1. Oregon linebacker Dion Jordan is a top-six lock and the top defensive player in this draft
Whether he goes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, Dion Jordan will be selected in the draft's top six selections. Not maybe or possibly. He will be taken somewhere in the top six picks. Jordan wasn't the most productive college player, but watching his college tape from Oregon, he was used as a versatile chess piece all over that defense. He lined up at pass rusher, dropped in space against the run and even in the slot to cover, acting as a nickel cornerback. At 6 feet 6 and 250 pounds, his athleticism has scouts really excited for his potential at the next level and that's why he won't last long on draft day. The Jaguars at two, Eagles at four and Browns at six are the most likely landing spots; he won't fall any farther.
|More 2013 NFL Draft coverage|
2. This year's draft will mark the first time since 1953 that a Big Ten player isn't taken in the first round
The Big Ten conference has taken a hit in recent years for its struggles against the SEC on the field and for the first time, we're starting to see the same impact on draft day. While the SEC could have a dozen players drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Big Ten might be shut out of the opening round, something that hasn't happened since 1953. A pair of defensive tackles, Johnathan Hankins (Ohio State) and Kawann Short (Purdue), are the best hope for the conference to be represented in the first round, but both are more likely to come off the board in the second round. The Big Ten will be well-represented on the second and third days of the draft, but the first round will be quiet for one of college football's most traditional conferences.
3. Double-digit cornerbacks will come off the board in the first two rounds
Alabama's Dee Milliner and Florida State's Xavier Rhodes won't last long on draft day, but they aren't the only cornerbacks who will be highly sought after early in the draft. In fact, we will see double-digit cornerbacks drafted in the top 64 picks of the 2013 NFL Draft. Milliner and Rhodes are top-20 picks, but then between picks 20-64, we could see at least eight cornerbacks come off the board, including prospects like Desmond Trufant (Washington), D.J. Hayden (Houston), Jamar Taylor (Boise State), Johnthan Banks (Mississippi State), Darius Slay (Mississippi State), Robert Alford (SE Louisiana), Logan Ryan (Rutgers), Blidi Wreh-Wilson (Connecticut) and Tyrann Mathieu (LSU).
4. Cordarrelle Patterson will not be the top Tennessee wide receiver drafted
The top JUCO prospect a year ago, Cordarrelle Patterson burst onto the college landscape with a bang and showed off his explosive athleticism and intrigued NFL scouts with his natural ability and upside. However, while most view him as a top-20 prospect, he won't be the first wide receiver out of Knoxville drafted on April 25; that distinction will go to his former teammate, Justin Hunter. Although he was very highly-rated entering the year, Hunter slipped down boards due to his inconsistency catching the ball, but nonetheless, he has that fluid athleticism that will cause teams to take a chance on him. Patterson struggled through team interviews and several front offices have already taken him off their first-round draft board, but Hunter has done the opposite, rising into the top 32 picks.
5. For the first time since 2007, at least three safeties will be drafted in the first round
The NFL has become a pass-happy league and with tight ends becoming more popular with the emergence of players like Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, tough-cover safeties are growing in popularity for teams. Historically, it's not a position that is highly sought after in the first round, but that's starting to change. This draft doesn't have a Sean Taylor or Eric Berry type of safety prospect who will be considered in the top five overall picks, but Kenny Vaccaro (Texas), John Cyprien (Florida International), Matt Elam (Florida) and Eric Reid (LSU) will all be considered in the 15-32 range. All four of those prospects have flaws, but they play a position that is growing in popularity and teams aren't shy about taking one early.