2013 NFL Draft Prospect Stock Report
NFL Draft Stock Report
The NFL draft is all about trends. It seems that at the start of the season all of the draftniks of the world have their lists. I know I have mine. Lots of lists on lots of players and notes. Lots of notes. We put together our positional rankings based on these lists, and what we typically see is groups of players by position get sort of lumped together either a little higher or a little lower than they should.
But as the season progresses, we come to understand that the NFL draft and the relative value of these players is fluid. But typically there are trends based on position. That’s what I am seeing this season. Some positions that started off very high with lots of excellent prospects now seem less than loaded and falling. While others do just the opposite and players emerge as the season progresses and that position becomes one of strength.
So, with all that it’s time for my first NFL Draft stock report for the 2013 NFL draft. Keeping in mind that when I do this again at the end of the season, don’t be shocked if these positions change again.
A few notes on some of the positions other than the 4 I am highlighting here. The position of running back is the most grossly undervalued of any in the draft. We see it every year when backs taken later in the draft that excel. This year I actually have first round grades on 2 running backs, but I won’t be shocked if neither of them are drafted in the first. Just the opposite can be said for offensive tackle. I currently have 3 tackles with first round grades, but I won’t be surprised if twice that are taken in the first round.
But without further ado, here are my 4 highlighted positions that are either bears or bulls in this NFL draft stock market.
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Stock UP-Hybrid Rush DEs/LBs
It’s hard to say that the stock is up on a group that was already very talented, but as the season has gone on, it’s done just that. This group is lead by Jarvis Jones of Georgia and a pair from LSU Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery, but that’s just getting started. FSU rushers Tank Carradine and Bjoern Werner, Auburn’s Corey Lemonier, The Texas A&M tandem of Sean Porter and Damontre Moore, and Texas Longhorn Alex Okafor are all in the mix to be first round picks as pass rush specialists in either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense.
This group is varied in terms of sizes and skills, and so when it comes time for an NFL franchise to select one, they will be able to pick the guy that fits them the best. Overall this is a really talented group, and even outside of this pack of first round picks, there are a half dozen more that are worth a 2nd round pick as well.
At the start of the season, there was so much hype surrounding this group of quarterbacks, with players like Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas and Oklahoma signal caller Landry Jones to be among upwards of 8 quarterbacks to be taken in the first round. But unfortunately Thomas has regressed, Jones has struggled under pressure, and some of the other top quarterbacks at the start of the year like Georgia’s Aaron Murray and Tennessee Vols QB Tyler Bray have fallen short of expectations. At this point the only quarterbacks I am confident putting a first round grade on are USC’s Matt Barkley, Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson, and West Virgina QB Geno Smith. In order I put them Wilson, Smith and Barkley, but overall this group of quarterbacks are down in terms of excitement.
One note though. This won’t stop teams from drafting them early. Everyone understands how vital it is to have a top quarterback, and so with the financial anchor removed with rookie contracts, teams will continue to draft risky quarterbacks early, and hope they work out.
Part of the surge in popularity in the safety position in the NFL is spurred by the increase in the passing game. Safetys can’t just be an extension of the front 7, stuffing the run and hiding in the box. On most teams the role of a free safety and strong safety are so similar they are almost interchangeable. Because of this, teams want these uber athletic, do-it-all safetys.
And with that we have this group. At the start of the year I only had one safety, LSU’s Eric Reid as a first round prospect, but since then USC’s TJ McDonald, University of Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, and Oklahoma’s Tony Jefferson are all in the first round mix, with 4 or 5 guys behind them that could be taken in the 2nd round. The safety position in the NFL has become high profile but it short on talent so seeing a few overdrafted won’t shock me at all.
Big stock down here. Going into the year the discussion was how many picks would go in the top 10. Now, I’m not entirely sure if any corner will be taken in the first ten picks. North Carolina State’s David Amerson entered the year as the top player, but he’s struggled, while LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu has essentially ruined his NFL chances through a series of very bad choices. Even the rest of the players who might be considered a first round pick have flaws in their games that will push them down. This is a group that is big and strong, but lacking speed and teams love those low 40 times.
Teams will still reach for these players, mainly because cornerback is such a need position in a pass first league. For me, I only have 3 corners with first round grades, and that’s being generous. If there’s a corner in this draft who can move up into the top of the round it’s probably Alabama’s DeMarcus Milliner. But even he doesn’t compare to the top corners from recent drafts.