NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko
Just as expected the first round of the 2013 draft was as exciting as ever. With just about every pick in doubt leading up to the selection, NFL Draft fans were left in true suspense this year.
Now that the first round is in the rear view mirror, I give my thoughts on what went down, the surprises, disappointments and of course break down the Patriots selection (or not). I also take a look ahead to what is expected to be another exciting day at the NFL Draft.
1. Let’s start off with the Patriots pick. It sucks to wait another 24 hours, but no one can possibly complain about the Patriots trading out of pick #29 and picking up not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 extra selections. I have said all along that the value of this draft lies in the 2nd-4th rounds and now the Patriots control the board. Not only that it gives them an early day four pick to play with. The board couldn’t have played out much better for the Patriots as all of the WR, CB and DE seemed to be drop. With so much value still available it was clear the right move was to trade down.
Tomorrow the Patriots will be able to address their two biggest needs (WR, CB) while adding depth at key positions (DL, S, OG). It’s going to be an exciting day for Patriots fans.
As of right now the Patriots remaining picks are:
2. Here is my projection for how the Patriots will use their picks tomorrow:
52) Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech – The Patriots may try to trade back up to pick up a guy like Robert Woods or Justin Hunter at the top of the round. If they stay where they are I think Patton is the logical choice, followed by Markus Wheaton. Other possibilities are Da’Rick Rogers, Terrance Williams and Stedman Bailey.
59) Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama – I was recently told the Patriots still want a “plugger” in the middle of their defensive line. At this point in the draft two names would be in play Kawann Short and Williams.
83) Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU – Picking up extra picks allows the Patriots to take some chances. The Honey Badger is a much needed play-maker in the secondary. I have heard there is real interest here.
89) Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall – Whether it’s Dobson or someone else the Patriots have the ability to double-dip at a position of major need. Getting Patton and Dobson will add youth and explosiveness to the receiver corps.
3. The draft started out with the Chiefs taking Eric Fisher over Luke Joeckel. It was a gutsy first selection by Joey Dorsey and I wouldn’t have done it. While both players are ranked closely I prefer the player from the big time school. Jacksonville gets the best OT in the draft and now sit at the top of the 2nd round and can get Geno Smith or Ryan Nassib as well. Nicely done David Caldwell.
4. I honestly feel sorry for Bills fans. Just give them a break, right? When it looked like the Bills were being shrewd, by moving down and picking up selections, they go and pick Florida State QB EJ Manuel at pick 16! Manuel is a late 2nd-3rd round QB. He’s a one-two read QB who got the ball out quickly at Florida State. It’s going to take him time to adjust to the NFL passing game. What’s problematic for me is EJ Manuel continued to make the same mental mistakes over and over at Florida State. It doesn’t matter now, EJ Manuel is the QB of the future for the Buffalo Bills and I don’t think that playoff streak ends anytime soon.
5. The Cleveland Browns have to be ecstatic they were able to get their guy at #6. I was told early on that they loved Barkevious Mingo. Michael Lombardi held firm at #6, resisting temptation to move up in the draft and they still got their guy. Mingo is the best pass rusher in the draft and matched with Paul Kruger forms a nice pass rush duo going forward.
6. The biggest surprise of the first round had to be the Miami Dolphins trading up for Dion Jordan. They better hope they pull off that Branden Albert trade, because if they don’t they are still in trouble. Jordan is a good player, but do the Dolphins really need him? Jeff Ireland is going out on a limb and banking on his ability to find a LT and one that can play for a long time. OT was such a clear need for the Dolphins and they pass on Lane Johnson for a “luxury player”. I like Jordan as a player, but if the Dolphins rely on Jonathan Martin to play LT next year, they rest of this stuff doesn’t matter. It’s pretty clear Jeff Ireland is pushing all his chips to the middle. If these moves don’t pay off he’s gone anyway.
7. Alabama continues to churn out first round draft picks along the lines and in the secondary. Something rare occurred in the first round with three Alabama players selected consecutively; Dee Milliner to the Jets, Chance Warmack to the Titans and DJ Fluker to the Chargers. That trend will continue next year as Alabama is loaded once again on both lines and in the secondary.
8. Most people are surprised to see Justin Pugh and Kyle Long selected in the first round, but not me. Justin Pugh is a “safe”, versatile OL that is extremely projectable. He will play a long time in the NFL. Kyle Long on the other hand is as raw as they come. Long is as big a boom bust pick as there is. He could be the best OL in this draft or he could be out of the league. One thing is sure he’s a great athlete that can play multiple positions. We really can’t complain about the Bears addressing their OL can we?