As we start to head more heavily into free agency and the draft season, we wanted to start a series of posts that introduces some of the top names at each position in the 2013 draft class. Ed Valentine of BBV had a good idea with his series, so we're stealing a page from his work. So without further ado, we're going to start piecing together lists of the top five prospects at each spot based on the Perfectly Coiffed One's lists and then adding some consensus data (CBS, Fox, etc.) on round rankings.
Next up, the top five inside linebackers.
Alec Ogletree* - Georgia - 6'3" 236 lbs (1st Round)
Manti Te'o - Notre Dame - 6'2" 255 lbs (1st-2nd Round)
Kevin Minter* - LSU - 6'2" 242 lbs (1st-2nd Round)
Kevin Reddick - UNC - 6'3" 240 lbs (2nd-3rd Round)
Jonathan Bostic - Florida - 6'1" 246 lbs (3rd-4th Round)
Jets Status: Is there a position on the roster that the team needs to address early in the 2013 NFL Draft less than this spot? Assuming that the Jets are able to stay healthy, the group is likely already set for 2013 with David Harris and Demario Davis as the starters. Josh Mauga and Nick Bellore might compete for some playing time and there might be a journeyman or two who the team bring in to help bulk up the spot. If anything, the Jets might look to draft a project player late, but drafting a player like Ogletree or (save us) Manti Te'o wouldn't be a very good use of the team's limited resources right now in an NFL that is putting stress on linebackers because of spread offenses.
Analysis: Ogletree jumped over Te'o, according to Kiper because "I think he can move all over the place at linebacker and provide a ton of value." And Kiper is right, Ogletree is an excellent and versatile inside linebacker and is a playmaker at the spot. Ogletree did have a run-in with the law last year, but it doesn't look like it will adversely change his stock. After watching Te'o in the championship game, the questions started about how effective he could be in the NFL and then Te'o's stock dropped further with all the awkwardness around him right now. Te'o is still an impressive player, he shut down USC in the run and pass in their matchup and he had a tremendous game against Michigan State, but when matched up against Alabama's offensive line and deadly running game, Te'o missed far too many tackles, took bad angles to the ball and struggled to diagnose what the offense was doing against him. Minter was an impact players for LSU this past year and is known as a hard-hitter and a good form-tackler with the instincts to play the middle spot in the NFL. Reddick is an excellent athlete and might be a nice fit for a team who is looking for solid run support but who also wants an athlete who can help interior blitz. Bostic is not a very fast backer, but he is excellent against the run and could become a two down player in his first year.
Keep an Eye On ... : I don't know who the Jets might target here since it's not that much of a priority, but maybe if there's one guy early on Day Three to keep an eye on it would be Nico Johnson out of Alabama. Johnson is a quality run defender but not much more. Learn more about him here. Also Tom Wort from Oklahoma might be a player that the Jets could get late in the draft and work to coach up in the first year with the hope that he could be a larger contributor down the road.