The top of the 2013 NFL Draft isn’t particularly difficult to predict. Sure, players will shift up and down the board based on how the how their remaining college football games go, but the general theme of this year’s proceedings are clear. The first round will be dominated by defensive players, have some offensive line guys sprinkled in for flavor, and likely feature a lot fewer skill position prospects than folks are used to.
You will recall, at one point it was suggested that as many as five quarterbacks would go in the first round. Yeah, that’s not going to happen. Two is a far more realistic figure – three if we’re being generous. The scarcity extends to running backs and wide receivers, too. This is going to a defense and o-line first round.
While the general outline of this thing is more or less clear, the final fourth of the first round is always difficult to predict. Generally speaking, two types of players go at the bottom of the first: proven college prospects who don’t have as much physical talent, and unproven enigmas who have a ton of talent but lack track records. The complete players are selected early; projects fall into the 20-somethings.
Before proceeding on to how we figure the last bit of the first round will shake out, here are a few maintenance items be aware of:
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. 24-32 turning out.