Wednesday, May 1, 2013

2013 Draft Grades #26-32

Well the 2013 draft is officially in the books.  As we do every year, let grade out all of the teams to see how they did.  As with the first round grades these grades these grades take into account how well the player drafted fits the team's style of play and needs.  I also look to see how much value the team got from every pick.  Teams that reach are impacted negatively, and teams that take high ranked players on my board at later positions are rewarded.  Each selection is individually graded (A-F) and then those grades are averaged out at the end to get an overall Draft Point Average (DPA).  This scales from 4.0 (an 'A' grade for every pick) down to 0.0 (an 'F' grade for every pick).  Of course these ratings are based on what we know right now.  That means in 3-5 years from now, this could prove to be very different.  As is usual here at EZ Football Futures, we will start from the bottom and work our way up to the top.

#32 New York Giants     DPA 2.09
I love Jerry Reese as a GM.  I think what he has done overall with the Giants is quite remarkable.  Having said that, I am not so in love with the Giants haul during this draft.  The team needed help on their front, and they used their first round pick on Justin Pugh.  To me this was a reach, especially considering some of their other needs and players available.  John Hankins in the second round was another pick I really did not love.  Their best pick was in round 3 with Demontre Moore.  In the Giants system, he could become an impact player off the edge.

#31 Detroit Lions     DPA 2.09
The Lions were on the upswing, but this draft is not going to do too much to help.  Sure, they landed an immense upside player in Ziggy Ansah with their round one pick, but Ansah does in fact come with some significant risk.  Slay in round two is a nice fit, and I also like but not love the addition of Larry Warford in round 3.  At the end of this one this draft is really lackluster in my opinion.

#30 Indianapolis Colts     DPA 2.11
Last year Ryan Grigson did a lot of good things with the Colts draft, and he helped push this team from the cellar right into the playoffs.  This year's draft although thorough lacks spark.  Bjoern Werner is a decent pick in round 1, but he leaves some questions in my mind.  Beyond the first round, every other pick fills needs, but is unremarkable as a whole.  At then end of the day this draft will provide Indy with some much needed depth, but I don't see this producing any stars.

#29 Buffalo Bills      DPA 2.15
This draft is an example of how one errant selection could ruin the whole thing.  Overall I actually like what the Bills did.  I love the Robert Woods pickup in the second round, and I am a fan of the 3rd round addition of Marquise Goodwin too.  All of a sudden the Bills have a receiving corp.  I also like the Kiko Alonso and Duke Williams additions for their defense. Despite this they come in this low because of the super reach in round 1 for EJ Manuel.  Maybe he turns out to be a franchise QB for the Bills.  I just don't think so.

#28 Cleveland Browns     DPA 2.16
The Browns did not have a lot to work with having only 5 picks.  They burned a second rounder to take Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft a year ago.  That was an excellent addition.  Beyond that though, the Mingo pick in round 1 comes with major boom/bust potential.  The McFadden pick in the third was okay.  I did like the Jamoris Slaughter pick back in the sixth round though.  Cleveland has a long way to go to rebuild this franchise, but Michael Lombardi has taken the first steps.  Small steps, but steps none the less.

#27 Tampa Bay Buccaneers     DPA 2.20
Most of the good works the Bucs have done this offseason came before the draft.  At the end of last season, I was very critical of the Bucs secondary, calling it the worst in the NFL.  They placed a focus on the unit, and between the trade for Revis, and signing of Goldson, the unit is now looking quite good.  Which brings me to the Bucs first selection in the draft, Jonathan Banks in round 2.  I like Banks, but I am not sure the pick made much sense any longer. With a need at linebacker and Arthur Brown still inexplicably available, that should have been their selection.  Their other picks were alright.  I like the addition of William Gholston, but Mike Glennon seems to be too much like their incumbent, Josh Freeman for me to be excited.

#26 Green Bay Packers     DPA 2.29
I mentioned in my first round analysis how hard it is for me to Packer bash considering the great success they have had.  They needed to address their anemic running game, and they did this well.  Adding Eddy Lacy at the back end of the second round was a steal, and I also like the addition of Johnathan Franklin too.  The Datone Jones pick in the first is still a bit of question mark for me, and none of the other picks really strike me as outstanding.

Friday, April 26, 2013

2013 First Round Draft Grades

The first round of the 2013 NFL Draft is in the books.  What I am going to do is go pick-by-pick and award draft grades for each selection.  I understand the absurdity of it all though.  You cannot accurately assign a draft grade until 3-5 years down the road.  I get it.  Still, I want to grade the teams based on what I think I know now.  For those who have never read a draft review of mine before, I grade on an A-F scale.  A key is below to help you understand what I mean by each grade.  Also, I take into account a few different factors when I assign a grade.  First, I look at the player and his fit on the team that drafted him.  I also look at the value the pick brings based on where the player fell on my overall draft board.  High value picks increase grades, while reaches decrease grades.  I also compare what the team picked, with what was available to be picked when they came on the board too.

So lets take a look at my initial assessment of the 2013 NFL Draft's first round.

1. Kansas City - Eric Fisher, OT, CMU
      Although not a sexy pick, this was a good pick for KC.  As of this writing, Braden Albert is still on the roster and the addition of Fisher fills their hole at RT.  If Albert does in fact get dealt, Fisher will shift to the left, and KC will have to work to fill RT some other way.  Either way, Smith is safer in his new home because of this pick.  Grade: B

2. Jacksonville - Luke Joeckel, OT, TAMU
     The Jags have so many needs that it was going to be hard not to hit on this pick.  Today Eugene Monroe is the team's LT and he has been a bit disappointing thus far.  Adding Joeckel gives them an immediate upgrade and allows for Monroe to be moved to the right side where he may have more success.  Thanks to the way the draft has shaped up, they are also in position to kick of round 2 with a pick and lots of talent still available.  Geno Smith anyone?  Grade: B

3. Miami via Oakland - Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
     Miami continued their offseason of bold moves by trading up to the third overall pick to grab the top defender on their board in Dion Jordan.  I like Jordan, but don't love him as I see him as a bit one dimensional   Having said that, if he develops into a Jason Taylor type player as some have sad he could, this would be a great addition to the Dolphins pass rush.  Considering they only had to give up 1 number two to swap 1st rounders (very low cost), you an't be too hard on Miami for making the move.  Grade: B-

4. Philadelphia - Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
     When the Eagles got on the clock, I was thinking they should grab Milliner.  When they didn't, my reaction was adverse, but I gave the Lane Johnson selection some more thought since.  I actually like this selection.  Of the OTs at the top, Johnson is the only one of them who could play in Chip Kelly's fast paced system.  He is athletic enough to constantly run up the field to fire off the next play, and from a fit perspective, this make perfect sense.  The Eagles still have other holes to fill, but after further consideration, I do like this choice.  Grade: B

5. Detroit - Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU
      If this grade were on potential alone, this would be an A+.  Ziggy Ansah is all about the upside.  Right now however, he is very raw and will take some time to develop.  Everyone is making comparisons to South Florida's Jason Pierre Paul, but Ansah is even more raw than JPP was.  Also, Detroit passed on Dee Milliner, an available stud at a bigger position of need, which also impacts the draft grade.  It may pan out in the end, but for now, this will be wait and see.  Grade: C

6. Cleveland - Barvevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
     Cleveland used their first pick of this new regime to add pass rushing specialist Keke Mingo.  He does have a real upside as in pertains to getting after the passer, but there is a lot of risk with this pick too.  In my mind it is equally as possible that Mingo will be a bust.  Considering this team also passed on Milliner (also a major need for them) to add Mingo, who plays a position that they already seem to have a lot of talent at, I am left scratching my head.  Grade: C-

7. Arizona - Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
     Normally I am not a fan of picking an OG so high, but this is a different case for the Cards.  They have a lot of needs, and Jon Cooper has the potential to be a special player.  He is flexible enough to play any of the three interior positions up front, and although not a sexy pick, this does in fact address a major deficiency for the Cardinals.  At the end of the day, this is a great match of need to talent.  Grade: A

8. St Louis via Buffalo - Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
    I understand why they did it.  Austin was one of the hottest names in the draft.  They expected the Jets to pounce next.  They have a glaring need for a player who can make plays in the offense and returning kicks now that Amendola is gone.  I get it.  I just don't love it.  Before the draft I explained in details some of my concerns with the diminutive Austin.  I know many Rams fans and just as many pundits are stoked about this pick.  I am just not as enamored, especially having to pay to move up.  Grade: C

9. NY Jets - Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
     Milliner was the top defensive player on my board going into draft night.  The Jets, after trading Revis, have a major need at the corner position.  I never expected for Milliner to be there when NY picked at 9, but when he was they pounced.  Excellent move by the new Jets regime.  Milliner is the only corner in this class with a chance to replace what they lost by dealing Revis.  Grade: A+

10.  Tennessee - Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
    In free agency, the Titans recognized their needs up front a went and made a very good "under the radar" type move by signing the underrated Andy Levitre away from Buffalo.  Kudos to Tennessee for not thinking they were done.  I've been quite laudatory in my opinion about Chance Warmack.  I expect him to be tremendous at the next level.  Tennessee made a bold move to provide Locker with protection to help get this offense moving.  Grade: A

11. San Diego - DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama
     After seeing what the Dolphins had to pay to get up to three, you really have to wonder why San D didn't try and make that trade to get Lance Johnson.  Clearly the Bolts needed to address o-line or ILB, but now at 11 they faced a situation where the only o-linemen or ILBs available would be a reach.  Here, they went for the smallest reach in Fluker.  I think Fluker will be a good solid pro.  I don't think he should have gone this high. Grade: C-

12. Oakland via Miami - DJ Hayden, CB, Houston
    I just don't get what Oakland did on Thursday night.  I know they fell in love with Hayden.  I know he has some ball skills.  Why they traded down to this point for such little compensation, and then still reached for their guy without trading down again I don't understand.  I also can't see taking Hayden over either Sharrif Floyd or Tyler Eifert, both who were higher rated players still available at positions of greater need.  Maybe Hayden will be really good.  He probably needs to learn how to tackle first though.  Grade: D+

13. NY Jets - Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
     The Jets were in perfect position to address another glaring need on this team with either a pass rushing OLB like Jarvis Jones or TE with Tyler Eifert.  Instead, they took Sheldon Richardson.  My criticism here is not of Richardson himself, I like him as a player.  My indictment is of how poorly he fit this team's system.  Richardson is not a true 3-technique linemen, and the Jets already have Coples and Wilkerson at DE.  I think this is a situation of square peg in a round hole.  Grade: D

14.  Carolina - Star Lotulelei, DL, Utah
     Carolina stayed patient, and they were big beneficiaries of this strategy.  They were able to add a top 5 overall talent in Lotulelei sitting in the 14th position.  In this defense Lotulelei will be tasked with occupying blockers up front so the Panther linebackers can roam and make plays unfettered.  Overall, great value, great fit.  Grade: A+

15. New Orleans - Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
     With Bjoern Werner still on the board, I thought that the Saints may be tempted to grab the DE in the hopes that he could help an ailing pass rush.  Instead, they address the secondary with the hard hitting Kenny Vaccaro.  Vaccaro is a good character guy who plays hard at a position of need.  You have to like that. They did not reach too far either to get him, so again, that is a plus. Grade: B

16. Buffalo via St Louis - EJ Manuel, QB, FSU
    I said it repeatedly prior to the draft.  There is no QB worth a 1st round pick in this class.  It apperaed that all but 1 of the NFL's teams agreed with that.  Every draft there is one pick where the whole draft world says "WTF?"  This year this was that pick.  I know Buffalo needs a QB, and Manuel has some talent, but at 16?  Really?  He was the 4th best QB on my board.  He is a major project and came with a 3rd round grade.  Come on Buffalo, trade down again, and again, and then get your guy a round or two later. Grade: F

17. Pittsburgh - Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
     If ever there was a player made for a system, it may be Jarvis Jones for Pittsburgh.  Th fact that Jones is a top 10 overall player in my book, and was grabbed here at 17, was also great.  The fact the Pittsburgh needs a player of this type, with this kind of attitude is another big plus.  Bottom line, I love everything about this pick.  One of my favorites of the night. Grade: A+

18. San Francisco via Dallas - Eric Reid, S, LSU
    Some teams are so difficult to question because of how successful they have been a decision making over the years.  The Niners are one of those teams.  There is no doubt that they needed to replace Dashon Goldson at Safety.  I just don't see why they had to trade up to do it.  Considering that a kid like John Cyprien (#2 safety on my board) is still available now, it is obvious they could have sat put at 31 and grabbed a safety.  I like Eric Reid, and if they had him over Cyprien, then fine, but the trade up is really what is baffling me.  Then again, as I said earlier, it is so hard to question what San Fran does, because it all seems to work out. Grade: C-

19. NY Giants - Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse
    Many of the experts were fairly high on Justin Pugh coming into the draft.  I however was not as much.  I do not see him projecting as an OT in the league.  I think he would be better off moving inside to Guard, where his lack of wingspan is less a concern.  I had Pugh rated with a mid round 2 grade, so grabbing him almost a round too early is another issue I have.  Sure the Giants have needs, but a linebacker like Brown or Ogletree would have been much better fits, and created much more value.  Grade: D

20. Chicago - Kyle Long, OG, Oregon
     I am glad the Bears read my blog, and decided I was right and they needed to address holes in their o-line.  I'm just not sure why they felt that trading down first and then doing it was not the better option.  Kyle Long has the bloodlines (son of Howie Long, brother of Chris Long) and the raw talent to be a good player. Still, he is another guy who could have still been around in the mid second round.  With players like Arthur Brown and Alec Ogletree still available  I think this was a reach.  Grade: D

21. Cincinnati - Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
      Sometimes sitting put and looking for one of the best players available works out, and this is the case with the Bengals selection of Tyler Eifert.  Eifert was the top TE in this class, and paired with the weapons already in place (Green, Sanu, & Gresham) this gives Andy Dalton another great toy for his collection.  This does not address any area of need for the Bengals, which is about the only critique you can have of this pick.  Otherwise, awesome.  Grade: A

22. Atlanta via St Louis via Washington - Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
     I can't criticize Atlanta for trading up here.  They knew they needed a corner, and it was looking more an more likely that the best ones remaining would not be there for them at the very bottom of the round.  On my board I had Trufant rated one spot behind Xavier Rhodes who was still available, but Rhodes and Trufant are very different styles of corner.  Based on the system Atlanta plays, Trufant is actually the better fit, so despite my early criticism last night, I have decided I am good with this pick. Grade: B

23. Minnesota - Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
    Hard to argue with a pick that nets you a top 5 talent at the 23rd spot in the draft.  Even harder to argue when this fills a position of need, as it does with the Vikings now that Pat Williams has retired.  I am not sure what led to Floyd's drop.  Every year it seems that this inexplicable happens to someone.  This year it was Sharrif, and Minnesota was in the position to benefit.  Grade: A+

24. Indianapolis - Bjoern Werner, DE, FSU
     This pick was a little surprising to me.  With all of the available talent at linebacker (their biggest need position) still available, the Colts instead choose to address their pass rush with Werner.  Werner is a talent, albeit an inconsistent one.  Sometimes he looks like an unstoppable barbarian coming of the edge.  Other times, he completely disappears.  He does have the talent to become an impact player though, but I see it as a challenge to the coaching staff.  Grade: C

25. Minnesota - Xavier Rhodes, CB, FSU
     I can absolutely see myself 4 years from now talking about how it was this draft that put Minnesota back on the map as a perennial NFC power.  Two picks ago, they added value with the falling Floyd.  Now they do the same thing with the falling Rhodes.  Xavier Rhodes is a bigger corner, who is a perfect fit for Minnesota's system.  Using these picks to address their defense and get value each time made Minnesota the big winners of the first round. Grade: A

26. Green Bay - Datone Jones, DE/OLB, UCLA
    Like San Francisco, Green Bay is a team that is so hard to question because of that Midas touch.  I had Jones as a mid/late 2nd round grade though coming into the night, so it is equally as difficult not to view this pick as a reach.  Having said that, I am aware that I had a harsher grade on him than most experts, and he really does fit into Green Bay's system quite nicely.  This is definitely one of those pick where in 4 years I could be saying how wrong I was with this grade.  Grade: D

27. Houston - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
    This is a really solid first round selection in my book.  It was obvious to me, and likely to everyone else, how badly this team needed to add another wide receiver or three .  Going after the receiver with the best hands in this class at this position was a very smart move.  With the injury to Posey, and the constant focus put on Johnson, they had to get Schaub another weapon, and I think Hopkins is going to be a great fit in this system.  Grade: B

28. Denver - Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
    Over the last few weeks only one other player moved up my final board as much as Sylvester Williams (DJ Hayden).  Williams really belonged in the discussion with Lotulelei and Richardson, and is explosiveness is the reason why.  He is one of the most powerful players I have seen, and I see him being very disruptive at the next level.  Denver's need at the position only further solidifies this as one of the better picks of the first round, in my opinion. Grade: A

29. Minnesota via New England - Cordarrell Patterson, WR, Tennessee
     After two phenomenal picks already, Minnesota trades back up into the first round again, and this time adds another weapon to the offense in Patterson.  Patterson is very talented, but he is raw and immature.  There is a considerable amount of risk assumed with this pick, and considering the price Minnesota paid to move up (2-3-4-7), it makes the cost of missing here much higher.  Still, I did think Patterson would have been gone by this point, so there is some value here, and if newly acquired Greg Jennings can mentor Patterson and teach him what it means to be a pro, it could pan out in a big way.   Grade: C+

30. St Louis via Atlanta - Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
       After paying to move up earlier in the round, now St Louis gets paid to slide down to this spot here, and they are still faced with some great options.  On defense the biggest need this team has is at linebacker and safety.  John Cyprien, Arthur Brown, and Alec Ogletree were all still available.  The truth is, I like Ogletree, but I like both Brown and Cyprien more.  Either of those guys would have earned St Louis an "A" in my book.  Ogletree is talented, but he played inside at college.  In the Rams system, it seems they will move him to the outside.  He has the skill set to do this, but that plus some off-the-field concerns simply sets this as the third best option.  If anyone can pull this off though, it is Jeff Fisher.  Grade: C

31. Dallas via San Francisco - Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin
    So I agree that Dallas needed an improvement in the middle of their o-line.  I agree that Travis Frederick could turn out to be a good player, and is a nice fit for their system.  What I don't agree with is taking him at this juncture.  I would have much preferred to see Dallas trade down again, maybe with a team like the Jets who could have been enticed to trade up for Geno Smith, and then take Frederick in the early/mid second round, where he belonged.  Maybe the Cowboys knew of someone who was willing to pull the trigger early in the second?  Then again, maybe they didn't.  Grade: C-

32. Baltimore - Matt Elam, S, Florida
     I don't know how Ozzie does it, but every year, he seems to figure out a way to get exactly what he wants out of the draft.  This year, he did it by staying put.  The team needed to come away from round 1 with either a safety or MLB.  When they got on the clock, Mantei Te'o and John Cyprien were both there to choose from.  The Ravens chose to go safety, but instead of Cyprien, they chose Elam.  Elam is a hard hitter and good tackler.  Both of those qualities will be valued in Baltimore.  My only knock is he lacks the upside of Cyprien.  Grade: C+

Thursday, April 25, 2013

2013 NFL Draft Pick 32 - Matt Elam, S, Florida

With the final pick in the first round, the Ravens have to start filling the holes left as the Ravens were raided following their Super Bowl win.  They needed safeties, and linebackers, and they had some good ones to choose from.  Ozzie Newsome always seems to be in excellent position to refill the cupboard.  With his pick he chooses Elam from Florida.  Elam is a hard hitting safety, who I had projected to go to Baltimore with this pick, but then I did not expect John Cyprien to still be available.  If I were GM, Cyprien would have been the name I sent in, but Elam is not a bad alternative.

2013 NFL Draft Pick 31 - Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin

Dallas made a good move earlier tonight trading down in the first round.  Now, on the clock again, the Cowboys choose to add Travis Frederick.  The Cowboys meet a need by adding Frederick, but he has a mid round 2 grade in my book.  Frederick has the potential to make an impact, but I simply see this as a reach.  I would have much preferred to see Dallas trade down again, another 10 picks or so, and then take him if he was their target.

2013 NFL Draft Pick 30 - Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia

So St Louis started the day with two picks in the first round, and after a lot of movement, they finish with two picks in the first round, albeit two different first round selections.  With their first they gave their offense a new weapon in Tavon Austin.  Now, here at 30, they add a new piece to their defense.  Ogletree is an excellent tackler, and plays well sideline to sideline.  Ogletree has some real concerns about his off field decision making, but I think his on field potential makes this a worth while pick.  He is very athletic, and will fit in well in St Louis.