Considering we’re almost at Week 7 of the NFL season, we’ve had a lot of time to digest the play of many rookies from the 2013 NFL Draft. Slowly we’re beginning to see who may have been taken too high, and who could be considered a steal. So for round two of the 2013 NFL Draft, who was the biggest steal?
Likewise with round one options, there are many viable candidates. Zach Ertz (Philadelphia Eagles, 35th overall) has been solid all season long, and Giovani Bernard (Cincinnati Bengals, 37th overall) has gotten hot as of late. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have found a legit No. 2 corner to pair with superstar Darrelle Revis in Johnthan Banks (43rd overall), and Eddie Lacy seems to have finally bounced back from early injuries and looks to be the bruising back the Green Bay Packers thought he’d be at 61st overall.
There are many legitimate players to choose from, but I’m stuck at a tie between Kiko Alonso (Buffalo Bills, 46th overall) and Geno Smith (New York Jets, 39th overall), which is tough to swallow given how much I hate any form of a tie. Ultimately, I’m going with Alonso as my top choice, with Smith as 1A.
Smith was at one time viewed as a potential No. 1 overall pick, but stumbled through a hefty fall on draft day, falling all the way to the 7th pick of the second round. Now, we can get into the lengthy discussion as to why he fell that far, but let’s just focus on the now. Has Smith made mistakes? Of course, many of them. Heck, just look at those 10 interceptions so far. But he’s also shown a knack for leading an offense, is cool as a cucumber under pressure, has been resilient to limitless scrutiny, and has already led his team to three fourth quarter comeback victories, including two on the very last drive of the game. That speaks volumes to me, whether you like the guy or not.
But ultimately, I gotta go with the Alonso, the Bills’ rock at middle linebacker, who’s played out of his mind so far. Through six games, this standout has produced (get ready for this) a league leading 66 tackles, one sack, four PBUs, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and is tied for the league lead in interceptions with four (including one against Smith). And this guy is a rookie? And he wasn’t even a first rounder? Seems implausible, I know, yet true.
Alonso has helped unite a fractured Bills defense that was searching for true leaders. His outrageous production has helped take attention off the line, which has resulted in terrific defensive line play with Marcell Dareus and Mario Williams combining for 12 sacks. He’s making quick and accurate defensive reads. In short, he’s looking like the missing piece the Bills have been looking for on defense for years.
And that’s why these two guys are my steals of the second round, with Alonso getting the slight edge (because ties shouldn’t be possible in sports, sorry).