NFL Draft 2013: The next generation of NFL stars takes the stage

The 2013 NFL Draft kicks off Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

Richard Drew/AP
Top NFL draft prospects, front row from left, Dee Milliner, Alabama; Tavon Austin, West Virginia; Sharrif Floyd, Florida; Eric Fisher, Central Michigan; and Chance Warmack, Alabama, participate in the closing bell ceremonies at the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, April 24, 2013.

The newest crop of pro football talent will be on display starting Thursday night in New York when the National Football League begins its annual college player draft.

A number of draft experts, like Mike Mayock of the NFL Network, foresee a variety of position players being drafted early. Offensive linemen, such as Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M and Central Michigan's Eric Fisher, could be selected in the first two picks of the draft.

All 32 NFL teams will have a chance to restock their rosters with rookies. The San Francisco 49ers, the defending NFC champions, have the most draft picks with 13. The Super Bowl-champion Baltimore Ravens are looking at a dozen draft picks.

Four teams, the Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, and New Orleans Saints, will have the fewest picks with five, as it stands now.

The Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football Conference will have the first pick this year, by virtue of their losing record last fall. There is speculation they will take an offensive lineman to help protect new quarterback Alex Smith, formerly with the 49ers.

The Chiefs will be followed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, and Detroit Lions in the top five slots.

Each year in the NFL Draft gives teams an opportunity to improve their lineup, and their prospects of a winning season. Last year, both the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins picked quarterbacks who almost immediately made their respective teams better. Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III each led their teams to winning records and the NFL playoffs.

The NFL Draft consists of seven rounds. The first round takes place Thursday night, beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern time. The second and third rounds will happen on Friday night, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Rounds four through seven will take place on Saturday, beginning at noon Eastern time.

The draft will be broadcast on both ESPN and the NFL Network.

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