The 2013 NFL Draft can't be properly evaluated for four years, but we can look at our big board and speculate who might be off to a good start after three rounds.
Lions: I like what the Lions have done with Ziggy Ansah, Darius Slay and Larry Warford. Ansah is more football-ready than some would think and he is very willing to learn and grow into the DE position. Slay can fly and gives the Lions a solid corner. Warford impressed me at the Senior Bowl with his brute strength and ability to protect the mid-line, where Stafford will throw most of his passes from.
Detroit needs a left tackle and I hope they consider trading for a veteran like Eugene Monroe. Monroe may be available now that Jacksonville drafted Luke Joeckel.
Vikings: Minnesota got a lot done on day one with Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes and Cordarrelle Patterson falling to them in the bottom of the first round. I talked to all three players during the draft and each is definitely heading to Minneapolis with a big chip on his shoulder because of how long they waited in the green room, but each is excited to all join the Vikings.
Saints: Considering the Saints didn't have a second-round pick because of Bountygate, getting a much needed safety in Kenny Vaccaro in the first and coming back in the third for Terron Armstead and John Jenkins was solid. Gil Brandt and I discussed Armstead, and we agree that not only is he a solid offensive tackle candidate, but he might also be able to rush the passer because he is so athletic. Jenkins went to the Senior Bowl to prove he can play hard for 60 minutes and did just that. He gives the Saints a 3-4 nose tackle to build the front seven around.
Steelers: Pittsburgh grabbed three very good players without looking for a better position in each round. Jarvis Jones is a physical pass-rushing outside linebacker who fits the club's mold. Le'Veon Bell is a big running back and a Steelers throwback. Not only did he run for 1,793 yards last season, but he also caught 78 career passes.
WR Markus Wheaton is fast and has good hands -- he caught 91 passes last season. My notes from a week at the Senior Bowl with included these comments:
• Wheaton can close on a deep ball and is very difficult to overthrow.
• He will go down for a low ball and has a bigger target area than you would think for a guy his size.
• Wheaton has good double moves and works hard.
Jets: I really like their draft. Dee Milliner was the best corner in the draft and a solid selection to replace Darrelle Revis for less than a quarter of the cost. Sheldon Richardson was the top defensive tackle on many draft boards because of his athleticism and ability to play in any front. Geno Smith waited around New York into the second day and gives the Jets a real option at quarterback. Brian Winters is a very tough guard with 50 college starts that should be a Day One starter.