NFL Draft 2013: Elite Talent Sure to Slide to Later Rounds

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NFL Draft 2013: Elite Talent Sure to Slide to Later Rounds
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL draft has plenty of elite-caliber players, but some of those prospects have seen their draft stock fall dramatically over the past few weeks.

Whether it’s due to an injury or issues off the field, draft stocks fall for a number of reasons.  Some of the times it’s for a good reason, and the player ends up struggling in the NFL.  At other times, it’s due to overreaction, and the player ends up being a steal for the team that picked him up.

Here are a few guys that will see themselves falling quite far down draft boards this weekend.

 

Barrett Jones, C, Alabama

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

During the college football season, Jones was one of the hotter prospects in the draft, and he was expected to be a first-round pick this coming weekend. 

However, a Lisfranc injury has made a lot of NFL scouts worried.  According to Alex Scarborough of ESPN.com, Jones was seen with a boot over his left foot during Alabama’s Pro Day back in March.

The injury is certainly cause for concern, but the overreaction will see Jones slide more than he rightfully should.  Jones played center, guard and offensive tackle during his career at Alabama, and his versatility is something that made him such an appealing prospect. 

Wherever he goes, he will make a solid interior lineman once he is fully healthy.

 

Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina

Before the gruesome injury, Lattimore would have likely been a first-round pick and the top running back prospect in the draft.  Now, he is doing whatever it takes to be ready to play Week 1 of the NFL season, and his draft stock has taken a serious hit.

The torn ACL is certainly a concern, but we have seen that coming back from an ACL injury at full strength is certainly possible.  Adrian Peterson came back in just nine months after his surgery to play in Week 1.  According to Robert Klemko of USA Today, Lattimore feels like he’ll be ready to go once the season begins.

Fortunately for Lattimore, he has been working with Dr. James Andrews for his rehab, the same surgeon that helped Peterson with his recovery. 

Even with Dr. Andrews on his side, Lattimore is still going to be considered a risky pick this weekend, and more than a few teams will likely pass on him.  Once Lattimore lands a spot in the NFL, all eyes will be on him to see how well he will play after the recovery.

 

Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

A couple of months ago, Lacy would have been expected to go in the first round without much question.  Now, teams are beginning to hesitate on picking up the running back out of Alabama for a number of reasons.

One of the bigger reasons for his recent slide on mock drafts was due to his poor workout at Alabama’s Pro Day.  His stamina and conditioning were called into question, and that was highlighted by this tweet from Bucky Brooks of NFL.com:

Other scouts are worried about Lacy’s injury concerns, but Bleacher Report’s Will Carroll puts those to rest for the most part:

Lacy comes into the pros with more questions than his former teammate Trent Richardson, but less injury questions. Lacy's durability is more about how many carries he can take in a game and season rather than whether he's more likely to break down. Lacy would slot into almost any team's offense, especially if paired with a second back. His power and ability at the goal line will make him a solid fantasy RB2 if he can be kept around 20 to 25 carries per game.

Lacy is a great prospect as a running back, but too many questions by scouts are making it feel like he will be getting picked up on Friday rather than Thursday.  It’s a harsh reality that Lacy will likely have to face, but with how focused he was in college, this won’t affect his play in the pros.

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