The 2013 draft's 'Better-than' Team
This is a list of players that Pete Prisco likes better than the league scouts do heading to the 2013 NFL Draft. The headline player is LSU's Bennie Logan.
Defensive tackle Michael Brockers was a first-round pick out of LSU in 2012 by the St. Louis Rams. Defensive end Barkevious Mingo might go in the first round this year, and fellow end Sam Montgomery would go high as well if there weren't some off-field concerns by teams.
So I spent a lot of time studying the LSU front the past two years.
The guy that people are sleeping on is defensive tackle Bennie Logan, a fast, tough, athletic player who, at times, looked like a potential Pro Bowl player during his career at LSU.
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Logan never quite lived up to the star billing. But at 6-2, 309 pounds, he has great quickness, is strong at the point of attack and does a great job of using his hands. He had only five sacks the past two seasons, but he is capable of getting upfield as a pass rusher. He is a former defensive end who has bulked up, so the speed is there.
Brockers had two sacks in his LSU career but had 4 1/2 last season for the Rams. I am not saying Logan is as good as Brockers, but he can be a quality starter in the NFL.
That's why he is the headliner/captain of this year's "Better-than" Team. That's my annual team made up of guys that I think will be better than most scouts think they will be on the next level.
Logan was a better player at LSU in 2011, when he had Brockers next to him, but he made a lot of plays the past two seasons. One of my favorites came against Alabama in the national championship game after the 2011 season.
Lined up inside of then-tackle Barrett Jones and guard Chance Warmack, he knifed inside of Jones and was too quick for Warmack, stopping Trent Richardson for a short gain. Warmack, by the way, will be a high first-round pick next week.
Warmack did get some good blocks on Logan in that game, but it wasn't as if he mauled him. Logan held his own against him.
Logan was so highly thought of by the LSU staff that they gave him jersey No. 18 last year, which goes to the player who best represents LSU off and on the field.
Landing a guy like Logan in the third round could prove to be a big hit for the team that takes him.
Here's the rest of the 2013 Better-than Team, which rarely includes potential first-round picks but rather guys from down the line.
Cornellius, DE, FSU -- I watched a lot of tape of FSU end Bjoern Werner, and this kid was better. He tore his ACL late last season, so the medical is in play, but I really like him as a pass rusher. He'd be a sure first-round pick if not for the knee.
Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn -- He is a smallish pass rusher who needs to gain some weight. But he has speed off the edge and could be an effective nickel rusher early in his career.
Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State -- This often-injured quarterback flashed at times during his career. He will make for a nice late-round pick with a chance to be a quality backup for a long time.
Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma -- He ran better times than expected, which will help his draft stock. He plays the position with a swagger, which you want from a receiver.
Jonathan Franklin, RB, UCLA -- He's the most-underrated runner in this draft. He will be a quality starter for a team in a year or two.
Akeem Spence, DT, Illinois -- I almost made him the captain of this team but went with Logan instead. Spence is a power player who played better in 2011, but I think the team that gets him will end up with a quality starting defensive tackle.
Terry Hawthorne, CB, Illinois -- He has good size, can cover and is a willing tackler. He's another player on the Illinois roster who was better in 2011.
Brandon Magee, LB, Arizona State -- Injuries slowed him at ASU, but he is a heck of a linebacker. He is smallish, but he plays fast, which you need in the current NFL.
Michael Clay, LB, Oregon -- He is small at 230 pounds. But when I watched Dion Jordan on tape, I saw this kid flash at times. Worth a late-round pick.
Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas -- Speed kills, and this former Olympian has plenty of it. He has also developed into a nice receiver. He is small but explosive.
Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia -- He doesn't have blazing speed, but he plays fast. He is a good route runner who knows how to get separation.
Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati -- He had some off-field concerns during his time with the Bearcats, but he might be the best all-around tight end in this draft. He can block and can catch.
Jordan Hill, DT, Penn State -- This underrated defensive tackle did a nice job in the middle of the Penn State defense in 2012. He is more quickness than power.
Brian Schwenke, C, Cal -- He was a starter at guard before moving to center last season. He is athletic and can get to the second level. Does need to get stronger with players on his nose.
Oday Aboushi, T-G, Virginia -- This college tackle will likely have to move inside to guard on the next level. But they're have been some Pro Bowl guards who have made the same transition. He can do it.
Menelik Watson, T, Florida State -- He is a raw one-year starter for the Seminoles, but he has all the tools. He's big, strong and athletic. This former basketball player will be a solid 10-year starter in the league. He could go in the first round.
Devin Taylor, DE, South Carolina -- He is big at 6-7, 275 and has a nice wingspan. The concern is that his production went down at South Carolina. But he has the tools to be a spot pass rusher on the next level.
Josh Boyce, WR, TCU -- With the slot receiver becoming such an integral part of the passing games, Boyce could be a steal. He will move inside in the NFL from playing outside for TCU. He is coming back from a broken bone in his foot.
Levine Toilolo, TE, Stanford -- He is Stanford's other tight end behind Zach Ertz. Toilolo was hurt by a so-so 2012 season, but he looked like a solid third-round pick in 2011. He is tall and can be a nice second tight end.
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