In a draft class short on premier quarterbacks and running backs, the 2013 NFL draft should see linemen on both sides of the ball come off the board early and often.
Many teams either traded for or signed free agent veteran quarterbacks, meaning this could be the first year since 1996 that no quarterback gets selected in the first round of the draft.
In February, teams like Arizona, Oakland, Buffalo and Kansas City were searching for a quarterback. All but Buffalo seem to have found an opening day starter and the Philadelphia Eagles have five quarterbacks on the roster, but it’s uncertain which of them - if any - will start the 2013 season.
We had a trade this week that did not involve a quarterback, but addressed a big need for Tampa Bay at cornerback. The Bucs acquired Darrelle Revis from the New York Jets for the 13th overall pick, meaning the Jets now have the ninth and 13th selections. It's doubtful New York would use either pick for a quarterback, but stranger things have happened.
The running backs are a productive group, but none have received a high first-round grade. A couple may go late in the first round, but it is possible that running backs get shut out of the first round.
Where the draft is deep in on the offensive and defensive lines, where eight of CFU’s top 10 players line up. Linemen could comprise the first seven picks of the draft, and the top overall pick is almost certain to be an offensive lineman.
***Update April 22, 2013***
The New York Jets dealt disgruntled cornerback Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday and acquired the 13th overall pick. The trade doesn't affect the initial CFU mock draft much, as we had the Bucs taking a cornerback and now have the Jets selecting a corner in the same spot. Check out the updated Mock Draft here.
2013 NFL Mock Draft First Round
1. Kansas City Chiefs - Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Now that the Chiefs have what they hope will be their franchise quarterback after trading for Alex Smith, the priority is upgrading a porous offensive line that allowed 40 sacks last season. Joeckel is a fluid athlete and excellent pass blocker with impeccable footwork and good hands.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Jordan is a freakish athlete whose length and athleticism make him a natural pass rusher and a must-have for a team that registered a league-worst 20 sacks last season.
3. Oakland Raiders - Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Raiders filled a need at quarterback when they traded for Seattle’s Matt Flynn and then sent Carson Palmer to Arizona. Oakland had just 25 sacks last season while allowing the fifth-most points in the league. Floyd is a strong, powerful player capable of eating double teams to free up linebackers, stuff running lanes and even generate a middle pass rush.
4. Philadelphia Eagles - Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Eagles have plenty of questions at quarterback, but gambling on another project player with the fourth overall pick is too risky when the team has several other needs. Fisher might be the most complete tackle in the draft and should help an offense that had the league’s fourth-worst scoring output.
5. Detroit Lions - Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
In a division that includes several top-tier receivers like Greg Jennings, Brandon Marshall, Jordy Nelson and James Jones, the Lions need to grab the best corner in the draft. Milliner is a superb athlete with excellent cover skills and would fill one of Detroit’s most glaring needs.
6. Cleveland Browns - Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The Browns would love to have Milliner and could trade down if he’s off the board. If they stand pat, Jones would be an excellent addition. While the Browns were 11th in sacks last season, they could still use another pass rusher.
7. Arizona Cardinals - Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
One of the best athletes in the draft, Johnson is an instinctive player who moves well and uses his hands and long arms to keep pass rushers at bay. He can improve has a run blocker, but his pass blocking is a necessity with the aging Carson Palmer now at quarterback.
8. Buffalo Bills- Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Bills cut ties with Ryan Fitzpatrick and really do not have a starting caliber quarterback on the roster. Smith is the consensus top quarterback in the draft.
Although Smith is not considered a top-10 player, the Bills don’t have much of a choice but to reach for a guy they hope will be their franchise quarterback. Should the Bills pass on a quarterback here, look for new coach Doug Marrone to reunite with his quarterback from Syracuse, Ryan Nassib, in the second round.
9. New York Jets - Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
The Jets still have a mess at quarterback, but reaching for somebody here would be a mistake. The Jets were near the bottom of the league in sacks and Mingo can rush the quarterback.
10. Tennessee Titans - Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Tennessee coach Mike Munchak was a high first-round pick - eighth overall - as a guard. He spoke highly of Warmack at the Combine and the big Alabama guard
will fill a big hole on the Titans offensive line.
11. San Diego Chargers - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Chargers need help on the offensive line, but their biggest need is for interior defensive linemen. Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson might be a better option here, but the Chargers really like Lotulelei despite his health risks.
12. Miami Dolphins - Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Ryan Tannehill had a promising rookie season at quarterback. The Dolphins added some weapons for him via free agency this offseason and now must upgrade its offensive line after losing tackle Jake Long to St. Louis. Alabama’s DJ Fluker is an option here, but Cooper is a higher-rated player and still fills a need inside.
13. New York Jets (from Tampa Bay) - DJ Hayden, CB, Houston
We originally had Xavier Rhodes from Florida State here going to Tampa, but the Bucs now have Darrelle Revis and Hayden's stock is rising fast.
14. Carolina Panthers - Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
If Richardson slides this far, it’d be a steal for Carolina, which needs help inside. Richardson is a top-10 talent who could slip because of other teams’ needs. Richardson is a freakish athlete with a high-motor and the ability to consistently generate an inside pass rush.
15. New Orleans Saints - Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Pick a defensive position and that’s where the Saints need help. Vaccaro is a tough competitor who has gained steam since his pro day. He can definitely help improve a defense that ranked last in total yards and second-to-last in passing yards allowed.
16. St. Louis Rams - Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Austin is the top-rated receiver in the class. Although a bit undersized, his speed is matched only by his fluidity as a runner and natural pass catcher. The Rams haven’t had a player with that skill set in years and he should be welcomed with open arms by quarterback Sam Bradford.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers - Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
The Steelers could use another receiver outside to replace the loss of Mike Wallace, now with the Dolphins. But they can’t pass on Ansah slipping to them. The Steelers were uncharacteristically a middle-of-the-pack pass rushing team last year and then they released James Harrison. Ansah is a freakish athlete with a ton of upside, but he’s also still fairly new to football, so there is also a lot of risk.
18. Dallas Cowboys - Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky
The Cowboys re-upped Tony Romo with a nice fat contract, now they must ensure they keep their franchise quarterback protected. Warford impressed at both the Senior Bowl and Combine and stood out on a poor Wildcats team last year. The Cowboys desperately need interior line help and Warford could be an opening day starter.
19. New York Giants - DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama
The Giants need a pair of tackles and Fluker is a big, fierce competitor who should help upgrade the position. A strong run blocker and good athleticism for his size, Fluker should be a road grader in the Giants running game.
20. Chicago Bears - Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
With Nick Roach and Brian Urlacher both now gone from the Windy City, the Bears continue to revamp their linebacking corps with the athletic Ogletree. Just as Urlacher was, Ogletree is a former safety with a nose for the ball.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
At 6-2, 216, Patterson has good size and would be an excellent complement to AJ Green. Patterson is a smooth runner with speed and would be a reliable target for quarterback Andy Dalton.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington) - Jonathan Cyprien, S, FIU
A tackling machine for the Panthers, Cyprien really shined at the Senior Bowl. FIU’s all-time leading tackler covers well, loves to blitz and is a hard hitter. The Rams have a big need at safety and Cyprien might be the best safety in this draft class.
23. Minnesota Vikings - Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
While Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o is an option here, Brown is a better athlete and a move versatile player. The Vikings need to seriously upgrade the position. Brown has great range and is an instinctive sure tackler with a nose for the ball.
24. Indianapolis Colts - Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Colts addressed needs at defensive tackle and safety in free agency and still could use a pass rusher as well as running back and interior lineman. Werner is the best player available and fits a need, especially after the team cut ties with franchise sack leader Dwight Freeney.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle) - Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
Letroy Guion was not very good last year and the Vikings need another productive big body next to Kevin Williams. At 6-3, 313, Sylvester Williams is just that. The former Tar Heel is quick off the snap, a violent tackler and surprisingly nimble for his size.
26. Green Bay Packers - Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
Lacy is just a natural fit in the Packers offense. He’s a big, powerful back with quickness and great hands out of the backfield. The Packers haven’t had a runner like and, after losing out on Steven Jackson, Lacy is cut from the same cloth and should make a dynamic offense even more potent.
27. Houston Texans - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
The Texans have a good group of tight ends, but do not have a solid No. 2 receiver to complement Andre Johnson. Hopkins has the potential to eventually succeed Johnson as the Texans’ top wideout. With good size, decent speed and excellent route running, Hopkins does an excellent job of creating separation downfield.
28. Denver Broncos- Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Following their playoff loss to Baltimore, it was painfully obvious that the Broncos need to upgrade their secondary. Trufant comes from NFL bloodlines and has good size and speed to be a solid NFL starter, and he isn’t afraid to play a little bump-and-run press coverage.
29. New England Patriots - Keenan Allen, WR, California
The Patriots could use a pass rusher, but after losing Wes Welker and cutting Brandon Lloyd, the Pats need a receiver. Allen is 6-2, 206, isn’t a burner but runs precise routes, has a long stride and reliable hands. If New England does go defensive end, Texas A&M’s Damontre Moore and SMU’s Margus Hunt would be excellent choices.
30. Atlanta Falcons - Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
While grabbing Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert as an eventual replacement for Tony Gonzalez will be tempting, Atlanta’s need for another pass rusher is more pressing. The team could still bring back John Abraham, but Moore would still be an excellent choice. Moore is 6-4 with long arms and can line up at either end.
31. San Francisco 49ers - Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
The 49ers could use another receiver like Tennessee’s Justin Hunter, or a safety like Florida’s Matt Elam. But once Delanie Walker bolted to the Titans, another tight end opposite Vernon Davis became the top priority for Jim Harbaugh’s team. Eifert has all the skills to be a successful tight end in the NFL. At 6-6, 251, his size and strength are ideal and he’s got very good hands - especially when going over the middle.
32. Baltimore Ravens - Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame
The Irish complete the first round as the Ravens grab the heir apparent to the now-retired Ray Lewis. Te’o
, despite the fake girlfriend hoax, is an aggressive, instinctive player with a nose for the ball. He blitzes well and is excellent in coverage and could actually be an upgrade over Lewis’ on-field production the last two years in Baltimore.
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The final college football matchup for the 2012-13 season, BCS No. 1 Notre Dame
vs BCS No.2 Alabama
, definitely brings back an old school feel to college football. Most experts are picking Alabama to win, but many are predicting it will be a closer game than the opening line spread.
Both teams in the 2013 BCS National Championship have been battle tested this season.
Notre Dame had to win two games in overtime and a slew of other close games. The Fighting Irish only allowed one goal-line rushing touchdown all season which came against the Sooners. The most rememberable goal line stand came against Stanford along with controversy.
Three of the final five games for Alabama were tightly knitted. The Tide's games against LSU, Texas A&M, and Georgia were all decided by five points or less. Alabama went 2-1 versus those opponents with the only loss coming against Texas A&M and Heisman QB Johnny Manziel.
Each team has a rich college football history. Alabama has won two of the last three BCS national championships, but Notre Dame has not won a national title since 1988. Despite the many other high-octane spread offenses in college football, the Tide and Fighting Irish have etched their way to the top this season by way of defense and top caliber linemen on both sides of the ball.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said at a recent press conference, “And in keeping with the venue where we are, you have two blue chip stocks that are going to go against each other." (DecaturDaily.com)
The Fighting Irish are obviously led by their defensive front and star linebacker Manti Te'o
who acquired a hoard of awards this season. Despite the stellar defense of the Tide, Alabama's top talent is on the offensive line spotlighted by a trio of soon to be NFL players in Barrett Jones, DJ Fluker, and Chance Warmack.
Alabama looks to have the edge on Notre Dame in just about every category, but that does not necessarily mean they will be the victor. As I often tell others, remember this is college football. When there are big games between closely matched teams, anything can happen. The SEC has won six straight national titles, but historically speaking, the Tide are just 1-5 against the Irish
. I figure the luck of the Irish will be the curse of the SEC. Why? Because this is college football.
Is this the year that the SEC goes down? ESPN picked the Trojans this preseason, but the luck of the Irish may be the curse of the SEC.
Links to each team's Fox Sports page are included for additional stats and information. There is also an Upset Alerts preview before the non-BCS bowl scheduled listed below.
Other than the BCS Championship game shown first, BCS and non-BCS bowls listed below are in chronological order.
Notre Dame Stats
Points per game: 26.8 (77th)
Yards per game: 421.3 (49th)
Passing yards per game: 218.8 (77th)
Rushing yards per game: 202.5 (27th)
Points allowed per game: 10.3 (1st)
Yards allowed per game: 288.1 (6th)
Passing yards allowed per game: 194.8 (21st)
Rushing yards allowed per game: 93.3 (5th)
Top Wins: Michigan, Stanford, at Oklahoma, & at USC
Points per game: 38.5 (15th)
Yards per game: 439.1 (40th)
Passing yards per game: 214.5 (85th)
Rushing yards per game: 224.6 (20th)
Points allowed per game: 10.7 (2nd)
Yards allowed per game: 246.0 (1st)
Passing yards allowed per game: 166.2 (6th)
Rushing yards allowed per game: 79.8 (1st)
Top Wins: vs. Michigan, Mississippi State, at LSU, & vs. Georgia
Losses: Texas A&M
Points per game: 28.5 (70th)
Yards per game: 376.8 (85th)
Passing yards per game: 203.5 (94th)
Rushing yards per game: 173.3 (52nd)
Points allowed per game: 17.5 (14th)
Yards allowed per game: 338.9 (21st)
Passing yards allowed per game: 251.2 (84th)
Rushing yards allowed per game: 87.7 (3rd)
Top Wins: USC, Oregon State, Oregon, & UCLA (twice)
Losses: at Washington & at Notre Dame
Points per game: 30.8 (52nd)
Yards per game: 400.4 (62nd)
Passing yards per game: 162.6 (115th)
Rushing yards per game: 237.8 (12th)
Points allowed per game: 19.1 (20th)
Yards allowed per game: 320.9 (13th)
Passing yards allowed per game: 196.5 (24th)
Rushing yards allowed per game: 124.5 (22nd)
Top Wins: vs. Nebraska
Losses: at Oregon State, at Nebraska, Michigan State Ohio State, & at Penn State
Florida State Stats
Points per game: 39.9 (14th)
Yards per game: 465.9 (23rd)
Passing yards per game: 262.9 (43rd)
Rushing yards per game: 203.0 (25th)
Points allowed per game: 15.1 (7th)
Yards allowed per game: 253.4 (2nd)
Passing yards allowed per game: 160.8 (3rd)
Rushing yards allowed per game: 92.6 (4th)
Top Wins: Clemson
Losses: at NC State & Florida
Northern Illinois Stats
Points per game: 40.8 (9th)
Yards per game: 485.8 (15th)
Passing yards per game: 235.6 (60th)
Rushing yards per game: 250.2 (9th)
Points allowed per game: 19.0 (18th)
Yards allowed per game: 356.7 (35th)
Passing yards allowed per game: 217.7 (41st)
Rushing yards allowed per game: 139 (32nd)
Top Wins: vs. Kent State
Points per game: 26.8 (75th)
Yards per game: 338.0 (104th)
Passing yards per game: 143.9 (118th)
Rushing yards per game: 194.1 (35th)
Points allowed per game: 12.9 (3rd)
Yards allowed per game: 282.6 (5th)
Passing yards allowed per game: 186.0 (15th)
Rushing yards allowed per game: 96.6 (6th)
Top Wins: LSU, South Carolina, & at Florida State
Losses: vs. Georgia
Points per game: 31.0 (49th)
Yards per game: 425.7 (47th)
Passing yards per game: 298.6 (24th)
Rushing yards per game: 127.1 (100th)
Points allowed per game: 23.8 (38th)
Yards allowed per game: 344.8 (24th)
Passing yards allowed per game: 193.8 (19th)
Rushing yards allowed per game: 151.1 (53rd)
Top Wins: Cincinnati & Rutgers
Losses: at Syracuse & Connecticut
Kansas State Stats
Points per game: 40.7 (10th)
Yards per game: 410.4 (55th)
Passing yards per game: 212.1 (86th)
Rushing yards per game: 198.3 (33rd)
Points allowed per game: 21.1 (24th)
Yards allowed per game: 375.3 (94th)
Passing yards allowed per game: 255.8 (94th)
Rushing yards allowed per game: 119.6 (17th)
Top Wins: Oklahoma & Texas
Losses: at Baylor
Points per game: 50.8 (2nd)
Yards per game: 550.1 (4th)
Passing yards per game: 226.8 (67th)
Rushing yards per game: 323.3 (3rd)
Points allowed per game: 22.0 (26th)
Yards allowed per game: 381.8 (48th)
Passing yards allowed per game: 235.8 (62nd)
Rushing yards allowed per game: 146.0 (47th)
Top Wins: USC & Oregon State
I am intensely thorough in covering college football and the parity, a word often used in this sport, is growing more and more each season. Basically, all the favorites in BCS Bowl games could lose in an upset, but of course, the trick is figuring out which ones.
I would say that Notre Dame
, and Northern Illinois
are all underdogs with a good chance to win, but I could also see the Cardinals and Huskies being blown out which is what many other experts and bettors believe to be the outcome. Northern Illinois
and Florida State
both had late season coaching departures. NIU lost head coach Dave Doeren to NC State at the same position and former FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops took the head coaching position at Kentucky (Coaching Carousel)
. The Seminoles are thought of as the more talented team and have a statistically top notch defense, but the Huskies should have a larger chip on their shoulder. This game could end in a blowout victory for Florida State or a dramatic close win for Northern Illinois. Louisville
is a talented team, but young which is one reason for the close games and upset losses this season. Florida
has done a great job of winning, but not always impressively. UF just barely managed to eke out a victory against Louisiana-Lafayette and the talent of the Cardinals matches up better with the Gators than most give them credit. If highly prospected QB Teddy Bridgewater can move the ball for Louisville with accurate passes, then the Cardinals can pull it off. But if the Florida defense led by safety Matt Elam keeps him in check, the running game and defense of Louisville will have trouble picking up the slack. Oklahoma
is slightly favored against Texas A&M
, but I am picking the Aggies to win the Cotton Bowl. It has been some time since the Sooners have won a big game as well as I am just not confident in quarterback Landry Jones as a clutch player. And really, who wouldn't pick Aggies QB Johnny "Football" Manziel. Jones has thrown eight interceptions over the last eight games of the season while Manziel threw just two picks in the last five games. This should be a fun bowl to watch.
The Fiesta Bowl and Rose Bowl features match ups with opening lines under double digits. But I still believe that Oregon
should have no problem handling Kansas State
. If the Ducks get an early lead as they do so often, the Wildcats will have difficulty keeping up with their style. Stanford
should also take care of Wisconsin
, but the Badgers did look good in the Big Ten Championship. Wisconsin running back Montee Ball will need another great outing to give his team a chance, but Stanford has the third best rated defense in rushing yards allowed per game.
In many ways, bowl games are highly unpredictable, because it largely depends on which team "shows up" to play. I am predicting some big upsets since I can be a rebel at times, but I would only take my Irish pick to Vegas, especially to beat the spread
Dec. 15, New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, ESPN, 1 PMNevada Wolfpack (7-5) vs. Arizona Wildcats (7-5)
Opening Line: Wildcats by 8
Dec. 15, Famous Idaho Potato, Boise, ID, ESPN, 4:30 PM
Toledo Rockets (9-3) vs. 22 Utah State Aggies (10-2)
Opening Line: Aggies by 8
Dec. 20, Poinsettia, San Diego, CA, ESPN, 8 PM
BYU Cougars (7-5) vs. San Diego State Aztecs (9-3)
Opening Line: Cougars by 2.5
Dec. 21, Beef o' Brady's, St. Petersburg, FL, ESPN, 7:30 PM
Ball State Cardinals (9-3) vs. UCF Knights (9-4)
Opening Line: Knights by 7
Dec. 22, New Orleans, New Orleans, LA, ESPN, noon
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns (8-4) vs. East Carolina Pirates (7-5)
Opening Line: Ragin' Cajuns by 4.5
Dec. 22, Maaco, Las Vegas, NV, ESPN, 3:30 PM
Washington Huskies (7-5) vs. 19 Boise State Broncos (10-2)
Opening Line: Broncos by 7.5
Dec. 24, Hawaii, Honolulu. HA, ESPN, 8 PM
SMU Mustangs (6-6) vs. Fresno State Bulldogs (9-3)
Opening Line: Bulldogs by 11.5
Dec. 26, Little Caesar's Pizza, Detroit, MI, ESPN, 3 PM
Central Michigan Chippewas (6-6) vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (7-5)
Opening Line: Hilltoppers by 6
Dec. 27, Military, Washington, DC, ESPN, 3 PM
Bowling Green Falcons (8-4) vs. 24 San Jose State Spartans (10-2)
Opening Line: Spartans by 8
Dec. 27, Belk, Charlotte, NC, ESPN, 6:30 PM
Duke Blue Devils (6-6) vs. Cincinnati Bearcats (9-3)
Opening Line: Bearcats by 10.5
Dec. 27, Holiday, San Diego, CA, ESPN, 9:45 PM
17 UCLA Bruins (9-4) vs. Baylor Bears (7-5)
Opening Line: Bears by 1
Dec. 28, Independence, Shreveport, LA, ESPN, 2 PM
Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (8-4) vs. Ohio Bobcats (8-4)
Opening Line: Warhawks by 6
Dec. 28, Russell Athletic, Orlando, FL, ESPN, 5:30 PM
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (9-3) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (6-6)
Opening Line: Even
Dec. 28, Meineke Car Care, Houston, TX, ESPN, 9 PM
Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-6) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-5)
Opening Line: Red Raiders by 13
Dec. 29, Armed Forces, Fort Worth Texas, TX, ESPN, 11:45 AM
Rice Owls (6-6) vs. Air Force Falcons (6-6)
Opening Line: Owls by 1
Dec. 29, Kraft Fight Hunger, San Francisco, CA, ESPN2, 4 PM
Arizona State Sun Devils (7-5) vs. Navy Midshipmen (8-4)
Opening Line: Sun Devils by 14.5
Dec. 29, Pinstripe, Bronx, NY, ESPN, 3:15 PM
West Virginia Mountaineers (7-5) vs. Syracuse Orange (7-5)
Opening Line: Mountaineers by 4
Dec. 29, Alamo, San Antonio, TX, ESPN, 6:45 PM
23 Texas Longhorns (8-4) vs. 13 Oregon State Beavers (9-3)
Opening Line: Beavers by 1.5
Dec. 29, Buffalo Wild Wings, Tempe, AZ, ESPN, 10:15 PM
TCU Horned Frogs (7-5) vs. Michigan State Spartans (6-6)
Opening Line: Horned Frogs by 1
Dec. 31, Music City, Nashville, TN, ESPN, noon
Vanderbilt Commodores (8-4) vs. NC State Wolfpack (7-5)
Opening Line: Commodores by 5.5
Dec. 31, Sun, El Paso, TX, CBS, 2 PM
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-7) vs. USC Trojans (7-5)
Opening Line: Trojans by 10
Dec. 31, Liberty, Memphis, TN, ESPN, 3:30 PM
Tulsa Golden Hurricanes (10-3) vs. Iowa State Cyclones (6-6)
Opening Line: Golden Hurricanes by 3
Dec. 31, Chick-fil-A, Atlanta, GA, ESPN, 7:30 PM
14 Clemson Tigers (10-2) vs. 8 LSU Tigers (10-2)
Opening Line: LSU Tigers by 3.5
Jan. 1, Gator, Jacksonville, FL, ESPN2, noon
20 Northwestern Wildcats (9-3) vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4)
Opening Line: Bulldogs by 2
Jan. 1, Heart of Dallas, Dallas, TX, ESPNU, noon
Purdue Boilermakers (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-5)
Opening Line: Cowboys by 17.5
Jan. 1, Outback, Tampa, FL. ESPN, 1 PM
18 Michigan Wolverines (8-4) vs. 10 South Carolina Gamecocks (10-2)
Opening Line: Gamecocks by 4.5
Jan. 1, Capital One, Orlando, FL, ABC, 1 PM
16 Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-3) vs. 7 Georgia Bulldogs (11-2)
Opening Line: Bulldogs by 8.5
Jan. 4, Cotton, Arlington, TX, Fox, 8 PM
9 Texas A&M Aggies (10-2) vs. 11 Oklahoma Sooners (10-2)
Opening Line: Sooners by 3Sports Illustrated Pick: Oklahoma
CBS Sports Pick: Texas A&M
College Football Universe Pick: Texas A&M
Jan. 5, BBVA Compass, Birmingham, AL, ESPN, 1 PM
Pittsburgh Panthers (6-6) vs. Ole Miss Rebels (6-6)
Opening Line: Rebels by 2
Jan. 6, GoDaddy.com, Mobile, AL, ESPN, 9 PM
25 Kent State Golden Flashes (11-2) vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves (9-3)
Opening Line: Even
Sports Illustrated picks are from the BCS Bowl Preview Special Issue magazine.
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The hog mollies on the offensive line never seem to get enough attention in college football so here is a rundown of the best O-linemen in the nation for the 2012 season. The top 20 offensive linemen are ranked along with a summary of the top five and notes on the rest. The ranking is based on the best college football linemen not NFL prospects, but information on draft status is included. Bench, squat, and 40-yard dash numbers are provided for the top five. Four of the top five linemen have weight room numbers listed from high school and some of the other players have more recent weight room numbers posted.
1. C Barrett Jones, Alabama Crimson Tide
Barrett Jones comes into the 2012 college football season as a highly decorated veteran on the best offensive line in the nation. He is not the top athlete on the list, but more than makes up for it with his versatility and reliability. Jones won the Outland Trophy in 2011 and is a first team lineman on nearly every preseason team list for 2012. He is now listed as center, but has played four positions on the line while at Alabama. His solid play helped Alabama rush for 2,788 yards as a team which ranked 16th in rush yards per game while contributing to Trent Richardson's Heisman finalist season. He is a late first to second round NFL Draft prospect.
2. OT DJ Fluker, Alabama Crimson Tide
Size: 6'6 335 poundsBench Max: 375 lbs Squat Max: 525 lbs 40 Yard Dash: 4.9 secs Stats:
22 career starts at right tackleDraft Rating:
Early/Mid First Round
DJ Fluker is a behemoth on the offensive line and is the top rated lineman on Mel Kiper's Big Board at six overall
. He has played mostly right tackle for the Crimson Tide, but there is a chance that he could be a guard at the next level. His posted weight is actually less than it was in high school and he is currently listed as 335 pounds. Fluker may not be as accomplished as his teammate Barrett Jones, but there are high expectations for him due to his physicality alone. With a little refinement, he should easily maintain his NFL Draft stock.
3. OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan Wolverines
Size: 6'8 302 lbs Bench Max: 335 lbs Squat Max: 450 lbs 40 Yard Dash: 4.72 secs Stats:
Started 22 games in two seasons Draft Rating:
Mid/Early First Round
After a misfit freshman season that involved antics and penalties, Taylor Lewan came back strong and matured some as a sophomore. He is an athletic lineman that has good power for his build and incredible length with his 6'8 height to fight off defenders. The Wolverine lineman has definite first round potential for the NFL Draft coming into his junior season. Lewan started all 13 games last season at left tackle and his athleticism should translate well in the pros.
4. OT Ricky Wagner, Wisconsin Badgers
Size: 6'6 322 lbsBench Max:
N/A40 Yard Dash: 5.32Stats:
Started all 14 games in 2011 and played in 38 games for career Draft Rating:
Late First/ Early Second Round
Ricky Wagner is a durable lineman that rose from walk-on to NFL prospect thus far in his college career. He was a consensus honorable mention on the All-Big Ten team for the past two seasons and is a first team preseason All-American on various lists for 2012. He performs well as a blindside pass blocker at left tackle and is consistently good all around in his play. Wisconsin has traditionally done a great job of prepping players for the NFL and Wagner should be the next.
5. OG Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Size: 6'3 300 lbsBench Max: 340 lbs Squat Max: 500 lbs 40 Yard Dash: 5.3 secsStats:
22 career starts and 36 games playedDraft Rating:
Experienced right guard Omoregie Uzzi is a powerful run blocker for the Ramblin Wreck. He earned First Team All-ACC in 2011 and is a Second Team Phil Steele's 2012 Preseason All-American. His effort on the line helped his team rank second nationally in rushing yards last season with 316.5 yards per game and they ranked in the top four rushing yards in each of his three seasons. He is the most questionable of the top five due to a late season injury, but if he fully recovers, expect another strong season.
Rest of the Top 20 Offensive Linemen
There are a lot of good players on this list that could have placed in the top five and that may have higher NFL Draft potential. Luke Joeckel is a first round prospect, Gabe Ikard has had an outstanding college career, and Travis Frederick's weight room numbers are freakish. Here are the rest of the top 20 offensive linemen in college football for 2012 with their height, weight, and a note on each:6. C Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma: 6'4 295 lbs
, 88 knockdowns on 860 snaps in 2011 according to SoonerSports.com
.7. OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M: 6'6 310 lbs
, First round NFL Draft potential at 16 on Mel Kiper's Big Board
8. OG Travis Frederick Wisconsin: 6'4 328 lbs
, school record 770-lb squat & benchs around 500 lbs. 9. OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina: 6'3 310 lbs
, 2012 Phil Steele's All-American First Team.10. OT Alex Hurst, LSU: 6'6 340 lbs
, 71.5 knockdowns in 767 plays in 2011 according to LSUSports.net
.11. OG Chance Warmack, Alabama: 6'3 320 lbs
, started 26 straight games.12. OT Chris Faulk, LSU: 6'6 325 lbs
, 500-lb squat
& 73.5 knockdowns in 724 snaps in 2011 according to LSUSports.net. 13. OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M: 6'5 305 lbs
, started all 13 games in 2011 & son of Bruce Matthews.14. OG Alvin Bailey, Arkansas: 6'5 319 lbs
, 2011 All SEC Second Team (Coaches), 440-lb bench press & 555-lb squat
.15. C Dalton Freeman, Clemson: 6'5 285 lbs
, 36 career starts & 2012 Rimington Award Watch List. 16. OG Larry Warford, Kentucky: 6'3 336 lbs
, 1 QB sack & graded 87.5 percent in 2011 according to NFLDraftScout.com
.17. OG Blaize Foltz, TCU: 6'4 310 lbs,
2011 All MWC First Team, posted 580-lb bench press & 800-lb squat
.18. C Khaled Holmes, USC: 6'4 305 lbs
, 2011 All Pac-12 Second Team.19. OG Mason Walters, Texas: 6'6 315 lbs
, started 25 games in a row at right guard.20. OG Marcus Martin, USC: 6'3 325 lbs
, 2011 Freshman All-American First Team by various publications.Honorable Mention:
OG Lane Taylor Oklahoma State (6'3 328 lbs
), OT Oday Aboushi Virginia (6'6 310 lbs
), OG Braden Hansen BYU (6'6 313 lbs
), C Braxston Cave* Notre Dame (6'3 304 lbs
), OT Morgan Moses Virginia (6'6 336 lbs
), OG Chris McDonald Michigan State (6'5 299 lbs
), OG Carson York Oregon (6'5 284 lbs
), and OT Cameron Fleming Stanford (6'6 308 lbs
). *Cave benchs 520 lbs
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