NFL Draft Winners and Losers


391120_2589048933528_1739871615_nBy Brian Matthews

And there’s winners, and there’s looooosers. Ain’t that the NFL draft? (And how spunky does Johnny Cougar/John Cougar/ John Cougar Mellencamp/ John Mellencamp look performing a one man kick line in an Indiana field?)  Despite being the most anonymous collection of early selections in recent memory (5 bucks to whomever can tell me where Central Michigan is without Googling it) there were some teams that set themselves up for the future and some that might have been better served picking out of a hat. Mel Kiper may have had his grades out a nanosecond after the final pick; I can only assume he lives in a subterranean lair scouring over picks with an electron microscope.  I however took a little bit of time and came up with 3 on each side of the coin.



Cincinnati Bengals

Eifert is going to be a big upgrade over Jermaine Gresham

Eifert is going to be a big upgrade over Jermaine Gresham

This class had tremendous value from the top to the bottom.  Tyler Eifert wasn’t a true “need” pick at 21, but anyone who tuned into NBC on Saturdays last fall saw a tight end that is a huge mismatch wherever he lines up.  You have to love the selection of Margus Hunt at 53.  Projected as a potential first round pick, he fell into the Bengals laps and bolstered what is arguably the best young D-line in the league (Carlos Dunlap, Michael Johnson, Geno Atkins, Domata Peko). He also could play Ivan Drago in a Rocky 4 remake.  In later rounds they picked up a bigger name coming off an injury in Rex Burkhead from Nebraska and a developmental guy in OSU tackle Reid Fragel.  Rex sprained his knee in the season opener and it remained shaky the remainder of the year.  Despite the injury, he still finished with over 3,000 career rushing yards.  NFL fans know that the shelf life of the average running back these days hovers around a banana left on a counter (talking about you BenJarvus), and getting a good young back was a priority for Cincinnati. Fragel, had third round status but fell to the seventh due in part to this only being his first year playing the position (former TE).  If things play out the way the Bengals want he could end up being a gem of their draft.

Minnesota Vikings

"Short arm syndrome my ass"

“Short arm syndrome my ass”

True to their mascot, the Vikings were extremely aggressive in the first round selecting three players that they feel can be instant starters.  Sharrif Floyd is a steal at 23 and will have a tremendous opportunity playing alongside and learning from perennial pro bowler Kevin Williams.  Considered to be a top ten pick, he fell mightily after being diagnosed with SAS (Short arm syndrome).  With their second pick in the first round (pick they attained from Seattle for Percy Harvin) the Vikes picked up a big physical corner in Xavier Rhodes.  If you have to see Megatron twice a year you might as well get a corner that can pop him in the mouth at the line of scrimmage.  At 6’1” 210 Xavier may not actually stop Calvin Johnson (who can) but at least he can get in his way.  They traded back into the first round for their final pick (with the Pats giving up 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 7th,) and chose Cordarrelle Patterson at 29.  Mike Mayock said of Patterson, “After Tavon Austin the most explosive offensive player in the draft.”  Seeing how Austin was a top 10 pick, Vikings fans have got to love that assessment.  Minnesota didn’t have a single day 2 pick, but with three sure fire starters selected on day one, things are looking good for the land of 10,000 lakes.

San Francisco 49ers

The Niners have done an amazing job in evaluating and drafting great classes year in and out (it’s shown on the field) and this year is no exception.  Dashon Gholston leaving San Fran filled an immediate need in picking up safety Eric Ried out of LSU.  Big (6’1” 213) and super athletic (40.5” vert.) he played early down in Baton Rouge and will play early in Candlestick next to Donte Whitner.  I love Vance McDonald in the second round for a couple of reasons.  1) Delanie Walker left via free agency so there was a need for a TE/H-back hybrid that McDonald’s skill set fits.  2) He’s a freak athletically and was a top performer at the combine.  3) He looks a ton like my buddy Rob with only slightly better hair.

Something tells me the hair isn't the only thing keeping these 2 from being twins

Something tells me the hair isn’t the only thing keeping these 2 from being twins


Those two can come in and play right away, but they may have gotten their best pick in the 4th round and he may not even play next year.  Marcus Lattimore, (still tough to watch that) prior to the injury was universally considered the best back in the draft.  The concern prior to that injury was that the other knee had suffered a ligament tear… now he has torn up both.  With the season Adrian Peterson had after his ACL anything seems possible in today’s world of sports surgery and rehab.  Lattimore seems like a determined guy and the Niners don’t have a pressing need for him to step in right away.  If he heals up right he could be the steal of the draft.


NY Jets

"I'm not sure whats worse, not getting picked in the 1st round or being picked by the Jets"

“I’m not sure whats worse, not getting picked in the 1st round or being picked by the Jets”

The Jets loss isn’t based solely on the draft it’s more on the media maelstrom they kicked off in cuts, signings, and a QB controversy that is only going to get weirder.  Dee Millner is a great corner no doubt, but did you have to get rid of arguably the best cover corner in the NFL to get Milliner?  Would Milliner have even been drafted if Revis were around?  Mayock sums it up nicely, “Essentially New York traded Revis for Milliner and a 3 next year… I’ve got him as my second corner on the board.”  Is the second best CB in the draft worth the best in the NFL?  You tell me.  The Sheldon Richardson pick at DT is a bright spot amongst all the head scratching.  He’s explosive, has quick feet (played TE in high school) and can crack the starting lineup right away.  Then we come to the Geno Smith pick.  Played like a house on fire in the beginning of the season only to fizzle out at the end.  The intel around the league states that he has maturity issues and “ignored coaches” during pre draft meetings.  So, is this the hier apparent to Sanchez?  Or is Sanchez going to start?  Or is Rex Ryan going to get another tat of his wife with Smith’s number on it?  The whole thing is beyond bizarre and I can only imagine that in the near future Tim Tebow will be regaling his nephews with a tale like this one.

Oakland Raiders

You gotta love the DJ Haden selection as the feel good story of the year.  He suffered an injury that has a 95% fatality rate, recovered and became a NFL first round draft pick.  A remarkable young man.  Other than that, the Raiders weren’t so remarkable.  In the second, they attempted to remedy their porous o-line by drafting Menelik Watson out of FSU.  He has started only 1 year of major college football and with a number of these OTs running and jumping like OLBs and TEs this year (Lane Johnson, Terron Armstead) he posted average combine stats (5.29 40 24.5” vert).  Matt Flynn better get used to scrambling this upcoming fall.  With Richard Seymour (and others) leaving they needed a ton of help up front defensively.  They waited until the 6th round to do that, uninspiring for fans of the silver and black.  Unless Matt Flynn pulls out a 480 yard performance every Sunday (All time Packers record) look for it to be a long season in Oaktown.


Chicago Bears

The monsters of the midway had pressing needs at DL and in the secondary.  They didn’t draft at either spot.  What they did do is continue to prove that Howie Long is all that is man by drafting another one of his sons (Kyle).  He should start right away at guard and make Jay Cutler do less of this.

Brian Urlacher can’t play forever and they picked up Jon Bostic out of Florida to be his potential replacement.  Overall they only had 6 total selections and it’s tough to address every need with such few opportunities.  This 10-6 team last year may take a slide this upcoming season.


I’ll close out by letting you know what happened with the under the radar guys I profiled in my last post:

Michael Dyer- Didn’t enter the draft… looking to play at Arkansas, isn’t looking good    

Michael Hermann- Signed free agent contract with the Chargers

Brandon Kaufman- Signed free agent contract with the Bills

Mark Jackson- Signed free agent contract with the Vikings

Da’Rick Rodgers- Signed free agent contract with the Bills

Drew Smith- Signed free agent contract with the Bills (next Fred Jackson)

Terron Armstead- 3rd round pick for the Saints

Margus Hunt- 2nd round pick for the Bengals

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