While much of the focus of the NFL world is on the postseason action, many organizations have shifted their focus to the 2013 draft and which players will be bona fide stars in the first round.
All of the following players will be picked early in the draft, and each will find a home in their new system and blossom into a star at the next level.
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
While there are many talented players coming out in the 2013 NFL draft, few carry themselves with the kind of maturity that Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei has shown over his college career and through his life.
Not only is the 6’3” and 320-pound tackle a dominant run-stopper and pass-rusher through the middle of the defensive line, he has the mental ability to be a top pick in the draft and not allow the pressure and attention get to his head.
With the Jacksonville Jaguars trying to change the culture of their team, the team will have no problem leaning for a stellar athlete and an even better leader at No. 2 overall. That’s where they’ll grab Lotulelei.
Estimated Pick: No. 2 Overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars
Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The best pure offensive tackle and the best bona fide stud at the tackle position in the 2013 NFL draft is Texas A&M star Luke Joeckel. After protecting Johnny Manziel’s blind side during his Heisman campaign, Joeckel’s stock is through the roof.
At 6’5” and 306 pounds, Joeckel has the height and size to be a star in the NFL, and with the experience of a major program, the transition to the next level should go swimmingly.
Joeckel won’t last long on the draft board, especially with a team desperate for offensive line help like the Philadelphia Eagles sitting at No. 4 overall. With turnover at head coach and across the depth chart, watch for the Eagles to protect whoever is under center with the star prospect.
Estimated Pick: No. 4 Overall to the Philadelphia Eagles
Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The NFL is transitioning to a pass-first league, and as the offenses continue to mold and adapt, defensive units will continue to find pass-rushers that can ruin the opponents' planned attack.
That’s where an outside linebacker/defensive end like Georgia’s Jarvis Jones becomes a serious consideration.
While Jones played outside linebacker in college, he could transition to a 4-3 defensive end or remain a 3-4 outside presence. Either way, the pass-rush specialist has too much talent to be stifled for too long in the NFL as a member of a defensive front seven.
There will be teams looking to trade up to grab Jones as early as the No. 1 overall pick, but it is more likely that the Oakland Raiders will snag the speedy outside pass-rusher at No. 3.
Estimated Pick: No. 3 Overall to the Oakland Raiders