Analyzing the Biggest Steals of the 2013 NFL Draft
The NFL draft is finally closing up, and there has been a lot of action, as there always is. There were tons of surprises, with players getting drafted way above or below their predicted value, but there have really been a bunch of big steals across the board.
That is what makes the draft so exciting, although there are teams and fans who end up on both sides of the spectrum, as some get value while others get busts.
This was a deep draft class, and I think there are plenty of future starters littered in the fifth and sixth rounds.
But a bunch of players in this deep draft went lower than I thought they should, and I've been compiling this list of who I thought were the biggest steals of the draft.
Jordan Poyer, CB, Philadelphia Eagles
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The fact that Jordan Poyer lasted so long blows my mind. Maybe NFL teams know something we don't, but I can't believe he was still around in the seventh round.
The Philadelphia Eagles scooped him up 218th overall, and they get a really talented athlete to add to their secondary. He committed to Oregon State to play both baseball and football but chose to focus on football and pursue a dream of playing in the NFL.
He doesn't have elite quickness or ball skills, but he's a smooth, instinctive guy in coverage who will provide depth at corner, at the very very least.
Arthur Brown, LB, Baltimore Ravens
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Arthur Brown is my favorite pick in this entire draft. I can't believe Kiko Alonso was taken before him, and I'm surprised he lasted all the way to 56th.
The Baltimore Ravens, in the midst of a great draft, found Brown sitting there for their second-round pick and must have jumped out of their seats to get the card in.
He brings a great all-around game; he can cover, he can blitz, he can stay at home and is a tackling machine. He has great football instincts and will fit in perfectly with Baltimore's system.
Brandon Jenkins, OLB, Washington Redskins
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Brandon Jenkins could end up being one of the best values of this draft in a few years. He was a great pass-rusher for Florida State before suffering a Lisfranc injury in the first game of the 2012 season.
He's a bit of a "tweener" and a lot of his effectiveness will be dictated by how the Washington Redskins use him. But he has a ton of quickness off the edge.
Washington made a really good pick here and got a heck of a talent, but it'll have to make sure it puts him in a position to succeed, because he could be a very productive NFL player.
Quinton Patton, WR, San Francisco 49ers
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After transferring to Louisiana Tech, Quinton Patton was an absolutely dominant wideout and is one of my favorite picks of the entire draft at 128th overall by San Francisco.
He isn't tall, he doesn't have elite speed and he won't shock you with any measurables, but he's a kid who just gets it done on the field. He has great hands and knows how to get open.
Sylvester Williams, DT, Denver Broncos
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I usually have a pretty hard time calling any first-round pick a "steal," because they're still getting taken as one of the top players in the draft, but Sylvester Williams is as big of a first-round steal as you can get.
Taken 28th overall by Denver, he will come in and be a productive player right away. Due to this deep class of defensive tackles, Williams just never really broke through and made that much noise, but he's a heck of a player.
He's a perfectly built defensive tackle who can blow up plays in the middle but is also quick enough to move laterally and will pursue the ball. Fantastic first-round selection by John Elway and the Denver Broncos.
Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals
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The Arizona Cardinals actually drafted another running back, Stepfan Taylor, in the fifth round, before grabbing Andre Ellington a round later.
So their backfield is now set, and they actually seem to have done a really good job here, waiting til these later rounds but still getting a lot of talent.
Ellington in particular is a steal because as a sixth-round pick, he's a guy who can come in right away and be a change-of-pace player who will run hard every down and can catch passes out of the backfield.
He was productive at Clemson, and coupled with Taylor, there's no reason to think he won't have success in Arizona.
Jesse Williams, DT, Seattle Seahawks
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How did Jesse Williams last so long? He was a possible first- or second round pick at one point, and although his stock had been slipping some, nobody imagined it slipping this much.
The Seattle Seahawks got Williams in the fifth round, 137th overall, in what is an unbelievable fit for him. Seattle's already strong, nasty defense gets a little stronger and nastier with the addition of Williams.
The native Australian is still raw as a player, but his strength and tenacity could make him a force up the middle for years.
Matt Barkley, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
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EJ Manuel, Geno Smith and Mike Glennon were the first three quarterbacks taken, which was an order that absolutely nobody predicted. Matt Barkley somehow lasted until the first pick of the fourth round, where he has to be considered a big steal.
But quarterbacks in general were devalued in what is perceived as a weak class, but the Eagles must have been celebrating last night with Barkley still on the board after the end of the third round.
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has seen firsthand what Barkley can do, and although the four-year starter may not have the highest ceiling, he could easily be the starter in 2014, if not at some point during the 2013 season.
Damontre Moore, DE, New York Giants
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Damontre Moore was one of the highest-regarded pass-rushers in this class until a weak performance at the combine pushed his stock out of the first round.
It seems like that performance weighed heavily in teams' evaluations of him, because he slipped out of the first two rounds entirely until being scooped up at the 81st slot in a shrewd move by the New York Giants.
They add to their pass rush, as Moore is still just 20 years old, has experience at both defensive end and outside linebacker and put up 12.5 sacks in the SEC last season.
Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers
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The fact that seven wide receivers were taken before Keenan Allen blows my mind. He could easily end up being the best receiver in this class.
San Diego's front office made a phenomenal decision by grabbing him at 76th overall, which is a ridiculous bargain in my eyes. Allen could be a solid No. 1 receiver in the NFL.
He has good height, is a great route-runner and a smooth athlete who can make catches anywhere on the field. He isn't overly explosive and won't make highlight-reel plays, but his production on an average Cal offense speaks volumes about him.
He is a tough kid and will be an instant favorite target of Phil Rivers. The San Diego Chargers had themselves a heck of a Day 2.
Cornellius Carradine, DE, San Francisco 49ers
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Tank Carradine was arguably the second-best defensive end in the draft, and the 49ers absolutely snagged him as he fell to the 40th spot, right into their laps.
It's a classic case of the rich getting richer, as San Francisco took advantage of Carradine's depleted stock due to his ACL injury toward the end of last season.
But provided that Carradine stays healthy, he provides a deadly combination of strength and explosiveness off the edge. He could be a very good starter in the NFL.
He also has the chance to learn from Justin Smith, one of the league's hardest working, toughest and most productive defensive ends. San Francisco will have an even more lethal pass rush.