Grading Top 5 Picks From 2013 NFL Draft After First Seasons
Grading Top 5 Picks In 2013 NFL Draft After Rookie Seasons
As the 2013-14 NFL season comes to a close over the next few weeks, it's time to start looking at the season in review. The 2013 NFL Draft certainly added quite a bit of young talent, especially among the top five picks. We saw plenty of ups and downs. Every player had their varying degrees of success, and in a draft where the QB talent was thought to be relatively weak, we finally had the opportunity to watch some top-five non-quarterback players show what they could do.
Every player drafted in the top five saw some sort of improvement in varying degrees. A few, like Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson, saw their respective teams totally turn it around, while others saw improvement in their individual games. While that didn't necessarily translate into team success, they were promising developments for their respective teams nonetheless.
Overall, while the 2013 NFL Draft was devoid of some of the big-name talent we have become accustomed to over the past few years (especially among quarterbacks), I have to admit that I underestimated this draft class. Although there were no particularly big names, the top five still managed to carve out nice seasons for themselves. It wasn't always perfect for these players, but the improvement they showed hinted at the skills that made them top-five picks.
5. Ezekiel Ansah
Former BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah had himself a very promising season for the Detroit Lions. He was able to rack up a rookie-best eight sacks, and he seemingly improved as the season wore down. Ansah is still very raw from a technique standpoint, but after an impressive first season, Ansah is well on his way to becoming one of the better defensive ends in the league.
Season Grade: B
4. Lane Johnson
Like every rookie, Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson had his share of struggles. With that said, Johnson had himself an excellent rookie season, far surpassing what was expected of him. Johnson has outstanding athleticism, and it really showed throughout the season as he became a fixture on the right side of the Eagles' line toward the end of the season. This guy has a bright future in the NFL if he is able to continue building upon his rookie season.
Season Grade: B+
3. Dion Jordan
Dion Jordan, the Miami Dolphins' first-round pick, didn't quite make the impact he wanted in his first season in the league. Used mostly as a situational pass rusher, Jordan managed only two sacks on the year. Jordan has considerable upside, but the production just wasn't there in his rookie year.
Season Grade: C-
2. Luke Joeckel
While it was a rough inaugural season for Luke Joeckel, there is reason to believe in his future. He has the size and skill that you want in a left tackle. He showed promise at that spot, albeit in a ridiculously small sample size. However, despite his future promise, his grade will be affected by his rookie struggles.
Season Grade: C
1. Eric Fisher
The number one overall pick, Eric Fisher didn't quite have the start to his career many envisioned. For much of the first half of the season, Fisher really struggled in both run and pass blocking. With that said, he started to turn it on later in the season and started to show what made him that top overall pick. It wasn't always pretty, but the Kansas City Chiefs have to be happy in what they have going forward with Fisher.
Season Grade: B-