With the 2013 NFL Draft just a few short weeks away, I thought I would take a moment and go over my top 25 players that I have studied as we prepare for the draft. These are players that I have seen on film or watched work out at the Combine or maybe a Pro Day. Check back each week as I do more film study and gather information to get this list perfect for draft day.
- For my first overall player, I have Eric Fisher, the offensive tackle from Central Michigan. There is some really nice depth at tackle throughout this draft with three of them possibly going in the top 15. I think it's close between Fisher and Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M with Lane Johnson of Oklahoma in the mix as well. The tape on these tackles is outstanding and I can understand why people might have Joeckel a little higher than Fisher because of the conference that he plays in, but if you watch Fisher against the Big 10 teams he faced, plus what he saw at the Senior Bowl, he more than held his own. Johnson is the best athlete of the group and you can really see it in his play. Strength-wise, all three are on par with each other, which is surprising, but technique-wise, Fisher and Joeckel appear better.
- I have defensive tackles Sharrif Floyd of Florida and Star Loutulelei of Utah at numbers two and three on my board, respectively, which should not come as much of a surprise. Floyd is a player that I have been on since day one and there are times when I am studying other players from Florida on defense, but I am always peeking to see what he is doing during the play. Loutulelei will be a great fit in any scheme that he plays in. He is active and strong at the point. It looks like this heart condition is behind him and all has checked out well.
- I think there are more things that you can do with Jonathan Cooper of North Carolina than Chance Warmack of Alabama, which is why I have them at six and seven, respectively. Cooper to me would be better in a zone scheme where Warmack showed some better movement in his workout, so I am not as concerned as I once was but I like Cooper a tick more. Think Cooper could play center if he had to, although I don't believe that Warmack could.
- West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin might be the most interesting player in this draft, for several reasons. My old boss at the Packers, Ron Wolf, used to say that if a player is short, he had better be able to walk on water. I believe that Austin can do just that. You get a charge when you watch him play. He is one of those guys that can score from any point on the field. He is a difficult player to deal with because of his explosive burst and quickness. He puts huge pressure on the defense with the ball in his hands.
- Ziggy Ansah of BYU has not played much football in his career, but when he does play, you do see something in his game. I really do believe that he can flourish in the NFL as an edge rusher. He has quickness and length to his game. He is one of those players who is hard to run away from. He finds the ball and slides down the line of scrimmage, has a burst to close, and can redirect.
- Notre Dame has put some outstanding tight ends into this league over the years but Tyler Eifert is different in that he is not your normal inline "Y." He has some flexibility to him. What makes him different is there are plays where you see him line up as a wide receiver. He really does a nice job of getting up the field and adjusting to the ball, and is a difficult player to handle when he gets in the red zone. He plays with outstanding balance and awareness, doing a nice job of using his body to gain separation.
- I think there are some outstanding cornerbacks in this draft. It starts with Alabama's Dee Milliner, but keep an eye on Jonathan Banks from Mississippi State. Although his Combine 40 time was not great, when you study the games where he covers receivers from Tennessee, LSU and Texas A&M, no one is running away from him. He plays with very quick feet, with a burst and catch speed. He can really drive on the ball, and will usually draw the opponent's best receiver. Doing a nice job of reading routes, Banks knows how to play against the slant and plays well against the routes underneath. He also plays with awareness for his responsibilities. If he has a flaw, he just needs to get off blocks quicker, but teams can use him to cover in the slot because of his feet.
|1||Eric Fisher||OT||Central Michigan|
|4||Luke Joeckel||OT||Texas A&M|
|9||Tavon Austin||WR||West Virginia|
|13||Xavier Rhodes||CB||Florida State|
|15||Tyler Eifert||TE||Notre Dame|
|22||Johnthan Banks||CB||Mississippi State|
|24||Geno Smith||QB||West Virginia|
|25||Bjoern Werner||DE||Florida State|