If there's one thing you've heard ad nauseam this year, it's that the 2014 NFL Draft is one of the deepest and most talented drafts in nearly a decade. Some are even saying it's the best draft ever.
The jury will be out on those statements until we get a few years down the road, but it's almost undeniable that there are more quality players coming out of college this year than last.
NFL Media analyst Charley Casserly thinks that's especially evident at the offensive tackle spot. He has Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan in his personal top 10 and believes that even if he's the second- or third-best guy at the position in 2013, Lewan would probably be the top guy in the draft other years.
"This guy is a giant," Casserly said on "Path to the Draft." "You watch him play, he's consistent. Every single game he's physical. He's more physical than [Jake] Matthews and can knock you off the ball. When they worked out side-by-side in Indy, (Lewan) had the better workout than Matthews.
"I have him No. 2 on my board, and the other thing is he's better than [Eric] Fisher and Luke Joeckel."
That's pretty high praise for Lewan, considering Fisher went No. 1 overall to the Chiefs last year and Joeckel was right behind him to the Jaguars at No. 2. Having Lewan in that conversation is certainly indicative of this year's draft class as well as the kind of prospect Lewan is.
Lewan is fellow analyst Mike Mayock's third-best tackle in the draft behind Matthews and Auburn's Greg Robinson. Lewan also checks in at No. 10 overall in former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah's listing of top draft prospects.
All that praise combined with a number of talented skill position players looking to go atop the first round makes it hard to predict where Lewan will end up going in this year's draft. NFL.com mock drafts have Lewan going everywhere from Tampa Bay with the seventh overall pick to the Steelers at No. 15.
Add in the fact that as many as nine of the teams picking in the top 10 this year could be looking for offensive line help, and there could be plenty of intrigue on draft day as clubs fight to get high enough to select somebody like Lewan.
Neither Fisher nor Joeckel turned into superstars during their first year in the league, but they certainly showed flashes that they could live up to their status as top draft picks. That Lewan is being mentioned in the same breath, much less being called better than both, speaks to his potential.
There will be some team out there that agrees with Casserly's assessment, and if Lewan shows what he did at Michigan, chances are they'll be very happy with the offensive tackle they end up getting.
Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.