It happens every single year at the NFL Draft, and it's happening now in the 2013 version as well: the rich are getting richer. Two great examples in the second round? The San Francisco 49ers nabbed talented defensive end Tank Carradine and the Ravens moved up to snag linebacker Arthur Brown.
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Carradine fell because of injury concerns, but that's not an issue with the 49ers because they already have pass-rushing depth on the roster and can afford to wait and let Tank get healthy before pushing him for time. "Poor" teams wouldn't have that luxury -- they'd be drafting Carradine to be a straight-up starter.
That's what the Ravens acquired in the hard-hitting speedster Brown, and it's hard not to look at their program and wonder why more people don't try to emulate what they do. The Ravens needed some luck to get to the Super Bowl in 2012, and so did the 49ers.
But they were in a position to get lucky because of smart drafting and well-run front offices. Those guys did their jobs again on Friday and the rich got richer.
Tyrann Mathieu: The man formerly known as the Honey Badger (read: he will always be known as the Honey Badger) landed in the absolute perfect spot for maintaining his NFL future. Arizona plays an aggressive brand of defense and needs an additional playmaker in the safety, and this will team Mathieu up with cornerback Patrick Peterson, who's become his de facto football sponsor. Mathieu lived with Pat P's family this offseason to get out of his bad environment; he got clean and now he should have a good network to take care of him. If there's one place he can stay clean, it's Phoenix.
Jaguars: I really like what Jacksonville is doing in this draft. They're not swinging for the fences, but they're also not making any mistakes. Luke Joeckel was a safe pick, but Jonathan Cyprien at the top of round two was straight value. Dwayne Gratz might be a little shorter than new coach Gus Bradley would like, but he'll step in and make an impact in that secondary right away. Jacksonville needs guys who can play, and they got another pair of them on Friday.
Ravens: First they landed Matt Elam at the end of the first day and then Ozzie Newsome went out and added Arthur Brown and Brandon Williams. Brown is one of the more quietly studly players in this draft; if someone was going to be 2013's Lavonte David, it would be Brown. For a team that needs help at linebacker and is drafting at the end of the round, what a freaking pick. Williams is a Rob Rang favorite who can plug himself in the middle of the Ravens line and help them beef up against the run. I've been saying it for months, but the Ravens defense in 2013 is going to be better than their defense in 2012. Heard it here first.
Trent Baalke: Dude is a draft ninja these days, and San Francisco is reaping the benefits. I'm not falling all over myself for the Vance McDonald pick (Travis Kelce might be better?), but I trust that Greg Roman and Jim Harbaugh know what they'll be doing when they implement him; he makes sense as a replacement for Delanie Walker for sure. Tank Carradine is an absolute home run for San Francisco. Laughable that they could get him where they did. Corey Lemonier is a guy who can pack on some pounds, learn the system and make an impact for the 49ers in a few years.
EJ Manuel/Kevin Kolb: I'm not sure who's going to be throwing for the Bills come 2013, but I do know that they're going to have a few more weapons thanks to Buffalo making up for its poor first-day showing (just Manuel) by nabbing wideouts Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin. Woods is a sure-handed, quality route-runner and Goodwin is a literal track star. The Bills have quietly piled up a nice little receiving corps when you pair those guys with T.J. Graham and Stevie Johnson.
Wade Phillips: Son of Bum picked up a bunch of new defensive weapons for his system on Friday, as the Texans grabbed safety D.J. Swearinger (who hits like crazy) and Sam Montgomery (who's close to home and could be dynamic in Phillips' system). Brennan Williams is a very above-average pickup for their offensive line with some upside at this point.
Matt Barkley: Holy freaking freefall, Batman. It's hard not to feel bad for the USC quarterback. A year ago he was potentially top 10. Now he'd be thrilled if he ended going in the top-10 picks ... of the fourth round. Jacksonville looks like a decent landing spot for him at the beginning of the fourth.
Josh Freeman: Don't get me wrong. I like Josh Freeman, and I actually like him a lot. He's still a really young quarterback, and he's flashed some very special talent at times. Pro Bowl talent. But it's become clear that Greg Schiano doesn't feel that Freeman is a franchise guy. He made that even clearer when he used his third-round pick on Mike Glennon (73rd overall), who Schiano recruited heavily (and offered) out of high school when he was at Rutgers. Freeman is in the last year of his contract and might be facing an awkward put-up-or-shut-up type of season.
Bears: I wasn't particularly enthused with Chicago's decision to grab Kyle Long with its first pick Thursday, but things got worse on the second day of the draft for Phil Emery's squad. They had just one pick in the second and third rounds and they used it on Florida linebacker Jon Bostic with the 50th overall selection. That's not a great showing on the second day of a loaded draft by any stretch, even if they have a need for linebackers.
Browns: Again, a team that comes out of a loaded second day with just one selection ... unless you count their decision to trade for Davone Bess. I don't because, well, he's Davone Bess. Their only selection was cornerback Leon McFadden out of San Diego State. That's a position of need, sure, but couldn't they have landed a cornerback in the first round instead of linebacker Barkevious Mingo? In my mind, that's a better combination of need and talent joining together than what Cleveland pulled off.
John Elway: Haven't had a bad day for Elway in awhile -- he's nailed everything this offseason except for the Elvis Dumervil fax nightmare. But I don't think Friday was a particularly superb day for the AFC contending Broncos. Montee Ball was a productive college player, but is he really the second-best running back in this draft? I dunno. Kayvon Webster fills a need for the Broncos, but they're still pretty stacked at cornerback and Jesse Williams of Alabama was still sitting out there.