Jarvis Jones, D.J. Fluker and Eric Fisher are among the top players heading into the 2013 NFL draft, but opinions vary as to where they'll end up landing.
All three players had accomplished college careers, and all three have the talent to become an elite player at the next level.
With so many teams using misdirection at this point to give themselves the best chance at landing their player of choice in Round 1, it's hard to tell truth from fiction.
Have no fear, we've got you covered with the latest buzz surrounding all three potential NFL superstars.
Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
There hasn't been a more consistent, dominant pass-rusher in the college game the last two years than Jones. Since the start of the 2011 season, Jones tallied 28 sacks, 44 tackles for a loss, one interception and nine forced fumbles.
This young man knows how to get to the quarterback, but for a while, there were questions about his long-term viability in the NFL, thanks to an old diagnosis of spinal stenosis during his 2009 campaign at USC.
Thankfully, Jones has recently been publicly exonerated by renowned orthopedic surgeon Craig Bringham, who said he didn't see any evidence of spinal stenosis (h/t Dan Pompei of the National Football Post).
Jones' draft stock seemed to take a big hit, however, after his pro day. He ran the 40 in just 4.92 seconds, which is really slow for a man of his size seeking to become an NFL pass-rusher.
This has caused some analysts, like NFL.com's Gil Brandt, to question whether Jones is a first-round talent:
Going to drop Jarvis Jones out of first round. Not sure he's a first-round talent. #NFLDraft.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) April 2, 2013
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport spoke to numerous scouts, however, and he reports they're singing a different tune:
Talked to 5 scouts on UGA's Jarvis Jones. All said similar things: We knew he'd work out poorly. But he's a football player. Think mid-1st— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 8, 2013
It's hard to imagine a young man like Jones, who's dominated at the highest level of college football, would slip into the second round. Chances are, he'll be long gone before the bottom third make their selections in Round 1.
Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Fisher's draft stock has been on a meteoric rise since the Senior Bowl, when his elite athleticism and underrated skill was exposed for all to see.
Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer believes Fisher would be a perfect fit with the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 4:
Fisher would address short-term and long-term issues for the Eagles. He would start at right tackle from Day 1, allowing Todd Herremans to move back to guard, and he could be the eventual replacement for the 31-year-old Jason Peters at left tackle.
Detroit Lions lead writer and team insider Tim Twentyman recently reported that he was "impressed" by Fisher:
Lions hosted T Eric Fisher and DB David Amerson on pre-draft visits in Allen Park today. Impressed by both guys after talking to them.— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) March 28, 2013
Even if Joeckel is selected by the Kansas City Chiefs with the No. 1 overall pick, he won't likely fall past the Philadelphia Eagles or Detroit Lions.
D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
One of the more intriguing prospects in this year's draft, Fluker is a pure right tackle who could end up becoming one of the league's best. He's a massive man with long, strong arms who is a capable pass-blocker and a devastating run-blocker.
Right tackles aren't normally as coveted as left tackles, but Fluker's draft stock is not so quietly gaining traction.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen recently reported Fluker as one of the draft's "true rising stars":
Alabama RT D..J. Fluker is one of true rising players in draft; remember, most teams just began draft meetings in earnest last week @espnnfl— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) April 8, 2013
Fluker has multiple visits set up with teams that could consider him in the first round, according to CBS Sports' Tony Pauline:
DJ Fluker/T/Alabama has visits set up with the Minnesota Vikings, St Louis Rams & Tampa Bay Bucs this week...NY Giants very coy thus far..— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) April 4, 2013
Those teams might not get a chance to land Fluker, though. Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post has an insider's take on what the Miami Dolphins (No. 12 overall) might to in the draft, based on what he's heard from super-agent Drew Rosenhaus:
Rosenhaus also said he expects #Dolphins to take OT in the first round: "At this point, that's what I'm hearing from everyone"— Ben Volin (@BenVolinPBP) April 8, 2013
Pauline confirms that report, and he goes one step further as it pertains to Fluker:
Close sources tell me DJ Fluker/T/Alabama is a real possibility for the Miami Dolphins with the 12th pick...more later..— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) April 8, 2013
If Fluker goes to the Dolphins at No. 12, he could well be the fourth offensive tackle taken in the draft, as Joeckel, Fisher and Lane Johnson will more than likely all be selected before that point.
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