The NFL draft begins on April 25th and will run through the 27th of this month. This is the chance for young, small teams to make the affordable drafts that can help them compete with better-funded teams through this season and beyond.
Here are the top five best young prospects who will be up for grabs this time around.
Luke Joeckel – This offensive tackle from Texas A&M projects to be the best new player available in this month’s draft. This 21-year-old has played the same position for the Aggies since his freshman year. Last year found Joeckel as a consensus All-American, as well as the winner of the Outland Trophy, naming him as the best interior lineman nationwide in college football. Joeckel previously attended Arlington High School in Texas, where he played quarterback. Once he is selected by a team, this 6′ 6”, 306-pound offensive tackle will become the first player selected from Texas A&M in the first round of the NFL draft since 1990.
Eric Fisher – Central Michigan brings us the second most highly-regarded young player in this year’s draft. Like Joeckel, 22-year-old Eric Fisher also plays offensive tackle, a position also shared by fellow alumnus Joe Staley. While attending Stoney Creek High School in the Wolverine State, Fisher was captain of both the football and basketball teams for the school. It was not until his senior year, however, that he began to play offensive tackle, and came to the notice of many scouts.
Star Lotulelei – Born in the South Pacific island country of Tonga, Star Lotulelei is a 23-year-old defensive tackle from the University of Utah. While playing for his high school football team at South Jordan in Bingham, Lotulelei helped bring his team to a 14-0 record, along with the state title, in 2006. In 2010, he completed 21 tackles, and also played the role of offensive guard. He won the Morris Trophy the following year and 2012 found him with 42 tackles – seven of them in one game.
Dee Milliner – Crimson Tide cornerback Dee Milliner is 21 years old, and like Luke Joeckel, he was a consensus All-American player last year. Before attending the University of Alabama, Milliner played for Stanhope Elmore High School in Millbrook, Indiana. In 2009, the 6′ 1” player managed 71 tackles and was named a USA Today All-American selection.
Dion Jordan – The 23-year-old Jordan is likely the best defensive end in this year’s draft. The Oregon Ducks player is considered to have significant length. Born in in Chandler, Arizona, the 6′ 6” Jordan began playing tight end before moving to defensive end in 2010. He can move quickly, but is already being challenged by injuries, including a current torn labrum, preventing him from playing while recovering.
Although nothing is certain when dealing with the draft, these young players are likely to be the Fab Five from this year’s selection. Some of them might even go on to become superstars in the world of football.