Quick takes on the rest of the NFL draft

I was going to include this in my other reaction post, but I was having extremely annoying HTML issues and decided I’d just start a new post. More after the jump.

The NFC West:

Truthfully, I did not think much of the rest of the NFC West’s drafting until a couple of great picks in the late 3rd round.


I liked the Jonathan Cooper pick.  Minter and Mathieu were two players on my “I hope they get drafted by someone else so Seattle doesn’t take them” list.  That Arizona removed both of those landmines is an added bonus.

Minter is not fast on tape and in my sampling he made more mistakes than positive plays.  The hype for him mystified me from day one.

I covered Mathieu this week.  Basically I think he’s a high risk, low-ceiling player.  I admire his heart for the game though, and strangely I find myself rooting for him.  That said, if Arizona doesn’t take him in the 3rd round, I wouldn’t have been shocked if he had fallen out of the draft completely.

And they passed on Matt Barkley to take him.  It seems to me like they have their eyes set on next year’s excellent QB crop, but that’s a move that could look very stupid in retrospect if Barkley goes elsewhere and has the kind of NFL career I expect of him.

St. Louis:

Tavon Austin is a good pickup, but they paid quite a bit to get him.

Alec Ogletree has decent upside, but he’s got more pitfalls than promise.  And I say this as someone who was a fan of his early in the process.  I think he was probably one of the five worst picks in round 1.

TJ McDonald always struck me as subpar.  I never got why he had mid-round hype.  Taking him in the 3rd round was a huge reach for a player that will be NFL adequate at best.

With apologies to Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey is the best pick for the Rams so far.  He’s basically Robert Woods with a lower pricetag.  I think it’s pretty neat that Austin and Bailey will continue to be teammates in the NFL.

San Francisco:

I have to split with Rob on this one, I think Trent Baalke is confirming my suspicions about his lack of talent evaluation ability so far in this draft.  The 49ers are not off to a good start.

I never saw anything terribly special about Eric Reid.  His physical upside is nothing spectacular.  Neither is his tape.  He’s a safe pick, but he’s unlikely to be as good as Goldson, who truth be told was a touch over-rated himself.

I’ve never been a big fan of Tank Carradine.  His speed is below average and his pass rush is built almost entirely around power, while lacking the motor of teammate Bjoern Werner.  I think he’s highly comparable to Damontre Moore, who was a forgotten man before he was a surprise selection in the late 3rd round.  Pass rushers that build their game around pure power often struggle at the NFL level.  The ones that do succeed make up for it with excellent arm-combat skills (Justin Smith, JJ Watt), and I’m not seeing that on tape with Carradine.

Vance McDonald has his fans.  I won’t deny that he has excellent physical upside.  That said, I didn’t see a natural tight end when I watched his tape.  His problem with drops was well advertised, but my problems with him went well beyond that.  He wasn’t a natural route runner and lacked the kind of refinement you see from all the other tight ends in the top six.  I think it’s funny that the 49ers moved in front of Seattle to get him.  I’m confident that Seattle had their eye on Christine Michael the whole way.  No GM has maneuvered more on draft day than Trent Baalke has.

With Corey Lemonier comes the 49ers’ very first pick that I liked.  You might recall that the 49ers were one of the teams that had 1st round interest in Bruce Irvin last year.  They never got their Bruce Irvin alternative.  Now they have, and they get a guy with pro-bowl upside with a late 3rd round pick.  Lemonier had some issues with production over his final 10 games or so, but he has some of the best pass rusher tools in this draft and was productive in 2011.  I thought he was the unheralded star of the 2013 combine among the defensive end group.  Before Seattle acquired Avril and traded for Harvin, Lemonier was very much on my radar for Seattle in rounds 1-3.  Great addition for the 49ers.  Lemonier is one of the best value picks in the draft by any team so far.

Overall though, I count three supbar picks to one great one for the 49ers, plus a few aggressive moves up the board that I firmly believe were not necessary in either case.  In fairness, the 49ers struck a good bargain on both their trade ups, and managed a future 3rd in one of their moves down.  Baalke strikes me as a guy that buys into conventional thinking and reputation too much with his picks, but he’s done an excellent job of maneuvering in the draft.

The rest of the league:

I won’t cover every team, just the teams who’s work stuck out to me the most, for better or for worse:

The Jets killed it with their first three picks.  I haven’t studied their 3rd round pick Brian Winters, but Milliner, Richardson, and Smith would all be very high on my personal big board.

The Falcons have a busy day tomorrow, but have only picked twice to this point.  They added two of the best cover corners in the draft with Trufant and Alford.  I honestly thought the Falcons offseason was a little overrated going into this draft, but now I’m starting to change my tune.  The 2013 Falcons will be a more talented bunch than the 2012 version was.

Baltimore is having a solid draft (Matt Elam, Arthur Brown, Brandon Williams), though it seems more risk laden than usual.

Carolina had just two picks and used both on defensive tackles.

The Bears draft is off to an ugly start (Long, Bostic), and they only have 5 total picks in this draft.

The Browns are off to a horrible start as well (Mingo, McFadden), and have just seven picks total.

I’ve been a supporter of Jerry Jones as recently as the end of last season, but ever since that terrible Romo extension it’s been all downhill from there.  The next decade could be very ugly in big D.

The Packers had just two picks so far, but both were excellent (Datone Jones, Eddie Lacy).

Miami didn’t make a single pick I liked, though I haven’t scouted Dallas Thomas, and Rob is a fan.

When Tom Brady retires, Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick are in trouble.  They may be masters of trading down and stockpiling future picks, but their talent evaluation leaves so much to be desired.  They led off with two of my most overrated prospects before grabbing a couple of guys that should be late round fliers.

The Saints had an interesting draft so far.  Vaccaro is a much better player than Reid.  I’m not an Armstead believer but he does have elite athleticism.  John Jenkins could be a better version of Red Bryant.

Nobody polishes a turd on the defensive line as well as the Giants do.  They’ll have their hands full this year with Johnathan Hankins and Damontre Moore.

The Eagles had a great start with Johnson and Ertz.  Logan was a poor choice, but Logan has a sexy profile as a prospect in some ways.  I’m really interested to see what they do on day 3.

The Chargers are the one team that seems to be conducting an “anti-Seahawks” draft, targeting the best players that aren’t great athletes.  All things considered though, it’s not a bad draft with some potential to look very good in retrospect.

The Titans are surprising with one of the more decent drafts so far.  Warmack was the best lineman available, and maybe the best player available at #10.  Hunter has #1 potential, even if I doubt he’ll stay healthy. Wreh-Wilson has good length at corner and was in the mix for the first round for a time.  Zaviar Gooden is, by far, the draft’s fastest linebacker.


  1. Trudy Beekman

    Nailed it on the NFC West analysis on every single point including your previous points regarding the Seahawks picks, though I think Hill has more upside than you give him credit for. I could see him being massively successful at the 3-tech with Mebane and Bryant masking his weakness at the point of attack.

    I also agree on 90% of your points regarding the rest of the league. Great article.

    • Kip Earlywine


      For the record, I really like Hill, and was actually VERY high on him back in January/February. It was when I wrote the Bill Walsh DT article that I kind of noticed how weak Hill was at pushing the pocket that I cooled on him, but he’s a very complete defensive player, a bit like a poor man’s Kawann Short.

      Back then almost everyone had Hill as a mid-late rounder and I was talking about Hill in the same breath as Lotulelei, Richardson, Short, etc. I didn’t think he was as good as those guys, but I thought he was a great alternative to them at a lower price. I like the player, I just wish Seattle had waited a little longer to pull the trigger.

  2. Michael

    Love to hear that you’re underwhelmed by the ‘Niners draft! The trade up for Reid really is a head scratcher, but I was bummed to see them get Lemonier.

    • Kip Earlywine

      It’s a swing for the fences type draft in a lot of ways, I’m just not a believer in most of the gambles they took. Lemonier might be the biggest gamble of the three, but I really like his natural flow as a LEO type pass rusher and the athleticism he has as a fringe 1st round caliber.

  3. Ben

    I think that the Rams made a mistake trading up for Austin, I know that he has very little injury history, but he is also one of the smallest and lightest people in the NFL at the moment. And to top it off he’s in the hardest hitting division in football. that could be trouble for the 8th overall pick.

  4. Dan

    My winners thus far are the Packers and the Jets… Unfortunately the Rams are up there as well, in my opinion. They’ve replaced Amendola and added a little more firepower to the offense. Ogletree could be a future probowler.

    • Trudy Beekman

      I think it’s cool they got the WVU tandem and I do think Austin will have some success down the road as a poor mans’ Percy Harvin. For me, Ogletree’s chances of busting are off the charts and I can’t quite describe why. Something about his athleticism not being as good as everyone thought (4.7 40, wasn’t a top 5 performer in a single event at the combine), being bad at diagnosing and defending the run, and generally looking lost out there.

  5. Nolan

    My favorites out of the remaining : Darrick Rodgers, Mark Harrison, and Sanders Cummings I would like two of those three. I also like Matt Barkley and Matt Scott from this point on in the draft.

  6. Colin

    You literally took the words out of my mouth Kip. I watched some 2011 tape of Eric Reid, and it was borderline bad, and his 2012 tape was inconsistent to say the least.

    If they think they are going to plug in Glenn Dorsey, an old and injured Justin Smith, and some kid from this years draft and keep steamrolling everyone defensively, they’re in for a surprise.

  7. Eran Ungar

    I like it kip…i like it a lot…but…

    Sometimes the BIG BAD WOLF…is exactly that. Big and Bad. I agree with your reservations regarding Tank but if he gets healthy, and works hard to fit into their team…he could be their big bad wolf. With such a good roster all the 9ers need is to hit on 2-3 picks.

    The only thing that makes me smile is that with the 9ers 2012 draft proving close to worthless, one more luxury draft going stale would lead to a steep drop as the vets decline.

    Today is the day we make our killing…let’s hope the rest are tired from those 2 hard days…

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