Yesterday, Ramblin’ Fan posted a list of the 23 collegiate players that would be attending the 2013 NFL Draft. Naturally, with 23 players and only 32 slots in the first round, there is a chance (actually, more of a guarantee) that at least some of these players will not hear their name called on “opening night.” In the past we have seen players like Matt Leinhart and Aaron Rodgers painstakingly sweat it out as they dropped farther and farther down the first round. So who might be in that position this year? While there is a slight chance that any player “could” drop out of the first round, we divided our list into those players that would “possibly” miss being taken on Thursday and those that were “likely” to have to wait until the second day to hear their name called…
Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Desmond Trufant is ranked by most as either the second or third best cornerback in this draft class, behind Dee Milliner and, according to some scouts, Xavier Rhodes. Trufant is projected as a late-first round selection, likely being eyed by teams coming off a playoff run; specifically, the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers. Some have Trufant going as high as the Top 15 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but if the trade for Revis goes through and Rhodes is higher on a team’s draft board, Trufant might be waiting until Friday to hear his name.
Menelik Watson, T, Florida State
Watson was originally pegged as a fringe-first rounder, depending on how “safe” the teams picking after 25th wanted to be in opening round of the draft. However, after an impressive showing at Florida State’s Pro Day, many, including Mike Mayock, have moved Watson definitively into the first round. Watson is considered by most to be one of the Top 5 offensive tackles in the class, and with three Top 10 “locks” in Luke Joeckel, Lane Johnson, and Eric Fisher, there will be plenty of teams in the latter part of the first still searching for their next franchise tackle. However, if teams like St. Louis, Green Bay, and Houston decide to go in another direction, there is a chance he could drop out of the first round.
Eric Reid, S, Louisiana State
With the rising stock of Jonathan Cyprien, Eric Reid has seen his name fall farther and farther down the “big board.” With other players, like Kenny Vaccaro and Matt Elam, projected to go in the mid- to late-first round, the “potential teams” list for Reid seems to be growing increasingly smaller as we approach April 25th.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
Eddie Lacy is light-years ahead of any other running back in this year’s draft, and yet, he is probably the MOST likely to fall out of the first round. In fact, some analysts have him dropping as low as the 40-46 range, where the St. Louis Rams could be primed to stop his fall. Over the last several drafts, we have seen teams grow increasingly reluctant to use that first rounder on a running back, especially with the success of mid- or late-round running backs, like Alfred Morris. Tack on “health concerns” and a poor showing at the University of Alabama Pro Day, and it is almost a safe bet that Lacy will have to wait until Friday to hear his name.
E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
If there is any potential draftee that is going to challenge Lacy for the “Most Likely To Not Be A First Rounder” award, it would be E.J. Manuel. However, this quarterback class is so “unique” that there is no telling where any of these players might end up. Aside from Geno Smith, there is no consensus ranking of the quarterbacks, with Ryan Nassib, Matt Barkley, and Mike Glennon getting shuffled around on the “big board” on what seems to be a weekly basis. Manuel’s stock does appear to be on the rise as we head into the NFL Draft. However, there are only a handful of teams that are willing to use their first round selection on a quarterback, and with the diversity of offensive systems in the NFL today, there is no telling which quarterback those team’s front offices will see as the best match.