Top 15 Best SEC Senior Prospects for the 2013 NFL
The SEC’s recent reign over college football has
extended to the NFL Draft—where nine
former Southeastern Conference stars
(including eight of the first 18 picks) were
selected in the first round in April.
Do not expect that trend to slow down anytime
soon—with the SEC’s 2013 draft class loaded with
However, most initial mock drafts have a host of the
league’s underclassmen going in the first-round, but
several rising seniors have positioned themselves to
hear their names called next April.
Here are the top 15 senior NFL draft prospects for
Johnson – LB –
Johnson is the lone senior returning in Alabama’s linebacker
unit, which should ensure him a bigger role in the
defense this season.
Known as one of the SEC’s best linebackers against
the run, the 6’2”, 245-pounder is better in coverage
than most would give him credit for (has two career
interceptions and six pass breakups in his career).
If Johnson can prove he can be an effective
three-down linebacker this season, expect him to be
a coveted prospect in next year’s NFL draft.
Swope – WR –
After darting through defenses in the Big 12 for the
last three seasons, Swope will take his talents to
the SEC this fall.
New coach Kevin Sumlin will lean on his playmaking
wideout (89 receptions, 1,207 yards and 11
touchdowns in 2011) to spearhead his wide open,
Although he may find rough-sledding this season
without quarterback Ryan Tannehill getting him the
ball, Swope’s production and ability to be a precise
route-runner will benefit his stock at the next
Warford – OG –
Warford—who graded out at 87.5-percent in 2011—was
the Wildcats’ lone bright spot on an offense that
finished last in the SEC in total offense.
The 6’3”, 336-pounder allowed only one sack from his
right guard position on his way to being named a
second team All-SEC performer.
Warford’s ability to play well against the elite
defensive linemen in the SEC will be beneficial to
his stock at the next level.
Hurst – OT – LSU
may not possess the potential of his teammate—junior
left tackle Chris Faulk—but the first-team All-SEC
performer is an excellent prospect himself.
The 6’6”, 340-pounder is a massive physical specimen
with surprising agility for a lineman his size—as
evidenced by him recording more than 70 knockdown
blocks last season.
will once again be the anchor for a LSU squad that
finished second in the SEC in rushing offense, and
help fuel the defending SEC champions’ quest to
claim a national title this fall.
Richardson – DT – Missouri
is a former 5-star recruit that ultimately had to go
the JUCO route before finally transferring to
before last season.
Even though a shoulder surgery (which he underwent
surgery to repair in the offseason) hindered him for
much of last season, Richardson recorded 37
tackles, eight tackles for loss and a pair of sacks
en route to being named as an honorable mention
All-Big 12 performer.
is a raw, but talented prospect with the type of
potential that NFL personnel are likely to take a
chance on with an early pick.
Hamilton – WR-
With a trio of receivers departing from the top
offense in the SEC,
Hamilton will be
counted on to be quarterback Tyler Wilson’s go-to
weapon this season.
The 6’3”, 209-pounder has been productive in a
supporting role thus far in his career, but it would
not be a shock for him to put up numbers that
approach his career totals (85 receptions, 1,519
yards and 13 touchdowns) this season.
Bigger wide receivers are becoming a trend in the
NFL, and Hamilton could put himself
in a great position to rise up draft boards if he
produces a big year on the field this fall.
Lester – S –
Lester is one of just four returning starters on
defense for Nick Saban this season, but the veteran
safety will take over for Mark Barron as the leader
of the secondary unit.
With 10 career interceptions (including eight in
2010), the 6’2”, 210-pounder is a proven playmaker
that Saban will rely on to help bring along three
new starters in the defensive backfield.
Lester may not wow NFL types with his size or speed,
but he has great football instincts—which fits the
mold of the previous Alabama defensive backs
that Saban has sent to the NFL in recent years.
Williams – DT –
Williams is the latest JUCO import to make an impact
for Nick Saban, and after lining up at defensive end
in his first year in Tuscaloosa, the 6’3”, 320-pound native of
Australia will slide inside
to the nose tackle position in Alabama’s 3-4 scheme.
Considering his limited production (24 tackles, four
tackles for loss), his ability to adjust and play
well at his new position will be critical for his
However, he’s an athletic specimen capable of wowing
NFL personnel into taking a chance on him due to his
enormous potential and his versatility to play at
various spots on the defensive line.
Warmack – OG –
Considering he’s part of a Crimson Tide front wall
that includes All-American Barrett Jones and elite
junior tackle D.J. Fluker, Warmack’s abilities are
overshadowed by his more well-known teammates.
However, the 6’3”, 320-pound Warmack was an integral
part of a line that propelled Alabama to finish with the top rushing offense
in the SEC.
Entering this season, the second team All-SEC
performer is one of the top guard prospects on draft
boards for 2013.
Taylor – DE –
arrived in Columbia as a 215-pound
athlete whose biggest accomplishment on the prep
level was winning a state title in the triple jump.
Three years later, Taylor has packed 45 pounds onto his 6’7”
frame—and produced 15.5 sacks and 27 tackles for
loss in two seasons as a starter at defensive end.
His freakish athletic ability (he’s recorded a broad
jump of 10-feet, 11 inches and vertical jumps in the
high 30s) should help him tear up the combine—and
could vault him into the first-round.
Jenkins - DT –
Standing at 6’3”, 351 pounds, Jenkins could be the
biggest run-stuffing defensive tackle available in
this draft class.
His presence in the middle was a huge factor in the
Bulldogs finishing 11th nationally in rush defense
Assuming he maintains his level of production (28
tackles, six tackles for loss, three sacks and one
interception), Jenkins will be one of the most
coveted pluggers available in next year’s draft.
Porter – LB –
Coming into last season, Aggies opponents likely
were breathing a sigh of relief with Von Miller no
longer available to terrorize quarterbacks.
The Aggies plugged Porter into an edge rusher in
their 3-4 alignment, and the 6’3”, 230-pounder
responded with a season in which his numbers (79
tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks) closely
resembled Miller’s final year in
With the Aggies switching to a 4-3 defensive front
this season, another big season by Porter could help
vault him to the top of the group of linebackers in
the upcoming class.
Banks – CB –
Banks is a big corner (6’2”, 185 pounds) with
ball-hawking ability in coverage (11 career
interceptions), which in recent history has been the
metaphorical equivalent of possessing a first-round
His athleticism is evident considering he started
seven games at safety in his freshman season, and
served as the Bulldogs punt returner last season.
Banks will be in a group of big corners—along with N.C. State’s
David Amerson and Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes—that are fighting
for the right to be the top-rated corner prospect in
the 2013 draft class.
Jones – OG –
Despite being projected as a first-round pick had he
left school a year early, the reigning Outland
Trophy winner will try to help the Crimson Tide win
its third national championship in four seasons.
In addition, Jones will lineup at his third
different position in three seasons—with his latest
switch moving him from left tackle to center this
Most pundits have him projected as a guard at the
next level, but his versatility to play multiple
positions along the line at a high level makes him
one of the safest picks of next April’s draft.
Wilson – QB –
After patiently waiting behind Ryan Mallett for two
Wilson carved up
a league full of elite defenses en route to throwing
for a league best 3,638 yards and 24 touchdowns in
Considering that he operated out of a sophisticated
pro-style offense under
Bobby Petrino, the attraction to the 6’3”, 220-pound
first-team All-SEC selection is understandable.
Barring injuries or a disastrous season, Wilson
should ultimately duel with USC signal-caller Matt
Barkley for the right to be the top quarterback
selected in the 2013 NFL Draft.