2013 NFL Draft Early Entries
By Pete Fiutak
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- 2013 Early-Entries -
The 2013 NFL Draft
A whopping 69 players are taking off early, but it's not like the influx of young talent is helping out a relatively mediocre draft. Texas A&M DE Damontre Moore, Georgia LB Jarvis Jones, Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel, LSU DE Barkevious Mingo and Florida State DE Bjoern Werner are all destined to go in the top ten, and Alabama CB Dee Milliner and Auburn DE Corey Lemonier will boost up the top 15, but it's not like 2010 when Cam Newton, Von Miller, Marcell Dareus, A.J. Green, Patrick Peterson, Julio Jones and Aldon Smith made up a whopper of a top seven.
Last year was even stronger up top with Andrew Luck, RG3, Trent Richardson, Matt Kalil, Justin Blackmon, Morris Claiborne, Ryan Tannehill, Luke Kuechly and Stephon Gilmore all going in the top ten. This year, the top early entries are building blocks and potentially good starters, but there aren't any sure-thing superstars.
The Kansas City Chiefs
In 2003, the Cleveland Cavaliers had the good fortune of getting the No. 1 overall pick when LeBron James was there for the taking. In 2004, Orlando was handed Dwight Howard. Milwaukee had the bad luck of having the top pick in 2005 and took Andrew Bogut, and Toronto got a raw deal in 2006 and took Andrea Barnani. The Kansas City Chiefs are suffering from a case of bad timing, being a year too late and missing out on Andrew Luck.
The Chiefs desperately need a quarterback, but unless they can trade down they're not going to take Geno Smith. Star Lotulelei is the best overall prospect in the draft, but KC invested heavily in defensive linemen over the last several years taking Glenn Dorsey, Tyson Jackson and Dontari Poe, with little to show for it. Lotulelei is a building block, but this is a good class of defensive tackles and KC can find value later in the draft – it's doubtful it'll find any takers to move up to pay the premium for the top spot.
Every year LSU loses players early to the NFL, and every year the program restocks the shelves. However, this time around it's a little bit different, with the open hostility from some parts against those who were thinking about taking off early. It also stinks that the Tigers are losing some really, really good players, even though offensive tackle Chris Faulk wasn't a part of the fun this year after suffering a major knee injury, and life will go on without running back Michael Ford.
Bennie Logan was yet another good defensive tackle in a long line of excellent LSU interior players, and Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery were strong pass rushers who'll be instant starters at the next level. Eric Reid has been among the best defensive backs in America over the last few years and turned into a leader in the defensive back seven, and Tharold Simon emerged as a good do-it-all corner.
Like most top SEC teams, Georgia is known for stockpiling the NFL with fresh bodies, and it's also known for sending them up early. While getting back quarterback Aaron Murray is a nice boost for 2013 – leading an offense that should be unstoppable at times – the defense can't help but take a step back after losing pass rusher extraordinaire, Jarvis Jones, along with playmaking linebacker Alex Ogletree, who can work inside or out in any defensive system. The defensive interior has lots of work to do after losing John Jenkins, who never quite lived up to the hype, but was still a solid starter, and Kwame Geathers, who had rare size to stick on the inside.
It's not like a few years ago when the Sooners seemed to own the first part of the draft, but Bob Stoops has brought in the Hello! talent on a regular basis and constantly has to deal with losing key parts to the puzzle.
Tony Jefferson tackled just about everything in sight as part safety and part linebacker; he'll be missed even though OU has become a factory for defensive backs. Sooner receivers haven't done much of anything in the NFL, but Kenny Stills is an explosive target who could break the mold. Linebacker Tom Wort was an emotional leader for a good defensive front seven.
The Seminoles have been immune, for the most part, from major personnel losses over the last few years, mainly because the talent level hasn't been up to normal snuff, but that's quickly changing.
End Bjoern Werner wasn't always consistent, but he was the team's top pass rusher and will be a mortal lock to go in the top ten overall. Also gone is Menelik Watson, a big-bodied blocker who was a key part of the FSU attack. Xavier Rhodes might not be the first corner taken off the board, but he's destined to go in the first round with a rare combination of size and speed.
It's not nearly as bad as last year after losing Andrew Luck and some key linemen early, but the Rose Bowl champions are losing some key parts. Zach Ertz was a go-to tight end who'll be missed by quarterback Kevin Hogan. As if losing one great tight end wasn't enough, losing massive Levin Toilolo early really hurts. Also gone is corner Terrence Brown, who's ready to go after being on track to graduate, but he's not a sure thing to be drafted.
- 2013 Early-Entries -