The 2013 NFL draft is a big deal, and football-starved fans around the USA are eager to see what their favorite team will do to improve its roster for next season.
With so much demand, the coverage for this event has gotten more and more comprehensive over the years, and these days dedicated fans don't have to worry about missing any of the action.
Whether you're in the comfort of your own home, at work or convening with friends at your local sports bar, you can find the draft at your fingertips.
The Kansas City Chiefs own the No. 1 pick of this year's draft, and Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk reports that they will take Eric Fisher, an offensive tackle from Central Michigan.
The Indianapolis Colts own the final pick of the draft, No. 254—otherwise known as Mr. Irrelevant.
From start to finish, NFL general managers treat each selection as if it were the No. 1 pick of the draft. While it's true that many of the NFL's top players are selected early, there's always diamonds in the rough found in the latter rounds.
Here's what you need to know to make sure you don't miss a minute of this year's festivities.
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
Player rankings are a subjective thing. Every scout, analyst and general manager has a different idea about where prospects fit on these rankings.
These rankings are my own, and I encourage you to agree or disagree with them in the comments section below.
This year's draft isn't strong on elite talent at this position.
For that matter, there isn't any consensus about how the top signal-callers stack up, though Geno Smith is viewed as the top quarterback by most experts.
That doesn't mean we won't see this class end up producing top-quality starters, however. All it means is that we aren't likely to see three rookies take teams to the playoffs in 2013.
- Geno Smith, West Virginia
- Matt Barkley, USC
- E.J. Manuel, Florida State
- Mike Glennon, North Carolina State
- Ryan Nassib, Syracuse
There are some excellent running backs in this year's draft class, but nobody will be surprised if none of them are drafted in the first round.
Most experts view Eddie Lacy out of Alabama as this year's top back, but I have a different take on the matter.
Le'Veon Bell out of Michigan State has caught my eye as a power back with underrated elusiveness and excellent hands. He's a Steven Jackson clone and a three-down back who will be highly productive as a rookie.
- Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State
- Eddie Lacy, Alabama
- Jonathan Franklin, UCLA
- Montee Ball, Wisconsin
- Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
One of the most underutilized positions in the NFL these days, fullbacks are a dying breed. Many teams are utilizing two-tight-end sets these days, but there are still enough teams that feature power-rushing attacks to keep this position relevant.
- Kyle Juszczyk, Harvard
- Lonnie Pryor, Florida State
- Zach Line, Southern Methodist
- Tommy Bohanon, Wake Forest
- Kyler Reed, Nebraska
There's no shortage of talented receivers in this year's class.
Teams will find productive players after the first round, and it shouldn't be a shock to see a few prospects drafted in the fourth round or later become integral players for their new teams as rookies.
- DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
- Tavon Austin, West Virginia
- Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
- Justin Hunter, Tennessee
- Keenan Allen, California
Tight ends have really emerged as big weapons in today's NFL.
Rob Gronkowski, Vernon Davis, Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez are elite weapons for their respective teams, and there are a few players in this year's draft who could quickly become as effective.
- Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
- Zach Ertz, Stanford
- Vance McDonald, Rice
- Travis Kelce, Cincinnati
- Gavin Escobar, San Diego State
Every team that possesses an elite quarterback knows the value of an elite left tackle. Either they have one on their roster who keeps the quarterback healthy or they don't, which often leads to injured signal-callers (Jay Cutler, Ben Roethlisberger).
This year's class is led by three elite left tackle prospects—all of whom could easily be selected in the first five picks of the draft.
Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel are both about as good as it gets in terms of college prospects, and there's absolutely no consensus about who will be the better pro.
- Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
- Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
- Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
- D.J. Fluker, Alabama
- Menelik Watson, Florida State
There are two elite guard prospects in this year's class—both of whom could potentially be selected in the first 10 picks. It's rare that even one guard would be selected that early, and the fact that both are being viewed as potential top-10 picks shows how good they really are.
Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper are different players. Warmack has a higher rating on my big board, but Cooper may be the first guard selected due to his skill set as a pass-blocker.
- Chance Warmack, Alabama
- Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
- Larry Warford, Kentucky
- Kyle Long, Oregon
- Brian Winters, Kent State
This year's class is devoid of a first-round center.
That doesn't mean quality starters won't be found, but there isn't a single player to compare to Mike or Maurkice Pouncey.
- Brian Schwenke, California
- Barrett Jones, Alabama
- Travis Frederick, Wisconsin
- Khaled Holmes, USC
- Braxton Cave, Notre Dame
Along with offensive tackles, defensive tackles are a hot commodity in this year's draft.
These big men control the line of scrimmage on running plays, and the best defensive tackles are adept at pushing the pocket and shooting gaps on passing downs.
Many experts see Sharrif Floyd out of Florida as this year's top defensive tackle, but he's too inconsistent for my taste to occupy the top spot.
- Star Lotulelei, Utah
- Sharrif Floyd, Florida
- Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
- Sylvester Williams, North Carolina
- Jesse Williams, Alabama
There are many defensive ends in this draft who are being considered as potential 3-4 outside linebacker converts. For the purpose of this column, I'll separate the two positions according to how I see the players fitting into the NFL.
- Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
- Tank Carradine, Florida State
- Bjoern Werner, Florida State
- Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
- Alex Okafor, Texas
3-4 Outside Linebacker
Every team that runs a 3-4 scheme is looking for the next Aldon Smith.
There are a few players with the potential to emerge as superstars who will surely be selected early, but all of them have an equal chance of turning out as busts in the NFL.
- Dion Jordan, Oregon
- Barkevious Mingo, LSU
- Jarvis Jones, Georgia
- Jamie Collins, Southern Mississippi
- Corey Lemonier, Auburn
4-3 Outside Linebacker
Just as every team running a 3-4 scheme wants to find another Aldon Smith, teams that run a 4-3 are looking for the next Von Miller.
Speed, instincts and athleticism are the chief attributes that teams are looking for, and these players have them in spades.
- Arthur Brown, Kansas State
- Sio Moore, Connecticut
- John Bostic, Florida
- Khaseem Greene, Rutgers
- John Simon, Ohio State
Inside linebackers are typically leaders who are adept at communicating. They must also be phenomenal athletes who can fly from sideline to sideline, attack the line of scrimmage, shed blocks and drop back into coverage on passing downs.
There are some excellent inside linebackers in this year's class, but none of them are likely to be selected before the second half of Round 1.
- Alec Ogletree, Georgia
- Kevin Minter, LSU
- Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
- Kiko Alonso, Oregon
- A.J. Klein, Iowa State
This year's cornerback is loaded with potential superstars, but there's not much consensus about when they will be drafted.
Dee Milliner is considered to be the top corner in this year's draft by most experts, but recently D.J. Hayden out of Houston has been singled out by a few scouts—including NFL.com's Mike Mayock.
- Dee Milliner, Alabama
- D.J. Hayden, Houston
- Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
- Desmond Trufant, Washington
- Jamar Taylor, Boise State
The last line of defense, teams with top safeties usually feature excellent defenses.
These men must be phenomenal athletes who are capable of covering a lot of ground on the back end in a hurry, but they must also be skilled at making plays at the line of scrimmage.
- Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
- Matt Elam, Florida
- John Cyprien, Florida International
- D.J. Swearinger, South Carolina
- Eric Reid, LSU
Kickers are often scorned by fans, and it's hard to look at most of them in street clothes and picture an NFL player.
That said, many a game is lost or won based on how these men perform under pressure.
- Dustin Hopkins, Florida State
- Caleb Sturgis, Florida
- Brett Maher, Nebraska
- Anthony Cantele, Kansas State
- Zach Brown, Portland State
Nobody loves watching their favorite team punt.
That said, the teams with the best punters usually end up with excellent average field position, which is a critical aspect of playing winning football.
These guys are important, even if you cringe every time your head coach motions for the punter to come onto the field.
- Jeff Locke, UCLA
- Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State
- Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech
- Brad Wing, LSU
- Bobby Cowan, Idaho
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