The 2013 NFL Draft will be won or lost in the trenches.
That’s where the bulk of the best talent resides and where the teams making the best choices will get richer.
“I’ve got six offensive tackles with first-round grades, and I’ve got six defensive tackles with first-round grades,” said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock.
There probably won’t be a receiver picked in the top 10. There may not be a running back picked in the top 20. The offensive and defensive lines will rule over the skill positions.
Here’s a position-by-position look at the offensive prospects, broken into tiers, which are not meant to be definitive. In other words, the top tier includes players who are potential first-round picks, not just the top 32. Rounds two and three will be held on Day Two. Only selected third-day prospects are included.
Class Grade: B-
Geno Smith has the best combination of size, strength and production. He threw for 42 touchdowns and runs a 4.59-second 40-yard dash. There are questions about his ability to read defenses and pocket presence. He needs to take better care of the ball (32 career fumbles). ... Ryan Nassib is an underrated athlete with sufficient arm strength to all parts of the field. He played in an offense that transitions well to the NFL. His footwork can break down, resulting in poor accuracy.
Matt Barkley might have been a top-10 pick in 2012, but came back and had a disappointing senior season that ended because of a shoulder injury. ... E.J. Manuel has all the physical tools and would look good running the read option, but he’s woefully inconsistent. ... Mike Glennon came on at the end of 2012. He’s got a good arm and can work from under center, but can be inaccurate at times. ... Tyler Wilson’s got all the leadership qualities you want in a quarterback, but he’s got a slow delivery. ... Tyler Bray would have benefited from another year in school. He might have the best arm in the class, but is immature. ... Landry Jones has good size and production, but breaks down under pressure.
Matt Scott is a dual-threat quarterback with a strong arm. He has to work on his decision making. ... Collin Klein was a Heisman candidate who threw for 16 touchdowns and ran for another 23. ... Jordan Rodgers is the younger brother of Green Bay quarterback Aaron.
Class Grade: A
Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson could go within the top seven picks. They’ve all got potential to start on the left side for the next decade. Fisher just continues to grow. He’s a slightly better athlete than Joeckel. Johnson started in junior college playing quarterback. … Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper are the rare guards who could go in the top half of the first round. … D.J. Fluker probably doesn’t have the feet to play on the left side, but he’s a road grader at right tackle.
Menelik Watson will be 25 as a rookie. He’s from England and didn’t take up football until giving up a basketball career at Marist. … Larry Warford also played basketball and has good feet. He plays with a nasty streak. ... Justin Pugh will likely transition from left tackle to guard in the NFL. … Terron Armstead blew away the combine with a 4.71 40 and 34.5-inch vertical. … Kyle Long is the son of former Raiders great Howie and brother of Rams defensive end Chris. … Travis Frederick is the top-rated center in the draft.
J.C. Tretter is a native of Akron who played the last two years at left tackle. He’ll likely move inside to guard or center. He’s a good athlete and smart player. … Brian Winters is an All-Mid-American Conference player who operated a snowplow business while at Kent State. He tweaked a pectoral injury at the combine. … Reid Fragel’s a converted tight end who needs to add some weight to his tall frame.
Class Grade: B
Cordarrelle Patterson has the tools to be an elite, big playmaker, but may need some time to mature. ... Keenan Allen, the half-brother of former UB QB Zach Maynard, is ready to step in and produce. He can run after the catch. ... Tavon Austin runs a 4.34 40. He’s a faster Roscoe Parrish. ... Robert Woods is a smooth veteran with 210 catches. ... DeAndre Hopkins, Terrance Williams and Quinton Patton are outside possession receivers who have produced. Their numbers: Hopkins 206 catches, 27 TDs; Williams 202 catches, 27 TDs; Patton 183 catches, 24 TDs. ... Justin Hunter is bigger, more slender and faster (4.44). ... Markus Wheaton is fast (4.45) and thin. ... Ryan Swope (4.34) is a speedier Brandon Stokley. He’s strictly a slot receiver. ... Da’Rick Rogers has elite size and speed (4.44) and is a first-round talent but got booted out of Tennessee (not an easy feat) for failing drug tests.
Marquise Goodwin placed 10th in the long jump at the 2012 Olympics in London and ran 4.27 in the 40. He caught 30 passes a year over four seasons for Texas. ... Josh Boyce ran 4.38 but has a fractured foot. ... Cobi Hamilton had 90 catches last season, 65 more than any other teammate, but isn’t speedy (4.56). ... Steadman Bailey doesn’t have special size or speed but caught 25 TDs in 2012. ... Denard Robinson, who went 23-12 as QB at Michigan, holds the major-college record for rushing yards by a QB (4,495). He ran 4.34 and will try to play WR in the NFL. ... Jasper Collins comes from the Division III powerhouse that produced Pierre Garcon and Cecil Shorts. He was snubbed by the combine but ran 4.47 on campus.
Class Grade: B
Tyler Eifert projects as a solid but unspectacular NFL starter. He has good hands and some blocking ability. ... Zach Ertz should be picked late in the first or in the first half of the second round. He ran well on campus (4.62) and seems like a sure-fire solid player. He had 69 catches and nine TDs last season. More of a receiver than a blocker. ... Gavin Escobar, like Ertz, is more of a receiver than a blocker. He’s a three-year starter with a big frame who adjusts well to the ball. It’s a close call between Escobar and McDonald, who is stronger but who was used mostly split out by Rice. Vance McDonald’s 31 bench-press lifts of 225 pounds were the fourth best in the past 10 years among TEs. ... Travis Kelce is an impressive physical talent who caught 45 passes for a 16-yard average with eight TDs last season. He’s rugged and has some play-making ability after the catch. How will teams evaluate him? He was suspended for the entire 2010 season for violating unspecified team rules. He’s recovering from a sports hernia operation. ... Jordan Reed is a big slot receiver in the Dustin Keller mold but he’s slower (4.53 for Keller, 4.72 for Reed).
Ryan Otten caught 99 passes the past two years. ... Levine Toilolo is a big target but lacks quickness. ... The wide-bodied Sims is the best blocking TE in the draft. ... Nick Kasa is a converted defensive end. Last season was his first full year at TE, and he caught 25 passes. He’s powerful but not smooth, a tad stiff in the hips. ... Joseph Fauria isn’t fast or strong but had 12 TD catches last season and could be a viable backup. ... Jake Stoneburner, strictly a catcher, ran 4.65. ... Zach Sudfeld ran decent times at his pro day (4.71 and 4.77) and caught 45 passes and nine TDs in the Pistol offense. He’s worth bringing to camp.
Class Grade: B
Alabama’s Eddie Lacy is a load – just ask Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o, bulldozed by Lacy in the national title game. ... Wisconsin’s Ball scored a record 83 TDs in his career. He has miles on his tread (924 college carries). ... The Spartans’ Le’Veon Bell can be a solid starter. He was third in the nation in rushing, had 33 career TDs, and gets yards after contact. ... Bernard is another all-purpose back. He has 92 catches the past two years. ... Andre Ellington is undersized but tough. He’s starting-caliber and averaged 5.8 yards a carry for his career. ... Texas A&M’s Christine Michael is a stud athlete, with a 43-inch vertical jump. He got hurt in 2010 and 2011 and spent much of 2012 in his coach’s doghouse.
Franklin is productive but has fumbling issues. ... Oklahoma State’s Joseph Randle is a third-down back. ... South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore is coming off a Willis McGahee-type knee injury. ... Oregon’s Kenjon Barner was fourth in the nation in rushing. ... Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor does everything well but lacks top-end speed. ... Kyle Juszcyk caught 52 passes for the Crimson last season, mostly as a tight end. He will be the first Harvard player drafted since Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2005. ... Khiry Robinson, of West Texas A&M, rushed for 1,621 yards last season and had a 35-inch vertical jump.
Name, School Ht. Wt.
Geno Smith, West Virginia 6-2 218
Ryan Nassib, Syracuse 6-2 227
Matt Barkley, USC 6-2 227
E.J. Manuel, Florida State 6-5 237
Mike Glennon, N.C. State 6-7 225
Tyler Wilson, Arkansas 6-2 215
Tyler Bray*, Tennessee 6-6 232
Landry Jones, Oklahoma 6-4 225
Zac Dysert, Miami (Ohio) 6-3 231
Matt Scott, Arizona 6-2 213
Sean Renfree, Duke 6-3 219
Jordan Rodgers, Vanderbilt 6-1 212
Collin Klein, Kansas State 6-5 226
Brad Sorensen, Southern Utah 6-4 229
Jeff Tuel, Washington State, 6-3, 221
Name, School Ht. Wt.
Luke Joeckel* (T), Texas A&M 6-6 306
Eric Fisher (T), Central Michigan 6-7 306
Lane Johnson (T), Oklahoma 6-6 303
Chance Warmack (G), Alabama 6-2 317
Jonathan Cooper (G), North Carolina 6-2 311
D.J. Fluker* (T), Alabama 6-5 339
Larry Warford (G), Kentucky 6-3 332
Menelik Watson* (T), Florida St. 6-5 310
Justin Pugh* (T), Syracuse 6-4 307
Terron Armstead (T), Arkansas Pine-Bluff 6-5 306
Kyle Long (T), Oregon 6-6 313
Travis Frederick* (C), Wisconsin 6-4 312
Dallas Thomas (G/T), Tennessee 6-5 300
Oday Aboushi (G), Virginia 6-5 308
J.C. Tretter (G/C), Cornell 6-4 307
Brian Winters (G), Kent St. 6-4 320
Brian Schwenke (C), Cal 6-3 314
Reid Fragel (T), Ohio State 6-8 308
Barrett Jones (C), Alabama 6-4 306
Khaled Holmes (C), USC 6-3 302
Earl Watford (G), James Madison 6-3 300
Luke Marquardt (T), Azusa Pacific 6-8 315
Name, School Ht. Wt.
Tavon Austin, West Virginia 5-8 174
Cordarrelle Patterson*, Tennessee 6-2 216
DeAndre Hopkins*, Clemson 6-1 214
Keenan Allen*, California 6-2 206
Robert Woods*, Southern Cal 6-0 201
Terrance Williams, Baylor 6-2 208
Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech 6-0 204
Justin Hunter*, Tennessee 6-4 196
Ryan Swope, Texas A&M 6-1 205
Markus Wheaton, Oregon State 5-11 189
Da’Rick Rogers, Tennessee Tech 6-3 217
Aaron Dobson, Marshall 6-3 210
Chris Harper, Kansas State 6-1 229
Marquise Goodwin, Texas 5-9 183
Tavarres King, Georgia 6-1 189
Josh Boyce, Texas Christian 5-11 206
Steadman Bailey, West Virginia 5-10 193
Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas 6-2 212
Marcus Davis, Virginia Tech 6-3 233
Corey Fuller, Virginia Tech 6-2 204
Denard Robinson, Michigan 6-3 199
Jasper Collins, Mount Union 5-10 180
Name, School Ht. Wt.
Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame 6-5 250
Zach Ertz*, Stanford 6-5 249
Vance McDonald, Rice 6-4 267
Travis Kelce, Cincinnati 6-5 255
Gavin Escobar*, San Diego St. 6-6 254
Jordan Reed*, Florida 6-3 236
Ryan Otten, San Jose St. 6-5 242
Dion Sims*, Michigan St. 6-5 262
Nick Kasa, Colorado 6-6 269
Joseph Fauria, UCLA 6-7 259
Levine Toilolo*, Stanford 6-8 260
Jake Stoneburner, Ohio State 6-3 252
Mychal Rivera, Tennessee 6-3 242
Zach Sudfeld, Nevada 6-7 253
Name, School Ht. Wt.
Eddie Lacy*, Alabama 6-1 220
Montee Ball, Wisconsin 5-11 214
Le’Veon Bell*, Michigan St. 6-1 230
Christine Michael, Texas A&M 5-10 220
Giovanni Bernard*, North Carolina 5-8 202
Andre Ellington, Clemson 5-10 199
Johnathan Franklin, UCLA 5-10 205
Joseph Randle*, Oklahoma St. 6-1 204
Marcus Lattimore*, South Carolina 5-11 221
Kyle Juszcyk (FB), Harvard 6-1 248
Stepfan Taylor, Stanford 5-9 214
Kenjon Barner, Oregon 5-9 196
Lonnie Pryor (FB), Florida St. 6-0 227
Kerwynn Williams, Utah St. 5-8 195
Mike Gillislee, Florida 5-11 208
Khiry Robinson, West Texas A&M 5-10 206
* - underclassman