As we are rapidly approaching the month of April, mock drafts are being put together by the thousands. Everybody and their grandmother have an opinion on each player and what player each NFL team is going to select in the 2013 NFL Draft. One thing that is consistent with it all is that there are many SEC players that will be selected within the first round.
Like much of anything that has to do with college football, the SEC is dominating. Whether you are looking for a defensive player, a massive offensive lineman or even a wide receiver, this is the conference that has it all. Look at any draft board or mock draft and chances are there are more players from the SEC listed than anywhere else.
So let's throw out all of the nonsense and get straight down to business.
Here are the top 10 SEC players and a few predictions for where they will end up when the 2013 NFL draft takes place.
Logical Prediction: Due to the aggressiveness and the ability to make plays from sideline to sideline, Alec Ogletree is selected anywhere in the middle to the back end of the first round. To a team like the Cincinnati Bengals or the New York Giants, this playmaker on the defensive side of the ball would be able to thrive playing behind a talented defensive line. The way he made the Georgia defense better is too enticing to pass up.
Bold Prediction: All of the off-field issues catch up to Ogletree and he falls out of the first round all together. An arrest back in 2010 and suspension back in 2012 is something that NFL teams will likely bring up when talking to this young man. You want your first-round pick to be a safe one and somebody who has a history of getting in trouble does tend to raise a few red flags. Ogletree falls out of the first round and is picked within the first 10 spots of the second. He is later called the steal of the 2013 draft.
Logical Prediction: John Jenkins is taken near the end of the first round by a good team that needs that big man in the middle who can help clog running lanes. A team such as the Denver Broncos or the San Francisco 49ers would do the trick. Jenkins isn't somebody who is going to give you a tremendous pass rush, but he is stout against the run and fills an area of weakness. Going to a contender allows this former Bulldog to relax a bit knowing he has other guys around him that can make plays.
Bold Prediction: With incredible depth at the defensive tackle position, Jenkins falls out of the first round all together. Players such as Star Lotulelei, Johnathan Hankins, Sheldon Richardson and Sharrif Floyd are all taken before him. Jenkins is later picked up in the middle of the second round by a subpar playoff team that feels it just got the missing piece on the defensive side of the ball.
Logical Prediction: Cordarrelle Patterson is selected immediately by a team that desperately needs a wide receiver such as the Miami Dolphins or Carolina Panthers. Due to his freakish athletic ability and height at 6'3", Patterson provides an offense with an instant playmaker and helps make a young quarterback better with a premier weapon. Really an easy pick for either one of those teams.
Bold Prediction: Patterson doesn't share the same big name such as Keenan Allen and ends up being the second wide receiver taken due to only playing one season with Tennessee. He spent most of his college career playing against JUCO competition and that scares a few teams away. This may sound like bad news for Patterson, but he ends up going to a team with a better quarterback and ends up becoming a household name in his rookie year. May sound like it can’t happen, but we have seen how the Dolphins have drafted in the past.
Logical Prediction: There is almost no way Barkevious Mingo falls out of the top 10. There is a little bit of a risk to him, as he didn't pick up consistent playing time at LSU and may still be a little incomplete at the defensive end position. However, with his off-the-wall athleticism and his ability to rush the passer, Mingo provides a lucky team with a player that scares opposing quarterbacks. Teams such as the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets will be all over this kid.
Bold Prediction: The Oakland Raiders decide to reach again in the draft and select him with the third overall pick. Hey, isn't that what they are known for? Speed, baby, speed! With a defense that was ranked 31st in the NFL last season in sacks, the coaching staff decides to pick up somebody who can help change that. Mingo then becomes the latest player who is counting the days to climb out of the black hole.
Logical Prediction: With the overwhelming need of quality defensive linemen, Sheldon Richardson becomes a top 15 pick in this year’s draft. He isn't the biggest defensive lineman, weighing in at less than 300 pounds, but he is somebody who consistently can make plays in the backfield due to his quickness off the ball. There aren't many defensive tackles that have this much athleticism and the ability to chase down ball carriers and break up screen plays. Teams such as the Tennessee Titans, Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints will take notice.
Bold Prediction: Similar to what happened with John Jenkins, the depth at the position hurt his stock and he falls out of the top 15. But unlike the Georgia Bulldogs defensive tackle, Richardson becomes a steal for a team like the Minnesota Vikings or Indianapolis Colts near the end of the first round. Whichever team that ends up with him decides to send the other 20-plus teams early Christmas cards.
Logical Prediction: Let’s cut right to the chase here and say that the Detroit Lions are going to select Dee Milliner with the fifth overall pick. That secondary last season couldn't stop a kidney stone from passing by and that is the reason selecting the best cornerback in the draft is a wise choice. Milliner is a physical corner with solid ball skills and he is also effective in stopping the run. This move doesn't completely fix the Lions' issues on defense, but it is a start.
Bold Prediction: The bold prediction would include Milliner falling out of the top five for whatever reason. If the Lions happen to pass up on the pick that was made for them, the Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins and even the New York Jets will be intrigued to pull the trigger, especially if New York decides to trade Darrelle Revis.
Logical Prediction: The pick that makes the most sense is Jarvis Jones going anywhere in the top five. He is everything that you hope to find at the outside linebacker position. Everybody knows about his pass rushing abilities, but he has also shown he is a force in stopping the run and has shown that he is comfortable dropping back in coverage. Whether you are the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles or Detroit Lions, somebody is going to make this guy the future of their defense.
Bold Prediction: Jones has a condition called spinal stenosis. Now I am no doctor, but that doesn't sound like something you would want the future of your franchise to have. Many think this could cut his career a lot shorter than anybody would like and it would be the only reason teams pass him by. While this would knock him out of the top five, Jones is somebody who will not fall out of the top 10. You can book that.
Logical Prediction: I don't see Chance Warmack falling out of the top 10 of this draft. He is either going to be picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles, who need to blow up their entire offensive line and start over, or he will go to the Tennessee Titans, who have a vacant guard spot with Steve Hutchinson likely considering retirement. Warmack is one of the best run blockers you will ever see at the college level and will help either one of those teams get back on track with its ground game.
Bold Prediction: With the guard position not being a sexy pick and teams often not wanting to spend a top selection on a lineman, Warmack is mistakenly passed up by the first 10 teams. He falls all the way down to the No. 16 spot and the St. Louis Rams hit the quiet home run. Quarterback Sam Bradford does back flips due to so much joy and he instantly becomes a top 10 quarterback due to better protection in the pocket.
Logical Prediction: If you haven't figured it out quite yet, the remaining SEC players are going to be selected within the first 10 spots. Damontre Moore is really no different at the defensive end position. He is a versatile player who has experience playing linebacker and defensive end. He can line up anywhere on the field, gets off the ball well and he has a knack for making the big play. Moore would be a difference maker for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but will not fall past the Cleveland Browns at number six.
Bold Prediction: Moore becomes the Brady Quinn of the 2013 draft and falls a lot further than expected. He somehow falls in the lap of the New York Jets at the ninth spot. This gives Rex Ryan that big time player and instantly ignites energy back into a struggling defense. The head coach gets so excited that he guarantees the Jets will win the Super Bowl in 2014.
Logical Prediction: Like any draft, there are tons of talented players, but a draft is all about value. You don't want to reach for a player with question marks and you don't want to take many chances when you don't have to. This is why the Kansas City Chiefs should select Luke Joeckel with the No. 1 overall pick. It isn't the pick that is going to sell many tickets and it won't get talked about much, but he is by far the player with the least bust potential and gives this team a dominant offensive lineman to build around for the next 10 years.
Bold Prediction: Kansas City decides to draft a quarterback and the other two teams want to bulk up the defense. Joeckel, arguably the best overall player in the draft, ends up being selected by the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 4. This instantly improves a horrible offensive line and gives new head coach Chip Kelly that legit offensive lineman to run any offense he wants. And you thought it was hard to stop his offense before. Just wait.