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Insider

Nickel Package: Mock draft leftovers

2/7/2013

There are only 32 spots in my latest mock draft updateInsider, which means plenty of prospects with first-round tools and talent have been left out.

This week's Nickel Package (which is really a dime package) looks at the 10 best players I'm projecting to be on the outside looking in at the first round.

Among them are a pair of standout wide receivers, a trio of offensive linemen and two big-name quarterbacks. Below is a breakdown of each of the top 10 remaining players on my board.

1. West Virginia WR Tavon Austin: A dynamic offensive weapon with elite long speed, impressive body control and the ability to make cuts at full speed, Austin also shows the versatility to line up as a slot receiver or in the backfield and to return kicks. He's undersized (5-foot-8⅜, 173 pounds), but piling up 572 total yards in a shootout loss to Oklahoma created first-round buzz that has carried into the pre-draft process.

2. Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert: He could improve as a blocker, but Eifert has very good ball skills for a tight end. He extends his arms and snatches balls out of the air, and his size (6-6, 250) allows him to box out defenders and win 50/50 balls down the field and in the red zone. Eifert also runs hard after the catch.

3. Alabama OT D.J. Fluker: A massive (6-4⅞, 335) mauler who projects as an effective right tackle at the next level, Fluker can engulf defenders when working in the phone booth. His lack of mobility and foot speed can be exposed by speed rushers off the edge and conditioning could be an issue, but Fluker fights hard and flashes a mean streak.

4. Oregon G Kyle Long: A raw prospect with limited experience, Long has elite physical tools and plenty of upside. He has a long frame (6-61, 304), moves well, and shows strength and toughness. He needs to improve his instincts and awareness, but his skill set alone gets him in the first-round conversation.

5. NC State QB Mike Glennon: He has one of the strongest arms in the 2013 class, and Glennon's size (6-6¾, 220) allows him to easily scan the field from inside the pocket. However, his pocket mobility is limited and there are questions about his decision-making under pressure.

6. Syracuse G Justin Pugh: He started at left tackle in college, but Pugh (6-4⅞, 301) projects as a guard at the next level. He's a durable prospect with a good initial punch, the footwork to stay in front of pass-rushers and the ability to anchor against power. Pugh could get stronger overall, but he plays with an edge.

7. USC WR Robert Woods: He lacks elite size (6-1, 190), but Woods is sudden off the line and can eat up a defender's cushion quickly. He's also willing to work the middle of the field, is a decisive runner after the catch and tracks the ball well downfield.

8. Auburn DE/OLB Corey Lemonier: A productive player despite the extra attention he got as the best player on Auburn's defense, Lemonier (6-4, 242) has a quick first step, holds up well against the run and plays with a relentless motor.

9. USC QB Matt Barkley: He entered the season as our No. 1 prospect, but Barkley's lack of size (6-1⅞, 228) and top-shelf physical tools was exposed in 2012. He also lacks the elite arm strength to drive the ball downfield, but Barkley's smarts and ability to get the ball out on time and in rhythm make him a good fit for a West Coast offense at the next level.

10. Louisiana Tech WR Quinton Patton: A smooth, fluid route-runner, Patton (6-foot, 202) also shows vision and elusiveness after the catch. He looked good at the Senior Bowl, where he flashed savvy in his routes and solid body control and was strong in traffic.