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2013 NFL Draft Early Entry Report: O-Line
By Jonathan Hull

Now for the talent of this draft. The best position in this draft isn't at QB or WR. It's not at RB or CB, either. It's the guys in the trenches for which this draft should be remembered.

If your team is a needing a young QB, you're in trouble. If it's needing a strong addition to its offensive line, then there is good news for you. 

This offensive line class is as strong as any in recent memory, and it actually could have been better had Texas A&M's Jake Matthews and Michigan's Taylor Lewan decided to come out early instead of return to school.

The No. 1 pick in the draft could end up being an OT, which would the first time that's happened since the Miami Dolphins selected Jake Long first overall in 2008. Other offensive linemen are quickly climbing this board, and many are capable of making an immediate impact. 

We could see as many as seven OL taken in the first round of this year's draft, and the underclassmen at the position will be a part of that group.

Here's my take on how this year's group of underclassmen lineman fit into this year's draft:

Offensive Line

Alvin Bailey, Arkansas

Right or Wrong?: Wrong.

Analysis: Bailey is a three-year starter for Arkansas, but I feel like he might have benefited from one more season. It's not that Bailey isn't a good player, but with Bret Bielema coming to Arkansas, Bailey would have been working with a head coach that has produced several quality NFL linemen. One year with Bielema would have helped Bailey's stock considerably. Still, he's a big experienced guard, who should have a chance at being a starter at the next level.

Projection: Third or fourth round.

 

David Bakhtiari, Colorado

Right or Wrong?: Right.

Analysis: Bakhtiari was the one real bright spot for lowly Colorado this season, earning second-team All-Pac-12 honors. He has experience playing at both tackle spots, but spent the last two seasons as the Buffaloes' starting LT. He's got adequate size, and moves very well laterally. It's a little surprising to see him leave after such an awful season for Colorado, but who can blame him for bailing out on that struggling program?

Projection: Third round.

 

Chris Faulk, LSU

Right or Wrong?: Wrong.

Analysis: Faulk's certainly got the size and talent. He was a stud LT for LSU during his sophomore season, but a serious knee injury kept him from playing a single down this season. He's rumored to be ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation process, but how in shape will he be? Will he be able to complete a full workout for anyone? Those are two huge questions heading into an evaluation process that will determine the rest of your career. If he can prove himself, it won't be surprising to see Faulk in the second round, maybe even the late first round. He might still get drafted if his health doesn't check out, but he would go in the sixth at the earliest. He should have gone back to LSU, and proved himself there. But every other junior at the school was leaving early, Faulk might as well join them.

Projection: Late first to sixth round.

 

D.J. Fluker, Alabama

Right or Wrong?: Right.

Analysis: With All-American teammates Chance Warmack and Barrett Jones also leaving the Tide, it was wise for Fluker to leave early. If the Bama OL struggles next season, it might reflect poorly on him and hurt his stock. Fluker is a great run blocker, and helped make a great Notre Dame front-seven irrelevant in the BCS Championship. He's also got elite size, and moves well on his feet. Might be more of a RT than LT in the NFL. He's a borderline first-rounder at this point, most likely a second rounder.

Projection: Late first to early second round.

 

Travis Frederick, Wisconsin

Right or Wrong?: Right.

Analysis: After Alabama's Barrett Jones, Frederick is definitely the best center prospect in this draft. Frederick only played center this past season, but was a guard the two previous years. He played both positions at a high level. I like him more as a guard than a center in the NFL, but that versatility will only help his draft stock. Frederick has been a key cog in Montee Ball becoming one of the most prolific RBs in college football history.

Projection: Second round.

 

Luke Joekel, Texas A&M

Right or Wrong?: Right.

Analysis: Joekel might end up being the No. 1 overall pick, but I think only if the Chiefs trade the pick, which is possible this season. Joekel is the best OT in this draft class and at least a Top 10 pick. He was key in Johnny Manziel's Heisman campaign. He's a three-year starter at LT with great size, strength, skill and athleticism. It doesn't get better than Joekel in this season's draft class at OL.

Projection: Top 5.

 

Jordan Pugh, Syracuse

Right or Wrong?: Right.

Analysis: Pugh is a three-year starter at LT for the Orange, who have had a very underrated offense the past few years. This season the Orange were effective both running and passing the ball, and Pugh had plenty to do with that. He's got good size and great athleticism and control. He does have some room to futther fill out his frame, though. He could be a borderline first-rounder, though.

Projection: Late first to third round.

 

Menelik Watson, Florida State

Right or Wrong?: Wrong.

Analysis: Watson was a surprise entrant to this year's draft. He does have wonderful size at 6-5, 320 pounds, and is a good athlete. He's a former basketball player, who has only been playing football for the past two years. Watson has one of the more interesting stories in the draft and is sure to have a draft day feature done on him by ESPN. He grew up playing basketball in Manchester, England, then moved to Spain, the played two seasons at Marist before going to a junior college to take up football. He transferred to Florida State this past season, starting 13 games at RT and allowing just one sack. Some teams might see his athleticism as an opportunity to try him even at LT. He's definitely raw, but his ceiling might be as high as any OT in the draft.

Projection: Second or third round.  

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