Travis Frederick and the Worst Picks in the 2013 NFL Draft
Sometimes, a pick just leaves you scratching your head and wondering, "What the heck?!"
Whether it's a player who had a mid-round grade being drafted in the first round, a team being incredibly redundant by drafting a carbon copy of players already on the roster or simply a player whose name you've never heard, bad picks come in all shapes and sizes.
Which were the biggest head-scratchers of the past three days?
Round 1, Pick 16: QB E.J. Manuel
Manuel is the best athlete at quarterback in this class. He ranked among the top five quarterbacks in every drill at the combine.
Would he have been available late, though? Most likely.
The top quarterbacks in the draft fell surprisingly far, and with both Ryan Nassib and Matt Barkley available headed into the fourth round, it sure looks like the Bills might have been able to get Manuel in the second or third round, right where he was projected.
It's going to take some time for him to develop into a true passer, as he wasn't asked to make multiple reads on a single play all that often.
Manuel may not be ready to start for a year or two, although he could be inserted into the lineup from Week 1. Either way, the Bills have to pull themselves out of the basement early to avoid this pick burning them in the long run.
Round 1, Pick 31: C Travis Frederick
NFL Network's Mike Mayock's instant reaction: "I had a third-round grade on this guy."
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller's instant reaction: "I hate this pick."
So, if you thought the Cowboys reached for Wisconsin center Travis Frederick, you're not alone.
He could play guard or center, but the problem is, the Cowboys have already invested eight-figure contracts in both their guards recently and they already have a center in Phil Costa.
If Frederick has a tenured career as one of the top centers in the league, he'll be worth the pick. For now, though, it's fair to wonder how much further he could have fallen if the Cowboys had waited.
Round 2, Pick 47: TE Gavin Escobar
The Dallas Cowboys may be looking to implement more of a two tight end look to their offense now by adding Escobar, but they could have added a more proven tight end like Cincinnati's Travis Kelce.
The problem with Escobar is that he isn't a game-breaking tight end that's likely to create yards after the catch. Bleacher Report's NFL draft lead writer Sigmund Bloom points out:
He's not going to make anything happen after the catch with speed, quickness, or elusiveness. He also won't create separation downfield against NFL safeties or linebackers in a footrace.
He's also not a great blocker, struggling to sustain blocks and getting throttled by stronger opponents.
His long 6'6" frame and 33 5/8" long arms will cause matchup problems against whoever has the duty of covering him, but none of it will matter if he can't get open. Judging by his lack of speed, that may be a problem against quicker NFL linebackers and safeties than the ones he saw at San Diego State.
Round 2, Pick 48: RB Le'Veon Bell
The Steelers opted to draft Le'Veon Bell, with a second-round pick, ahead of several other higher-rated backs. That should be considered a head-scratcher by anyone who follows the draft.
Bell knows how to get into the end zone, but at 6'1" and 230 pounds, he's more of a plodder than a burner. His lack of breakaway speed could limit him to a short-yardage back in the NFL.
He's also not going to help out greatly in the passing game; he caught some passes out of the backfield (78 in his three-year career) but was used primarily as a true running back and doesn't look natural in pass protection.
With so little versatility, is that really worth a second-round pick?
Round 2, Pick 58: RB Montee Ball
It's hard to be too critical of the Broncos for taking one of the most productive players in NCAA history, but like Le'Veon Bell before him, Montee Ball was taken far in advance of the top running backs on Matt Miller's board, including Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin.
Also, his productivity in college comes hand-in-hand with concerns over how much tread might be left on his tires after handling the ball a whopping 983 times in four years at Wisconsin.
He had one of the biggest and nastiest offensive lines in all of college football blocking for him, as well. Denver's offensive line is solid in pass protection, but the holes won't be as big in the running game. While he won't be asked to carry a heavy workload in what will likely be a pass-first offense, Ball has significant enough question marks that the Broncos may have been wiser to look at other backs instead.
Round 3, Pick 73: QB Mike Glennon
Instead of getting Josh Freeman another weapon to help him improve and remain consistent, the Buccaneers drafted a quarterback to push him in training camp. Freeman has been put on notice that if he doesn't perform, his job could be on the line.
Freeman wasn't as accurate in 2012 as he has been in recent years, completing just 54.8 percent of his passes, but with a TD-INT ratio of 27-17, it's clear he was beginning to make strides. The next steps in his development were expected to come shortly.
Glennon won't help that cause. In fact, if the Bucs are worried about inconsistency from Freeman, they'll be scared out of their wits at what they see from Glennon. At times, he looks like a future All-Pro. At other times, he gets careless and makes awful decisions.
Whether the Bucs selecting him was an awful decision in and of itself, we may not know immediately or ever. And that's just the problem.
Round 3, Pick 78: WR Marquise Goodwin
It's not that Marquise Goodwin has no chance of becoming a good player. If he's used right, a team will be thrilled with his ability to make big plays.
One problem is, he's undersized at 5'7" and 178 pounds, and with a lack of functional strength, there are questions as to whether he has the physicality necessary to handle press coverage at the line of scrimmage and catches in traffic.
Another problem is, he has limited football experience, and his primary sport was track until recently. There are more questions as to whether he will develop into a true football player with time, or fail to shed his label as a "track star playing football."
With time, we'll have our answers, but right now, there's not much that's different about Goodwin compared to wide receiver T.J. Graham, another small former track star playing for the Bills, who was also drafted in the third round last year.
Round 3, Pick 91: S Duron Harmon
The Patriots never cease to amaze with their ability to draft a player you've never even heard of.
That's not to say Harmon will be a bad player, but few would be shocked if you told them he would struggle. Harmon didn't get an invite to the combine, and even he didn't expect to hear his name called in the third round.
Harmon showed some ball skills at Rutgers, intercepting five passes as a junior, and Bill Belichick surely did his homework on Harmon leading up to the draft by surveying his former Rutgers teammates (Devin McCourty and Justin Francis both went to Rutgers) and his former head coach Greg Schiano, the former head coach of Rutgers.
Would Harmon have been available in the fourth round or later? We'll never know, but judging by the fact that hardly anyone knew who he was before the draft, it's safe to say he could have been had for a lower price.
Round 5, Pick 135: WR Denard Robinson
With experienced wide receivers like Kenny Stills and Cobi Hamilton still on the board, the Jaguars went with a project at receiver in Denard Robinson.
Will his quickness and speed translate from taking a snap and carrying the ball to catching the ball and running with it? He proved deadly in space, but how will his diminutive frame handle the constant contact of physical cornerbacks?
Picks in the fifth round are oftentimes a crapshoot, and at that point, the best you can hope for is a player with upside, but if Robinson doesn't work out at receiver, this is a waste of a pick.
Round 6, Pick 182: RB Kenjon Barner
This is not a knock on Barner. He was incredibly productive at Oregon, putting up no less than six yards per carry throughout his career and averaging 6.2 on his career. There are two problems with this pick.
First is the mileage. He has already carried the ball 582 times over the past four years for Chip Kelly's run-heavy Oregon offense, and 430 of those carries came in the past two years alone.
The second problem is need. Did the Panthers really need to draft another running back? With DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert already on the roster, the Panthers could probably have addressed other needs with this pick.
If they're grooming him to take the place of one or multiple players already in the backfield, it's understandable, but with such a crowded backfield, the Panthers aren't likely to get big-time production out of him in his first year.