By Charlie Campbell.
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With the 2013 NFL Draft in the books, it is only fair to dish out some awards for a job well done by a number of teams across the NFL. It also doesn't hurt to look at which teams may have made regrettable picks.
Pass along your thoughts on these awards and the 2013 NFL Draft. I'll put together a mail bag that answers questions/comments sent via email [email protected]
or on Twitter @draftcampbell
Best Value Pick Round 1:
Minnesota Vikings: DT Sharrif Floyd
Considering that Floyd was projected to be a top-five pick and the favorite to go third overall, Minnesota landing Floyd at No. 23 was a steal. The Vikings had a big need at the defensive tackle position and Floyd could provide an immediate impact playing next to Kevin Williams and Jared Allen. Floyd is a great scheme fit and can be the long-term replacement for Williams as the franchise's disruptive three-technique. Minnesota has had a great history of star defensive tackles with the likes of Keith Millard, John Randle and Williams. Floyd could be next in line.
Carolina DT Star Lotulelei (14), Pittsburgh OLB Jarvis Jones (17), Indianapolis DE Bjoern Werner (24), Houston WR DeAndre Hopkins (27) and St. Louis OLB Alec Ogletree (30).
Best Value Pick Day 2:
Green Bay Packers: RB Eddie Lacy
This was a steal for Green Bay. If the organization had taken Eddie Lacy in the first round, it would have been understandable, but to trade down into the second round and land Lacy is pure theft. The Packers needed a feature back to help take the pressure off of Aaron Rodgers and landed a work horse. Lacy is a physical back and will add a needed dimension to the Green Bay offense. He will help them in short-yardage and close out games with a strong second-half running game. Being able to move back and still land Lacy was some masterful drafting by Ted Thompson.
Detroit G Larry Warford (65), Carolina DT Kawann Short, New Orleans OT Terron Armstead (75), New Orleans DT John Jenkins (82), San Diego WR Keenan Allen (76), New York Giants DE Damontre Moore (81), Tampa Bay CB Johnthan Banks (43), Oakland OT Menelik Watson (42), Houston S D.J. Swearinger (57), and New York Jets QB Geno Smith (39).
Best Value Pick Day 3:
Washington Redskins: S Philip Thomas
This was a tough call between Thomas, Bears linebacker Khaseem Greene and Redskins safety Bacarri Rambo. All three were steals on the third day. I chose Thomas because he could be an impact starter as a rookie. Washington was in dire need of help at safety, and Thomas should compete for a starting spot immediately. He has elite ball skills and could be a dangerous weapon playing behind the Redskins' pass-rushers. Rambo was a play-maker in college as well, so landing those two ballhawks on the third day of the 2013 NFL Draft was great value for Washington. Either one could've been taken in the top 100.
Chicago LB Khaseem Greene (117), Philadelphia QB Matt Barkley (98), Arizona DE/OLB Alex Okafor (103), New York Giants QB Ryan Nassib (110), St. Louis OL Barrett Jones (113), Green Bay RB Johnathan Franklin (125), Atlanta DE Malliciah Goodman (127), San Francisco RB Marcus Lattimore (131), Arizona RB Stepfan Taylor (140), Chicago OT Jordan Mills (163), New Orleans WR Kenny Stills (144), Denver DE Quanterus Smith (146), Miami RB Mike Gillislee (164), Oakland TE Nick Kasa (172), Washington S Bacarri Rambo (191), Houston OL David Quessenberry (176), Philadelphia CB Jordan Poyer (218), Chicago WR Marquess Wilson (23) and Chicago DE Cornelius Washington (188).
St. Louis Rams: OLB Alec Ogletree
There were a few great trades in the 2013 NFL Draft. The Packers moving down and taking Lacy was phenomenal. Tennessee moving up for Justin Hunter was an impressive move by general manager Ruston Webster.
However, Les Snead and the Rams played the first round of the draft perfectly. They perfectly assessed the value of their players and got them at the right spot. After moving up to get Tavon Austin, the Rams slid down from No. 22 to No. 30 in a trade with the Falcons. St. Louis selected Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree and recovered a third-round pick in the process.
If the Rams had been stuck at No. 22, they still would've taken Ogletree. Moving down and landing the player they would've taken anyway, while adding a second-day pick, is masterful by Snead. Adding talent at the right value is what the draft is all about, and St. Louis made some shrewd moves to improve its roster.
Green Bay moving down for Eddie Lacy, Tennessee moving up for Justin Hunter, Arizona moving down for Kevin Minter and Baltimore moving up for Arthur Brown.
Biggest Reach Round 1:
Dallas Cowboys: C Travis Frederick
Hands down, Frederick was the biggest reach in Round 1. He was a third-round prospect and had no business being a first-round pick. The interior of the Dallas offensive line is awful, but taking Frederick there was a terrible value. Dallas could've drafted Florida State right tackle Menelik Watson and moved him inside to guard. Kentucky guard Larry Warford was a consensus higher-rated prospect than Frederick as well. Either Watson or Warford would have been more understandable at pick No. 31.
Buffalo QB E.J. Manuel (16), New York Giants OT Justin Pugh (19) and Cleveland Browns OLB Barkevious Mingo (6).
Biggest Reach Day 2:
New England Patriots: S Duron Harmon
Harmon was considered to be a late-round pick or potential undrafted free agent before the 2013 NFL Draft, but Bill Belichick's love for Rutgers players caused him to overdraft Harmon with the 91st overall pick.
Harmon was a solid player in college, but he wasn't a standout by any means. The senior had 50 tackles with passes defensed and one interception in 2012.
The Patriots have used a ton of picks on corners and safeties in the past few year without great results. It wouldn't be surprising if Harmon keeps that trend going. He was the biggest reach of the second day of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Dallas TE Gavin Escobar (47), Denver RB Montee Ball (58) and CB Kayvon Webster (90).
Best Undrafted Free Agent Signing:
New Orleans Saints: OLB Chase Thomas
Thomas was viewed as a second-day prospect for a lot of the draft process. He had a solid 2012 season which wasn't as impressive as his junior season. Thomas stock was hurt by a disappointing Senior Bowl as he moved from playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense. Still, Thomas has consistently been an impact pass-rusher over the past two years with a total of 16 sacks.
The Saints are transitioning to a 3-4 defense, and Thomas could compete for playing time immediately with Martez Wilson and Junior Galette. Thomas isn't the biggest or the fastest, but he is a tough football player. It wouldn't be surprising if Thomas makes the team and provides an impact in 2013.
Carolina S Robert Lester, New Orleans CB Rod Sweeting, Jacksonville TE Ryan Otten, Washington OT Xavier Nixon, Seattle G Alvin Bailey, Tennessee RB Stefphon Jefferson, Houston RB Ray Graham, Houston RB Dennis Johnson, Houston RB Cierre Wood, Baltimore QB Nathan Stanley, Cleveland OT Chris Faulk and Buffalo WR Da'Rick Rogers.
Best Draft Class:
Green Bay Packers
This wasn't an easy choice. I liked what the Rams, Cardinals, Chargers, Vikings and Bears were able to do. Two under-the-radar teams that did really well were the Saints and Redskins. However, Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson played the 2013 NFL Draft like the expert that he is. The Packers were able to address their needs and build up their depth. Green Bay's draft class should provide an immediate impact and yield good results in the long term.
The organization increased its physicality on both sides of the ball with Datone Jones and Eddie Lacy. Jones is a powerful force on the defensive line and gives the Packers a sorely needed element of violence at the point of attack.
Lacy can be the lead back that Green Bay has been missing. He will be excellent to close out wins late in games as he runs over tired defenders who have been chasing the Packers' passing attack for three quarters. Fourth-round running back Johnathan Franklin will be a nice change of pace and be an asset in the passing game. The duo should provide an immediate upgrade for the team.
Green Bay needed to upgrade its offensive line depth, too, and did so with David Bakhtiari and J.C. Tretter. Both were college tackles who could play guard, center or tackle in the NFL. If injuries hit the Packers' line in 2013 like they did last year, Bakhtiari and Tretter will provide more talent off the bench.
Corner/safety Micah Hyde is a nice fit in the Green Bay secondary. He was an underrated prospect and could become a contributor. The team added some more talent in the late rounds. Defensive tackle Josh Boyd and South Florida linebacker Sam Barrington were nice value picks.
The Packers could be primed for another championship run in 2013, and it wouldn't be surprising if Green Bay's rookies played an integral role in it.
Worst Draft Class:
I didn't like the draft classes by the Browns and Bills, but those teams still landed multiple players who could be immediate starters. Thus, the Cowboys' draft class was the worst because they have only one player who looks like a serious candidate to start.
Center Travis Frederick was an obvious reach in the first round. He fills a big need for Dallas, but he has had struggles with speed-rushers. The early entry could use some time to develop in the NFL, but Frederick won't be afforded it as the Cowboys said he will start immediately.
Second-round tight end Gavin Escobar is a flawed prospect with a lack of speed. He'll back up Jason Witten, but Escobar won't be a candidate to start any time soon. Dallas made some decent picks after that, but none of them was a tremendous value.
The Cowboys selected Baylor wide receiver Terrance Williams and Georgia Southern safety J.J. Wilcox in the third round. Williams is a nice depth receiver. Wilcox could develop into a solid player in the long run, but he needs time while the team needed immediate safety help. Wilcox changed positions a few times in college, having played on offense in the early going. Coming from Georgia Southern is a big enough jump, but he's still learning safety. I think Dallas would have been better off taking D.J. Swearinger in the second round over Escobar and taking a backup tight end later on.
Cornerback B.W. Webb has some developmental position, while Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle could be a decent rotational back. Linebacker DeVonte Holloman looks like a special teams contributor and a backup.
This draft class looks like it is collection of depth players rather than a group of prospects who could yield multiple starters.
Top Draft Newcomer:
New York Jets: John Idzik
Idzik has come under a lot of fire for the Darrelle Revis trade, but that move was forced on him by ownership because they weren't willing to pay Revis long term. Idzik did well getting a first- and likely third-round pick for Revis. In fact the 13th pick, the first-rounder the Jets got for Revis, will have a contract with a total value being millions less than one year of Revis's deal with Tampa Bay.
Idzik did well with his first-rounders in the 2013 NFL Draft. Dee Milliner was the top cornerback, and Sheldon Richardson was the first defensive tackle selected. Both players were among the top-10 most talented players in the draft class. Landing them at picks No. 9 and No. 13 is good value.
In the second round, Idzik was able to get the consensus top-rated quarterback in the draft. Geno Smith isn't a flawless prospect, but it shouldn't be long before he is an upgrade over the inept Mark Sanchez. Smith also is a good fit in New York's new offense.
The Jets have issues at guard and right tackle and were able to fill those holes with Brian Winters (third round) and Oday Aboushi (fifth round). Both of those picks could turn into starters.
Trading a mid-round pick for running back Chris Ivory made sense as well. New York is firmly in rebuilding mode and the organization needs more than one draft to fill all its needs, but Idzik got them off to a nice start.
Once again, pass along your thoughts on these awards and 2013 NFL Draft. I'll put together a mail bag that answers questions/comments sent via email [email protected]
or on Twitter @draftcampbell
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