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Friday, April 26, 2013

2013 NFL Draft First Round Notes

If you're expecting draft grades for the first round, you might as well go back to ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Facebook, or whatever you were looking at before. I used to do it because people asked for my opinion, but it's just fruitless. There's no way to understand the discussions and draft boards for all of the teams. So, I'm just going to give you some of my observations from last night.

1. The Chiefs made the right decision.
I said it many times leading up to the draft that I liked Eric Fisher more than Luke Joeckel. Don't get me wrong, I like the Texas A&M left tackle. As a matter of fact, I think he'll be better at first. However, Fisher's athleticism gives him a much bigger upside, and I think he'll be better in the long run.

2. Minnesota owned the first round.
I admire teams that know what their needs are and do everything possible to fill them. That's no to say I agree with what the Falcons did a few years ago when they basically traded away their entire draft to get Julio Jones, because I didn't. Personally, I think that's one of the big reasons their defense is in shambles now.

Last year, they got Matt Kalil, one of the best players in the draft, and then traded back into the first round to pick Harrison Smith, who started and played very well at safety. This year, they may have scored the steal of the draft with getting Sharrif Floyd (who was a top-10 talent) at 23 and then followed it up with Xavier Rhodes, solving another need. If that wasn't enough, and even though they signed Greg Jennings in free agency, they came back up again to select Cordarelle Patterson. Jennings will be a great mentor for an amazing talent whose only knock is that he might be immature. Did they give up too much for him? Possibly, but they picked three players who I had ranked in the top-3 at their position. Kudos to Rick Spielman.

3. Jerry Jones really needs to give up the GM title
The Cowboys were pretty upset when Kenny Vacarro went at 15 to New Orleans, because he was the player they had their heart set on. And I give them credit for trading back when he was no longer there. But, and this is a pretty big but, selecting a guy they could have easily picked in the 2nd or possibly 3rd round is just inexcusable. I know that each team holds draft parties, and I can't even imagine the reaction when thatpick came through. Hopefully, Jerry didn't park his carat the stadium.

4. Doug Marrone and the Bills staff are magicians
They had everyone fooled from the get go. From everything I heard, EJ Manuel was very far down their board. They made sure to leak their "preferences" for Ryan Nassib, Matt Barkley, and Geno Smith. But, all the while they were planning on stealing the Florida State quarterback from all of the teams that planned on trying to get back into the late first to snag him (cough, Philadelphia, cough).

5. I'm not sure there's a better first round pick than DeAndre Hopkins and the Texans. First, he's a perfect fit for their system, which asks for wide receivers to be involved in the running game and to get open quick on slants. Second, he gets to learn from one of the best wide receivers of all time in Andre Johnson. Lastly, of all the talented wideouts in this draft, he's by far the most ready for primetime, which is what he'll need to be since he'll be starting from day one.

6. The Rams were good and bad in the span of about three hours.
As I said abut the Vikings, I liked seeing St. Louis trade up to get Tavon Austin. For a team that needed a dynamic playmaker on offense, they scored one of the best in this draft and because they chose a partner who was strategically placed (in front of the Jets) and wanted to trade back, they didn't have to give up much to get him. On the other hand, the selection of known-knucklehead Alec Ogletree at 30 when Kevin Minter was still available was surprising. Remember, Jeff Fisher also selected Adam "Pacman" Jones and we all know how poorly that worked out.

7. Geno Smith being left out of the first round wasn't that shocking.
I think the networks overplayed the Geno-Smith-is-still-in-the-green-room angle. If you paid attention going into the draft, you knew that all of the quarterbacks had significant warts and there was a chance that none of them would go in the first. However, I don't think he'll have to wait to long tonight in that at worst, he'll go at pick 35 to the Eagles.

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