2013 NFL Draft Grades: How Your Team Did on Day 1

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2013 NFL Draft Grades: How Your Team Did on Day 1
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The first round of the 2013 NFL draft is officially in the books, and 32 players have gone from prospects to rookies. Throughout the evening, we saw star players come off the board, first-round quality prospects fall into the second round and each and every team drastically shape its future.

The question is, how did your favorite team do on Day 1 of the NFL draft?

With 32 picks on the board, there was everything from surprising picks to draft-altering trades. This resulted in nothing short of pandemonium, but we'd be lying if we told you that we expected anything less.

So, how did your favorite team do in Round 1? Let's find out.

 

Arizona Cardinals

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Player Selected (Pick No. 7): Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina Tar Heels

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: A-

 

The Arizona Cardinals are in a vicious NFC West division that's led by interior rushers and linebackers such as Justin Smith, Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman. If those names aren't scary enough, how about the fact that they all come from one team?

In order to combat the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and the St. Louis Rams, the Cardinals improved their offensive interior with guard Jonathan Cooper.

Cooper is a powerful player that moves well blocking for screens and opening up lanes for the run game. For a Cardinals team that ranked dead last in rushing yards during the 2012 regular season, Cooper is the perfect pick.

A very good job of drafting by the Cardinals.

 

Atlanta Falcons

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Pick No. 22: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington Huskies

Trades Executed: 1 (Acquire No. 22 and 2015 7th-Round Picks for No. 30, No. 92 and No. 198)

Overall Grade: B+

 

The Atlanta Falcons don't have too many needs as a young team entering their prime with veteran leadership. If there was an area that Atlanta could stand to improve, however, it was in the defensive backfield.

They addressed that need by trading up and selecting Desmond Trufant out of Washington.

On top of having family ties to the NFL, Trufant pairs intriguing size at 6'0" with explosive speed. He ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and displays that same burst during in-game situations.

Trufant should bring that speed to Atlanta and add a new dynamic to its defense.

 

Baltimore Ravens

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Player Selected (Pick No. 32): Matt Elam, FS, Florida Gators

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: B+

 

The Baltimore Ravens had two options during the draft. They could have either replaced Ray Lewis at middle linebacker or found a player to step in for departed free safety Ed Reed.

The Ravens opted to go with free safety Matt Elam out of the University of Florida.

Elam is a physical player that has an undeniable knack for the ball. If that sounds familiar, then you're probably thinking of the traits that made Reed the Hall of Fame player he's become.

Elam's upside is debatable, but this was a brilliant move.

 

Buffalo Bills

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Pick No. 16: EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State Seminoles

Trades Executed: 1 (Acquired No. 16, No. 46, No. 78, No. 222 picks for No. 8 and No. 71)

Overall Grade: B

 

The Buffalo Bills wasted no time shocking the world, by both making a major trade and selecting the first quarterback of the draft. They dealt the No. 8 and No. 71 picks in exchange for the No. 16, No. 46, No. 78 and No. 222 picks in a trade with the St. Louis Rams.

Most importantly, they drafted EJ Manuel out of Florida State.

To be clear, this grade is based more on the fact that the Bills flipped two picks for four. The selection of Manuel is clearly debatable, but the Bills seem to have found their franchise quarterback.

According to Albert Breer of NFL Network, the Bills were targeting him from the beginning.

 

Carolina Panthers

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Pick No. 14: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah Utes

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: B+

 

The Carolina Panthers drafted Luke Kuechly in 2012 and he proceeded lead the NFL in tackles. This year, they did the best thing possible by drafting a defensive tackle that can take on two blockers and make Kuechly's job much easier.

The player they selected was Star Lotulelei out of Utah.

Lotulelei was once viewed as the top prospect in this year's draft class, only to see his stock plummet due to a discovered heart condition. For that reason, it's fair to evaluate the Panthers' pick in two separate manners.

Carolina may have landed a Pro Bowl inside lineman or a player whose health will prevent his career from blossoming—we'll go with the former.

 

Chicago Bears

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Pick No. 20: Kyle Long, OG, Oregon Ducks

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: B

 

The Chicago Bears made a severe reach by selecting guard Kyle Long out of Oregon at No. 20. With that being said, it was a move that made sense for a team that has had trouble protecting its quarterback.

By trouble, of course, I mean to say that they've allowed 93.0 sacks over the past two seasons.

In selecting Long, the Bears have improved their interior line and thus created potential gaps for running back Matt Forte. More importantly, they've added a strong player that has displayed versatility while blocking for an up-tempo Oregon offense.

Jay Cutler should be smiling about this one.

 

Cincinnati Bengals

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Pick No. 21: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: A-

 

The Cincinnati Bengals mastered the first round by opportunistically landing an elite pass-catching tight end in Tyler Eifert out of Notre Dame. Lining up opposite Jermaine Gresham, the Bengals now have the weapons necessary for two-tight end sets.

Paired with Pro Bowlers in wide receiver A.J. Green and quarterback Andy Dalton, the Bengals just improved their passing game in a significant manner.

Eifert is one of the best pass-catchers in this year's draft class, including the wide receivers. He is a terror in the open field, works into spaces in the red zone and is capable of lining up in a receiver's position during flex situations.

The Bengals made a brilliant pick here.

 

Cleveland Browns

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Player Selected (Pick No. 6): Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU Tigers

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: B+

 

The Cleveland Browns play in one of the best defensive divisions in the NFL in the AFC North. To keep pace with their rivals, the Browns decided to improve a pass rush that ranked 11th in 2012.

The selection was Barkevious Mingo out of LSU.

Mingo is an explosive athlete with phenomenal size at 6'4" and 241 pounds with 9 5/8" hands. His pass-rushing skills are rather underdeveloped, but Mingo's athleticism permits a high upside if his work ethic is strong enough.

Teamed with Jabaal Sheard, the Browns may have found their pass-rushing duo of the future.

 

Dallas Cowboys

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Player Selected (Pick No. 31): Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin Badgers

Trades Executed: 1 (Acquire No. 31 and No. 74 for No. 18)

Overall Grade: B-

 

The Dallas Cowboys entered the draft in their usual position. They weren't bad enough to receive a top 10 pick, but they weren't good enough to make the playoffs.

After trading back, Dallas ended up using the No. 31 pick on center Travis Frederick out of Wisconsin.

This was a pick that took some by surprise, but it does make sense for a team that has struggled to protect Tony Romo. Frederick was the top center available and should be able to step in and become Dallas' center of the future.

It's not glamorous, but it works.

 

Denver Broncos

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Player Selected (Pick No. 28): Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina Tar Heels

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: B+

 

The Denver Broncos are a team with few weaknesses on either side of the ball. They've mastered free agency, drafted well in recent seasons and are led by the ultimate X-factor in quarterback Peyton Manning.

With the 28th pick, they simply became even stronger on defense by selecting defensive tackle Sylvester Williams out of North Carolina.

In terms of defensive linemen, Williams wasn't far off of the ability of the prospects considered to be elite. He has a great motor, attacks with power, gets into the backfield with relative ease and opens up lanes for his teammates.

As a player who will take on two blockers, the Broncos just landed a player that could make Von Miller even more effective.


Detroit Lions

Player Selected (Pick No. 5): Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU Cougars

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: A-

 

The Detroit Lions had a multitude of options at No. 5, with needs along the offensive line and all over their defense. After ranking 20th in sacks during the 2012 NFL regular season, however, they opted to go for a pass-rusher.

BYU freak athlete Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah.

Ansah has seen nothing short of a meteoric rise up draft boards, as he's gone from no football experience to a top-five draft choice. The Ghana native only started nine games, but he's one of the most explosive athletes we've ever seen at defensive end.

Whether he's more effective in downward position or standing up is debatable, but the upside is unquestioned with Ansah.

 

Green Bay Packers

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Pick No. 26: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA Bruins

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: B+

 

During the 2012 NFL regular season, the Green Bay Packers ranked fourth in total sacks at 47.0. With that being said, no one other than Clay Matthews managed to top 5.0 total sacks.

The Packers made a statement by drafting defensive end Datone Jones out of UCLA.

Jones has an NFL build and the advanced skill set as a pass-rusher to thrive at the next level. Between he and Nick Perry, the Packers should be able to complement Matthews well enough to improve this pass rush.

A wise choice by Green Bay.

 

Houston Texans

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Pick No. 27: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson Tigers

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: A-

 

The Houston Texans hit the absolute jackpot at pick No. 27. After years of isolating Andre Johnson, failing to complement him with a legitimate No. 2 receiver, the Texans landed one of the best pass-catchers available.

Big-play machine DeAndre Hopkins out of Clemson.

Hopkins is one of the best open-field receivers in the nation, as he comes off a season in which he averaged 17.1 yards per reception and caught 18 touchdowns. During his final game as a collegiate athlete, Hopkins picked up 191 yards and two touchdowns on 13 receptions against the LSU Tigers.

This is the perfect fit for Houston.

 

Indianapolis Colts

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Pick No. 24: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State Seminoles

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: B

 

The Indianapolis Colts are coming off a season in which they defied logic by reaching the 2012 NFL playoffs. Coming into this year's draft, however, the Colts had holes to fill on both sides of the ball.

They opted to replace Dwight Freeney by selecting Bjoern Werner out of Florida State.

Werner has quality size at 6'3" and 266 pounds and plays in a similar manner to another Chuck Pagano alum in Paul Kruger. While Werner's production has been questioned, his physicality is undeniable.

This freight train should fit in well under Pagano's defensive brilliance.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

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Player Selected (Pick No. 2): Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M Aggies

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: A+

 

The Jacksonville Jaguars entered this draft with a promising young wide receiver in Justin Blackmon and an elite running back in Maurice Jones-Drew. The question for the Jags, of course, was whether or not they can win with their current quarterback corps.

They've created a bright future for any quarterback they potentially trust by drafting Luke Joeckel out of Texas A&M.

Joeckel may not be a glamour player, but he's an elite blind-side offensive lineman with experience protecting mobile quarterbacks. Not only can he keep Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne safe in the backfield, but he also knows what to do when the pocket collapses.

Regardless of whom the Jags trust at quarterback moving forward, Joeckel is an elite lineman that should have no trouble transitioning to the next level. Not after blocking for Ryan Tannehill and Johnny Manziel.

Keep in mind, the Jaguars were one of three teams to allow at least 50.0 sacks in 2012.

 

Kansas City Chiefs

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Player Selected (Pick No. 1): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan Chippewas

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: A+

 

The Kansas City Chiefs came into this draft with the first overall draft choice. They had three rational options to choose from, with trading down serving as one and selecting either Eric Fisher out of Central Michigan or Luke Joeckel out of Texas A&M as the others.

The Chiefs decided that Fisher was the better of the two offensive linemen and thus landed a franchise cornerstone and a blind-side protector for new quarterback Alex Smith.

Kansas City had an active offseason, trading for Smith and hiring new head coach Andy Reid. With an elite running game led by Pro Bowler Jamaal Charles and an All-Pro wide receiver in Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City appears to be close to an instant turnaround.

They've completed their offensive overhaul by landing the Pro Bowl-caliber offensive tackle to serve as the glue for this budding team.

 

Miami Dolphins

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Player Selected (Pick No. 3): Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon Ducks

Trades Executed: 1 (Acquired No. 3 pick for No. 12 and No. 42)

Overall Grade: B+

 

Miami had a need for an offensive lineman after left tackle Jake Long left via free agency. It seemed as if they made sure they were going to get their hands on that blind-side protector by trading up to acquire the No. 3 overall draft choice.

Oddly enough, they didn't go for an offensive tackle—they drafted 3-4 outside linebacker Dion Jordan of the Oregon Ducks.

Jordan is a player with tantalizing athleticism and the potential to be an elite pass-rusher as a stand-up lineman. Opposite Cameron Wake, he could provide the Dolphins with the elite pass rush necessary to slow down Tom Brady and the division rival New England Patriots.

As great of a player as Jordan could be, it was surprising to see them pass up on selecting an offensive lineman after giving up the No. 12 and No. 42 draft choices.

 

Minnesota Vikings

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Pick No. 23: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida Gators

Pick No. 25: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State Seminoles

Pick No. 29: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee Volunteers

Trades Executed: 1 (Acquired No. 29 for No. 52, No. 83, No. 102, No. 229)

Overall Grade: A

 

The Minnesota Vikings had the most active first round of any team in the NFL. They landed standout prospects at defensive tackle, cornerback and wide receiver.

Even with a trade that saw four picks go to New England in exchange for one, this was a successful first day for Minnesota.

The Vikings landed Sharrif Floyd at No. 23, which was shocking after many had projected him in the top 10. The common perception was that Floyd was an elite prospect.

Joining Floyd is Xavier Rhodes, a speedy cornerback with great size at 6'1", and Cordarrelle Patterson, the dynamic wide receiver from Tennessee. Patterson has tantalizing athleticism and size and could be an elite receiver.

There is bust potential, but every single one of these picks fits what Minnesota needed most.

 

New England Patriots

Player Selected: N/A

Trades Executed: 1 (Acquired No. 52, No. 83, No. 102, No. 229 for No. 29) 

Overall Grade: A+

 

The New England Patriots managed to get a perfect grade despite not making a single pick during Round 1. If you're wondering how that could be, it's all about the way they traded.

New England landed four draft choices for the 29th overall pick.

 

New Orleans Saints

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Pick No. 15: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas Longhorns

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: A

 

The New Orleans Saints could not have made a better pick than this. They boast one of the worst passing defenses in the NFL and desperately needed help in their defensive backfield.

They landed Kenny Vaccaro, the top safety in the draft, out of Texas to cure those woes.

Vaccaro steps into a defense that ranked 31st in passing yards allowed, 29th in passing touchdowns allowed and 28th in opponent passer rating. Fortunately for New Orleans, Vaccaro can play either safety position and has very good change-of-direction skills.

This is a giant step in the right direction for New Orleans' putrid defense.

 

New York Giants

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Pick No. 19: Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse Orange

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: C+

 

The New York Giants were one of the many teams that reached for an offensive lineman during the first round. Fortunately, the player that New York reached for does fit one of their greatest needs and is a quality prospect.

Justin Pugh out of Syracuse is a relatively local prospect, to make it even more of a great fit.

With that being said, you could make the case that the Giants could have afforded to trade back. Instead, they took an offensive lineman that may have fallen into the second round with the 19th overall selection.

All in all, this was a fitting pick, but one that may have come too soon.

 

New York Jets

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Pick No. 9: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama Crimson Tide

Pick No. 13: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri Tigers

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: A

 

The New York Jets made waves by trading franchise cornerback Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier this month. In order to replace him, the Jets took to the draft with their first of two first-round picks.

Dee Milliner of the Alabama Crimson Tide is no longer the best cornerback in this draft class—he's a Jet.

Milliner has the potential to be the next Revis, which should be music to the Jets' ears seeing as they landed him. Milliner should be able to line up as a starter from the opening snap, bringing his physical brand of play to Rex Ryan's defense.

With their second pick of the first round, the Jets went with defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson out of Missouri.

Richardson is a a high-quality prospect, but it's questionable that he was selected over Sharrif Floyd out of Florida. There's also reason to doubt the Jets' decision considering they already have Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples.

Fortunately, the quality of the Milliner pick was too strong to be tarnished.

 

Oakland Raiders

Pick No. 12: D.J. Hayden, Houston Cougars

Trades Executed: 1 (Acquired No. 12 and No. 42 for No. 3)

Overall Grade: B-

 

The Oakland Raiders opened up the draft by trading the No. 3 overall draft choice to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for the No. 12 and No. 42 picks. With the 12th overall draft choice, the Raiders shocked the world, as always, by going for speed and ball-hawking skills.

Oakland took cornerback D.J. Hayden of the Houston Cougars.

Hayden is an intriguing prospect due to his ability to make plays on the ball, regardless of what down it may be. He's quick enough to work in man coverage and is a tenacious enough ball hawk to drop back in zone, which means he could serve well in Oakland.

This wasn't the superstar selection that Raiders fans were looking for, but it was a quality selection.

 

Philadelphia Eagles

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Pick No. 4: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma Sooners

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: A+

 

Philadelphia came into Round 1 with numerous questions in regard to what they'd do with the fourth overall draft choice. After hiring head coach Chip Kelly and adopting his high-octane offense, speculation mounted that they'd land an offensive lineman.

They hit the jackpot by drafting athletic monster and offensive tackle Lane Johnson of the Oklahoma Sooners.

Johnson is more than capable of turning upfield and blocking for receivers, running backs or scrambling quarterbacks. Seeing as he's preparing to block for Michael Vick in Kelly's up-tempo offense, this is the perfect fit.

This was a dream pick for the Eagles and they're fortunate that it became a reality—keep in mind, they allowed the fifth-most sacks in the NFL in 2012.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

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Pick No. 17: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia Bulldogs

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: A-

 

Jarvis Jones was a Heisman Trophy candidate and recorded 14.5 sacks during the 2012 college football season. Unfortunately, there was doubt surrounding his health and he thus fell all the way to No. 17 in the draft.

It couldn't have worked out much better for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pittsburgh is an aging team that has battled injuries and it is now without former Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison. In a division that lives and dies by defense, the Steelers were in dire need of an improvement to their pass rush.

If nothing else, Jones will thrive in getting after the quarterback.

 

St. Louis Rams

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Pick No. 8: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia Mountaineers

Pick No. 30: Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia Bulldogs

Trades Executed: 2 (Acquired No. 8 and No. 71 picks for No. 16, No. 46, No. 78, No. 222) and (Acquired No. 30, No. 92 picks and No. 198 for No. 22 and 2015 7th-Rounder)

Overall Grade: B+

 

The St. Louis Rams made a commitment to their quarterback, completing a multi-pick trade in order to move up to No. 8 overall. The Rams also received the No. 71 selection in exchange for their first-, second-, third- and seventh-round draft picks.

With the No. 8 pick, the Rams took Tavon Austin out of West Virginia.

Austin may have less than ideal size, but he has all of the makings of an elite slot receiver at the next level. That's exactly what quarterback Sam Bradford needs, as he was 18th in passing offense due to their lack of a go-to receiver.

The Rams also landed three draft choices by trading back from No. 22 to No. 30. Consider this a successful day that was rounded out by their landing Alec Ogletree and additional draft picks.

 

San Diego Chargers

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Pick No. 11: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama Crimson Tide

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: B+

 

The San Diego Chargers needed offensive firepower in every place but the quarterback position. In order for quarterback Philip Rivers to prove capable of leading a turnaround, however, the Chargers needed to first protect their quarterback.

They improved their team in that regard by landing offensive tackle D.J. Fluker out of Alabama.

During the 2012 NFL regular season, the Chargers allowed the fourth-most sacks and ranked 27th in rushing offense. By drafting Fluker, they've not only landed a player who has experience in protecting pocket passers, but one that has also blocked for elite college runners.

This was nothing short of an effective, hole-filling pick.

 

San Francisco 49ers

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Pick No. 18: Eric Reid, S, LSU Tigers

Trades Executed: 1 (Acquire No. 18 for No. 31 and No. 74) 

Overall Grade: B+

 

The San Francisco 49ers are an elite defensive team, but there was no question that they needed to fill the void left by the departure of Dashon Goldson. While truly replacing the Pro Bowl safety will be tough to do, San Fran took steps in the right direction in the first round.

They traded the No. 31 and No. 74 picks to the Dallas Cowboys for the No. 18 overall draft choice, where they took Eric Reid out of LSU.

Reid is a big and physical player, weighing in at 6'1" and 213 pounds. Alongside Donte Whitner, Reid should help the 49ers improve their defensive backfield and make another run at the Super Bowl.

This was nothing short of a smart move by an organization that has a long history of drafting well.

 

Seattle Seahawks

Player Selected: N/A

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: N/A

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Player Selected: N/A

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: N/A

 

Tennessee Titans

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Pick No. 10: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama Crimson Tide

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: A-

 

The Tennessee Titans have an elite running back in Chris Johnson and a franchise quarterback in Jake Locker. In order for either of those players to succeed, however, the Titans needed to improve their offensive line.

They did just that with guard Chance Warmack out of Alabama.

Johnson is a dominant runner in the open field, but has struggled to make his way past the line of scrimmage. After the Titans had 11 separate offensive line rotations in 2012, it's pretty clear why CJ2K struggled and Locker failed to remain healthy.

With Hall of Fame guard Mike Munchak as the head coach in Tennessee, Warmack should fit in perfectly.

 

Washington Redskins

Player Selected: N/A

Trades Executed: N/A

Overall Grade: N/A

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