2013 Draft Day Live Blog
Uncertainty over the top picks fuels this year’s unusual and exciting kickoff to draft weekend. PFF’s Steve Palazzolo will take you along for the ride as he comments throughout tonight’s first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Tune in and stay with us for immediate reaction to each of the picks and the PFF perspective on player fits and how teams can use the big-name talent they acquire.
Baltimore Ravens select SS Matt Elam, Florida
With the last pick of the first round, the Ravens fill a need by adding Elam to play strong safety. He’ll pair with newly acquired Michael Huff who will play more of the Ed Reed free safety role while Elam will be more of a Bernard Pollard replacement. Elam has experience covering tight ends and slot receivers at Florida and his hard hitting style looks like a good fit in Baltimore.
Dallas Cowboys select C Travis Frederick, Wisconsin
The Cowboys finally make a pick after trading down and they surprised some analysts with the selection of Frederick. They got strong play at center last season as Ryan Cook and Phil Costa combined to grade at +10.3, and with Costa returning, it’s possible the Cowboys are looking at Frederick at guard. He could compete on the right side where Mackenzy Bernadeau struggled to a -10.8 grade.
St. Louis Rams select OLB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
St. Louis makes their second selection of the night after trading down with the Falcons. Ogletree is an athletic former safety who will likely play on the outside in the Rams 4-3 system. With James Laurinaitis in the middle, Ogletree will pair with OLB JoLonn Dunbar who is coming off a nice season grading at +2.2 overall.
Minnesota Vikings select WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
The Vikings make an aggressive move by trading four draft picks to the New England Patriots in order to climb back into the first round to make their third selection of the night. Everyone expected them to target a wide receiver at some point and were probably surprised to see Patterson still on the board at the end of the first round. He’s extremely good with the ball in his hands and he’ll provide a big play complement to the newly acquired Greg Jennings. With the new weapons in town, it’s time for QB Christian Ponder to take the next step in his development after grading at -16.1 last season.
Denver Broncos select DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina
The Broncos were expected to target an edge rusher to replace the departed Elvis Dumervil, but they added help on the interior instead. Williams joins newly acquired Terrence Knighton and incumbent Justin Bannan up front for Denver. Williams will likely rotate with Knighton as a 1-technique nose tackle.
Houston Texans select WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
Everyone expected the Texans to add a wide receiver in the first round and they came through with Hopkins. It appears to be a deep class of wide receivers and Hopkins may be the most steady of the bunch. The Texans need a threat opposite Andre Johnson after Kevin Walter caught only 47 balls last season.
Green Bay Packers select DE Datone Jones, UCLA
Jones is a scheme-versatile defensive lineman who will play DE in the Packers 3-4 scheme. Though he’s not exactly the same size, his game reminds of a young Cullen Jenkins and the Packers would be thrilled to get similar results from Jones. Green Bay spent a second round pick on a DE last year in Jerel Worthy who graded at -11.4 as a rookie.
Minnesota Vikings select CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
The Vikings had two rookie starters in their secondary last season and they add even more youth with Rhodes. He has a similar long build as current CB Chris Cook and given their skill sets, it will be interesting to see if Minnesota decides to play more man coverage next season.
Indianapolis Colts select DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State
Werner will have to adjust to playing on his feet at outside linebacker in the Colts 3-4 scheme after playing 4-3 defensive end at Florida State. With Dwight Freeney moving on and Robert Mathis aging, the Colts were in the market for an edge rusher.
Minnesota Vikings select DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida
Many were shocked that Floyd fell to this point in the draft, but this was his expected draft position throughout the regular season. He’s quick off the ball and his game resembles that of Minnesota DT Kevin Williams. Other than Williams, the Vikings lacked an interior pass rush and Floyd should immediately help in this area.
Atlanta Falcons select CB Desmond Trufant, Washington
The Falcons trade up to get Trufant who will step in for departed cornerback Dunta Robinson. Robinson graded at +2.5 overall though only -7.3 in coverage. Trufant will pair with CB Asante Samuel on the outside while the underrated Robert McClain (+8.1 overall) mans the slot.
Cincinnati Bengals select TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
The Bengals invest another first round pick in a tight end after they nabbed Jermaine Gresham back in 2010. Gresham has largely been a disappointment (-16.4 overall last season) and Eifert’s ball skills will make quarterback Andy Dalton’s job a lot easier with his ball skills and catch radius.
Chicago Bears select OT Kyle Long, Oregon
Our 30th ranked offensive line gets some help as the Bears take Long who can play either guard or tackle. His first shot will likely be at right tackle where former first rounder Gabe Carimi has struggled to a -10.1 grade last season. Carimi looked much better in his four games at guard and a full-time move inside should open the door for Long at right tackle.
New York Giants select OT Justin Pugh, Syracuse.
It’s about time we got back to the offensive linemen. Pugh is an athletic tackle who was thought to be an option at guard in a zone blocking scheme. With OT Will Beatty back on the left side, Pugh will likely start his career at right tackle. David Diehl graded at -6.8 as the primary right tackle last season.
The San Francisco 49ers select FS Eric Reid, LSU
With Dashon Goldson moving on, Reid will take his spot in the back end of San Francisco’s defense. The 49ers play their safeties deep the majority of the time and Reid looks like he excels as more of a “robber” type safety in cover-3 looks.
Pittsburgh Steelers select OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
Many linked Jones to Pittsburgh and the pick makes sense with James Harrison moving on. He’s one of the best pass rushers in the draft and underrated against the run. Pittsburgh has always had a long line of top notch pass rushing outside linebackers and Jones fits the mold to keep the tradition alive. Backup OLBs Jason Worilds and Chris Carter graded at -4.3 and -2.2 respectively last season.
Buffalo Bills select QB E.J. Manuel, Florida State
The first quarterback comes off the board and it’s a bit of a surpise in Manuel. Many had linked new head coach Doug Marrone to his college quarterback Ryan Nassib, but Buffalo decided to go with Manuel’s upside over familiarity. Manuel’s uneven career at Florida State makes this a surprising pick, but his size and athleticism are an intriguing combination as the NFL continues to integrate dual threat quarterbacks.
New Orleans Saints select FS Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
The first safety comes off the board as the Saints add some much needed secondary help. Vaccaro’s value lies in his ability to play over the slot, in the box or deep as a traditional safety, but regardless of role, the Saints need playmakers on the back end of their defense. Last season, three New Orleans defensive backs missed at least 10 tackles and of the five players who saw at least 500 snaps, not one of them graded positively.
Carolina Panthers select DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
The Panthers have been weak at defensive tackle for a few years now and Lotulelei provides a versatile option up front. Many thought he’d be a good option in a 3-4 scheme in a Haloti Ngata type role, but he’ll likely step in a 1-technique for the Panthers.
New York Jets select DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri.
For the third straight year, the Jets add a first round defensive lineman as Richardson joins Muhammad Wilkerson (+49.1 overall) and Quinton Coples (+4.9 pass rush) up front. Richardson looks like a linebacker the way he chases down ball carriers and he should provide a strong interior pass rush presence.
Oakland Raiders select D.J. Hayden, CB Houston.
One of the most amazing stories of the draft, Hayden goes from near death experience to first round pick. He was a late mover in the draft process from a media standpoint, but he’s been on the NFL’s radar for a while. Oakland was depleted at the cornerback position last season, even resorting to moving safety Michael Huff to the position for the majority of the year. Though he fared quite well, the Raiders have been looking for a big time cornerback since Nnamdi Asomugha’s departure and they’re hoping that Hayden brings his playmaking ability to their secondary.
San Diego Chargers select OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama.
After experimenting with undrafted free agent Michael Harris at left tackle last season, the Chargers have decided to upgrade the position with Fluker. Though he played right tackle for Alabama, he may be moving to the left side as he moves west to San Diego. Harris graded as our worst offensive tackle last season at -43.4.
Tennessee Titans select OG Chance Warmack, Alabama.
After not seeing a guard selected in the Top 10 since 1997, we see the second come off the board as the Tennessee Titans take another Alabama player in Chance Warmack. He’s known for his run blocking and certainly showed well in the BCS Championship game. The Titans’ already added our No. 9 guard Andy Levitre (+17.3) and Warmack will line up opposite him at right guard as the Titans look to upgrade an offensive line that we ranked 14th in the league.
New York Jets select CB Dee Milliner, Alabama.
Revis replacement? Milliner was thought to be a Top 5 lock, but the run on the big guys pushed him down to No. 9 overall to the Jets. Milliner fits a big need as he’ll pair with Antonio Cromartie who is coming off an excellent season (+10.0 overall) after replacing Revis in the top cornerback role. Milliner faces the typical learning curve that faces all Alabama cornerbacks as they transition to the NFL (Alabama coach Nick Saban teaches some different techniques), but it looks like the Jets found some upside with the first of their two picks tonight.
St. Louis Rams select WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia.
Tackles, guards and now a slot receiver. The St. Louis Rams trade up with the Buffalo Bills to grab Austin, perhaps the most explosive playmaker in the draft. Austin is dynamic with the ball in his hands, whether in the slot, in the return game, or even when West Virginia lined him up at running back at times last season.
With Danny Amendola moving on to New England, Austin will take over the primary slot role in St. Louis. Quarterback Sam Bradford always seems more comfortable with a dependable slot option and Austin fits the bill for the Rams.
Arizona Cardinals select OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina.
More offensive linemen! The first guard comes off the board as the Arizona Cardinals take Cooper out of North Carolina. There have been a lot of rumors about guards going higher than usual in the draft and the Cardinals pull the trigger. Cooper was thought to be in contention with Alabama guard Chance Warmack to be the first guard chosen and the Cardinals went with the more athletic Cooper over the road grading Warmack.
Cleveland Browns select OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU.
The Browns take Mingo with the sixth overall pick — one of my favorite players in the draft as his explosiveness and length should work well in Cleveland’s new hybrid 3-4/4-3 system. At LSU, Mingo was often asked to play contain against mobile quarterbacks, though he still found a way to provide consistent pressure.
Detroit Lions select DE Ezekial Ansah, BYU.
The fifth pick of the draft, Ansah joins former first round picks Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley on the Lions’ defensive line as they continue to build their team in the trenches. Ansah was the subject of much debate during the draft process as some saw him as a 5-techinque in a 3-4 scheme while others even wanted him as a pass rushing outside linebacker. With the Lions, Ansah will play defensive end in their attacking 4-3 scheme.
The Philadelphia Eagles continue the run on offensive tackles as they select Lane Johnson out of Oklahoma. No quarterback faced as much pressure as Eagles starter Michael Vick last season as he was under heat on 41 percent of his dropbacks. It wasn’t much better when Nick Foles took over as he faced pressure 37 percent of the time. Even though the Eagles were decimated by injuries on the offensive line last season, they came in expecting to upgrade their front five and Johnson seems like a perfect candidate for new head coach Chip Kelly’s spread offense.
The first major move of the draft comes out of Miami as the Dolphins give up their second round pick to move up to No. 3 overall.
The Dolphins select OLB Dion Jordan out of Oregon. Jordan is one of the most versatile players in the draft as he often found himself covering slot receivers down the field but his real value is going to be coming off the edge as a pass rusher. With the Dolphins 4-3 scheme, he’ll likely play SAM linebacker on early downs before lining up opposite defensive end Cameron Wake to rush the passer in nickel and dime packages.
The Jordan signing brings into question Koa Misi’s role with Miami. Misi was the primary SAM linebacker last season, so unless Jordan is a full-time defensive end, Misi may not find himself in the Dolphins’ plans moving forward.
The Miami Dolphins are on the clock!
Another offensive tackle off the board as the Jacksonville Jaguars select Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M. He’ll take over a right tackle position that has been amongst the worst in the league over the last few years. Joeckel has to adjust to a new position as he’s started on the left side since his first day as a true freshman.
Last season, Jaguars right tackles Guy Whimper and Cameron Bradfield combined to grade at -20.3, so Joeckel fits a major position of need right off the bat.
With the first pick……
The Chiefs select Eric Fisher, offensive tackle, Central Michigan.
As we discussed above, Fisher is the pick, though his immediate position is unknown until the Albert situation is settled. The wise play could be holding onto Albert and then deciding if he or Fisher makes the move to the right. Albert was our No. 25 offensive tackle last year at +13.8.
As far as Fisher, the biggest concern during the draft process was his level of competition coming out of the MAC. He eased some of the concerns with a strong showing throughout the offseason process, particularly the Senior Bowl.
It’s Draft Time!
The Jaguars have also been linked to the offensive tackles. With Eugene Monroe already a solid left tackle, will they take the remaining Fisher or Joeckel and plug him in on the right side? We’ve been studying the importance of pass protection for all positions, so it might not be a bad idea to get another top notch pass protector opposite Monroe.
The rumors are swirling as we approach the kickoff to the draft. The Chiefs are expected to take an offensive tackle with their top pick and signs are starting to point in the direction of Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher over Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel.
The other intriguing Chiefs storyline surrounds franchised left tackle Branden Albert. He’s been the constant subject of trade rumors as the Chiefs look to add extra picks. Given the potential devaluing of the left tackle position around the NFL, it’s interesting that the Chiefs would trade away a solid asset in Albert, only to replace him with the coveted first pick in the draft. As we’ve been discussing at PFF all week, if your draft strategy revolves around whether or not a player is traded, you might be missing out on an opportunity to add a big time playmaker at the top of the draft.
We are locked in at PFF Towers for a night of live blogging. Stay with us for all of the action as we bring you comments and analysis on every pick in tonight’s first round.
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