2013 NFL mock draft: Underclassmen decisions changing projections

Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

Underclassmen electing not to enter the 2013 NFL Draft have skewed the latest SB Nation mock draft.

As the mock drafts continue to roll out for the 2013 NFL Draft, picks will become outdated as player stocks rise and fall, but also as players forego entering the draft. Anyone projected to go in the first round of the draft is probably set to do pretty well financially when they get to the NFL, but money is not necessarily the only motivating factor.

Taking a look at SB Nation's latest mock draft — from Jan. 7 — there are a few picks that are now outdated due to players electing to stay in school.

First, the mock had the San Diego Chargers taking Jake Matthews, an offensive tackle out of Texas A&M, at No. 11. That's a great spot for Matthews, who has been projected as a late first- or early second-round pick. But on Friday, Matthews announced his intention to return to school.

Matthews said he wants to play with his younger brother, who is slated to be the starting center next season. It's also likely that Matthews will be shifted from the right side to the left side. It's a risky move, but if he plays well it could pay off big come next year's draft.

The other pick that's become outdated was No. 17, where SB Nation had offensive tackle Taylor Lewan of Michigan going to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Lewan said that he wants to remain at school to further improve at the left tackle position, and that he wants to graduate.

While the move makes sense for Lewan and Matthews, it certainly makes things a bit unclear for the mock in its current form.

Considering that both players were offensive linemen, this hurts the teams that were drafting on need. When it comes to offensive tackles, teams are almost always drafting on need early on. You don't take a tackle in the first round if you already have two you like, which isn't always the case for other positions.

The next tackle projected was Oday Aboushi, taken at No. 24 by the Colts. He's one of the top prospects at the position, so it certainly isn't impossible that one of the teams now takes him earlier than expected.

Lewan and Matthews were truly two of the elite prospects, so it will be telling if there are fewer tackles drafted in the first round this year than in previous years. If that's the case, it's almost certainly due to Matthews and Lewan not declaring, because they were a mainstay of first-round mocks until now.

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