College Football: Power Ranking All 73 Early Draft Entries

Jonathan McDanal@@jdmcdanalContributor IIIJanuary 30, 2013

College Football: Power Ranking All 73 Early Draft Entries

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    College football is used to losing juniors to the NFL draft. College football is not used to seeing 73 players take off before their senior seasons.

    From the reigning national champion to the bottom-feeders in the worst-performing FBS conferences, there are future NFL stars in every corner of the nation. (Ask Joe Flacco if you have to be from a major conference to be successful in the NFL.)

    All-America selection(s), stats, position rank, projected draft round and consistency were all considered in the ranking of each individual. When applicable, intangibles were considered to break ties and put players in their rightful positions.

    *Each player's official profile is linked via the first appearance of his name, and the complete profile is the source of all information unless otherwise linked.

    *All referenced draft projections and player rankings are from

    *All intangibles (drug use, expulsion, etc.) are mentioned in the applicable slides.

    *The alphabetical list of 73 underclassmen can be found here. (via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

73. Dwayne Beckford, Inside Linebacker

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    Dwayne Beckford is an unranked inside linebacker, and he locked down the bottom spot on this list with his off-field issues.

    His stats say he's a great player: 209 tackles, 13.5 tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks, one interception and one forced fumble. However, he couldn't keep himself out of trouble when he wasn't playing football.

    Beckford was kicked off the Purdue squad for being arrested for a fourth time in 14 months. Possession of bath salts was the final straw.

72. Duron Carter, Wide Receiver

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    Duron Carter made a mess of his college career, and he school-hopped from Ohio State to Coffeyville Community College to Alabama to Florida Atlantic during his brief flirtation with football. He's the 50th-ranked wide receiver in the 2013 draft, and he is not expected to go pro.

    Carter caught 13 passes for 176 yards and one touchdown while he was at Ohio State back in 2009. That is the full extent of his statistical resume. Even if he were recognized for his 13.5 yards-per-catch performance, the NFL would not overlook the fact that he never saw the college football field again.

    Alabama's profile was linked because it was the most in-depth. If you would like to see his Florida Atlantic profile, here it is.

71. Jose Jose, Defensive Tackle

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    Jose Jose struggled repeatedly to make the starting squad at Central Florida, but he has decided to jump ship early to try to get into the NFL.

    Jose saw limited action during his two years at UCF, and he only got 11 tackles (three solo) and 0.5 tackle-for-loss while he was there.

    Jose is unranked at his position, and he doesn't show up on draft boards.

70. JaJuan Harley, Strong Safety

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    JaJuan Harley, the 28th-ranked strong safety of the 2013 draft, started his career with the Florida State Seminoles. He finished at Middle Tennessee State after sitting out the 2011 season due to transfer.

    During his career, he collected 83 tackles, one tackle-for-loss, three interceptions and two forced fumbles. He's a solid collegiate athlete, but he's not expected to make it to the NFL through this draft.

69. Bradley Randle, Running Back

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    Bradley Randle suited up for the UNLV Rebels over the past few seasons, and he made a bit of a name for himself. Entering the 2013 draft cycle, he's ranked 45th out of 55 running backs. He is not expected to be drafted or signed as a free agent.

    In 2012, he rushed for 635 yards on 138 carries in the Mountain West Conference. While his numbers were respectable, they aren't good enough for the NFL coming out of the MWC.

68. Brandon Moore, Defensive Tackle

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    Brandon Moore is the 29th-ranked defensive tackle of the class, and he's not expected to get picked up this draft. Moore was a junior-college transfer, and he earned the starting spot at defensive tackle in his first (and only) season.

    Moore may or may not get picked up this April, but he definitely showed that he can play at the FBS level. Hopefully he doesn't regret his decision to leave early.

67. Greg Reid, Cornerback

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    Greg Reid may be the first Florida State cornerback on this list, but he will not be the last. Reid is ranked 45th at his position, and he is not expected to be drafted at all. He made some bad decisions that got him ousted from Florida State, and then he sustained an injury that cancelled his 2012 season with Valdosta State.

    Reid registered 32 tackles in 2011 and started nine of 11 games for the Seminoles. He had 27 solo tackles, which is great proof that he's able to tackle in space. He scored three touchdowns off punt returns in his shortened career as well.

    There's a big upside to Reid, but it may not be enough to overcome the legal risk and the season-long injury combination. It's definitely not enough to raise him up this list.

66. Mike Edwards, Cornerback

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    Hawaii loses the 44th-ranked cornerback of the draft, Mike Edwards. Edwards is not expected to get a shot at an NFL roster via the draft or free agency.

    In two seasons at Hawaii, Edwards logged 86 tackles, 6.5 tackles-for-loss, three interceptions and one forced fumble. As a cornerback, he's average at best.

    As a returner, though, he's put up some impressive numbers. He returned 84 kickoffs in his career for 2,301 yards and three touchdowns. If he were a better corner, he would be a great candidate for a return specialist in the NFL.

65. Darrington Sentimore, Defensive Tackle

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    Darrington Sentimore is the 42nd-ranked defensive tackle entering the draft, and he's not expected to be drafted at all. Sentimore's career took him from the University of Alabama to Gulf Coast Community College and finally the University of Tennessee.

    At Tennessee, he recorded 18 tackles, four sacks (one against his former teammate, A.J. McCarron) and five tackles-for-loss. It's unfortunate that he would leave for the NFL so early. With such a small sample of his work on his resume, there is little reason for anyone to pick him up as anything more than a free agent.

64. Spencer Ware, Running Back

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    Spencer Ware was LSU's second-leading rusher in terms of number of carries with 94. His 3.9 yards-per-carry average left a lot to be desired, though.

    The 2012 season wasn't as kind to Ware as his other seasons. In 2011, he was second on the team with 707 yards on 177 carries. In 2010, he averaged an astounding 7.3 yards per carry on 24 carries.

    Ware came out of the gate red-hot, and he tapered over the next two seasons. If the NFL provokes him to improve to the level he was in his rookie college season, then Ware may be the steal of the draft.

    He's currently ranked 28th at his position, and he isn't expected to be drafted. If he's picked up as a free agent and turns on the afterburners, his pro team would be all smiles.

63. Stefphon Jefferson, Running Back

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    Stefphon Jefferson is the 29th-ranked running back of the draft, and he is not expected to make it to the NFL this April.

    Despite his 447 carries for 2,342 yards and 30 touchdowns, Jefferson is not projected well at the pro level. This is because he played in the comparatively weak Mountain West Conference, where the higher-ranked tailbacks played much tougher schedules.

    Jefferson could be the diamond in the rough for this cycle, but somebody would have to take a chance on him in order for him to prove that.

62. Knile Davis, Running Back

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    Knile Davis is the 27th-ranked tailback in the draft, and his stock has seriously slipped since his sophomore season back in 2010. He is not projected as a draftee or a free agent in 2013's cycle.

    Davis sliced through defenses for 1,862 yards and 19 touchdowns on 349 carries throughout his career with the Arkansas Razorbacks. That's an average of 5.3 yards-per-carry.

    So why isn't his draft stock higher? He gained 1,322 yards in his sophomore season, was injured for the 2011 season, and only rushed for 377 yards on 122 carries in 2012. He's not worth the risk as far as the NFL guys are concerned.

    Of course, all it takes is one team to see his potential to turn all this around. He is severely underrated, and most of his performance issues can be traced to the coaching turmoil surrounding the Arkansas program.

61. Tom Wort, Inside Linebacker

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    Tom Wort has had a great run with the Oklahoma Sooners, and it started in his freshman season. He was second-team Freshman All-American in 2010 by several selectors, including Phil Steele.

    In 2011, he was an honorable mention on the All-Big 12 team chosen by coaches. He started in 33 of his 37 career games, racked up 190 tackles and 17.5 tackles-for-loss during his tenure in Norman.

    He's not a first-round pick, but he's a solid candidate to at least make a home on a 53-man roster at the pro level.

60. Michael Ford, Running Back

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    Michael Ford is a part of the talented stable of running backs at LSU, but he has not garnered a lot of attention with the Tigers. He's ranked 32nd at his position, and he isn't expected to be drafted at all.

    Ford put up solid numbers at LSU, gaining 1,392 yards on 243 carries for 13 touchdowns. His return ability is severely underrated, and he got 549 return yards off 20 attempts.

    He averaged 5.7 yards per carry and 27.5 yards per return. Despite the fact that he's not expected to be drafted, some team may surprise him by picking him up as a free agent or snatching him up in the final round.

59. Joe Kruger, Defensive End

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    Joe Kruger spent his college career at Utah, and he earned the 22nd ranking at his position in this draft class. Kruger is expected to be picked near the end of the draft (seventh round) or signed as a free agent.

    Kruger notched 69 tackles, 14 tackles-for-loss, nine sacks, one interception (returned for a touchdown) and three forced fumbles throughout his career at Utah.

    Kruger can earn a spot on an NFL squad, but it will take a lot of effort and will.

58. Levine Toilolo, Tight End

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    Levine Toilolo is the 16th-ranked tight end in a fairly deep class of tight ends. Toilolo helped Stanford to a Pac-12 title in 2012 along with a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin, the Big Ten champion.

    Toilolo is listed at 6'8" and 265 lbs., which makes him a mismatch for almost any defender not set up on the line of scrimmage.

    Toilolo finished the 2011 season with 25 receptions for 343 yards, and he ended 2012 with 24 catches for 393. Sure, that was behind Zach Ertz's totals, but we'll get to Ertz later in the show.

    Toilolo is a projected seventh-round pick or free agent.

57. Steve Williams, Cornerback

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    Steve Williams is the 33rd-ranked cornerback of the 2013 class. He racked up 150 tackles, six interceptions, 25 passes broken up and 31 passes defended in his 37-game career at California.

    He's not the most talented cornerback in the draft, but he's certainly worth picking up if your defense is already the reason you aren't making it to the NFL postseason.

56. Marquess Wilson, Wide Receiver

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    Marquess Wilson set a freshman record with 1,000 yards in his first season at Washington State. He followed that up with a school-record career mark of 3,207 yards through the air.

    Wilson is going to be one of the most cost-effective wideouts of the class. He's ranked 31st at his position, and he's expected to be selected in the seventh round.

55. Terrance Brown, Cornerback

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    Terrance Brown is the 27th-ranked cornerback of the class, and he is expected to go in the sixth or seventh round. Brown was a part of Stanford's back-to-back BCS bowl runs in 2011 and 2012.

    Brown tagged opponents for 108 tackles, three tackles-for-loss, 14 pass-breakups and one forced fumble while he was with the Stanford Cardinal. He's clearly not the best player on this list, but he is draftable, which is more than 13 of them can say.

54. Cierre Wood, Running Back

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    Cierre Wood was a valuable piece of Notre Dame's perfect 2012 season with 742 yards on 114 carries for a 6.5 yards-per-carry average.

    Wood is the 18th-best running back in the 2013 draft class, because the depth at running back in this class is astounding. There are 25 "draftable" running backs in the class out of 55 entries at the position.

    Wood won't be starting in the NFL in 2013, but he has enough talent to make it to a roster before 2015 is over.

53. Stansly Maponga, Defensive End

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    Stansly Maponga is the 17th-ranked defensive end of the class, and he's out of TCU. The Horned Frogs had a great defense last season, and he was no small part of that 30th-ranked scoring defense. (That stat may not seem that great, but it was TCU's first season in the Big 12, and the conference was full of senior quarterbacks.)

    Maponga notched 113 tackles, 23 tackles-for-loss, 15.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles in his career with the Frogs. Maponga is projected to go in the fifth or sixth round of the draft.

52. Tyrann Mathieu, Cornerback

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    Tyrann Mathieu made a name for himself in his freshman season at LSU and was selected First Team Freshman All-America back in 2010. He followed that performance up with another first-team selection to the All-America squad in 2011.

    Mathieu was dismissed from LSU for drug use, but got help through rehab to help himself have a brighter future. Mathieu is the 21st-ranked cornerback in the 2013 class, and he's an expected fifth- or sixth-round pick.

    Mathieu amassed 133 tackles, 16 tackles-for-loss, six sacks, four interceptions, 11 forced fumbles and six fumbles returned. Two of those fumbles returned were for touchdowns.

51. Brad Wing, Punter

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    Brad Wing is the No. 1 punter in this rotation. His marks suffered a bit in 2012, but his career stats will be enough to get him on an NFL roster immediately.

    Wing set a school record with his 44.6 yards-per-punt career average on 118 kicks at LSU. He was selected to the 2011 Freshman All-America and 2011 All-America teams by various outlets, including the Associated Press.

    Wing's longest punt on record was a 73-yarder against Alabama in LSU's 9-6 overtime victory during the 2011 regular-season match that almost cost Alabama a shot at the national title.

    There are some questions surrounding Wing's early departure. Some report that Wing's alleged drug issues would have caused him to be kicked off the team. If those claims are true, it affects his draft stock immensely.

50. Kwame Geathers, Nose Tackle

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    Kwame Geathers is the 14th-ranked nose tackle of the 2013 cycle, and he's expected to be picked in the fifth round.

    Geathers registered 61 tackles, 6.5 tackles-for-loss and one sack during his time with the Georgia Bulldogs.

    He may not be the greatest player in the draft, but his 6'6", 355-pound frame will certainly earn him a spot somewhere on an NFL squad.

49. Ace Sanders, Wide Receiver

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    Ace Sanders is an above-average wide receiver who could have possibly gained a lot from one more year in college. As it stands, he is ranked 20th in the 2013 class of wide receivers, and he's a projected fifth-round pick.

    Sanders picked up 531 yards on 45 receptions in 2012, which was his best season at South Carolina. His season high for number of receptions came against Michigan in the most recent Outback Bowl.

    He hauled in nine passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns in the five-point win over the Wolverines. Sanders is an underrated receiver, but he only handed NFL scouts three seasons to evaluate.

    His final season showed a trend toward greatness, but he's up against some huge names in this draft. Whether he should have stayed another season is now a question for the football philosophers and theoretical analysts.

    After watching what happened to Marcus Lattimore, nobody can blame him for getting out of college as soon as possible, though.

48. Nickell Robey, Cornerback

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    Nickell Robey is the 16th cornerback of the draft, and he's shown flashes of real talent for the pro level. He has been good at tackling in space, but he's lacked the ability to seriously rush the passer throughout his career.

    He came to USC in 2010 and started in all 13 games and recorded 48 total tackles, four interceptions (one pick-six) and one forced fumble. Robey may not have emerged as one of the NFL-ready talents of this draft class, but he's a solid selection projected to go in the fourth or fifth round.

47. Jawan Jamison, Running Back

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    Jawan Jamison made a name for himself with some sick moves during the 2012 season, and is riding that success into the NFL as soon as he can. He's ranked 12th at his position, and he is an expected fourth- or fifth-round prospect.

    Jamison ran for 1,972 yards on 486 carries in only two active seasons at Rutgers, and he scored 13 touchdowns in the process. Jamison's performance didn't earn him All-America status, but it earned him a likely spot on an NFL squad.

46. Gavin Escobar, Tight End

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    Gavin Escobar is the draft's seventh-ranked tight end, and he's expected to go in the fourth or fifth round in April.

    As San Diego State's best tight end, he totaled 122 catches for 1,646 yards and 17 touchdowns. In 2010, Escobar was a second-team Freshman All-America pick by various outlets, including Phil Steele. he backed that up with an honorable mention for the All-America Team selected by Sports Illustrated.

45. Bennie Logan, Defensive Tackle

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    Bennie Logan, a projected fourth-round pick, is the cycle's 12th-best defensive tackle. Logan helped LSU finish ninth in the nation against the run in 2012.

    LSU's losses to the NFL are numerous, and Logan is just one of many players that will have Les Miles scrambling around for replacements. Logan put up solid numbers throughout his career in Baton Rouge, including 107 tackles, 12.5 tackles-for-loss, five sacks and two forced fumbles.

    His consistent performance is going to help him get on an NFL roster within the next couple of years. He may not play in the 2013 season, but he's a solid candidate for an NFL defensive line at 6'5" and 295 lbs.

44. Le'Veon Bell, Running Back

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    Le'Veon Bell is the 10th-best running back of the 2013 class and a projected fourth-round pick. Bell led the Michigan State Spartans in rushing for the 2012 season with a whopping 1,793 yards on the ground.

    Bell's career stats are just as impressive: 671 carries for 3,346 yards and 33 touchdowns. He also had 78 receptions for 531 yards in the passing game.

    Bell can contribute as a supporting tailback in his first season in the NFL, but he will have some work to do before he can earn a starting role.

43. William Gholston, Defensive End

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    William Gholston is the 14th-ranked defensive end of the class and is expected to go in the fourth round. Gholston's stats say he should be ranked a little bit higher, though.

    Gholston racked up 142 tackles, 30 tackles-for-loss, 10 sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recoveries while he was with the Michigan State Spartans. He had a bit of a slip from 2011 to 2012, so that's likely the source of his being slightly underrated entering the draft.

42. Alvin Bailey, Offensive Guard

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    Alvin Bailey comes in sixth at his position for this draft, and he's a projected fourth-round pick. Bailey was named First Team All-America in 2011 by Pro Football Weekly.

    Bailey stood guard for the Arkansas Razorbacks' back-to-back 3,000-yard passing seasons, and he blocked for both Ryan Mallett and Tyler Wilson. Bailey made the Freshman All-America Team and started all 13 games in the 2010 season on the way to earning that honor.

41. Tharold Simon, Cornerback

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    Tharold Simon ranks 13th at cornerback in this season's draft class, and he's definitely the better of the two coming out of LSU. Simon racked up four interceptions, 45 tackles and nine passes-broken-up in his final season with the Tigers.

    His career marks were 96 total tackles, seven interceptions and 22 passes-broken-up. Simon is an underrated corner that will eventually see lots of meaningful playing time in the NFL once he makes a roster.

    Until that happens, though, his spot on lists like this will remain relatively low.

40. Corey Lemonier, Defensive End

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    Auburn fell on hard times immediately following the 2010 national-championship run, but it wasn't due to a lack of talent. Corey Lemonier, the class's 12th-ranked defensive end, is an expected third- or fourth-round prospect.

    Lemonier is a fine example of Auburn's ability to recruit and hang onto good-to-great talent even through some dark times. Lemonier anchored the Tiger's defensive line and earned his spot on the roster quite well.

    Lemonier got 98 tackles, 24 tackles-for-loss, 17 sacks, seven forced fumbles and one returned fumble throughout his career with the Auburn Tigers. He will be a solid addition to any NFL squad, and he could see the field as a backup in his first season fairly easily.

39. Kenny Stills, Wide Receiver

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    Oklahoma had all the ingredients for major success this season, but things got in the Sooners' way throughout the journey. Kenny Stills was not one of those obstacles. The No. 14 wide receiver on the draft board did a great job throughout his entire collegiate career.

    He started in all 38 of his college games, including all 14 games during his true freshman season in 2010. Stills wrapped up his career with 204 catches for 2,594 yards and 24 touchdowns. More than just a solid receiver, Stills was a key factor in Oklahoma's offense from day one on campus.

    Stills is a great receiver, but there are better receivers in the lists coming this April.

38. Dion Sims, Tight End

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    Dion Sims started in 13 of his 39 career games, and he racked up a total of 707 yards on 59 catches in his career. The fifth-ranked tight end is expected to get taken in the third or fourth round of the draft.

    While his straight-up stats don't reveal much about his talent, here are a couple of stats from his Michigan State profile that will tell more of the story:

    1. In 2012, 29 of his 36 receptions were for either a first down or a touchdown.

    2. In 2011, nine of his 12 catches were for first downs or touchdowns.

    While he wasn't the team's leading receiver, he was certainly a first-down guru. If anyone in the NFL simply used him sparingly on second and third downs, he would earn his paycheck.

37. Menelik Watson, Offensive Tackle

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    Menelik Watson is the 10th offensive tackle of the year, and he's projected to go in the third round. The British junior college transfer made a name for himself on the offensive line at Florida State.

    He's been clocked around 4.7 in the 40-yard dash, which is fast for an offensive lineman. While he's not necessarily Pro Bowl material right now, a few years of hitting the NFL practice field should be all the opportunity he needs to get to that level.

36. Jelani Jenkins, Outside Linebacker

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    Jelani Jenkins is the 10th-ranked outside linebacker of the class, and he's a projected third-round pick in April. Jenkins was a part of a defense that stifled teams like LSU and Georgia on the way to a lackluster Sugar Bowl against the Louisville Cardinals.

    Jenkins posted 182 tackles, 16.5 tackles-for-loss, six sacks, three interceptions, and a forced fumble that he recovered while he was at Florida.

    Jenkins helped Florida earn the nation's fifth-best scoring defense in 2012, and he will be a valuable asset to an NFL squad that needs a linebacker.

35. Stedman Bailey, Wide Receiver

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    Stedman Bailey ranks 13th among wide receivers in the 2013 draft, and he's projected to be picked in the third round. Bailey was the leading receiver for the West Virginia Mountaineers in 2012, even though Tavon Austin tied Bailey in number of catches.

    Bailey caught 114 passes for 1,612 yards in 2012, and his career stats are equally remarkable: 186 receptions for 2,901 yards and 37 touchdowns. His 15.6 yards-per-catch career average is even better when you consider that he split a lot of catches with Austin.

34. Akeem Spence, Defensive Tackle

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    Akeem Spence was the star defensive tackle on the Illinois roster during his tenure with the Illini, and he's the ninth-ranked defensive tackle on the 2013 charts. He's another prospect who started every game of his collegiate career (38 total games).

    Spence had 186 tackles, 16.5 tackles-for-loss and 3.5 sacks in his career. During the 2011 season, he helped the Illini to a seventh-place national ranking in total defense. That defense allowed only 286.2 yards per game.

    Spence is expected to go somewhere in the third round this April.

33. Tony Jefferson, Free Safety

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    Tony Jefferson ranks fifth at free safety in this draft, and he is projected to go in the third round. Jefferson rocked the opposition for 258 tackles, 18 tackles-for-loss, seven sacks, eight interceptions and a forced fumble that he returned while he was with Oklahoma.

    Jefferson is one of the best defensive backs in the draft, and he will likely see time on a roster in 2013. He won't start immediately, but he'll be a solid addition to the team that drafts him.

32. Joseph Randle, Running Back

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    Joseph Randle is the fifth-ranked running back in a class of 55, which is great for Oklahoma State on the recruiting trail. It gives them a potential third-round pick (or higher, if he's snarfed up earlier) to tout along with the Justin Blackmon/Brandon Weeden first-round tandem from 2012's draft class.

    Randle gouged defenses for 564 carries, 3,085 yards and 40 touchdowns on the ground during his career with the Cowboys. The 5.5 yards-per-carry average he posted throughout the three years is plenty good enough to rank this high on the list.

31. Jordan Reed, Tight End

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    Jordan Reed is the draft's third-ranked tight end, and Florida will struggle early in the season as it adjusts to the loss. Reed came to Florida in 2010, and saw significant time as a trial quarterback for the Gators before eventually being moved to tight end.

    As a tight end, he hauled in 73 passes for 866 yards and five touchdowns. While those stats may not seem all that great, remember that Florida's passing offense ranked 118th nationally in 2012. Reed's 45 receptions for 559 yards were good enough for first place on the team by almost 200 yards.

    Reed is underrated due to the fact that the Gators had such a sorry passing game. He may be the steal of the draft, even at No. 3 at his position.

30. Marcus Lattimore, Running Back

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    Marcus Lattimore's phenomenal career was cut short due to injury, but he is still ranked sixth at his position and expected to get picked up in the third round.

    During his time at South Carolina, Lattimore carried the ball 555 times for 2,677 yards and 38 touchdowns. He added 74 catches for 767 yards and three more scores to those totals as well.

    Lattimore came back from one injury in 2011 just to be re-injured in 2012. His second recovery looks like it may be as miraculous as his first, and he could be ready to play in the NFL for the 2013 season.

    Lattimore is one of the best backs in the nation. His projection in the third round speaks to his talent level, especially considering his "injured" status.

29. Justin Hunter, Wide Receiver

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    Justin Hunter is the 10th-ranked wideout of the 2013 group, and he's a third- or fourth-round pick. Hunter was part of the nation's 15th-best passing offense in 2012 at Tennessee.

    Hunter caught 106 passes for 1,812 yards and 18 touchdowns. He might not have the best yards-per-catch average of the group, but he scored on almost 20 percent of his touches. That is effectiveness that can easily be coached up to an NFL level.

28. David Amerson, Cornerback

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    David Amerson led the NC State defense in 2012, and the Wolfpack earned a signature win over then-No. 3 Florida State. He ranks eighth at his position, and he's a projected second- or third-round selection.

    Amerson logged 177 tackles, three tackles-for-loss, 18 interceptions (three pick-sixes) and one forced fumble in his career at NC State. His most productive season was back in 2011, when he brought down 13 of his 18 interceptions and returned two of his three to the house.

27. Chris Faulk, Offensive Tackle

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    Chris Faulk, the ninth-best offensive tackle of the class, is slated for selection in the second or third round in April. After an injury-shortened 2012 season, Faulk enters the draft with only his 2010 and 2011 seasons on his record.

    Faulk had 26 knockdowns in his freshman season, despite starting in only two games. During his sophomore season, he registered 73.5 knockdowns through 768 snaps.

    Faulk protected an offense that did well enough to post only one regular-season loss and was ranked high enough to earn an automatic BCS bid to the Sugar Bowl.

26. David Bakhtiari, Offensive Tackle

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    David Bakhtiari is a projected second-round pick, and he's the draft's eighth-best offensive tackle. Hailing from the 1-11 Colorado Buffaloes, Bakhtiari is apparently not interested in sticking around to see what they can accomplish in 2013.

    Bakhtiari graded out at 84.4 percent in 2012 and 89.8 percent in 2011 as the left tackle for Colorado, and he's got the skills to compete for real playing time in his rookie NFL season. He may not get that starting role, but he's good enough to contribute at least as a backup if that's the case.

25. Eric Reid, Free Safety

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    LSU is losing a mind-numbing 10 underclassmen to this draft, and Eric Reid is one of the big ones. Reid will be difficult to replace, even with Les Miles' clout on the recruiting trail.

    Reid comes in at 6'2" and 212 lbs., and he's a beast in the open field. Reid collected 199 tackles (109 solo), 4.5 tackles-for-loss, 11 pass-breakups, six interceptions, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in his three-year stint in Baton Rouge.

    He's the second-ranked free safety in the cycle, and he's expected to go in the second round. Reid was a second-team All-American in 2011. That season, he saved a perfect SEC title run with an interception at the goal line against Alabama.

24. Travis Frederick, Center

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    Travis Frederick is the second-best center in the 2013 draft, behind only Alabama's Barrett Jones. Frederick is expected to go in the second round, and he's earned those accolades in only two active years at Wisconsin.

    Frederick has started extensively at both left guard and center during his three-year career with the Badgers. He is a versatile offensive lineman that will definitely find a place at the pro level, especially at 6'4" and 338 lbs.

    He's a beast, and he has the size and skill to be an immediate contributor in his rookie season.

23. Tyler Bray, Quarterback

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    Tyler Bray is the sixth-best quarterback entering this draft, and he's a probable second-round selection. Bray led the Tennessee Volunteers' passing offense to a 15th-place national ranking in 2012, and he's got a high ceiling.

    Bray went 540-of-922 for 7,444 yards, 69 touchdowns and 28 interceptions in his career at Tennessee, and he needs to learn to read defenses better than he did in college if he plans to succeed at the NFL level.

22. Eddie Lacy, Running Back

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    Alabama's No. 1 running back from the 2012 season, Eddie Lacy, is heading into the draft as the No. 1 running back in the whole class. He ran 2,402 yards on 355 carries for 30 touchdowns in his career at Alabama.

    He hauled in 35 passes for 338 yards and two touchdowns as well. He was the bruising go-to tailback for the Crimson Tide during the 2012 season, and he raised his draft stock steadily throughout his final year with the Tide.

21. Giovani Bernard, Running Back

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    Giovani Bernard was North Carolina's most potent offensive weapon while he was there, and he's the draft's No. 2 running back behind only Eddie Lacy. Like Lacy, Bernard is expected to be chosen in the second round.

    Bernard crushed foes for 2,481 yards and 25 touchdowns on just 423 touches. He also caught 92 passes in his career for 852 yards and six more scores. Bernard is an astounding example of a tailback, and he established himself as an every-down back while in college.

    The NFL will be a better place with him in it.

20. Logan Ryan, Cornerback

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    Logan Ryan, the sixth-ranked cornerback of the year, is expected to be snarfed up before the end of the second round. He picked up five turnovers (four interceptions and a recovered fumble) in 2012, and led the Rutgers Scarlet Knights to an appearance in the Russell Athletic Bowl at the end of the season.

    Ryan recorded 94 tackles, five tackles-for-loss and 17 pass-breakups in his final season at Rutgers. He totaled 170 tackles in his three-year stint with the Knights as well. He also added seven interceptions and two forced fumbles (not including the recovered fumble previously mentioned).

19. Matt Elam, Strong Safety

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    Matt Elam is the No. 1 strong safety of the class, and he's projected to go in the second round. Elam made First Team All-America off his 2012 performance with the Gators, and he was more than worthy of the honor.

    Elam's career stats are: 176 tackles, 23.5 tackles-for-loss, five sacks, six interceptions and three forced fumbles. He anchored a 2012 secondary that ranked 16th in the nation against the pass.

    Elam was a huge part of that defensive accomplishment, and he will be welcomed to the NFL with open arms. He should be a first-round pick, but that will all sort itself out in the spring.

18. Robert Woods, Wide Receiver

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    Robert Woods has a laundry list of accomplishments at USC, and he's the fifth-best wide receiver of the 2013 draft class. As a true freshman, he earned the honor of 2010 Pac-10 Offensive Freshman of the Year.

    Woods finished 2011 as a consensus All-American, and he was the only unanimous selection to the 2011 All-Pac-12 first team. Woods continued that success in 2012 by breaking Pac-12 and USC single-season records with his 111 catches.

    Woods was an All-American in two of his three seasons at USC.

17. Sharrif Floyd, Defensive Tackle

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    Sharrif Floyd is the sixth-best defensive tackle of the class, and he's a projected first- or second-round pick. Floyd helped anchor a line that ranked fourth against the run by allowing only 94.5 average yards per game.

    Floyd had 115 tackles, 26 tackles-for-loss, 4.5 sacks, one forced fumble and three blocked kicks at Florida. He's more than just a solid college player, and he will be a great addition to any NFL team looking for help on the defensive line.

16. DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver

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    Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins is the third-ranked wide receiver of the 2013 draft class, and he will hit the NFL somewhere around the second or third round of selections.

    Hopkins tore through defenses for 3,020 yards and 27 touchdowns off 206 receptions while he was with the Tigers. Hopkins is a lock to make a 53-man roster in 2013, but it may take him a little while to make the starting lineup.

15. Sam Montgomery, Defensive End

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    LSU's woes continue with the loss of Sam Montgomery, the No. 7 defensive end of the 2013 class. He's expected to go late in the first round or early in the second round. Montgomery has been a big part of LSU's defensive success over the past couple of years.

    After losing a total of 23 players at one point during the 2012 season through various forms of attrition, Montgomery was one of the many players that picked up the slack.

    Montgomery was selected first-team All-America in 2011 by the Football Writers Association of America and Montgomery didn't perform as well in the 2012 season, but the competition was more fierce, too.

    Montgomery finished his career with 104 tackles, 32.5 tackles-for-loss, 19 sacks and three forced fumbles. Montgomery was a hurricane in the backfield of any opposing offense, and he continually disrupted the timing of opponents from Oregon to Florida.

14. Kevin Minter, Inside Linebacker

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    Kevin Minter, 2013's No. 1 inside linebacker, will leave LSU in the first round of the draft. He will leave a giant hole in the defense that Les Miles will have to strain to fill.

    Minter racked up 206 tackles, 18.5 tackles-for-loss, five sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles in his three-year career at LSU. That's a lot of productivity that is going to be quite useful at the pro level during the 2013 season.

    LSU will miss him, but he's just another success story for Les Miles to use on the recruiting trail.

13. Sheldon Richardson, Defensive Tackle

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    Sheldon Richardson is ranked no. 2 at the defensive tackle position for the 2013 draft class, and he's going to be missed at Missouri next season. Of course, the Tigers will have a first-round pick to flaunt on the recruiting trail next season, so it's not a total loss.

    In two seasons at Missouri, Richardson racked up 112 tackles, 18.5 tackles-for-loss, six sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one blocked kick. Just from the sheer number of categories, that is an effective defensive lineman.

    Missouri grabbed the No. 3 junior-college transfer back in 2011, and he backed that hype up by becoming a top-ranked defensive lineman on his way out of the school two years later. He was robbed by not appearing on First Team All-America.

12. Johnathan Hankins, Defensive Tackle

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    Johnathan Hankins was a big part of the Ohio State defense that finished 12-0 in 2012. Hankins is ranked fifth at his position, and he's expected to go in the first round of the draft.

    Hankins rolled up 138 tackles, 21 tackles-for-loss, five sacks and a fumble recovery during his three-year career with the Buckeyes. Hankins was a preseason All-America selection, but did not make the postseason roster.

11. Cordarrelle Patterson, Wide Receiver

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    Cordarrelle Patterson wowed the crowds during the 2012 season, and it seemed like there was nothing he couldn't do. Patterson's stats will tell the story quite well:

    Receiving: 46 catches for 778 yards and five touchdowns.

    Rushing: 25 carries for 308 yards and three touchdowns.

    Punt returns: four returns for 101 yards and one touchdown.

    Kickoff returns: 24 returns for 671 yards and one touchdown.

    Patterson is the No. 2 wideout of the class, and he's projected in the second round. Given his all-purpose capabilities, he may go even earlier.

10. Alec Ogletree, Inside Linebacker

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    Georgia's defense takes a huge hit this offseason. Alec Ogletree is the nation's No. 2 inside linebacker, and he's going pro most likely in the first round.

    Ogletree threw down 111 tackles and 11.5 tackles for loss in 2012. That brought his career total to 197 tackles, 20 tackles-for-loss, eight pass-breakups, three forced fumbles, six sacks and one blocked kick.

    Ogletree is a force on defense, and any NFL team would be lucky to have him.

9. Keenan Allen, Wide Receiver

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    Keenan Allen is the draft's top receiver, therefore he's a projected first-round selection. Allen led the California Golden Bears in receiving in both 2011 and 2012, and he came in second in 2010.

    Allen hauled in 205 passes during his career for 2,570 yards and 17 touchdowns. California will need to recruit many players before it finds another Allen.

    Whatever NFL team nabs him, he will be a steal...unless someone trades up to get him inside the top five or 10.

8. Xavier Rhodes, Cornerback

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    Xavier Rhodes is yet another No. 2 at his position on this list of early entries. He's the second-best cornerback of the class, and he helped Florida State to a semi-disappointing Orange Bowl victory via the ACC title game win over Georgia Tech.

    Florida State was ranked as highly as No. 3 in the country, so the slight disappointment comes from not making the national title game. Rhodes amassed 139 tackles, seven tackles-for-loss, 23 passes-broken-up, eight interceptions, one forced fumble and two sacks during his career in Florida State's secondary.

    The Seminoles will wish he were on their bench in 2013, but he will be in the NFL after a likely first-round selection.

7. Barkevious Mingo, Defensive End

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    Barkevious Mingo is the no. 3 defensive end this cycle, which makes him an obvious first-round selection. Mingo joins the pack of Tigers leaving Baton Rouge with their heads held high.

    Mingo's career stats are: 119 tackles, 29 tackles-for-loss, 15 sacks, 11 passes defended and four forced fumbles.

    LSU is gaining a lot of recruiting ammunition, but the losses are not going to be easy to overcome. Mingo is one of many players who aren't just leaving in hopes of playing in the NFL. They are leaving in hopes of playing in the NFL in the 2013 season.

    Mingo is one of the best defensive ends in the nation, not just this class. LSU's defense will need to grow up quickly this coming season.

6. Jarvis Jones, Outside Linebacker

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    Jarvis Jones is the No. 1 outside linebacker entering the draft, and he earned that rank by leading the Georgia Bulldogs to a stellar set of seasons. The Bulldogs appeared in two straight SEC title games while Jones was on the roster.

    He's an excellent pass-rusher, and he hit offenses up for 168 tackles (96 solo), 45.5 tackles-for-loss, one interception and nine forced fumbles. In 2012 alone, Jones racked up 20 quarterback hurries.

    Jones is a special talent, and he will play on Sundays in 2013, which will be a nice step up from his First-Team All-America selection he earned in 2012.

5. Damontre Moore, Defensive End

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    Damontre Moore finished his career at Texas A&M with 197 tackles, 45 tackles-for-loss, 26.5 sacks, one interception and eight forced fumbles. No wonder he's the No. 2 defensive end in the draft.

    Moore was a huge part of Texas A&M's excellent finish in its first SEC season. Without pressure on the opposing quarterbacks, Johnny Manziel would not have been able to lead the Aggies to an 11-2 record.

    As a first-team All-American, Moore is one of the biggest losses of the 2013 offseason for the Aggies.

4. Zach Ertz, Tight End

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    Zach Ertz is one of the best players on this list, period. He's the No. 1 tight end of the class, and he's a First Team All-America selection as well. He's an obvious first-round pick, and he was Stanford's leading receiver in 2012.

    Ertz burned defenses for 1,434 yards and 15 touchdowns off only 112 receptions during his three-year tenure at Stanford. Ertz is a special talent, and he will fit right into whatever offense manages to pick him up in April.

3. Dee Milliner, Cornerback

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    Dee Milliner joins the elite as the nation's No. 1 cornerback of the 2013 cycle. Milliner is a beast that has helped Alabama win two national titles over the past two seasons.

    Milliner capped his career with 136 tackles, nine tackles-for-loss, 41 pass-breakups, 1.5 sacks, six interceptions, and two forced fumbles. Milliner was the headliner of the 2012 defense, and Saban has a lot of work to do if he intends on replacing Milliner in 2013.

    Milliner was a unanimous selection to the All-America Team's first string.

2. Bjoern Werner, Defensive End

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    Bjoern Werner is the No. 1 defensive end of the class, and he's expected to go near the beginning of the first round. In 34 career games, Werner registered 78 tackles, 17 sacks, 27 tackles-for-loss, three forced fumbles (two recovered), 14 passes-broken-up and one interception.

    Those stats may not look stellar at first glance, but he's not a defensive back. Those are incredible numbers for a defensive end. Florida State will miss him, but whichever NFL team lands him will enjoy an instant boost to its defense in 2013.

    Here's the kicker for Florida State fans: He only played two years of high school football. Nobody knows where his ceiling is yet. All we know so far is that he's a unanimous pick for the 2012 All-America Team's first string.

1. Luke Joeckel, Offensive Tackle

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    Luke Joeckel is not only the No. 1 offensive tackle of the class, he's also expected to be the No. 1 overall pick. Joeckel provided Johnny Manziel with the protection he needed to win the 2012 Heisman.

    Joeckel won the Outland Trophy in 2012, and he was selected a First Team All-American as a result of his stellar play. At 6'6" and 310 lbs., he's a massive blocker that will fit nicely on an NFL offensive line immediately.

    Joeckel and the Texas A&M Aggies finished the season ranked 11th in rushing yards with a 242.1 yards-per-game average. That was good enough for first place in the SEC. Alabama, the national champion, came in second place by almost 15 yards per game.