Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The cardiac medical tests for Lotulelei have come back very positive. He was held out of the Combine because of circulation concerns but rechecks have proven everything to be okay. Lotulelei participated at his pro day and was very impressive. Many believe the Combine test can be attributed to him being sick and dehydrated at the time.
Lotulelei will probably see some team physicians on pre-draft visits, but the results of his extensive tests in Utah have revealed nothing for NFL teams to be concerned about. He is currently back to being projected as a top-10 pick.
Lotulelei had an excellent senior season. He dominated BYU, Utah State, USC, UCLA and Washington. Lotulelei was extremely disruptive and more so than the numbers indicate. He recorded 42 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, five sacks, three forced fumbles and four passes broken up in 2012. The 6-foot-3, 315-pounder combines explosive speed and power. Lotulelei could even be back in top-five consideration.
Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
There are a few teams that could target a cornerback late in the first round and there are a handful of cornerbacks in the running to go on Thursday night. Taylor is one of the leaders to do that. His excellent senior season and Senior Bowl performance have many thinking he could be worth a late first-round pick.
Taylor showed some man-coverage skills in 2012 and was a gritty defender. He totaled 51 tackles with four interceptions, nine passes broken up, three forced fumbles and 2.5 sacks on the season. Taylor missed the majority of the second half of his junior year. He had two interceptions, 27 tackles and six passes broken up in that shortened season.
Taylor continued his upward trend with a strong Combine performance highlighted by a 4.39-second time in the 40-yard dash. If H\he doesn't go in the first round, it looks very likely for him to go in the top-45 picks.
Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
There has been a nice boost in Williams' stock. He seems to have separated himself from the crowded class of defensive tackles and looks to have secured his standing in the back half of the first round. It sounds like Williams will be selected ahead of Purdue's Kawann Short, Georgia's John Jenkins and Alabama's Jesse Williams. Scouts are said to be intrigued with Williams' (6-3, 313) combination of size and speed.
The senior had 42 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss and six sacks in 2012. He had some dominant games and some quiet showings. Consistency is the biggest question mark with Williams, but his ability to take over games is a rare quality. He could land with any number of teams in the back half of Thursday night's picks.
Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
Cooper's stock really buzzing right now. Some feel he could crack the top-12 picks and be selected ahead of Alabama's Chance Warmack, the consensus top guard prospect. There are a lot of teams that really like Cooper in the top 20 including the Cowboys and Bears, so it appears unlikely that he won't be a top-20 pick.
There is a lot for scouts to like about Cooper. The 6-foot-2, 310-pounder is an extremely rare athlete. There are few guards who possess his speed and mobility. Cooper also has underrated strength with the ability to add more power to his frame. He also could probably move to center and that is something that he has over Warmack. It is definitely possible that Cooper could be the first guard off the board.
Eric Reid, S, LSU
There a lot of prospects in the 2013 draft class who had disappointing 2012 seasons compared to better years in 2011. Reid definitely fits into that category. He had a breakout 2011 season as part of phenomenal secondary including safety Brandon Taylor and cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu. Mathieu and Reid tied for the team lead with 76 tackles each. Reid also had two interceptions, two tackles for a loss, three passes broken up and two forced fumbles.
Reid struggled in pass coverage this season and was beatrn for a number of touchdowns through the air. The juniot totaled 91 tackles, two interceptions and seven passes broken up in 2012. It started by him getting beaten for scores by North Texas in the season opener and concluded in the same fashion against Clemson in the Bowl game.
One of the reasons why Reid is enjoying a late rise is due to his skill set. The 6-foot-2, 212-pounder is bigger than many of the other top safety prospects and also has good timed speed. Some teams could feel his problems are correctable. Reid may not crack the first round, but he looks secure for Round 2.
Robert Woods, WR, USC
Woods is another player who, like Reid, had an underwhelming 2012 season that didn't meet expectations. However, there are many pundits who are saying that Woods could crack the first round. A year ago many believed that he would be a first-round pick, but his junior season was a disappointing campaign compared to his sophomore year.
Woods put up a total 1,292 yards on 111 receptions with 15 touchdowns in 2011. An ankle injury hobbled him during the 2012 season, and he was passed by Marqise Lee as the No. 1 receiver in the Trojans offense. Woods totaled 76 receptions for 846 yards and 11 touchdowns for the year. The junior's only 100-yard receiving game was against Colorado.
The Combine was a bounce-back performance for Woods. He ran well in the 40, looked excellent running routes and displayed good hands. Woods continued that momentum with a stellar pro day. There are a number of receivers who could be late first-round picks, and he is back in the running to be a Thursday night pick.
Kiko Alonso, ILB, Oregon
Scouts have told WalterFootball.com that they really like the depth at inside linebacker in this year's draft class. They feel there are a lot of good starting-caliber middle linebackers who can be had on the second day of the 2013 NFL Draft and into the mid-rounds. Alonso is one of the prospects these sources are talking about.
Alonso was one of the leaders of the Oregon defense in 2012 as he recorded 81 tackles, 14 tackles for a loss, four interceptions, one sack, two passes broken up and two forced fumbles. The 6-foot-3, 238-pounder has the size to function on the inside of a 3-4 defense and enough speed to play the middle of a 4-3. It looks unlikely that Alonso will get out of the third round.
Ryan Otten, TE, San Jose State
Sources have told WalterFootball.com that Otten is rising with teams. Some teams like him more than Gavin Escobar, who many regard as the consensus third-rated tight end in the 2013 NFL Draft. Otten (6-5, 230) has the speed to be a threat down the seam as well as the athletic ability to play some h-back. An injury kept him from working out at the Combine, but he gutted through an illness at the Senior Bowl to continue practicing while other players withdrew because they were sick.
Otten had 47 receptions for 742 yards and four touchdowns as a senior this year. He had a strong junior season with 52 receptions for 739 yards and five touchdowns. There are a lot of mid-round tight ends in the 2013 NFL Draft and Otten could be one who cracks the second day.
2013 NFL Draft Stock Down
Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
There is a lot of talk that scouts and teams are getting frustrated with Lacy. WalterFootball.com has heard from sources that Lacy could have more injuries than have been made public and he won't work out for teams because he is trying to disguise some of those issues. While that can not be confirmed, it is hurting Lacy's stock that he hasn't been able to work out for scouts. Lacy skipped the Combine and Alabama's pro day.
At the end of the 2012 season, it appeared that Lacy was a lock to be the first running back selected and a likely first-round pick. The injury rumors have yielded fuel to durability concerns and Lacy's stock has definitely declined. He looks like a second-rounder right now and needs a good workout before the 2013 NFL Draft to have a shot at going in Round 1.
Gavin Escobar, TE, Fresno State
Escobar used to look like a lock to be the third tight end selected behind Tyler Eifert and Zach Ertz, but currently, Escobar could go behind a few other tight ends as highlighted above. Along with Otten; Vance McDonald, Travis Kelce, Jordan Reed and Nick Kasa are candidates to go ahead of Escobar.
One of the issues for Escobar was a scarily slow 40 time at the Combine of 4.84 seconds. That was one of the slowest times from any tight end prospect. In reviewing tape, a lot of Escobar's big catches came by running into clearings in zone coverage. He appeared slow to get separation. The senior caught 42 passes for 543 yards and six touchdowns in 2012. The 6-foot-6, 254-pounder has good size, but the speed concerns could knock him lower into the third or fourth round.