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2013 NFL Draft: Top 5 Position Rankings

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    NEWSLETTERS

    With the draft just one day away, it’s time to post my final position rankings. These rankings aren’t where I think each player will get drafted, but rather how I personally have them rated based on their future prospects in the NFL.

    QB

    1 Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
    E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
    3 Matt Barkley, QB, USC
    4 Matt Scott, QB, Arizona
    5 Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
    Analysis: I really don’t like Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib, who many have predicted could be a top 10 pick. Actually, I don’t even have him in my top 80 prospects. Manuel, who recently moved into my top 30 overall, could have the highest ceiling of the bunch.
    RB
    1 Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M
    Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
    Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt
    4 Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
    Giovani Bernard, RB, UNC
    Analysis: Since I last posted my rankings, I moved Michael into the No. 1 spot over Franklin. I really like both players, but Michael has an elite size/speed combination.
    And I published this comparison a few weeks ago, but it’s worth repeating:
    Zac Stacy: 5-9, 216 pounds, 3,143 yards, 5.4 YPC, 4.55 40-yard dash, 6.70 three-cone drill, 4.17 short shuttle, 27 reps
    Player X: 5-9, 215 pounds, 3,431 yards, 5.6 YPC, 4.55 40-yard dash, 6.79 three-cone drill, 4.16 short shuttle, 28 reps
    “Player X” is Doug Martin.
    WR
    1 DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
    Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
    Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech
    4 Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
    5 Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
    Analysis: I’ve had Hopkins rated as my No. 1 wide receiver for a little while, but he’s now my No. 13 overall prospect. I also moved Rogers up to No. 3 because he’s basically a Brandon Marshall clone. His future will hinge on his ability to stay out of trouble.
    TE
    1 Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
    Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati
    3 Vance McDonald, TE, Rice
    4 Chris Gragg, TE, Arkansas
    Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
    Analysis: My tight end rankings have been completely shaken up. I moved both McDonald and Gragg into my top five, ahead of Ertz. McDonald has gotten a lot of exposure lately, but Gragg is considered a late-round prospect. That’s amazing considering Gragg ran a faster 40 than Da’Rick Rogers and DeAndre Hopkins, yet weighs nearly 30 pounds heavier than both of them.
     
    G/C
    Jonathan Cooper, G, UNC
    Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
    Kyle Long, G, Oregon
    4 Brian Winters, G, Kent State
    Larry Warford, G, Kentucky
    Analysis: My interior line rankings have remain unchanged. It’s incredibly weak after the top two, which adds to their value.
     
    OT
    Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
    2 Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
    Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
    Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State
    5 David Quessenberry, OT, San Jose State
    David Bakhtiari, OT, Colorado
    Analysis: I listed six tackles because I can’t decide between Quessenberry and Bakhtiari—two players I like much more than most. I see both as second-round talents who could be available in the third round.
    DE
    Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
    Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
    Cornellius Carradine, DE, Florida State
    Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
    Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
    Analysis: Jordan and Ansah are the top two overall players on my board. I actually have the top four players here listed in my top 10, and even Werner checks in at No. 15. It’s a very underrated group of pass-rushers, in my opinion.
    DT
    Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
    Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
    Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
    Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
    Datone Jones, DT, UCLA
    Analysis: I moved Richardson into the No. 1 spot in my defensive tackle rankings, and he’s currently listed at No. 10 overall. I also swapped Short and Floyd; despite all of the hype for Floyd, I still see him as a weak first-round talent.
    LB
    Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
    Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
    Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
    Sio Moore, LB, UConn
    Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
    Analysis: Since my last set of rankings, I moved Moore into the top five. All of the top four linebackers are ranked in my top 35, while Te’o doesn’t crack the top 50.
    S
    Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
    JJ Wilcox, S, Georgia Southern
    Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse
    Matt Elam, Florida
    Bacarri Rambo, Georgia
    Analysis: I’ve liked Wilcox as a second-round talent for a few weeks, but I moved him all the way up to No. 2 because he’s got such a high ceiling. It’s worth noting that I have Wilcox, Thomas, Elam, and Rambo all ranked very closely with Florida International’s Jonathan Cyprien and Fresno State’s Phillip Thomas not far behind. This class of safeties is weak at the top, but extremely deep.
    CB
    1 Xavier Rhodes, Florida State   
    2 Dee Milliner, Alabama
    3 D.J. Hayden, Houston
    4 Desmond Trufant, Washington
    5 Jamar Taylor, Boise State
    Analysis: I have Rhodes rated in my top 10 because of his size. Hayden is now rated just two spots behind Milliner at No. 14 overall. 

    Jonathan Bales is the founder of The DC Times. He writes for DallasCowboys.com and the New York Times. He's also the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.