Posted: Wed January 23, 2013 12:51PM; Updated: Wed January 23, 2013 5:25PM
Chris Burke
Chris Burke>INSIDE THE NFL DRAFT

2013 NFL Draft Big Board 1.0

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Luke Joeckel, the 2012 Outland Trophy winner, is very much in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick.
Luke Joeckel, the 2012 Outland Trophy winner, is very much in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick.
Tim Heitman/USA Today Sports

Three months still stand between us and the 2013 NFL Draft, meaning that any attempt to rank prospects -- be it here or elsewhere -- figures to see seismic shifts before the league arrives at Radio City Music Hall.

Between the Senior Bowl, Scouting Combine and individual team workouts, the members of this year's draft class still have ample opportunities to build up or break down their respective stocks. There are, however, some prospects that separated themselves from the pack during the college football season.

As is the nature of scouting the draft, of course, the prospects that jumped out for me may not be the same ones that caught your eye. So, check out the first 2013 NFL Draft Big Board of the year, then let us know where you agree or (more likely) disagree with the rankings. You can read my rationale for a few key decisions in this version of the Big Board.

And away we go ...

Chris Burke's NFL Draft Big Board
1
Luke Joeckel
Texas A&M, junior
6-6, 310
OT
Joeckel is not flawless, but his talent level and ability to step in at a highly coveted position (left tackle) will land him atop just about every board. He possesses that combo of quickness and power that NFL teams crave. Defensive linemen best be on guard for his cut blocks.
 
2
Chance Warmack
Alabama, senior
6-2, 322
OG
I'll be honest: I fiddled with Warmack as the draft's No. 1 prospect. Guards rarely come off the board early, but Warmack is a transcendent talent at the position. Alabama's offense was built to mash on the ground, but he can step back and pass block, too.
 
3
Damontre Moore
Texas A&M, junior
6-4, 250
DE
Versatility. That's why Moore is in the upper echelon of this draft class. He is a massive headache for offensive tackles -- 12.5 sacks this season -- and would fit as either a 4-3 DE or 3-4 edge-rushing linebacker. Moore will make a ton of plays from the get-go.
 
4
Eric Fisher
Central Michigan, senior
6-7, 305
OT
The buzz continues to grow around Fisher, bolstered by a strong start to Senior Bowl week. The big fella's legit, as evidenced by his performance against Michigan State's William Gholston in September. Bull rushes can knock Fisher on his heels, but he is not far behind Joeckel in terms of ability.
 
5
Dee Milliner
Alabama, junior
6-1, 198
CB
You'll hear some people say that Milliner's stock is being propped up by need -- NFL teams are desperate for CBs, and there are not many elite options this year. Don't buy it. Milliner has terrific size and constantly makes plays on the football.
 
6
Bjoern Werner
Florida State, junior
6-4, 256
DE
Let the J.J. Watt comparisons fly. Werner is a lanky, athletic end, who can pressure the QB (13 sacks in 2012) or get his hands in passing lanes. He'll occasionally relax, especially on run plays, and unlike Watt probably has to play in a 4-3 -- two reasons he's behind Moore.
 
7
Jarvis Jones
Georgia, junior
6-2, 242
OLB
Jones' medical history could hurt him -- he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis in 2009. If he finds his way onto a 3-4 defense, he will be a terror from the outside; a 4-3 transition will be more difficult, since Jones has little experience as a strong-side linebacker.
 
8
Star Lotulelei
Utah, senior
6-3, 320
DT
Lotulelei is a viable candidate whether a team uses 4-3 or 3-4 looks primarily. He actually did some of his best work, as USC found out, when lined up directly over the center. He's not a great pass rusher and takes some plays off, but he can improve in both areas.
 
9
Keenan Allen
California, junior
6-3, 210
WR
One of my favorite players in this year's draft. Allen lined up both out wide and in the slot for Cal, a testament to his talents both as a field-stretching deep threat and someone who won't hesitate to go over the middle.
 
10
Barkevious Mingo
LSU, junior
6-4, 240
DE
More and more, NFL front offices are drooling over players with pure athleticism -- especially with the read-option now integrated into several offenses. And Mingo might be the most athletic defender in this draft, even if he will need time to grow his game.
 
11
Cordarrelle Patterson
Tennessee, junior
6-3, 205
WR
Fire up Patterson's game against Missouri if you really want to see the total package. He returned kicks, ran off a direct snap, lined up at running back, threw a pass and averaged 17.7 yards on three catches. Patterson has great hands and uses his body well.
 
12
Dion Jordan
Oregon, senior
6-6, 243
DE
Heading into this season there were doubts about Jordan's ability to play as an outside linebacker in the NFL. No more. Despite a recent injury setback (labrum surgery), Jordan could hear his name called early thanks to his versatility.
 
13
Alec Ogletree
Georgia, junior
6-3, 234
LB
Keep an eye on Ogletree at the upcoming Combine -- his explosiveness will leave scouts salivating. Ogletree played inside for Georgia, but his speed and sideline-to-sideline coverage range will open the door for a number of positional possibilities.
 
14
Sheldon Richardson
Missouri, junior
6-3, 295
DT
Some folks have Richardson tabbed as a top-10 pick. I'm a little more on the fence. Richardson will be one of the NFL's quicker DTs, and he proved time and again to be a pest along the interior. But he also needs to improve as a pass rusher, and carries some red flags.
 
15
Geno Smith
West Virginia, senior
6-3, 220
QB
It would have been nice to see Smith at the Senior Bowl, but he opted not to attend. This is a tough one -- Smith seemed to get worse and worse as West Virginia's season rolled on, but his talent as a pocket passer with decent athleticism is undeniable.
 
16
Alex Okafor
Texas, senior
6-4, 261
DE
This may be a bit of an overreach on Okafor (thanks, in part, to his 4.5-sack performance in Texas' bowl game). That said, he is a powerful pass rusher who uses his hands exceptionally well. He should be a solid, sometimes spectacular, NFL lineman.
 
17
Jonathan Cooper
North Carolina, senior
6-3, 310
OG
Cooper is not on Warmack's level, but he is an impressive interior lineman nonetheless. The ex-Tar Heel is quick for a 310-pounder, enabling him to find the second level or pull -- attributes that would serve him well on a team with a decent run game.
 
18
Ezekial Ansah
BYU, senior
6-5, 270
DE
Do comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul help or hurt here? At the very least, they are understandable since, like Pierre-Paul, Ansah is a freakish edge rusher; they also work because Ansah is raw. Expecting him to thrive as quickly as JPP did may be misguided.
 
19
Kenny Vaccaro
Texas, senior
6-1, 218
S
I have every expectation that Vaccaro will come off the board in the top 20, because he is a counter to the NFL's ongoing offensive revolution. He can tackle, defend the pass, drop down on tight ends and help with running QBs.
 
20
Sam Montgomery
LSU, junior
6-5, 260
DE
Montgomery does not mind getting his nose dirty, and he does a fine job staying with the play, be it a run or pass. The numbers speak for themselves: Montgomery finished in LSU's top 10 all-time in sacks (19) and tackles for loss (32.5).
 
21
Johnathan Hankins
Ohio State, junior
6-3, 320
DT
When Hankins wants to dominate, he's as good as maybe any defender in this draft. Be it fatigue or lack of effort, though, he was inconsistent for Ohio State this season -- and the latter of those two possibilities is a huge concern.
 
22
D.J. Fluker
Alabama, senior
6-4, 355
OT
Fluker is massive. He measured in at just shy of 6-5 at the Senior Bowl, with an 87-inch wingspan. Is he quick enough to play left tackle in the NFL? Maybe not. But his size, and the ability to use it well, will make him a coveted right tackle.
 
23
Manti Te'o
Notre Dame, senior
6-2, 255
LB
Te'o's presence as a top-fiveĀ  pick, as some speculated, never made much sense, even before his bizarre recent story. The BCS title game showed why: Te'o will lose battles if his D-line struggles. Yet, at some point in the draft value-wise, Te'o's positives will outweigh his negatives.
 
24
Shariff Floyd
Florida, junior
6-3, 303
DT
Floyd played both DE and DT for the Gators -- he performed more consistently along the interior. He seems better suited there, too, though Floyd also could do some work as a 3-4 end. His willingness to move positions to help the Gators will score him points.
 
25
Tavon Austin
West Virginia, senior
5-9, 175
WR
Austin did himself no favors by pulling out of the Senior Bowl at the last moment. At just 5-9, Austin is undersized, but his speed and triple-threat skills (rusher, receiver, return man) could push him into the first round. He's a mismatch nightmare for defenses.
 
26
Zach Ertz
Stanford, junior
6-6, 252
TE
Tight ends dominated the NFL's conference championship weekend, and Ertz could be a major weapon starting as soon as 2013. He can get open, whether used as a downfield threat or sideline-to-sideline, plus delivers as a solid blocker.
 
27
Xavier Rhodes
Florida State, junior
6-1, 217
CB
Rhodes might wind up as a top-15 or -20 pick. He definitely will be intriguing for teams that want to play a Seattle-like defensive style, which is highlighted by physical corners outside. Rhodes thrives in press coverage and could wind up being a shut-down guy.
 
28
Kevin Minter
LSU, junior
6-1, 245
LB
Minter said he received a third-round grade from the NFL Draft advisory board, but it is hard to imagine him lasting that long. His smarts and ability to get to the football could turn him into an immediate-impact player.
 
29
Matt Elam
Florida, junior
5-10, 202
S
Smaller than Vaccaro, but Elam similarly flashed the potential to be effective creeping close to the line or playing deep coverage. He turned in a very strong performance against Louisville in the Sugar Bowl, preceding his decision to turn pro.
 
30
Barrett Jones
Alabama, senior
6-4, 305
C
Our third Alabama lineman in the top 30, Jones played all over the offensive line, a plus that will help his draft stock. He also somehow battled through a Lisfranc fracture to suit up for the title game. Jones does not leap off the screen when watching tape, but he is as reliable as they come.
 
31
DeAndre Hopkins
Clemson, junior
6-1, 200
WR
The WR group figures to be pretty fluid between now and April, but there are only a few guys who could leapfrog Hopkins. Hopkins displayed elite hands and a top-notch ability to find space en route to 1,400 yards receiving and 18 TDs this season.
 
32
Kawann Short
Purdue, senior
6-3, 308
DT
Defensive tackle is another spot where any number of guys could flip-flop draft positions. Consider me on the Short bandwagon, however, after watching him occupy double- and triple-teams throughout Purdue's season. He needs to bulk up a bit, though.
 
33
Matt Barkley
USC, senior
6-2, 230
QB
Even though Barkley's stock may have plummeted this season, he still brings enough to the table to easily warrant first-round consideration. His arm, size and mediocre escapability will work against him, though
 
34
Eddie Lacy
Alabama, junior
6-1, 220
RB
There are arguments to be made for Giovanni Bernard, Montee Ball and others as the draft's top back. Give me Lacy, and his tough, one-cut style. He runs extremely hard, with a lethal spin move. The concern: Was Lacy a product of Alabama's elite line?
 
35
John Jenkins
Georgia, senior
6-3, 359
DT
From a potential standpoint, Jenkins could make a case as a top-15 guy, especially for a team needing a 3-4 anchor. But he was up and down this season, and he struggled out of the blocks at Senior Bowl practice.
 
36
Margus Hunt
SMU, senior
6-8, 277
DE
Six-8, 277 pounds. That's a hard-to-process combination, and it hints at Hunt's ceiling -- once he grows up, he could be a star. On the flip side, the fact that you can watch SMU game tapes and not notice him for extended stretches is a worry.
 
37
Johnthan Banks
Mississippi State, senior
6-1, 185
CB
Banks' playmaking ability could bump him up well above this pegging, possibly even into a top-20 pick. However, he seemed to have issues against faster opponents, so he needs to land with a team able to provide him support there.
 
38
Lane Johnson
Oklahoma, senior
6-6, 302
OT
Don't be shocked if Johnson winds up a first-round pick -- he was recruited by Oklahoma as a tight end, and that athleticism has served him well. He's also still learning because of the switch he made to the line, but his size and potential are key selling points.
 
39
Khaseem Greene
Rutgers, senior
6-0, 236
LB
Greene's move from safety pleasantly paid off, as he developed into a terrific linebacker with above-average agility. That time at safety also gives him an advantage in coverage. Is he maxed out on size? He may wind up as an OLB/ILB 'tweener if so.
 
40
Tyler Eifert
Notre Dame, senior
6-6, 251
TE
As with Stanford's Ertz, Eifert has the physical attributes to be a stellar target with the right quarterback. He can go up over cornerbacks, thanks to his size, or use his hands and quickness to free himself up over the middle. His blocking prowess pales compared to Ertz, though.
 
 
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