It’s too soon to say the 2013 NFL draft was a bust, but after one season, it’s appearing that way.
Last year’s draft class was supposed to lack top-end talent, so teams tried to it safe by selecting offensive linemen early and often. It didn’t exactly pan out, since many of those linemen either struggled or were injured during their rookie seasons.
Of course, it has only been one season, so it’s unfair to judge a draft class off just one year. In this week’s draft reset, we can only go off that one season, however. We’re well aware that some of these picks (and non-picks) may look very dumb years or months down the road.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Sheldon Richardson, defensive lineman, Missouri (No. 13 overall pick)
Actual pick: Eric Fisher, offensive tackle, Michigan
Fisher really struggled last season at right tackle, so the Chiefs will move the first overall pick on the left side in 2014. Richardson was last season’s best rookie.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Keenan Allen, wide receiver, California (No. 76)
Actual pick: Luke Joeckel, offensive tackle, Texas A&M
Draft analysts were already talking about Allen before the 2012 NFL draft. He was supposed to be a high first round pick, then he had a shaky junior season, sprained his knee, ran a 4.71-second 40-yard dash and dropped to the third round. Turns out he was pretty good. He had 71 catches for 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns in 2013.
3. Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei, defensive tackle, Utah (No. 14)
Actual pick: Traded selection to Miami Dolphins, who selected Oregon pass rusher Dion Jordan
Lotulelei originally was rated much higher than where he wound up being drafted. A heart condition kept the big Ute from competing at the NFL Scouting Combine, which allowed the Panthers to scoop him up midway through the first round. He was a dominant run defender with deceptive quicks.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Reid, safety, LSU (No. 18)
Actual pick: Lane Johnson, offensive tackle, Oklahoma
Reid was one of just four rookies to be named to the Pro Bowl roster. He had four interceptions in his rookie season with the 49ers.
5. Detroit Lions: Ezekiel Ansah, pass rusher, BYU (No. 5)
Actual pick: Ansah
The Lions would still go with Ansah if they had a second chance. He led all rookies with eight sacks and was even better against the run.
6. Cleveland Browns: D.J. Fluker, offensive tackle, Alabama (No. 11)
Actual pick: Barkevious Mingo, pass rusher, LSU
Mingo was fine as a rookie, and he should improve in his second season. But Fluker was one of the top right tackles in the NFL in 2013.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Desmond Trufant, cornerback, Washington (No. 22)
Actual pick: Jonathan Cooper, guard, North Carolina
The Cardinals likely would be tempted to go with Tyrann Mathieu, their third-round pick, here at No. 7, but they wind up with Trufant, who was the best rookie cornerback in the NFL last season. Cooper didn’t play a single snap after breaking his fibula during the preseason.
8. Buffalo Bills: Kiko Alonso, linebacker, Oregon (No. 46)
Actual pick: Traded selection to St. Louis Rams, who selected West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin
The Bills have to bite on Alonso a round earlier in the draft reset. He was fantastic as a middle linebacker in 2013. He’ll be allowed to make more plays at weak-side linebacker in 2014.
9. New York Jets: Lane Johnson, offensive tackle, Oklahoma (No. 4)
Actual pick: Dee Milliner, cornerback, Alabama
Johnson’s rookie season was a tale of two halves. He really struggled early before bouncing back and becoming one of the best right tackles in football from Week 9 on.
10. Tennessee Titans: Kyle Long, guard, Oregon (No. 20)
Actual pick: Chance Warmack, guard, Alabama
Long was named to the Pro Bowl after starring at right guard for the Bears in 2013. Warmack was good for the Titans, but Long was slightly better.
11. San Diego Chargers: Eddie Lacy, running back, Alabama (No. 61)
Actual pick: Fluker
Lacy also made the Pro Bowl as a rookie after gaining 1,178 yards with 11 touchdowns on 284 carries. No running backs were drafted in the first round, but based on his rookie season, Lacy should have been.
12. Miami Dolphins: Tyrann Mathieu, defensive back, LSU (No. 69)
Actual pick: Traded selection to Raiders, who selected Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden
Mathieu’s season ended early after he tore his ACL and LCL in Week 14, but he showed enough through 13 games at safety and slot cornerback that he should have been a first-round pick, despite the off-field concerns.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Cordarrelle Patterson, wide receiver, Tennessee (No. 29)
Actual pick: Traded selection to Jets, who selected Richardson
Patterson was the only rookie named a first-team All-Pro. He was honored as a returner after bringing back 43 kicks for 1,393 yards and two touchdowns.
14. Carolina Panthers: Jordan Reed, tight end, Florida (No. 85)
Actual pick: Lotulelei
It’s strange that Reed wasn’t drafted higher, since so many teams are looking for “flex” tight ends. He had 45 receptions for 499 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie.
15. New Orleans Saints: Kenny Vaccaro, safety, Texas (No. 15)
Actual pick: Vaccaro
Vaccaro had a strong rookie season for the Saints, and got better as the season progressed. New Orleans would be happy to get Vaccaro in the first round again.
16. St. Louis Rams: Larry Warford, guard, Kentucky (No. 65)
Actual pick: Traded selection to Bills, who selected Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel
Manuel drops out of the first round in this scenario, even after an OK rookie season. Warford was a top run-blocking guard in 2013.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Logan Ryan, cornerback, Rutgers (No. 83)
Actual pick: Jarvis Jones, pass rusher, Georgia
Ryan started just seven games for the Patriots in 2013, but he proved to be a playmaker with five interceptions, 1.5 sacks, a touchdown and a forced fumble. The third-round pick was one of the better values in the 2013 draft.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Justin Pugh, offensive tackle, Syracuse (No. 19)
Actual pick: Traded selection to San Francisco 49ers, who selected Reid
Pugh was a bit of a surprise as a first-round pick, but he winds up going even higher in the draft reset. The Cowboys would have been happy to have Pugh on their offensive line.
19. New York Giants: Giovani Bernard, running back, North Carolina (No. 37)
Actual pick: Justin Pugh, offensive tackle, Syracuse
Bernard wasn’t quite as productive as Lacy, but the rookie running back totaled over 1,200 yards from scrimmage for the Bengals in 2013.
20. Chicago Bears: Chance Warmack, guard, Alabama (No. 10)
Actual pick: Kyle Long, guard, Oregon
The Bears and Titans just swap first-round picks. Warmack still could wind up being the better player, but Long bested his rookie season.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Zach Ertz, tight end, Stanford (No. 35)
Actual pick: Tyler Eifert, tight end, Notre Dame
The Bengals probably are happy with Eifert, but Ertz was slightly better as a rookie. He had 36 catches for 469 yards and four touchdowns for the Eagles.
22. Washington Redskins: Dion Jordan, pass rusher, Oregon (No. 3)
Actual pick: Selection traded to Atlanta Falcons, who selected Trufant
The Dolphins likely are regretting trading up to take Jordan in the top five. He was good as a rookie, but there are rumors the Dolphins already are trying to trade him.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Alec Ogletree, linebacker, Georgia (No. 30)
Actual pick: Sharrif Floyd, defensive tackle, Florida
Ogletree didn’t shine as a rookie, but he was consistent and solid against the pass and run. And that’s really all a team can ask out of a late first-round linebacker.
24. Indianapolis Colts: DeAndre Hopkins, wide receiver, Clemson (No. 27)
Actual pick: Bjoern Werner, pass rusher, Florida State
Hopkins finally gave the Texans a solid No. 2 wide receiver behind Andre Johnson. He caught 52 passes for 802 yards and two touchdowns.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Luke Joeckel, offensive tackle, Texas A&M (No. 2)
Actual pick: Traded selection to Vikings, who selected Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes
Joeckel was solid early in his rookie season, but it ended after just six weeks after he injured his ankle. The Seahawks could use some offensive line help.
26. Green Bay Packers: Travis Frederick, center, Wisconsin (No. 31)
Actual pick: Datone Jones, defensive end, UCLA
Jones didn’t make much of an impact as a reserve defensive end, while Frederick wound up being a steal for the Cowboys.
27. Houston Texans: Sio Moore, linebacker, Connecticut (No. 66)
Actual pick: Hopkins
Moore also was a steal for the Raiders in the third round. He was a steady presence rushing the passer, defending the run and in coverage.
28. Denver Broncos: David Bakhtiari, offensive tackle, Colorado (No. 109)
Actual pick: Sylvester Williams, defensive tackle, North Carolina
Bakhtiari did a solid job as the Packers’ starting left tackle after starter Bryan Bulaga went down for the season.
29. New England Patriots: Jamie Collins, linebacker, Southern Miss (No. 52)
Actual pick: Traded selection to Vikings, who selected Patterson
The Patriots traded this pick away for second- (Collins), third- (Ryan), fourth- (Josh Boyce) and seventh-round picks (traded for LeGarrette Blount) in one of their best draft-day trades in recent memory. They would have to scoop up Collins a round earlier if the draft were held today. He proved to be a high-impact player in coverage and rushing the quarterback.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Barkevious Mingo, pass rusher, LSU (No. 6)
Actual pick: Traded selection to Rams, who selected Ogletree
Mingo had five sacks as a rookie but struggled to consistently disrupt the quarterback. He could have a big sophomore season, however.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Kawann Short, defensive lineman, Purdue (No. 44)
Actual pick: Traded selection to Cowboys, who selected Frederick
Short was nearly as good as his teammate Lotulelei as a rookie. Both players were solid against the run and pass.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Tavon Austin, wide receiver, West Virginia (No. 8)
Actual pick: Matt Elam, safety, Florida
Austin was a slight disappointment as a top 10 pick, but he could still be a first-round selection. He caught 40 passes for 418 yards with four touchdowns and improved as the season went along.