NFL Draft Grades 2013: Ranking the Worst 1st-Round Selections

Michael DulkaContributor IApril 26, 2013

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 08: Quinton Patton #4 of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs makes a one handed catch in the corner of the endzone as he beats D.J. Hayden #2 of the Houston Cougars on the play at Robertson Stadium on September 8, 2012 in Houston, Texas. Officials ruled that Patton was out of bounds on the play. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs defeated the Houston Cougars 56-49. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

The NFL draft wouldn't be as thrilling without terrible selections in the first round that make fanbases across the country drop their jaw. That was the case in the first round of the NFL draft, despite the unreal amount of depth in this draft class. 

That depth and the amount of trades actually lead to a lot of smart picks across the board. Plenty of teams got great value with their various picks. 

These selections are graded on a combination of need, fit and value at the time of the pick. Here is a look at the worst first-round selections 


12. Oakland Raiders: D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston 

The Raiders front office seemed incredibly wise for moving back to the 12th pick and still having a shot at defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd. Instead, the Raiders went with a cornerback and took Houston's D.J. Hayden. While the Raiders had a serious need at cornerback, Hayden wasn't worthy of the 12th selection in the draft, especially with Desmond Trufant and Xavier Rhodes still on the board. 

Both those corners would have been the better option than Hayden. Trufant has great instincts, and his athleticism is right there to match. While Hayden has more speed than Trufant, there's not a wide enough gap there to justify Hayden as the pick. 

Grade: D-


16. Buffalo Bills: E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State 

This pick was baffling, especially given the Bills' current quarterback situation. Having let go of Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bills are in desperate need of finding a quarterback that can come in and help this new regime win games. Drafting an incredibly raw quarterback with the 16th pick doesn't exactly exude confidence. 

With Geno Smith and Ryan Nassib available and seemingly being better quarterbacks in the immediate future, they would have been smarter options. Manuel will take a couple years to reach his ceiling, which is admittedly higher than anybody in the class. While he may have more potential, you don't take a quarterback in the middle of the first round solely based on potential and expect to turn around a franchise. 

Grade: D


20. Chicago Bears: Kyle Long, OG, Oregon


This wasn't the worst pick for the Bears, but considering the other options available on the board, it wasn't smart. The Bears have big needs on the defensive side of the ball with a gaping hole at inside linebacker. With Kevin Minter and Manti Te'o available, the Bears should have gone in that direction. 

Another solid option for the Bears would have been selecting Desmond Trufant. The Bears have aging cornerbacks and could use another defensive playmaker. Trufant's smarts and coverage skills would have fit nicely with the Bears defense. 

Grade: C-

31. Dallas Cowboys: Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin

In one of the most shocking picks of the first round, the Cowboys selected a center that most analysts had available in the third round. While the Cowboys have a need at the position, they could have done much better with the pick and hoped to land Frederick in the second round. 

With defensive linemen such as Jesse Williams still on the board, the Cowboys could have picked a valuable replacement for Jay Ratliff and looked to rebuild that defense. Instead, they reached on offense for a pick that won't have a major impact. 

Grade: F