SR is my life!
- Jun 12, 2008
- Reaction score
- Tulsa, OK
2013 NFL Draft tiers: Elite prospects, blue chips and red chips - NFL.com
By Bucky Brooks
Analyst, NFL.com and NFL Network
Published: April 16, 2013 at 01:22 p.m.
NFL executives and scouts have characterized the 2013 NFL Draft class as one that lacks superstar talent at the top of the board but is littered with quality prospects down the line.
John Elway, Denver Broncos' executive vice president of football operations, echoed that sentiment in a recent interview with The Denver Post.
"The draft is not top-heavy," Elway told the Post's Mike Klis. "So we feel we can get as good a player at No. 28 as we could at 10. It's not like last year, with (Andrew) Luck and RG3 (Robert Griffin III). The year before, with Von (Miller), (Marcell) Dareus, A.J. Green and Patrick Peterson -- (a) loaded top end. This is probably a deeper draft, but not nearly as many top-impact guys."
To be fair, the classes from 2011 and 2012 might rank as two of the best in NFL history, based on the immediate contributions of their members. From the record-breaking performances of Cam Newton and Aldon Smith to the emergence of unheralded stars like Russell Wilson and Alfred Morris, the recent success of first-year players has been remarkable. This year, however, evaluators are struggling to assess the elite, blue- and red-chip prospects.
Now, the lack of sizzle surrounding this year's class is partially attributable to the fact that the top prospects play on the offensive line. Most observers are conditioned to expect a quarterback or pass rusher to dominate the headlines leading up to the draft, but the 2013 class lacks a clear-cut franchise player at those respective positions. As a result, teams looking for certainty have turned their attention to exceptional prospects at non-premier positions.
With that premise as a backdrop, I've identified the elite, blue- and red-chip prospects in the 2013 class, based on film study and several conversations with scouts and coaches around the league.
The blue-chip class is established through film study and workouts. Scouts spend a significant amount of time determining whether each prospect has the requisite critical factors (traits like athleticism, football intelligence, explosiveness and production) to develop into a difference-maker. Blue-chip players dominated the college competition, for the most part, while exhibiting the traits that traditionally translate into long-term success at the NFL level.
Red-chip players, on the other hand, demonstrate several blue-chip qualities and characteristics but lack the consistent profile of their blue-chip counterparts. Whether it's because of sub-standard physical dimensions and athleticism or inconsistent on-field performance, players in the red-chip category are regarded as being a notch below elite. In the right system, however, they could emerge as Pro Bowl players. Several of these prospects will hear their names called in the first round, though scouts across the league are divided in their opinions as to their pro potential.