2013 NFL Draft: Comparing offensive player rankings

Stephen Dunn

How do various positional rankings compare? We took a look at how five rankings put players at each positions on offense, to see who has the most volatile draft stock.

With the rush of underclassmen declaring for the NFL Draft over and the postseason all-star games - most notably the Senior Bowl - still yet to kick off, there's a bit of a lull in the NFL Draft Rankings period. Let's take a look at where different services have things stacked at each position at this stage in the NFL Draft process.

Most rankings tend to agree on the top player at each position, but past that, things get fuzzy. Players such as Robert Woods and Marcus Lattimore find themselves scattered from being a top three pick at their position in some rankings, and struggling to hang on to top ten status in others. Which players have the most volatile draft stock?

For the purposes of this brief survey, we looked at five sites: SB Nation's own Mocking the Draft, Draft Insider, CBS Sports, Walter Football, and Optimum Scouting.

Quarterback

Consensus No. 1: Geno Smith

There was supposedly some hubbub about who the top quarterback off the board would be - Mel Kiper, Jr. still thinks it should be Mike Glennon from NC State - but for the most part, draft analysts have centered on Smith. This isn't a particularly strong quarterback draft, with some believing the Chiefs will pass on Smith when they pick first overall - but at least most agree that Smith is the best pick at the position.

Jumping around: Ryan Nassib

Nassib, the 6'2 passer out of Syracuse, is ranked as highly as No. 2 by Optimum Scouting and as low as No. 9 by Mocking the Draft. He expressed his desire to play for the Buffalo Bills, who pick eighth overall, but he'll either have to improve his stock - even Smith might not be off the board at that point - or fall to the point he makes it to them in the second round. The Bills are likely looking for a quarterback with Ryan Fitzpatrick tossing 16 picks last year, and considering Nassib's college coach Doug Marrone is in charge in Buffalo now, that could be a great fit.

There's a lot of indecision amongst the rankings on whether Tyler Wilson is better than Matt Barkley, with most swapping them between second and third, but after Marrone's hire with Buffalo, Mocking the Draft projected Barkley wouldn't go in the first round.

Running back

Most likely No. 1: Giovani Bernard

Others: Eddie Lacy (CBS Sports)

For the most part, people think Bernard, an all-around prospect with ability to run, block, make catches, and even return punts, will be the top player at his position. However, there's not even a guarantee he'll be a first-round pick: Mocking the Draft thinks he can be a feature back in the NFL, but that might not be enough to get the North Carolina prospect off the board early.

It's tough to say which teams would be willing to jump for Bernard, since there are no can't-miss running back prospects in the class. An early guess would be the Cincinnati Bengals, whose running game wasn't great with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and whose No. 21 pick isn't too high for Bernard to be a huge stretch. They also have the No. 37 pick.

Lacy's a big back who showed he's more than just size with some brilliant moves in the SEC Championship game and BCS National Championship game, winning both with Alabama. Some sites think he's the top back in the draft, but some, such as Draft Impact, have him as low as fourth - still a second round pick, though.

Jumping around: Marcus Lattimore, Jawan Jamison, Montee Ball

Past Bernard and Lacy, there's a lot of confusion in a class with a lot of parity. Lattimore is probably the most interesting case: nobody doubts Lattimore's ability, but having come off a brutal injury that ended his senior season at South Carolina, he lands anywhere from No. 3 (Mocking the Draft, Optimum) to No. 19 (Draft Impact) and No. 23 (Walter Football) - almost solely dependent on whether people feel he can bounce back from several torn ligaments. If he is, in fact, the 23rd running back off the board, he might not even be drafted.

Ball is No. 3 at CBS and Draft Impact, but the senior bruiser from Wisconsin is No. 9 at Mocking the Draft and No. 16 according to Optimum. Jamison is ranked as highly as No. 2 at Draft Impact, but the Rutgers back banking on comparisons to fellow Scarlet Knight is No. 10 at CBS and No. 16 at Optimum. Others with high placement on occasion are Dennis Johnson from Arkansas (No. 4, Optimum), Johnathan Franklin of Oklahoma State (No. 4, Mocking the Draft) while Andre Ellington of Clemson and Joseph Randle of Oklahoma State have less variation but are typically considered top five.

Wide receiver

Most likely No. 1: Keenan Allen

Others: Robert Woods (Optimum Scouting)

Most people agree Allen is the best wide receiver on the board, with some thinking he'll be a top 15 pick in a year filled with defensive talent. Mocking the Draft has him going No. 22 to St. Louis to pair up with Sam Bradford in their latest mock draft. Another team likely interested in a wide receiver is Seattle, whose defense carried them through the playoffs, but could use a real standout wide receiver alongside Golden Tate - and likely instead of Sidney Rice.

Woods is someone who has mock drafters at odds: he's in the top five of most mocks, but is as low as No. 7 at Draft Insider and No. 9 at Walter Football after a junior year that only included one 100-yard receiving day. He was splitting catches with Marqise Lee, but between Woods and top quarterback prospect Matt Barkley, USC's offense was sort of underwhelming.

Jumping around: Terrence Williams, Tavon Austin, Cordarrelle Patterson

Some see Williams as a can't-miss type player after leading the nation in receiving yardage, even after Robert Griffin III graduated, but others see him going lower: he's No. 2 per Draft Impact and Walter Football, but as low as No. 7 per Mocking the Draft and Optimum.

Austin's proven himself as a speedster as a vicious wide receiver and just as lethal returning kicks and punts - even playing running back for West Virginia - but some worry NFL teams will be put off by the fact he's only 5-foot-9. Most have him as a top three pick, but Optimum sees him going No. 12.

Patterson is as high as No. 2 at CBS, but the juco product most recently from Tennessee has some doubters, with Walter Football and Optimum putting him sixth.

Tight end

Consensus No. 1: Either Zach Ertz or Tyler Eifert

Take your pick. Mocking the Draft and Walter Football have Eifert out of Notre Dame, the rest of have Stanford's Ertz. They're even similar body types - both 6-foot-6, one 249 pounds, the other 251. They both led their team in receiving and aren't known for their blocking. Look for the Atlanta Falcons to take one of them in the first to try to replace Tony Gonzalez.

Jumping around: Travis Kelce, Dion Sims, Gavin Escobar

Jordan Reed is pretty much always considered one of the top five. Kelce, Sims, and Escobar, are all universally top ten, but find themselves fluctuating anywhere between the No. 4 and No. 8 pick.

Offensive tackle

Consensus No. 1: Luke Joeckel

Joeckel's not just the likely No.1 tackle off the board - some think the Chiefs will take the Texas A&M prospect first overall when they're on the clock in April.

Jumping around: Justin Pugh, Oday Aboushi

Taylor Lewan and Jake Matthews stayed in college, robbing most boards of their second and third players at the guard spot. For most people, Central Michigan's Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson are the next two up for teams looking for offensive tackles: the Philadelphia Eagles are widely expected to take Joeckel if he's available, and after them the New Orleans Saints are likely looking for a tackle if they don't sign Jermon Bushrod and the Chicago Bears want somebody to shore up a sub-par line.

After those three, it will probably be until Day 2 until a tackle is selected. However, Pugh, from Syracuse, has moved up as high as No. 3 (Optimum) and Aboushi out of Virginia is the second player after Joeckel in the draft per Mocking the Draft, although many don't consider them amongst the top five. D.J. Fluker is another player who peaks in the top five per some services.

Guard

Consensus No. 1: Chase Warmack

After he decided to come out, Alabama's Warmack was easily the top pick at his position. There's also a consensus that North Carolina's Jonathan Cooper is after him. The Rams are a likely destination for Warmack, while Cooper is a borderline first-rounder.

Jumping around: pretty much everybody

There's not a lot of consensus past the top two spots. Most think Kentucky's Larry Warford is top five at the position. A lot of it is just due to positionality: Dallas Thomas is a top guard if you consider him one, as is Barrett Jones, but most are likely to consider Thomas a tackle and Jones a center. No pure center past Warford will go on the first day.

Center

Consensus No. 1: Barrett Jones

Jones has some issues with what he's best at, having been great as a tackle, guard, and center in college, but that's a good problem to have. The Green Bay Packers are a team likely looking at him at Jones without a great player at the spot.

Jumping around: Travis Fredrick, Khaled Holmes

The only two other clear first day candidates, there's indecision about who is second best and who is third. Draft Insider has USC's Holmes higher, the rest have Wisconsin's Fredrick first.

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