We may still have 93 days left until the 2013 Draft, but its never too early for the experts to share their thoughts on the best athletes in college football. The mock draft experts around the NFL are already at it when it comes to predicting what the Buccaneers will be doing with the 13th overall pick in April’s NFL Draft. Of course, none of this reflects the thoughts that are taking place inside One Buc Place.
Surely, much will change in the coming months, but here in mid-January, the experts seemed to have reached a bit of a consensus on this idea: cornerback will be receiving the Bucs’ first phone call on draft weekend.
You may recall that this is not the first time such a consensus has been reached, in very recent memory, which goes to show you that no one is really sure what will transpire on April 25, 2013. In our collection of NFL draft analyst predictions last year, just days before the 2012 NFL Draft, 19 of the 20 experts believed that the Buccaneers would be selecting Morris Claiborne with their fifth overall selection.
Now, eight of the ten experts have once again posted that their prediction lies at the cornerback spot. All three cornerbacks who are commonly expected to fall in the first round are on the prediction short list. Here’s what the NFL.com draft profiles have to say about them:
Johnathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State:
“He has experience playing a number of spots in the secondary, beginning his career as a safety, before eventually settling on the boundary corner and nickel spots. His skills is man coverage were under-utilized at Mississippi State, and if he can keep adding weight to his long, wiry frame, has the potential to be an excellent press-man corner, a skill that will make get him selected in the top 40 picks.”
Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama:
“Milliner has made plays when given the chance (six interceptions, 38 pass break-ups in three years starting). He is ready to use his pro-ready size, athleticism and change-of-direction ability to become a household name in the NFL after winning back-to-back BCS Championships at Alabama. Milliner’s role grew extensively as a junior, and he showed the skills to be a first-round pick in the NFL.”
Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State:
“Rhodes thrives in physical press coverage, something very few college players can put on their resume. At time his tackling technique is questionable, but Rhodes will make his living locking up boundary receivers with a balanced and strong jam followed up by enough speed to stick in their hip pocket. Just don’t ask him to play in zone, because Rhodes shows tight movements when forced to pass receivers to a separate area. His game is somewhat scheme dependent, but expect Rhodes to be selected in the first 50 picks.”
Click the link to read what the mock draft experts are saying about the Buccaneers’ 13th overall pick.
WalterFootball.com’s Charlie Campbell: Johnathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
WalterFootball.com’s Walter Cherepinsky: Johnathan Banks
DraftCountdown.com’s Scott Wright: Johnathan Banks
NFL.com’s Gil Brandt: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
SB Nation’s Dan Kadar: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
NFL Mock’s Sayre Bedinger: Dee Milliner
ESPN’s Mel Kiper: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
NFLDraftScout.com’s Dane Brugler: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
NFL.com’s Josh Norris: Xavier Rhodes
NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks: Xavier Rhodes