2013 NFL Draft: Rookie Stat Projections for Top 15 Offensive Prospects
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With the end of the 2012 NFL season, the 2013 NFL draft is right around the corner. Teams looking for offensive production will have plenty of talent to sift through.
Predicting rookie statistics is not a perfect science because some prospects will play far above expectations (see Alfred Morris) while others will struggle (see Michael Floyd). However, when looking at the skill sets of the top offensive products in this year's draft, one can make an educated guess on how they'll perform in their first season.
Let's break down rookie stat projections for the top offensive players in the 2013 NFL draft.
Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
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Potential Landing Spots: Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks
Stat Projections: 52 receptions, 512 receiving yards, four touchdowns
While Zach Ertz may not be as coveted of a prospect as former teammate Coby Fleener was last year, he could actually be more productive in his rookie season.
Ertz has the size and hands to make an instant contribution in the red zone for any NFL team. He's a legitimate threat down the seam, but can also work the middle of the field when needed.
The fact that he'll likely be able to stay on the field for all three downs due to his ability as a blocker will also help bump his rookie statistics. Look for Ertz to have a solid season and establish himself as the top tight end of the 2013 NFL draft class.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
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Potential Landing Spots: Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Stat Projections: 47 receptions, 447 receiving yards, three touchdowns
While Tyler Eifert may be a better pass-catching tight end than Zach Ertz, he doesn't quite have the all-around game coming out of college.
Throughout his time at Notre Dame, Eifert proved to be able to make difficult catches look routine. He's got fantastic hands and is quite the polished route-runner.
While Eifert will likely drop into the second round, he should still be relatively productive as a rookie.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
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Potential Landing Spots: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins
Stat Projections: 39 receptions, 592 yards, six touchdowns
What Cordarrelle Patterson brings to the field is athleticism and play-making ability. Well, that and a ton of potential.
Patterson is far from being the most polished receiver available in the draft. In fact, he only played one season for the University of Tennessee (he was a JUCO transfer). However, Patterson should be able to step in from Day 1 and be a nice deep-threat option for NFL teams.
Thinks of Patterson as a lesser version of the Cleveland Browns' Josh Gordon. He'll make some big plays his rookie season, but it will take him some time to do it on a consistent basis.
Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
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Potential Landing Spots: Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots
Stat Projections: 41 receptions, 527 receiving yards, three touchdowns
Much like his former teammate Cordarrelle Patterson, Justin Hunter brings a ton of potential to the table.
At 6'4", Hunter combines great size with the athleticism to make plays all over the field. The biggest issue with Hunter is that he lacks overall refinement in his game. It also appears at times that his drive to be the best player on the field isn't always there.
If Hunter can stay focused, he has the potential to become the best receiver in this entire draft class.
Keenan Allen, WR, California
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Potential Landing Spots: Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks
Stat Projections: 61 receptions, 659 receiving yards, three touchdowns
While Keenan Allen isn't quite the vertical threat as other receivers in this year's draft, he is the most NFL-ready. He's the definition of a possession receiver, with his solid hands and ideal body size.
One player that Allen has a similar skill set to is Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings. Not only do both players seem to catch everything thrown their way, but they also have the ability to make plays after the catch.
Allen should instantly boost the receiving corps of whatever team drafts him.
Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
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Potential Landing Spots: San Francisco 49ers, Jacksonville Jaguars
Stat Projections: 48 receptions, 712 receiving yards, six touchdowns
Think of Terrance Williams as a less polished version of Torrey Smith of the Baltimore Ravens.
Williams can step in from Day 1 and give teams a quality option as a deep threat. He has great athleticism and shows the ability to go up and get the ball at its highest point.
Teams looking to add a receiver with great speed who can stretch the field will be happy with what Williams brings to the field.
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
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Potential Landing Spots: Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans
Stat Projections: 56 receptions, 612 receiving yards, two touchdowns, 218 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns
There may not be a better receiver with the ball in his hands than Tavon Austin from West Virginia.
He's at his best when he can make a catch and have space to use his agility to pick up extra yards. His ability to make plays from a number of positions could shoot him up draft boards come April.
One player that Austin is similar to is Randall Cobb of the Green Bay Packers. Considering the type of production Cobb had in 2012 for Green Bay, whoever drafts Austin should be excited for what he can bring.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
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Potential Landing Spots: Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati Bengals
Stat Projections: 187 carries, 837 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns
If there was one player in the BCS National Championship Game who drastically improved his draft stock it was Eddie Lacy. He dominated a very good Notre Dame defense showing quick feet and the ability to gain yards after contact.
Lacy isn't nearly as talented as Trent Richardson or even Mark Ingram, but he should be able to have instant success in the NFL. It might not be as an every-down back, but Lacy should see the field plenty during his rookie season.
While he might not hear his name called in the first round, Lacy should have a very solid rookie season.
Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
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Potential Landing Spots: Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos
Stat Projections: 92 carries, 412 rushing yards, 22 receptions, 177 receiving yards, three total touchdowns
Kenjon Barner may remind some of his former teammate LaMichael James who was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers. However, Barner isn't quite as dynamic of a playmaker as James was coming out of college.
While Barner may not have the same speed and agility as James, he is a little more physical as a runner. He has the ability to break some tackles and pick up extra yards after initial contact.
It may take some time for Barner to hear his name called, but he'll be a quality option in both the run and passing game for the team that ultimately drafts him.
Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina
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Potential Landing Spots: Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions
Stat Projections: 153 attempts, 646 rushing yards, 24 receptions, 252 receiving yards, five total touchdowns
Giovani Bernard may be the most talented running back in the 2013 NFL draft. He has a combination of skills that should translate nicely to the NFL game.
For starters, Bernard is as quick with the ball in his hands as any player in the draft. This doesn't mean that he has elite speed, but rather that he is shifty enough to make players miss in tight spaces. He also has the physicality to run inside and pick up extra yards after being hit.
What could scare teams away from Bernard is his size. He only stands 5'10", but weighing over 200 pounds should help him take hits in the NFL.
The team that ends up drafted Bernard will be adding a potential every-down back to its roster who can make plays in both the run and pass game.
Matt Barkley, QB, USC
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Potential Landing Spots: Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets
Stat Projections: 2,849 passing yards, 15 passing touchdowns, 13 interceptions
Of all the quarterbacks available in the 2013 NFL draft, Matt Barkley may be the most NFL-ready.
While Barkley certainly regressed from his junior to senior season, he still has a plethora of tools teams are looking for in a starting quarterback. He's run a pro-style offense for a number of years at USC and can make all the throws necessary.
However, he lacks elite athleticism and arm strength, which will force him to struggle at times during his rookie season. Look for Barkley to be the definition of mediocre in his first year in the league.
Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State
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Potential Landing Spots: Arizona Cardinals, Oakland Raiders
Stat Projections: 3,356 passing yards, 14 touchdowns, 18 interceptions
There are a handful of qualities that teams are going to love about Mike Glennon. At 6'6" and 232 pounds, Glennon has the ideal size for an NFL quarterback.
He also has one of the strongest arms in the draft class, giving him the ability to make all the throws necessary in the NFL. However, what Glennon lacks is the overall polish to his game coming out of college.
He struggles with his decision-making, especially when faced with pressure from defenses. At times, Glennon will trust his arm too much, which will cause him to make errant throws.
Glennon certainly has the potential to be a very good starting quarterback in the NFL, but he'll definitely struggle at times as a rookie.
Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
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Potential Landing Spots: Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars
Stat Projections: 3,179 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, 15 interceptions
Tyler Wilson's size and arm strength remind many of former SEC quarterback Matthew Stafford. While Wilson may not have as high of a ceiling as Stafford coming out of college, he still has the tools to be a franchise quarterback.
The biggest concern surrounding Wilson is how his play took a dramatic hit when Bobby Petrino was fired this year. With so much turnaround in the NFL at coaching positions, teams may be worried that Wilson will have a difficult time transitioning from different coaches.
However, Wilson has also shown that he can be a prolific passer against some pretty stout defenses. He should hear his name called rather early during the 2013 NFL draft and have a solid rookie season.
Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
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Potential Landing Spots: Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys
Stat Projections: 2,989 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, 19 interceptions
With each day that passes, it seems that Ryan Nassib continues to rise up draft boards.
He's got the ability and mentality to step in from Day 1 and be a leader for an NFL team. His mechanics and vision are both solid, and his above-average arm strength gives him the ability to make all the throws necessary in the NFL.
Where Nassib will struggle is with trying to make throws that are simply impossible. This will cause him to throw a rather high number of interceptions as a rookie.
However, Nassib has shown the ability to improve, and he will eventually be a very good starting NFL quarterback.
Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
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Potential Landing Spots: Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars
Stat Projections: 3,461 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, 11 interceptions
Not only is Geno Smith the top quarterback prospect in the 2013 NFL draft, but he is also the likely to be the top overall pick come April.
Smith has all the tools wanted in a franchise quarterback. Add to that to the athleticism he has to get outside the pocket and make plays, and what's left is a recipe for a good starting quarterback.
Of all the top offensive prospects in this draft, Smith is likely to experience the most success during his rookie season.