Yeah…we’ve been inundated with draft “grades” – funny how nobody ever gets a “D” or an “F” on those, isn’t it?
I just thought I’d take a look at each team and their best and worst draft picks within the NFC South. Here goes!
Best pick – Malliciah Goodman, DE, Clemson – Yes, they took Desmond Trufant at #22 overall and Robert Alford in the second round at #60 overall, and they’re certainly worthy of their status as they’re very good players that fit needs, but neither were “value” picks. Goodman is a good value at #127 overall. He has the size at 6’3″ 277 lbs to play defensive end in the 4-3 that the Falcons run. His arms are a full yard (yep 36″) long and his hands are humongous at 11 inches so he’s going to “play bigger” than he actually is. If he can be coached up to use his arms and hands to full potential, he could become a disruptive force on the edge, giving opposing offenses a unique individual and body-type to get used to blocking. With improved hand techniques, he could really become difficult to keep at bay.
Worst pick – Stansly Maponga, DE, TCU – Maponga has potential, sure, but is small for a DE and falls in that “tweener” category that usually goes to 3-4 teams as an OLB at 6’2″ 255 lbs for use in sub-packages. He went at #153 overall but compared with Goodman, taken 26 picks earlier, Maponga is way behind in being an NFL-ready prospect. He has the hand moves that Goodman so far lacks, but it tells me Maponga is way closer to his ceiling than Goodman is to his.
Best Pick – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah – Hardly a shocker here, at #14 overall, but a few months ago this guy was talked about as possibly being the top overall talent in the entire draft. The fact that he fell all the to #14 to the Panthers – AND at a position of dire need for them – makes Star far and away the best pick for the Carolina Panthers this year.
Worst pick – Edmund Kugbila, OG, Valdosta St. – This pick baffled me a bit. After having taken a small-school guard, Amini Silatolu from Midwestern State in the second round last year, Gettleman took Kugbila in his own first draft with the Panthers. Silatolu struggled quite a bit through the first 10 or so games of the 2012 season, and with very little help to the offense overall in this draft, Kugbila faces a similar learning curve. The good news is that he actually played guard during most of his career (Silatolu is a converted left tackle kicked inside), so he does have more experience than did Silatolu coming in. He’ll still have to learn the intricacies of an NFL blocking scheme but could come into his own in the second half of the 2013 season. I just don’t see much immediate help here other than helping with the depth at guard.
New Orleans Saints
Best pick – John Jenkins, NT, Georgia – First-rounder Kenny Vaccaro fills a big need but went about as high in the draft as he was projected at #15 overall, so again there’s not much there in terms of “value,” but the pick fits a need. Jenkins is a huge 350-lb 0-technique guy that should plug the middle and help improve the Saints’ NFL-worst-ever defense last year. Taken at #82 overall and in the third round, the Saints likely have at minimum a great guy for the rotation and at best an eventual starter that opposing offenses are going to have to plan for in the running game. He’s a great value pick; he should produce as a rookie and push Bunkley for the starting gig…without kicking offensive linemen in the head.
Worst pick – Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff – Frankly, I was amazed that the Saints are leaving Drew Brees’ blind side protection so up in the air with this choice. Certainly, Armstead has POTENTIAL, but does anyone really think Armstead is going to come in and start at left tackle? The Saints let last year’s starting LT, Jermon Bushrod, hit the free agent market and as it looks now the starter on opening day is going to be Charles Brown, who finished the last 2 seasons on injured reserve and only has appeared in 21 games in 3 seasons. Unless he can really improve his game and stay healthy, Armstead could be forced into the LT position early. I wonder how Drew Brees feels about having a small-school rookie protecting his blind side…probably not to thrilled. Huge learning curve for Armstead and he could develop into a solid starter – just is unlikely in his first year, and definitely not in such an intricate offense like Sean Payton runs as the LT position remains a big question mark for the Saints to start the 2013 season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Best pick – Mike Glennon, QB, N.C. State – Given the fact that Russell Wilson was taken around the same spot last year in the draft, Glennon could be quite a steal here. People forget – Glennon BEAT OUT Wilson as the starter in Raleigh, causing Wilson to transfer to Wisconsin, where he did his damage and got noticed. Glennon has a howitzer for an arm and the possibility exists that he could push Josh Freeman for the starting job. Stranger things have happened, if you’ll recall last year when Seattle got QB Matt Flynn in free agency and wound up paying him $8 dollars to ride the pine while Russell Wilson took the league by stealthy storm with all the early attention on Andrew Luck and RG3. Glennon also comes in under the radar, but Freeman hasn’t progressed as much as the Bucs would like to have seen by now. Glennon’s drafting should light a fire under Freeman and push him, which is exactly what he needs. If nothing else, the Bucs got a back-up QB with some great skills to develop and potential starter down the road.
Worst pick – William Gholston, DE, Michigan State – Gholston has the pedigree, and in his case, that’s a horrible thing. He’s Vernon Gholston’s cousin. Vernon went #6 overall to the New York Jets a few years back, is out of the NFL now, and recorded a career of 0 sacks. Is this a case of “sins of the
father cousin?” Maybe – at least William Gholston went down in the 4th round so the draft capital spent isn’t even close to the same, but still…he’s a very high boom or bust-type player that Tampa Bay liked enough apparently to roll the dice on. He doesn’t have the great physical skills of his cousin (4.93-40, 28.5″ vertical) so his upside as a pass-rusher seems quite limited. If anything, he could turn into more of a SDE that is strong against the run, and with proper coaching (assuming his motor is there where Vernon’s never was) and his long arms, he does have some upside. I just hope for their sake that the Bucs aren’t counting on him to deliver big his rookie campaign.