NEPD Staff Writer: Dan Hope
The college football is winding down close to its end, but there are still six remaining teams, all from different conferences, who are still undefeated. All six of these teams — Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Louisville — have players who will be getting paid to play football on Sundays in 2013, which is part of the reason why each has yet to lose a game this season.
The amount of NFL talent on each team varies. Alabama is an NFL factory, with multiple potential first-round picks on both sides of the ball just one year removed from having five players selected in the top 35 picks of the 2013 NFL draft. On the other end of the spectrum, a team such as Louisville has no top 2013 prospects, but has players such as sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater who could be very high selections in 2014.
Regardless of the total talent on each team, the following article takes a look at the players who rates as the potential 2013 NFL draft prospect for each team.
Alabama: Senior offensive lineman Barrett Jones
There are multiple players who make a strong case for being Alabama’s best prospect for the 2013 NFL draft, but the best NFL player from this year’s Crimson Tide class could very well end up being their versatile and experienced leader of their offensive line, Barrett Jones.
Jones has played every offensive line position during his years at Alabama, and is capable of playing tackle, guard or center in the NFL. That being said, Jones is best suited to play on the interior line, but his ability to fill in anywhere on the line really maximizes his value.
As a sophomore, Jones was one of the best guards in all of college football. As a junior, Jones was a first-team All-American and Outland Trophy winner at the premier position on the offensive line, left tackle. As a senior, Jones moved inside to center, and has the inside track on being an All-American again.
Jones does not quite have the length or athleticism that NFL teams look for in a left tackle, but he could excel on the interior line. He rarely misses a block, uses his hands well and has very good feet. He is strong and powerful as a run blocker, and very good in pass protection.
Jones is a cerebral player who leads the Alabama line like an NFL veteran, and he will be ready to step in immediately and fill any position from left guard to right tackle on an offensive line.
His fellow linemate, Chance Warmack, may be more physically imposing in regards to his dominant strength and great athletic ability for his size, but Jones gets the nod over Warmack for his versatility. Other possible first-round picks for the Crimson Tide are cornerback Dee Milliner, safety Robert Lester and linebacker C.J. Mosley.
Oregon: Senior hybrid pass-rusher Dion Jordan
There is no team in college football that plays with more speed than the Oregon Ducks, and the reason they are able to do that so effectively is that they have freak-of-nature athletes on both sides of the ball. One player who fits that description perfectly is defensive end Dion Jordan.
Jordan has elite measurables, at 6’7’’ with long arms and a 40-yard dash time that is likely in the 4.5-second range. He has an explosive burst off the line, and his terrific reach coupled with ability to turn the corner and open-field speed make him a dynamic pass-rusher as well as a player who track down runners in the open field.
Jordan has elite pass-rushing potential, and given his tremendous all-around athletic ability and long but lanky build, he projects very well for playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. He could very well end up a first-round pick, but grades out as a second-rounder on my board due to inconsistent tackling and a need to get stronger in point-of-attack run defense.
Kansas State: Senior linebacker Arthur Brown
Quarterback and Heisman favorite Collin Klein draws most of the attention on this team, which is warranted considering he is a great college quarterback, but he is not the best NFL prospect on the undefeated Wildcats. That distinction goes to Arthur Brown, an all-around playmaker at linebacker whose stock has risen quickly since his breakout junior season.
Since transferring to Kansas State from Miami (Fla.) before his junior season, he has emerged as one of the nation’s best linebackers. At only 6’1’’ and 230 pounds, Brown is an undersized linebacker, but he makes up for that with tremendous athletic ability, sound tackling and terrific instincts.
Brown is a playmaker who can impact the game in a variety of ways. He is a very good run stopper both in taking down backs coming at him and chasing them down in the open field, while he can also use his speed as a pass-rusher or drop back and make plays in coverage.
Brown does not quite have the size to be a 4-3 middle linebacker or a pass-rushing outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, but he projects well as a strongside linebacker or 3-4 inside linebacker. Brown is a similar prospect to Lavonte David (credit to Rotoworld’s Josh Norris for the comparison), who leads the Buccaneers in tackles this season after being selected with the No. 58 overall pick in the 2012 draft.
Brown will likely be selected in a similar position as David was, that being the latter half of the second round.