We are less than 24 hours into the 2013 NFL draft, and people are already criticizing various first-round selections.
But seriously, these guys haven’t even suited up for their new teams yet. It seems a little premature to bash them.
Let’s take a look at three players who were taken surprisingly early but will help their franchises in the long run.
In one of the most shocking draft selections, the Buffalo Bills selected EJ Manuel out of Florida State, the first quarterback taken in the draft. While the Bills certainly needed to fill the position—they recently cut Ryan Fitzpatrick—it was surprising that they passed on West Virginia’s Geno Smith or even Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib (who played for Bills head coach Doug Marrone in college).
However, Manuel has proven that he has the tools to be an elite NFL quarterback. He is big in stature, drawing comparisons to Steelers signal-caller Ben Roethlisberger. He has a powerful arm and is mobile when the pocket collapses. He also has good vision and is able to read defenses.
After struggling to find any continuity at quarterback (J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick), the Bills may have finally found a franchise player worth keeping.
Although Milliner was heralded as one of the top defensive backs in the draft, his stock may have dropped among some teams following the revelation earlier this week that he had had a series of offseason surgeries (five to be exact).
But the New York Jets selected him with the ninth overall pick—one of the picks they received from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Darelle Revis trade.
Despite the questions regarding Milliner’s health, profootballtalk.com reminds us that in his three seasons at Alabama, he missed just one game. His ability to play through injury may be why he will payoff for the Jets.
Most expected the Miami Dolphins to select a left tackle after they traded up to acquire the third pick in the draft. Instead, they ended up taking defensive end Dion Jordan. While Miami's selection of Jordan unexpected, the former Oregon standout—who has drawn comparisons to Jason Taylor—could end up being a force for the 'Fins defense.
Miami tends to get bullied by the New England Patriots, who dominate the AFC East every year. With Dion Jordan and Cameron Wake chasing Tom Brady out of the pocket, the Dolphins may be able to even the score.