To assign NFL Draft grades immediately after the first round is an absurd exercise. Anything less than a positive write-up and clearly you're an idiot. Regardless, here are my grades for the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
The selection of Manuel was far and away the biggest shocker of the first round. The speculation was between Ryan Nassib and Matt Barkley. If the Bills didn't take a quarterback in the first round, that's where people thought Manuel could be the choice in the second. From a fit standpoint, it's good. To do it in the first round was a reach. The grade is because Manuel is a good fit, and the Bills added a second-round pick.
Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
The Dolphins had high picks to maneuver around and did so, jumping from the 12th pick to No. 3, only at the cost of the 42nd pick. In that regard, it's a good move. The idea of Dion Jordan and Cameron Wake on the field together is intriguing. The question is whether or not Jordan will be able to stay healthy and develop. At the moment, he's somewhat slight of frame and needs to get stronger. If Jordan can become the player some expect – a high-impact pass rusher – this will be viewed as a stellar pick.
New York Jets
Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The best thing you can say about the Milliner pick is that the Jets run a similar coverage to Alabama. But given the depth of cornerback this year, and the injury concerns with Milliner, it's a risky choice. With Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples, the pick of Richardson is one of the most puzzling choices in the first round. Richardson is good and disruptive, but where does he play? Further, the Jets had a chance to bolster one of the NFL's worst offenses and decided not to in the first round.
Matt Elam, S, Florida
We mocked Elam to Baltimore for some time. Each time, though, Florida International safety Jonathan Cyprien was off the board. It's hard to say Ozzie Newsome made a bad pick, but Cyprien is the better player in every regard other than striking ability.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
By adding Eifert, the Bengals will have some dangerous two tight end sets with Jermaine Gresham on the field. Eifert is a good weapon that will help the development of Andy Dalton. He'll be a factor in the red zone and can split out wide.
Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
Before free agency, a pick like Mingo would have been a slam dunk A+ for the Browns. But after giving Paul Kruger a sizable contract in free agency, and having Jabaal Sheard, there's only so many snaps to go around. Does this leave Mingo to be a pass-rush specialist at the start of his career? This is a good pick because he's such a dynamic athlete with upside. But the Browns will have to find a away to get enough plays for Mingo, Kruger and Sheard. That is, unless Sheard gets traded.
Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The Steelers weren't flashy in the first round. They didn't trade up or down. They weren't even being talked about to move off the 17th pick. Instead, the Steelers sat back and let Jones, the most natural 3-4 pass rusher in the draft, slide to them. In the Pittsburgh system, Jones is an easy upgrade over James Harrison. He's the kind of player that can get 10 sacks as a rookie and make the Pro Bowl.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
The thought of Hopkins, the draft's best wide receiver, in the Houston offense is unfair to the rest of the NFL. There's nothing negative to say about the pick. Great value and a great pick.
Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
It's difficult to see where Werner fits on a 3-4 defense. He's not athletic enough to play linebacker. He's not quite big enough to play defensive end in a three-man front. Werner is a heady player who is going to work hard to improve. But will Werner make many impact plays for the Colts?
Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Joeckel was our top-rated player in the draft this year, and if the Jaguars were adamant on getting a tackle, this is the best choice. Maybe it's questionable to take a right tackle second overall, but at the least Joeckel gives the Jags insurance if Eugene Monroe doesn't re-sign.
Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
The only real quibble with this pick is that the Titans signed guard Andy Levitre in free agency. The Titans needed to improve the interior of their offensive line, so these moves accomplish it. But they'll now have a lot of money tied into the position. Warmack is a good power blocker, so he's a natural for the right side.
Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
Williams is a hard worker, which the Broncos value. The grade isn't higher because he's not much of a pass rusher. It was something of a surprise that the Broncos didn't take a pass rusher in the first round.
Kansas City Chiefs
Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
When it came down to Fisher versus Joeckel, the Central Michigan product is just a better fit for the Chiefs. Fisher's ascent to the top of the NFL Draft really began at the Senior Bowl. There he turned heads as an athletic left tackle with good functional strength. What I like about Fisher is his attitude. He excels at finishing off blocks and dominating at the point. He's going to be a franchise left tackle for the Chiefs. That alone makes it a good pick.
D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston
The Raiders needed to get another pick, and they did so trading with Miami. Although the Raiders dropped quite far from No. 3 to No. 12, Hayden was undeniably their player.
San Diego Chargers
D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
The Chargers had to come out of the first round with an offensive lineman. After the top three tackles and two guards were picked, Fluker had to be the choice for the Chargers. He'll immediately be plugged in as the team's right tackle.
Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin
Although Frederick is arguably the best center in the draft, it's reasonable to believe Frederick would have been available at some point in the second round. This is a reach pick, even though he'll be a rookie starter inside.
New York Giants
Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse
The thing most forget about Pugh is that he was projected to be a first-round pick entering the season. The questionable aspect of this pick is Pugh's fit on the Giants. The Giants are set at guard, so Pugh is out of the question there. Arm length will be the concern if he plays at right tackle. But he's a good blocker across the board. He's maybe not spectacular in any area, but he wasn't beat often at Syracuse.
Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
This was the expected pick for the Eagles and Johnson is going to be a good fit in the offense. There's not a lot to say negatively about the pick, just that Johnson will need to continue developing.
Kyle Long, G, Oregon
The Bears still needed offensive line help, so Long surely gives them that. Long has perhaps the most potential of any player in the draft this year. But with that potential comes inexperience. He started just four games at Oregon last season. But he's a highly athletic player who is determined to make it. It's easy to believe in Long, who has overcome some bad decisions in his past. It's hard to imagine the Bears couldn't have found him a little later in the round, though.
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Much like Johnson and the Eagles, this was the expected pick and it's a good fit. With the top three left tackles off the board, taking Ziggy Ansah was an easy choice for the Lions. They coached him at the Senior Bowl and he excelled when lined up in the wide nine. With Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and now Ansah, the Lions have one of the most disruptive front lines in the NFL. The question about Ansah is just how fast he can develop and be a factor in the NFL.
Green Bay Packers
Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
Most thought the Packers would trade out of the first round. But snagging Jones, a good pass rusher that can play end in a 3-4 defense, is a nice fit. Some think Jones is a smaller JJ Watt.
Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
This is quite the haul for the Vikings. Getting three starters in one draft is great. Getting three starters in the first round is amazing. For the Vikings to get Floyd 23rd overall has to be considered the biggest steal of the first round. Many considered Floyd to go in the top five to the Raiders. Then he dropped and dropped allowing the Vikings to get the defensive tackle their aging defense needs.
If the Vikings want to use their cornerbacks like the Seattle Seahawks do, Xavier Rhodes is a perfect fit. He excels in press coverage and has optimal size and athletic ability. If he can learn better off-man technique, he could quickly develop into a very good cornerback.
The Vikings giving up four picks to trade back into the first round would have been dumb to get Manti Te'o. To get Cordarrelle Patterson is nice, but a gamble. There are some character concerns with Patterson, but he should at the least be a factor on special teams immediately.
Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Everyone knew the Falcons would take a cornerback. They must really like Trufant to give up third- and sixth-round picks, however. Being in win-now mode, the Falcons can chance jumping up to get the third-best cornerback in the draft. Trufant should start as a rookie and has the ability to excel.
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Everyone in Carolina should be giddy about this pick.Everybody knew the Panthers needed a powerhouse defensive tackle. To get Lotulelei, our second-rated player in the draft, with the 14th pick is a coup.
New Orleans Saints
Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Vaccaro may not be the front seven piece most expected the Saints to pick, but he's a good choice. He's a top coverage safety and will push Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins to get better or get out. In a league where covering tight ends is as important as ever, it's hard to fault this pick at all.
Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
Many scoffed at the idea of taking a guard so high. Going seventh overall, though, was about the right value position for the highly athletic Cooper. The question is whether he's a better choice than someone like D.J. Fluker, who could play tackle or guard. Cardinals general manager Steve Keim better hope he's right about Arizona's offensive tackles, or try to find one later in the draft.
San Francisco 49ers
Eric Reid, S, LSU
As expected, the 49ers moved up in the draft to go after the player they wanted. But did they really need to move up from No. 31 to 18 to get Reid? The answer is yes if you thought a team like the Bengals would pick Reid at 21. Besides, the 49ers have more draft picks than truly available roster spots, so why not go after the guy you like? Reid will fit in fine as Dashon Goldson's replacement.
St. Louis Rams
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Alec Ogletree, MLB, Georgia
The Austin pick is an absolute A+ choice as long as Jeff Fisher can find a creative way to use him in the offense. I'm not as high on Austin as others, mostly because of his size. I don't say that negatively because of injury. But his catch radius is so small, he'll have to get enough separation for Sam Bradford to find him.. The Ogletree pick continued to show that Fisher doesn't care about taking character risks. Ogletree is a run and tackle linebacker. He can't get off blocks, but he can cover.