I fully accept the fact that I don’t know as much about pro football as the scouts and general managers that make decisions on draft night.
Just the same, that doesn’t stop me from being a critical jackass! Despite the lack of star power and skill players, the first round of the 2013 NFL draft was quite interesting to me. One of the things that made it interesting was a multitude of moves that I did not understand, aka I thought they sucked. I have chronicled five of them here.
1. EJ Manuel was the first QB selected
Never mind the fact that Manuel was rated as the fourth best QB prospect in the draft on a lot of the so called experts’ boards, new Bills coach Doug Marrone actually coached one of the other three prospects (Ryan Nassib) at Syracuse.
It seems rare that, in this day and age, a quarterback drafted this early (number 16 overall) does not seem ready to play right away. Manuel is a project, and will most likely learn behind the tutelage of (wait for it) Kevin Kolb. This isn’t exactly an Aaron Rodgers/Brett Favre situation. Manuel has a lot of physical gifts, but his arm strength is not one of them. I guess they know something I don’t.
Or maybe they are just the Buffalo Bills.
2. Oakland just can’t help itself
It has been my belief for years that the Raiders are the most poorly run organization in pro football, and perhaps in pro sports (the Charlotte Bobcats would have something to say about that).
For a long time it seemed that Al Davis would go out of his way to select the fastest player in the draft, regardless of their character or football related skill. In the wake of the Carson Palmer debacle, it seemed to me that the Raiders would go out of their way to be practical. Not so much. They drafted potentially the fastest player in the draft, cornerback D.J. Hayden. He is a talent to be certain, but the Raiders have yet again banked on raw potential instead of trying to find the best football player.
3. The rise of Tavon Austin
Sounds like a great summer blockbuster, yeah?
While recent NFL rule changes have made it easier for tiny wide receivers to go over the middle, Wes Welker is perhaps the only prominent one that has stayed consistently healthy. To further complicate the issue, Austin’s skills out of the backfield in college (over 600 rushing yards on top of his outstanding receiving stats) would seem to elevate his touches and increase the hits he takes. There seems to be little doubt that Austin is the most explosive offensive player in the draft, but to have a player that was projected to be selected in the 2nd or 3rd round as recent as a month ago to be picked in the top ten is a tad confusing.
It seems unlikely that scouts saw something new in him recently; I think that the lack of other prominent skill players made teams lose their shit. I still think that a receiver like Robert Woods, who might very well still be on the board in the third round, will be a better NFL player in the long run.
4. ESPN’s decision to continue to put Chris Berman on the air
When he said, “They got the Sharrif, and now they got the deputy” I became dumber almost immediantly.
5. The Vikings inexplicable trade with the New England Patriots
As a Packers fan, I felt some concern when the Vikings appeared to knock their two first round draft picks out of the park. Shariff Floyd might end up being the steal of the opening round, and Xavier Rhodes seems like one of those solid building block picks that will be heralded years from now.
But then…well, I have no explanation for what happened next.
They traded four draft picks to the Patriots to move up to the 29th overall selection and took Cordarrelle Patterson, a wide receiver from Tennessee. In a deep draft with a very marginal first round, this might be the weirdest move of the night in my eyes. Trading four picks for a player that has as many question marks (football IQ, route running ability, character issues) as Patterson seems a bit rash. As irony would have it, the reason they had as many picks as they did is because of another wide receiver (Percy Harvin) whose antics grew tired fast.
Then again, the last time the Vikings took a chance on a wide receiver with character issues and a huge upside at the end of the first round…it worked out alright.
What did you think of draft night? Let us know in the comments section!