NFL Draft 2013: Teams That Scored Best Value In Late Rounds
Casual NFL fans are familiar with most players selected in the first couple of rounds of the NFL draft, but the best teams find consistent value in the latter rounds.
Teams with the best scouting departments are adept at landing starters and role players who go under the radar leading up to the draft. Some teams end up landing top players simply by adhering to a strict rule of thumb: Always take the best player available.
While it's too early to make judgements on which teams stunk it up in the 2013 NFL draft, it's not too early to point out which teams scored high marks in terms of landing players late in the draft who are excellent value picks.
These are the teams that were able to land the most high-quality players after the first two rounds.
New head coach Bruce Arians and new general manager Steve Keim have a tough task ahead of them to compete with the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West.
They did a fine job in the draft of selecting players who have a chance to come in and immediately contribute as rookies in 2013—most of whom they drafted after the second round.
Here's a quick look at the players Arizona drafted after Round 2:
- CB Tyrann Mathieu, LSU (Round 3)
- DE Alex Okafor, Texas (Round 4)
- OG Earl Watford, James Madison (Round 4)
- RB Stepfan Taylor, Stanford (Round 5)
- WR Ryan Swope, Texas A&M (Round 6)
- RB Andre Ellington, Clemson (Round 6)
- TE D.C. Jefferson, Rutgers (Round 7)
Mathieu, if he can stay out of trouble, is likely going to be on the field a lot this year for the Cardinals and could earn a starting role as the team's free safety.
Okafor unbelievably slid to the fourth round, and he'll be an integral role player if not a starter on the team's defensive line.
Will Mathieu be a starter for the Cardinals in 2013?
Watford will have a chance to start as a rookie, and his ability to pave running lanes will be an invaluable addition to the team's offense in 2013.
Taylor and Ellington both have legitimate shots at earning a starting role as the team's featured back, and there's a good chance both will contribute heavily as rookies.
Swope is one of the most underrated receivers in this year's draft class, and his ability to get himself open in the middle of the field will be an invaluable asset to Carson Palmer in the passing game.
All in all, Arizona scored an incredible haul of late-round picks.
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman put together a phenomenal all-around draft, and he landed a few of the top players in this year's draft class in the second half of the draft.
This is a franchise that is moving on from the Andy Reid era into the brave new world that is Chip Kelly's Eagles. Roseman trimmed a lot of fat this past offseason, and he needed to replenish his reserves in the draft.
Here's a look at the players Philly landed after Round 2:
- DT Bennie Logan, LSU (Round 3)
- QB Matt Barkley, USC (Round 4)
- S Earl Wolff, North Carolina State (Round 5)
- DE Joe Kruger, Utah (Round 7)
- CB Jordan Poyer, Oregon State (Round 7)
- DE David King, Oklahoma (Round 7)
Logan is a big defensive tackle who will likely be a rotational player and special-teams guy in his rookie year.
Barkley, on the other hand, has a real chance to make a big impression on Kelly and perhaps shock the world as a starter sooner rather than later.
Wolff will compete for one of the team's starting safety positions, and he'll be a key special-teams player as a rookie.
Will Joe Kruger have as much success as his brother in the NFL?
If the name Kruger sounds familiar to you, Joe is the younger brother of Paul Kruger, who has emerged as a top pass-rusher in the NFL.
Poyer is a player who some viewed as a top-50 pick, but he somehow plummeted on draft day. He'll be a key player in Philly's secondary and it won't shock me to see him emerge as a starter or at least the team's nickel back in 2013.
The Eagles landed some incredible players on Day 3 of the draft, and it will be fun to see them compete this summer.
The Redskins traded the farm for Robert Griffin III in 2012, which depleted the team's early draft picks for this year and the next. This put an onus on making the most out of the team's limited picks this year.
Not surprisingly, Mike Shanahan landed a handful of quality players in the second half of this year's draft. Here's a look at the players the Redskins landed after Round 2:
- TE Jordan Reed, Florida (Round 3)
- S Phillip Thomas, Fresno State (Round 4)
- RB Chris Thompson, Florida State (Round 5)
- DE/OLB Brandon Jenkins, Florida State (Round 5)
- S Bacarri Rambo, Georgia (Round 6)
- RB Jawan Jamison, Rutgers (Round 7)
Will Shanahan land another gem with one of these two running backs?
By now, it would be foolish to discount the team's two running backs—Thompson and Jamison—as Shanahan has displayed an uncanny knack for landing stars in the latter rounds.
Reed has the skill to become an instant starter at the tight end position if Fred Davis struggles with his health, and there's no doubt he'll play an integral role in the team's offense as a rookie.
Thomas and Rambo will both have a legitimate chance to earn starting roles in the team's secondary, and Jenkins is a phenomenal pass-rusher who is coming off an injury.
Washington did an outstanding job of bringing in players who can make an instant impact as late-round picks.
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