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It is well known that the 2013 draft is not full of top of the line talent. There is no Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III at the QB position, there are no can’t miss RB prospects like Trent Richardson or Doug Martin, and every defensive player has at least one major concern. That being said, I think the 2013 NFL draft is very deep, and see some serious value in the later rounds. I am going to write a few of these pieces leading up to the draft, showcasing some guys who I think have good potential to be draft day steal.
Joseph Randle RB, Oklahoma St.
Randle ran a 4.63 40-yard dash time at the combine this weekend, which is a little slower than expected, and may cause him to slip into later rounds. That being said, I see some serious value here. While he was at Oklahoma St., the Cowboys ran a very non traditional offense taking every snap out of shotgun. Because of this, I think that Randle will need some coaching up in the NFL, but the talent is there on tape. With his elite pass blocking, hands, and route running skills, Randle can step right in as a 3rd down back for whichever teams drafts him. I personally think he has the skills to grow into an every down back, because he is faster than his 40 time suggests, and extremely tough for his size. Randle is projected to be a 4th or 5th round pick.
Margus Hunt DE, SMU
This 6-foot-8, 275 pound Defensive End out of SMU, is rising fast on everybody’s draft board. He had a very good Senior Bowl to put himself on NFL scout’s radar, but it was his combine that has everyone buzzing. Hunt ran the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds, which is almost unheard of for a guy his size. He also showed off his athletic ability in both the vertical leap and broad jump, leaping a fantastic 34.5 inches and 121.0 inches respectively, he alos put up an incredible 38 bench press reps at 225 lbs. Hunt is very raw, and has a lot to learn about the game, but there is no denying his athletic ability. If he ever reaches his potential in the NFL, he would become an instant pass rushing star. Hunt is currently projected to be a 2nd or 3rd round pick, but I would not be surprised to see him sneak into the end of the 1st round.
E.J. Manuel QB, Florida St.
Just like his college career, there is one word to explain E.J. Manuel’s combine performance, and that is inconsistent. At times he looks fantastic, showing great arm strength, accuracy, and athleticism, but at times his mechanics seem to get a little sloppy. That can be fixed with coaching, so if Manuel ends up in the right system, I think he could really turn into a solid NFL quarterback. There are no elite QB prospects in this draft, outside of MAYBE Geno Smith. So if I am looking for a QB this year, I want value. I personally am not a fan of other middle round quarterbacks like Ryan Nassib, Tyler Wilson, and Matt Scott. Manuel has a long ways to go but the skill set is there, and I like his potential much better than the other QBs in this draft. Manuel is projected to go somewhere between the 3rd and 5th rounds at the moment.
All three of these guys have their question marks, which is why they are not sure fire 1st round picks, but the talent is there. If these guys can land in the right situations, they have the ability to be longtime NFL players. It will be fun to watch it unfold. Keep an eye out for my next piece on NFL Draft Sleepers by following me on Twitter @DSchmelzerTSB.