The 2013 NFL Draft was called the most wide open draft ever. And that proved to be the case on Thursday night.
We have winners and we have losers from Round 1, "Schein Nine" style.
1) Vikings dominate another draft
I thought Sharrif Floyd was the best defensive tackle in the draft. I wouldn't have batted an eye if he had been picked third overall. He slipped to No. 23, and Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman pounced on someone I could have seen him trading up to pick. What a genuine steal. I also loved the needed selection of physical corner Xavier Rhodes with the pick that was acquired from the Seattle Seahawks in the Percy Harvin deal (No. 25). Then, to replace Harvin, Spielman traded with the New England Patriots to get back into the first round at No. 29 and nab Cordarrelle Patterson. Though he's not polished as a receiver, Patterson will instantly help on special teams.
Yet again, Spielman got the job done on draft day. This was an A+ draft.
2) Geno Smith and Manti Te'o plummet
Color me stunned. Geno Smith can play quarterback. He was champing at the bit to prove the haters wrong on Thursday night. I thought he would go in the top 10. He likely thought he was going somewhere in that range, too, to the Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles or New York Jets. I think a lot of teams will eat crow after passing up on him. He could still wind up in the right place to succeed, but make no mistake: This is a major fall -- and surely a major blow to the ego and wallet. If I'm the Jacksonville Jaguars, I take him at No. 33 on Friday.
I still believe both Smith and Te'o will make a big impact in the NFL.
3) Rex wrecking the Jets?
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Ryan's fingerprints are all over the Jets' picks. That's a problem, considering his past personnel failures and his status as what amounts to a lame-duck head coach.
Taking Sheldon Richardson at No. 13 made no sense, especially when Floyd and Lotulelei were still there at the DT position.
4) A true quarterback surprise
I thought there was a chance EJ Manuel would go in the first round -- but at the end. And I certainly didn't think he would be the only quarterback taken on Thursday night.
When the Buffalo Bills traded down, moving from No. 8 to No. 16, you had to know they were going to go with a quarterback. I thought it was going to be Ryan Nassib. I was wrong. Manuel is a fantastic person and leader with a big, strong arm and great athleticism, though he does need to improve his consistency.
5) Browns take too much of a risk
6) No luck for the Lions
The only way the Detroit Lions could have been branded losers in this draft was if they had failed to land the offensive tackle they needed to aid Matthew Stafford with the fifth overall pick. Well, after pick No. 4, the three best tackles were gone. Ziggy Ansah is a fine defensive lineman, but missing out on that offensive tackle will hurt the win total in 2013.
With that said ...
7) Big boys win big
And for all the Norv Turner bashing I've done over the past few years, and for all of the awful play from Philip Rivers, I know San Diego needed major help at tackle. Fluker will start -- and star -- from Day 1.
8) Cardinals and Titans hit the bull's-eye
As for the Cardinals, this was their big area of need. New Arizona general manager Steve Keim is savvy -- and he's a former college offensive lineman.
9) Ram tough
The St. Louis Rams, who were on the move up and down through the draft, had a great first day. Tavon Austin is the home-run hitter they needed to team with quarterback Sam Bradford -- this was a great pick. Alec Ogletree, meanwhile, is a potential problem child, but he's also a stud. Rams coach Jeff Fisher knows how to deal with and maximize players with potential character problems. I'll bet Ogletree dominates under Fisher.