2103 NFL Draft Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 4/17/2013
After months of speculation, we are finally just days away from the start of the NFL Draft. There is more uncertainty here than in any draft in recent memory because there is so much depth but so little obviously elite talent. That makes trying to figure out what is going to happen much more difficult than usual — and it is always tough. Regardless, I will fearlessly make eight first-round NFL Draft predictions:
Luke Joeckel will go first overall
I am not convinced that the Chiefs should be picking a tackle first — or that they should keep the top pick at all, for that matter. I don’t see a way out of it, though, so I’ll give them a tackle, and I’ll give Joeckel the edge over Fisher. He’s not the most exciting top pick ever, and it could create some drama for a team that really doesn’t need it because of the uncertainty around Branden Albert, but he seems to be the logical pick.
Too many quarterbacks will go in the first round.
I’m of the opinion that one first-round QB would be too many with this group. I’m not saying that there isn’t a guy who could be a legitimate starter, but there isn’t one who is worth a first-round pick. Any team could get a QB as good in the second or third round as they could get in the first round, and they could use that earlier pick to improve more significantly elsewhere. That being said, I’m certain Geno Smith will go in the first round, and I have a strong feeling that a team is going to blink and take a second QB in the first round as well.
It’s going to be defense-heavy early on
After a left tackle goes first, the next three picks — at least — will be defensive players. That just seems to be where the talent is. Dion Jordan is approaching lock territory as a high pick. Other guys — Ezekiel Ansah, Star Lotulelei, Dee Milliner, Sharrif Floyd — are going to be hard for teams to pass on as well. Beyond the tackle, there isn’t an offensive player that is worth more to teams than those guys are going to be until at least the fifth pick.
Chance Warmack will be the first Pro Bowler of the first round
Warmack, a guard out of Alabama, is a total beast. He’s a mountain-sized man, and he’s ready to contribute right away because he has the potent combination of size, strength and fundamentals to shine. He’ll be a starter from day one, and he’ll be picked far enough down the board that he won’t wind up on a team that is a total disaster. That will make it easier for him to shine, and his time at Alabama gives him the high profile needed to get the early attention of Pro Bowl voters as well.
Tavon Austin will be the first WR off the board
It’s not often that a player who is 5-foot-8 and 174 pounds is under first round consideration as a receiver. This is not your normal guy, though. He has been incredibly impressive in workouts since his college career ended, and he is one of those guys who just finds ways to make things happen. There are some more traditional receivers with a high top-end but none who are more exciting or versatile.
Manti Te’o will drop out of the first round
He has first-round talent, but best-case scenario he would only go in the middle of the first round. Given his rough offseason (to be kind) — tabloid fodder galore, and underwhelming workouts — I just don’t see teams ultimately pulling the trigger on him when guys as good with far less baggage are available.
There won’t be a first-round running back
Eddie Lacy is the only back with a legitimate look at the first round. I don’t think a team will take him, though. Teams just don’t value running backs like they used to — viable talent can be found much later in the draft. Lacy is impressive, but not so much so that he’s worth the gamble. His spring has been odd — injury issues and a strange resistance to testing — and that will scare teams off when there is enough depth in the draft to get another valuable contributor at another position of need when Lacy might be selected.
The Raiders will do something stupid
This is pretty much a given, isn’t it? Sure, the Al Davis era is over. I’m not at all convinced that the problems were all him, though. The team has massive salary cap woes, and that makes it even more likely that they will get too clever and leave us all scratching our heads.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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