Instant Analysis: NFL draft's winners and losers

Instant Analysis: NFL draft's winners and losers
April 27, 2013, 12:30 am
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WINNERS:

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings grabbed Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes and Cordarrelle Patterson in the first round. They sacrificed a good amount to get all that talent, but acquiring three potential starters instantly makes your draft a big success. Floyd is a disruptive force up front and should help shore up spots on the Vikings' line where they’ve recently had issues and injuries. Rhodes should find immediate time in nickel package and could even start in his rookie season. Patterson will likely be looked upon as Minnesota’s top offensive target after trading away Percy Harvin earlier in the offseason.

Overall, just a great draft day that Leslie Frazier and his staff should be proud of.

Miami Dolphins

Joe Philbin and the Dolphins may have had my favorite first two days in New York City. Miami traded up at a pretty enticing price to acquire the top defensive player in the draft in Dion Jordan. He’s a dynamic defensive player that can chase down runners with ease and cause chaos for opposing quarterbacks. They add to that big move, by drafting Jamar Taylor, Dallas Thomas and Will Davis in Day 2.

Taylor was one of the top ranked corners in the draft, and will find playing time in a weakened Dolphins secondary. Dallas Thomas is a very solid guard, who also could find himself contributing early in his career. Miami traded back into the third to grab Davis, who projects to a nickel/dime back.

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona came into the offseason with a ton of needs. They hired Bruce Arians to be their new head coach and traded for Carson Palmer to be their new quarterback. Looking to further re-invent themselves, they headed into draft day looking to add impact players. In the first round, they drafted Jonathan Cooper, a guard who will instantly improve their odds at protecting Palmer. He’s a polished blocker and should be looked upon to start right away.

With their second day picks, they managed to add Kevin Minter, linebacker from LSU, who should also find time early on in his first season. I’d be surprised if he didn’t earn a starting position by the end of training camp. He was one of the most polished inside linebackers in the draft, and would prove a leader on any football team. Also picking up Tyrann Mathieu is just the type of statement pick that elevates this draft from good to great. He’ll make an impact as both a returner and a nickel/dime back.

Houston Texans

It's really hard to argue with what the Texans did this draft. They stood pat, and took the guys they deemed to be the most ready to contribute and push their team further into the postseason. In the first round, the Texans added DeAndre Hopkins, a receiver who should immediately vie for their No. 2 position. His combination of aggressiveness, good hands and tight route-running should help Houston's pass attack quickly.

On Day 2, they added D.J. Swearinger, Brennan Williams and Sam Montgomery. Swearinger, a safety out of South Carolina, needs a little time to develop, but with the opportunity to learn from a future hall of famer in Ed Reed, should be able to maximize on his potential early in his career. Williams, offensive tackle from UNC, will be given the opportunity to fight for the starting right tackle spot in training camp. Grabbing a potential starter in the third round is incredible value. Montgomery is a unique player, in that his position in the NFL has yet to truly be defined.

All in all, Houston went into the draft looking to shore up a few positions and add depth. After the first two days, Gary Kubiak and the Texans organization should be feeling really good about the players they’ve added.

LOSERS:

Buffalo Bills

Buffalo made a lot of weird moves that propel them into the loser’s column. Trading back from the eighth pick was a smart move. Many expected they were targeting a quarterback, but no one had them taking E.J. Manuel with the 16th pick. He’s a project QB, that shouldn’t be looked upon to make any real impact in his rookie season. That’s not to say he can’t be a productive or successful NFL player, but it’s the value in the pick that has it judged harshly. Manuel was a player they could’ve gotten at the end of the first round, and potentially into the second.

 The rest of their draft just didn’t make a whole ton of sense. They made good value picks by adding Robert Woods, Kiko Alonso and Marquise Goodwin… but they didn’t exactly add the sort of players they were lacking. Woods and Goodwin are both talented receivers, but they’re also both speedsters, relying on speed and agility to compensate for a lack of size. With Stevie Johnson already on the roster, they’re all just a little too similar.

Chicago Bears

The Bears may have had the most pressing needs heading into the draft, and they didn’t do much to alleviate their fans stress. They drafted Kyle Long, guard out of Oregon in the first round. Widely considered to be one of the bigger reaches, Long had a second-third round grade. He’s the brother of current NFL defensive end, Chris Long, and the son of Hall-of-Famer Howie Long. That lineage will ultimately have people expecting great things out of him quickly, and he’s still a work in progress. It’s one thing to draft a guard in the 1st round, but it’s another to draft a project guard.

That pick alone wasn’t what draws question marks for Chicago, but even more-so drafting Jon Bostic as Brian Urlacher’s potential replacement. Taking Bostic in the middle of the second round, was a bit of a reach, and putting him in the position to be looked upon to replace a player who’s become a legend, is setting him up for failure. He could develop into a very good player, but like Long, he’s a project that’s going to need time to develop. And that’s time the veterans already in place on the Chicago Bears don’t have.

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