After all, that’s what the NFL Draft really is, isn’t it? Still, though, credit to ESPN for turning it into an actual event. It’s become must-see television every year, a nice little burst of nostalgia for the season that passed, and a sneaky get-excited preview of what’s to come for 2013.
So, who won the first round this year? Here’s our picks for the three teams that did well – and the three that really screwed up their drafts.
THREE TEAMS THAT NAILED IT
The Vikings – a true surprise playoff team from last year – didn’t sit pat, and they’ll be rewarded for it. Their wide receivers were terrible before the Percy Harvin trade; now, they’ll have at least some talent there with Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson. DT Sharif Floyd and CB Xavier Rhodes will also inject some new blood to an average-at-best defense. The Bengals needed another skill player on offense, and they sure got one with impressive Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert. He could be an impact player in the Gronkowski / Graham / Hernandez mold for Cincinnati. Look for him to be an enormous part of the Cincy offense next year; he’ll be a terrifying complement to the skills of A.J. Green. The Rams are gradually collecting a ton of talent on both sides of the ball. West Virginia’s Tavon Wilson will be a nice, versatile weapon for QB Sam Bradford (something he really needed), and inside linebacker Alec Ogletree out of Georgia will pair with bruising fellow linebacker James Laurinaitis to give St. Louis a real edge on defense.
THREE TEAMS THAT BUNGLED IT
The Cowboys somehow thought it was a good idea to trade into the first round for a center, of all things, breaking one of the cardinal rules about the draft. There are plenty of acceptable NFL centers out there; Dallas absolutely reached for this one. The boos that the Jets fans rained down on their team’s picks are probably justified this time around. After investing a first rounder in CB Kyle Wilson in the 2010 draft, they spent another first rounder on Alabama CB Dee Milner, following that up with project DT Sheldon Richardson. Meanwhile, Mark Sanchez remains their quarterback. Yikes. Meanwhile, their AFC East opponent the Bills had the Stretch Armstrong-like reach of the draft, practically blowing out their arms to select super-project quarterback E.J. Manuel out of Florida State. He’ll be sitting for a while. Why do people ponder how the Patriots take the AFC East every year?