Friday, April 26, 2013

32 Knee-Jerk Reactions to the NFL's First Round

by Justis Mosqueda

1 Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Fisher OT Central Michigan
I was about as excited for this #1 pick as I have been for any. Once news started pouring in that Fisher, not Joeckel, was going to be the pick, I felt a little bit of vindication for the side I chose in the Fisher v Joeckel debate. Fisher is a good fit in KC, if they are moving Albert, or at least flipping him to RT. I think that Fisher is a better LT than Joeckel, but Joeckel is the better RT. Kansas City got the best player on my board at #1.

2 Jacksonville Jaguars: Luke Joeckel OT Texas A&M
After all that talk about finding a building block for the Jaguars defense and all the rebranding and the Jacksonville fans taking over the NFL Draft on Day 1....they take a possible RT? I was really on the line of thought that had them taking Dion Jordan. Their HC is a defensively orientated guy and Jordan is as versatile as they come. Joeckel wasn't a bad pick for Jacksonville, it's just not what I expected. Gabbert has had criticism thrown his way about staring at the pass rush because he's been sacked so many times. Maybe the Jaguars took Joeckel just before Gabbert was going to go full-David Carr.

3 Miami Dolphins: Dion Jordan DE Oregon
Miami needed someone else to rush the passer, besides Cameron Wake. I didn't think it would be this early, though. After losing Jake Long I thought they would maybe try to slip in and take Lane Johnson before Chip Kelly could get his hands on the athletic lineman. I guess they thought Chip was going to take another former Duck in Jordan. I like the pick for Miami, but I'm not so sold on the trade up. We have seen move like this (Julio Jones-Atlanta) become huge building blocks for franchises, though. Hopefully Miami knows what they are doing.

4 Philadelphia Eagles: Lane Johnson OT Oklahoma
If there was ever a perfect fit for a coach and prospect this draft it would either be Chip Kelly (really coach Az, former Oregon defensive line coach) and Dion Jordan, or Chip Kelly and Lane Johnson. Johnson really broke out on the scene this year. There are questions whether or no he can anchor, but the reason he's the third offensive lineman off the board, and Chip Kelly took him at #4 overall, is because his athleticism. Johnson is going to be able to pull, keep up with edge rushers, and get to the second level on screens, draws, and zone plays, just like Chip wanted his left tackles at Oregon to do, but at a higher level. As a football fan, I wanted to see Geno Smith and Chip Kelly matched up, but maybe Day 2 has something in store for us.

5 Detroit Lions: Ezekiel Ansah DE BYU
It's obviously a disappointment for Detroit that all the blue chip tackles were taken off the board by the time they were on the clock, but they made their defense a lot better with the Ansah selection, at least in theory. The knock on Ansah is his lack of production and rawness, in general. If there was ever a DT tandem to eat enough space, and be respected enough by offensive lines in the passing game, to allow Ansah to be freed up a bit in the pass rush, it would be Suh and Fairley. It's also worth noting that Ansash was coached up by the Lion's staff at the Senior Bowl. Maybe he can buy some real glasses with that signing bonus:

6 Cleveland Browns: DE Barkevious Mingo OLB LSU
Wait, his name has Bark in it...and he's going to play in front of the Dawg Pound? (Until the team get repossessed by the league and gets moved away, again, that is.) Cleveland is obviously making the pass rush a priority this offseason by not only taking a OLB at #6, but signing free agent Paul Kruger (former Raven) to a big deal. At this point, I would take Mingo over Ansah, if we strapping on cleats today.

7 Arizona Cardinals: Jonathan Cooper OG North Carolina
I was actually taking to a Cardinals fan the night before the draft and he was pitching to me why guards are a more important upgrade than tackles for them. I'm going to assume he really liked this pick. While Warmack was rated by many as the blue chop interior lineman of the draft, Cooper is much more athletic. Arizona flat out needed pass protection help everywhere on the offensive line. Instead of “reaching” on an offensive tackle, they took the best LG and C on the board. By doing so, Cooper became the first OG taken in top 10 since 1997. I like this pick about as much as you can like a guard being taken in the first.

8 St. Louis Rams: Tavon Austin WR West Virginia
The longer the draft process went along, the more I started to like Austin as a first round pick. His size scares me (as a Ducks fan, I compared DAT to him), but he's so fast that defenders rarely hit him dead on. It almost seems like they have to clip him to take him down. The Rams were really desperate for weapons, and Austin can be their Darren Sproles. Anything you can do to help Bradford is a plus at this point, for them. Based on the media reports the Jets really wanted him, so I can see why they pulled the trigger here.

9 New York Jets: Dee Milliner CB Alabama
I had to pause ESPN last night (yes, I watched the ESPN version instead of the NFL Network broadcast) because I saw something I thought I would never see. Jets fans. Cheering. At the draft. After Tavon Austin went off the board it was pretty well known that the Jets were going to take a CB, a positional need created after trading off Revis earlier this week. I like Milliner, but I wasn't crazy about him like many. I don't think there was that much of a value difference between him and Trufant long term. Rex is going to love Milliner, because he's already as good technique wise as most corners in the league.

10 Tennessee Titans: Chance Warmack OG Alabama
If this pick wasn't going to be Warmack, I wouldn't have an idea which way the Titans would have gone with this pick. Thankfully, though, four offensive linemen went before Warmack, which caused him to “slip” to the Titans. His head coach is a Hall of Fame offensive lineman, he's a highly touted interior lineman, Jocker's and Johnson's growth seems to have been stunted after the Titans offensive line took a nose dive. Everything seems to make since for this pick. Also, Chris Johnson seems to have liked the pick:

11 San Diego Chargers: DJ Fluker OT Alabama
With the 11th pick of the NFL Draft, the NFL selects: more Alabama players. Seriously, maybe we should start having Saban coach two teams. Start a spring league solely coached by Saban. Saban Bowl. Call it the Say-Ban Bowl when Alabama gets smashed for paying players...say like...I don't know...DJ Fluker? The Chargers needed help on the offensive line and got it. Fluker is the best RT in the class and the first one off the board. If nothing else he becomes the last straw for Rivers and Matthews before the Chargers move on from them. They got them help, now it's up to them to improve.

12 Oakland Raiders: DJ Hayden CB Houston
I honestly thought that this Hayden stuff was a bad smokescreen until I saw his name flash on the screen next to a Raiders logo. Where has this guy been all through the draft process? Maybe I'm just not watching the right games of his. McKenzie does come from the Packers GM tree, though, and they do some weird things the first couple rounds of the draft. Hopefully he's good enough man to man to cover guys like D. Thomas from Denver twice a year.

13 New York Jets: Sheldon Richardson DE Missouri
I'm surprised that the Jets took Richardson for two reasons: 1) I like Star more than Richardson and 2) the Jets were talking big about getting faster and younger all before the draft and didn't really have a need at the 5T. Either way, this was close to BPA. Sheldon's intelligence and maturity have been questioned before, but I don't think that's really something Rex Ryan worries about too much in his lineman. Richardson is a freak athlete at his size and that's enough to take him in the mid first.

14 Carolina Panthers: Star Lotulelei DT Utah
Not only was Carolina in position to take a really good DT, but they had their choice of them, sans Richardson. The celebration in their war room must have been insane. Star was my number two player this year (behind Fisher) and Carolina's DT need was one of the biggest in the draft, Needless to say, I'm a pretty big fan of how this one turned out for the Panthers. If they sure up their run defense they could sneak into the playoffs next year and Star is the run stopper they have been dreaming up.

15 New Orleans Saints: Kenny Vaccaro S Texas
Semi-surprised by this pick. With the Saints transitioning to a 34 defense and Jarvis Jones seeming to slip, I thought they would be in the perfect position to make a move for him. I guess a hybrid FS/SS/slot corner had more value to them. Bill Walsh once stated that when you know you are good on offense, you need to start building your nickel defense, just because chances are you get into more shootouts. Vaccaro can play the center field or play the slot man well. Those are two big advantages when you are in a shootout.

16 Buffalo Bills: EJ Manuel QB Florida State
Who feels worse here: Geno Smith or Ryan Nassib? Yeah, Smith is falling, but Nassib is basically being told by his former coach that he's not good enough anymore. The NFL is a business, but that's got to hurt a little bit. Manuel's got all the tools that a starting QB needs in the NFL. Consistency is going to be the biggest factor for him. I'm not sure that Buffalo is the best place for a young QB with consistency issues, though. Hopefully he sits a year behind Kolb and can develop into something nice. I for one would rather get someone like Matt Scott in the forth round and let him sit and develop, than use a first rounder on someone like Manuel, who not only comes at a higher physical price, but the stigma of a “first round QB” that usually forces them into the lineup before they are ready.

17 Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarvis Jones OLB Georgia
James Harrison leaves Pittsburgh. Player that compares fairly well to James Harrison goes to Pittsburgh in the first round. Pittsburgh is currently treading on water, trying to keep talented players in house, or replacing them with about the same value. After New Orleans passes on Jones I thought this pick was going to be down to Floyd and Jones. Now Jones isn't the most athletic LB when it comes to drill times, but neither was Terrell Suggs. On tape, though, they both flashed a bunch of talent in college and had high levels of production. Jones almost becomes a plug and play guy in the same mold of Harrison.

18 San Francisco 49ers: Eric Reid S LSU
Eric Reid is a quick replacement for Dashon Goldson, who left for more money in Tampa Bay. Reid's got legit 4.4 speed and good size that allows him to play the center fielder role really well. I thought that maybe San Francisco was going to move up for a Jesse Williams (NT), but I guess they always have a shot at that with their other hundred picks tomorrow.

19 New York Giants: Justin Pugh OL Syracuse
I really like Pugh as a versatile offensive lineman. He's not the best right tackle and his length isn't great for left tackle but he's able to pretty much play any position on the offensive line at any moment. Pugh flat out gives the Giants a safety net in case someone goes down and the depth on the team at that specific position doesn't look great. Bounce in/out Pugh and plug someone in a position that has more depth.

20 Chicago Bears: Kyle Long OG Oregon
The Bears always seem to need offensive line help, but I didn't think Long would go in the first round. He didn't even start his lone season in major college football as a starter. Injuries pushed him up the depth chart and into the eyes of the scouts. People will point to the success of his father and brother as vindication of the pick, but Clay, Clay Jr, and Clay III were pretty good, too. How did Casey turn out? He doesn't have enough length arm wise to play LT, but I think he can be a solid LG, if he develops correctly.

21 Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Eifert TE Notre Dame
Eifert was my number one rated offensive skills player this draft. Who would have guessed the team with the former AFL coach as a OC neglected their RB need to nab a second very nice pass catching TE? I'm not going to say that Eifert/Gresham are going to be the next Gronk/Hernandez, but they sure are in conversation for the next tier. The healthy Eifert/Gresham/Green/Sanu combo has got to make Andy Dalton feel a little better about his offense, than he did his rookie season.

22 Atlanta Falcons: Desmond Trufant CB Washington
I saw a lot of Trufant out here on the West Coast, which might have aided my bias to picking him as my #2 CB of the draft. He's great man to man, and his Senior Bowl cuts reflect that. Trufant and Poyer were out in Mobile playing better than any other corners on the field. Maybe even better than anyone else on the field, period. I like this move up and selection for Atlanta a lot. Trufant should be a nice #2/3 CB starting this year. My only concern is that he won't be able to match up against the big Calvin Johnson's of the world.

23 Minnesota Vikings: Sharrif Floyd DT Florida
So he only went 20 picks after most mock drafters had him selected.. I wasn't a big Floyd fan (had him ranked behind Star, Richardson, and Jesse Williams), but even this slip was bigger than what I had imagined. I don't understand how he got past the Cowboys, to be honest. Minnesota catches their first of three Day 1 picks with applause in the background.

24 Indianapolis Colts: Bjorn Werner OLB Florida State
I'm not really sure how the Colts are going to use Bjorn Werner in the 34 (not a big fan of him outside the 43). I feel like the Werner/Walden combo could look a lot worse than what the Colts staff is projecting them to be like. After spending all of 2012 on offense, though, the Colts had to pick up a defensive player. I wonder if this means drunk, German Tweets are in store from Irsay. :refreshes Twitter: Nothing, yet.

25 Minnesota Vikings: Xavier Rhodes CB Florida State
I'm not the biggest Rhodes fan (I actually thought he was going to fall to Day 2), but I can see why the Vikings made the move for him. After losing a starting corner this offseason they needed to replace him, and it seemed like the run for corners would go between this pick and their 2nd rounder.

26 Green Bay Packers: Datone Jones DE UCLA
As a Packer fan, I've had my eye on Jones and Jesse Williams for a while. I really thought it would come down to those two player or Eifert, if my some miracle, he dropped to #26. Jones is going to be a left end for Green bay which means in the nickel (2-4-5), he's going to be left out. This is what's confusing to me. Either way, the Packers are still trying to replace former LE Cullen Jenkins, who left to Philadelphia after the Super Bowl run, in their base defense. Datone Jones's workout numbers are only really comparable to Richardson's when it comes down to 34 DE's. They blow everyone else out of the water.

27 Houston Texans: DeAndre Hopkins WR Clemson
I'm not a giant Hopkins fan, but Andre Johnson flat out needs help in Houston. It just seems like it's always Andre Johnson, a decent slot guy, and average WRs for the Texans after that. Hopkins runs reall nice routes and can play pretty much everywhere as a WR (flanker, split end, slot). I might have gone with Patterson or Wheaton over Hopkins, but it's not a bad pick.

28 Denver Broncos: Sylvester Williams DT North Carolina
The Sylvester Williams story is a pretty cool one. From driving truck, to JuCo, to being a first round pick. He may be a Bronco now, but I'll always root for the guy. He and Jesse Williams were the last DTs in the third tier for me, and you could argue that their on the same level as Floyd. The Wolfe and Williams combo will really help out the Bronco's run defense compared to two years ago.

29 Minnesota Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson WR Tennessee
After trading the rest of their draft to move up to this pick, the Vikings take their replacement for Percy Harvin. Much like Harvin, Patterson is a very raw prospect. When Harvin was traded it really created a hole for a number one target for Ponder and a returner on special teams. Patterson can fill both of those (if he can get his routes down) and is arguably the best WR with the ball in his hands, outside of Tavon Austin. The Vikings made some nice selections, catching falling prospects, but they still need help at ILB and they have basically played themselves out of plugging in a rookie day 1 of the season.

30 St. Louis Rams: Alec Ogletree OLB Georgia
If Ogletree stayed away from alcohol and adapted well to coaching, he would have been a top five pick. He's got that type of talent. If. But, Jeff Fisher has never shied away from character issue marked players. Ogletree, the fast linebacker, might actually be exactly what the Rams needed to combat the zone read they see at least four times a year. The read is just math and angles and LBs like Ogletree can use their athleticism to change the angles of runners. It really comes down to coaching on this one.

31 Dallas Cowboys: Travis Frederick OC Wisconsin
So the Cowboys lost out on the Floyd selection and picked Frederick in the first round? I really think Jerry needs to hang up his GM hat soon. That's all I got on this one.

32 Baltimore Ravens: Matt Elam S Florida
With the departure of Ed Reed to Houston, the Ravens had big shoes to fill. I guess they though Elam could fit Reed's better than Te'o could fit Lewis's. Much like Vaccaro, I think Elam can play deep and cover slot guys. He was recorded having a 4.43 40 at the combine, that's good enough to cover a lot of ground when center fielding. The last time the Ravens rolled with a S from the state of Florida it worked out, why not?

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