Now that the 2012 NFL Draft is in the rear view mirror, what better time to take a look at some of top senior prospects will be available for next year’s 2013 NFL Draft.
Join me as I give you a quick rundown of my Top 25 seniors heading into the 2012 college season.
1. Matt Barkley, Quarterback, USC
2. Tyler Wilson, Quarterback, Arkansas
Wilson has all of the tools to succeed in 2012, but will have some hurdles to clear after losing his head coach and most of his top 2011 targets. A big part of his 2013 draft status will depend on how he adjusts.
3. Star Lotulelei, Defensive Tackle, Utah
A likely nose tackle at the next level, Lotulelei has emerged as a dominant force in the middle. He still has some rough edges to smooth out, but his penetrating ability and motor already have NFL scouts drooling.
4. Manti Te’o, Inside Linebacker, Notre Dame
Using his phenomenal instincts and ability to shed blocks, Te’o has made a name for himself as one of the best linebackers to come out of the college ranks in years. He has all of the tools to be an elite NFL linebacker.
5. Barrett Jones, Center, Alabama
It’ll be an interesting year for Jones, who’s making the move to center. If he can continue to be as dominant in 2012, though, the versatility will only make him more valuable of a prospect.
6. Sean Porter, Outside Linebacker, Texas A&M
One of this year’s top pass rushers, Porter has the speed, agility and drive to consistently put pressure on opposing passers. He might not be Von Miller, but he’ll definitely turn some heads in 2012.
7. Alex Okafor, Defensive End, Texas
Prior to his recent arrest, Okafor was considered one of the top 2013 prospects. Although the arrest won’t plummet his stock, he’s going to have his hands full this season living up to his top billing.
8. T.J. McDonald, Free Safety, USC
Barring any injuries or a huge drop in effectiveness, McDonald will be 2013’s top safety prospect. He’s a gifted athlete who flies around the field making plays effortlessly. His return will help USC succeed this season.
Wagner has some big shoes to fill as Wisconsin’s left tackle, but he held his own last year. As long as he continues to improve in 2012, the Badgers could be boasting another Outland Trophy winner/first round pick.
10. Margus Hunt, Defensive End, SMU
Hunt is a physical freak at 6’8’’, 280 pounds. He can bench 225 35 times and can run the 40-yard dash in approximately 4.6 seconds. Hunt is athletic as they come and will be the talk of the town come draft day 2013.
11. Kawann Short, Defensive Tackle, Purdue
A mauler on the inside, Short eats up double teams and collapses running lanes with ease. Like most defensive lineman, his technique needs some adjustment. All of the skills are there for him to become special, though.
12. Jonathan Banks, Cornerback, Mississippi State
One of top coverage cornerbacks in the 2013 class, Banks also is a willing run supporter. As well-rounded as you can expect from a college cover man, Banks could elevate himself to top-10 status before season’s end.
13. Chase Thomas, Outside Linebacker, Stanford
Another elite pass rusher, Thomas displays the strength and technique that NFL teams love out of their outside linebackers. He dropped off a bit in 2011, but should have a bounce back season in 2012.
Ball is as productive as college running backs come. Unfortunately, his recent off-field problems could make NFL coaches reconsider. Still, if he can put on a tremendous encore, he’ll definitely push for a first-round pick.
15. Tavon Austin, Wide Receiver, West Virginia
This year’s Kendall Wright, Austin has the speed and separating ability that NFL teams love in their slot receivers. His size isn’t ideal, but his home run abilities as both a receiver and returner are huge pluses.
16. Landry Jones, Quarterback, Oklahoma
After a disappointing 2011 season, Jones has become the under-the-radar quarterback of the 2013 draft. He has an NFL-caliber arm and seems ready to bounce back during his senior year.
17. Wes Horton, Defensive End, USC
USC defensive ends have had considerable success over the past few years while transitioning to the NFL, and the story should be the same for Horton. His stock could skyrocket with a big 2012 campaign.
18. Kevin Reddick, Inside Linebacker, North Carolina
An extremely consistent player, Reddick is easily one of the most intriguing linebackers heading into the 2013 draft. He has great instincts and the outstanding athleticism that NFL teams will be looking for.
19. Knile Davis, Running Back, Arkansas
Where Davis goes in the 2013 draft will depend largely on how he recovers from a season-ending ankle fracture in 2011. When he’s healthy, Davis has the size and speed to be a lethal runner at the next level.
20. Brandon Jenkins, Outside Linebacker, Florida State
One of the better natural pass-rushers of the 2013 class, Jenkins needs a big season to help keep him among the top prospects. He’ll be a terrific tweener in the NFL if he can live up to his potential.
An injury put a damper on Skov’s 2011 season, but the talented linebacker is primed for a breakout year in 2012. As long as he can stay healthy, Skov has the skill set to become an elite play-maker in the NFL.
22. Khaled Holmes, Center, USC
Holmes will face the daunting task of protecting the draft’s most-valuable player in 2012. If he can handle the challenge and keep Barkley’s jersey clean, Holmes could hear his name called early on.
23. Jonathan Jenkins, Defensive Tackle, Georgia
When Jenkins’ motor is running, he’s among the best defensive tackles in the nation at collapsing the pocket. The fact that he’s extremely inconsistent is the only thing holding him back at this point.
24. Jonathan Cooper, Guard, North Carolina
How high Cooper goes will depend largely on his ability to stay healthy in 2012. He has the big body and mean streak that NFL coaches love from their guards, but will need to keep himself on the field.
25. Robert Lester, Free Safety, Alabama
Mark Barron’s partner in crime during the 2011 season, Lester will have a heavy burden on his shoulders to deliver without Barron at his side. Still, he’s a natural play-maker who will find a way to perform.