Chris Berman and his ESPN cohorts held that the NFL hadn't seen a Draft with so many first round offensive linemen since Vince Lombardi's heyday in 1968. Lombardi famously said football is about blocking and tackling. St. Vince must have directed this Draft from the grave. Four offensive linemen, including two guards (yes, guards) and three defensive ends or linebackers were among the first 10 players selected.
I'm calling it the Big Uglies Draft.
The flight to safety
More defensive backs (6) were selected than were offensive skill players (5). The consensus of analysts held that the class of 2013 is deep with safety talent. New Orleans, San Francisco and Baltimore grabbed safeties early.
The Saints defense was notoriously porous last year, among their other issues. They made the first safety move selecting Kenny Vaccaro (Texas) with the 15th pick. The 49ers added Eric Reid (LSU) to their defensive wealth with the 18th pick acquired from the Cowboys. The Super Bowl Ravens have a hole where Ed Reed used to be. They pushed their chips to Matt Elam (Florida) with the last selection of the night.
Lite on the skills
Buffalo has a pedestrian corps of quarterbacks, but they surprised everyone by trading out of their No. 8 spot and still got their man with EJ Manuel (Florida State). However, they may still have a pedestrian corps of quarterbacks.
St. Louis traded up to Buffalo's spot to select WR Tavon Austin (WVU). The Rams were the first to break the run of linemen and linebackers taken in the first 10 picks. Austin has to grow up in NFL schemes. He may be an eventual replacement to Danny Amendola who put the amen in the Rams' offense when he was healthy. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) The Rams lost Amendola to the Patriots in free agency.
NFL DRAFT NEWS – I agree with many experts that can't believe Manti & Geno r available 4 2nd rd!espn.go.com
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) April 26, 2013
Was anything more poignant than to see West Virginia QB Geno Smith with his head cradled in his palm while speaking on his smart phone as teams snubbed him in the first round? Shades of Brady Quinn. Smith will find a home somewhere, probably this evening in the second or third round. The fact that he was not selected early is evidence that the league isn't all in on the read-option offense just yet.
Football players are so large that it's easy to forget they are just past their teen-age years. How did GM's view Smith's show of disappointment? Is he mentally tough enough to be an NFL quarterback? Is he more like Russell Wilson, or Vince Young who did not handle pressure well?
Third time a charm for Vikings?
In a sign of the times, the Vikings had three selections in the first round. That sort of thing was unheard of before the rookie pay scale and rational salary caps. They will add DT Sharrif Floyd (Florida), DB Xavier Rhodes (Florida State) and WR Cordarrelle Patterson (Tennessee) to their roster in hopes of finding an edge over Green Bay and Chicago while Adrian Peterson still has legs.
No one stockpiles Draft pick like Bill Belichick. He was at it again when he traded New England's first round pick (29th overall) for Minnesota's second, third, fourth and seventh-round picks. Viking's fans should find something else to do today. There is no activity for them in tonight's episode of the NFL Draft.
Here's hoping Minnesota has better luck trading all those picks for Patterson than it had with the Herschel Walker deal (1989), still known as the stupidest trade in NFL history. The Falcons traded five Draft picks to Cleveland in 2011 and have done well with WR Julio Jones. Neither the Falcons nor the Browns have made it to the Super Bowl, however. The Browns have since hired Michael Lombardi to be their talent picker.
The Mid America Conference had as many players selected in the first round as the Big Ten – one each. Of course, Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher was the first player selected (Chiefs) this year. Wisconsin center Travis Frederick (Cowboys) was the 31st player selected. Cowboys fans were hoping for something more exciting with that pick. MUCH more exciting.
Super Bowl coaches John and Jim Harbaugh hail from the Bo Schembechler coaching tree. The B1G can make something of that, though both coaches picked SEC players in the first round.
Fathers, tell your sons to be linebackers, not running backs
This is the first time a RB did not go in the 1st round of the NFL Draft in FIFTY YEARS (!!)
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 26, 2013
Vince Lombardi would not have been imprerssed by that.
The NFL Draft resumes this evening at 6:30 PM EST for rounds two and three.
Check out Eric Galko's 2013 NFL Draft: Top 250 prospects remaining after Round One over on Optimum Scouting.