NFL Draft 2013: Breaking Down Top First-Round Skill Players

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2013

Keenan Allen might become the first wide receiver to get drafted in 2013.
Keenan Allen might become the first wide receiver to get drafted in 2013.Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

The skilled positions aren't offering as much skill this year, but there are still a handful of players who will garner first-round consideration in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Don't expect teams to push and shove over any of these players in the early stages on the draft. No running back or wide receiver is slated to follow Trent Richardson and Justin Blackmon's footsteps and go in the top 10.

Then again, Doug Martin fell to pick No. 31, yet still made a colossal impact during his rookie year. 

This draft class' lack of stars has created a pool of uncertainty among prognosticators, but these four skilled players will be in play as potential first rounders.

Keenan Allen, WR

Unlike last year, there's no clear-cut No. 1 receiver, but Keenan Allen is the leading candidate.

Whoever snags Allen will gain a wideout with star upside. The junior from California possesses superb athletic ability and physicality.

He's not a burner who will beat cornerbacks vertically, but he's agile enough to get open and keep plays alive after the catch for significant gains.

There are a couple of concerns that could scare teams away. A left knee injury has hampered his prospects, although it should not force him to miss any games with his new team.

He's also dropped a few footballs too many in the past, so he'll need to sure up his hands if he wants to shine as a true No. 1 receiver.

Eddie Lacy, RB

A strong showing in the BCS National Championship will likely help Eddie Lacy enter the draft as the top running back.

The 6'1", 220-pound back bulldozed Notre Dame on the grand stage, earning 157 total yards and two touchdowns. With that inspiring performance, Lacy's draft stock is pointing upwards.

Alabama's star running back displayed tremendous acceleration, along with a bruising running style, which could make him a workhorse in the NFL.

This could be the third consecutive year that a Crimson Tide running back gets selected in the first round.  

Cordarrelle Patterson, WR

For teams more interested in making a major splash, Cordarrelle Patterson could be the way to go.

He doesn't have much of a college pedigree to work with, but his raw talent has scouts drooling over his potential.

The 6'3" wideout from Tennessee features the size, hands and leaping ability that teams desire, but it could take time for his skills to translate to the pros.  

The Stephen Hill of this year's receiving corps, Patterson probably won't secure any Rookie of the Year votes, but he could show flashes of future brilliance.

A team near the bottom of the first round could be more equipped to take a chance on a long-term project such as Patterson.


Tyler Eifert, TE

Tight ends are becoming more valued around the league, so it's only natural that the best begin to land in the opening round.

Although Tyler Eifert is no Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham, he is a complete package who can catch and block.

Standing 6'6" tall and weighing in at 250 pounds, Eifert is one big target. He has the hands and the knack for finding the open holes in pass coverage to complement his physical assets.

He doesn't quite fill the new mold of hybrid tight ends that combine freakish size with uncanny speed, but Eifert can become a crutch for a quarterback looking to move the chains and punch the ball in the end zone.

Expect the Notre Dame alum's name to be called by the end of the first round.