The NFL offseason is when many general managers need to prove themselves as competent decision-makers, and the 2013 NFL draft was no exception.
Many GMs made wise draft choices, but the following went one step further and orchestrated important trades for their teams. These GMs distinguished themselves as winners after one day of the draft.
Thomas Dimitroff - Atlanta Falcons
Since arriving in Atlanta in 2008 and selecting quarterback Matt Ryan, Dimitroff has helped build the Falcons into a legitimate contender.
Dimitroff knows the players he wants and pursues them aggressively. In 2011, he put together a trade to move up in the first round to select wide receiver Julio Jones. The trade cost Atlanta five draft picks (via Sporting News), but Jones has been worth it.
Dimitroff didn't shy away from risky strategy this year either.
On Thursday, Dimitroff traded up eight picks to acquire cornerback Desmond Trufant. The Falcons' secondary needs help, and Trufant should contribute immediately next to Asante Samuel.
Dimitroff’s willingness to sacrifice for the top player on his board has worked out before, and the deal to secure Trufant is his most recent success.
Les Snead - St. Louis Rams
According to an article on NFL.com, Snead is under a lot of pressure to maximize value with a plethora of early draft picks.
Snead pulled the trigger on the Robert Griffin III deal in 2012, and this year he continued his propensity for wheeling and dealing.
Snead traded up from No. 16 to secure the No. 8 overall pick and select lightning bolt Tavon Austin out of West Virginia.
The Rams lost Danny Amendola to the New England Patriots, and quarterback Sam Bradford is in need of more weapons.
Snead made sure he got Bradford the best receiver in the draft. Austin is quick and extremely dangerous with the ball in his hands.
ESPN reported that the Buffalo Bills and St. Louis Rams switched first- and third-round picks in the trade, and St. Louis also gave Buffalo second- and seventh-round picks.
Snead stockpiled a few more picks in the draft when he traded down (from St. Louis’ second first-round spot) to Atlanta’s place at No. 30 in the first round.
The Rams got selections at No. 92 and No. 198 in return for the first-round swap, according to SI.com.
St. Louis then selected arguably the top inside linebacker in the draft, Alec Ogletree, and addressed two positions of need in the first round (assuming Ogletree or James Laurinaitis moves outside). That’s a great day for Snead.
Rick Spielman - Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings dominated the second half of the first round, and Rick Spielman can take credit for that.
The Vikings had their own No. 23 overall pick, the Seahawks’ No. 25 overall pick (from the Percy Harvin trade—Fox Sports reported the details here), and Spielman traded with the Patriots Thursday night to get their pick at No. 29.
Which GM made the best moves in the first round?
The result was shoring up the defense with one of the best defensive tackles (Sharrif Floyd) and cornerbacks (Xavier Rhodes) in the draft, followed by replacing the electric Percy Harvin with Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
It could be argued that New England and Bill Belichick were the real winners here, as they continued their strategy of trading down and accumulating picks to add to their talented core. A better interpretation would be that Spielman went for the jugular, and he is doing everything he can to get his team further in the playoffs in the coming season.