Thursday, April 25, 2013
Analysis on 2013 NFL Draft picks
By Mike Reiss
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots' initial selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, which is 29th overall, isn't scheduled to be made until around 10:45-11 p.m. ET.
But the action starts at 8 p.m. ET, and we'll be following along with a quick-hit analysis on each pick.
1. Chiefs -- OT Eric Fisher (Central Michigan) -- Could be a franchise-type left tackle, but unlike last year when QB Andrew Luck went first overall, this reflects how it's not a draft filled with stars. Patriots left tackle Nate Solder, who went No. 17 in 2011, might have been a top pick in this year's class.
2. Jaguars -- OT Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M) -- New regime of GM Dave Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley go with the sure thing, giving them insurance if left tackle Eugene Monroe isn't re-signed after the 2013 season. Joeckel will likely start at right tackle as a rookie.
3. Dolphins (from Raiders) -- DE Dion Jordan (Oregon) -- General manager Jeff Ireland has had the most aggressive offseason of any executive in the NFL -- it started in free agency and extended into the draft. A Jordan/Cameron Wake duo will be bringing the heat on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The first big surprise of the draft.
4. Eagles -- OT Lane Johnson (Oklahoma) -- With aging tackles on the roster, the Eagles land a young bookend who can play on either side, potentially protecting the blindside of left-handed quarterback Michael Vick at right tackle.
5. Lions -- DE Ezekiel Ansah (BYU) -- They look to replace Cliff Avril with one of the most athletic players in the draft, but a prospect who is viewed as raw and anything but a sure thing. The selection highlights how the players at the top of this draft aren't at the same level of those in previous drafts.
6. Browns -- DE Barkevious Mingo (LSU) -- After signing Paul Kruger to a big-money deal in free agency, and with top pass rusher Jabaal Sheard already on board, the Browns have three highly touted defenders who can get after it. This could be one of the tougher defenses the Patriots face this season (Dec. 8 at Gillette Stadium).
7. Cardinals -- G Jonathan Cooper (North Carolina) -- Better pass protection is a must, especially for a quarterback like Carson Palmer who is less prone to escape the pocket. Cooper is an athletic guard; the question is whether a guard is good value here.
8. Rams (from Bills) -- WR Tavon Austin (West Virginia) -- Another bold trade up the board and one the Rams can afford to make with extra picks from last year's deal with the Redskins (Robert Griffin III). They get the draft's top playmaking receiver to make life easier for quarterback Sam Bradford.
9. Jets -- CB Dee Milliner (Alabama) -- Darrelle Revis replacement. As long as he checks out medically, this looks like a solid pick for a rebuilding team.
10. Titans -- G Chance Warmack (Alabama) -- Head coach Mike Munchak was a guard and after paying big bucks to guard Andy Levitre in free agency, they land one of the draft's best guards to fortify the interior of the line, spark the running game and provide better protection for quarterback Jake Longer.
11. Chargers -- OT D.J. Fluker (Alabama) -- First-year general manager Tom Telesco fills an immediate need with a selection that highlights how this is a "trench" draft with the best quality viewed to be at the line of scrimmage. Six of the first 11 picks have been offensive linemen.
12. Raiders (from Dolphins) -- CB D.J. Hayden (Houston) -- General manager Reggie McKenzie trades back from third to 12th, picks up a second-round pick, and then goes with a cornerback whose stock seemed to rise as the draft neared. The Raiders are more than one player away, so the 2-for-1 exchange looks like a good one.
13. Jets (from Seahawks) -- DT Sheldon Richardson (Missouri) -- A penetrating interior presence for coach Rex Ryan, who promises to play a more aggressive brand of defense. With the Dolphins moving up for defensive end/outside linebacker Dion Jordan (No. 3) and the Jets doubling up on defense with cornerback Dee Milliner and Richardson, AFC East foes are focusing on generating more resistance against Tom Brady and the Patriots.
14. Panthers -- DT Star Lotulelei (Utah) -- First-year GM Dave Gettleman came to the Panthers from the Giants, where stockpiling defensive linemen was a big part of the team's success. A good matchup for Patriots center Ryan Wendell in a "Monday Night Football" matchup on Nov. 18.
15. Saints -- S Kenny Vaccaro (Texas) -- Under first-year coordinator Rob Ryan, the Saints are rebuilding a unit that was shredded in 2012, and they start on the back end.
16. Bills (from Rams) -- QB EJ Manuel (Florida State) -- Major surprise, as many had the Bills going with Syracuse's Ryan Nassib because first-year coach Doug Marrone had coached him in college. This sets up some intrigue for the Patriots' season-opening game against the Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y. Will they face the wild card in Manuel? Or will it be the more well-known Kevin Kolb? A storyline to follow over the ensuing months, with the only question how soon Manuel will be ready to take the reins.
17. Steelers -- OLB Jarvis Jones (Georgia) -- Helps to fill the void created by James Harrison. One of the more predictable selections in an otherwise unpredictable first round.
18. 49ers (from Cowboys) -- S Eric Reid (LSU) -- With Dashon Goldson departing to Tampa in free agency, Reid should step in as a Day 1 starter as the 49ers trade up the board with Dallas, which felt the depth of the draft was condusive to moving back and still getting a quality player.
19. Giants -- G/T Justin Pugh (Syracuse) -- In a meat-and-potatoes draft heavy on offensive linemen, the Giants get younger on the offensive line with a player who could step in immediately at either tackle or guard. Solid and once again reflective of a draft without stars at the skill positions.
20. Bears -- G/T Kyle Long (Oregon) -- A surprise pick as few analysts had him rated this high. The Bears have invested heavily in their offensive line this offseason as it was one of the worst units in the NFL last year. Eight of the first 20 picks in the draft play offensive line.
21. Bengals -- TE Tyler Eifert (Notre Dame) -- Pairing him with Jermaine Gresham should help quarterback Andy Dalton and an offense that looked limited in the playoffs last season. The Patriots face the Bengals on the road on Oct. 6.
22. Falcons (from Rams via Redskins) -- CB Desmond Trufant (Washington) -- A trade up from the No. 31 spot to land a cornerback to pair opposite Asante Samuel. GM Thomas Dimitroff pulls off the trade with his former assistant Les Snead, now the Rams' general manager.
23. Vikings -- DL Sharrif Floyd (Florida) -- The player who slides down the board based on where analysts projected he'd be picked, the Vikings seem to get a good value at an aging spot on their roster.
24. Colts -- DE Bjoern Werner (Florida State) -- An edge rusher to help replace the departed Dwight Freeney. GM Ryan Grigson talked earlier this offseason about bringing in defenders with a bigger body type to fit the physical defense that coach Chuck Paganp hopes to employ, and Werner (6-3, 266) fits the mold.
25. Vikings (from Seahawks) -- CB Xavier Rhodes (Florida State) -- Bigger press corner can be part of the mix to help replace Antoine Winfield (Seahawks). Thought he could have been in the mix for the Patriots at No. 29. This is the pick the Vikings received from the Seahawks in exchange for receiver Percy Harvin.
26. Packers -- DE/OLB Datone Jones (UCLA) -- One year after selecting Southern Cal defensive end/outside linebacker Nick Perry, the Packers add another pass-rushing presence to help a defense that was shredded at times in 2012.
27. Texans --WR DeAndre Hopkins (Clemson) -- General manager Rick Smith didn't hide the fact that the Texans planned to address this position, as it was Andre Johnson and a big drop-off at receiver.
28. Broncos -- DL Sylvester Williams (North Carolina) -- A versatile interior defensive lineman to help produce more pressure up the middle.
29. Vikings (from Patriots) -- WR Cordarrelle Patterson (Tennessee) -- Perhaps the most versatile player in the draft, Patterson adds a dynamic presence to the Vikings offense. But it comes at a steep cost, and the four picks the Vikings gave up will prevent them from filling other needs on the roster.
30. Rams (from Falcons) -- LB Alec Ogletree (Georgia) -- The Rams have maneuvered their way around the first round, and wind up with an athletic linebacker to pair with James Laurinaitis. He had off-field concerns including a DUI arrest that led to him slipping down draft boards.
31. Cowboys (from 49ers) -- C Travis Frederick (Wisconsin) -- Not expected to be a first-round pick, Frederick was a first-team All-Big Ten selection who can play goth guard and center. The Cowboys have bookend tackles in Tyron Smith and Doug Free, but could use help on the interior.
32. Ravens -- S Matt Elam (Florida) -- A hard-hitting safety from a major program, Elam will be paired with free-agent pickup Michael Huff in a re-tooled Ravens defense. He doesn't have the range to replace Ed Reed, but will fit in with other physical Ravens defenders.