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2013 NFL Draft: Top 5 Rankings for Each Defensive Position

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2013 NFL Draft Defensive Rankings

Yesterday, I posted my top five players at each offensive position. Today, I’ll turn my attention to the defensive side of the ball.

DE

1 Dion Jordan, Oregon

2 Ezekiel Ansah, BYU

3 Cornellius Carradine, Florida State

4 Barkevious Mingo, LSU

5 Bjoern Werner, Florida State

Analysis: Jordan and Ansah are the top two overall players on my board. Carradine might be in that spot had he not suffered a knee injury in 2012.

DT

1 Star Lotulelei, Utah

2 Sheldon Richardson, Missouri

3 Sharrif Floyd, Florida

4 Kawann Short, Purdue

5 Datone Jones, UCLA

Analysis: Most people have Floyd at the top of their defensive tackle rankings, but I don’t think he has the upside that most others see. The value on a player like Short in the second round could be much better.

LB

1 Arthur Brown, Kansas State

2 Jarvis Jones, Georgia

3 Alec Ogletree, Georgia

4 Manti Te’o, Notre Dame

5 Kevin Minter, LSU

Analysis: Brown has the highest ceiling of this group, which is weak as a whole. Jones is a different type of linebacker than the rest and he would need to play on the outside if he’s used as a linebacker, although he could rush off of the edge as well.

S

1 Kenny Vaccaro, Texas

2 Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse

3 Matt Elam, Florida

4 Bacarri Rambo, Georgia

5 Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International

Analysis: Vaccaro is my top-rated safety, but I still have him outside of the top 25. Since he’s the highest-rated guy on most boards, his value will probably get artificially inflated, but I don’t think it should due to the depth at safety. I have Thomas and Elam rated just behind Vaccaro, and both should be available in the second round. There’s so much other safety talent in the middle rounds that there’s really no reason to overpay for Vaccaro in the first.

CB

1 Dee Milliner, Alabama

2 Xavier Rhodes, Florida State

3 Desmond Trufant, Washington

4 D.J. Hayden, Houston

5 Jamar Taylor, Boise State

Analysis: This is the one position that I haven’t broken down in depth since it’s not a need for the Cowboys, but I really like the top three guys in this class. They aren’t getting much attention, but Milliner, Rhodes, and Trufant are all rated in my top 15. Hayden—a player most people didn’t know until recently—is a sleeper to get drafted in the back of the first round. 

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.

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