March 21st Positional Rankings (Matthew Jones)

Florida State’s Cornellius Carradine sits atop my defensive end rankings. (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: Matthew Jones

You can find NEPD’s overall prospect rankings here; for variety’s sake, here’s a look at some of my own rankings at this point in the draft process, with notes for each position.

QUARTERBACK:

1. Geno Smith, West Virginia (6023, 218, 4.59)
2. Matt Barkley, Southern California (6024, 227, N/A)
3. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse (6022, 227, 5.06)
4. Mike Glennon, North Carolina St. (6071, 225, 4.94)
5. Tyler Wilson, Arkansas (6021, 215, 4.95)
6. E.J. Manuel, Florida St. (6045, 237, 4.65)
7. Tyler Bray, Tennessee* (6061, 232, 5.05)
8. Matt Scott, Arizona (6021, 213, 4.69)
9. Landry Jones, Oklahoma (6041, 225, 5.11)
10. Sean Renfree, Duke (6031, 219, N/A)

Notes: This isn’t an elite group of quarterbacks, but there are a few potential starters, primarily the top five listed, as well as some who profile as backups at the next level. It seems as though E.J. Manuel has been getting a little bit overrated lately due to the lack of top-end talent in the class. I have Wilson ranked a little bit lower because he has a fairly weak arm; Zac Dysert didn’t make the cut because he’s a very risky passer.

RUNNING BACK:

1. Eddie Lacy, Alabama* (5110, 231, N/A)
2. Giovani Bernard, North Carolina* (5083, 202, 4.53)
3. Montee Ball, Wisconsin (5104, 214, 4.66)
4. Le’Veon Bell, Michigan St.* (6013, 230, 4.60)
5. Stepfan Taylor, Stanford (5091, 214, 4.76)
6. Jawan Jamison, Rutgers* (5073, 203, 4.68)
7. Andre Ellington, Clemson (5092, 199, 4.61)
8. Mike Gillislee, Florida (5111, 208, 4.55)
9. Johnathan Franklin, UCLA (5100, 205, 4.49)
10. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina (5112, 221, N/A)

Notes: Lacy is by far the best back in the class; there really aren’t many guys that stand out here. It’s telling that most of the backs in my top ten posted sub-par 40-yard dash times. Teams will basically have the option of drafting a decent every-down guy or an intriguing committee back. Lattimore’s knee is a concern, but I’m willing to include him in the top ten because he’s a smooth runner. Kenjon Barner has a good case for a top-ten spot as well. I’m not too high on Joseph Randle.

WIDE RECEIVER:

1. Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee* (6017, 216, 4.42)
2. Tavon Austin, West Virginia* (5084, 174, 4.34)
3. Keenan Allen, California* (6020, 206, N/A)
4. Justin Hunter, Tennessee* (6040, 196, 4.44)
5. Robert Woods, Southern California* (6003, 201, 4.51)
6. Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech (6000, 204, 4.53)
7. Markus Wheaton, Oregon St. (5110, 189, 4.45)
8. Terrance Williams, Baylor (6020, 208, 4.52)
9. Stedman Bailey, West Virginia* (5102, 193, 4.52)
10. DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson* (6010, 214, 4.57)

Notes: DeAndre Hopkins is probably the name that will stand out most on this list; he just doesn’t have the explosiveness or quickness out of breaks that I’d prefer. The top six guys could be potential first-round picks, although I think only three or four will actually end up being selected there. I may be more confident in Justin Hunter than most; he has surprising flexibility and presents a real size mismatch, with the type of frame that can prevent defenders from being able to make a play.

TIGHT END:

1. Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame* (6054, 250, 4.68)
2. Zach Ertz, Stanford* (6050, 249, 4.76)
3. Vance McDonald, Rice (6041, 267, 4.69)
4. Travis Kelce, Cincinnati (6047, 255, N/A)
5. Jordan Reed, Florida* (6024, 236, 4.72)
6. Gavin Escobar, San Diego St.* (6056, 254, 4.84)
7. Chris Gragg, Arkansas (6026, 244, 4.50)
8. Nick Kasa, Colorado (6057, 269, 4.71)
9. Ryan Otten, San Jose St. (6052, 230, N/A)
10. Joseph Fauria, UCLA (6073, 259, N/A)

Notes: This isn’t really an incredible class, but a lot of the guys listed could end up as starters in the NFL. Eifert and Ertz should go in the second round, although one could slip into the first. Most of the top tight ends have worked extensively out of the slot, reflecting the movement towards spread attacks. One player missing from my rankings is Levine Toilolo, who seems like an average blocker and has questionable hands as well. I’d prefer Alabama’s Michael Williams over him.

OFFENSIVE TACKLE:

1. Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M* (6060, 306, 5.30)
2. Eric Fisher, Central Michigan (6072, 306, 5.05)
3. Lane Johnson, Oklahoma (6060, 303, 4.72)
4. Menelik Watson, Florida St.* (6051, 310, 5.29)
5. Terron Armstead, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (6046, 306, 4.71)
6. D.J. Fluker, Alabama* (6045, 339, 5.31)
7. Brennan Williams, North Carolina (6055, 318, N/A)
8. Kyle Long, Oregon (6061, 313, 4.94)
9. Rick Wagner, Wisconsin (6057, 308, 5.17)
10. Oday Aboushi, Colorado (6053, 308, 5.45)

Notes: This is a surprisingly athletic group of tackles. I really like the talent available through two rounds, although it tails off a little bit afterwards. D.J. Fluker and Kyle Long seem to be getting a little bit overrated, although either could end up starting. I don’t see Long as a guard; he’s too tall. Justin Pugh and David Bakhtiari are listed as guards, although they could draw some interest as tackle prospects as well. They’re a little bit smaller than the other players listed on here.

OFFENSIVE GUARD:

1. Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina (6021, 311, 5.07)
2. Chance Warmack, Alabama (6020, 317, 5.49)
3. Larry Warford, Kentucky (6030, 332, 5.58)
4. Justin Pugh, Syracuse* (6044, 307, 5.14)
5. David Bakhtiari, Colorado* (6042, 299, 5.09)
6. Dallas Thomas, Tennessee (6054, 306, N/A)
7. Alvin Bailey, Arkansas* (6031, 312, 4.95)
8. J.C. Tretter, Cornell (6035, 307, 5.09)
9. Brian Winters, Kent St. (6035, 320, N/A)
10. Earl Watford, James Madison (6033, 300, 5.06)

Notes: Cooper gets the top spot over Chance Warmack because he’s more scheme-versatile; there have also been some concerns regarding Warmack’s mental aptitude. Quite a few of the players listed here were tackles in college; typically they are able to transition to guard well at the next level. Travis Frederick and Barrett Jones could potentially play guard as well, and they’d probably be ranked in the top five, although both could be limited to man/power blocking schemes.

CENTER:

1. Barrett Jones, Alabama (6044, 306, N/A)
2. Travis Frederick, Wisconsin* (6035, 312, 5.58)
3. Khlaed Holmes, Southern California (6032, 302, N/A)
4. Brian Schwenke, California (6030, 314, 4.99)
5. Braxston Cave, Notre Dame (6032, 303, 5.33)

Notes: This isn’t a very deep center class; the players listed are the only ones I think have a legitimate shot of starting in the NFL. Outside of the top five, there are a few guys (Matt Stankiewitch, Mario Benavides, James Ferentz) who have the mental acumen to play in the NFL, but probably aren’t big or strong enough to make teams comfortable with starting them there. Jones and Frederick are intriguing for their ability to handle power, which should come in handy against 3-4 defenses.

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Tags: 2013 NFL Draft, Draft Rankings

2 Responses to “March 21st Positional Rankings (Matthew Jones)”

  1. Blackluck says:

    What do you think of A. Dobson (Marshall) and D. Rogers (character concerns aside)? Thinking of who might be available with our 2nd pick if we don’t make any trades.

    • Russell Easterbrooks says:

      I think Dobson, Rogers, Swopes, Harrison, may be WR’s available in the 3d round.






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