We are nearing closer and closer to the biggest event of the NFL offseason, as the 2013 NFL Draft is now less than three weeks away. This year in particular, it’s been harder than ever to predict how things will shake out.
Not only is there not a consensus number one overall pick in this year’s draft, even the top five and top ten seem to be completely up in the air, and not even the so-called draft experts can predict what we’ll see on draft day.
One of the more intriguing prospects in this year’s class is Alabama offensive guard Chance Warmack, a guy who has gotten his share of superlatives from analysts as possible the best guard prospect in a generation.
It’s rare to see guards go in the top ten overall of the draft, but there is precedent for it happening in the past. I’m just not sure that it would be very wise for any team with a top ten pick in this year’s draft to do the same.
It’s not a knock at all on Warmack’s ability. I’m just not sure there’s a lot of value in taking him with a top ten pick, no matter how good a prospect he is, especially with this 2013 class that’s so deep at the guard position.
The New York Jets are selecting ninth overall in the upcoming draft, and on paper, they might look like a team that could consider Warmack at that spot. Both of their starting guards from last year are gone, for one.
But why use the ninth overall pick on Warmack when you can draft a guard a little later than that might be just as good a pro prospect as Warmack, like UNC’s Jonathan Cooper or Kentucky’s Larry Warford, for example?
Heck, you might be able to (in theory) trade down outside the top ten and get Warmack or Cooper later in the first round, or Warford in the second round. That’s much better value than buying into the hype around a top ten guard.
I don’t doubt the experts who claim that Warmack really is that good of a prospect. But at the end of the day, a prospect is still a prospect. There’s no such thing as a true “can’t-miss” prospect, at any position, any given year.
How do we know, without a shadow of a doubt, that Warmack will be the best pro guard in this draft class five to ten years from now, but Cooper, Warford or a handful of other later-round prospects won’t be? We just don’t.
The bottom line is that, if your team needs a guard, you should get better value being patient than jumping on Warmack early. Not because of Warmack’s weaknesses, but because of the overall depth of guards in this class.
I have no reason to doubt that Chance Warmack will be a good pro. But that doesn’t mean teams should pass up talent at another position early in the draft when another guard of similar ability to Warmack can be had later.
There’s a chance that Warmack does become the best guard in forever. However, it’s just as likely that another guard (or guards) emerge as better pros. Why take one early when you might able to get a similar one later on?
There’s a reason guards rarely go too early most years. The Jets shouldn’t buck that trend in 2013.