Friday, March 22, 2013

Where are the best players drafted?

There is no clear cut answer for the Detroit Lions' first round pick in the upcoming 2013 NFL draft. Guys like Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher, Chance Warmack, DeMarcus Milliner, Dion Jordan, and Ezekiel Ansah are all possibilities. They could even look to offensive playmakers like Cordarelle Patterson or Tavon Austin.

When deciding who to go for in the first round the Lions' will be looking at what they can get in later rounds and where the talent level drops off. For instance, while Alabama Guard Chance Warmack is a fantastic prospect, there are other guards that are also great prospects that will be available in the second and third rounds. Not to mention that the guard position is often devalued in the draft (remember David DeCastro in 2012?) so some great prospects could fall to later rounds.

Here is a look at the top ten players* in 2012 of positions that the Detroit Lions could potentially be looking at with the fifth overall pick of the 2013 NFL draft:

Name Round
Evan Mathis 3
Marshal Yanda 3
Alex Boone UDFA
Brandon Moore UDFA
Mike Iupati 1
Josh Sitton 4
Ben Grubbs 1
Jahari Evans 4
Andy Levitre 2
Jon Asamoah 3

There are only two first round picks in the top ten guards of 2012 and only two more in the top thirty (Note: Lions' starting left guard Rob Sims was ranked 11th and was a fourth round pick.).

4-3 Defensive Ends
Name Round
Cameron Wake UDFA
Brandon Graham 1
Jason Pierre-Paul 1
Derrick Morgan 1
John Abraham 1
Greg Hardy 6
Michael Bennett UDFA
Charles Johnson 3
Carlos Dunlap 2
Lamarr Houston 2

Less than half of the NFL's top ten 4-3 defensive ends were drafted in the first round (Note: the next five players on the list contain two UDFA's, a third round, and two fourth round picks).

Name Round
Antoine Winfield 1
Richard Sherman 5
Casey Heyward 2
Charles Tillman 2
Chris Harris Jr UDFA
Jason McCourty 6
Brandon Flowers 2
Devin McCourty 1
Tim Jennings 2
Champ Bailey 1

Early round picks seem to be well spent on the Cornerback position with only three of the top ten players being selected in later rounds (Note: Chris Houston was ranked 23rd and was originally a second round pick. The Lions traded a sixth round pick to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for Houston.).

Offensive Tackles
Name Round
Joe Staley 1
Duane Brown 1
Michael Roos 2
Ryan Clady 1
Andre Smith 1
Joe Thomas 1
D'Brickshaw Ferguson 1
Gosder Cherilus 1
Andrew Whitworth 2
Anthony Davis 1

The top ten Tackles from 2012 are mostly first round picks. This could be either from a greater ability to scout Tackles or the amount of emphasis teams put on the position. Luckily for the Lions they already have a first round pick on their roster and have the ability to add another in the upcoming draft.

Wide Receivers
Name Round
Andre Johnson 1
Demaryius Thomas 1
Reggie Wayne 1
Calvin Johnson 1
Vincent Jackson 2
Roddy White 1
Michael Crabtree 1
AJ Green 1
Brandon Marshall 4
Percy Harvin 1

Detroit Lions fans won't want to hear this but Wide Receiver is definitely in play for their first round pick, especially if they can trade back a few spots with someone trying to snag a QB. Cordarelle Patterson and Tavon Austin are two guys the Lions could target who would add another dynamic to the offense. I imagine Joeckel, Fisher, and Lane Johnson are higher on the Lions' board, but imagine Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush and Tavon Austin on the field at the same time. Yikes.

*Top players according to

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