2013 NFL Draft Grades: Best and Worst Team Grades for the First Round

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst IApril 26, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25:  Barkevious Mingo of the LSU Tigers stands on stage with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as they hold up a jersey on stage after Mingo was picked #6 overall by the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 25, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

We saw a decent amount of action with trades and a number of surprise picks, with a few top names still left on the board in the second round. The first round of the 2013 NFL draft did not fail to disappoint.

I am not going to go through and dissect every single pick because frankly we have no idea how any of this will turn out. All I want to try and do here is highlight my favorite and least favorite trades/picks from the first round and say which teams I think made out the best and worst.



Buffalo Bills

The Bills get their own category here because I have mixed feelings about their move. In a way, they got exactly what they wanted by trading back with St. Louis to 16th and adding a second- and seventh-round selection. 

And they still got their top-rated quarterback in Florida State's EJ Manuel, and that's where my qualms begin, because I don't think Manuel is really all that good. He's big, athletic and has a good arm, but will suffer from the same unpreparedness we've seen former FSU QB Christian Ponder struggle with.

FSU doesn't play the best quality defenses in the ACC, and they run a relatively simple offense that doesn't prepare their quarterbacks to make quick reads and throw all of the NFL-type passes. But I guess we'll see how it pans out.



Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings came in with the 23rd and 25th picks in the first round, and used them to take two talented players on the defensive side of the ball at much lower spots than most predicted.

Sharrif Floyd slipped a lot, and is a great value pick who will help anchor the defensive line while Xavier Rhodes is a big, physically gifted cornerback who will be a major part of the secondary. Then the Vikings went and traded (a lot) for the Patriots' 29th pick, where they nabbed Cordarrelle Patterson who will be a great addition to the offense.

Christian Ponder may not be a very good quarterback, but with Patterson joining Greg Jennings, Kyle Rudolph, and Adrian Peterson, he won't have to be. The Vikings will be quiet the rest of the draft after trading away their next three picks for the 29th selection, but they got three impact guys on day one.


St. Louis Rams

The Rams first move was a bold one, trading the 16th overall pick, along with their second, third, and seventh-round picks, for Buffalo's eighth overall pick and third-round selection. 

They wanted to jump ahead of the Jets to make sure they got Tavon Austin, and did just that with a decent value trade. Austin brings a whole new dynamic element to the offense.

Then the Rams got a couple picks back, trading from the 22nd slot to 28th while getting Atlanta's third- and sixth-round picks and sending away a seventh-rounder in 2015. They used this pick to get a great value of Alec Ogletree, which greatly boosts their defense. 


Carolina Panthers

With a lot of trade action around them, the Panthers quietly waited and patiently let arguably the best defensive player in the entire draft fall to them at 14, exactly like they did last year with Luke Kuechly at 9.

Grabbing Star Lotulelei at 14 was my favorite pick of the first round, as it matches a big need with incredible value. Panthers fans should be ecstatic right now.

Kuechly proved to be a fantastic inside linebacker as a tackling machine, but that doesn't mean much if you don't have a guy to plug up the middle of the line, which Lotulelei can do better than anybody else in this class.



Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones seriously needs to hire a real GM, because he is systematically running that franchise into the ground. After giving Tony Romo an absurdly large contract, I didn't think things could get much worse for the Cowboys, but boy was I wrong.

Dallas sat at 18, in position to land either a big-time safety like Eric Reid, Matt Elam, or Jonathan Cyprien, or the sliding DT Sharrif Floyd. They most likely wanted Kenny Vaccaro, but when he was picked 15th, Jones clearly panicked and accepted a dismal trade.

So they moved all the way back to 31 and only got a mid-third-round pick for it, then they still could have taken Elam or Cyprien, but chose guard/center Travis Frederick. Frederick is a pretty solid player but this has to sting some for Dallas fans.


New York Jets

The Jets made a great move picking up Tampa Bay's 13th overall pick for Darrelle Revis. But then they went and made two pretty questionable choices in the first round.

Dee Milliner is a very good prospect, but I honestly liked D.J. Hayden at 12 a lot better than Milliner at 9. I think they were a little desperate to replace Revis, and were taken back by St. Louis' jump up to get Austin.

Then they went and took Sheldon Richardson 13th, who I actually love as a prospect, but he plays defensive tackle. The Jets have a few good defensive linemen already, and a bunch of needs elsewhere, so this decision really makes no sense. The Jets' offense will be absolutely woeful in 2013.


Cleveland Browns

Barkevious Mingo was the reach of the draft, and for a team with as many holes as Cleveland, I just don't see how he be a justifiable pick at sixth overall when he most likely won't even be a three-down player in the NFL.

The Browns are in transition to a 3-4 defense, and Star Lotulelei or Sheldon Richardson would have been absolutely perfect fits for that scheme. I also think they were hoping that Dion Jordan would fall to them, and were slighted by the Dolphins trading up to grab him.

Optimally, I think the Browns should have tried to trade down and target a cornerback like D.J. Hayden, one of the top two guards, or Tyler Eifert. Other than the trade adding picks, all of those players would have been better values and better fits for the Browns.