seventh Round
21. Tyrann Mathieu, LSU, Seventh Round
Player Highlight: Shawn Williams, Georgia
Williams is a good-looking athlete but lacks the fundamentals to garner any consideration before the third round. He's not a very disciplined football player, as he's prone to leading with his helmet, delivering late hits, misreading plays and allowing too many wide receivers to get behind him.
Against the run, Williams is a catcher as a tackler and waits for the runner to reach him. He also struggles taking proper angles to the football.
The talent level is present, but the inconsistency makes him a major project at the next level.
1. Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma, First Round
2. Kenny Vaccaro, Texas, First Round
3. Matt Elam, Florida, Second Round
4. Eric Reid, LSU, Second Round
5. Bacarri Rambo, Georgia, Second Round
6. T.J. McDonald, USC, Second Round
7. Phillip Thomas, Fresno State, Third Round
8. D.J. Swearinger, South Carolina, Third Round
9. Shawn Williams, Georgia, Fourth Round
10. Johnathan Cyprien, Florida International, Fourth Round
11. Robert Lester, Alabama, Fourth Round
12. Cody Davis, Texas Tech, Fifth Round
13. Duke Williams, Nevada, Fifth Round
14. John Boyett, Oregon, Sixth Round
15. Zeke Motta, Notre Dame, Sixth Round
16. Rashard Hall, Clemson, Sixth Round
1. Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State
2. Ryan Allen, La. Tech
1. Dustin Hopkins, Florida State
2. Brett Maher, Nebraska
3. Caleb Sturgis, Florida