This year’s 2013 NFL Draft gave many fans a lot to be happy about, but who were the biggest draft day winners of them all?
The first round was dominated by offensive tackles while the second round featured players from Southern Louisiana, Rice, Florida International and San Diego State, and that was BEFORE guys like Matt Barkley and Eddie Lacy went off the board, and still, only a few teams came way out on top—one NFL team in particular basically stole the show.
Let’s take a quick look at who the featured fab five are and why they became head of the 2013 NFL Draft class.
The Minnesota Vikings, #1:
I don’t think any team had a better draft than the Minnesota Vikings. Sharrif Floyd (DT), Xavier Rhodes (CB) and Cordarrelle Patterson (WR) in the first round alone was paramount.
Not only did the Vikings have big needs at each of these positions, they wound up with the best talent the draft had to offer.
I also love the Vikings seventh round pick in Everett Dawkins (DT). He’s a versatile tackle who is more than just a “project player” (as most seventh round picks wind up being) and he’ll certainly add some quality depth.
Oh yeah, and let’s not forget about Duron Carter (son of former HoF receiver Cris Carter). Many reports have suggested that the Vikings will simply sign the kid, but ProFootballTalk.com says the orginization will extend an oppurtunity to win a starting job.
If the Vikings keep health on their side there will be little reason to think they WON’T go deep in the playoffs this season.
The Philadelphia Eagles, #2:
I predicted that the Eagles were going to grab QB Matt Barkley, and damn if I wasn’t right! It would’ve been better of a prediction had I called the right round, but hey, I’m not perfect.
It’s completely obvious that Chip Kelly isn’t wasting one second of time reshaping this team. Lane Johnson (OT) provides the much needed upgrade on a weary line, and the Eagles will most certainly benefit from surprise pick Zach Ertz (TE).
I think the biggest pick for Philadelphia, however, has got to be Jordan Poyer (CB). Kelly is familiar with this kid and he is much better than advertised. Similar to Minnesota, the Eagles found a player who will be more than just a project player.
I think we’re gonna see a very different Philadelphia team in 2013.
The Cincinnati Bengals, #3:
The Bengals needed more than Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, let’s face it. It was abundantly clear a year ago that they needed more impact playmakers if they were going to take a step forward in 2013.
Enter in Tyler Eifert (TE) and Giovanni Bernard (RB).
Eifert is a 6’6” TE that will help the Bengals passing game tremendously. He has solid hands and is a game-changer that can easily stretch the field. Bernard may seem a bit small at 5’8”, but don’t be fooled. He’s an all direction back who will also add another option out of the backfield in the early goings.
I personally would've like to see the Bengals grab a bigger back, but I can't complain about the Bernard pick regardless.
Cincinnati also upgraded on the D-Line with Margus Hunt and grabbed 7 other players who will certainly add significant depth; namely Sean Porter (OLB).
If the Bengals can get Andrew Hawkins going and Mohamed Sanu stays healthy, this team could easily flirt with going all the way in 2013.
The Denver Broncos, #4:
The two major impact picks here for Denver was Montee Ball (RB) and Kayvon Webster (CB).
That is after the massive “NFL ready” Sylvester Williams (DT) which was a terrific first round selection.
The Broncos absolutely needed a back like Montee Ball. Aside from being a stellar ‘between the tackles’ runner, he is also equally good at pass-protection and catching the ball which will be paramount for Denver in 2013.
We'll get to see Manning with a quality RB behind him? Think of the possibilities.
Kayvon Webster is the sort of all-direction corner that Denver lacked in 2012. He was a standout at the East-West game, and a steal out of the third round.
Look for Georgia’s Tavarres King (WR) to eventually become an impact player as well.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, #5:
I love the route Pittsburgh went in this year’s draft.
They found their linebacker of the future in Jarvis Jones who is the prototypical “Steeler” linebacker and they believe they found their three-down back in Le’Veon Bell who at 6’1”, 230 pounds should have no problem delivering the mail.
The other interesting pick came in the third round with the selection of Markus Wheaton (WR) who should eventually fit in as a possible slot option.
QB Landry Jones was a great fourth round steal and I also hope sixth round pick Justin Brown (WR) develops into something beyond the project level, which I believe he will, just not right away.
Of course, this is just my Top 5. Who’s yours and why? And be sure to check out Greg Brosh's First Round Recap where he also answers some early questions.