2013 NFL Draft Predictions: Underclassmen Who Will Climb into Top 10
It is one thing to be a first-round pick in the NFL Draft, but It is quite another to be a top-10 pick, because of the intense scrutiny and pressure that comes with being selected so high in a high-profile event.
Teams are starting to dive deeper into the process of studying what the players in this year's class can do on tape, preparing to see what they look like in person at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis next month.
As the clock ticks down to the NFL Draft, here are the underclassmen who have already declared (or expected to) that might be a little low on some boards right now with the talent to vault themselves into the top 10:
Inside Linebacker Alec Ogletree, Georgia
There are some issues that Ogletree will have to clear up with NFL teams during the interview process in order to get into the top 10. He failed a drug test last year and was suspended for the first four games of the 2012 season.
Assuming Ogletree can address his off-the-field concerns, there is no reason to think that teams won't fall in love with his raw ability on the field during the evaluation process.
He is one of the fastest linebackers in this class and able to make tackles from anywhere on the field. His size and speed are ideal for an NFL starting linebacker. His area of focus (and perhaps his weakness) is his recognition skills in coverage, as he must use his instincts on the field better. He is a great wrap-up tackler and can make all the plays required of an up-the-middle player.
Prediction: No. 5 Detroit Lions
Defensive End Sam Montgomery, LSU
If you were an NFL GM, which player would you select first?
The biggest problem that Montgomery will face getting into the top 10 has nothing to do with his talent, but rather the depth at defensive line in this draft class. He would normally be the best or second-best lineman in a class, but this year there are at least 12 d-line prospects who could go in the first round.
Even with all that depth, Montgomery is going to be a first-round pick. He has done a phenomenal job of adding extra muscle to his frame over the last year, moving up to 260 pounds as a junior, per LSUSports.com.
Montgomery bulked up without losing a step, which was critical in his development as a pass rusher. He specializes in stopping the run right now, though he has the power and relentless attitude to become a dominant edge rusher when he learns proper technique.
While not as safe as a player like Texas A&M's Damontre Moore, Montgomery provides upside that deserves serious top-10 consideration.
Prediction: No. 8 Buffalo Bills
Cornerback DeMarcus "Dee" Milliner, Alabama
While Milliner has yet to officially declare for the draft, Jeremy Fowler of CBSSports.com reports that sources with the Alabama football program expect him to do so "in the next few days."
Considering the game that Milliner had against Notre Dame in the BCS Championship, not to mention the fact that this is not a deep draft for cornerbacks, he would be foolish not to take the leap.
Milliner already looks the part of NFL cornerback, with ideal size, weight and speed with room to fill out and not miss a beat. He has the best eyes in the draft, as he can combines peripheral vision and instincts to spy on a quarterback without losing focus on what the receiver is doing.
Because his arms are so long, Milliner may appear to get beat on a play before coming back to the ball at the last second and swatting away a pass from the receiver. He will be one of the key players to watch during the evaluation process to see how high he climbs up the boards.
Prediction: No. 9 New York Jets
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