Well, I've decided that masochism is not enough, and in this time where smokescreens are completely clouding any real draft analysis (at least until the pro-days are done after next week), I figured, hey, let's go ahead and punish my mind and spirit further by trying to do-over the 2013 NFL Draft.
Why is this hell? Simple: The 2013 NFL Draft Class was a mess...kind of. It's become popular to dump on how poor the top 10 played out, but if we're honest, 10 players in the first round did become Pro-Bowl caliber talent. In fact, a little over half the first round has turned into legitimate NFL starters, so it's not as if the class was a complete and utter train wreck. It's just that so many teams, so emphatically, whiffed on evaluating talent in this draft. And it happens every year, but this was a rare case where the top end was so poor that it drove down the actual value of the entire class.
It makes redrafting difficult because, my god, nobody really knew how "off" everything was going to end up. That the evaluations here would be this short-sighted, or that the top 10 would produce really only 3 viable NFL players. With all that in mind...let's begin, because this is going to hurt. Badly.
1. Kansas City Chiefs - David Bakhtiari, OT
Original Pick: Eric Fisher, OT
One condition I'm trying to behold myself to in this redraft is to try to keep in mind what these teams needed and what they were drafting for. So, really, I have to still give the Chiefs an OT in this scenario; they BADLY needed someone there to protect Alex Smith and get them over the hump. That player, at least in my mind, has to be Bakhtiari, who has evolved into a pro-bowl level talent at LT, particularly in run blocking. That could set the scenario to make Jamaal Charles even more dangerous, which...I mean, keep in mind, Jamaal Charles in 2013 ran for 1,287 and 12 TD's as it was.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Eric Fisher, OT
Original Pick: Luke Joeckel, OT
Heading into the draft, Fisher and Joeckel were the obvious 1-2, with a lot of people actualy preferring Joeckel, the supposed "technician" to Fishers "athlete", at first overall. Instead, the Chiefs, technically, got this correct; Joeckel completely busted. Another option here might be Lane Johnson, but his suspension concerns would hambone a Jaguars team trying to get Blake Bortles into working order just one year later, so let's grab Fisher, who's become a solid enough starter, here to help a Jacksonville O-Line that has been consistently poor.
3. Miami Dolphins [from Oakland] - Ezekiel Ansah, DE
Original Pick: Dion Jordan, DE
Keep in mind that this pick was owned by the Oakland Raiders, meaning Miami somehow out-Raiders'ed the Raiders here. Dion Jordan is, was, and has been a complete disaster on and off the field. But Miami desired a viable pass rushing threat, which Ansah would have easily met for them. Yes, Ziggy has had some injury concerns as of late, but his 2015 stats, with the insane line for sacks (14.5), can't be denied.
4. Philadelphia Eagles - Lane Johnson, OT
Original Pick: Lane Johnson, OT
Okay, hold a moment. Yes, Johnson's suspension concerns did cause some problems for Philly, but Johnson has been playing (and playing well) every single game he's been active for. His PFF grades have remained consistently top 10 as well. While I had considered throwing Philly a TE (which they would take in the next round), I think they've been surprisingly pleased with Johnson, all things considered.
5. Detroit Lions - Sheldon Richardson, DT/DE
Original Pick: Ezekiel Ansah, DE
Detroit would love to have back Ansah, but one problem that has consistently plagued the Lions has been their D-Line, especially with the losses of Suh and Fairley. Richardson would give them a solid jumping off point when the two would leave and remain a foundation on defense...provided Detroit could keep him in line.
6. Cleveland Browns - DeAndre Hopkins, WR
Original Pick: Barkevious Mingo, DE
So why was Mingo a failure in Cleveland? I'd bet a ton of money it was due to constant scheme changes and not knowing how to actually tap into his athleticism. By the time he got to New England this past year, he was damaged goods. Cleveland, even with Josh Gordon, was searching for a true top receiving option, and has for some time, and while it would be nice to "see the future" and give them Le'Veon Bell here as a relief for the incoming Trent Richardson trade, maybe even Johnny Football would have cleaned up his act over the potential of seeing DeAndre Hopkins catching TD's.
7. Arizona Cardinals - Kyle Long, OT/OG
Original Pick: Jonathan Cooper, OG
If anything, Cooper wasn't a real bust so much as he was just a sad story. Injuries derailed any chance of him becoming a natural starter in the league. So while I want to give fate the benefit of the doubt, thinking maybe he would recover appropriately, even if he did, Kyle Long is just the better player. Long would fortify an O-Line in Arizona that has needed stability in the worst way, and could even keep Carson Palmer healthy, the only thing that's impeded Arizona's long term Super Bowl aspirations.
8. St. Louis Rams [from Buffalo] - Le'Veon Bell, RB
Original Pick: Tavon Austin, WR
On the one hand, it would make a ton of sense for the Rams to have wanted to obtain a WR here, since the goal in getting Tavon Austin was to find a viable receiving threat to pair with Sam Bradford, to get some closure on this experiment gone wrong. We now know that Bradford would get annihilated, injured in Week 7, and we'd have nothing to go off of on if he could recover, since he got shipped out to Philly the next year. So, that in consideration, why wouldn't Bell make sense here? Bell bails out Bradford from having to work his tail off, and is a solid consolation for not having anyone to throw to.
9. New York Jets - Desmond Trufant, CB
Original Pick: Dee Milliner, CB
The Jets had traded Darrelle Revis to the Bucs, resulting in them getting a poor, poor CB in Milliner; which I, frankly, was astonished by, since I saw Milliner as a safe pick (remember those discussions? We all missed the mark, guys.) Trufant has developed nicely in Atlanta and would have easily taken away the sting (and the need for in the future) Revis.
10. Tennessee Titans - Justin Pugh, OT/OG
Original Pick: Chance Warmack, OG
Rounding out a poor top ten is Chance Warmack; now, all fairness, Chance wasn't terrible, but he was definitely not a starting LG. On the other hand, Justin Pugh was terrible for the Giants...at tackle. Then they moved him inside and he turned into a fairly effective option on the offensive line. If Tennessee had identified this immediately, and worked to transition him right from the drop, they could have had him learn from Andy Levitre and get him up to snuff quickly. I also considered WR here, but there aren't a lot of obvious options.
11. San Diego Chargers - Jamie Collins, LB
Original Pick: DJ Fluker, OT
Part of the functional issue now is what do we actually think of Fluker, because Fluker had been brought in to be a tackle; instead, he proved to be a more effective RG, much like Pugh, and I don't think San Diego was in position to give him the benefit of the doubt. In a draft where you needed elite talent from the drop, with not a lot around, let's go with Jamie Collins. Collins was far better than San Diego's LB pick in the next round (Manti Te'o) and improves their defense from the drop.
12. Oakland Raiders - Xavier Rhodes, CB
Original Pick: DJ Hayden, CB
DJ Hayden was bad, and he should feel bad. Xavier Rhodes, on the other hand, has been extremely productive as a zone corner in Minnesota, and will be commanding top dollar next season from Minnesota or otherwise.
13. New York Jets [from Tampa Bay] - Kawann Short, DT
Original Pick: Sheldon Richardson, DT
Yes, Short is more of a pure DT than Richardson was in the scheme the Jets wanted him for, but I still believe he'd be an excellent pairing with Muhammad Wilkerson...and also be a lot less hassle off the field for the Jets overall.
14. Carolina Panthers - Sharrif Floyd, DT
Original Pick: Star Lotulelei, DT
Honestly, this class for D-Line talent is highly underrated. A lot of solid starters were discovered in this draft, and its one of the few things that saves what was a really poor class overall. Lotulelei isn't necessarily bad, but considering Kawann Short is off the board, we need a player closer to his skill set in Carolina since they can't get him in the next round, so let's add Floyd here.
15. New Orleans Saints - Eric Reid, S
Original Pick: Kenny Vaccaro, S
This is not an admonishment on Vaccaro, a player who, all honesty, is pretty good all things considered. Reid just happens to play a style I think was more conducive to success in the NFC South, as he was much more proficient in knocking down passes and grabbing interceptions in opposition to Kenny, who was a better tackler. Don't think Vaccaro is making it out of the first round, either.
16. Buffalo Bills [from St. Louis] - Keenan Allen, WR
Original Pick: EJ Manuel, QB
Good god, now this starts getting tough. The Bills had one mainline issue in 2013, and that was QB play from EJ Manuel. EJ Manuel was not, is not, and will not be an NFL starting QB any time soon. But the Bills were soon to lose Stevie Johnson, and part of the reason they did not (in the next season) take a more moldable QB, like Derek Carr or Teddy Bridgewater, was because they strapped their ass to this rocket, and only got Sammy Watkins to try and speed up development on Manuel, now that there was an obvious hole. Since the Bills own two picks in the second, my thought would be...Mike Glennon, perhaps? But for now, they can afford to add the best (for the most part) WR remaining in play, and plan on a QB next year, where they could have even been in pole position to get the one they wanted.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers - Alec Ogletree, LB
Original Pick: Jarvis Jones, LB
Pittsburgh is going to be in a bind here, because they don't have the services of LeVeon Bell in play anymore, so they'll still need help at LB early and a RB in the next round. While I could offer Eddie Lacy, Latavius Murray, or CJ Anderson here, I'm voting Alec Ogletree, who has been productive for the Rams and might be even better working with the Steelers' defense, or at least better than Jarvis "How the hell did you bust this badly holy crap man" Jones.
18. San Francisco 49ers [from Dallas] - Kenny Vaccaro, S
Original Pick: Eric Reid, S
Again, see my thoughts on Reid above. Vaccaro is the best available S here, so he's the pick, and one that the Niners, moving off Dashon Goldson, needed to make.
19. New York Giants - Star Lotulelei, DT
Original Pick: Justin Pugh, OT/OG
New York found that Pugh was not a pure answer on the O-Line, but this O-Line class is poor and there's not anyone immediately available here they could have slotted in. So, we have to see what their next move was. While Jonathan Hankins was good, I happen to think Star Lotulelei has been a bit better overall, so let's slot him here with viable value.
20. Chicago Bears - Larry Warford, OG
Original Pick: Kyle Long, OG
I happen to remember scoffing when Long went this high, but Chicago hit the damn nail on the head with him, so let's have them just do it again. Warford has been underrated (and a little underperforming at that) since his breakout first season in Detroit, but he'd fill a necessary role for the Bears moving forward.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Travis Kelce, TE
Original Pick: Tyler Eifert, TE
This made way too much sense to not happen. Kelce went to UC, he was an Ohioan, and, in my view, he's proven far more valuable than Tyler Eifert. Eifert is a stellar player, but he's been hurt, literally, every season, and has been on the IR twice. Kelce would provide the same value with a bit more health variable involved.
22. Atlanta Falcons [from Washington via St. Louis] - Tyrann Mathieu, CB/S
Original Pick: Desmond Trufant, CB
I can't fault the Falcons here; they need another star in the backfield. Although Mathieu would transition into a more natural safety, it's not as though he wouldn't help a defense in serious need of secondary playmakers, considering ATL picked 2 in the first two frames.
23. Minnesota Vikings - Jonathan Hankins, DT
Original Pick: Sharrif Floyd, DT
Although a different type of player than Floyd, Hankins certainly earned his keep heading into this free agency period, and would fill a necessary hole on the Vikings D-Line.
24. Indianapolis Colts - Eddie Lacy, RB
Original Pick: Bjorn Werner, DE
This is before the Colts would make the brazen move to trade away a 2014 selection to the Browns for Trent Richardson, while still not truly addressing their own RB situation until that point. Yes, the Colts did desperately need a DE, but there just flat out is not one worth the 24th pick in this draft. Lacy slamming the ball up the middle as a safety valve for Luck might have been a tremendous winning combination.
25. Minnesota Vikings [from Seattle] - Logan Ryan, CB
Original Pick: Xavier Rhodes, CB
Minnesota is in a bind for the rest of this draft, simply because they won't be picking again until the 5th round. They went all in on the first round of this draft, so we have to get a CB and a WR in the next two picks. I'm going to hold off on WR for the moment. There's a number of routes they could go at CB, but I'm taking the Patriot's niche CB, Logan Ryan, for this slot. He carved out a nice career for himself and while he's not Xavier Rhodes, he would at least fit the need well enough.
26. Green Bay Packers - Giovanni Bernard, RB
Original Pick: Datone Jones, DE
Datone Jones wound up as a mystery, and there's still need for pure pass rushers in Green Bay, but damn, this DE class suuuuuucks. So, we need to ensure Green Bay obtains their position of need (RB) before the solid RB's are off the board. I considered some other names here, but Bernard's downhill style would work well in the Tundra.
27. Houston Texans - Jonathan Cypren, S
Original Pick: DeAndre Hopkins, WR
With no immediately great WR available, let's give Houston a solid (and in-division) pickup at S. Cyprien is a tackle machine, and would've been a solid presence in the secondary at a time where it seriously needed it.
28. Denver Broncos - Sylvester Williams, DT
Original Pick: Sylvester Williams, DT
Rough, because there's not an obvious need other than to get an anchor on the defensive line here. Williams is abysmal as a run-stopper, but he was a key part of the DL for Denver in their two runs to the big game. I think they'd keep him, but have an eye on the DL in 2014's draft.
29. Minnesota Vikings [from New England] - Kenny Stills, WR
Original Pick: Cordarelle Patterson, WR
Okay, so Kenny Stills is a resoundingly "fine" player, yes, but he is, for all intents and purposes, a starting WR. Maybe not a number one option, but certainly a viable target. Patterson seemed to be a mystery to the Vikings' coaching staff after year one, and considering the Vikings were about to obtain Teddy Bridgewater, giving him something, anything, resembling a viable starting wideout would have only helped the cause.
30. St. Louis Rams [from Atlanta] - Tony Jefferson, S
Original Pick: Alec Ogletree, LB
It would be easy to slot in a wideout here, or another pass rusher, but LB wasn't exactly a super pressing need, and we're already digging the bottom of the wideout barrel here. Jefferson has proven to be a legitimate S, taking away the need for TJ McDonald later and setting up a solid secondary for the Rams heading into the next season.
31. Dallas Cowboys [from San Francisco] - Travis Frederick, C
Original Pick: Travis Frederick, C
Face it. I laughed. You laughed. We thought "Holy shit, the Cowboys traded down, and all they're getting out of it is...a Center. What a botch." And instead, Frederick has become an All-Pro anchor on the best offensive line in the NFL. They got this one DEAD right.
32. Baltimore Ravens - TJ McDonald, S
Original Pick: Matt Elam, S
Yeah, sticking with S here. Actually, this was a decent safety class all around, but Matt Elam...not-so-much. McDonald has played much better and would have been a much more consistent force for the Ravens moving forward.
And that would be the end of this nightmare...kind of. I'm aware that this leaves a lot of question marks, and a lot of players not yet picked up. So here you go: let's make this a 3-rounder, just for giggles.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Darius Slay, CB
2. Tennessee Titans - Terrance Williams, WR
3. Philadelphia Eagles - Jordan Reed, TE
4. Detroit Lions - Robert Alford, CB
5. Cincinnati Bengals - C.J. Anderson, RB
6. San Diego Chargers - Terron Armstead, OT
7. New York Jets - D.J. Fluker, OT/OG
8. San Francisco 49ers - William Gholston, DE
9. Buffalo Bills - D.J. Swearinger, S
10. Oakland Raiders - Ryan Schraeder, OT
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Micah Hyde, CB
12. Carolina Panthers - Brandon Williams, DT
13. Arizona Cardinals - Kiko Alonso, LB
14. Buffalo Bills - Kevin Minter, LB
15. Dallas Cowboys - Tyler Eifert, TE
16. Pittsburgh Steelers - Latavius Murray, RB
17. New York Giants - Ricky Wagner, OT
18. Chicago Bears - Manti Te'o, LB
19. Washington Redskins - David Amerson, CB
20. New England Patriots - Jonathan Bostic, LB
21. Cincinnati Bengals - John Simon, DE
22. Miami Dolphins - Jamar Taylor, CB
23. San Francisco 49ers - Andre Ellington, RB
24. Baltimore Ravens - Gerald Hodges, LB
25. Houston Texans - Markus Wheaton, WR
26. Denver Broncos - Spencer Ware, RB
27. New England Patriots - Tavon Austin, WR
28. Atlanta Falcons - Jonathan Banks, CB
29. Green Bay Packers - Armonty Bryant, DE
30. Seattle Seahawks - Quinton Dial, DT/DE
1. Kansas City Chiefs - Zach Ertz, TE
2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jeff Heath, S
3. Detroit Lions - JC Tretter, OG/C
4. Oakland Raiders - Sio Moore, LB
5. Philadelphia Eagles - Bennie Logan, DT
6. Cleveland Browns - Datone Jones, DE
7. Arizona Cardinals - Baccari Rambo, S
8. Tennessee Titans - AJ Bouye, CB
9. St. Louis Rams - Charles Johnson, WR
10. New York Jets - Mike Glennon, QB
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Geno Smith, QB
12. Dallas Cowboys - Adam Theilen, WR
13. New Orleans Saints - Luke Joeckel, OT
14. San Diego Chargers - Robert Woods, WR
15. Miami Dolphins - Chance Warmack, G
16. Buffalo Bills - Cordarelle Patterson, WR
17. Pittsburgh Steelers - Dion Jordan, DE
18. Dallas Cowboys - JJ Wilcox, S
19. New York Giants - Devin Taylor, DE
20. New Orleans Saints - Bjorn Werner, DE
21. New England Patriots - Nickell Robey-Coleman, CB
22. Cincinnati Bengals - Shawn Williams, S
23. Washington Redskins - Melinek Watson, OT
24. Indianapolis Colts - Jarvis Jones, LB
25. Seattle Seahawks - Christine Michael, RB
26. San Francisco 49ers - Barkevious Mingo, DE
27. Houston Texans - Tim Lelito, OG/C
28. Denver Broncos - DJ Hayden, CB
29. New England Patriots - Jordan Poyer, CB/S
30. St. Louis Rams - Paul Worrilow, LB
31. Miami Dolphins - Dwayne Gratz, CB
32. Baltimore Ravens - Jordan Hill, DT
Am I missing anyone of note? Is there anyone who should be drafted higher or lower in your opinion? Any picks that flat out don't line up? Leave a comment.
As I mentioned during the evaluation, this class was bad, but it did have some redeeming qualities in the midst of it all. There's a lot of depth at CB, DT, and S in this class. A few interesting names at OT and LB are here, and although it lacks the flash and name power at WR and QB, there's quite a few NFL-viable RB's coming out of this group as well. Obviously the problems come down to poor evaluation of the talent as they would become, and yes, this class is weak compared to the group prior (and some in the ground after), particularly for pass rushers. That said, I do think there are some names here which push this class up above "absolute trash" status.
That doesn't mean it's not frustrating to come up with 3 rounds worth of draftable talent here.