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2013 NFL Draft: Eric Fisher, Matt Barkley atop Mel Kiper's positional rankings

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The ESPN draft guru has Luke Joeckel falling behind in draft status


With the NFL Draft under two months away, we know that draft boards will change. However, for some time offensive tackle Luke Joeckel has been considered a top five player and clearly the best offensive lineman in this year's draft class. That has changed, according to ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper, Joeckel has been overtaken by Central Michigan tackle Eric Fisher.

Writes Kiper:

Nobody even knew who Fisher was when the season started, but he could go top 5. He had a good combine, and a few questions were raised on Joeckel.

Overall in Kiper's "big board," Fisher has actually found his way up into the top five overall. Kiper now ranks Fisher at number three, while Joeckel sits at number five among all players.

On Fisher:

Continues to dispel doubts as the physical profile and strengths as an athlete match performance. Uses his length really well. Gets in a wide base, uses his arms to absorb pass-rushers and simply doesn't allow guys to get the edge on him. He often made it look easy in the MAC but also looked great when Central Michigan faced top competition; not a newcomer for scouts.

On Joeckel:

Once a lock to be the first tackle taken, he now has serious competition. He's not overwhelming as an athlete, but the tape shows a player with the ability to just swallow up even really good pass-rushers, particularly those who try to beat him off the edge. (He's more susceptible to those who go inside.) Has a ton of experience, starting on the left since his freshman season. He can really drive people in the run game, even if he gets questions on whether he's a big finisher there.

Among quarterbacks, most people have Geno Smith at the top of the list at the position, but not Kiper. He keeps USC's Matt Barkley as the best QB prospect in the draft. He does not, though, have either in the top 25 players overall.

Based on reader reaction, we would prefer that the Cards take Smith, Fisher or Joeckel and most mock drafts have the Cards selecting Fisher. If Kiper is right and the mocks are, too, it may be that the Cardinals end up with the best lineman in the draft.

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