Here we are again. Just four days after the completion of the 2012 NFL draft, we're already turning some attention to the 2013 class.
Below is an extremely early initial mock draft for 2013, something I wrestle with every year, but this is the lesser of two evils when compared to grading each team's draft minutes after Mr. Irrelevant is announced.
The order was derived by reversing the postdraft power rankings of Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson, and the players are those who jump to mind as possible standouts during the 2012 college season.
This is not meant to be a true projection or represent how we think the first round will actually unfold next April. Rather, it's simply a look at where teams stand from a broad perspective after the draft, and some big names who could be in play after we finish our initial film study and formulate our first 2013 draft board late in the summer (tape study on 2013 prospects begins next week).
Looking back at last year's early mock draft (posted the week after the 2011 draft), the results were not as bad as I expected. Six of the players I included last spring will return to school this year, and six others -- North Carolina DE Dante Paige-Moss, Miami DT Marcus Forston, Oregon CB Cliff Harris, Arizona State ILB Vontaze Burfict, Texas A&M WR Jeff Fuller, Virginia CB Chase Minnifield -- were not drafted.
However, of the 20 remaining players on that 2012 list, eight were selected in the first round (all in the top 17 overall) with a total of 16 eventually coming off the board in the first two rounds.
So, here we go with a 2013 mock draft that won't mean much by the time the summer is over.
As always, draft-eligible non-seniors are noted with an asterisk.
2011 record: 2-14
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
2011 record: 2-14
Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin