Originally posted on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 4/26/13
What caught my eye from day one of the 2013 NFL Draft? Here are my winners, losers, and general thoughts from Thursday night. Winners St. Louis Rams- When you looked at the Rams needs coming into the draft there were four positions that screamed for help: WR, OG, S, LB. Well the Rams went ahead and took care of the wide receiver and linebacker need, and did so with the best athletes available at both positions. First the Rams traded up from 16 to 8 and took Tavon Austin.  This was an answer to the question of, who replaces Danny Amendola.  Well Austin is without a doubt a better overall player, and will give the Rams a dynamic talent at the wide out position. Then in late round one, after trading down with the Atlanta Falcons, the Rams took Coach Jeff Fisher’s new Keith Bulluck in Alec Ogletree. Ogletree should line up at outside linebacker in the Rams 4-3 defense, and provide an athletic, rangy linebacker who can drop in coverage, rush the quarterback, and make plays all over the field. Barkevious Mingo and Ray Horton- In Horton’s short tenure in Arizona as the defensive coordinator you know what he never had?  A pass rusher, well now he has that in spades. Mingo was the guy I was eyeing all along for the Cardinals as their stand up 3-4 OLB, but the Browns smartly plucked him one pick earlier and will reap the rewards of that for years. Mingo’s stats left a lot to be desired when it came to sacks and tackles for losses, but he was never really let loose for LSU, and with Horton, he’ll be used the right way, early and often. Mingo won’t be expected to come in and be an immediate impact three down linebacker; instead he’ll be used as a pass rusher on third downs and be allowed to create havoc coming off the edge.  Horton’s creativity was one of his greatest assets as a DC here in Arizona, as he was able to manufacture pressure from anywhere in the defense. Well give him a toy like Mingo and watch him cause even more headaches for opposing coaches. Interior lineman- Six players that project to being interior offensive linemen in the NFL were taken in round one of the 2013 NFL Draft. SIX!!! Remember last year when we had one of the best interior offensive line draft classes in forever and we ended up seeing two players drafted in the first round?  Well that either speaks to a changing thought process amongst NFL executives, or the fact that this draft’s skill positions left something to be desired, but the reality is that players like Jonathan Cooper, Chance Warmack and DJ Fluker all went in the top 12. (I know Fluker plays right tackle but I project his best position in the NFL to be guard) Then you had teams like the Giants, Bears and Cowboys throw all the experts boards into chaos with the selections of Justin Pugh, Kyle Long and Travis Frederick. This will cause most of the internet draft community to go into a tizzy and I find that slightly humorous.  When did it become so bad to take interior offensive linemen early? Losers Quarterbacks- Say what you want about Geno Smith, and I personally believe he has everything it takes to be a top tier quarterback in this league, but falling into round two was a harsh reality, that may push him even more. Add in Matt Barkley getting shut out and Ryan Nassib being passed over by his own college coach, honestly this needs to raise 1000 red flags, wouldn’t his coach for the last three years know more than anyone what type of upside or what his ceiling is better than anyone else? What happened last night was a shock to many, and brought out the worst in a few, including Geno Smith who took off early from the draft and doesn’t plan to attend day two. Running backs- None, zilch, zero, nada.  That really just happened NFL Fans.  After a year that saw the impact a rookie running back can have on an offense, well teams figured out that you can get that impact in round two and beyond. Eddie Lacy, Gio Bernard and Andre Ellington are all guys that should hear their names called early on day two, but the reality is out there, NFL teams don’t value the running back position. Overall I really enjoyed the uncertainty of day one, and I got a lot of laughs out of the groans coming from fans over the “reaches” their teams made in round one. The Vikings brass made a play for their jobs going all in on defense with picks one and two, both of which made sense, and then moving back into round one to draft their new Percy Harvin in Cordarrelle Patterson. Was anyone shocked that the Patriots traded out of round one and ended up with three picks for it?  Belichik loves mid round talent, and I am assuming of the seven picks he has that he’ll end up with more because that’s just his way. I truly am intrigued with when and where these quarterbacks go off the board.  I think that both Minnesota and Houston could have made a move in round one, and going into day two there’s no telling what teams will be eyeing their future at the quarterback position. Day two of the 2013 NFL Draft looks like the place we will see the offensive skill and secondary players go in a hurry, much like the offensive linemen did in round one.
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