Curt's Big 32 for the 2013 NFL Draft-UPDATED
Written by Curt Popejoy on 09/03/2012
Please keep in mind, this is my list of who I like. This has nothing to do with predicting where they will be drafted. If I were an NFL GM, if all positions were on the board, this would be my top 32 guys. You couldn't really go wrong with any of these guys, but don't be shocked that my order doesn't fall in line with what most believe.
Obviously I reserve the right to make changes to this as the season goes on, and it is of course a fluid list.
1. Jarvis Jones, DE/LB Georgia - I was a little shocked when Jones didn't declare last year, and this year he's going to get picked apart compared to last season, so he's going to need to do even better just to hold serve on where he was last year. He's a remarkable edge rusher with all the explosion and intensity you have to possess to succeed.
2. DeMarcus Milliner, CB Alabama - I really debated putting Milliner this high, but I have a feeling by the end of the season he's really going to establish himself as a No. 1 corner and with his physical style of play and solid mechanics. Could move to free safety in the NFL and play at a very high level.
3. Logan Thomas, QB Virginia Tech - As I said in my over drafted article, I am very optimistic that Thomas is going to blow up this season and cement his spot as the top quarterback in the draft. His size and speed remind some folks of Cam Newton and if his arm can come along like I expect it to, he could end up being the No. 1 overall pick. I think he's a more athletic Ben Roethlisberger, but still a fabulous prospect.
4. DJ Fluker, OT Alabama - Fluker has the chance this season as he moves to LT to cement himself as the best offensive line prospect in this draft. He's one of the most athletic big men to come out in recent memory, and it's his combination of size and power with superior footwork and quickness along with the fact he plays a premier position that puts him near the top of my list.
5. Tyler Wilson, QB Arkansas - If Logan Thomas can't put together the dream season I predict, I really expect to see Wilson at the very top of the first round next season. My favorite comparison to Wilson is Brett Favre with his brash style of play, strong arm and ability to stand in the pocket and make plays knowing he's going to get hit. he's fearless and physically imposing and promising to be a great quarterback for a long time.
6. Sam Montgomery, DE/LB LSU - The Argument that will rage all year is going to be whether Montgomery or Jarvis Jones will be the first hybrid rush LB off the board and can both of them go Top 10. I think Jones will edge him out, but I have no doubt that he along with the long explosive Montgomery will be in that top 10 mix. His first step is probably better than Jones and he's almost impossible to stop without a double team.
7. Marcus Lattimore, RB South Carolina - It's hard to find backs with the size and speed combo of Lattimore in the NFL much less in college football. The only question is will the knee be ready and can he return to his 2010 form? If the answers are yes, then Lattimore will be in high demand come next April as every team wants a guy they can feature on 3 downs, being able to run it and as a very polished receiver out of the backfield.
8. Jake Matthews, OT Texas A&M - The Aggies have a fabulous tandem of tackles with Matthews and Luke Joeckel, but Matthews is clearly the better of the two. I don't care that Matthews is a RT now, because that's all about the spoils of the Aggies talent. I have no doubt with a big season this year, he can declare early and then show he can make that move to the left side.
9. Star Lotulelei, DT Utah - This group of defensive tackles isn't deep, but there are some real stars at the top and Lotulelei is the very top. He's got size that allows a team to use him in multiple ways, and the athleticism to pull it off. For a guy who's asked to do a lot he never fails to deliver. He's got a high football IQ and that makes his entire defense better.
10. Barrett Jones, OL Alabama - The do it all lineman for the Crimson Tide. The fact that he's been moved around so much might hurt his overall draft stock because teams aren't sure what to do with him, but I think his ability to play multiple positions at an All-American level only enhances his draft stock.
11. Robert Woods, WR USC - Interesting I put Woods as my first wide out, when I'm not sure he's the best receiver on his own team. But in this draft, Woods is the man. He doesn't dominate in any area, but he can do a little of everything. Biggest thing for him to overcome is the stigma attached to recent USC wide outs who've fizzled out in the NFL.
12. . David Amerson, CB North Carolina State - Cornerback is a coveted position and Amerson is head and shoulders better than the next best guy. His size makes NFL GM's dreamy but he plays like a smaller DB with quick feet nice turn and great technique.
13. Matt Barkley, QB USC - Speaking of USC players who have to overcome the stigma of their school, here's another. Barkley has become the anointed one by most as the top player in the 2013 NFL draft, but that's not something I am buying. He's got shortcomings in his game(pun intended) that I want to see him overcome before I am willing to say he's the next great USC quarterback to struggle in the NFL.
14. Ricky Wagner, OT Wisconsin - When it all shakes out next April, I expect great debate on just how high to draft Wagner among the other top tackles. His run blocking is as good as anyone I've seen in recent years and he's a better athlete than you might realize. If he ends up in the top 5, I won't be at all surprised.
15. Taylor Lewan, OT Michigan- Lewan lands on the list after a great performance against the Alabama Crimson Tide defense. He did it all, and held up to all the pressure that Crimson Tide D can dish out. If he keeps playing like that, he'll keep on moving up.
16. Alex Okafor, DE Texas - One half of the best defensive end tandem in college football. What I like about Okafor is there's no doubt about what he can do, and where he can play. No one is going say he's too small to play end or too slow to play LB. He is an all around end who is just as adept at shedding blockers and making plays in the run game as he is getting after the quarterback.
17. . Chance Warmack, G Alabama - One last Roll Tide! There's always one pure guard that catches my eye and this year it is clearly Warmack. He's so big and so strong, and uses his hands so well it makes up for the fact he's not very quick on his feet.
18. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE Texas - The other half of the Longhorn dynamic duo. I have Jeffcoat slightly lower than Okafor mainly due to size, where Jeffcoat is built more like a 3-4 rush OLB, and his injury history which has limited him. The skills are there, nearly on par with Jarvis Jones and Sam Montgomery, he just has to put it all together for a full season.
19. Manti Te'o, LB Notre Dame - While I don't put Te'o in the same class as Luke Keuchly, he's very close. He plays hardcore, smash you in the face football and is gifted enough physically that he wouldn't have to come off the field in passing situations
20. Johnthan Banks, CB Mississippi State - The great cornerback with the funny name. Seriously if you want to know who the best all around corner in the SEC is, a lot of people think it's Banks. I know he certainly does and I've always said I like that level of arrogance on a defensive back. He's got a long lean body and excellent ball skills. He's got to hit the weight room and get stronger, particularly in run support but the tools are all in place.
21. Tyler Bray, QB Tennessee - If Bray doesn't have a big season, it's going to be a huge disappointment. He's very much a prototypical NFL quarterback, he just needs to prove himself with a full season to cement himself as a first round pick.
22. Knile Davis, RB Arkansas - I know that all the talk is about Lattimore, but I happen to think that a healthy Knile Davis is just as athletic and dynamic as any back in the game. They key is of course his health. If he is, The Razorbacks even with Tyler Wilson are going to lean heavily on the run game and Davis is as fun to watch as any player in the country for me, and can cement himself as a first round pick with a big season.
23. Johnathan Hankins, DT Ohio State - Hankins very quietly has become one of the best interior defensive linemen in the nation. Huge run stuffer who can play multiple spots on the line and just needs to learn to control that rage and play more within the system rather than freelance trying to make every play.
24. Barkevious Mingo, DE/LB LSU - This year we should get to see much more of what Mingo can do. Last year he was primarily a rush specialist but I am hoping to see a much more complete player this year. If he is, he's going to be considered among the top 5 defensive players, and if not, he's still explosive enough as a pass rusher that some team will fall in love with him in the first round.
25. Bjoern Werner, DE/LB Florida State-Werner wasted no time this season working to separate himself from teammate Brandon Jenkins. Werner was unblockable and while he likely can't do that every week, he really impressed me, more so than all last season.
26. Marquess Wilson, WR Washington State - Speed kills and that makes Wilson a killer. On a team without a ton of talent, Wilson has become the focus of the offense and has run up big numbers. This year I expect him to be even better, and if he can polish up the rough edges a little, he'll move way up.
27. Eric Reid, S LSU - The new safety position in the NFL requires the player to do it all. Be big and physical in run support, play center field in zone, man up on tight ends and backs, and even be a good blitzer. Reid is one of 2 safetys in this draft who do all of this at a high level. Reid's level of play has been exceptional during his career at LSU.
28. Le'Veon Bell, RB Michigan State- Bell came out and had a huge outing against the Boise State defense. He's got tremendous size and power and showed last week he can be a workhorse for the Spartan offense. Can't wait to see more of this young man.
29. Kenny Vaccaro, S Texas - The next big do it all safety on this list. Vaccaro might not be the coverage player that Reid is, he's a more physical player, particularly in the run game and packs a wallop.
30. Bennie Logan, DT LSU - If you loved Michael Brockers last year, you'll really love Logan this year. He's a little smaller, but he's much quicker and more polished a player. I have to watch Logan carefully as the rest of that defense demands so much attention, but I happen to feel he's an elite player in his own right and in the right system can really excel.
31. CJ Mosley, LB Alabama - Another year another first round Crimson Tide linebacker who can seemingly do it all. With Nick Saban's defense, being able to cover a lot of field and make plays from multiple positions is key and Mosley is a very good football player who should be able to slide between inside and outside linebacker in the NFL.
32. Kawann Short, DT Purdue - On a defensive line that doesn't have a lot of star power, Short has to deal with constant double and triple teams. But when you are as big and strong and agile, you can win those battles. He'll need to develop much better technique in the NFL, but not having 3 in his face every play will help that
Just Missed the Cut
Brandon Jenkins, DE FSU - Jenkins is another tweener who's going to have to find a team that is willing to work with him, but his explosion and athletic ability will be hard for teams to pass on. In another draft, I might put Jenkins higher, but there is an awful lot of similar types of players I like more
Geno Smith, QB West Virginia-If there's a player who could re-make himself and turn himself into an elite prospect it's Smith. He's got all the tools, and just needs to perform week after week in the Big 12, to get the pub he needs to fly up draft boards.
Sean Porter, LB Texas A&M - Porter was the best pass rusher in the Big 12 last year, and only looks to improve this season. He's a little undersized but shows great explosion off the edge, keeps his pads low and finished plays. He'll need to beef up a little in the NFL, but his talent is undeniable.
Keenan Allen, WR Cal - Allen is a freakish athlete who should remind football fans of another former Cal Bear, DeSean Jackson. One advantage Allen has over Jackson is he's much bigger and stronger and when you consider how poor the Cal QB play was last year, what he did is even more impressive.
Last Edited: 07/25/2012