The first round of the 2013 NFL draft did not disappoint.
During the days, weeks and even months leading up to anticipated event, we heard about the unpredictability. About how there was no clear No. 1 pick. About how players were going to fall and teams were going to reach further than we could even comprehend.
About how we should expect the unexpected.
And ironically enough, the unpredictability all went according to plan, as shocking picks and trades ruled Thursday night. Let's take a look at how the experts reacted.
Most believed Luke Joeckel was going to be the posterboy of the Andy Reid era in Kansas City, but the Chiefs went a different direction, with the "other" offensive tackle, Eric Fisher.
NFL.com's Bucky Brooks tried to explain it:
The deciding factor between Fisher and Joeckel likely came down to athleticism. Fisher had superior numbers at the combine an tested better— Bucky Brooks (@BuckyBrooks) April 26, 2013
As ESPN's Bill Williamson points out, the Joeckel and Fisher—who will likely be compared to each other for the rest of their careers—will see each other right off the bat when Kansas City takes on the Jacksonville Jaguars:
Joeckel and Fisher face each other in Week 1.— Bill Williamson (@espn_afcwest) April 26, 2013
The run on offensive tackles continued at pick No. 4, where the Philadelphia Eagles selected Lane Johnson (via Brian Billick):
Johnson is the perfect fit for Chip Kelly's uptempo offense... #Eagles probably preferred him over both Fisher and Joeckel anyway.— Brian Billick (@CoachBillick) April 26, 2013
Steal of the Draft
It has to go to the Minnesota Vikings, for landing defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd—yeah, the same guy who you saw at No. 3 in many of the mock drafts—at No. 23 overall.
ESPN's Todd McShay sums it up (via SportsCenter):
Floyd was the third defensive tackle off the board, following Sheldon Richardson and Star Lotulelei—who was also a bit of a steal at No. 14 to the Carolina Panthers—and the Vikings had to be shocked to see him still on the board.
While we're on the subject, Minnesota had itself quite a night. It no longer has a pick on Friday after dealing with the New England Patriots, but it pulled in Floyd, Xavier Rhodes and Cordarrelle Patterson with three choices in the 20s.
Not a bad start for new GM Rick Spielman (via NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal):
This Vikings draft haul will help define the Spielman era. They stopped Sharrif Floyd's draft free fall. They picked up Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes. And they took a big risk giving up four picks for Patterson.
Reach of the Draft
One quarterback was selected in the first round. It wasn't Geno Smith. It wasn't Ryan Nassib. It wasn't Matt Barkley.
It was EJ Manuel.
NFL.com's Chris Wesseling discusses the, um, interesting decision by the Buffalo Bills:
It makes sense for the Bills to roll the dice on a quarterback with a high ceiling, but Manuel doesn't come without question marks. His accuracy was inconsistent and his footwork spotty with the Seminoles. He may have to sit behind Kevin Kolb or Tarvaris Jackson while Marrone tutors him as a rookie. In other words, Manuel is more of a project than recent first-round picks.
There's no question that Manuel has the skill set to be a superstar. But as a risky project with plenty of question marks, you have to wonder if the Bills could have landed him a little later.
Essentially, this (via FOX Sports' Jay Clemons):
A fan just DM'd me saying, "You shouldn't rip on EJ Manuel. He could be a decent NFL quarterback." My reply: 'Decent' at 16 isn't the goal."— Jay Clemons (@FOX_JayClemons) April 26, 2013
Everyone loves a good draft-day trade, and as NFL.com points out, there were a whopping five of them on Thursday night. It wasn't 2012-esque, but there still some wild and crazy action.
Perhaps the most surprising was the deal between the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders, not because of the teams involved, but because of the players selected (via NFL.com's Ian Rapaport):
Crazy to think: Dion Jordan had no clue the #Dolphins planned to jump up and take him. Total shock. Love it.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 26, 2013
The Raiders then took Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden with the No. 12 pick. It was rumored that they were enthralled with the young man, whose comeback story should inspire all of us, but many still felt it was too early.
It was a wild night, but we've got two more rounds fast approaching on Friday night. Rotoworld's Evan Silva takes a look at the best players who had a disappointing first round:
Big names left after Day 1: Manti Te'o, Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Johnathan Cyprien, Ryan Nassib, Eddie Lacy, Tank Carradine, Justin Hunter.— Evan Silva (@evansilva) April 26, 2013
Geno Smith, of course, will one the most highly discussed names. The Jaguars, Eagles, Cardinals and Jets could all be in play for the former top-pick candidate, so don't expect him to drop much further.