The 2013 NFL Draft is still a long ways away, obviously. But even though there are still many months to go before the big day, there were some very important lessons to be learned from the first week of college football. Before assessing how this year’s Heisman candidates and overall top-tier prospects performed, though, it’s worth noting what is and isn’t fair to take away from the (extended) weekend that was.
First and foremost: skill position players are much easier to evaluate in the early going of a season than defensive or o-line players. Whereas quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs can just explode in Week 1 (Matt Barkley, Cordarrelle Patterson, etc.), even the best defensive players around often don’t see or experience enough action in the first few games (Sam Montgomery, William Gholston, Star Lotulelei, etc.) to make a statement.
Also, it’s important to remember that sometimes players just come out of the gate rusty. Everyone is allowed a bad game and, more often than not, your first game back from an extended break is when you’ll be most uncoordinated. That feels like the only way to explain David Amerson’s awful showing this week. You’ll notice, we didn’t penalize him too much in the draft for the way he got worked versus Tennessee because, really, we just can’t believe that he’ll be that bad for the rest of the season.
Finally, it’s also worth keeping in mind that players who were already on your radar are more likely to stay on your radar after Week 1, even if they performed poorly. And on the flip side, players who weren’t on your radar but may have had good games, unfortunately, will need to prove that their first week showings weren’t flukes before they can become mainstays atop the draft board.
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As far as the order goes – we used the one that CBS Sports put together for their draft board. They didn’t really provide an explanation for how they came up with it, however, presumably it was based off power rankings or preseason predictions or something. It really doesn’t matter. For the first few weeks, mock drafts are more about talent evaluation and comparing prospects to other prospects playing the same position than they are about filling needs. That’ll change as the NFL season kicks off and the college football season progresses.
With all that in mind, here is how we see picks 1-7 turning out.