As always, the draft had it share of surprises
The first round of the 2013 NFL Draft is in the books and, as always, there were no shortage of surprises. Deals were made, players fell, some teams made surprise selections; a typical first round overall. But here are some of my thoughts on the first round:
*-The Minnesota Vikings ROCKED the first round. I thought the picks of DT Sharrif Floyd and CB Xavier Rhodes were a great combination of "best player" and "need". But the coup de grace was trading back into the bottom of round 1 with the Patriots and selecting my favorite WR in this draft, Cordarrelle Patterson. They gave up a lot to get Patterson (they have no picks now until the 4th round), but this move was genius to provide them with a second WR to go with free agent Greg Jennings. Christian Ponder will have no more excuses to not succeed with the new weapons and the defense got a whole lot better too.
*-While I like the fact the Rams were aggressive in going after the player they really wanted, I am not as big on WR Tavon Austin as many others. Don't get me wrong, as I stated in my pre-draft WR comments I expect Austin to be an impact player, but I think Patterson stands a better chance of being a truly elite WR in the NFL. And the Rams could have had him without giving up draft picks and then still made the move with Atlanta to trade down with their second 1st round pick and gotten even more draft picks. The trade reminded me of the blunder the Rams made in the 2012 draft last year when in round 2 they had 3 picks, identified three definite positions of need (OT, CB, and WR) and then wasted their first pick of that round by taking a player they foolishly fell in love with (WR Brian Quick) instead of the OT. There were plenty of other WR's they could have selected with their 3rd pick in that round, but because they really wanted Quick, they lost out on the remaining best OT's and subsequently squandered all of their second picks except for the CB they selected. I feel similarly here. But at least swapping with the Falcons retrieved some picks for them and they got a potential steal in athletic speed OLB in Alec Ogletree.
*-What was Buffalo thinking? After taking advantage of the fact the Rams coveted Austin, they reached for a QB with the 16th pick. I'm not knocking them for liking E.J. Manuel as their top rated QB in the draft. After all, as has been stated all along, there was no consensus top QB in this draft class. But couldn't they have traded down again and still got him later than the 16th pick? Now for all those who think that this was an indictment on Ryan Nassib, whom Doug Marrone coached in college and was widely considered to be who the Bills would select, I think it isn't so much that, as it is that if Marrone could hand pick any of the college QB available in this draft to run his offensive system, he believed Manuel could do it the best of any. Not the Nassib couldn't do it well, but that long term, Manuel could do it best.
*-Someone needs to teach the Raiders and Cowboys the art of deal making. Oakland traded from the 3rd overall pick and got in return from Miami the 12th and 42nd picks. Dallas traded from the 18th overall pick and got in return from San Francisco the 31st and 74th picks. Compare that to what Buffalo got from the Rams (16, 46, 78, and 222 for the 8th overall pick), the Rams got from the Falcons (30, 92, 198 for the 22nd overall pick), and the Patriots got from the Vikings (52, 83, 102, 229 for the 29th overall pick) and you can see that both Oakland and Dallas should have been able to squeeze out at least another later round pick this year, or a mid round pick next year for trading out of their spots.
*-Pittsburgh continues to just watch players fall right to them. OLB Jarvis Jones was considered by many to be the best pure pass rusher in this draft and while others were drafted ahead of him, he fell right to the Steelers, filling a glaring need for them. Some teams just live under a lucky star.
*-The Giants are usually among the best at evaluating offensive and defensive lines every draft. So while many think OL Justin Pugh was a reach, I think it was a heady move as Pugh can play OT or OG and likely will start right away for them. Not a "sexy" name pick, but very much in line with the "blue collar" no-nonsense approach we've come to expect from the Giants.
*-Credit the Jets for knowing that they needed so much help on offense that their best offense is to have a stifling defense. I think too much was made of Dee Milliner's shoulder and it played right into Rex Ryan's hands. Will he be Darrelle Revis? No. But he'll be Dee Milliner, and I think he's going to be very good. As for DT Sheldon Richardson, I would have taken a pass rusher like Jarvis Jones over him. But other than that, only Cordarrelle Patterson would have been a consideration. And the Jets have had their fill of WR's who have any type of maturity problems (real or imaginary).
*-I think the Houston Texans made the "safe" pick with WR DeAndre Hopkins, but I also think they would have been better suited drafting Patterson instead. Andre Johnson is at that point in his career where he is going to start sliding from his elite WR perch. Hopkins has all the traits of being an excellent #2 WR in the NFL, but I don't know if he has the big time upside to become a legitimate #1. And the Texans will need him to be that in another year or two.
I could rant about many things about day one and the first round, but I think I've touched on those things that were foremost in my mind. Time to start thinking about rounds 2 and 3 later tonight.