NFL Draft 2013: Grading the Good, the Bad and the New York Jets
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The 2013 NFL draft saw its share of good, bad and interesting selections this weekend.
Some teams always put emphasis on rebuilding their roster through the draft rather than free agency. These organizations acquired multiple picks in 2013 who will immediately improve their team next season.
Of course, leave it to the New York Jets to have the craziest weekend of anyone. The Jets added two first-round defenders, then highly discussed quarterback Geno Smith in the second round.
Now we won’t truly know how teams fared this weekend until a few years down the road, but every draft has its initial winners and losers.
Winner: Minnesota Vikings
Sharrif Floyd fell all the way to No. 23.
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The Minnesota Vikings had the best draft in the league. Thanks to trading Percy Harvin in the offseason and trading picks with New England, the Vikings had three total picks in Thursday’s first round.
They started by choosing Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd with the No. 23 pick. Floyd at this point was one of the best values in the draft after being projected to go near the top five.
Then at No. 25 and No. 29, they upgraded both sides of the ball by selecting Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes and Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, respectively.
All three of these picks were successful because each player will have a very good chance at starting for Minnesota. Plus, they filled probably their biggest hole at wide receiver, where Patterson will try to fill the void left by Harvin.
Loser: Chicago Bears
Chicago went with Kyle Long in the first round.
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The Chicago Bears were one of the bigger losers in the draft. With their first-round pick, they picked Oregon guard Kyle Long. Even though the pick helped bolster their offensive line, Long was a reach at No. 20 because of how many offensive linemen were taken early (six taken in the first 11 picks).
I thought the Bears were in perfect position to take a linebacker to help replace Brian Urlacher. Players like Manti Te’o and Alec Ogletree were available, but the Bears decided to go a different route.
They later addressed their linebacker problems at No. 50 with Florida’s Jon Bostic and at No. 117 with Rutgers’ Khaseem Greene. Both these players are nice draft picks, but neither will have an impact next year like Chicago will need at the position.
Winner: New York Jets
Milliner will be a solid corner for years.
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The New York Jets were also winners in the 2013 draft. Even though they couldn’t add a playmaker to the offense in the first round, they helped fix several problems.
They took Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner at No. 9 overall. Milliner was the best available player at the time and seemed like an obvious replacement for Darrelle Revis.
Four picks later, they went with Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who will be relied on to help rush the passer next year. Richardson has good feet and speed that will allow him to quickly adapt to the NFL.
However, the most important selection for the Jets occurred in the second round when they pulled the trigger on quarterback Geno Smith.
Although he dropped to the second day, Smith was still regarded as one of the draft’s top quarterbacks and will create plenty of competition among Jets’ quarterbacks this offseason. This was exactly the move the organization needed to stir things up on offense.
Loser: Dallas Cowboys
Gavin Escobar will have to fight to get playing time with Dallas.
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The Dallas Cowboys always have an interesting draft involving a lot of movement. This year, they lost.
The Cowboys moved back in the first round because none of their top prospects were available anymore. Then at No. 31, they chose Wisconsin center Travis Frederick.
This pick did address the Cowboys' need for interior lineman. However, according to NFL draft expert Mike Mayock, Frederick only had a third-round grade on him. This means general manager Jerry Jones could have gone with a safety like Matt Elam in the first round and gotten Frederick much later on.
Dallas then puzzled more people by using their second-round selection on tight end Gavin Escobar. The team still has Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten and promising backup James Hanna.
Then in the third round, they chose Baylor receiver Terrance Williams. Although Williams has a lot of upside, he didn’t help address Dallas’ biggest needs, which included safety, running back and defensive tackle.
Winner: San Francisco 49ers
Eric Reid will contribute immediately to a good defense.
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The San Francisco 49ers were one of the best all-around teams last season and only got better through this draft.
They moved up in the first round by trading places with the Dallas Cowboys. With the No. 18 pick, they chose LSU safety Eric Reid. Reid will be an immediate starter and replace the departed Dashon Goldson, who left for Tampa Bay.
San Francisco also picked up another first-round talent with Florida State linebacker Tank Carradine at No. 40 in the second round. Carradine was also projected to be picked in the late first round by many experts.
The best pick they made, though, was in the fourth round. With the No. 131 pick, the 49ers selected South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore.
Lattimore might not play very much next year because he’s still rehabbing his knee injury, but the 49ers are good enough to put him away until he’s healthy. Barring another serious injury, Lattimore has the great vision and quick feet to become one of the elite runners in the league.