Fans and teams right around the league will look to their first-round draft pick throughout the course of any given season, but often, it's their second-round picks that prove to have the strongest impact—even greater than that of their first-round counterparts.
This year will no doubt prove that true again, with several great players selected in the second round this year thanks to the depth of talent in the 2013 draft class.
Who were the top picks of the second round this year? Read on and find out.
Geno Smith, QB—Pick No. 39, New York Jets
After passing up the option to sign Geno Smith in the first round, the New York Jets surprised many when they took the quarterback early in the second round. Yet the reality was that this was the right move to make, regardless of the quarterback conundrum it may have created.
Mark Sanchez has not lived up to the expectations surrounding him over the past few years. Tim Tebow wasn't going to get a chance in anything other than special teams or Wildcat, and nobody wants David Garrard to be the starting quarterback of their franchise, especially because he's 35.
Thus Smith, regardless of his draft-day decline, was the right pick here.
He is a talented quarterback who is an instant upgrade on whatever the Jets had under center previously. Smith is a good dual-threat option and has excellent mobility, which he'll no doubt improve on throughout his time as an NFL quarterback.
Smith is a franchise player who, once the Jets get some long-term pieces around him on offense, could very well lead New York back to being a contender once again.
Hard to fault this move by the Jets, as controversial as it might have been.
Cornelius "Tank" Carradine, DE—Pick No. 40, San Francisco 49ers
The rich got a whole lot richer when Tank Carradine was selected by the San Francisco 49ers, adding another weapon to their impressive defensive front.
Carradine is an explosive athlete who has some serious upside when healthy. He wouldn't have fallen this far without an ACL tear last year, and the Niners know that his presence in their front seven will be incredible once he returns to full health.
This is a guy who outplayed both Bjoern Werner and Brandon Jenkins at Florida State in 2012, and with the talent around him at San Fran, he could develop into a very strong player. After all, he does have the best in the business to learn from, and he could become a long-term replacement for Justin Smith.
Margus Hunt, DE—Pick No. 32, Cincinnati Bengals
Margus Hunt is a phenomenal athlete, who, despite not being the most "football-ready" player in the draft this year, is a great pickup by the Bengals.
His combination of strength, speed and quickness is parallel to nobody in the league, and in that Bengals front seven, he could be a real weapon off the edge.
Cincinnati already has a dominant pass rush and showed that to be true in 2012. If they can add in another weapon like Hunt, who will only develop into an even better player than he already is now, then they have the chance to become one of the more dominant teams in the AFC going forward.
Look at his combine numbers and it's clear this was a great pick.
|6'8"||227 lbs||33.75 in.||4.6 sec||38 reps||34.5 in.||121.0 in.||7.07 sec||4.51 sec|
Eddie Lacy, RB—Pick No. 61, Green Bay Packers
Yes, Green Bay is a pass-first offense. Yes, they've got a ton of wide receivers, and having Aaron Rodgers on hand means they're going to throw the ball an awful lot in 2013. But in spite of all of that, picking up Eddie Lacy with the No. 61 overall selection is an incredible steal for the Packers.
Lacy is a beast coming out of the backfield and could be huge for Green Bay in those snowy divisional games up in Detroit or at Lambeau Field.
He is a genuine playmaker who can beat a man one-on-one and gives Rodgers a genuine option in the backfield that they've never had before. Which, in turn, will not only make their ground game stronger, but also make play action an even bigger weapon.
Not that the Packers needed any more help on offense.
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