Fringe Round 1 prospects

A look at 15 players likely in, gaining ground and possible surprises

Updated: April 23, 2013, 12:25 PM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider
D.J. HaydenBob Levey/Getty ImagesCornerback D.J. Hayden from Houston could be a potential first-round pick.

Every year we see a few first-round picks that elicit debate because of how far apart they are on the boards of different teams. Last year, Bruce Irvin and A.J. Jenkins went in the first round, but I know some teams had them rated as late second-rounders. That's not an indictment of the selections, it's just an example of how the label "first-rounder" can apply to about 45-50 players (or more) depending on which team you talk to.

In talking to a lot of people around the league this week, I was able to put together a list of some players who have a wide range of grades on a lot of draft boards. So what you have below are players I think have a good shot of going in Round 1, another group that has just an OK shot because they're high on some boards, lower on others and then some sleepers who are way down on some boards, but are surprisingly high on others.

Wouldn't be a surprise

If these players were drafted in Round 1, I wouldn't be surprised at all. In fact, I expect them to be in most cases.

Kevin Minter, LB, LSU
He's my third-ranked inside linebacker, behind Manti Te'o and Alec Ogletree, but I know teams that see him as pretty even with those two. Minter has great instincts, and should be a Week 1 starter wherever he goes. It wouldn't surprise me if he's the final pick in Round 1, to Baltimore.


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Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst