People: there is manna in the desert.
The NFL draft has arrived.
It’s a magical time in which dreams are realized and the regular season doesn’t feel like it’s still 4 months away. The honeymoon tends to end quickly: you soon realize that your picks aren’t all they were cracked up to be and the season really is unbearably far away. But for one short weekend, it’s pure joy.
Miss something last night? Go to bed before midnight? Not to worry. Here’s our complete first round recap!
2013 Draft: Round 1
Pick 1: Kansas City Chiefs
Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
This is such a great story. Fisher, who is from Michigan, didn’t even get recruited by Big Ten schools coming out of high school. And after college? No one thought he was going to be a top pick. Eric Fisher is one of those underdogs who is such a joy to cheer for, and he’s going to a great organization and a solid team.
Pick 2: Jacksonville Jaguars
Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
This is the first time in modern day draft history that tackles have been taken with the first and second picks. This bit of trivia probably wasn’t tremendously comforting to Joeckel, who for weeks has been projected to go #1. And as far as win-probability goes, he’d probably been better off in Kansas City.
Pick 3: Oakland Raiders TRADE to Miami Dolphins
Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
Hello, surprise! When the Dolphins made the trade, most people thought they’d pick another tackle, likely Lane Johnson. But the Dolphins continue to exercise the element of surprise this offseason and went for defensive end Dion Jordan. (And everyone’s mock drafts burst into flames.)
Pick 4: Philadelphia Eagles
Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
This kid is crazy. In college he played QB, DE, RT, LT…and finally wound up getting drafted as the third tackle in the first four picks. Before the pick my mom asked me who I thought they’d select. I said I didn’t know; the Eagles need help everywhere. Apparently they drafted the guy to do just that!
Pick 5: Detroit Lions (announded by Barry Sanders, always a class act)
Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU
Ziggy is another one of the underdogs who’s easy to route for – a business major from Ghana who played soccer primarily until this past season, when he played 9 football games and then turned into a first round draft pick, and the 5th overall pick at that. Wow.
Pick 6: Cleveland Brown
Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
This was a bit of a surprise; over the past few days it seemed like the Jets or the Saints were eager to land Mingo. My favorite anecdote about Mingo is from this interview, concerning his unique name: “My mom just kind of threw it together and wrote it on the birth certificate,” the LSU linebacker/pass-rusher said at the NFL Scouting Combine. Mrs. Mingo did the same with Barkevious’ brother, whose name is Hughtavius.
That’s a great story.
Pick 7: Arizona Cardinals
Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
The FOURTH offensive lineman taken in the first seven picks. Insanity.
Pick 8: Buffalo Bills TRADE to St. Louis Rams
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
When all of the invited players lined up to be introduced at the start of the draft, it was easy to pick out Tavon Austin. He’s the one you can’t see. Austin is only 5′ 8″ and has been discredited for his size for entire career. But that didn’t stop St. Louis from trading up to get him, and they were right to do so. He’s an exceptional talent and combined QB Sam Bradford? That’ll be a lot of fun to watch.
Pick 9: New York Jets
Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Jets needed to replace Revis, who they traded to the Bucs earlier this week, who was without a doubt their best player. (No one understands.) Replacing Revis through the draft was highly unlikely, but if that was their plan, they got the best corner available.
Pick 10: Tennessee Titans
Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
The top 10 first round picks of 2013? Half were offensive linemen, with nary a quarterback, running back, or tight end to be seen. Completely unheard of, but this pick was just what the Titans needed to sure up their offensive line.
Pick 11: San Diego Chargers
D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Bama haters: that’s the third member of the Crimson Tide selected in the top half of the first round. Say what you want; they’re as close to an NFL team as you’ll see in college football. Great pick by the Chargers.
Pick 12: Oakland Raiders (from Miami Dolphins)
D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston
GO D.J.!!! (If you missed Tuesday’s post, you’re going to want to check it out and watch the feature on Hayden.) So, so excited to see him go in the top half of the first round. The Raiders are the Raiders are the Raiders, but what an achievement to go from life-threatening injury to first round draft pick in 6 months time. Huge testament to his work ethic and durability.
Pick 13: New York Jets
Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Well, that was unexpected. But then again, this is the Jets we’re talking about.
Pick 14: Carolina Panthers
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Lotulelei wasn’t able to participate in most of the Combine due to cardiovascular concerns. But thankfully, it had no affect on his draft status. He’ll be joining an up-and-coming Carolina defense, getting to play with last year’s first round pick and Defensive Player of the Year, Luke Kuechly.
Pick 15: New Orleans Saints (announced by Markell Gregiore, a patient at St. Jude’s and the tearjerker of the night)
Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The Saints needed to make this pick count since their second round pick was taken by bounty sanctions, and they decided to use it to keep building their defense with Kenny Vaccaro.
Pick 16: Buffalo Bills
EJ Manuel, QB, Florida St.
And at long last: a quarterback was drafted. SIXTEEN PICKS IN. That’s unheard of. But Buffalo picked a great one; EJ Manuel has so much charisma and the potential to be an answer to the question that has plagued Buffalo ever since Doug Flutie left decades ago. (To the point where they still sell Flutie Flakes in grocery stores in Rochester. Really. Maybe Manuel Munchies are forthcoming!)
Pick 17: Pittsburgh Steelers
Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Pick 18: Dallas Cowboys TRADE to San Francisco 49ers
Eric Reid, S, LSU
The Niners basically have all of the picks in the draft. They are saturated with options with 13 picks total. They needed a safety, so they picked up a great safety. Good call, Niners.
Pick 19: New York Giants
Justin Pugh, G, Syracuse
And the offensive line dominos continued to fall with the third guard of the night. A solid decision by the Giants who needed to address offensive line issues this offseason.
Pick 20: Chicago Bears
Kyle Long, G, Oregon
Kyle is the son of legendary Raiders defensive end Howie Long and brother of 2008 second overall pick Chris Long. Football is definitely in his blood, and the Bears had to like him a LOT to take him instead of any of their other position needs, namely tight end. And for the record: that’s another guard, another offensive lineman.
Pick 21: Cincinnati Bengals
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
It was a miracle that Eifert was still on the board at this point, and even though I was kind of hoping he’d end up in Green Bay if he lasted that long, Cincinnati is a great landing place for him. They are officially loaded on offense.
Pick 22: St. Louis Rams TRADE to Atlanta Falcons
Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Desmond Trufant also comes from a football family. His brother, Marcus, was drafted by Seattle in the 2003 Draft (and has been a stand-out talent there ever since) and also plays corner.
Pick 23: Minnesota Vikings
Shariff Floyd, DT, Florida
Finally! If you had told me back on Tuesday that Shariff would be third to go out of our 5 players to cheer for, I would have been shocked. But first round is first round, and Minnesota is getting a great guy at a great value.
Pick 24: Indianapolis Colts
Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The second international player to go in the first round. Werner is from Germany and had some trouble adjusting to life in the States. He worked through it and decided to come back and play for Florida State, and now he’s a first round draft pick. Well worth it the transcontinental adjustments.
Pick 25: Minnesota Vikings
Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
First the Vikings get Floyd, who had no right to still be around at 23, and then they get Xavier Rhodes. Not a bad start on defense for the Vikes, who probably needed a linebacker more than a corner, but still got a great player.
Pick 26: Green Bay Packers
Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
I have to say that I was a little surprised with this pick, but the more I hear about Jones, the more I like him. He sounds like just what the Packers need to sure up the defense after the past two disappointing defensive years. As the saying in Green Bay goes, “In Ted We Trust.” Amen.
Pick 27: Houston Texans
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
The Houston offensive arsenal continues to stock weapons with a first round wide receiver pick. Merry Christmas, Matt Schaub!
Pick 28: Denver Broncos
Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
This was a steal for the Broncos. Great defensive choice.
Pick 29: New England Patriots TRADE to Minnesota Vikings (announced by former Patriot Joe Andruzzi, who was a hero in action during the attacks in Boston)
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
stole signed former Packer Greg Jennings in the offseason after trading Percy Harvin to Seattle. They needed more wide receivers, but getting Patterson came at a fairly high price: they gave up their 2nd, 4th, and 7th round picks to the Patriots for the trade.
Pick 30: St. Louis Ram
Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
This will be an interesting one. Ogletree has gotten mixed reviews from draftniks and has had significant off the field issues, but if there’s a head coach who can turn a guy around, it’s Jeff Fisher in St. Louis.
Pick 31: Dallas Cowboys (from San Francisco)
Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin
And another one bites the dust. 2013 shall forever be known as the year of the offensive line.
Pick 32: Baltimore Ravens
Matt Elam, S, Florida
When Goodell started with, “Ma–” I was sure he was going to finish with “nti Te’o.” But no such luck. All the same, the Ravens needed a safety to replace Ed Reed, and Matt Elam seems like a great fit.
And so the first round ends with Geno Smith, Manti Te’o, and Eddie Lacy all still waiting. Not a single running back was taken in the first round for the first time since the 1960’s. Instead, the offensive line finally got a little love with nearly a third of first rounders being O-linemen.
And we get to do it all again today.
Happy Draft Weekend, everyone!