NFL Draft 2013 Big Board: Final Position Rankings from Top Experts

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NFL Draft 2013 Big Board: Final Position Rankings from Top Experts
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With the 2013 NFL draft nearly here, most NFL teams have their big boards set, and the same can be said for the experts who have been trying to handicap the draft for the past several months.

While these experts probably don't have much influence over the people who will ultimately be making decisions during the draft, they do a great job of keeping the public informed and letting them know what to watch for during the three-day marathon.

There are countless draft experts across the Internet, but three of the best and most accomplished are Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN, Mike Mayock of NFL Network and Rob Rang of CBS Sports. Their rankings are quite similar in most respects, but there are some definite differences that jump off the page as well

Keep reading to see the top five at every meaningful position according to Kiper, Mayock and Rang, as well as analysis on the similarities and differences between their rankings.

 

Quarterback

Mel Kiper Jr.

1. Geno Smith, West Virginia

2. Matt Barkley, USC

3. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse

4. Mike Glennon, NC State

5. Landry Jones, Oklahoma

 

Mike Mayock

1. Geno Smith, West Virginia

2. E.J. Manuel, Florida State

3. Matt Barkley, USC

4. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse

T-5. Tyler Bray, Tennessee

T-5. Mike Glennon, NC State

 

Rob Rang

1. Geno Smith, West Virginia

2. Matt Barkley, USC

3. Tyler Wilson, Arkansas

4. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse

5. E.J. Manuel, Florida State

 

Analysis: While Smith has been picked apart throughout the draft process, all there experts agree that he'll be the best quarterback at the NFL level. Mayock values Manuel much higher than his counterparts, so he's likely buying into the read option hype. Also, no expert ranks Nassib higher than No. 3, which is interesting considering the Buffalo Bills could make him the first signal caller off the board at No. 8.

 

Running Back

Mel Kiper Jr.

1. Eddie Lacy, Alabama

2. Montee Ball, Wisconsin

3. Johnathan Franklin, UCLA

4. Giovani Bernard, UNC

5. Mike Gillislee, Florida

 

Mike Mayock

1. Eddie Lacy, Alabama

2. Montee Ball, Wisconsin

3. Giovani Bernard, UNC

4. Andre Ellington, Clemson

T-5. Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State

T-5. Christine Michael, Texas A&M

 

Rob Rang

1. Eddie Lacy, Alabama

2. Johnathan Franklin, UCLA

3. Montee Ball, Wisconsin

4. Giovani Bernard, UNC

5. Christine Michael, Texas A&M

 

Analysis: There isn't much hype surrounding the running back position this year as none are expected to go in the first round, but the experts agree that Lacy is the best option. There are a number of teams who could potentially address the position in the second round, so Lacy won't fall too far. It's interesting to note that nobody placed South Carolina back Marcus Lattimore in their top-five as he battles back from two leg injuries.

 

Wide Receiver

Mel Kiper Jr.

1. Tavon Austin, West Virginia

2. Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee

3. Justin Hunter, Tennessee

4. Keenan Allen, California

5. Robert Woods, USC

 

Mike Mayock

1. Tavon Austin, West Virginia

2. Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee

3. Justin Hunter, Tennessee

4. Keenan Allen, California

T-5. DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson

T-5. Robert Woods, USC

 

Rob Rang

1. Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee

2. Tavon Austin, West Virginia

3. Keenan Allen, California

4. Robert Woods, USC

5. DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson

 

Analysis: The wide receiver situation hasn't changed a ton over the past several weeks and the experts' ranking reflect that. Two of them have Austin at No. 1 with Patterson right behind him, while Rang put Patterson ahead of Austin. There are concerns about Austin's size, but Patterson is a boom-or-bust pick, so most fans are likely intrigued to see how NFL teams view the battle between them.

 

Tight End

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Mel Kiper Jr.

1. Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame

2. Zach Ertz, Stanford

3. Dion Sims, Michigan State

4. Vance McDonald, Rice

5. Gavin Escobar, San Diego State

 

Mike Mayock

1. Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame

2. Zach Ertz, Stanford

3. Gavin Escobar, San Diego State

4. Travis Kelce, Cincinnati

5. Vance McDonald, Rice

 

Rob Rang

1. Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame

2. Zach Ertz, Stanford

3. Vance McDonald, Rice

4. Travis Kelce, Cincinnati

5. Gavin Escobar, San Diego State

 

Analysis: This isn't an especially deep class for tight ends, but there is definitely some talent up top. The experts agree that Eifert is the best and a likely first-round pick, while Ertz is No. 2 and should go somewhere in the late first or early second. It's a bit of a crap shoot after that, although Escobar and McDonald are enticing prospects as well.

 

Offensive Tackle

Mel Kiper Jr.

1. Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M

2. Eric Fisher, Central Michigan

3. Lane Johnson, Oklahoma

4. D.J. Fluker, Alabama

5. Menelik Watson, Florida State

 

Mike Mayock

1. Eric Fisher, Central Michigan

2. Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M

3. Lane Johnson, Oklahoma

4. D.J. Fluker, Alabama

T-5. Justin Pugh, Syracuse

T-5. Menelik Watson, Florida State

 

Rob Rang

1. Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M

2. Eric Fisher, Central Michigan

3. Lane Johnson, Oklahoma

4. D.J. Fluker, Alabama

5. Menelik Watson, Florida State

 

Analysis: In terms of top-flight talent, offensive tackle may be the deepest position in the entire draft. Joeckel, Fisher and Johnson are all Top 10 picks, although the order in which they'll be taken is arguable. Kiper and Rang like Joeckel as the No. 1 guy, but Mayock believes that Fisher is better. That remains to be seen, but it's safe to say that teams can't really go wrong with one of the top tackles in this draft.


Offensive Guard

Mel Kiper Jr.

1. Jonathan Cooper, UNC

2. Chance Warmack, Alabama

3. Kyle Long, Oregon

4. Justin Pugh, Syracuse

5. Larry Warford, Kentucky

 

Mike Mayock

1. Chance Warmack, Alabama

2. Jonathan Cooper, UNC

3. Kyle Long, Oregon

4. Larry Warford, Kentucky

5. Brian Winters, Kent State

 

Rob Rang

1. Jonathan Cooper, UNC

2. Chance Warmack, Alabama

3. Justin Pugh, Syracuse

4. Larry Warford, Kentucky

5. Brian Winters, Kent State

 

Analysis: Guard isn't quite as deep as tackle, but Cooper and Warmack are two stalwarts who should be in the league for a very long time. Perhaps the most interesting prospect is Pugh as Mayock ranked him as a tackle, while Kiper and Rang ranked him as a guard. Whatever the case, he's a swing player who could be pretty valuable to some team as a second-round pick.

 

Center

Mel Kiper Jr.

1. Travis Frederick, Wisconsin

2. Barrett Jones, Alabama

3. Brian Schwenke, California

4. J.C. Tretter, Cornell

5. Khaled Holmes, USC

 

Mike Mayock

1. Brian Schwenke, California

2. Barrett Jones, Alabama

3. Travis Frederick, Wisconsin

4. Khaled Holmes, USC

5. Braxston Cave, Notre Dame

 

Rob Rang

1. Barrett Jones, Alabama

2. Travis Frederick, Wisconsin

3. Brian Schwenke, California

4. Khaled Holmes, USC

5. Braxston Cave, Notre Dame

 

Analysis: There has been almost no discussion regarding the center position during the lead up to the draft, so even some of the biggest football fans probably aren't familiar with the prospects. None of them will go any earlier than the second round, but the guy to watch is Jones as he is ranked in the top three by all of the experts, played at a high level in the SEC and is capable of playing center, guard or tackle.

 

Defensive End

Mel Kiper Jr.

1. Ezekiel Ansah, BYU

2. Datone Jones, UCLA

3. Corey Lemonier, Auburn

4. Bjoern Werner, Florida State

5. Tank Carradine, Florida State

 

Mike Mayock

1. Ezekiel Ansah, BYU

2. Bjoern Werner, Florida State

3. Damontre Moore, Texas A&M

4. Tank Carradine, Florida State

5. Alex Okafor, Texas

 

Rob Rang

1. Ezekiel Ansah, BYU

2. Bjoern Werner, Florida State

3. Damontre Moore, Texas A&M

4. Datone Jones, UCLA

5. Margus Hunt, SMU

 

Analysis: With the lines being blurred between 4-3, 3-4 and hybrid defenses these days, it's tough to tell who is a defensive end and who is a linebacker. These rankings reflect players who are capable of playing the 4-3 defensive end position, however. Ansah is easily the best, but he is new to football and didn't produce much at BYU, so he's a risky selection. Werner is a safer, more polished pick who appears on all three lists as well.

 

Defensive Tackle

Mel Kiper Jr.

1. Sharrif Floyd, Florida

2. Star Lotulelei, Utah

3. Sheldon Richardson, Missouri

4. Sylvester Williams, UNC

5. John Jenkins, Georgia

 

Mike Mayock

1. Sharrif Floyd, Florida

2. Star Lotulelei, Utah

3. Sheldon Richardson, Missouri

4. Sylvester Williams, UNC

5. Kawann Short, Purdue

 

Rob Rang

1. Sharrif Floyd, Florida

2. Star Lotulelei, Utah

3. Sheldon Richardson, Missouri

4. Kawann Short, Purdue

5. Sylvester Williams, UNC

 

Analysis: The defensive tackle position appears to be fairly cut and dry in this draft as all three experts agree that Floyd, Lotulelei and Richardson should come off the board in that order. Things aren't quite as clear after that, but Williams is a likely first-round selection as well, with Short making for an intriguing prospect in the second.

 

Inside Linebacker

Mel Kiper Jr.

1. Manti Te'o, Notre Dame

2. Alec Ogletree, Georgia

3. Kevin Minter, LSU

4. Jonathan Bostic, Florida

5. Steve Beauharnais, Rutgers

 

Mike Mayock

1. Manti Te'o, Notre Dame

2. Kevin Minter, LSU

3. Alec Ogletree, Georgia

4. Jonathan Bostic, Florida

5. Kiko Alonso, Oregon

 

Rob Rang

1. Manti Te'o, Notre Dame

2. Kevin Minter, LSU

3. Alec Ogletree, Georgia

4. Kiko Alonso, Oregon

5. Jonathan Bostic, Florida

 

Analysis: Inside linebackers generally aren't taken very high in the NFL draft unless they're a really special prospect, but there could be two or three first-round guys at the position this year. Despite his well-documented issues, all three experts have Te'o at No. 1. There is some disagreement after that, but Minter and Ogletree are definitely the second and third-best options in no particular order. There are teams with a need up the middle late in the first, so it will be interesting to see if anyone bites.

 

Outside Linebacker

Mel Kiper Jr.

1. Dion Jordan, Oregon

2. Barkevious Mingo, LSU

3. Jarvis Jones, Georgia

4. Sio Moore, UConn

5. Arthur Brown, Kansas State

 

Mike Mayock

1. Dion Jordan, Oregon

2. Barkevious Mingo, LSU

3. Jarvis Jones, Georgia

4. Arthur Brown, Kansas State

5. Sio Moore, UConn

 

Rob Rang

1. Jarvis Jones, Georgia

2. Dion Jordan, Oregon

3. Barkevious Mingo, LSU

4. Arthur Brown, Kansas State

5. Sio Moore, UConn

 

Analysis: Outside linebacker is the chic pass-rushing position these days with so many teams running a 3-4, and there are pass rushers galore in this draft. Jordan, Mingo and Jones highlight the class, although Rang isn't quite as high on Jordan and Mingo as his colleagues. He rates Jones above them, which is something that many bought into early in the draft process, but Jones has seemingly fallen in the rankings since. For teams looking for a traditional 4-3 outside linebacker, Brown and Moore are the top options.

 

Cornerback

Mel Kiper Jr.

1. Dee Milliner, Alabama

2. Desmond Trufant, Washington

3. D.J. Hayden, Houston

4. Xavier Rhodes, Florida State

5. Jamar Taylor, Boise State

 

Mike Mayock

1. D.J. Hayden, Houston

2. Dee Milliner, Alabama

3. Xavier Rhodes, Florida State

4. Desmond Trufant, Washington

5. Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State

 

Rob Rang

1. Dee Milliner, Alabama

2. Desmond Trufant, Washington

3. Xavier Rhodes, Florida State

4. Jamar Taylor, Boise State

5. D.J. Hayden, Houston

 

Analysis: This class is stacked at cornerback as five or more could potentially be taken in the first round. Milliner has been viewed as the No. 1 guy at the position throughout much of the draft process, but Mayock put Hayden ahead of him now that he has been cleared after a freak injury. It's very difficult to distinguish one corner from another in this draft, so general managers will be splitting hairs when they make a selection.

 

Safety

Mel Kiper Jr.

1. Kenny Vaccaro, Texas

2. Matt Elam, Florida

3. John Cyprien, Florida International

4. Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse

5. D.J. Swearinger, South Carolina

 

Mike Mayock

1. Kenny Vaccaro, Texas

2. Matt Elam, Florida

3. Eric Reid, LSU

4. John Cyprien, Florida International

5. D.J. Swearinger, South Carolina


Rob Rang

1. Kenny Vaccaro, Texas

2. Matt Elam, Florida

3. Eric Reid, LSU

4. John Cyprien, Florida International

5. Phillip Thomas, Fresno State

 

Analysis: There may not be any elite players at the safety position in the 2013 draft, but there is a decent amount of depth and talent as four of them should be off the board by the early second round at the latest. Vaccaro is easily the top dog as he is a sure tackler and has good ball skills, but Elam, Cyprien and Reid all have fine skill sets as well. Once Vaccaro is taken in the middle of the first, it will be interesting to see how the chips fall.

 

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