The 2013 NFL Draft promises to be an interesting one. Generally speaking, quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers tend to steal the show at these things because those are the positions that fans are more familiar with. Far more people know who Geno Smith is than know who Star Lotulelei is. You will get a lot more nods when discussing Marcus Lattimore than you will when opining about Kawann Short. It’s just the nature of how these things go.
That said, this draft isn’t exactly overflowing with talent at the skill positions. There are only two notable quarterbacks, one quality running back and a handful of solid wide receivers to speak of. That’s it. The real story of this draft is going to be the defensive players and, to a lesser degree, some interesting offensive line pieces.
We are obviously still a long ways away from the draft, however, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the second half of the proceedings will likely be dominated by non-skill position players. There are some debates being had regarding where Justin Hunter will go and how high scouts are on Tyler Wilson’s pro prospects but, for the most part, it appears as though picks 16 and onward will be dominated by an assortment of guys who, if you aren't a college football fan, you've probably never even heard of.
Before proceeding onto our actual mock draft, a few maintenance items that we mention every single time:
First and foremost, the draft order was determined by ESPN’s most recent power rankings. Obviously things will change as the season progresses, but that is the structure we opted to use for now. Two, we didn’t hold anyone’s Week 6 performances against them. Georgia’s players, LSU’s players, Texas’ players – we didn’t mark any of them down for their failures this week. There is just too much material on prospects at this point to mark them down for one bad showing. Finally, we weighted team needs over best player available whenever it was clear that a team had a really glaring hole. In the case of teams that didn’t have particularly glaring holes, we emphasized best player available.
With that in mind, here is how we envision picks Nos. 16-23 turning out.