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2013 NFL Draft's top prospect: Luke Joeckel vs. Chance Warmack

  • By NFL.com
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Luke Joeckel (left) and Chance Warmack are two skilled and accomplished offensive linemen in this draft class.

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One of the fascinating things about the draft process is how two scouts can look at the same class of prospects and come to completely different conclusions. There is much room for interpretation.

That fact is especially relevant in years like this one, when there is no clear-cut top talent. Absent relatively automatic draft picks like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, the skill of a team's personnel department takes on an extra level of importance.

With that in mind, former NFL scouts Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks -- two veterans of the draft-preparation trenches -- attempt to identify the best overall prospect in the 2013 draft class, providing a taste of the debates that will rage across the league as April's event draws closer.

Jeremiah: Joeckel's got it all

The two most recent NFL drafts were loaded with big-name stars with the tools to turn around entire franchises. While this year's class doesn't quite have the same cachet at the very top of the board, the 2013 NFL Draft is incredibly deep with potential starters and several likely Pro Bowlers.

In my opinion, the best football player available in this year's draft is Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel. After studying A&M game tape and attending the Cotton Bowl, I came away very impressed by the Aggies' talented left tackle.

Great players have a way of making the game look easy, and in the games I studied, that's exactly what Joeckel did. In the running game, he showed quick feet and excellent balance, as well as the strong hands necessary for controlling the defender. He was very agile when working up to the second level, showcasing the ability to adjust in space.

In the passing game, Joeckel played with excellent knee-bend and had quick feet. He showed the range to cut off speed rushers, the agility to adjust to inside counter moves and the power base to anchor versus the bull rush. He also displayed the intelligence to handle twists and stunts.

Drafting Joeckel would pose very little risk. He doesn't have weight issues, he is incredibly bright and his work ethic is outstanding. He has both a high ceiling and a high floor.

There aren't any elite quarterbacks, pass rushers or cornerbacks available in this draft. There are, however, a handful of offensive tackles with Pro Bowl potential, and Joeckel is at the top of that list. In my opinion, he is the most valuable asset in this draft class, and that is why he resides at the very top of my draft board.

Brooks: Warmack is the man

The emphasis on the passing game in the NFL has led scouts to value quarterbacks, left tackles, defensive end/pass rushers and cornerbacks at a premium, but the best prospect available in the 2013 NFL Draft is an offensive guard: Chance Warmack.

The Alabama standout was the most dominant player in the college game, displaying a combination of strength, power and athleticism that is uncommon at the position. He complements those superior physical traits with refined technical skills that enable him to control elite defensive tackles in the trenches.

Warmack, who measures 6-foot-4 and weighs 320 pounds, is an exceptional drive blocker adept at moving defenders off the ball. His ability to re-establish the line of scrimmage can create huge lanes for runners on power plays directed between the tackles. Additionally, Warmack displayed the agility, balance and body control to effectively block on the move on pulls or traps. Most NFL offenses feature a variation of the "power-O"; Warmack's game would fit seamlessly into every offensive system, and he would upgrade any offensive lineup.

While some observers will take umbrage with my selection of an offensive guard as the best prospect in this class, I believe a prospect with a consistent game and a laundry list of blue-chip characteristics will always shine as a pro.

Warmack displayed those traits against competition in the SEC -- the premier conference in college football. I view him as an immediate difference-maker with the potential to rate as one of the best at his position in a year or so. That's exactly what you would expect from the top player in the draft.


Bucky Brooks and Daniel Jeremiah will regularly debate hot-button issues related to the draft as we move through the preparation process. Follow them on Twitter @BuckyBrooks and @MoveTheSticks.

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