2013 NFL Draft Recap

At the conclusion of every NFL Draft, It is extremely important to step back and let the smoke clear and the dust settle before analyzing team selections. After a few days, I start with team-by-team picks; take a look at overall round selections and trades prior to as well as during the draft; conduct roster analysis focusing on rookies who will have an immediate impact as starters; examine teams that created competitive battles at multiple depth-chart spots, which create success and further craft a championship foundation; and, finally, gauge which teams remained true to their draft philosophies.

Listed below are all 32 teams and some of the rookies I feel will be heavy contributors. Grades range from A-plus to D-plus. Under team names are the players I feel will have impactful rookie seasons.

Arizona Cardinals

While the Cardinals draft didn’t start out sexy with the pick of Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina guard, once you look past that position and concentrate on the players, the new head coach and general manager combo did a good job securing starters and filled several needs with value. Grade: B

Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina (1st)

Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU (2nd)

Tyrann Mathieu, FS, LSU (3rd)

Alex Okafor, LB, Texas (4th)

Earl Watford, OG, James Madison (4th)

Stephan Taylor, RB, Stanford (5th)

Atlanta Falcons

The NFC South champions didn’t need much after a very active free-agency period, but yet again the Falcons filled needs with great value. Grade: B-plus

Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington (1st)

Robert Alford, CB, Southeastern Louisiana (2nd)

Baltimore Ravens

General manager Ozzie Newsome (aka Wizard of Oz) again worked his magic with patience to sit and pick good talent and fulfill needs without reaching. Grade: B-plus

Matt Elam, SS, Florida (1st)

Arthur Brown, OLB, Kansas State (2nd)

Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern (3rd)

John Simon, LB, Ohio State (4th)

Kyle Juszczyk, FB, Harvard (4th)

Buffalo Bills

The Bills did a great of moving back from No. 8 to No. 16, trading with St. Louis. The whole world knew that it was for better value when taking a quarterback. What we didn’t know was that they were in love with E.J. Manuel and not Geno Smith, Matt Barkley or Ryan Nassib. I like both second-round picks in Robert Woods and Kiko Alonso. Grade: B

E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State (1st)

Robert Woods, WR, USC (2nd)

Kiko Alonso, ILB, Oregon (2nd)

Carolina Panthers

The Panther defense has struggled to stop the run the last couple seasons. With DT Sheldon Richardson off the board, the Panthers snatched a star, selecting Star Lotulelei from Utah along with another big man, DT Kawann Short. At some point the Panthers will have to address the back end of the secondary, but the ability to pressure the pocket is huge. Grade: B-

Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah (1st)

Kawann Short, DT, Purdue (2nd)

Edmund Kugbila, OG, Valdosta State (4th)

Chicago Bears

Many draftniks and media were not excited about the Bears overall’ draft – but I was. They drafted some athletic players with positional skill sets and filled needs. Grade: B

Kyle Long, OG, Oregon (1st)

Jon Bostic, ILB, Florida (2nd)

Khaseem Greene LB, Rutgers (4th)

Jordan Mills, OT, Louisiana Tech (5th)

 

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals drafted the No. 1 tight end in Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert, then followed that pick with a running and return specialist, defensive end and a strong safety, where they got great value. Grade: A

Tyler Eifert, TEA, Notre Dame (1st)

Giovani Bernard, RB/RS, North Carolina (2nd)

Margus Hunt, DE, SMU (2nd)

Shawn Williams, SS, Georgia (3rd)

Sean Porter, LB, Texas A&M (4th)

Cleveland Browns

Defense seemed to be the slogan during the offseason, but drafting an undersized, narrow-waisted edge player – despite excellent athletic skill set – left me scratching my head.  I did like Leon McFadden coming out of the Senior Bowl. Grade: C

Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU (1st)

Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego State (3rd)

Dallas Cowboys

To move back in the draft and allow several players to fly off the board was interesting, but when the Cowboys drafted an offensive center with their first-round pick, I asked myself a question: Was that their highest-rated player, or is that strictly a need pick? I do like receiver Terrance Williams, and defensive backs J.J. Wilcox and B.W. Webb. Grade: C

Travis Frederick, OC, Wisconsin (1st)

Gavin Escobar, TEA, San Diego State (2nd)

Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor (3rd)

J.J. Wilcox, FS, Georgia Southern (3rd)

B.W. Webb, DB, William & Mary (4th)

Denver Broncos

Defensive tackle Sylvester Williams is a perfect fit for the John Fox defense. The Montee Ball selection adds another runner with a different skill set and depth at the position. John Elway apparently didn’t see a quarterback in the class worth drafting (I’m paraphrasing, of course), but in the seventh round they pulled the trigger on Miami (Ohio)’s Zac Dysert anyway. Grade: B

Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina (1st)

Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin (2nd)

Kayvon Webster, DB, South Florida (3rd)

Zac Dysert, QB, Miami (Ohio) (7th)

Detroit Lions

I was impressed with Ziggy Ansah when evaluating film, and I see the upside in this player. However, drafting him with the fifth overall pick in the draft based on three years of a football background? He is no Jason Pierre Paul, in my opinion. Cornerback Darius Slay and offensive guard Larry Warford, along with defensive end Devin Taylor will have a big impact for the Lions. Grade: B-plus

Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU (1st)

Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi (2nd)

Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky (3rd)

Devin Taylor, DE, South Carolina (4th)

Green Bay Packers

Good first-round selection of DE Datone Jones, which was a glaring need for a porous defense. Other NFL teams passed on running back Eddie Lacy because of injury concerns, from hamstring to great toe. Believe me: Ted Thompson would not have drafted Lacy if he thought he would not be able to carry the workload or was not healthy. Johnathan Franklin adds excellent depth. Grade: B-plus

Datone Jones, DE, UCLA (1st)

Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama (2nd)

Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA (4th)

Houston Texans

Houston struggled in the playoffs because of the lack of receiver play opposite of Andre Johnson. The addition of DeAndre Hopkins will help the Texans’ overall offensive production. I like the selection of strong safety D.J. Swearinger, who will police the back end of the Texans’ secondary and will lower the boom. Grade: B

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson (1st)

D.J. Swearinger, SS, South Carolina (2nd)

Brennan Williams, OT, North Carolina (3rd)

 

Indianapolis Colts

With the departure of DE Dwight Freeney, Bjoern Werner has some big shoes to fill – not so much as a pass-rusher, but as a run-stuffer. Grade: C

Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida (1st)

Hugh Thornton, OG, Illinois (3rd)

Khaled Holmes, OC/OG, USC (4th)

Jacksonville Jaguars

They were sitting pretty at No. 2 and had all the options that Kansas City held. Landing Luke Joeckel was a steal with great value, but the selection of safety Johnathan Cyprien set the tone the rest of the way. While Ace Sanders has return skills, he will develop into a natural slot machine. Denard Robinson’s receiving skills are still under development. Aligning him at running back is an option, but returning kicks is where he will contribute immediately. Grade: A

Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M (1st)

Johnathan Cyprien, FS, Florida International (2nd)

Dwayne Gratz, DB, Connecticut (3rd)

Ace Sanders, WR/RS, South Carolina (4th)

Denard Robinson, WR/RS, Michigan (5th

Kansas City Chiefs

An hour before the draft, football fans, media and draftniks were held in suspense by the Chiefs brass on the number one overall pick. There was a little surprise when Eric Fisher’s name was called, but this player earned the selection. Grade: B-plus

Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan (1st)

Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas (3rd)

Nico Johnson, ILB, Alabama (4th)

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins were aggressive and made the power move to get the edge rusher they coveted in OLB Dion Jordan with the third overall pick. Miami had a jewel fall into its lap in cornerback Jamar Taylor from Boise State with pick No. 2. Grade: B

Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon (1st)

Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State (2nd)

Dion Sims, TEA, Miami (4th)

Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida (5th)

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings came out of the first round of this draft with three starters and impact players. They were patient and sat and picked at Nos. 23 and 25. The brilliant move was jumping back into the bottom of the first round to select receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. Grade: A-plus

Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida (1st)

Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State (1st)

Cordarrelle Patterson, WR/RS, Tennessee (1st)

New England Patriots

The Patriots had another solid but really non-spectacular draft. Trust me, though – these players will contribute immediately, and receiver Aaron Dobson could quickly establish himself as a difference-maker catching footballs from Tom Brady. Grade: C-plus

Jamie Collins, CB, Southern Mississippi (2nd)

Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall (2nd)

Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers (3rd)

Duron Harmon, DB, Rutgers (3rd)

New Orleans Saints

The Saints are making the transition from the 4-3 to the 3-4 defensive scheme, and drafting NT John Jenkins was great value in the third round. Safety Kenny Vaccaro will fill a void in the sub packages, covering slot receivers until safety Roman Harper retires, and will also contribute as a core teams player. Grade: B

Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas (1st)

Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas Pine-Bluff (3rd)

John Jenkins, NT/DT, Georgia (3rd)

 

New York Giants

The Giants got hammered over the Justin Pugh selection, but he is the type of player who will play for 10 years at the position. Both defensive linemen bring great value to the defensive front, and drafting quarterback Ryan Nassib to develop as Eli Manning’s back-up is the future. Grade: B-plus

Justin Pugh, OT/OG, Syracuse (1st)

Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State (2nd)

Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M (3rd)

Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse (4th)

New York Jets

The New York brass felt good about Dee Milliner’s injury history, whereas several teams had a yellow flashing light. With Sheldon Richardson, Geno Smith and Brian Winter in the fold, the Jets rounded out the first three rounds with impact players who will contribute right away. Grade: B-plus

Dee Milliner, DB, Alabama (1st)

Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri (1st)

Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia (2nd)

Brian Winter, OT, Kent State (3rd)

Oakland Raiders

The Raiders had a good draft from top to bottom, drafting for value and filling many needs. Grade: B    

D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston (1st)

Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State (2nd)

Sio Moore, LB, Connecticut (3rd)

Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas (4th)

Philadelphia Eagles

With the top two offensive tackles (Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel) off the board, the next highest-rated OT for all teams was Lane Johnson from Oklahoma. Despite being a one-year wonder at the position, athletic ability, competiveness and temperament are all in place; upside is huge and technique will be polished with NFL tutelage. Quarterback Matt Barkley came off the board in the fourth round, too. Competition for the starting job in the City of Brotherly Love just became interesting. Grade: B

Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma (1st)

Zach Erta, TEA, Stanford (2nd)

Bennie Logan, DT, LSU (3rd)

Matt Barkley, QB, USC (4th)

Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State (7th)

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers filled their needs list, but more important, found great value in rookies who will be heavy contributors. Grade: A-plus

Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia(1st)

Le’Von Bell, RB, Michigan State (2nd)

Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State (3rd)

Shmarko Thomas, DB, Syracuse (4th)

Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma (4th)

San Diego Chargers

Yes, it was a reach for D.J. Fluker at the 11th overall pick, but I still like what the big man brings to the table. Manti Te’o is going to be a better professional football player than critics think. It’s not where you get drafted; it’s what you do when you get there. Grade: B-plus

D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama (1st)

Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame (2nd)

Keenan Allen, WR, California (3rd)

San Francisco 49ers

The rich keep getting richer. The 49ers had a few needs, and made some strategic moves and drafted some very good young talent. Tight end Vance McDonald has the size, length, athletic ability and natural receiving skills. He and Vernon Davis have the potential to wreak havoc on the NFC West. The drafting of Marcus Lattimore is more than a feel-good story; he will get an opportunity to carry the rock with the 49ers when ready. Grade: B-plus

Eric Reid, DB, LSU (1st)

Cornellius Carrdine, DE, Florida State (2nd)

Vance McDonald, TEA, Rice (2nd)

Corey Lemonier , DE, Auburn (3rd)

Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech (4th)

Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina (4th)

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle’s offseason free-agent period was more impressive than the 2013 draft class. Jesse Williams will be a plug-and-play defensive tackle with size and athletic ability for a large human being. Grade: B-

Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M (2nd)

Jordan Hill, DT, Penn State (3rd)

Chris Harper, WR, Kansas State (4th)

Jesse Williams, DT/NT, Alabama (5th)

Ty Powell, LB, Harding (7th)

St. Louis Rams

The Rams’ aggressiveness paid dividends throughout the draft. Case in point: the first-round trade with Buffalo (No. 8) and leapfrogging the Jets, who had the ninth overall selection, in order to draft receiver/return man Tavon Austin. The Rams also moved out of their second first-round pick, No. 22, trading with Atlanta (No. 30) and drafting OLB Alec Ogletree. This set the tone for the rest of the draft. Drafting receiver Stedman Bailey (Austin’s teammate at West Virginia) was a very good choice; it improves depth and adds more playmaking ability. Barrett Jones will be the swingman as a center and guard, but in my opinion he will be a Pro Bowler at OC in the near future. Grade: A

Tavon Austin, WR/RS, West Virginia (1st)

Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia (1st)

T.J. McDonald, DB, USC (3rd)

Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia (3rd)

Barrett Jones, OC/OG, Alabama (4th)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers were solid throughout the draft. I like the Johnathan Banks selection in the second round. He has size, length, ball skills and production despite average speed. Grade: B

Johnathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State (2nd)

Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State (3rd)

Akeem Spence, DT, Illinois (4th)

Tennessee Titans

The Titans got their man in offensive guard Chance Warmack, and the draft flowed with receiver Justin Hunter and cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson. All three will be immediate starters and heavy contributors, and Mezzo’s Zavier Gooden is a core teams player if he rosters. Grade: B-plus

Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama (1st)

Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee (2nd)

Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut (3rd)

Zavier Gooden, LB, Missouri (3rd)

Brian Schwenke, OC/OG            , California (4th)   

Washington Redskins

The Redskin brass achieved great value in the draft with the selections of two safeties who will secure the back end of the Jim Haslett defense. Grade: B-plus

David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State (2nd)

Jordan Reed, TE           , Florida (3rd)

Phillip Thomas, DB, Fresno State (4th)

Bacarri Rambo, DB, Georgia (6th)

** In addition, Mr. Irrelevant – an honor bestowed on the last pick in the draft – goes to Justice Cunningham, a tight end who played at South Carolina. Like all rookies, this young prospect will battle for a roster spot.