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  • Gil Brandt's Top 100

    2013 NFL Draft: Luke Joeckel, Geno Smith among best prospects

    By Gil Brandt
    Senior Analyst
    Published: Feb. 18, 2013 at 04:46 p.m.

    2013 NFL Draft: Luke Joeckel, Geno Smith among best prospects |

    The NFL Scouting Combine is about to kick the draft season into high gear. With that in mind, I thought this would be a good time to put together the first "Hot 100" list of the year.

    As those who are familiar with previous editions of this list know, it represents how I think the prospects stack up according to ability -- it is not the order in which I think they'll be drafted. In other words, I'm not saying Chance Warmack will be the third overall pick, but I am saying that he's the third-best player in the class.

    Finally, it's important to remember that players will rise and fall based on how they perform at the combine later this week, and they'll likely continue to do so all the way up to draft day.

    1) Luke Joeckel, OL, Texas A&M
    This long-armed three-year player should be a top talent in the NFL for quite some time. Joeckel reminds me of Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas.

    2) Bjoern Werner, DL, Florida State
    Werner, a German native, is a very, very good pass rusher. He's one of these guys that is highly motivated, someone who never takes a play off; in that way, he reminds me of Jared Allen.

    3) Chance Warmack, OL, Alabama
    Warmack is very good and will be a factor in the NFL for many years; he should have a Larry Allen-type of career. However, as guards aren't usually drafted in the top 10, Warmack will likely be picked in the middle of the first round. He was an even better college player than the great Steve Hutchinson, who was picked 17th overall by the Seattle Seahawks in 2001.

    4) Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
    More time will be spent on Smith than on any other player in the 2013 NFL Draft. When I watched him from the sideline during West Virginia's game against Texas, Smith was quick and on the money, though he did overthrow some long balls. If he enters the league with a Russell Wilson-type work ethic, Smith will be OK.

    5) Star Lotulelei, DL, Utah
    Lotulelei reminds me of Baltimore Ravens veteran Haloti Ngata, who also grew up in Salt Lake City. Lotulelei can collapse the pocket with quickness and power. He needs to dominate every play for four quarters.

    6) Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
    Moore can play with his hand on the ground in a 4-3 scheme or in space in a 3-4. Oklahoma tackle Lane Johnson did a very good job against Moore in the Cotton Bowl.

    7) Eric Fisher, OL, Central Michigan
    The long-armed, quick-footed Fisher should play for quite some time in the NFL at a Pro Bowl-level. This youngster has the potential for lots of growth in the future.

    8) Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
    The big (6-feet-3/4, 200 pounds) corner might not have great speed, but he makes up for it with his physical play and ball skills. He likely learned some useful tricks of the trade from coach Nick Saban.

    9) Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
    The competitive Jones, who led college football with 14.5 sacks in 2012, never lets up; he plays like fellow Bulldog Justin Houston, who notched 10 sacks for the Kansas City Chiefs last season. Jones transferred from USC when he failed to get a clean bill of health following a neck injury.

    10) Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
    The speedy, quick and athletic Jordan -- a former tight end -- can rush or drop into coverage. He could add weight, however, and his health has been something of a question mark.

    11) Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
    Ansah, who came to BYU from Ghana as a track athlete, joined the football team in 2010 and became an outstanding starter. He had a poor week of practice ahead of the Senior Bowl, but he wound up being named the defensive player of the game. He should be a very good pass-rusher.

    12) Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
    Floyd, a strong, three-year player with lots of upside, is a playmaker. He's a lot like Fletcher Cox, the 12th overall pick in 2012 who played well for the Philadelphia Eagles as a rookie.

    13) Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
    An outstanding athlete for a defensive tackle, Richardson makes me think of a young Warren Sapp coming out of college. He has just one year of major football under his belt, and he needs to play harder on every down, but he has the ability to be good.

    14) Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
    The former high school quarterback shifted to tight end in junior college before moving to the offensive line in 2011. Johnson really stood out in the Cotton Bowl with the way he handled Texas A&M's Damontre Moore.

    15) Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
    Mingo is a better athlete than he is a football player at this point, and he needs work when it comes to defending the run. He is, however, a very good pass rusher, and everyone is looking for very good pass rushers.

    16) Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
    Allen caught lots of passes at Cal even though he didn't have much of a quarterback throwing to him, and he's strong and quick for the position. A knee injury caused him to miss time in 2012; teams will need to check on his health.

    17) Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
    He's a size-speed player who catches well and spent some time at running back. Patterson, who spent two years in junior college before arriving at Tennessee, has just one season of experience playing major college football.

    18) Kenny Vaccaro, safety, Texas
    I think he's every bit as good as Mark Barron, who was picked seventh overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012 and went on to have a very good rookie year. The tough Vaccaro is athletic enough to cover the slot receiver; he never slows down.

    19) Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
    Ogletree, who started his career as a safety, runs well and has good instincts; he's a very good athlete who can play inside or outside. Players from Georgia tend to do well in the NFL. Teams will have to do more background work on Ogletree, however, given that he was recently charged with a DUI.

    20) Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
    Te'o did all of the things that a linebacker is expected to do, up until his poor performance in the BCS Championship Game. He took on blockers, he blitzed, he played in space. He also collected seven interceptions and 113 tackles. The "girlfriend hoax" story, of course, seems to have overshadowed all of that.

    21) Johnathan Hankins, DL, Ohio State
    The powerful Hankins has size, ability and good range, though he also seemed to have fatigue issues at times. The three-year college player will get a lot better with age.

    22) Jonathan Cooper, OL, North Carolina
    Cooper is athletic, but the four-year starter needs to get stronger. He doesn't look as big as some NFL guards.

    23) Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
    Ertz, who has good hands, size and strength, has the potential to create matchup problems for NFL defenses. He is a better receiver than he is a blocker at this point.

    24) D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
    The long-armed Fluker has the power to dominate defenders. He projects as a right tackle only, as he lacks the feet for playing left tackle.

    25) Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
    Eifert is very good at making contested catches -- he has more career receptions (134) than any other tight end in Notre Dame history -- and he blocks better than one might think.

    26) DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
    27) Kevin Minter, LB, LSU
    28) Xavier Rhodes, DB, Florida State
    29) Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
    30) John Jenkins, DL, Georgia
    31) Matt Barkley, QB, USC
    32) Johnthan Banks, DB, Mississippi State
    33) Datone Jones, DL, UCLA
    34) Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
    35) Margus Hunt, DL, SMU
    36) EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State
    37) Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
    38) Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
    39) Sylvester Williams, DL, North Carolina
    40) Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington

    41) Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
    42) Jesse Williams, DL, Alabama
    43) Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech
    44) Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
    45) Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky
    46) Travis Frederick, OL, Wisconsin
    47) Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
    48) Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
    49) Khaseem Greene, LB, Rutgers
    50) Matt Elam, safety, Florida

    51) Robert Woods, WR, USC
    52) Eric Reid, safety, LSU
    53) Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
    54) Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State
    55) Vance McDonald, WR, Rice
    56) Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State
    57) Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
    58) Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas
    59) Mike Glennon, QB, N.C. State
    60) Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina

    61) Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
    62) Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson
    63) Cornellius Carradine, DE, Florida State
    64) Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
    65) Johnathan Cyprien, safety, Florida International
    66) Dallas Thomas, OT, Tennessee
    67) Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego State
    68) Kyle Long, OG, Oregon
    69) Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati
    70) Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern State

    71) Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
    72) Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut
    73) Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn
    74) Kiko Alonso, LB, Oregon
    75) Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse
    76) Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State
    77) Robert Alford, CB, Southeastern Louisiana
    78) Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State
    79) Brian Winters, OG, Kent State
    80) Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford

    81) Phillip Thomas, safety, Fresno State
    82) Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
    83) Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee
    84) David Amerson, DB, N.C. State
    85) Brennan Williams, OL, North Carolina
    86) Oday Aboushi, OT, Virginia
    87) Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford
    88) Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall
    89) Gerald Hodges, LB, Penn State
    90) Zeke Motta, safety, Notre Dame

    91) Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin
    92) D.J. Swearinger, safety, South Carolina
    93) Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida
    94) Brian Schwenke, OL, Cal
    95) Bacarri Rambo, safety, Georgia
    96) Kevin Reddick, LB, North Carolina
    97) William Gholston, DE, Michigan State
    98) Michael Buchanan, DE, Illinois
    99) Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
    100) Jeff Locke, punter, UCLA

    Note: South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore was left off the list while we wait to see how he's recovered from serious injury.

    Follow Gil Brandt on Twitter @Gil_Brandt.
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