NFL Draft 2013 Results: Biggest Winners & Losers of the NFL Draft
The impact of the 2013 NFL draft won't be truly known for three to four years, but in the immediate aftermath, it's possible to see which teams filled their needs and which teams ended up with players that may have been big reaches.
Every team's board is different, but that doesn't mean every team's board is infallible. "Winners," "losers," "grades" etc. are all subjective. If you disagree with my opinion about your favorite team, I encourage you to leave your comments below.
That said, there were some teams that clearly improved their roster this weekend and others that may be treading water.
Winner: Baltimore Ravens
Loved the first two picks of Matt Elam (safety from Florida at No. 32) and Arthur Brown (linebacker from Kansas State at No. 56). Down the road, these two could have a similar impact on the Ravens' franchise as Ed Reed and Ray Lewis...no pressure or anything.
Love became infatuation as Brandon Williams (defensive tackle from Missouri Southern at No. 94) and Ricky Wagner (offensive tackle from Wisconsin at No. 168) fell to the Ravens. Both could play big roles in their rookie seasons. John Simon (defensive end/outside linebacker from Ohio State at No. 129) and Marc Anthony (cornerback from California at No. 274) could both see playing time as well.
The cupboards were bare for a short time this offseason, but Ozzie Newsome has restocked them with a fantastic draft class.
Loser: Pittsburgh Steelers
Jarvis Jones (linebacker from Georgia at No. 17) was a reach in my opinion. He doesn't have great athleticism for an edge-rusher and benefited from a great team around him at Georgia. While he had solid college production, his projection to the NFL looks spotty to me.
The next pick, Le'Veon Bell (running back from Michigan State at No. 48), was even worse. I think this is the next in a long line of disappointing running backs for the Steelers, and Bell isn't going to offer any dynamic play to an offense that was begging for a great rusher.
The first pick of the Steelers that I really liked was Markus Wheaton (wide receiver from Oregon State at No. 79) in the third round. He and Shamarko Thomas (safety from Syracuse at No. 111) should see some burn in year one. Overall, however, this was an underwhelming group.
Winner: Minnesota Vikings
Three picks in the first round is a win no matter how one looks at it. Sharrif Floyd (defensive tackle from Florida at No. 23) was overrated by many, but is a good value at the end of the first.
Xavier Rhodes (cornerback from Florida State at No. 25) gives them a long, athletic corner tandem along with Chris Cook. Cordarrelle Patterson (wide receiver from Tennessee at No. 29) has enough Percy Harvin to his game that he should fit right in with what the Vikings like to do on offense.
Things got even better on Day 3 when the Vikings doubled up on Penn State linebackers—Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges. Both players could start down the road for the Vikings. If Mauti gets healthy, he might be the steal of the draft.
Everett Dawkins (defensive tackle from Florida State at No. 229) and Travis Bond (offensive guard from North Carolina at 214) could both be fine players down the road.
Loser: Chicago Bears
Kyle Long (offensive guard from Oregon at No. 20) was a reach no matter how you look at it, and it was an overreaction to the run of linemen at the top of the first round.
Still, he may have been the best pick for the Bears as they grabbed two linebackers that may or may not improve their unit—Jon Bostic (Florida at No. 50) and Khaseem Greene (Rutgers at No. 117).
They found value in the later rounds, but I'm worried that this team is missing on too many high picks, as Shea McClellin is looking more and more like he was a miss last year as well.
Winner: Carolina Panthers
Landing Star Lotulelei (defensive tackle from Utah at No. 14) and Kawann Short (defensive tackle from Purdue at No. 44) back-to-back were inspired selections and will have a greater impact on the defense than just the addition of two fine players. They'll make the superstars on the defense even better.
Later on, I loved the picks of A.J. Klein (linebacker Iowa State at No. 148) and Kenjon Barner (running back from Oregon at No. 182), even though the Panthers are already stocked at those positions. Due to salary cap restrictions, they may need to shed some of the talent at both linebacker and running back sooner rather than later.
Loser: Denver Broncos
Sylvester Williams (defensive tackle from North Carolina at No. 28) may have been one of the better picks in this draft, but the rest of the class was filled with reaches and misses for John Elway and company.
Montee Ball (running back from Wisconsin at No. 58) and Kayvon Webster (cornerback from South Florida at No. 90) were both taken a round (or more) too early, and the depth at both position groupings makes the picks that much more egregious.
Some intriguing players late, but Williams might be the only player in this class that contributes anything of note in the next couple of seasons. For a team in win-now mode before Peyton Manning retires, this was an odd draft.
Winner: Indianapolis Colts
Bjoern Werner (outside linebacker from Florida State at No. 24) and Montori Hughes (defensive tackle from Tennessee-Martin at No. 139) aren't complete players, but both have a chance to do some damage is Chuck Pagano's defense. They'll have great teachers and enough leash to learn from mistakes on the field.
Hugh Thornton (offensive guard from Illinois at No. 86) and Khaled Holmes (center from USC at No. 121) were both huge reaches on my board, but were also top-ranked players when taking the zone-blocking scheme into account.
While Bruce Arians preferred a man/power-blocking approach, Pep Hamilton ran a lot of ZBS as the "Andrew Luck Director of Offense" at Stanford and is clearly bringing that scheme to the pros. Late-round back Kerwynn Williams (Utah State at No. 230) fits the ZBS as well.
My two favorite picks of the class, however, might be John Boyett (strong safety from Oregon at No. 192) and Mr. Irrelevant himself, Justice Cunningham (tight end from South Carolina at No. 254)—both late-rounders.
Boyett was the Oregon Ducks' leading tackler in 2011 before an injury sidelined him in September last season. He has a chance to be a great in-the-box safety or a core special teamer. As for Mr. Irrelevant, Justice Cunningham, he's already the best blocking tight end on the Colts roster.
It would not be surprising to see an impact from every single member of this Colts draft class.
Loser: Tyler Bray (QB, Tennessee)
Shoulda stayed in school, big fella...
Bray showed immaturity both off the field and with his play as a Tennessee Volunteer. With a bevy of draft picks around him, he was unable to put his game together, and his natural arm talent never overtook his lack of poise, mechanics or understanding of the playbook.
Had he stayed in school, it's more than possible that Bray—with a little display of maturity and work ethic—would have ended up as a first- or second-round draft pick. Now, he's hoping to catch on as a free agent.
UPDATE: Bray has reportedly signed a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Winner: Seattle Seahawks
Christine Michael (running back from Texas A&M at No. 62) was a poor start to the class in my opinion. He's a nice fit for the ZBS that they use, but he's not the dynamic player he was before his injury, and I don't believe he has a ton of upside as a runner. He'll have trouble earning carries behind Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin.
That said, the rest of the class was pretty amazing and made up for it. Jesse Williams (defensive tackle from Alabama at No. 137) fell because of injury concerns, but will make a huge impact if his knees hold up.
Chris Harper (wide receiver from Kansas State at No. 123) and Tharold Simon (cornerback from LSU at No. 138) will both find it hard to crack their respective rotations, but are perfect fits for what the Seahawks look for.
An inspired pick, to me, was Ty Powell (outside linebacker from Harding at No. 231). He's played at every level of the defense and is ridiculously athletic. He'll take a year or two to develop, but he has Pro Bowl potential.
Winner: San Francisco 49ers
Eric Reid (safety from LSU at No. 18) is the only immediate starter from this draft class, but on a team with Super Bowl potential, that's alright.
Tank Carradine (outside linebacker from Florida State at No. 40), Corey Lemonier (outside linebacker from Auburn at No. 88) and Vance McDonald (tight end from Rice at No. 55) all fit very specific rotations and roles that the Niners wanted to target. All are players that could start elsewhere.
Can't believe they also were able to add Quinton Patton (wide receiver from La Tech at No. 128) and Marcus Lattimore (running back from South Carolina at No. 131). In two to three years, those could be Pro Bowlers and have a Super Bowl ring on their fingers from how great this roster is stocked.
Michael Schottey is the NFL national lead writer for Bleacher Report and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Find more of his stuff at The Go Route.