NFL Draft 2013: Surprises That Shook Up the First Round
When the Kansas City Chiefs passed on Luke Joeckel to take Eric Fisher, you knew you were in for a crazy 2013 NFL draft.
The Chiefs already have Branden Albert. There was virtually no chance you saw that stopping them from taking one of the top two left tackles on the board.
Fisher is a tremendous athlete for someone his size, but Joeckel is arguably the better pick at one. He's a better blocker and his versatility was evident at Texas A&M, when he had to protect Ryan Tannehill one year and Johnny Manziel the next.
Kansas City selecting Fisher meant Joeckel was on the board for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite already having Eugene Monroe, Jacksonville valued Joeckel high enough to take him with the second overall pick. What the Jaguars do with Monroe will be a storyline to follow this offseason.
One pick into the draft, you got a curveball. There were plenty more to follow.
Buffalo Bills Select EJ Manuel
Nobody was surprised to see the Buffalo Bills take a quarterback with their first pick. What was surprising is that that QB was EJ Manuel. Then you throw in the fact he was the only QB to go in the first round.
Buffalo traded the eighth and 71st picks to the St. Louis Rams for the 16th pick along with a second-rounder (46), third-rounder (78) and a seventh-rounder (222) (h/t Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com).
Where do you start with this one?
Having acquired Kevin Kolb, the Bills eliminated their immediate need for a quarterback. Right now, Manuel is a development pick. There's no way Buffalo will be able to start him in the first game of the season. You could see where Doug Marrone might be satisfied to sit Manuel while he continues to develop into a starting quarterback capable of playing in the NFL.
The Bills were smart to trade back to 16, but it's hard to see how Manuel is the guy they should have taken. He simply wasn't the best quarterback available. Ryan Nassib had played under Marrone in college. Smith is arguably a better pro prospect that Manuel as well.
You're gonna have to wait a long time for Manuel to come good, if, of course, he manages to live up to his potential.
No Geno Smith in the First Round
With Manuel going to Buffalo, that left Smith with nowhere to go in the first round. The only chance he had to get drafted Thursday night was if a team decided to trade back into the first round. That didn't happen, and Smith sat in New York for four hours with nothing to do.
It's always hard to watch players sit in the green room, waiting to be selected. You could see Smith with his head in his hands at one point when ESPN cut to him late in the first round.
Experts had Smith going to the Oakland Raiders at No. 3, Cleveland Browns at No. 6 and then possibly to the Bills at No. 8. Now he's got to wait until Friday to hear his name get called. At the conclusion of the first round, Suzy Kolber came on during ESPN's coverage and told viewers that Smith would not in fact attend the second round live. He would instead be going home to Miami.
Smith will become a good NFL quarterback. He's got mobility, which will help him elude the rush, and his arm is good enough for him to make the necessary throws. If anything, this slight should drive him to become an even better player. He should want to stick it to every team that passed him up.
Miami Dolphins Trade Up, Draft Dion Jordan
You have to give the Miami Dolphins credit. They saw a player they wanted, and they traded up to get him. Bob Glauber of Newsday has the specifics of the trade:
Raiders trade No. 3 overall to Dolphins for Miami's first-round pick (12th overall) and second-round pick (42 overall). Dion Jordan the pick— Bob Glauber (@BobGlauber) April 26, 2013
Some expected the Dolphins to draft Lane Johnson, but they instead went for Dion Jordan. Either of the players would have been great value. Johnson is an athletic left tackle, and Jordan is the best pass-rusher in the draft.
Since Miami didn't select Johnson, the team is still in the market for a left tackle. With the selection of Fisher, the Chiefs have made Albert expendable, and Miami is reportedly interested (h/t ESPN.com). That's where the ripple from this trade will be felt the most. You have to believe trading for Albert is the Dolphins' grand plan.
In Jordan, the Dolphins are getting a fantastic, versatile pass-rusher. Although he needs to bulk up, Jordan will become a force on defense in the coming years. His technique is very good and his bust potential is much less than that of Barkevious Mingo.
Minnesota Vikings Trade Up, Draft Cordarrelle Patterson and Have the Best First Round
When it was announced the New England Patriots traded their first-round draft pick, that didn't come as a shock. Every year, Bill Belichick swings some kind of deal that nets the team multiple picks that turn out at least one Pro Bowler. What was a bit of a surprise is what the Minnesota Vikings gave up in order to get back in the first round. The Boston Globe reported what picks were swapped:
Patriots trade their first-round pick in the NFL draft to the Vikings for choices in the 2d, 3d, 4th, 7th rounds. b.globe.com/YXnmnh— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) April 26, 2013
With the pick, the Minnesota Vikings selected Cordarrelle Patterson. It was a smart pick and gives Christian Ponder another weapon in the air attack. Considering some of the alternatives available in the draft, the team could have done far worse than Patterson. He's a solid deep threat and can help to replace the departed Percy Harvin.
The selection rounded out what was a great first round for the Vikings. They selected Sharrif Floyd with the 23rd pick and Xavier Rhodes at No. 25. Both players offer tremendous value. Some experts pegged Floyd as a top five pick, and Rhodes will turn out to be one of the best corners in this draft.
Manti Te'o Goes Undrafted in First Round
One of the players mentioned for the Vikings at 29 was Manti Te'o. He didn't get drafted by Minnesota, nor did he get drafted by the Baltimore Ravens with the last pick of the first round. Te'o chose to stay in Hawaii and watch the draft there, and that turned out to be a prescient move. Otherwise he would be stuck in the same situation as Smith.
You knew Te'o wasn't going to be a high pick in the first round, but having him absent altogether was a big surprise. There were teams in the middle and end of the first round who could use an inside linebacker, but they chose to go in other directions.
Off-field issues aside, Te'o's stock has taken a tumble as a result of poor showings in the National Championship Game and NFL combine. His massive flaws were exposed in a big way, and you saw the result of that on Thursday night.
Te'o will be a dependable NFL linebacker, but his ceiling is pretty low. He's not going to make a huge jump when he hits the league.
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