Plenty of fanbases weren't fortunate enough to be pulling for the San Francisco 49ers or the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. April's draft has been the best thing to look forward to for those whose franchises missed the postseason.
Here is a breakdown of several intriguing prospects that will figure large in this draft, as well as the complete order following the thrilling conclusion to the pro football season in New Orleans' Superdome.
Players of Interest
Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Widely considered the No. 1 quarterback prospect, the former Mountaineers star put up extremely gaudy numbers in a spread attack.
Praised as a smart, cerebral and accurate quarterback with exceptional mobility, it remains to be seen how Smith will translate to the next level. He experienced huge throwing lanes at West Virginia and had an extremely talented supporting cast with Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin at his disposal.
Still, the stats speak for themselves. Smith completed more than 71 percent of his passes for 4,205 yards as a senior, tossing a whopping 42 touchdowns offset by just six interceptions.
Scouts would have certainly wanted to see him at the recent Senior Bowl, but Smith decided not to participate. Considering the relatively unimpressive showing across the board, it looks as though that was a wise decision.
The Kansas City Chiefs hold the No. 1 overall pick, and while QB is a big need for the team, it remains to be seen whether head coach Andy Reid and the new regime feels confident enough to take Smith that high.
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Level of collegiate competition is one of the only concerns with Lotulelei, although that hasn't stopped countless players from much smaller schools from dominating in the NFL.
The Utes' rock on the defensive front is extremely quick despite carrying a massive 6'3", 320-pound frame. Against the run, Lotulelei is particularly stout, commanding a double team constantly. He could very well step in as a Week 1 starter at nose tackle, but has the versatility to thrive in a 4-3 scheme.
According to Scouts Inc.'s big board (h/t ESPN), Lotulelei is the No. 1 overall prospect in the country. But oftentimes, that doesn't necessarily translate to being the top selection in New York City.
However, B/R's own AFC West lead writer Christopher Hansen seems to think it's a strong possibility that the Chiefs will roll the dice on Lotulelei:
There is no way the #Chiefs keep Tyson Jackson at $17 million. Dorsey is a free agent. Why wouldn't they draft Star Lotulelei again?— Christopher Hansen (@ChrisHansenNFL) February 1, 2013
Regardless of where Lotulelei lands, he should be an instant impact player—especially if he's garnering comparisons to the likes of Baltimore Ravens star Haloti Ngata.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The general sentiment is that there is a severe lack of skill players available in this draft. Even though Patterson only had one year of experience with the Volunteers, it was an electric one indeed.
B/R's draft expert Matt Miller doesn't envision a scenario in which Patterson falls out of the top-10 and indicates Patterson brings to mind another former first-round receiver:
Patterson reminds me of a quicker, more polished Demaryius Thomas. Of all the WRs in this class, he's the guy separating and making plays— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 2, 2013
Patterson has big-play potential written all over him, as evidenced by his 46 catches for 778 yards and five touchdowns. But even further proving his explosiveness in the open field are Patterson's rushing numbers.
On just 25 carries for Tennessee, he racked up 308 yards and three touchdowns.
With the increasing amount of spread-oriented concepts leaking their way into NFL offenses, it is easy to envision Patterson being used in end-around situations or as a motion man to take a read-option handoff.
The Miami Dolphins desperately need a receiver and sit at No. 12, but they may need to move up to snag Patterson, who could be off the board by then.
Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
There isn't anything that Jones can't do defensively. He is a nightmare coming off the edge as a pass-rusher, but has the speed, pursuit angles and range to effectively stifle opposing rushing attacks.
What separates Jones from a lot of outside linebacker prospects is his quick first step, agility and ability to be a difference-maker immediately. He faced intense competition and physical offenses in the Southeastern Conference, which should only help him in his pro preparation.
To complete the package, Jones is also underrated at dropping back into coverage, and stood out on a stacked Bulldogs defense featuring many future NFL players.
Jones' skills translate to any defensive scheme, and he could plug in as a third down specialist at the very least in his rookie campaign.
A lot of teams in the top-10 need serious help on defense. Look for the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 2, the Oakland Raiders at No. 3 and even the Cleveland Browns at No. 6 in a possible trade-up scenario to take a shot at Jones.
Here is a look at the complete draft order as it stands, with team records from the 2012 regular season also indicated.
2013 NFL Draft Order
|1||Kansas City Chiefs (2-14)|
|2||Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14)|
|3||Oakland Raiders (4-12)|
|4||Philadelphia Eagles (4-12)|
|5||Detroit Lions (4-12)|
|6||Cleveland Browns (5-11)|
|7||Arizona Cardinals (5-11)|
|8||Buffalo Bills (6-10)|
|9||New York Jets (6-10)|
|10||Tennessee Titans (6-10)|
|11||San Diego Chargers (7-9)|
|12||Miami Dolphins (7-9)|
|13||Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9)|
|14||Carolina Panthers (7-9)|
|15||New Orleans Saints (7-9)|
|16||St. Louis Rams (7-8-1)|
|17||Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)|
|18||Dallas Cowboys (8-8)|
|19||New York Giants (9-7)|
|20||Chicago Bears (10-6)|
|21||Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)|
|22||St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins)|
|23||Minnesota Vikings (10-6)|
|24||Indianapolis Colts (11-5)|
|25||Seattle Seahawks (11-5)|
|26||Green Bay Packers (12-4)|
|27||Houston Texans (12-4)|
|28||Denver Broncos (13-3)|
|29||New England Patriots (12-4)|
|30||Atlanta Falcons (13-3)|
|31||San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1)|
|32||Baltimore Ravens (10-6)