2013 NFL Draft Grades: Day 1 Marks for First-Round Picks

Ethan Grant@DowntownEGAnalyst IApril 26, 2013

The first round of the 2013 NFL draft is in the books. 

Eric Fisher is your new No. 1 pick, and he will be joining the Kansas City Chiefs' rebuilding effort with huge expectations to fill the void on the left side of the offensive line. 

Behind him, 31 other players are now cemented in stone with respect to the 2013 first round, and like Fisher, they have bundles of expectations to live up to when it comes to proving that each was worth the designation of being a first-rounder. 

Surprises from the first round included E.J. Manuel being the first and only quarterback selected in the first round to the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati going the New England route and adding an impact tight end (Tyler Eifert) to pair with Jermaine Gresham and the Dallas Cowboys getting no love from the fans after taking Travis Frederick (who?) with a pick they traded down to get. 

Each team's grade is anything but complete after the first round. Good teams and fans know that you don't build your team with the first round; the entire draft is a chance to build your dynasty. 

You are judged as a general manager by your first-round picks, though, and that should make 32 men all take a deep breath before they go to sleep tonight. Here's a look at my grades for all 32 picks of the first round and a few explanations on why I felt certain players were graded in a certain way. 


2013 NFL Draft Round 1 Grades

Pick Team                          Player                             School Grade
1 Kansas City OT Eric Fisher Central Michigan A
2 Jacksonville OT Luke Joeckel Texas A&M A+
3 Miami (from OAK) DE Dion Jordan Oregon A-
4 Philadelphia  OT Lane Johnson Oklahoma A
5 Detroit DE Ezekiel Ansah BYU B
6 Cleveland OLB Barkevious Mingo LSU B-
7 Arizona OG Jonathan Cooper North Carolina A
8 St. Louis (from BUF) WR Tavon Austin West Virginia A+
9 New York Jets CB Dee Milliner Alabama B
10 Tennessee Titans OG Chance Warmack Alabama B
11 San Diego Chargers OT D.J. Fluker Alabama B-
12 Oakland (from MIA) CB D.J. Hayden Houston B+
13 New York Jets DT Sheldon Richardson Missouri C
14 Carolina  DT Star Lotulelei Utah A+
15 New Orleans S Kenny Vaccaro Texas B+ 
16 Buffalo (from STL) QB E.J. Manuel Florida State C+ 
17 Pittsburgh OLB Jarvis Jones Georgia
18 San Francisco (from DAL)  S Eric Reid LSU
19 New York Giants OG Justin Pugh Syracuse B- 
20 Chicago OT/OG Kyle Long Oregon C+ 
21 Cincinnati TE Tyler Eifert Notre Dame
22 Atlanta (from STL via WAS) CB Desmond Trufant Washington A+
23 Minnesota DT Sharrif Floyd Florida A
24 Indianapolis  DE Bjoern Werner Florida State B+
25 Minnesota (from SEA) CB Xavier Rhodes Florida State B+
26 Green Bay DE Datone Jones UCLA 
27 Houston  WR DeAndre Hopkins Clemson  A+ 
28 Denver DT Sylvester Williams North Carolina  A-
29 Minnesota (from NE) WR Cordarrelle Patterson Tennessee  B- 
30 St. Louis (from ATL) LB Alec Ogletree Georgia  B+
31 Dallas (from SF) C Travis Frederick Wisconsin
32 Baltimore S Matt Elam Florida  A- 


Highlighting Specific Picks

3. Dion Jordan, Miami Dolphins: A-

The Dolphins traded up to get Jordan, and for only the No. 12 and No. 42 picks, this could really end up being a steal. 

Although defensive end wasn't the major concern for the Fins coming into draft night, it was a clear point of emphasis in later rounds, and getting the best pass-rusher on the board for a first- and a second-round pick is a great move by Jeff Ireland. 

Think that through for a second—Miami moved into the top three with two picks and only one was a first-rounder. 

To get Jordan was icing on the cake, and it's a move that affected the rest of the first round. Philadelphia couldn't take him, and both Detroit and Cleveland had to feel the heat when taking Ansah and Mingo, respectively, with pick Nos. 5 and 6. 

I like this pick for the Dolphins, even if there's a little bit of a learning curve/motor issue with Jordan. He can be a star in South Beach and should form a fearsome tandem with Cameron Wake. 


16. E.J. Manuel, Buffalo Bills: C+

The Bills made a great move to trade back and pick up some more selections by trading with the St. Louis Rams, but the move they made to add E.J. Manuel caught some folks off guard. 

There was a legitimate buzz that Manuel would be a target of the Philadelphia Eagles at the bottom of the first round, but no one in good conscious had Manuel going in the first half of the first round in their mock drafts on Thursday. 

That's why it's a mock draft, I guess. 

In any event, this seems like a reach for Buffalo. Sure, Manuel, maybe more than any other QB in this draft, has the raw physical tools that make him a can't-miss prospect, but we were saying the same things about him in college and praising him as a Heisman candidate before he underperformed at Florida State. 

Geno Smith, Matt Barkley and Ryan Nassib were all on the board, and Nassib has a connection to coach Doug Marrone from their days at Syracuse. This was an odd pick for the Bills, but it could signal the beginning of a dual-threat type offense that will center around Manuel's ability to do both aspects of his job well. 


29. Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings: B-

The prevailing thoughts after this one was a very mixed bag. 

On the one hand, Minnesota got three players of need in the first round, and that includes Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes and Patterson. Each will likely contend for a starting job, and the reviews on potential alone have been off the charts for Patterson. 

On the other hand, Minnesota gave up four picks to get back into the bottom of the first round via a trade with New England (h/t ESPN's Mike Reiss), and that should severely hurt its ability to do anything else of note in this draft. 

Patterson is a great prospect, but he's also very raw. He comes into a situation in Minnesota where Christian Ponder is still growing and the other four receivers likely to be ahead of him on the depth chart all are more developed and understand that it's run-first system in Minny. 

Essentially, the Vikings gave up four picks for their starting return man in 2013. Patterson has the potential to turn into something well more than that, hence the generous grade, but right now this has to be considered a bit of stretch, and a bit of a shrewd move. Hard to judge this pick with so many moving parts. 


31. Travis Frederick, Dallas Cowboys: D

The Cowboys' draft minds strike again, but not in a good way. 

This tweet from Albert Breer should tell you all you need to know about Jerry Jones' choice to draft Frederick, the center from Wisconsin:

After trading back from No. 18 with two guys considered targets (Sharrif Floyd and Sylvester Williams) to only pick up a third-round pick and drop 11 spots, Dallas didn't get anyone of note at the bottom of the first round. 

While Frederick has had great success with the Badgers, many had a third-round grade or later on his abilities, and that should make Dallas fans disappointed, at best, with Jerry's choice to pass on two impact players at defensive tackle to only get a center. 

Dallas re-upped Phil Costa this offseason and still have both starting guards on the roster, so right now, this would appear to be nothing more than a ploy to add depth for training camp with an eye toward two or three years down the road. 

To be blunt—8-8 doesn't lend itself to teams looking to add depth in Round 1. Jerry whiffed again with this pick, in large part because of the shock he got (one third-round pick) in seeing San Francisco add its desired player at No. 18 and the talent heading to other teams from the 18-30 spots. 


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