While the 2012 NFL Draft may have ended only three days ago, it’s never too early to begin looking at next year’s draft class.
Here are my top 25 prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Note: “(JR)” indicates that the prospect is a draft-eligible junior.
1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC: To put in to perspective how high I am on Barkley, if he would’ve entered the 2012 draft, I would’ve had him as my highest-rated player.
2. Robert Woods, WR, USC (JR): No wide receiver in the country has the natural ball skills that Woods has.
3. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina (JR): He’s every bit of a complete running back as Trent Richardson, although it’s still unknown how well Lattimore will recover from a torn ACL he suffered last season.
4. David Amerson, CB, NC State (JR): There’s no better all-around cover-man in this draft class. At 6’3″, Amerson is bigger than most receivers, which allowed him to amass 13 interceptions in 2011.
5. Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia (JR): An explosive rusher off the edge who thrives in Georgia’s 3-4 defense.
6. Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee (JR): I’m a bit higher on Bray than others, but his 6’6″ frame, big-time arm and strong body of work in the SEC will surely result in NFL success.
7. Keenan Allen, WR, California (JR): Any receiver who can catch 98 passes in California’s offense has to be talented. He’s a great size and speed receiver who will only get better with more quality quarterback play to help him.
8. Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame: A tackling machine who can play any of the three linebacker positions in a 4-3 defense.
9. Sam Montgomery, DE/OLB, LSU (JR): A gifted pass rusher who is still working on filling in his 6’4″, 245 pound frame.
10. Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU: Mingo and Montgomery are head-to-head as draft prospects. It’ll be interesting to see which one emerges as the better prospect during the 2012 season.
11. Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas: Wilson’s arm strength is his forte, but he’s as accurate as any other quarterback in the country.
12. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah: I’ve only seen Lotulelei play the slightest bit, but what I like is his deceptive speed and agility for his size.
13. Eric Reid, S, LSU (JR): There was no better play-making safety in the country in 2011 than Eric Reid.
14. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas (JR): The 6’5 defensive end recorded 7.5 sacks in his first full season as a starter. He has as much potential as any other defensive player in the draft.
15. Jonathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State (JR): A force in the middle of the Buckeyes defense who will only get better as the season progresses.
16. D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama (JR): A bruising right tackle at Alabama who will move to left tackle in the NFL.
17. Alex Okafor, DE, Texas: A rangy pass rusher who is just reaching his potential. He could have a breakout year in 2012.
18. Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin: He’s a typical Wisconsin offensive lineman: big, strong and fundamentally sound.
19. Robert Lester, S, Alabama: A solid cover safety who has the potential to be just as good as Mark Barron.
20. Barret Jones, OT, Alabama: There may not be a more versatile offensive lineman in the country than Jones. While he currently plays left tackle, he could play guard or center in the NFL.
21. Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami (JR): One of the highest-rated offensive tackles to come out of high school in recent memory, its time for Henderson to bring everything together in 2012.
22. Kawann Short, DT, Purdue: A versatile defensive lineman who may remind some of recently drafted Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.
23. Sean Porter, OLB, Texas A&M: A guy who could soar up draft boards during the 2012 season. The comparisons to Von Miller are justified by Porter’s 8.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss in 2011.
24. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin: Ball is not being rated as high on draft boards as he should be. He’s a compact and dynamic runner who could be a No.1 back in an NFL offense.
25. Matt Elam, S, Florida (JR): Don’t let his lack of height (5’10″) fool you. Elam is an exceptional athlete who does it all for the Gators defense.