15 Potential Number One Overall Picks in the 2013 NFL Draft
15 Potential No.1 Overall Picks for the 2013 NFL Draft
Projecting the No.1 overall pick in the following year's draft only half-way through the college football season is a somewhat daunting task, but an interesting one nonetheless. Three NFL teams to this point in the 2012 season (5-6 games) in that look every bit like the league's worst are the Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns. All three teams are a dysfunctional mess that could use any of the 15 players you're about to read about in our list.
The Chiefs have had both horrendous quarterbacking play and have one of the league's most porous defenses. The Browns are trying to win behind yet another rookie quarterback who so far hasn't really panned out, and could be looking for their third in as many seasons in 2013. The Jaguars, are, well, the Jaguars. They're just terrible on both sides of the ball and will be lucky to beat anyone in 2012.
In compiling our list of 15 potential No. 1 overall picks for the 2013 NFL Draft we consulted several major mock draft sites and studied scouting reports on each of the players therein to give you a general idea of the impact each could make to one of these three teams if they were taken with the top pick. Obviously, we're assuming these teams end up as the league's worst, as they have begun the season as such. Enjoy!
Chance Warmack (OL)- Alabama - SR
Alabama senior offensive lineman Chance Warmack is very likely to be selected in the first round, but is our longest shot at being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Warmack's pure power at 6'3", 320 and the raw athleticism that goes along with it make him one of the country's best centers. A run-first blocker, Warmack's pass protection is improving all the time and could be a nice pick for one of our three cellar-dwellers, especially if in tandem with a rookie quarterback from this year's class.
Manti Te'o (LB) - Notre Dame - SR
Over the past few weeks, the draft stock of Notre Dame senior linebacker Manti Te'o has shot through the roof. With the Irish looking like one of the country's best defensive units, Te'o appears to be every bit their leader, leading many pro scouts to believe he could be the same in the NFL. Te'o is drawing many comparisons to other powerful linebackers that have preceded him and justifiably so. Don't sleep on Manti Te'o-- he'll make sure you regret it.
Taylor Lewan (OL) - Michigan - JR
Widely recognized as one of the top offensive linemen in the junior class, Michigan's Taylor Lewan has many of the attributes which catch the eye of NFL scouts. With his strong base and determination to win every single block off the ball, Lewan is a terror for opposing defensive linemen to handle. His nastiness in the trenches has crossed over to earning personal fouls in the past, but Lewan seems to be in better control this season. This perceived lack of maturity has been a red flag, but the raw ability is there, and there's little doubt if he does decide to come out after the 2012 season, Lewan will be one of the best 15 players available in the draft.
Bjoern Werner (DE) - Florida State - JR
Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner is a pure physical specimen that has freaky speed for a defensive end. At 6'4", 273, Werner is an absolute nightmare for offensive tackles and tight ends to try and block on edge rushes and is equally as successful on inside rushes against guards. The German native is still learning the intricacies of the college game, but could make an instant impact in a 4-3 defensive scheme for the right NFL team.
Justin Hunter (WR)- Tennessee - JR
Tennessee Volunteeers junior wideout Justin Hunter has caught plenty of eyes this season so far and is starting to establish himself as one of the country's best, and a guy that could make a quick impact in the NFL in 2013. At 6'4", 205, Hunter has Julio Jones-like speed and athleticism and is almost impossible for shorter corners to cover. On the flipside, Hunter's route-running has lacked some precision in the past and he tends to shy away from contact over the middle. While far from perfect, Justin Hunter is the type of wide receiving project that NFL offensive coordinators salivate over.
Keenan Allen (WR) - California - JR
At 6'2", 215 pounds Cal junior wideout Keenan Allen isn't necessarily the prototypical "new school" NFL mold, but he makes up for it with a hard-nosed and aggressive approach to the game which is nothing if not impressive. Allen has already caught 41 balls for 467 yards and four touchdowns six games into the slate for the Cal Bears, and there's no reason to think those numbers won't be doubled in the next six games. Remember, he's doing this with a true freshman at quarterback as well in Zach Maynard. That says all it needs to say. The sky's the limit for the Greensboro, North Carolina native.
Luke Joeckel (OL)- Texas A&M - Junior
While offensive linemen rarely jump off the screen at the casual observer, Texas A&M junior Luke Joeckel is the exception to the rule. At 6'6", 310, Joeckel has the typical NFL frame and has the type of skill set that could make him a franchise left tackle in the NFL for many years to come, and as we all know, nothing is more rare or more valued.
First and foremost, Joeckel is a pass protector who has shown the ability to hold his own both against speed ends and powerful tackles. His run blocking is a work in progress, but something that will definitely be fine-tuned when he enters the league. Joeckel is another guy that would be well-paired with a young or rookie quarterback that needs consistent protection.
Dee Milliner (DB)- Alabama - JR
Alabama junior Dee Milliner is exactly what one thinks of when they think "shutdown corner". At 6'1', 200 pounds, Milliner is a blur, but also has the strength to body up against larger and more powerful receivers. Many are starting to compare Milliner to another 'Bama standout from last season and 2012 NFL Draft first-rounder, Dre Kirkpatrick, and the comparison makes sense. Milliner is still raw in some aspects, but has enough of a skill set that it's not far-fetched that he could start for the right team on Sundays in 2013.
John Jenkins (NT) - Georgia - Senior
Georgia Bulldogs senior nose tackle John Jenkins is a beast-- there's just no other way to say it. At 6'3" and a whopping 358 pounds, Jenkins has a sneaky athleticism that belies his massive frame. His solid lateral movement and ability to get off the ball following snaps are both impressive for a man of his size, but his conditioning and overall technique against more talented players has come into question. Jenkins is a classic project for an offensive coordinator willing to take a risk, and those from our projected three worst NFL teams would certainly fall into that category.
Barkevious "Keke" Mingo (DE) - LSU - Junior
LSU junior defensive end Barkevious "KeKe" Mingo is not only the captain of college football's All-Name Team, he's also one of the most intimidating and most feared defensive players in the game. At 6'5", 240 pounds, Mingo is pure power combined with freakish athleticism, along the lines of Javon Kearse and Julius Peppers.
Projected to be a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL, Mingo is a run-stopper first and foremost, but in the right system could quickly become a dual threat, especially if he packs on the pounds to a frame that's ready to hold more weight.
Star Lotuleilei (DT)- Utah - Senior
That's the first word that comes to mind when one considers the 6'4", 320 pound Utah defensive tackle Star Lotuleilei. Lotuleilei won the Morris Trophy in 2011 as the Pac 12's top defensive linemen and should be in line for plenty more hardware at the end of the 2012 Utah campaign. It's an easy comparison to mirror Star against Ndamukong Suh in the way he easily discards opposing offensive linemen both in run pursuit and the pass rush-- the comparison is visible. Through five games in 2012, Lotuleilei has tallied 20 tackles (15 solo) and a sack while being double-teamed on almost every down. This guy's a can't miss NFL prospect that could go anywhere in the top end of the first round next spring.
Matt Barkley (QB) - USC - Senior
While some of the early season Heisman Trophy sheen may have worn off USC signal-caller Matt Barkley at this point, there's little doubt he's still one of the three best quarterbacks available for the 2013 draft. If Cleveland, Jacksonville, or Kansas City decide to replace quarterbacks that are all huge question marks, don't be the least bit surprised if Barkley's name is called early in the first-round-- perhaps even earlier than another QB higher up our board, depending on the team in question.
Johnathan Hankins (DL)- Ohio State - Junior
Ohio State junior defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins is a man-child, the type of player that pops off the screen or makes you just say wow in person. At 6'4", 325 pounds, Hankins looks larger than life, even though he is around the average size of first-tier Division I linemen. A great run stopper, Hankins is basically an immovable object for opposing offensive linemen in the trenches. Even more impressive, it Hankins' ability to play multiple positions along the line if needed. This versatility, along with brut strength, and impressive technique, make Johnathan Hankins argubly the nation's best defensive player.
Sam Montgomery (DE) - LSU - Junior
While some argue Johnathan Hankins is the country's best defensive talent, plenty of others argue that title should indeed go to LSU Tigers junior defensive end Sam Montgomery. With 18 tackles and two sacks over six games, Montgomery may not be putting up the dominant numbers he did in 2011, but rest assured his presence is being felt. On the multiple mock draft boards which we used to research this article, Montgomery was among the top five picks in the first-round in almost every instance. You can bet Sam Montgomery will be one of the first five players taken, if not the No. 1 overall.
Geno Smith (QB) - West Virginia - SR
In short, Geno Smith is the best football player in America right now-- bar none. After eviscerating non-conference and conference defenses alike through five games, Smith looks untouchable at this point, and should continue to pad his numbers this weekend as the Mountaineers visit Lubbock to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The three worst teams in the NFL at this point all need new QBs, so it's really hard to imagine they would each pass on Smith at the No. 1 overall pick if given the opportunity.