NFL Draft 2013: Best Round 1 Prospects That Slip to Day 2
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Don't be alarmed when first-round talent in the 2013 NFL Draft slides into Rounds 2 or 3.
It happens every year.
We saw that with Russell Wilson and Courtney Upshaw last time around, but each rookie ended up having a spectacular NFL rookie campaign. That said, the depth of talent at each position this year is no exception and not every team has the exact same needs.
As a result, few prospects will avoid falling back and Day 2 of the draft gains suspense. When that occurs, be sure to keep a close watch on these featured athletes.
Justin Pugh: OT, Syracuse
One of the draft's more underrated offensive linemen, Justin Pugh of Syracuse brings plenty of talent to pro football.
Although he's a bit undersized for the tackle position (6'4", 307 pounds), Pugh's impressive athleticism is capable of sealing the edge. For one, Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib was sacked a mere 16 times in 13 games last season.
Second, the Orange averaged 187.2 rushing yards per game and had their two main backs average above five per pop. In short, Pugh's balance and lateral quickness anchored a strong pocket for Nassib and his explosiveness helped establish an impressive ground attack.
He needs to build strength and avoid the occasional lunge when reach blocking, but his body control and footwork is appealing for this draft.
Johnthan Banks: CB, Mississippi State
Mississippi State's Johnthan Banks is a true playmaker, period.
During his career for the Bulldogs, Banks defended 41 passes and took three of his 15 picks back for a touchdown. If anything, his 321 interception return yards become a competitive advantage in the NFL: Flipping the field position.
He also logged 221 tackles and forced five fumbles. Offering good height at 6'2", Banks does need to bulk up a bit as he weighed only 185 pounds at the combine. His acceleration and ability to redirect, though, bodes nicely for man coverage and the instincts will take over in zone.
Becoming more physical at the line with strength to get off blocks only enhances his potential because bigger NFL receivers won't be as easy to jam up in Cover 1 press.
Robert Woods: WR, USC
Accumulating yards after the catch is what to expect from Robert Woods.
While suiting up for USC, he accounted for 2,933 receiving yards on 250 grabs and scored 32 touchdowns. To complement his initial burst at the line, Woods also is capable of stretching a secondary to make the big play downfield.
Additionally, Woods brings special-teams marketability with 1,364 kickoff and 183 punt return yards. As a receiver, he'll need to add strength and better route awareness because avoiding press coverage at the line and adjusting to the quarterback is required to develop.
From the slot, however, expect Woods to make an immediate impact versus zone and Cover 2/3—provided he cuts back on the drops and emerges as a solid No. 2 target.
Tyler Eifert: TE, Notre Dame
Easily the best receiving tight end in the class, Tyler Eifert won't be around long on the second day of action.
Which of these prospects makes the biggest impact as a rookie?
He's simply a complete player in catching 140 passes for 1,840 yards and scoring 11 times in three seasons. Factor in Notre Dame's rushing attack in 2012 that ranked No. 38 (averaged 189.4 yards per game) and Eifert's repertoire will see the field as a rookie.
Obviously, the majority of the Irish's ground game is courtesy of the offensive line. But Eifert's size (6'6", 251 pounds) allows him to act like a sixth lineman. Include a dominating performance at the combine and the offense that lands Eifert becomes extensively more high-powered.
Getting physical in the trenches is still the weaker area for Eifert compared with pass catching so continuing to build power and acceleration inflates his overall NFL production.
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