2013 NFL Draft Grades: Breaking Down Teams That Upgraded Most

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25:  Eric Reid (C) of the LSU Tigers holds his daughter Leilani as they stand with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as they hold up a jersey on stage after Reid was picked #18 overall by the San Francisco 49ers in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 25, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Nobody can claim the San Francisco 49ers are resting on their laurels. Despite making it to the Super Bowl last season, the team made sure to come out with a strong showing at the 2013 NFL draft.

The 49ers' draft didn't get off to a great start as San Francisco reached a little bit to select Eric Reid. He's a good replacement for Dashon Goldson, but he might not have been worth moving up to the 19th pick.

After the first round, though, the 49ers did a great job. Cornellius Carradine and Corey Lemonier are going to turn into very good defensive ends. Although Carradine's health is a concern, the team can be patient with him as he gets to 100 percent.

The same could be said of Marcus Lattimore. With Frank Gore, Lattimore can nurse himself back to health and then take over a year or two down the road. If healthy, Lattimore can become one of the best backs in the league.

San Francisco wasn't the only team who managed to have a strong draft. These three teams joined the 49ers in that regard.


Cincinnati Bengals

Some might question the selection of Tyler Eifert in the first round. The Cincinnati Bengals already have Jermaine Gresham, who was a first-round selection himself in 2010. Unfortunately he has had a problem catching the football, so the Bengals are starting to possibly question what the future holds for him.

Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports raved about the pick:

With Eifert, Cincinnati now has another target for the passing game who can take pressure off A.J. Green. Plus, the team now has a second dependable tight end when Marvis Lewis wants to line up in a two-tight end set.

In Giovani Bernard, the Bengals added another weapon in the passing game as well. This draft didn't have a ton of great running backs, but Bernard was great value in the second round.

Margus Hunt is far from a sure thing. With two picks in the second round, Cincinnati could afford to take a bit of a gamble. The team has done a great job developing talented pass-rushers, so Hunt should be able to thrive in Cincinnati.

Grade: A-


Jacksonville Jaguars

Did the Jacksonville Jaguars need a left tackle? No. Luke Joeckel was more of a luxury pick. With his potential, there's no way the Jaguars could pass him up. Eric Fisher is a very good prospect, but he's nowhere near Joeckel. Don't be surprised to see Joeckel in the Pro Bowl next season.

Eugene Monroe has been very good. According to Gus Bradley, the team will have Monroe at left tackle and Joeckel at right tackle next season:

That's one heck of an offensive line just with those two.

After that, the Jags added Jonathan Cyprien. Jacksonville really needed to find a safety, and the team was extremely lucky Cyprien fell to them at 33. He could have easily gone in the first round. Cyprien has a lot of range and is extremely physical. With his talent, he'll be the starter going into training camp.

Taking Denard Robinson could also turn into a masterstroke. Since he's not considering the quarterback position, Robinson can spend all of his time becoming an NFL-ready wide receiver. He's very fast and agile. You can move him over the middle and then it's off to the races.

Grade: A+


Minnesota Vikings

In terms of the first round, nobody did better than the Minnesota Vikings. They had three picks and managed to score with all three, and they all give the Vikings the kind of impact players they needed at their respective positions.

When you have a running back like Adrian Peterson, you need to make sure you're making the most of his prime. He's not going to have a long shelf life. As last year demonstrated, Peterson can run for 2,000 yards, but Minnesota still has a hard time making the playoffs.

That shouldn't be the case anymore.

Sharrif Floyd was considered by some to be a top-five pick. Instead he fell to the 23rd pick. Floyd can be a run-stopper, but he's also athletic enough to get after the quarterback.

Xavier Rhodes was one of the best corners in the draft. His physicality will only be a positive at the next level. Rhodes can jam opposing receivers at the line of scrimmage and force them off their routes.

Cordarrelle Patterson is a bit of a wild card. At the very least, he's the athletic deep threat Christian Ponder needs in the passing game.

Grade: A