Former 5-star CB Dee Milliner
Some would say that the NFL draft creates an excitement and hope amongst football fans that is unrivaled in sports, but the argument can be made that college football recruiting is just as exhilarating.
Without a doubt, both genres have quite a cult following, so let's combine the two.
Being a highly ranked recruit doesn't always guarantee a clear path to the NFL, but it oftentimes is a precursor of things to come. If a recruit is talented enough to be labeled a 5-star, chances are he has the potential to be a great college football player. Great college football players are usually drafted into "the league," and therein lies the connection between recruiting and the draft.
Using Bleacher Report's very own Matt Miller's final mock draft, as well as the recruiting rankings back when these players were recruits, here are 10 2013 NFL draft prospects that were highly rated as college football recruits:
Miller's Mock: Washington Redskins, No. 51 overall.
Matt Elam was a 5-star safety recruit according to Rivals from West Palm Beach, Fla. He was recruited by the Gators and went on to have a stellar career for Florida, notching two years as a starter.
Elam totalled 176 total tackles, five sacks, six interceptions and three forced fumbles during his college career. (Sports-Reference.com)
He was ranked as the No. 2 overall safety in the 2010 class by Rivals, only behind Keenan Allen, who will be on this list later.
Miller's Mock: Carolina Panthers, No. 44 overall.
Robert Woods will go down as a stellar playmaker for the USC Trojans, and his time at USC will certainly be worth remembering. He enters the NFL with the same amount of hype and potential as he had when he was a recruit.
Woods was highly regarded as one of the best recruits in the 2010 recruiting class. Rivals.com labelled him a 5-star and ranked him as the No. 1 athlete in the class, and he was also the No. 6 overall player in the 2010 class.
He went on to be a tremendous wide receiver for USC, notching 2,933 receiving yards and 32 touchdowns through the air in three seasons. He also returned a kickoff for a touchdown and was an All-American in 2011 (Sports-Reference.com).
Miller's Mock: Jacksonville Jaguars, No. 33 overall.
Alex Okafor was an elite strong-side defensive end recruit when he signed with Texas back in 2009. He still projects to be one of the better defenders in the 2013 NFL draft.
Okafor was a 5-star recruit, ranked as the No. 1 overall strong-side defensive end according to Rivals.com. He was also the No. 2 player from the state of Texas, only behind quarterback Russell Shepard, who went to LSU.
He made his biggest impact for Texas in 2011 and 2012, when he went on to post seven sacks and 12.5 sacks in each season respectively. Okafor leaves Texas with 150 total tackles, 23 sacks and seven forced fumbles. (Sports-Reference.com)
Miller's Mock: Baltimore Ravens, No. 32 overall.
Arthur Brown has one of the better stories of the 2013 NFL draft. He was a 5-star outside linebacker in 2008, and for all intents and purposes, he projected to be a star for Miami.
In two seasons with the 'Canes, though, he wasn't able to get anything going, and many considered him a bust.
He transferred to Kansas State in 2010, where he lived up to his superstar potential.
He totaled 17 tackles in two years at Miami. In two years with Kansas State, Brown notched 201 tackles, three sacks, three interceptions and one defensive touchdown (Sports-Reference.com)
Miller's Mock: Houston Texas, No. 27 overall.
Allen has great size at 6'2'', 206 pounds (NFL.com), so it's easy to see why he was looked at as a safety recruit coming in. He could also play wideout though, and ultimately, that's where he made his mark at Cal.
He notched 2,570 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns in three seasons, to go along with two rushing touchdowns and a punt return for a score. He ran the ball 30 times for 230 total yards (Sports-Reference.com)
Miller's Mock: Cincinnati Bengals, No. 21 overall.
D.J. Fluker was a star offensive tackle recruit at Alabama, and he projects to have the same kind of star potential in the NFL. Fans of the Cincinnati Bengals should be excited about Miller's projection, though you never really do know how things will shake up.
He was also the No. 1-ranked player from Alabama according to Rivals, which is saying a lot considering that players like Dre Kirkpatrick and A.J. McCarron were behind him on that list.
Fluker entered college football as a star, and he'll leave as a star as well.
Miller's Mock: Chicago Bears, No. 20 overall.
Whatever your thoughts are on Manti Te'o and his future and/or past, there's no doubting the fact that he was a great college linebacker.
He was second in the Heisman voting in 2012, and he also was an All-American in 2012. In four seasons, he totaled 437 tackles, 8.5 sacks and seven interceptions (Sports-Reference.com)
He lived up to his hype as a recruit, and according to Miller, he'll be a first-round draft pick.
Miller's Mock: Carolina Panthers, No. 14 overall.
Sheldon Richardson was a marquee recruiting pickup for Missouri. He was ranked as the No. 1 defensive tackle in the 2009 class, and he was the No. 4 player in the nation, both according to Rivals. It's important to note that he was a JUCO transfer to Missouri, originally attending College of the Sequoias.
He had tremendous size at 6'4'' and 292 pounds, and he complemented that with great speed, running a 4.72 40 (Rivals).
In just two years with Missouri, Richardson posted 112 tackles and six sacks (Sports-Refernece.com)
Miller's Mock: Cleveland Browns, No. 6 overall.
Dee Milliner is one of the bigger names in the 2013 NFL draft, and that's most likely due to the fact that he played for Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Alabama has developed somewhat of a reputation for sending very good players to the NFL.
Milliner was an elite 2010 cornerback recruit out of Stanhope Elmore High School in Millbrook, Ala. Scout.com gave him a 5-star ranking and considered him to be the best cornerback in the class. He played as a freshman for Alabama, notching 55 tackles and one interceptions.
He'll be leaving the Tide after his junior season, and he's added to his totals. He finished his Alabama career with 136 total tackles, six interceptions, one defensive touchdown and two forced fumbles (Sports-Reference.com)
Milliner is easily one of the best players in the 2013 NFL draft class.
Miller's Mock: Oakland Raiders, No. 3 overall.
Sharrif Floyd is going to be a top three pick according to Miller, and that undoubtedly means that he has a ton of potential.
The same could be said of Floyd as a recruit, and he lived up to said potential. That bodes well for his future as an NFL player.
He only has two years of stats under his belt, racking up 92 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 2011 and 2012, but at 6'3'', 297 pounds running a 4.92 40 according to NFL.com, he has elite potential.