NFL Draft 2013: First round grades

Al Bello

Yes, it is entirely too early for thoroughly reasoned grades - hence why this is so much fun.

With most teams having just one pick to evaluate -- not every team drafted nearly 10 percent of the first round like the Vikings did -- grading the first round of one team is a bit short-sighted.

Looking at the entire first round is more feasible.

Top to bottom, what was supposed to be a dull draft turned out to be quite exciting. Minnesota loaded up on first round picks as if it was in a Cold War with the rest of the NFC North. Oakland made a smart trade and got a great player along with recouping the second round pick they inexplicably gave up for Carson Palmer. Buffalo ensured no one in the AFC needs to worry about them for another generation or so.

An active first round, to say the least.

Each pick is being graded independent of other moves either by that team or another. It's determined by the quality of that player in the position he was taken.

No. 1 - Kansas City Chiefs - Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

Grade: A

This was the right pick. It comes down to nastiness. Fisher plays with an edge.

No. 2 - Jacksonville Jaguars - Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

Grade: B

Joeckel looks like he just golfed 18 and is rubbing off his BMW with a fine shammy. Good player, just doesn't seem mean. Gus Bradley could get a lot out of Dion Jordan.

No. 3 - Miami Dolphins (via Oakland) - Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon

Grade: A

Miami clearly looking to duplicate recent success with stand-up pass rushers from all over the front seven. He and Cameron Wake could be scary.

No. 4 - Philadelphia Eagles - Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

Grade: A

The "right" player for an up-tempo offense. Very athletic, well-conditioned. Smart pick for a team that gets its QBs out on the edge on the move.

No. 5 - Detroit Lions - Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

Grade: C

An alleged defensive coach who's job is on the line may want to look at a player who can get on the field now.

No. 6 - Cleveland Browns - Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU

Grade: B

With the situational pass rush help he can provide, Ray Horton's pressure defense got better.

No. 7 - Arizona Cardinals - Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina

Grade: C+

Very athletic, grade goes up if head coach Bruce Arians plans to actually run the ball,instead of throwing constantly and wearing old man hats.

No. 8 - St. Louis Rams (via Buffalo) - Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

Grade: B

An athletic step up over Danny Amendola, but questions remain about his ability to make plays outside the numbers.

No. 9 - New York Jets - Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

Grade: B

It's easy to say the Jets traded Darrelle Revis for Milliner. It's so easy, it can't be avoided.

No. 10 - Tennessee Titans - Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama

Grade: A

This is the guy they wanted. Plus, they get him angry because he was the second guard taken.

No. 11 - San Diego Chargers - D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama

Grade: C-

The 11th pick is a tad high for a career right tackle, particularly with some high-end players still available.

No. 12 - Oakland Raiders (via Miami) - D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston

Grade: B

Tough to grade, looks like an outstanding player, but the injury issue will come up. Definitely looks more positive than negative.

No. 13 - New York Jets (via Tampa Bay) - Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri

Grade: A

A great 3-tech for Rex Ryan. Pairing with Muhammad Wilkerson could be lethal.

No. 14 - Carolina Panthers - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

Grade: A

They have to be happy he fell this far. Versatile penetrator with loads of athleticism.

No. 15 - New Orleans Saints - Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

Grade: B

Safety was definitely a need but you have to still wonder if they will have a 0-tech in place.

No. 16 - Buffalo Bills (via St. Louis) - E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State

Grade: F

It's difficult to find words to describe this. The shock of the night. And not in a good way. Well, good for the AFC East.

No. 17 - Pittsburgh Steelers - Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia

Grade: B

A solid, if not great, pick. Strong leadership traits, concerns with size and strength at point of attack leads to questions about ability to play three downs.

No. 18 - San Francisco 49ers (via Dallas) - Eric Reid, S, LSU

Grade: B

Seems to have been a quiet battle for safeties. San Francisco went an awfully long way to get him, must be a big value for a loaded team. Dallas may have been only option. Why not Pittsburgh?

No. 19 - New York Giants - Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse

Grade: D

Seems more like a panic pick. Fifth best player at a position at the 19th pick better be a quarterback.

No. 20 - Chicago Bears - Kyle Long, OL, Oregon

Grade: C

Reserve judgement based on what kind of offense Chicago plans to employ, but like the Giants, third-best at a position by 20 at the position with the least amount of first round picks annually. But Bears have been crushed by injuries on the line the last few years.

No. 21 - Cincinnati Bengals - Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame

Grade: B

Good player, arguably best value on the board. Lots of young weapons on the Bengals.

No. 22 - Atlanta Falcons (via St. Louis) - Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington

Grade: C

Solid player, but trading up with so many other talented CBs available is a stretch. He must be their guy, but it's tough to say he's noticeably better than Rhodes or Jamar Taylor.

No. 23 - Minnesota Vikings - Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida

Grade: A

I was beginning to wonder if he had been arrested and was in jail during the draft. The team that passed on Warren Sapp back in the day may be the luxury of a talented DT falling probably further than he should have.

No. 24 - Indianapolis Colts - Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

Grade: A

A strong edge presence for a team coached by a guy who has always had strong edge presence. Indy quietly got a bit better.

No. 25 - Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle) - Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

Grade: B

Potentially an outstanding player, and where he ends up will be attributed to his work ethic and the coaching of the Vikings.

No. 26 - Green Bay Packers - Datone Jones, DE, UCLA

Grade: C+

Versatile big man who can bring pressure from a lot of different places. Sounds an awful lot like Nick Perry. Wait, didn't the Packers draft him? Maybe the issue is more that Clay Matthews is one of the most one-dimensional players in the game and his sack-first-last-and-only mentality hurts the team. Just sayin'.

No. 27 - Houston Texans - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson

Grade: B

Next to Pittsburgh, the most often picked position to Houston was receiver. Whether Hopkins had checked out of his room will be something Texans fans get to deal with for the next few months at least. Enjoy!

No. 28 - Denver Broncos - Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina

Grade: A

The Broncos' defensive line showed the Steelers how little they had gained up front in Week 1 of 2012. Fortunately, Pittsburgh won't play Denver in Week 1 in 2013.

No. 29 - Minnesota Vikings (via New England) - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

Grade: B

The Vikings' second boom-or-bust prospect in this draft, and maybe it's their third. A team that needs receiving help now and gave away their middle draft for the one least likely to play this year is interesting. His potential is incredible, so again, a job for the coaches.

No. 30 - St. Louis (via Atlanta) - Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia

Grade: A

St. Louis traded up already, and traded down to land one of the best athletes in the draft. Raw but great potential. Jeff Fisher seems to like his trouble-character guys.

No. 31 - Dallas Cowboys (via San Francisco) - Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin

Grade: D-

The general consensus seems to be "who?" His Amish beard was no doubt impressive, but he doesn't not appear to have anywhere near the athleticism and strength of Nick Mangold and Maurkice Pouncey - two other first round centers.

No. 32 - Baltimore Ravens - Matt Elam, S, Florida

Grade: B+

Baltimore gets a player they may end up starting in Week 1. Interesting question is whether that means Elam is the most underrated player in this round or Baltimore's deep secondary really is that thin. Could be both.

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