This is a pretty interesting article to think about when assessing what the Colts should do in the draft and where a reach might not be the best idea, I know early predictions do not always turn out to be what people think at the end of the year, but typically the top-top guys don't fall too much if at all.

Big Picture: 2012 and 2013 Draft

By Mike Daneshgar
March 8th, 2012 at 10:30 pm

When looking at any draft, it is important to grasp the big picture. Not only should the positional depth of the current draft be looked at, but that of the next yearís draft as well. If there are 5 players of equal talent available at a position, why choose one when you can trade down, pick up additional draft choices, and end up with a player whom you would have taken at the earlier draft slot? Or, worst case scenario Ė pull a Minnesota and donít turn in your card.

Every fan wants to fix their team in one offseason. As nice as that would be, itís just not realistic. Two teams that have consistently won over the past decade are the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles Ė and itís no coincidence that they both are known to maneuver quite a bit on draft day to acquire future picks. That long term approach increases the odds that they win the crapshoot that is the NFL Draft. Most importantly, it takes into account positional strengths of current drafts and compares them to that of the following draft. Big picture, folks!

Which leads me to the point of this article Ė how does the talent of the 2012 NFL Draft line up to that of which we COULD see in 2013? Iím glad you asked.

Here are the combined top prospects at each position. Iím not a big fan of numerically ranking players because so much depends on team scheme and whether you prefer taking a chance at upside or going with a safe choice. As a result, Iíve broken it up into tiers. Tiers of joy.

(2012 NFL Draft prospects are identified with an asterisk)


Tier 1

*Andrew Luck, Stanford

Tier 2
*Robert Griffin III, Baylor
Matt Barkley, USC

Tier 3
Tyler Bray, Tennessee
*Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech
Geno Smith, West Virginia
*Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State

Tier 4
Keith Price, Washington
*Brock Osweiler, Arizona State
E.J. Manuel, Florida State

Translation: 2012 was supposed to be the year of the quarterback, but with Matt Barkley returning itís shaping up so that 2013 is that year. Granted, there will be no Andrew Luck next season, there are quite a few players who could shoot up boards with impressive final years. In other words, if you canít get Andrew Luck or RG3, thereís no need to panic and reach for the next best quarterback.

Running Back

Tier 1
*Trent Richardson, Alabama
Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
Michael Dyer, Auburn

Tier 2
Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
*David Wilson, Virginia Tech
*Lamar Miller, Miami
*Doug Martin, Boise State
Knile Davis, Arkansas

Tier 3
LeíVeon Bell, Michigan State
Montee Ball, Wisconsin
Ray Graham, Pittsburgh
*Robert Turbin, Utah State
*Chris Polk, Washington
Zach Stacy, Vanderbilt

Translation: 2013 could end up as one of the best running back groups ever Ė which makes Montee Ball returning all the more confusing. After Tier 2, you may just be better off waiting for next year or picking up a rental. If there were a Tier 4, it would be comprised of several more prospects not in the 2012 draft, with so many of them just seething with potential but not thick enough resumes to include in this list.

Wide Receiver

Tier 1
Robert Woods, USC
*Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
Keenan Allen, California
Marquess Wilson, Washington State

Tier 2
*Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
*Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
Justin Hunter, Tennessee
DaíRick Rogers, Tennessee
*Kendall Wright, Baylor
Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas
Kenny Stills, Oklahoma

Translation: Are you sure that you want to take Justin Blackmon top 5? The college level is completely loaded at the WR position, donít feel the need to reach for one in 2012.

Tight End

Tier 1
*Dwayne Allen, Clemson
Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
*Coby Fleener, Stanford
*Orson Charles, Georgia
Joseph Fauria, UCLA
Philip Lutzenkurchen, Auburn

Tier 2
*Michael Egnew, Missouri
Jordan Reed, Florida
Jake Stoneburner, Ohio State
Chris Gragg, Arkansas
*Ladarius Green, ULL

Translation: 2012 has an edge in the Joker TE/WR department, but severely lacks at the in-line blocking category. Rather than taking on a project of trying to mold a Joker into a blocker, you may just be better off waiting for one of the guys in 2013.

Offensive Tackle

Tier 1
*Matt Kalil, USC

Tier 2
*Riley Reiff, Iowa
*Jonathan Martin, Stanford
Barrett Jones, Alabama
Seantrel Henderson, Miami
Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
D.J. Fluker, Alabama
Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
Chris Faulk, LSU
Chaz Green, Florida

Translation: After the big 3 (Kalil, Reiff, and Martin) there is no need to reach for a tackle if that is what your team needs. Iím looking at you, NFL team considering drafting Mike Adams in the top 20.

Interior Offensive Linemen

Tier 1
*David DeCastro, Stanford
Chance Warmack, Alabama

Tier 2
*Peter Konz, Wisconsin
*Cordy Glenn, Georgia
Andrew Norwell, Ohio State
James Hurst, UNC
Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech
*Brandon Washington, Miami

Translation: This year and the next are going to be two of the best guard classes ever. If you miss out on stud David DeCastro, there are plenty of consolation prizes to go around.

4-3 Defensive End

Tier X
Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas
Barkevious Mingo, LSU
*Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
Corey Lemonier, Auburn
*Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
Sam Montgomery, LSU
Kareem Martin, UNC
*Nick Perry, USC

Tier X.5
Alex Okafor, Texas
Dion Jordan, Oregon
Brandon Jenkins, FSU
*Chandler Jones, Syracuse

Translation: Yuck. The 2012 class is so full of question marks that they donít even get to be considered tier 1. On the other hand, the college pool is very talented but lacks the production to justify being called tier 1 either. Thus, tier X and X.5 it is. Still, pass rushers tend to break out in their final years in school, so keep an eye on these guys still in school. If I had to choose, Iíd take my chances on a DE from the 2013 class outshining those of the 2012 class once they are draft eligible.

3-4 Defensive End

Tier 1
*Quinton Coples, UNC
Dominique Easley, Florida
Bjoern Werner, FSU
William Gholston, Michigan State

Tier 2
*Devon Still, PSU
*Jared Crick, Nebraska
Bennie Logan, LSU
John Simon, OSU
*Kendall Reyes, Connecticut
Margus Hunt, SMU

Translation: Both classes are solid but the monster potential of having 3 players in tier 1 gives a slight edge to 2013.

Defensive/Nose Tackle

Tier 1
Sharrif Floyd, Florida
John Hankins, OSU
*Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State

Tier 2
*Michael Brockers, LSU
*Dontari Poe, Memphis
Star Lotulelei, Utah
Kawaan Short, Purdue

Tier 3
*Brandon Thompson, Clemson
Kwame Geathers, Georgia
*Jerel Worthy, Michigan State

Translation: This year and next are super loaded at DT. There may not be a Ndamukong Suh standing out just yet, but thereís very good value here in both drafts.

3-4 Outside Linebacker

Tier 1
Jarvis Jones, Georgia
*Courtney Upshaw, Alabama

Tier 2
Sean Porter, Texas A&M
Ronald Powell, Florida
Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
Barkevious Mingo, LSU

Tier 3
Chase Thomas, Stanford
*Shea McClellin, Boise State
Trevardo Williams, Connecticut
*Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma
Nico Johnson, Alabama
Roosevelt Nix, Kent State
*Andre Branch, Clemson
*Cam Johnson, Virginia

Translation: This draft seriously needed Jarvis Jones and his pass rushing ability.

4-3 Outside Linebacker

Tier 1
*Zach Brown, UNC
*Bobby Wagner, Utah State
Jelani Jenkins, Florida

Tier 2
*Lavonte David, Nebraska

Tier 3
Arthur Brown, Kansas State
Khaseem Green, Rutgers
Dion Bailey, USC
*Terrell Manning, North Carolina State
*Sean Spence, Miami
*Josh Kaddu, Oregon
Kenny Tate, Maryland

Translation: Teams that need a 4-3 weakside linebacker are in luck.

Inside Linebacker

Tier 1
*Luke Kuechly, Boston College
Manti Teío, Notre Dame
Shayne Skov, Stanford

Tier 2
*Dontía Hightower, Alabama
Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky
Tom Wort, Oklahoma
C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Kevin Reddick, UNC

Tier 3
Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech
Dede Lattimore, USF

Translation: There is a pretty large drop-off at middle linebacker after Kuechly and Hightower. If you miss out on them, your best bet is to wait.


Tier 1
*Morris Claiborne, LSU
David Amerson, North Carolina State

Tier 2
*Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
*Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
Xavier Rhodes, FSU

Tier 3
*Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
*Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech
Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State
Bud Noel, Wake Forest
Ahmad Dixon, Baylor
*Brandon Boykin, Georgia

Tier 4
*Chase Minnifield, Virginia
Greg Reid, FSU
*Leonard Johnson, Iowa State
Dee Milliner, Alabama
Tharold Simon, LSU
*Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska
*Josh Robinson, UCF

Translation: He may be really good, but looking at the big picture taking Morris Claiborne in the top 5 may not be the most thrify move to make.


Tier 1
Tyrann Mathieu, LSU
Lamarcus Joyner, FSU
Eric Reid, LSU

Tier 2
*Mark Barron, Alabama
Matt Elam, Florida
T.J. McDonald, USC
Bacarri Rambo, Georgia
Robert Lester, Alabama
Ray-Ray Armstrong, Miami

Tier 3
*Harrison Smith, Notre Dame
Prentiss Wagner, Tennessee
Kenny Vaccaro, Texas

Translation: Donít even think about reaching for a Safety this year. Personally, Iím not sure I would take one at all in 2012 as 2013 could be the first strong Safety class in years.

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