Radio City Music Hall in New York will soon be overrun by rabid football fans eager for the 2013 NFL draft, scheduled to kick off on Thursday, April 25.
The league has made the draft one of the most anticipated and watched events of the year. In addition to the fans who will be watching the selections live, millions will watch the proceedings on television or online.
Does the lack of an elite quarterback diminish your enthusiasm for this year's NFL draft?
This year's draft isn't as compelling as 2012, when Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III dominated the headlines, but there are plenty of quality players to be found throughout the seven-round affair.
The Kansas City Chiefs own the No. 1 overall pick, and the world champion Baltimore Ravens will finish out the first round. If this year's draft is anything like last year's proceedings, however, we'll see plenty of trades go down before Round 1 is finished.
To better help you keep up with every single pick, we've got all the information you need to watch the 2013 NFL draft no matter where you find yourself in the final weekend of April.
Note: If you plan on attending the draft in New York, NFL.com published some guidelines you'll want to take a look at.
Round 1: Thursday, April 25 at 8 p.m. ET
Round 2 and Round 3: Friday, April 26 at 6:30 p.m. ET
Round 4-Round 7: Saturday, April 27 at 12 p.m. ET
TV and Live Stream
TV: NFL Network and ESPN
Live Stream: NFL.com
Players of Interest
As we know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and NFL teams have different ideas about how "good" players are when evaluating talent. A player that fits one team's scheme perfectly may not fit into another team's scheme; hence, the value on such a player will vary from team to team.
That said, there are some players who clearly rank as the top prospects in this year's draft class.
Top Quarterback: Geno Smith, West Virginia
This year's quarterback class isn't loaded with sure-fire starters like last year's class.
And there isn't a huge consensus about which quarterback is the best. Some experts, like NFL.com's Greg Cosell, think that Ryan Nassib is the top signal-caller in this class. But most of the experts have long touted Smith as the best quarterback entering the NFL in 2013.
A player who began the 2012 college season on a hot streak, Smith was a Heisman favorite before cooling off midway through West Virginia's campaign.
He possesses a strong arm, can escape pressure with underrated athleticism and proved to be highly accurate on short- to mid-range passes.
NFL.com's scouting report on Smith concludes with this:
Though Smith has had his ups and downs as a passer in West Virginia's prolific spread offense, NFL general managers appreciate his ultra-competitive nature, athleticism, arm strength and quick delivery...Smith's eye level and pocket movement can be great, but he reverted back to staring down his first read.
He's not necessarily ready to lead a team into the playoffs, but Smith has the physical attributes to become a dynamic quarterback and is willing to put in the hard work it will take to reach his potential.
Most Dynamic Playmaker on Offense: WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
As good as Smith was at the collegiate level, he had some explosive weapons to play with—one of which was his diminutive receiver, Austin.
Though Austin doesn't possess No. 1 receiver size, he is blessed with jaw-dropping physical traits that make him one of the most explosive players to enter the NFL in years.
Measuring in at 5"8" and just 174 pounds, Austin will do most of his damage in the NFL as a slot specialist, but that won't diminish his ability to make game-changing plays on a regular basis.
His production at West Virginia was prolific, both as a receiver, a runner and as a returner. Last season, he touched the ball 186 times on offense, producing 1,932 total yards and 15 touchdowns. He also pitched in 978 yards and two touchdowns on kickoff and punt returns.
Austin then wowed scouts at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, posting a 40 time of 4.34 seconds and displaying elite burst in the 20-yard shuttle.
He'll be an instant lightning rod for one lucky offense this upcoming season.
Best Offensive Lineman: OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
One of the true strengths of this year's draft class is the level of talent and depth on the offensive line. Tackle Eric Fisher and guard Chance Warmack are both elite prospects, and an argument could be made for both of them as the top offensive lineman in this year's draft.
Who is the top offensive lineman in the 2013 NFL draft?
That said, Joeckel is arguably the best offensive lineman to have come out in a few years, and he edges out both Fisher and Warmack on my personal big board.
Watching Joeckel operate on the left side is the equivalent of watching Luck from his days at Stanford. Luck was so mechanically sound coming into the NFL, and that's exactly what we see from Joeckel.
Though not as athletically gifted as Fisher, Joeckel possesses prototypical size (6'6" and 306 pounds), an exceptional slide step, excellent balance and leverage and adequate strength.
Pop in any tape from his 2012 season and you can't help but be impressed by his ability to handle both power- and speed-rushers off the edge.
Joeckel has a chance to be the No. 1 pick of the 2013 NFL draft, and he'll be an instant starter for whichever team that lands him.
Top Pass-Rusher: Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
Though Ansah isn't as accomplished as some of the other pass-rushers in this year's draft class, he is the player with the most upside and has the potential to become an elite player in the NFL.
Ansah barely saw any playing time at BYU until last season, and he only logged 4.5 sacks for the Cougars. He's as raw a prospect as we've seen entering the NFL in years. But his size, athleticism and speed indicate that he will quickly become a terror off the edge as a pure pass-rusher.
Measuring in at 6'5" and 271 pounds, Ansah is as quick as a cat. He ran the 40 in 4.63 seconds at the combine, and he demonstrated his relentless work ethic and desire to succeed at the Senior Bowl and at his pro day.
Given Ansah's relative lack of production at the collegiate level, drafting him early doesn't come without risk. That said, should this young man from Ghana reach his full potential, he'll be well worth that risk.
Best Linebacker: Alec Ogletree, Georgia
One thing nobody can question about Ogletree is his level of natural, God-given talent.
This young man has all the physical attributes to become a dominant linebacker in the NFL, but he has character concerns that could cause his draft stock to fall on Thursday. That said, he won't fall out of the first round.
The former safety possesses ideal size (6'2" and 242 pounds), athleticism, quickness, speed and instincts to develop into a top-rate player. He ran the 40 in 4.70 seconds at the combine and then put on a stellar show at his pro day.
According to Russ Lande of the National Football Post:
Ogletree looks the part of an NFL linebacker when he walks onto the practice field and then confirmed his skill level as soon as he began moving around. Showing good foot quickness, agility and balance, he changed directions with ease and exploded in the other direction. For such a well-built player, Ogletree’s flexibility to flip hips and change directions so easily in the workout was impressive.
If Ogletree slips into the bottom third of the first round on Thursday, he'll be a major steal for the lucky team that lands him. Provided he can keep himself out of trouble in the future and focus solely on football, Ogletree will be a big-time playmaker at the next level.
Best Defensive Back: CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
Milliner is one of the best overall players at any position heading into the 2013 NFL draft.
A young man with prototypical size, speed, athleticism and agility, he also brings an element of toughness to the NFL.
Measuring in at 6'0" and 201 pounds, Milliner ran the 40 in 4.37 seconds at the combine, which only further cemented him as the top cornerback in this year's draft class.
He is aggressive with big receivers at the line of scrimmage, using his size and strength to his advantage, and he isn't afraid to mix it up in the running game. When the ball is in the air, Milliner uses excellent body control and ball skills, and he often breaks up passes with bone-jarring hits.
It would be a big surprise to see Milliner slide out of the top 10, and, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net, he's a top priority for the Cleveland Browns, who own the No. 6 overall pick.
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