Two things separate the good teams from the bad teams. Good teams consistently find contributing regulars in fourth round and beyond – that's what most of my rules are about. But the other thing, equally important, is that good teams do not fuck up their first round picks. The St. Louis Rams rode Orlando Pace, Grant Wistrom and Torry Holt to a dynasty in the late nineties, and then in the 2000s quickly threw it all away with a decade full of abject-horror picks like Trung Canidate, Tye Hill, Jimmy Kennedy, Alex Barron and Jason Smith.
The Raiders are even worse. I would put decent money down that right now, as I type this, an Oakland Raiders first-round pick from the last decade is getting arrested for something.
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Taibbi recomends that teams use their first round picks on sure-things that will succeed in the next level by using the HAMS formula--teams should ask of their first round pick: is he HEALTHY?; is he an A---HOLE?; does he have superior MEASURABLES?; does he have superior college STATS? I'll go a few further and say that the first pick should aslo fill a roster spot of NEED and have PRO-BOWL potential within the first few years--so the anagram won't read as pretty and will be HAMSSPb. These issues adress whether or not the first round pick is an immediate contributor or a bust. I am no expert in this stuff nor do I play one on TV, I just wanted to come on here and say what I thought about each pick, putting my neck out there to be ridiculed with the "professional" draft anylysts that I always seem to disagree with. With this in mind, here is my winners/losers list from the First Round:
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Fisher, offensive tackle, Central Michigan-- WINNER- Good pick for the Cheifs. Fills an area of need and can start right away. No use wasting the first pick on any player that will ride the pine or get suspended by getting arrested.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Luke Joekel, offensive tackle, Texas A&M --WINNER--See pick 1.
3. Miami Dolphins: Dion Jordan, defensive end, Oregon (from Raiders) --LOSER--Sorry Duck fans, but Dion Jordon, while a great athelete with great upside, did not dominate in college enough to warrant a number 3 pick in the first round and a second round pick (no. 42)--he's supposed to be a pass rushing specialist and only had 5 sacks all of last year--if he can't do it in college in a 3-4 defense that gave him great lanes to the QB, he's not going to do it in the pros. I don't see a pro-bowler with this pick. Also, they gave up a second round pick to the Raiders to get this potential BUST. Bad job by the Dolphins.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Lane Johnson, offensive tackle, Oklahoma--WINNER--the Eagles adressed an area of absolute need with a player Tackle that can play across the line and protect Vick or whatever QB is in from running for their lives...this was the glaring hole in an otherwize stacked Eagles team last year.
5. Detroit Lions: Ziggy Ansah, defensive end, BYU --LOSER--Other than Stafford and Megatron, the Lions have a history of farting away potential sure-fire contributors at the very top of the first round. They should change their logo from a Lion to a big whoopee cushion. They must always base their draft picks on listening to the hype of talking-head-analysts and not rely too much on actual game tape (that would explain the bad picks and the lucky good picks as well). This year is no exception as Ansah screams bust more than any other pick in round 1. The potential is there, but first rounders should be sure things and Ansah is far from that. In 18 games (the whole of his football carreer), Ansah accumulated a total of 10 tackles (the majority on special teams), one pass breakup, and one credited quarterback hurry. I don't care how athletic he is and how good he looked at the combine in shorts, those stats SUCK and make him a late-round flyer at best. You can say he's a "hard worker," and he'll "grow and learn" in the NFL, but keep in mind that he was cut TWICE from the BYU basketball team. If he failed to pick up on how to just reach up and block shots, dunk barely jumping, and throw his butt out on rebounds in two years---just enough to be a back-up center on a basketball team full of white Mormon 2-star recruits, how is he going to pick up an NFL system in a few months?
6. Cleveland Browns: Barkevious Mingo, defensive end, LSU--LOSER--Mingo is Dion Jordon part 2--4.5 sacks last year for this alleged "pass rush specialist".
7. Arizona Cardinals: Jonathan Cooper, offensive guard, North Carolina--WINNER--Adresses the most pressing need for a team that couldn't protect any of their crappy QBs. Cooper can fill the gaps across the line--he's not just a guard, he has quick feet and can play anywhere. If he stays at guard, Mendenhall or whomever they draft at RB will benefit greatly by following this guy. If they get Gio Bernard in the third, his teammate in college, the Cards will upgrade their offense significantly. That thought scares the sh-- out of me because they would be immediate contenders in the NFC West--watch highlights of the NC State/UNC-ch game so you can share in my nightmares.
8. St. Louis Rams: Tavon Austin, wide reciever, West Virginia (from Bills)--WINNER--at least for this pick, the Rams hit a homerun. Austin was worth giving up a third-rounder, as the Jets would have surely taken him with the next pick given their need at WR.
9. New York Jets: Dee Milliner, cornerback, Alabama--WINNER, but barely--best available player in my opinion on the board and fills a need after Revis left for non-green pastures. Milliner will start and contribute at the CB position immediately. Health is a concern, though, so they could have taken WR DeAndre Hopkins here, who would fill a greater need and contribute, and it would have been an emphatic win.
10. Tennessee Titans: Chance Warmack, offensive guard, Alabama--WINNER--Another non-sexy offensive lineman that will fill a need and contribute right away. He's also very versitile and I see a brobowler when I watch tape.
11. San Diego Chargers: DJ Fluker, offensive tackle, Alabama--WINNER--If there is a glaring need on the Chargers, its an OT to protect former Wolfpack-great, Phillip Rivers. They were fortunate that Fluker lasted this long. If I were them, I wouln't have been as patient and I would have traded up to get Fluker or any of the previously mentioned OTs. But, they waited and proved smarter and more patient than me.
12. Oakland Raiders: DJ Hayden, cornerback, Houston (from Dolphins)--LOSER--The ghost of Al Davis made an appearance (I think I saw him at the draft, he was an old man sitting at the Raiders' table). A legitimate Al-Davis-WTF pick. I like Hayden alright, but he is a second-round talent at best and Oakland is in a position here to draft the best player available as they need help everywhere in their alleged "rebuilding". They would have been better off picking Shariff Floyd, who, while not a homerun IMO, is who everyone expected and less risky. If secondary is what they wanted, then Vaccaro would have been a winner here.
13. New York Jets: Sheldon Richardson, defensive tackle, Missouri (from Buccaneers)--WINNER--the best DT in the draft IMO and I've watched tape on many of them. I know they more desprately need offensive help, but there are plenty of playmakers on the board in Round 2 and I already hated on them by not taking Hopkins with #9. I would have taken Richardson here as well because I get Pro-Bowl vibes watching tape of him dominate whoever is in front of him. Big props to the Jets for this pick.
14. Carolina Panthers: Star Lotulelei, defensive tackle, Utah--WINNER--This is my former #1 team, now #2 team (after the Hawks of course), so it might be longer. I go to about 4 Panther games a year as I share some PSLs with some of my family and live in the Charlotte area. The Panthers are only good when they have a dominant pass rush--the years of Peppers and Jenkins seem like forever ago as the former GM, Hurney, lost the d-line and spent this team into obscurity investing in multiple, expensive, and injured RBs (when one would have done) and WR busts. 3 drafts in a row, the Panthers have made shrewd picks in the first round--Newton, Kuechly, and now Lotulelei. I like Lotulelei, even if I have trouble spelling it. New GM Dave Gettlemen, fresh from the D-line loving Giants front office, saw this was another sure-fire DT that will start and fills a gap in an already decent D-line. "Gap" is a good word, as teams ran on the Panthers with abandon and they desperately needed a big butted Simoan to clog the middle of the line. Add Star to a defenseive front of Greg Hardy, Charles Johnson, and Dwan Edwards and all of a sudden, the Panthers have an elite pass rush--I predict that sacks will go up from 39 to 48. They also desperately need help in the secondary and I wouldn't be suprised if they traded up in the second for a saftey or corner. I would have been happy, as a fan, for them to take Vaccarro here, and I'd even be more estatic if Richardson fell to them (one pick short), but I think Star was too good to pass up at this point in the draft.
15. New Orleans Saints: Kenny Vaccaro, safety, Texas--WINNER--Best player available IMO and at a position of need. Any of the above teams would have been a winner picking Vaccaro given the evolution of the NFL as a passing league with running QBs. Vaccaro will be great in defending the pass and stuffing running QBs like NFC-South opponent Cam Newton.
16. Buffalo Bills: EJ Emanuel, quarterback, Florida State--LOSER--I recall that I was the first to pimp EJ on this board when the off-season began. I was saying how much value he was if he made it to rounds 3-5 because of his potential to be a diamond in the rough for a spread-option team and how great it would be if he sat under Wilson and contributed as a backup. That seems like a long time ago. But lo, the hype has since outrun his value, as he IS NOT a starting QB. I've watched him throughout his college carreer and I've seen him do great things--scramble out of sure-fire sacks and throw into tight windows he had no business throwing into. But, he's not poised enough to handle pressure and he does not make good decisions. He is a project with potential--not a starting QB. I also think that if you pick him here, you expect him to start game 1 and face NFL defensive pressure, in which case I believe he will fold ala Ryan Leaf...the tape shows hes not good under pressure and once you get him frazzeled, he becomes erratic-paniced-hurried-dumb. Starting him early is the worst thing you could do to him. See the Florida game and the NC State game for reference--once the defense turns up the heat, he loses a lead, and he makes a mistake its downhill from there. He needs time to develop and you don't take those types of players in the first round. If they picked Geno Smith it would have been a "winner" for me and if they picked Ryan Nassib I would have flirted with the "winner" label. As it is, this was a bad pick.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarvis Jones, linebacker, Georgia--WINNER--I called this pick before it happened as Steelers are usually playoff contenders because they build their team through good, steady, sure-fire draft picks. The Steelers, the Patriots, and recently the Packers and the Ravens usually don't bust in the draft. Jenkins is no exception. He's my favorite LB prospect as he chases down ball-carriers and QBs with with great passion, instincts, speed, and power. I'll not be suprised if Jarvis Jones prevents Steelers fans from missing James Harrison.
18. San Fransisco 49ers: Eric Reid, free safety, LSU (from Cowboys)--LOSER--You traded up to get Reid? I know this is a position of increasing importance (see Vaccaro), and its not the worst pick in this draft by far. But, why trade up when a similar, or the same, player will be availabe at pick 31? I was scratching my head on this one.
19. New York Giants: Justin Pugh, offensive tackle, Syracuse--WINNER--I don't pride myself on valuing offensive line draft picks by any means, but I know the Giants needed help in this area and I think the pickens fall off after this pick for sure-fire OL starters. Therefore, they got someone that could start and improve their team and it seems like a good pick.
20. Chicago Bears: Kyle Long, offensive guard, Oregon--WINNER, with reservations--Long adresses a glaring need for the Bears with a pick I hoped would fall to Seattle at 56. Long isn't considered by a consensus "experts" to be a sure-fire starter like the linemen taken earlier. But, he passes the eyeball test to me and, given the Bears immediate needs, they couldn't risk waiting to take him. In this area of the first round, sometimes its good to take a player at a position that fills a need since he might not be there in the next round, even if you're unsure about his ability to start right away. Another need is Linebacker, but considering that there had not been a "run" yet on LBs in this draft, there will probably be a starter in the next round and the Bears had to pull the trigger on an o-lineman here or risk not getting a starter.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Eifert, tight end, Notre Dame--WINNER--The Bengals got a sure-fire starter here even if it wasn't the greatest need for the team. They have Jermaine Grisham, who is a legit TE in this league, but, he'll probably not be a Pro-Bowler. Eifert has the hands, the blocking ability, and the football IQ to be a Pro-Bowler as he's pro-ready right now in my opinion. There has been no doubt in my mind, from the time I first evaluated all the TEs in this draft, that Eifert was the best one in this draft. So, Bengals get a great weapon in Eifert that will be used, even if its not a position of great need, and thats why they are a winner.
22. Atlanta Falcons: Desmond Trufant, cornerback, Washington (From Redskins through Rams)--WINNER-- The Falcons traded their first-round pick (No. 30) as well as third- and sixth-round choices (Nos. 92, 198) in order to pick a player from a position of glaring need. Trufant was my third-favorite secondary player (behind Vacarro and Milliner) in this draft. The Falcons gave up very little, IMO, to adress the secondary concerns. Like I've said earlier, with the evolution of the NFL, you need playmakers in the secondary that can not only cover the pass, but also will be able to support against scrabling QBs (i.e. Cam Newton in the NFC-South) and hard-hitting Trufant should be able to do this. He can also play Safety and Corner. I like this pick and the trade.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Sharrif Floyd, defensive tackle, Florida--WINNER on this pick but they are still a LOSER--Floyd is a good pick here, but the Vikes f'd up this draft more than any other team in the first round later in the draft and I'm just amazed by that..stupid, stupid, stupid. More on that later. Floyd fell this far for a reason--he's unproven at the college level. He only had 3 sacks last year (4.5 in two years) and IMO that makes him not "elite" enough, IMO, to be drafted in the top-10. But, he's only played for two years, and he's obviously gifted at the DT position with Sapp-like skillz. It is also a position of need for the Vikes and they deserve props on the pick itself. They are still losers though because of what happens later.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Bjoern Werner, defensive end, Florida State--WINNER--Great pickup by the Colts. Werner was my favorite pure pass rusher in this draft and should have gone before any of the other "elite pass rushers" (Jordon, Mingo, and Ansah) in the top 5. This is an example of a guy who can get to the QB and had PROVED this ability in college. This stud had 13 sacks last year, unlike those other dudes. Sure-fire (there's that word again) starter and good pick by the Colts.
25: Minnesota Vikings: Xavier Rhodes, cornerback, Florida State (From Seahawks)--WINNER on this pick but they are still a LOSER-- Yet again, Minnesota has to go and make a good pick here at #25, get their fans excited about the organization progressing away from past bad #1 picks like Ponder, and then screw it up later. Oy vey. This is a good, solid pick. Losing Winfeild to the best team in the NFL (homer alert) hurt the Vike's secondary. They address that collosal mistake by picking Rhodes, who did well in college against good competition and has the potential to be an elite corner in the league. He's got HAMSSPb and he's a good pick-up.
26. Green Bay Packers: Datone Jones, defensive tackle, UCLA--LOSER, barely--At first glance, not a bad pick as it addresses a need for the Packers and Datone is considered one of the best DT available and even better than others already picked according to some on this board. Also, he has decent, not great, stats. But, I don't like the pick. IMO, having watched tape, Datone is not as aggressive a DT I would want in the first round. I think he will be a bust--I'm not impressed with his motor or his skills. Further, the pick doesn't address the Packer's biggest need, which is pass-rushers. They would have been better served drafting Ogletree or Sylvester Williams here for my certified "winner" label (I know this is keeping them up at night). I think they reached for Jones, but the Packers have proven in the past to be better than me at drafting, so we'll see.
27. Houston Texans: DeAndre Hopkins, wide receiver, Clemson--WINNER--I like Hopkins as much as Austin at WR in this draft, and I've said it on several posts throughout the pre-season. I think he's a sure-fire starter with a good work ethic. My love for him (totally non-gay love, BTW) makes me give him the benifit of the doubt on the poo-poo incident. He's Roddy White-like and Schuab will finally have a decent option to throw to not named Andre Johnson. Hopkins makes the Texans immediately better and that's a winner.
28. Denver Broncos: Sylvester Williams, defensive tackle, North Carolina--WINNER--Its OK to admit that, if you watched the draft, you were just praying that Sylvester Williams fell to the second round so the Seahawks could trade up to get him. I know I was. I saw his name still on the board before this pick and I was Shocked he fell so low. I think he's better than Floyd. I've had my doubts, as I am EXTREMELY prejudiced against UNC Tarholes, but watching Sylvester Williams play DT is impressive. He proably still made more money in college though (haha).
29. Minnesota Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson, wide receiver, Tennessee (from Patriots)--LOSER/BIGGEST LOSER/WORST TRADE EVER IN DRAFT LOSER--Here it is. The worst draft day move I've ever seen (since Baltimore Colts traded Elway, great 30 for 30 BTW). The Vikings traded back into Round One, acquiring the Patriots’ first-round pick (No. 29) in exchange for second-, third-, fourth- and seventh-round picks (Nos. 52, 83, 102, 229).... For... wait for it....Cordelle "f****n" Patterson. Are you kidding me? The whole darn draft for a player from the deepest position in the draft? That is madness considering the Vike's needs to maintain playoff contention. Belicheck must have dirty pictures of Vike's GM Rick Spielman...with goats (As if this butt-raping by the Patriots to the Vikes doesn't make you loathe the Patriots enough, Bellicheck further exhibited that he is an asshole by depriving a hero from the Boston-bombings his ability to make a Patriots pick). As the Seahawks and the Panthers need a WR, I've looked at lots of WR tape in this draft. IMO, the only two "elite"-sure-fire-level recievers in this draft were Austin and Hopkins; there are many recievers in this draft as good as Patterson--those that have good game-speed, make tough catches in space and in coverage, and were productive in college: Justin Hunter, Ryan Swope, Keenen Allen, Marcus Wheaton, Da Rick Rodgers, Quinton Patton. In fact, Justin Hunter out-performed Cordelle last year in Tennessee by 300 yards. You're telling me none of these guys would have been around at 52, or at least in the second round where trading wouldn't cost you 4 picks? The answer is that one would have been there. Its not that Patterson is a bad player; he's not; and, if the Vikes picked him here without giving up four picks, it would have been OK. If they gave up all these picks for a franchise QB (like, IMO, Geno Smith), I would've understood; or, they could have saved their picks for a much-needed LB and a WR in rounds 2 and 3 and come out of this draft a winner. Its worth noting, as seahag put in perspective, in the wash, the Vikes essentially gave up Harvin, and three picks for Patterson. That is beyond awful front office management. The Vikings deserve to suck.
30: St. Louis Rams: Alec Ogletree, linebacker, Georgia (from Falcons) --WINNER/WINNER OF THE DRAFT--Steal of the first round of the Draft, IMO, to go along with the excelent Tavon Austin pick at #8. I was soooo hoping Ogletree would be there for us to trade up and get in the second, but he ends up going to an NFC-West opponent. Sigh. I think this guy is a beast and instantly makes the Rams better. I wouldn't put him in the category as a "pass rusher", but he's an LB with a nose for the ball as he ammassed 111 tackles and 11.5 tackles for loss last year in Georgia. He's a physical specimen as well with off-the-chart measurables. This guy, along with teamate Jarvis Jones, were my targets to trade for if we could.
31. Dallas Cowboys: Travis Frederick, center, Wisconsin (from 49ers)--LOSER--LOL Cowboys. Jerry Jones needs to stop. He's a charicature at this point. Cowboys trade away their 18th pick for SF's 31st and 74th and use the 31st to draft someone they could have taken at 47 had they not made the trade at all. They could have used 18 for any of the picks after 18, which would have all been better value picks than the Center they wound up picking. Granted, the evaluations I've seen have Frederick going in the second-third round, but none say he's a first round talent. He does fill a need, though, and if I'm a Cowboy's fan (thank God I'm not), I might take comfort in the fact that at least other teams did worse in this draft.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Mat Elam, free safety, Florida--WINNER--I can't argue with this pick, given the Raven's need for a safety (bye, bye Reed). I actually think Elam is a better prospect than Reid (taken #18 by 49'ers). I see him as a legit starter that can compete immediately to make the Raven's secondary better. As beat to death in this post, safteys are increasingly important and if one comes along like Elam in pick #32, its a no-brainer. I like it.