Updated NFL Rookie Report for All 32 First-Round Picks

Michael Schottey@SchotteyNFL National Lead WriterJune 17, 2013

Updated NFL Rookie Report for All 32 First-Round Picks

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    June is the time of the NFL season when the luster starts to come off many of the rookies drafted this past April.

    It's only natural, really, and it isn't necessarily a bad thing. Teams draft for the long term. They want to set these franchises up for more than just fleeting successes. Thus, some players are going to need more than one month to really be ready for the NFL.

    Of course, to the media that covers these teams 24/7 and the fans that gobble up every tidbit of news like a dog on a fresh bone, nuance and patience aren't always readily available virtues.

    Negativity in the summer isn't cause for alarm or any sort of apoplectic hair-pulling. No, just like the positivity that permeates the spring following a draft, the negativity of summer must be tempered with a longer-term view of events. Growing pains are important for these players as they transition from being big men on their respective college campuses to life in the NFL.

    Narratives and negativity aside, let's check in with an update on all 32 first-round rookies of the 2013 NFL draft.

1. Eric Fisher (OT, Kansas City Chiefs)

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    Eric Fisher isn't in any sort of camp battle, as head coach Andy Reid has already come out and said that Fisher will be the right tackle this season, while veteran Branden Albert will play on the left side.

    Although Fisher hasn't signed his contract (only two of the top 10 have), he's putting in work with his teammates and is looking to get better and more comfortable on the right side every single day.

2. Luke Joeckel (OT, Jacksonville Jaguars)

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    Initially, Luke Joeckel admitted to some awkwardness at right tackle, but he looked dominant at rookie camp. He'll need to be at his best, as the Jaguars are looking for a boost across the offensive front with their dominant bookend tackles—Joeckel and left tackle Eugene Monroe—leading the charge.

3. Dion Jordan (DE, Miami Dolphins)

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    Although I firmly believe that Dion Jordan could be an impact player at outside linebacker (in fact, I believe it would be his best position), the Dolphins are putting him at defensive end across from Cameron Wake.

    The latter is hoping that the addition of Jordan puts their defense over the top.

4. Lane Johnson (OT, Philadelphia Eagles)

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    It didn't take that long, but Lane Johnson is working with the rest of the first-team offensive line. Like the other top tackles in this class, Johnson is slated for immediate work at right tackle, although there's an outside shot that Jason Peters' legal troubles could give Johnson a look on the left side.

5. Ezekiel Ansah (DE, Detroit Lions)

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    Ezekiel Ansah is the only top-five pick who has signed his contract (a five-year deal), as the Lions got right to work signing all of their picks by mid-May.

    The former Brigham Young lineman has a lot to learn both as a pro and also in the Lions' Wide 9 scheme, but he's already impressed his teammates with how quickly he's progressed.

6. Barkevious Mingo (OLB, Cleveland Browns)

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    Sure, he was the No. 6 pick in the 2013 draft, but Barkevious Mingo has a bit of an uphill climb before he is an every-down player in the NFL. After the draft, Mingo confirmed that he only weighed 237 pounds—too small for an every-down position.

    However, Bruce Irvin and Aldon Smith are recent draftees who didn't immediately step into full-time roles but still found themselves making big impacts. ESPN Cleveland feels that might also be the case for Mingo.

7. Jonathan Cooper (OG, Arizona Cardinals)

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    The Cardinals should look substantially different compared to 2012 with Carson Palmer installed at quarterback and Bruce Arians' offense taking center stage. Arians will want a vertical attack. That means Jonathan Cooper will need to be at his best as a pass-protector, which is good, because that is his strength.

    Cooper is currently running with the starters at left guard, and it would take a monumental collapse for him to give up that position.

8. Tavon Austin (WR, St. Louis Rams)

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    Tavon Austin is the other top-10 pick signed as of the writing of this article. It remains to be seen just how inventive the Rams can be with Austin on offense, but his impact on special teams is already being felt in practices—especially by a certain punter.

9. Dee Milliner (CB, New York Jets)

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    Dee Milliner is sitting out OTAs as he recovers from labrum surgery and hopes to be ready for training camp.

10. Chance Warmack (OG, Tennessee Titans)

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    The Titans have Chance Warmack penciled in at right guard to start in the pros, and he's been getting plenty of one-on-one tutoring from one of the league's best offensive line gurus—his head coach, Mike Munchak.

    The Titans will look to Warmack and fellow new face on interior, left guard Andy Levitre, to make life a lot easier for running back Chris Johnson.

11. D.J. Fluker (OT, San Diego Chargers)

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    Although, at one point, the talk out of San Diego was that Fluker could potentially move to guard if he disappointed during camp, the Chargers reportedly "like [him] at right tackle" and are looking at him to help improve both the rushing and passing offense with his well-rounded blocking ability.

12. D.J. Hayden (CB, Oakland Raiders)

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    D.J. Hayden is currently sitting due to injury, but the team believes he will return by training camp.

13. Sheldon Richardson (DE, New York Jets)

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    The Jets' depth chart can call Sheldon Richardson whatever it wants to this season, but it appears as if he'll be lining up in a variety of places for head coach Rex Ryan, who will look to engineer a pass rush as Gang Green weren't able to land a truly elite pass-rusher in free agency or the draft.

    Fans will have to be patient and attentive with Richardson, as his impact on the game may have little or nothing to do with the stat sheet.

14. Star Lotulelei (DT, Carolina Panthers)

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    After being born in Tonga, it is probably wise that Star Lotulelei is spending much of his free time acclimating to life in Charlotte (i.e. going to a NASCAR race).

    On the field, Lotulelei and fellow rookie defensive tackle Kawann Short are bonding and getting used to playing alongside one another—a fantastic proposition for the Panthers.

15. Kenny Vaccaro (S, New Orleans Saints)

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    Kenny Vaccaro is currently getting reps both as the starting safety and at nickelback, where he spent a lot of time as a Texas Longhorn. That means he's been absorbing a lot of information, and it helps to have great tutors like veteran safety Roman Harper.

16. EJ Manuel (QB, Buffalo Bills)

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    It's a good sign when the head coach showers a player with compliments, but it's especially high praise when a longtime NFL assistant like Bills head coach Doug Marrone calls EJ Manuel one of the best rookies he's seen.

    Manuel has signed his contract and is going into training camp with sights on being the Bills' starting QB in year one.

17. Jarvis Jones (OLB, Pittsburgh Steelers)

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    Jarvis Jones may have a tough time starting right away on the Steelers defense, as no rookie has started for Pittsburgh's defense since 2001, and Jones' fellow linebacker Larry Foote believes that he has a way to go.

    Just like fellow rookie Barkevious Mingo of the Cleveland Browns, Jones could find himself making an impact in a pass-rushing, third-down role in his first season.

18. Eric Reid (S, San Francisco 49ers)

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    Eric Reid has spent his early days in the NFL trying to adjust to the speed of the league and dealing with a minor injury. With the loss of safety Dashon Goldson (now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), the Niners will be counting on Reid to play at an impact level at safety almost immediately.

19. Justin Pugh (OL, New York Giants)

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    Justin Pugh is lining up at right tackle for the Giants but could end up at either tackle or right guard once the training camp dust settles. Pugh is a great fit for the Giants' zone-blocking scheme and represents a huge upgrade in protection for quarterback Eli Manning.

20. Kyle Long (OL, Chicago Bears)

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    Like the New York Giants' Justin Pugh, Kyle Long is expected to play on the right side for the Bears. He has gotten looks at both guard and tackle but seems a safer bet at guard, where his strength and athleticism will help keep interior linemen like the Minnesota Vikings' Kevin Williams and Detroit Lions' Ndamukong Suh off quarterback Jay Cutler.

21. Tyler Eifert (TE, Cincinnati Bengals)

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    Tyler Eifert has already lined up at a couple of different roles in Bengals practices, so it seems like the team will be content to get him the ball regardless of how or where the depth chart lists him. He's already impressing quarterback Andy Dalton.

22. Desmond Trufant (CB, Atlanta Falcons)

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    Desmond Trufant hasn't been able to make many headlines on the practice field, as he's been finishing his degree at the University of Washington. He'll be a front-runner to win a starting cornerback spot in training camp on a team that is desperate for defensive backfield help.

23. Sharrif Floyd (DT, Minnesota Vikings)

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    Because the Vikings are looking to play Sharrif Floyd at the same position as 3-technique tackle Kevin Williams, Floyd will likely be part of a rotation rather than an immediate full-time starter—like defensive tackle Nick Fairley in his first season with the Detroit Lions.

    Floyd is spending his time learning from the best, Williams himself.

24. Bjoern Werner (OLB, Indianapolis Colts)

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    Bjoern Werner is busy making the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker, and it's important to remember that he doesn't have that much football background to begin with.

    The Colts do seem willing to move him around, however, and he's even been spotted not with one hand on the ground, but with two!

25. Xavier Rhodes (CB, Minnesota Vikings)

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    Xavier Rhodes has proven a quick study as he looks to avoid any rookie-year jitters. Both he and the Vikings are excited to see what happens when the pads get put on and his trademark physical style of play is on display.

26. Datone Jones (DE, Green Bay Packers)

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    As quarterback Aaron Rodgers has pointed out, it's not exactly difficult for rookies to look great without pads, but it's always good for a young player to catch the eye of the highest-paid player in the league. Even more importantly, he's impressed the head coach.

27. DeAndre Hopkins (WR, Houston Texans)

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    It's one thing to impress the head coach. It's the next level of awesome when a receiver starts practicing with the starters almost immediately, and the coach starts comparing him to Denver Broncos receiving great Rod Smith.

    DeAndre Hopkins needs to manage a quick learning curve and be the No. 2 receiver the Texans have been looking for.

28. Sylvester Williams (DT, Denver Broncos)

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    It is more than possible that the Broncos decide to take their time with Sylvester Williams and begin the year with him on the bench. Then again, if Williams' Instagram account is any indication, maybe he'll be their answer at running back...but probably not.

29. Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, Minnesota Vikings)

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    It's tough for a rookie receiver to make an immediate impact in the NFL. NFL corners are completely different from those seen in the college ranks, and the position is less about raw athleticism and more about polish, poise and preparation.

    Cordarrelle Patterson has all the tools, but as of right now, it looks like he'll be a weapon off the bench behind starters Greg Jennings and Jerome Simpson.

30. Alec Ogletree (LB, St. Louis Rams)

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    It appears as if Ogletree will get his first look at strong-side linebacker for the Rams (a move one Bleacher Report columnist feels is a pretty big mistake). For Ogletree, however, the most important thing to show this offseason is that he can keep his nose clean—something he's excited to prove.

31. Travis Frederick (C, Dallas Cowboys)

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    First of all, let's just point out that Travis Frederick shaved that giant beard. This is a clear mistake. He's gone from Norse god to Timbersports reject before he's even taken his first snap. Owner Jerry Jones should just cut his losses and get rid of this guy for his poor decision-making. (Just kidding, Cowboys fans!)

    The Cowboys expect Frederick's contract to be done before training camp, which is good because he's already been running with the starters at center. He'll need every snap to foster chemistry with quarterback Tony Romo.

    Oh, and he did shave that beard for charity, so maybe it wasn't the worst decision after all.

32. Matt Elam (S, Baltimore Ravens)

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    I've said it before, but it bears repeating. Matt Elam doesn't need to be the Hall of Fame-caliber player that former Ravens safety Ed Reed was for much of his career—at least, not in year one. Elam just needs to play better than Reed did last year.

    So far, things are looking good, as Elam has been inserting himself both as a leader and as a ball hawk. He's also been learning a number of various roles in the defense and picking them up very quickly.


    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.