Sunday, January 20, 2013

2013 NFL Draft: Lack of Talent, or Under Appreciated?

By: Zakk Cintron

After a superstar filled 2012 NFL Draft, the talent in the 2013 class seems quite lackluster. Is this class just being overshadowed by it’s predecessor, or is it just not getting the credit it deserves? Some may say if you don’t need defensive line then you’re out of luck, but that’s simply not true when you actually look at this years class. Lets break it down.
When it comes to this year’s quarterback class it isn’t the strongest class we’ve seen. Geno Smith is probably the only quarterback that is worth a first round pick, but number one overall? First question you need to ask is, “Where would I draft Geno last year?”. If you aren’t crazy you’ll most likely say after Luck and RG3. Now is it before Tannehill or after is the question? Geno comes from a spread offense in the Big East, and Tannehill comes from a west coast in the SEC. Also Sherman being hired by Miami and Ireland saying he was following and wanted Tannehill for years says Tannehill still would have went at eight. So he’s still worth a first, but is anyone else? Maybe Tyler Wilson and Barkley (pre-USC implosion of 2012)? So knowing that a team or two will reach on a quarterback it’s not an awful quarterback class, but in comparison to last years class it doesn’t look like you’ll find a franchise guy right away from this class.
As for running backs, Eddie Lacy may be the only one taken in the first and that’s only due to the success of Richardson for the Browns this past year and Lacy’s performance against Notre Dame’s defense in the National Championship. Don’t be fooled though, this class has some depth at running back. Giovani Bernard, Joseph Randle, Le’Veon Bell, Montee Ball, Andre Ellington, Kenjon Barner, Stepfan Taylor, and more are all solid choices in rounds two through five. Their could be some real gems in the depth of this running back class.
We’re gonna save some reading time and just group fullbacks, punters, and place kickers all in one group. I know Rich Eisen says “Punters are people too!”, but they really aren’t. Neither are fullbacks and place kickers. The names you’ll wanna keep tabs on are Zach Line (FB, SMU), Dustin Hopkins (K, Florida State), Brad Wing (P, LSU), and Ryan Allen (P, Louisiana Tech). Hopkins could be a good pickup for a team with an unsure kicking situation.
Now back to the “real players”. As of right now the only consensus first round wide receiver is Keenan Allan, but that might change after the combine. This is another position like running back where the depth in rounds two through five that could turn out some gems. Guys like Terrance Williams, Cordarrelle Patterson, Justin Hunter, Da’Rick Rogers, DeAndre Hopkins, Tavon Austin, Robert Woods, Cobi Hamilton, Steadman Bailey, Ryan Swope, Markus Wheaton, Quinton Patton, and Marquess Wilson are just the bigger names. Those are a lot of second to fifth round options for teams in need of a playmaker. Their may not be one or two studs up front, but it is an extremely deep. 
Tight End classes always seem deep, but when they finally get selected and get to the field, usually only those picked in the first two rounds. Not to say you can’t get a great tight end in rounds three through seven, but usually the ones that produce early. Tyler Eifert, Zach Ertz, and Jordan Reed are the big names of this group, but some other notable names are Joseph Fauria, Levine Toilolo, Ryan Otten, and Travis Kelce. Their are some teams that will be looking for athletic tight ends this year and they may find what they’re looking for.
The offensive line class as a whole is a good one, but now that Matthews and Lewan are going back to school it really hurt the class overall. So the first round tackles at this point are Joeckel and Fisher and the potential first round interior linemen are Warmack, Thomas, and Jones. After Joeckel and Fisher the group talent drops, and is out of starting talent by the third. The guard class is quite deep though. Starting in round two gems like Larry Warford, Alvin Bailey, Travis Frederick, and Omoregie Uzzi.  
Offensively this class has a lot more potential than most people give it credit for. This class has it’s fair share of playmakers and big maulers. We’ll have to wait and see what happens at the combine and pro days to get the final say. Keep a look out for the Lack of Talent, Under Appreciated defensive version soon.

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