One of the best things about the NFL Draft is the parody that comes along with grading players. Some teams may have a certain prospect rated as a top fifteen selection, whereas other teams may not even have that particular player in their top fifty. There is a lot of research that goes into formulating my final grade on a player: How productive they were in college, the type of competition they faced, how good they looked on tape, their mental grasp of the game, medical and durability concerns and workout numbers and measurables.
That being said, I look at all the aforementioned when coming up with an end grade on a player. However, one of the most important aspects when finalizing a player evaluation is determining their LTI or Length To Impact. What this means is that I put a weighted significance on a final grade based on the time I believe it will take for that particular prospect to make a successful transition to the NFL. The shorter the LTI -- the better.
Tier 1 Prospects
These prospects are who I believe are the cream of the crop. Players who have everything you look for as a prospect and have the ability to have long careers and earn Pro-Bowl and All-Pro accolades.
1. Chance Warmack, OG -- Alabama
The idea of an offensive guard being the top player on my board may catch a lot of people by surprise, but Warmack is perhaps the most gifted player in this years draft. He has the size, power, mentality and toughness to become a premier player in the NFL. A sure-fire Top 10 selection and a player who will no doubt see his fair share of Pro-Bowl and All-Pro honors.
When you look at Floyd's production at Florida, one may question why I have him this high. However, if you look closely at his tape you can see he moved around and played every position on the Gators front four. I believe his best fit at the NFL level is as a gap penetrating 3-technique who can use his quickness and power off the snap to dominate interior lineman at the next level.
3. Jonathan Cooper, OG -- North Carolina
Yet again, another guard tops my list of draft eligible players. When watching Cooper's tape, I immediately fell in love with his strong pass protection skills, but the nasty demeanor he shows in the run game. Not to mention the countless times I saw him pull from his guard position and pancake blockers 20+ yards down the field. It's no wonder why Giovanni Bernard was able to put up the kind of numbers he did.
4. Eric Fisher, OT -- Central Michigan
A lot of evaluators have Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel as this years best offensive tackle, but I have to respectfully disagree. Everything about Fisher's game is just so fluid. The way he moves his feet, how he uses his hands and how sound his technique is in both the run and pass game. Coincidentally, he reminds me of high caliber San Francisco 49ers lineman Joe Staley and should be able to become just as good as he is in the NFL.
5. Jarvis Jones, OLB -- Georgia
Spinal issues aside, Jarvis Jones was hands down one of the best players in college football over the past two seasons -- accumulating over 150 tackles, with almost a third of them being for loss in addition to 28 sacks. A team who runs a 3-4 defensive scheme is going to get a three down player who can rush the passer, stuff the run and even drop into coverage. He could be every bit as good as All-Pro linebacker Von Miller.
Tier 2 Prospects
Tier 2 prospects are guys I feel who will will come in and contribute at a high level as rookies and will enjoy long and successful careers in the NFL and eventually earn post-season honors.
6. Ezekial Ansah, DE -- B.Y.U
Ansah might not be the most refined prospect in this draft, but his ability to make plays behind the line of scrimmage and get after the quarterback will make him a highly sought commodity come April. Has every ounce of potential that current New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul has and could make a similar impact as a rookie.
7. Star Lotulelei, DT -- Utah
Concerns around Star's heart condition has his draft stock quite ambigious, but there is no denying his quality game tape. I compare him favorably to Baltimore Ravens DT Haloti Ngata who has ascended to one of the best defensive players in the NFL. If Lotulelei's medicals check out, he should endure a long and productive career in the NFL.
8. Luke Joeckel, OT -- Texas A&M
Joeckel's sound technique and fundamentals make him one of the most coveted blind-side protectors in this years draft. My major concerns come from his playing strength, in which he was often unable to get much push in the running game in several of the games I analyzed. Regardless, Joeckel is in the mix for the #1 overall selection and should have a long and productive career as a LT in the NFL.
9. Dee Milliner, CB -- Alabama
One of the premier pass defenders in college football, Milliner had an outstanding junior campaign where he picked off several passes and batted away 20 more. He has scheme versatility, outstanding athleticism has the aggressiveness and short-memory that make corners successful. He is a day one starter and will improve any defense who is in need of a man who can hold his own in an island.
10. Dion Jordan, DE -- Oregon
Jordan's college numbers might not wow you, but his ability to play in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme will make him one of the most sought after prospects entering the 2013 NFL Draft. He has a non-stop motor, violent hand movement and the athleticism to get after the passer and drop into coverage. His length and athleticism will give opposing NFL lineman fits. I liken him to past Pro-Bowler and All-Pro defensive player Julian Peterson.
Tier 3 Prospects
Tier 3 prospects are guys who will be starters as rookies in the NFL level, but may never emerge as one of the best at their respective positions.
With the league putting a premium on large corners, you can bet that Rhodes is an early selection in this years draft. His press-man technique is second to none in this draft and his physicality and aggressiveness at the line of scrimmage allows him to frequently wash out receivers and hold his own. He profiles as a high level #1 CB in the NFL and has the ability to play at a high level for a very long time.
Allen is a large-framed wide receiver who put up some of the best numbers in the country playing for the Golden Bears in the Pac-12. He has true #1 receiver potential and can play outside in the NFL. What I like most about him is his intelligence and knowledge of the game, which will shorten his learning curve and allow him to have an immediate impact as a rookie.
13. Sheldon Richardson, DT -- Missouri
This draft is loaded with prospects on the defensive line and Richardson is one of the best. A highly athletic and versatile player, Richardson has the speed of the snap and instincts to make be a high level NFL contributor. He needs to work on his pursuit and show the ability to finish plays consistently if he wants to improve his overall game. I see his best fit as a 4-3 DT, but he can play end in a 3-4 scheme.
14. Tyler Eifert, TE -- Notre Dame
It may be uncharacteristic to have a tight end go this high, but the NFL is putting a premium on big guys who can stretch the field vertically. Eifert is coming from a program that has quite the pedigree and in my eyes is the best to come out of there in years. I love the way he plays the ball in the air, his consistency in beating linebackers and the toughness he displays in the run game.
There is no doubt that Ogletree is one of the most versatile prospects in this draft. He is equally sound against the run, the pass and can even get after the quarterback. He is one of of those rare athletes who have the ability to play any linebacker spot on the field and change the swagger of a defense from day one. What worries me most are his character concerns and maturity issues which may inhibit is overall performance. After getting a DUI just a week before the combine, you can be assured that Rodger "The Ginger Hammer" Goodell will have his eye on this former Bulldog.
16. Barkevious Mingo, OLB/DE -- LSU
Mingo was one of the hardest players to evaluate. He is an explosive player with rare closing ability and has the fluidity and movement to be an absolute terror of the edge in the NFL. However, his playing strength and consistency will make teams pause on using a Top 15 selection on him. In a 4-3 scheme playing wide end or a 3-4 scheme playing OLB, he could become a dynamic defender in the mold of a Cameron Wake, but will likely need a full-season in an NFL weight training program to help realize his full potential.
In each of the three years the German-native Werner spent with the Seminoles he improved dramatically. He plays with great technique, strength and is a quality run defender. While he may have produced 13 sacks as a junior, but over half of them came against Murray State and Florida and needs to add more moves to his arsenal. It's unlikely he will ever be a consistent double digit sack master in the NFL, but I believe he can be the type of all around player Kyle Vanden Bosch has been since coming into the league over a decade go.
18. Lane Johnson, OT -- Oklahoma
It pains me to put a Sooner this high on this list, but Johnson's story is quite incredible. He has played quarterback in high school and junior college, and played tight end and defensive end before moving to offensive tackle for Oklahoma in 2011. Perhaps one of the best overall athletes in this draft, Johnson has the solid footwork and intangibles to make him a successful NFL starter. Like Joeckel, he needs to improve his playing strength in order to make the most of his NFL career. Regardless, a guy with this much talent in a league desperate for pass protectors should get his name called in the Top 20 come April.
Don't let this little guys size fool you -- he can absolutely ball. After reeling in over 200 catches, 2,400 yards and 20 touchdowns the past two seasons for the Mountaineers; Austin is going to be one of the most sought after weapons in this years draft. He has phenomenal speed and athleticism which will give defensive coordinators nightmares when scheming against him. He can make plays in space and his value increases even more with prime time special teams ability. You are looking at the next Percy Harvin of the NFL.
Hankins only played three years for the Buckeyes, but he made an tremendous impact on their defensive line. He has rare size and strength at the position and is an absolute monster against the run, commanding double teams on a consistent basis. He won't offer much as a pass rusher at the next level, but has scheme diversity and the ability to be a game changer as soon as he steps onto the field in the NFL. In an ideal world, Hankins would fall to the Broncos at #28 and give them the kind of defensive tackle Jack Del Rio loves, but that would be a pipe dream.
Trufant comes from a great family pedigree and has had two brothers spend time in either the NFL or semi-pro football. He is an athletic corner who played a lot of man to man coverage for Washington this past year and consistently makes plays on the ball. He has good size (6'0 - 190) and the speed to be a true #1 corner in the NFL. After watching him at the Senior Bowl and Combine, I was impressed with how well-spoken he was and am infatuated with the confidence he brings to the position. All these things are positives and will guarantee him a spot in the first round.
22. Kenny Vacarro, S -- Texas
The Longhorns had their fare share of struggles this past season, but one of the lone bright spots for Mack Brown's team was safety Kenny Vacarro who saved his best for last. In his redshirt senior season, Vacarro seemed to always be around the ball, registering over 100 tackles and nabbing a few interceptions. He is an NFL ready prospect who will be a starter on the backend for a team in dire need of a safety right off the rip.
Hopkins is one of my favorite prospects in the entire draft. In his junior campaign with the Tigers, Hopkins nabbed over 80 catches for 1,400 yards and 18 touchdowns. Showing growth and maturity in each year in the ACC, Hopkins has the ability to play outside or in the slot in the NFL and will create mismatches against smaller defensive backs who cannot keep up with his physical style of play.
24. Datone Jones, DE -- UCLA
If you look at his stats while he was at UCLA, you probably wouldn't believe Jones would be a first-round selection, but keep in mind he was transitioning to a 3-4 defense for the Bruins this year and was asked to play everywhere on the defensive line. He has an impressive combination of size and speed which should allow him to be a successful base end (LDE) in the NFL and routinely beat NFL right tackles. He is a high motor, high effort player and plays with unparalleled intensity until the whistle is blown.
Small-school guys usually never register this high on anyone's boards, but Cyprien caught my attention because of his ability to match-up in man and off-coverage and dominate wide receivers and tight ends in the Sun Belt conference. He has good size, athleticism and most of all the instincts to become a quality safety in the NFL. I would like to see him work on his awareness in zone coverage and refine his back pedal technique, but he is a confident player, team leader and is ready to erase doubts about the level of competition he faced. Don't be surprised to see this prospect crack the Top 32 picks.
Tier 4 Prospects
These are prospects who have starting potential in the NFL and warrant early round consideration this April.
33. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR -- Tennessee
38. Zach Ertz, TE -- Stanford
41. Giovani Bernard, RB -- North Carolina
44. Justin Hunter, WR -- Tennessee
46. Geno Smith, QB -- West Virginia
47. Robert Alford, CB -- SELU
48. Matt Barkley, QB -- USC
49. Matt Elam, S -- Florida
50. Menelik Watson, OT -- Florida State
51. Robert Woods, WR -- USC
52. Khaseem Greene, LB -- Rutgers
56. Corey Lemonier, OLB -- Auburn
59. David Amerson, DB -- North Carolina State
60. Jamie Collins, OLB -- Southern Miss
61. Mike Glennon, QB -- North Carolina State
63. Quinton Patton, WR -- Louisiana Tech
64. Terrance Williams, WR -- Baylor
Tier 5 Prospects
These guys are the best of the rest, rounding out my Top 100.
65. Kyle Long, OL -- Oregon
66. Logan Ryan, CB -- Rutgers
67. Dallas Thomas, OL -- Tennessee
68. Gavin Escobar, TE -- San Diego State
71. Blidi Breh-Wilison, CB -- UConn
72. Tyler Bray, QB -- Tennessee
73. Da'Rick Rodgers, WR -- Tennessee Tech
74. Ryan Nassib, QB -- Syracuse
76. Terron Armstead, OL -- Arkansas Pine-Bluff
78. Aaron Dobson, WR -- Marshall
81. Tony Jefferson, S -- Oklahoma
83. Michael Buchanon, DE/OLB -- Illinois
85. Jonathan Franklin, RB -- UCLA
86. Duke Williams, DB -- Nevada
88. Gerald Hodges, OLB -- Penn State
89. Brandon Jenkins, OLB/DE -- Florida State
93. Margus Hunt, DE -- SMU
94. Tyler Wilson, QB -- Arkansas
95. Kevin Reddick, ILB -- North Carolina
96. Jon Bostic, ILB -- Florida
97. Darius Slay, DB -- Mississippi State
98. Andre Ellington, RB -- Clemson
100. Tyrann Mathieu, CB -- ex-LSU
There you have it folks, my Top 100 players eligible for this years 2013 NFL Draft. Does anything surprise you? Are some guys too high? Some too low? Fire back at me in the comments section and make your opinions heard. Can't wait to see what you all have to say! Once again, thanks for reading!