2013 NFL Draft, First Round: 4 Winners, 4 Losers
Alex Flanagan wins again.
All right, it's Friday morning, and either you're hungover from getting destroyed by the Battle-Drink BINGO drinking card for the NFL Draft or you're mentally exhausted from sweating out all the NFL Draft prop bets I shared with you earlier this week. Either way, however shitty you feel is likely my fault, so I'm just gonna give you some good ol' fashioned draft analysis to get you through breakfast.
Here are four winners and four losers from last night's first round of the NFL Draft:
4. Alex Flanagan The Notre Dame sideline reporter drew the highly enviable task of flying to Hawaii to presumably cover Manti Te'o on draft night for the NFL Network, although for the entire evening she appeared outdoors on a beach somewhere and I don't recall once seeing Te'o in a shot with her. Honestly, I could have gotten the same insight from a reporter standing on a street in Bumfuck, Indiana, so long as that person had Manti Te'o's cell phone number and enough time to make a phone call before the draft started. So why is Flanagan a winner? Well, Te'o didn't get drafted in the first round, so she gets to boondoggle the company out of at least one more night of lobster, mai tais and a cool island breeze!
3. New England Patriots One of my favorite draft traditions is when Bill Belichick uses his Sith powers to convince a decision-maker for another NFL team to forfeit entire chunks of their draft over to New England. And thus begins the 2013 chapter in that story, where Rick Spielman and the Minnesota Vikings decided to give up their second-, third-, fourth- and seventh-round picks for the 29th selection overall to use on Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. Forking over four picks in a wide receiver-heavy draft in which only two had been taken so far...only Bill Belichick could be on the receiving end of such charity.
2. D.J. Hayden Less than six months ago, Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden was rushed to the hospital near death after this collision in practice:
Thursday night, he heard his name called in New York as the 12th player taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. Incredible story that would have the perfect ending if he were drafted by almost any other team but the Raiders. As it is, it's still pretty damn good.
1. Andre Johnson Last weekend, at his kids' camp in Houston, Andre Johnson met with the media and had this to say about the team drafting a wide receiver:
"I'd like to have another [receiver]," Johnson said. "I'm all for it. I've asked for it for awhile. The more weapons we have, the better it'll be for the team."
Well, Andre got his wish on Thursday night as for just the second time since Johnson was selected in 2003, the team used their first round pick on an offensive player, selecting Clemson game-breaker Deandre Hopkins. Hopkins doesn't really have any singular signature calling card, he's just really good at almost every aspect of being a wide receiver -- catching, route running, speed, blocking, character. He's a ready-made pro and should step in and start Week One.
Some highlights to get you excited for the season:
4. Manti Te'o In the grand scheme of things, if he ends up getting taken early in the second round, then Te'o's drop out of the first round won't be all that precipitous. Sometimes these falls from Round One to Round Two feel worse in the new draft structure because the undrafted have to sit around and think about it for an entire evening. That said, the Vikings were supposedly hot to trot for Te'o, and yet the 23rd pick went by and the 25th pick went by, and the Vikings passed both times. Even a trade up for the 29th pick didn't net a selection for Te'o. It appears as though Te'o's days of getting catfished continue, this time courtesy of Spielman.
3. Big Ten Only a ridiculous reach by Jerry Jones with the 31st pick, selecting a center from Wisconsin named Travis Frederick who elicited the line of the night from Mike Mayock ("I had him pegged for the third round!"), kept the Big Ten from getting shut out completely in the first round of this draft. Conversely, the SEC had a dozen players chosen.
2. Geno Smith A month ago, the question wasn't if Geno Smith would go in the top ten, it was which teams would be willing to maneuver their draft to make sure they got him. Fast-forward to Thursday night, and Geno Smith was the latest cautionary tale for quarterbacks choosing to attend the draft in person. Thirty-two names were called, none of them were Geno Smith's. And rumors that he basically sprinted out of Radio City Music Hall never to return for Day Two will not help pre-draft reports about a questionable attitude.
1. Ryan Nassib Lots of analysts getting very cute over the past week talking about how much they love Nassib and what a great package of skills he has and how he's the number one quarterback on their board. So much for that; not only did Nassib go undrafted on Day One, but he also got passed over by his old college coach even after his team traded down to a more reasonable spot (16th overall) to take Nassib. And not just passed over, but passed over for another quarterback who everyone outwardly said was a reach in E.J. Manuel.
I'm reminded of this scene from Goodfellas. Picture Nassib as Henry Hill and Bills head coach Doug Marrone as Paulie Cicero:
"Now I gotta turn my back...."
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