NFL Draft 2013: Selecting the Top Prospect at Each Position

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NFL Draft 2013: Selecting the Top Prospect at Each Position
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The NFL draft is an exercise in immediate returns and delayed gratification.

Take any draft prospect—anyone at all—and it's possible to fit them on a sliding scale where one extreme is "plug-and-play" (meaning: ready for the NFL) while the other is "raw untapped physical tools." Ideally, draft prospects should be right in the middle. Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Trent Richardson were guys who had that trait.

However, when the elite prospects are off the board, much of a team's draft strategy hinges on what they're looking for on that scale. Sure, the untapped talent looks promising, but is it worth the risk? Grabbing guys with high talent floors is "safe" and appealing, but can you give up the high ceiling?

Different teams will have very different strategies—even more so depending on which round they're drafting in.

Take the quarterback position, for example. If a general manager is confident in his job and trusts his offensive coaching staff, it's logical that he would take a shot at a raw quarterback with higher upside. On the other hand, if that general manager is building around a strong defense or trying to save his job, the guy who can come in and not hurt the team may be more enticing.

It is with that in mind that I unveil the top prospects at each position on my board. Some of them are more ready than more-athletic prospects who are higher on other media boards; others are diamonds ready to be polished. Most, however, offer the best of both qualities at their given position.

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