How Does the 2013 NFL Draft Class Stack Up Against Years Past?
NFL drafts are like snowflakes; no two are the same.
As good as it was this season, last year's class did this year's no favors. There is no Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III this year, but there are plenty of defining qualities already for the 2013 crop of rookies.
What are some of the differences between this year's class and those of yesteryear?
2013's Quarterbacks Cannot Compare to 2012's Class
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When Matt Barkley went back to school, some thought this year's class would be loaded. After all, why wouldn't a draft class headlined by Barkley and Landry Jones be great?
A year later we find ourselves chuckling at the notion after the duo was exposed.
Geno Smith is, perhaps, this year's best quarterback, but there is no consensus. Guys like Mike Glennon and Ryan Nassib are crashing the party, and Barkley is certainly in the mix.
More to the point: how many of these guys are going to start in 2013? Eight rookies won games in 2012. It will be lucky if half that number get one in 2013.
No First-Round Running Backs
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We almost had a first round go by without a running back taken in 2010 before the Saints saved us all with an ill-advised trade to take Mark Ingram at the end of the round.
Could this be the year running backs are bypassed in the first round altogether?
Eddie Lacy, who only recently declared for the draft, is a strong candidate to be the first back off the board, but he represents a solid-but-unspectacular group at the position.
Combine that with the fact the position is becoming less valuable with each passing year and it is a recipe for a draft-day tumble.
No Lock at the Top
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It seemed like Andrew Luck was locked into the No. 1 draft slot for years, and Robert Griffin III put himself as the solid No. 2 early in draft season last year.
There is no such player in the 2013 draft.
Perhaps Luke Joeckel will establish himself as the consensus top pick, but the situation at the top of the draft is fluid, and it seems like that will be the case for a while.
The Raiders Have a First-Round Pick
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The past couple of years have been devoid of first-round draft picks for the Raiders. They finally get to pick on the first day this year.
Good thing they didn't make the AFC Championship Game, otherwise they would be staring at a third year in a row without a first-day pick thanks to that amazing trade for Carson Palmer. Of course, they might not care if they were on the verge of a Super Bowl berth.
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While there have been some good pass-rushers to come out of the draft in years past, this year's class could be one of the all-time best in that department.
From Damontre Moore to Bjoern Werner, Dion Jordan to Sam Montgomery, there are so many guys that can rush the quarterback that Tom Brady and Co. might be starting to sweat.