NFL Draft 2013: Best and Worst Picks of Round 1
The first round of the 2013 NFL draft came and went, and, at the end the night, we were left with a whole lot to discuss.
Thursday night offered the electricity we have all become accustomed to throughout the years, as several surprise selections rocked the nation, while other selections had fans jumping up and down in glee.
Here's a look at the best and worst picks in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.
*Note: Many top-tier players fell into teams' laps on Thursday. The best picks, in my mind, were the ones that required a little more thought. That's why you won't see teams like the Carolina Panthers or New Orleans Saints in here, who didn't have to do much to land Star Lotulelei and Kenny Vaccaro, respectively.
22. Atlanta Falcons (via Rams): Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
After losing Brent Grimes to free agency this offseason, it was clear the Falcons needed to strengthen the secondary via the draft.
They could have gone a number of ways in this slot, but drafting Desmond Trufant—my No. 2 cornerback in the class—was a fantastic move.
Trufant has the speed, athleticism, agility and toughness to start for the Falcons right away. He also has the pedigree, as the brother of NFL cornerbacks Marcus (Seattle Seahawks) and Isaiah (New York Jets).
26. Green Bay Packers: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
I absolutely love this pick. With most of the top interior linemen gone at this point, the Packers must have been thrilled to see defensive end Datone Jones available at No. 26 overall (a lot of mocks had the Indianapolis Colts selecting him at No. 24 overall).
In Jones, the Packers finally have someone they can plop opposite Clay Matthews to form a dynamic pass rush.
27. Houston Texans: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
The Texans could have gone with Cordarrelle Patterson (Tennessee) or Keenan Allen (Cal) in this slot, but they wisely took the better prospect.
Yes, I said better prospect.
DeAndre Hopkins may not possess the athleticism of Patterson or Allen, but you watch this kid on film and it's no wonder he's drawn comparisons to the Colts' Reggie Wayne and the Falcons' Roddy White. He's a fantastic route-runner with excellent hands who simply knows the intricacies of the game. His superior route running allows him to gain separation from defenders. He's a player capable of making an instant impact opposite Andre Johnson in Houston.
16. Buffalo Bills (via Jets): E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
E.J. Manuel, huh?
I don't know what to say. Manuel isn't a better prospect than Geno Smith or Matt Barkley, and I wonder if Ryan Nassib—who would be a good fit in the Bills' system—would have even been a better pick.
Manuel has arm strength and mobility, but he's incredibly raw when it comes to accuracy. His decision-making, particularly under pressure, is also an issue.
Perhaps the Bills develop Manuel into a serviceable quarterback in a couple of years, but "serviceable" doesn't cut it when you have a chance to nab prospects who have the potential to be solid starters in Smith, Barkley and Nassib.
18. San Francisco 49ers (via Cowboys): Eric Reid, FS, LSU
I know a lot of teams were high on Eric Reid after his pro day, but this was a reach in my opinion.
Obviously, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke has a history of always being right during the draft, but I do think this decision will come back to haunt him...or at least perturb him.
This was a case of the 49ers getting their guy. Reports came out later that they liked Reid better than Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro. But giving up the No. 31 overall pick and a third-round pick for Reid seemed unnecessary to me when they could have at least grabbed a safety like Florida International's Jonathan Cyprien or Florida's Matt Elam at No. 31, both highly regarded this year.
Reid has the size, athleticism and toughness to be a solid pro, but he's been known to take poor angles to the ball in coverage and miss tackles by being overly aggressive. I just don't think he was worth all of this.
31. Dallas Cowboys (via 49ers): Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin
It's hard to make one of the worst picks in the first round when you are sitting way back at No. 31 (considering a lot of top-tier talent is gone by then), but there were some very talented prospects that dropped on Thursday, and the Cowboys responded by selecting...Wisconsin center Travis Frederick?
Not only is Frederick nowhere near a first-round talent, he wasn't even the best center on the board in my mind; Alabama's Barrett Jones was.
The Cowboys are essentially forcing a rookie into the starting unit when he doesn't belong there at the moment.
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