AGGIE-VATED ASSAULT: Luke Joeckel will wreak havoc on defenders at the next level. Photo courtesy AP

AGGIE-VATED ASSAULT: Luke Joeckel will wreak havoc on defenders at the next level. Photo courtesy AP

After a hardy first-go at a mock draft, there’s a good idea of where everyone RELATIVELY should  land. But do they deserve said spots? Are they stretches or steals? And what about the surprises? Are THEY stretches or steals?

The draft does pretend to care to go in order of which rookies-to-be have the most talent. While you won’t see a punter from MIT in the first round, you may see a guy or two that have “second-round talent”. Or maybe even lower.

So since the draft, and, in turn, mock drafts can’t predict which prospects are the best, that is what we have a big board for. No team needs, no draft hype. Who’s got the most football in them, plain and simple.

We start here with the Top 10 in Part I:

1. Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Joeckel is the new prototypical blindside tackle. He’s big and strong, as they come traditionally, but he’s also surprisingly athletic. And as more and more pro offenses incorporate a spread attack or the option run, it’s universal versatility (not just north-to-south) that is becoming a prized commodity amongst lineman. In Joeckel’s case, he was able to keep Johnny Manziel upright long enough to become the first freshman to win the Heisman. But for the best testimonial about Joeckel, think about this: his run blocking is probably his biggest weakness and it’s still lightyears better than many other in the class (some of whom display as their one true strength).

Photo courtesy The Gainesville Sun

Photo courtesy The Gainesville Sun

2. Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Versatility. That’s what Sharrif Floyd brings first and foremost to the table. Not only can he play any position on the defensive line, he excels at all of them. He even showed promise as a true nose tackle, though at the next level that will require adding some more heft to his 6’3″ frame. He’s not the most polished college player ever to enter the draft, but that can serve as a good thing. He’s got the fundamentals of a future pro-bowler and his rawness will allow any one of the 32 defensive schemes in the NFL to turn him into a powerful weapon.

3. Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
Boy, let me tell you, there is a LOT to like about this guy. People will say that he’s too slow to cover receivers or even tight ends. That that fact makes him one dimensional as a defensive end, a position he’s not built for at the next level. Don’t listen to them. First of all, Jordan can and has covered those he’s lined up in the slot against. Second, even if you have questions there, his supreme potential to pass rush from the outside is drool-inducing. How many 6’6″, 250-lb. linebackers that run a 4.60 40-yard do you know that can easily be picked up by secondary blockers? Uh, zero. You see a guy imperfect for two positions, I see a match up problem for offenses. The counter-punch to the modern-day titght end, as it were.

4. Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
What do you call a six-foot, lightning-fast  defensive back? I call him the next shutdown corner to-be. There are stars and then there are superstars and Milliner is figuring to be the latter. As a corner, he’s the complete package. He’s big, fast, and can turn on a dime. After winning back-to-back championships with the tide, Milliner already has a taste for success. Ask any quarterback and they’ll tell you: a hungry cornerback is the last thing you want to face throwing to a sideline.

5. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
His ‘possible’ heart condition may make some teams squeamish come the draft, but the doctors say he’s good to go and I have no reason to doubt them. Star has the potential to become just that. When he applies effort, he’s virtually unstoppable and he’ll be able to plug any hole as a true nose tackle in the NFL. The downfall of Albert Haynesworth over the last few years may be a cautionary tale of what happens when a big guy loses his motivation, but make no mistake: when it comes to Lotulelei, the motor is there. It’s just a matter of turning it on.

Photo courtesy Tim Fitzgerald/CMU Athletics

Photo courtesy Tim Fitzgerald/CMU Athletics

6. Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The big guy from the little school has all the things that have scouts oggling over Joeckel. In fact, he’s an inch taller than Joeckel and the speed and agility he’s displayed in the open field shows he can add some girth without it becoming an issue. The question with Fisher comes once he IS downfield. He’s not always as effective as he should be and, for such an agile guy, he can have trouble sealing the edge against more explosive pass rushers. Those are nitpicky things, though. Nitpicky things that can be fixed with a good home.

7. Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
If there’s such a thing as being too athletic for the O-line, Johnson might be the guy. The former quarterback and tight end is pretty new to the position, but he has yet to disappoint with any opportunity he’s been given. He’s fast, agile, and durable, but some scouts question whether he’s strong enough to excel at the next level and his slender frame (well, slender for a pro lineman) only galvanize said fears. But again, Johnson has had AMPLE time to disappoint and he has yet to do so. Counting on him to do so now is likely a sucker’s bet.

8. Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Leading college football in sacks, tackles for loss, and forced fumbles is a great way to get noticed in one of the most talent-loaded defensive classes in recent memory. Meet Jarvis Jones, the next great pass rusher in the NFL.  There’s little Jones has shown he can’t do and the knocks against him are very minor, technical things. NFL.com compares him to Bruce Irvin, but that’s an insult. Jones doesn’t have NEARLY the off-field issues that raised red flags with Irvin. Really, the only major red flag with Jones is his injury history. But I can recall dozens of college players that have been labeled “injury prone” only to go on and shine HEALTHILY in the NFL. Like, say, Adrian Peterson.

9. Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU
I like to think of Ansah as the Anthony Davis of football. No, he doesn’t have a wicked unibrow, but his athletic background outside of what he’ll do as a pro brings an edge to his game that none of his peers have. Wanting originally to be a basketball player and then a track runner, Ansah is bigger and faster than most in a class of VERY big, VERY fast people. His athleticism doesn’t show up in his workouts, but he passes the “eye test” with flying colors. Like Lane Johnson, Ansah is relatively new to his position, but he’s also relatively new to the sport of AMERICAN football. He’s developed by leaps and bounds since then, leaving scouts to question just where the he’ll his ceiling his. He may be a bit of a “project”, but he’s definitely one worth taking on.

10. Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Like many defensive lineman in the top half of this draft board, Richardson is incredibly athletic. In fact, he may be the MOST athletic defensive tackle in the class. So what has him just eeking inside the Top 10? Well, the lack of a consistent track record mostly. He wasn’t well-recruited out of high school, and when he was in junior college, he missed almost an entire season. Being a full-time starter may make some teams skeptical of what exactly it is that they’re getting with Richardson, but the tangibles certainly point to good things.

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