Best available in 2013 NFL Draft’s second day
Round 1 of the 2013 NFL Draft highlighted the in-the-trenches positions — offensive linemen ruled the roost early, while there was a bit of a run on talented defensive linemen late. But that setup pushed plenty of skilled players (particularly QBs, RBs and WRs) into Day 2.
Who are the best players left on the board as the NFL gears up for Rounds 2 and 3? Here’s a look at 10 guys that should be picked rather early on Friday:
• Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State: The highest-rated player from the final Audibles Big Board still available, Carradine’s recovery from a knee injury no doubt hindered his Day 1 chances. He could prove to be a terrific value for a 4-3 defense on Day 2, though.
• Keenan Allen, WR, Cal: Another player working his way back from a knee injury — Allen hurt his PCL late in the college season. He should not have to wait all that long on Day 2, as his polished game will appeal to teams in need of a reliable receiver.
• Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Smith got Brady Quinn’d on Thursday night, the shots of him sitting dejectedly in the draft’s green room reminiscent of what happened when Quinn plummeted. Of course, Quinn came off the board in Round 1 (so, too, did Aaron Rodgers, who endured a similar fate); Smith, on the other hand, was not among the top 32 picked. He could start a run on quarterbacks atop Round 2.
• Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State: Some draftniks argued for Brown in the top 15; he was a fringe first-rounder here, but he has the potential to step in and be the Bobby Wagner of this draft. Wagner was the No. 47 overall pick by Seattle last season, then registered 140 tackles in his rookie season.
• Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M: It’s hard to even guess where Moore might wind up after he plummeted in the weeks leading up to the draft. Still, for a defense in need of an athletic edge-rusher, Moore should hold value on Day 2.
• Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama: Lacy may not deserve a spot as one of the 10 best players left, but he’s the top prospect at the ignored running back spot. The Bengals at 37 looked like a real option originally, but after they went offense in Round 1, the RBs might have to wait even longer to start their move.
• Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame/Kevin Minter, LB, LSU: Te’o has been made a huge draft story, but these players were neck and neck at the middle linebacker spot from a scouting perspective. And it would not be a surprise to see Minter taken before Te’o, extending the Notre Dame linebacker’s disappointment even further.
• Johnathan Cyprien, S, Florida International: The best safety left after three players from that position (Kenny Vaccaro, Eric Reid and Matt Elam) were taken on Day 1. Cyprien might turn out to be the best of the lot.
• Alex Okafor, DE, Texas: I was higher on Okafor than most heading into the draft, and I still think he should be given a look soon. He’s a pretty prototypical 4-3 DE (he had 12.5 sacks last season) and he works his hands well enough so that he should be able to shed blockers in the NFL.
• Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech: There could be a bunch of receivers called in the next two rounds — Justin Hunter, Robert Woods, Terrance Williams, Allen and Patton are just the tip of the iceberg. Patton plays a little like DeAndre Hopkins, taken in Round 1 by Houston, in that his game quickness and ability to get open outweigh his lack of speed.