This year’s NFL Draft marked only the 3rd time in the past 13 years that a quarterback wasn’t selected first overall. This year, the first quarterback off the board, E.J. Manuel from Florida State, didn’t hear his name called until the 16th pick. This was the longest wait for a quarterback that the draft has seen since 2000, when Chad Pennington was selected 18th overall by the New York Jets. We witnessed 5 draft day trades, and couldn’t confirm the first overall pick until it was announced by Roger Goodell, so there was no shortage of drama. But it looks like some teams had better days than others. Here are my winners and losers of Day 1:
Miami manages to trade up from the 12th spot in the draft up to the 3rd, and they only give up a second-rounder. In the process, they pick up Dion Jordan, my favorite defensive prospect in the draft.
It seemed all but certain that the Raiders would take Sharrif Floyd with that 3rd selection. Instead, he tumbled right into Minnesota’s lap at 23. Why did he fall? Character concerns? Leading up to the draft, I hadn’t heard any of these, but the story changed during the draft process. I think Minnesota got a steal with Floyd, and they got good value in Xavier Rhodes at 25, plus Cordarrelle Patterson at 29, who is even better.
Offensive tackles went 1-2 for the first time ever. Three offensive linemen were drafted in the Top 5 for the first time ever. Two guards went in the Top 10 for the first time ever. And then 3 more players that weren’t even on my radar snuck into the first round.
It looked like the Raiders made a terrible trade. Floyd would’ve fit like a glove into Oakland’s defense, and moving from a Top 3 selection out of the Top 10, while only getting a 2nd rounder in addition? I don’t care how weak this class is, that’s poor value. But when Floyd was available at 12, everything seemed to make sense. Then the Raiders picked D.J. Hayden, a reasonable selection and a player that they reportedly coveted, but a reach. And all of that goodwill evaporated.
Kiss the first few years of your career good-bye. With no elite edge rushers left and Tavon Austin off the board, the Jets filled one of their big needs by selecting cornerback Dee Milliner. But then they panicked and took Sheldon Richardson at 13, who profiles strictly as a 4-3 defensive tackle. Didn’t they learn their lesson when they made the same mistake with Vernon Gholston?
Sure, Pugh and Long weren’t expected first round picks, but Pugh isn’t far off and Long has potential in spades. Travis Frederick was a third-round prospect, late second if we’re being generous. I don’t care how badly you need a center, nor do I care if he was the best one in the draft. You need to get value with your picks.