Friday, April 26, 2013

2013 NFL Draft Running Diary : Round 1

by Steve Coulter

The calm before the storm.
Exactly two hours away from the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft and I couldn’t be more excited. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself because my hands will be at the keyboard for the next five to six hours writing this running diary of tonight’s events. However, I will say this before I get started: this is my first attempt of doing a running diary during a live sporting “event.” I have done live blogs of games, but never something as intense, as hyped and as built up as the NFL Draft.
For those of you who know me, it’s common knowledge that I am a draft nut and have been ever since I can remember. I am not going to give you a Henry Hill-type monologue, but I will say that I have been to two drafts live – 2002 and 2004 – and hopefully will be attending next year’s 2014, if all goes to plan. So don’t count on this being an annual thing, but I thought it would be worth an attempt. Some may like it, some may hate it. Such is life.
Anyways, without further ado: the 2013 NFL Draft Running Diary.

6:03 – I realize I should have started this around mid-day because the texts I received are too priceless not to include in this running diary of the day’s events, so please allow me to back track a bit and begin at 1:34 p.m. ET.
It’s a tradition of mine to check in with four different people on draft based on the teams they root for, and, well, because two of them are family. You always have to start at the bottom, so my first text went out to my good friend Lieder, a lifelong Browns fan who is originally from Cleveland. I asked him about the No. 6 pick and got this response in return:
We’ll probably trade our pick to get Colt McCoy back…terrible
God may hate Cleveland, but there’s nothing I love more than a self-loathing Cleveland fan. Really makes me feel better about my sporting interests and the teams I root for. Thanks Lieder.
Next up: Jack Smith, a lifelong Buffalo Bills fan from Rochester, New York. I asked bluntly: I have to get a pre-draft prediction of what the Bills will do, thoughts? And in return:
[Barkevious] Mingo is my guess
I seriously doubt a qb though considering what buddy nix has been continuously saying they will take one in round 2 or 3
Guard is another possibility
Those were all in a row. Someone’s nervous. Here’s some more after I coaxed him a little:
I haven’t slept in two days
If I were you I would bet on the bills trading down
For like a later first and two seconds
I will say though that if they do go QB my guess is Manuel
Mhm, right, so Buffalo is going to convince a team like let’s say Minnesota too cough up one of their ones and their second to move up to No. 8 with absolutely zero leverage? As you can tell, one, Jack is delusional and two, being a lifelong Bills fan has taken a toll on his psyche. I’m worried for him.
I realize this first entry is long so I promise to hurry and get through it but I swear, it’s for a good cause.
Next up: my father, a fan of the Jets for 53 years. I don’t even know if I have a sly comment for this, so I will leave it alone and just say he’s gone through a lot in his days as a Jets fan. I ask him about their two picks and he returns the courtesy and asks about my team’s pick. We have a brief exchange until I have to ask the obvious: how do you feel about Ryan Nassib wearing a Jets jersey?
I like him as a QB, but not with either of our 1st round picks. Maybe in round 2 or round 3.
Rumor has it he’s going No. 9 overall though.
Jets have 5 QBs with one making $8.5 million guaranteed next year. We need so many other positions.
He’s a calm individual, or at least has become one in recent years. If the Jets were my team, this is what my reaction would have looked like. RYAN NASSIB!
I watch a lot of college football. I didn’t know the guy even existed until the Senior Bowl and when I watched him play down in Mobile, Alabama it wasn’t pretty. Now, I won’t judge his college career, because god knows college record doesn’t really equate to anything (see: Jay Cutler) when it comes to transitioning into the NFL. HOWEVER,  Ryan Nassib hardly looked like a third round prospect in the last four months. What do the scouts see in him? More importantly, what do the Jets see in him?!? They have five quarterbacks.
I know, what can I say, we’re an “offensive” team…at least Mel’s hair looks better than ever.
I agree, moving on…my brother Andrew, a lifelong  a fan of the Eagles since around 2002.
If we draft EJ Manuel I will murder Chip Kelly.
Welcome to the Chip Kelly Era, Andrew. In all honesty though, I don’t see the Eagles going QB I could be way wrong though. I am sure we will be hearing from my brother during this running diary more than once so we won’t stay on the Eagles very long. Over/Under on the number of times he calls me: 7.5. I’d say under, but barely. That’s a call an hour. It’s about to happen.
6:28 – The pre-draft festivities are in full effect. I have set up shop on my back porch for 15 minutes of relaxation and to soak up the last of the beautiful weather we’ve received today. I got a 12-pack of Landsharks (what, it’s a good summer beer) and have Lynyrd Skynyrd blasting (what it’s American). I have done some more prodding of fans I know, because, you know, the draft is the time of year where football fans can be cordial and joke with one another. The season doesn’t start until 5 months and although the executives are enemies, we can enjoy this circus for what it is – entertainment. Obvisouly, the draft matters, saying otherwise would be absolutely blasphemy but it’s so unpredictable and there’s so much that goes into a prospect’s success that is out of our control. Fans of the game mine as well turn it into a quasi-version of the Player Haters Ball.
6:34 – I love the NFL because it’s the only league that I have such a wide variety of friends who root for teams from all over. I have narrowed the list of teams I have no affiliation with to: San Diego, Cincinnati, Houston, Jacksonville, Detroit, Minnesota, New Orleans, Carolina, Seattle and Arizona. That’s ten teams! I am connected to 22 of the league’s 32 teams, not bad considering how many Patriots and Giants fans I know. (Side note: Oakland is on the fence of the list. I don’t know where to place them. Are they even a franchise you can apply to fan-hood? I will ponder that and get back to you.)
6:41 – I am back inside; the bugs drove me insane pretty rapidly. Plus, I kind of want to get some live coverage from ESPN although my goal is to be mocking them as much as humanly possible over the next four to five hours.
6:49 – I have been posing this question all week to friends and family: is Geno Smith down with “the Cause?” The experts have talked their heads off this week and still have not answered this very pertinent question. I need to know!
6:59 – What is Cordarelle Patterson wearing!?!?!
7:00 – Tavon Austin is super cocky, I like it. I can see why front offices are willing to make a crazy move to go up and get him.
7:03 – Since when did the NFL Draft become the Academy Awards? Is anybody else watching this? They’re treating these guys like movie stars. Outrageous, they haven’t even played a down yet.
7:06 – No trades yet. I’m growing impatient. Why won’t someone make a move already? Come on!
7:10 – Forgot to share this text exchange with my buddy Eichman, a Chiefs fan.
Who are the Chiefs taking No. 1?
One of those OTs
Real specific, now I know what to expect in less than an hour.
I think they taking Eric Fisher but I want Luke Joeckel
Now, that wasn’t too hard, was it? When a man asks another man who he likes for his team, the answer should be immediate and direct. No need to pussy foot around it.
Also, it’s worth noting that Eichman went with “they” and not “we.” You will know when the team I root for picks, because my entry will say “we.” Until then, you’ll have to wait…if you don’t know already.
7:11 – Roger Goodell in the pre-game booth. This guy reminds me of how John Milton desribed Lucifer in Paradise Lost. Quick tangent before we get going that I didn’t include at the beginning of the diary: I HATE the fact that the NFL Draft goes from Thursday through Saturday. It ruined a great childhood tradition of mine, first and foremost, but more importantly: Thursday night fails in comparison to Saturday morning. It’s not opinion; it’s fact. Right? Ok then!
Because of Goodell’s greed I have to watch the draft alone for the first time in my entire life. After three years of watching it with my college buddies in Denver under this new format (tolerable), I know have to endure my favorite sporting event from the couch in my basement with absolutely no one to talk to except my computer and Twitter. Thanks Goodell, scumbag.
7:14 – Talking about gays in football with Roger Goodell…YAWN!
7:20 – Shockingly no calls from my brother or my good friend Tobe, a lifetime Bronco fan. I am offended, and obviously bored.  
7:26 – Why is ESPN promoting gambling on its website? (PHOTO)
7:29 – Dez Bryant says that Tyrann Mathieu is the best prospect in the NFL Draft. Does he actually feel that way or is he standing up for his old smoking buddy?
7:36 – What happened to the good old days when only five to seven guys were allowed in the green room? There are far too many players on stage tonight. Who will be the last one left? Darius Slay seems sort of obvious, but I can’t seem to think of a guy that will fall farther than him. Maybe Watson, the left tackle, from Florida State.
7:39 – Do these guys have to shake hands with Goodell? I know I wouldn’t. 

7:48 – A dozen minutes away from what is easily the least predictable draft I have ever lived through. Hopefully I won’t go through cardiac arrest; I would like to see this play out.
7:59 – I feel like Cinderella before the ball and my team isn’t picking for hours…
8:00 – 50 cent? Is that you?
8:06 – According to ESPN, the Chiefs are still not on the clock…come on! Pick! You’ve known about this moment for four months!
Side note: I was at the 2002 draft. The Texans took 14 out of 15 minutes to select David Carr, who they had already signed to a contract…
8:15 – Wild almost ten minutes of not pick and by wild I mean ESPN showcasing Mel Kiper Jr.
And the first pick is…Eric Fisher!

8:20 – I’m a little biased in saying this, but I think Eric Fisher is going to struggle in the AFC West. I could be way off, just my initial take…I mean there has to be a better overall player than a left tackle from Central Michigan, right? What are the odds Fisher is the best player from this draft? Whatever they are, I wouldn’t bet them.
8:28 – The Luke Joeckel pick makes a lot of sense at No. 2, though leaving the top two pass rushers on the board may come back to haunt Jacksonville. Overall I give it a B grade.
8:32 – Trade! Raiders have dealt their pick to the Dolphins. The Raiders predictably are unpredictable.
8:33 – Dion Jordan is taking his talents to South Beach and I am shocked.
So far the first three picks all receive B grades. These GMs are drafting for average, not swinging for the fences. Jordan can rush the passer, but he’s one dimensional. Interesting No. 3 overall pick.
The Dolphins trading up is way too aggressive for my liking and I’d like to think I’m as aggressive as they get.
8:41 – Lane Johnson is athletic enough to play in Chip Kelly’s offense, everyone seems to agree on that as he struts to the stage but is he the guy that will help get Philly back to where they were in the Andy Reid Era and by that I mean, of course, 5 NFC title game and no Super Bowl Championships.
I like the pick, but I am cautious about Johnson. I am giving out another B grade. Is it possible for anyone to get an A grade in this draft or am I being way too harsh here?
8:48 – This is certainly the strangest draft I have ever experienced and the Lions, Browns, Cardinals, Bills and Jets are the next three picks…I’m concerned. Is the world going to end?
8:51 – The Lions pick is described as a player with a “limited football background” who had “zero career sacks before his senior season.” Good luck Detroit, this is Ezekial Ansah.
I remain unimpressed and I am realizing this diary is probably coming across as a smug hate-fest of the 2013 NFL Draft, but I’m simply speaking my mind.
8:55 – The Browns take Barkevious Mingo. I like how quick the Browns got that pick in – confidence and Cleveland. Didn’t know that was possible. Mingo has the most tape of all the guys picked so far, therefore, he’s the best pick based on what we can see him do. 
9:00 – Not to harp on this again, but Cleveland really impressed me there with their assertiveness with the pick. Because Mingo wasn’t projected in the top 5, I have to think he was there “man” all along, which is interesting to think about. I have paid the Browns two compliments in the span of five minutes. I am convinced the world is going to end now.
9:01 – Jon Gruden gushes over Jonathan Cooper for five minutes and then Adam Schefter comes in and steals the show with the Tavon Austin-to-the-Rams trade that’s about to happen. As for Arizona, good pick. I’d give it an A, their offensive line was sieve last year.
9:09 – Schefter announces the trade but the pick doesn’t come in for about 10 minutes. I don’t get it at all, but nonetheless, Tavon Austin is a Ram. Smart move for the Rams to leap ahead of the Jets to get the best playmaker in this class. First skilled position player taken obviously, but also the first non-lineman taken. Should be an immediate impact player for St. Louis.
Side note: I can’t believe how competent the Browns and the Bills have been in the draft. That’s my surprise of the draft of the draft so far. At the onset of the draft, it looked like the Browns were going to take a cornerback too high and the Bills were going to pull the trigger on a quarterback. Good work guys! You did it! Competent drafting!
9:17 – Dee Milliner is the heir apparent to Darrelle Revis in New York. Didn’t think the Jets would actually go corner here, but at the No. 9 slot this pick makes sense. The Jets have to get No. 13 right. So far they are 1 for 1.
I am at a loss for words. The unthinkable has happened. The Browns, Cardinals and the Jets all get A grades. I feel blind-sided. And the Bills traded out. Goes to show you never know with the NFL Draft.
9:xx – Went to get a beer and got caught on the phone, missed the Titans picked (or did I?) Man all these guards and tackles are making my head spin. I knew there were going to be a lot of lineman taken but this draft is shaping up to be even more anti-climactic then I ever imagined. Obviously these are the guys that help build teams and as a former lineman I have the upmost respect but I want to see actual highlights.
I already hate myself for saying that. I sound like a chick.
9:31 – D.J. Fluker welcome to the AFC West. I love this draft!!!
9:35 – A wide range of emotions in the first 90 minutes. I can’t even imagine how picks 12-32 will make me feel.
9:39 – D.J. Hayden welcome to the AFC West. I love this draft!!!
It’s interesting to find out about Hayden. I really didn’t know about his story. I wish him luck, but at the same time, I would be crushed if he turned into an All Pro. Why a corner from Houston is going No. 12 overall is beyond me. This draft continues to shock me. And the Jets and Bills haven’t even picked yet. I have to say though; the Raiders have retained their spot as the wild cards of the NFL.
9:47 – Did not see Sheldon Richardson going before Star Loutelei and Shariff Floyd, but that goes to show you – the experts know less than we do. It’s an absolutely bizarre pick for the Jets. It doesn’t necessarily address a need and it’s definitely not a top talent. They need a running back and a tight end going into tomorrow. So much for my prediction of them winning the draft…I should have known better.
9:54 – If you wish upon a star…Panthers get the best talent on the board and a tremendous need. I have to applaud the Panthers front office. They are three for three on their last three first round picks after really messing things up for four or five straight years. I have no doubt that this will be a playoff team this year or next.
9:59 – Kenny Vaccaro is the first safety taken. I am predicting that he won’t be the last. The Saints definitely needed a safety; will Vaccaro make a difference next season? We’ll see. Texas players, especially defensive backs, have a good history in the NFL. I don’t know how to grade it, but my initial reaction is a positive one. Sean Payton returns this year and he will have a play maker in his defensive back field.
Bills up next with plenty of quarterback options available…
10:04 – I want to note that I called the E.J. Manuel pick two minutes before it happened aka I listened to Adam Schefter report it three minutes before it. I will now go back and edit those comments I previously made about the Bills. What an awful organization. Clearly didn’t think that one out.
Mild reaction from Jack in Rochester: He likes the pick, but thought they could have gotten him in round two.
Come on! Tell us how you really feel. Is E.J. Manuel the savior of the Bills? I’d bet my bank account that he won’t be. Therefore, it’s a bad pick. 
Bills first rounders since 2000: Erik Flowers, Nate Clements, Mike Williams (No. 4), Willis McGahee, Lee Evans, JP Losman, traded #1 for Drew Bledsoe, Donte Whitner, John McCargo,Leodis McKelvin, Aaron Maybin, Eric Wood, CJ Spiller, Marcell Dareus, Stephan Gilmore and now EJ Manuel. Wow. Speechless. What an awful organization. It doesn't come as much of a surprise why the hold the league's longest playoff drought.
10:09 – Jarvis Jones to the Steelers: the stereotypical pick of the draft. All the experts got this one right. Good for them. One of few they got right.
10:14 – 49ers predictably move up and unpredictably draft Eric Reid. Position of need, but impact is questionable.
Is it just me or is this the type of draft that the day two players will have more an impact than the players we are watching go up on stage and shake the Goodell’s hand tonight.
10:17 – The Giants pick is in… I am impressed at how quick the middle of the draft is going. It’s like rapid fire. I complained earlier but I do like the 10-minute first round format. Sure beats waiting 15 minutes to see people like David Carr get picked.
10:20 – Justin Pugh hears his name called and I’m sure he’s on a couch somewhere, thanking the football gods. Now, he gets to protect Eli Manning and joins an offensive line that is as consistent as unit in the league.
Side note: I have been on the phone with my brother since the Jets pick at 9:47. This could last the entire rest of the way.
10:29 – The Bears slow down the pace significantly and take all ten minutes to select Howie Long’s son Kyle. As I predicted, it’s not Manti Te’o. Chicago fans who hate Notre Dame, like my friend Joe, can breathe easy. I am sure he’s drinking heavily somewhere to celebrate the non-pick. Yet another reason why I love the NFL Draft: you can celebrate when your team eschews taking a risky prospect or someone you just don’t like.
The number of offensive players is equal to that of the defensive players so far. Didn’t exactly see that happening.
10:34 – Tyler Eifert joins Jermaine Gresham in Cincinnati and I think the Bengals just won the draft with that pick. That tight end duo rivals the one in New England I would say. I didn’t think the Bengals going in that direction, but I think that’s the point – they are willing to draft outside of the box. More on this later as the Falcons have traded with the Rams to get into the No. 22 spot.
10:40 – Desmond Trufant is the pick. I had him going in this range, but not to Atlanta. Predictably, the Falcons front office made the necessary moves to get their man. I do like Trufant’s upside and it is a need for the Falcons after a tough offseason that saw them lose Dunta Robinson and Brett Grimes.
10:46 – Sharrif Floyd is tremendous value for the Vikings at No. 23. The experts dully go over the fact this guy just slipped from No. 3 to No. 23. What the hell? How can this not be discussed more? Oh wait, ESPN…  
10:51 – Bjoern Werner should have been a higher pick, now he’s Dwight Freeney’s replacement. Shit. This does not bode well for the future of the AFC. Bengals and Colts just won this draft with these late picks.
10:54- Xavier Rhodes gets a call from the Land of a Thousand Lakes and the Vikings have quickly taken the first round! It was that easy! In a draft that has seen four guards and four offensive tackles taken with one quarterback and one wide receiver, I didn’t think it would be too hard for some team in the 20s to make the right decisions and take this first round and claim it as their own. Good for you Vikings, you won in April. But have you ever won in January? No? Just checking. Next please.
11:00 – Datone Jones  is a brilliant pick by the Packers and I am not just mailing it at this point and giving everybody positive reviews, I really think this was the right position for the Packers to go. They can find running back and receiver help later on. Jones could be a 10-sack player in his first year. His ceiling is unbelievably high.
11:02 – My good buddy Andrew has called in from Denver. The Broncos are almost on the clock and much to our disbelief have not made a move up or down the draft board. I would have bet John Elway would have rolled the dice a bit, but he’s stayed put. We agree the pick will by Sly Williams out of UNC.
11:08 – DeAndre Hopkins goes to Houston in another predictable-type of selection. Pittsburgh and Houston make the experts look good with their picks. I think Hopkins could be the best receiver in this class and he will have plenty of time to develop studying from one of the game’s best in Andre Johnson.
The Broncos are on the clock and I have gnawed off eight of my 10 finger nails. This has been an excruciating wait, but our man is still on the board. Come on John! Don’t screw this up.
11:15 – Sylvester Williams welcome to the Mile High City!!! What a great addition for us as we make a run at the Lombardi Trophy. I think depth at defensive line is one of our two biggest needs. I would like the team to find a tackling machine – linebacker or safety – at some point in the draft, because that is lacking. Pass rush will be there, I hope. But if management feels differently, I wouldn’t mind bringing in another guy to come off the edge. Overall, love the Williams pick.
11:24-11:55 - My brother stays on the phone with me for picks No. 29-32 and at this point if you’re still reading, please call me and I will take you out for a free lunch because you deserve it haha.
Anyways, Vikings trade back into the first round to take the unproven, but highly touted Cordarellle Patterson from Tennessee. I like how aggressive Minnesota has gotten but I can’t help from thinking four picks for the price of one is never worth it. I am happy, however, that New England is willing to settle for second-round talent and that Patterson didn’t go to Baltimore, so I will consider this a victory. This was a necessary move by the Vikings, who desperately needed to replace Percy Harvin to please the fan base and Adrian Peterson.
Rams did exactly what they planned to do with their two picks – what a revelation! – they traded up into the top ten and then traded down into the 30s. The moves cancel each other out and as a result St. Louis ends up with a pair of prospects that I would say rank around 16 and 17 in this draft class overall. What does that mean? Nothing. If Alec Ogletree can rid himself of the character problems, then the Rams will have won this first round.
It took a while but this draft has unfolded like so many before it thanks to the Cowboys picking Travis Frederick. This is the moment where football fans around the country collectively say “Who?” He is a third round prospect from Wisconsin (known for producing lineman) and needless to say the Cowboys reached and as Todd McShay will come on an point out in five minutes (swear this is a prediction not an edit) the Cowboys did not get good value for their No. 18 pick (only a third rounder) and definitely did not get good value here. With that said, it does address a position of need with the draft’s overall best center. Still though, it receives a C grade in my book.
Matt Elam closes out the first round and ensures that Geno Smith and Manti Te’o will wait until tomorrow. I love the Elam pick not only because I don’t think he will fail in trying to replace Ed Reed, but because it means thre safeties have gone in round one and I win my prop bet of over 2.5 in the first round. I love gambling, so I consider this a big victory. Couple that with getting projections on Smith, Te’o, Austin and Eddie Lacy correct as well as a few other things I say I made out decently.
I am not even going to bother looking at my mock draft because it was shredded up before the draft even began. It’s always fun to predict and then watch how off you were. I will say though, I bet the safety over and the wide receiver under (3.5) correctly. I can’t wait for tomorrow.
With that said, I am off to bed closing out what I’d like to believe was a successful running diary of the NFL Draft.
Please let me know what you think, if you’ve stayed around this long. I’d love some feedback. 

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