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Re-grading 2013 NFL draft classes, three years later

The consensus around the NFL is that you need three full seasons to really judge what a player will be for the rest of his career. With that in mind, and hindsight on our sides, we're handing out team-by-team grades for the 2013 draft, three years later.

This week’s Blanket Coverage jumps into the draft analysis game that annually dominates this week of NFL chatter, but in place of any rapid reaction, we’ll use hindsight as our guide to navigate the results of a largely forgettable draft from three years ago. Get all of Greg Bedard’s columns as soon as they’re published. Download the new Sports Illustrated app (iOS or Android) and personalize your experience by following your favorite teams and SI writers.

The post-draft landscape is filled with grades. Our own draft experts, Chris Burke and Doug Farrar, have their combined reports on this year’s classes right over here. But as everyone knows, it’s almost impossible to grade a draft right after it happened. You have to give the players time to get into the system to prove whether they can sink or swim in the NFL. The consensus is that it takes three full seasons to really judge what a player will be for the rest of his career, and even then, it can be an incomplete assessment due to injuries early in a career and/or coaching changes.

To that end, instead of looking at the events of last week, we’re revisiting the 2013 draft, which is generally considered one of the leaner classes on star power in recent history. To judge each team’s performance, we used a rudimentary formula where we took the average of Pro Football Reference’s Career Approximate Value for picks taken in the first five rounds (delving beyond that seemed to penalize teams with better rosters). I’m sure analytics experts out there will snicker and use better, more detailed algorithms to do this type of analysis, but I thought this was a fair, if basic, way to take a quick look back. After compiling the scores, we ranked them based on the class curve.

NFL draft 2016: Complete team-by-team grades

Here are the results for each team, along with the general manager and coach who oversaw the draft at the time. The names of those who have since left their 2013 roles are in italics.

For fun and perspective, you can compare the following grades to Burke’s post-draft grades from three years ago


San Diego Chargers (GM Tom Telesco, coach Mike McCoy)

Average Career Approximate Value, first five rounds: 14.8.

First-round pick: OT D.J. Fluker (No. 11).

Best pick: WR Keenan Allen (third round).

Worst pick: None.

Comment: The Chargers got three solid starters with their first three picks, and the fourth, defensive back Steve Williams, showed promise at the end of last season. All but seventh-round QB Brad Sorensen are still on the roster. That’s an excellent draft.

• MURPHY: How the draft's first-round QBs stepped into spotlight


Detroit Lions (Martin Mayhew, Jim Schwartz)

Average Career Approximate Value: 14.6.

First-round pick: DE Ezekiel Ansah (No. 5)

Best pick: Ansah.

Worst pick: WR Corey Fuller (sixth round).

Comment: The since-ousted power duo in Detroit did well with its first five choices, who have all become starters, including an emerging star in Ansah and good players in CB Darius Slay, DE Devin Taylor and RG Larry Warford. (The fifth is punter Sam Martin). 

New Orleans Saints (Mickey Loomis, Sean Payton)

Average Career Approximate Value: 14.3.

First-round pick: S Kenny Vaccaro (No. 15).

Best pick: OT Terron Armstead (third round).

Worst pick: None.

Comment: Really good draft for the Saints, who got two very good players in Vaccaro and Armstead within their first three picks. Third-round pick DT John Jenkins is also serviceable, as was WR Kenny Stills, who is now on the Dolphins. 


Carolina Panthers (Dave Gettleman, Ron Rivera)

Average Career Approximate Value: 12.8.

First-round pick: DT Star Lotulelei (No. 14).

Best pick: DT Kawann Short (second round).

Worst pick: OL Edmund Kugbila (fourth round).

Comment: Gettleman knocked it out of the park with his first two picks as general manager with Lotulelei and Short. Even fifth-round pick A.J. Klein has been a valuable backup, which is exactly what you want in that spot. Kugbila, now a free agent, was the only miss.

Green Bay Packers (Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy)

Average Career Approximate Value: 12.0

First-round pick: DE Datone Jones (No. 26).

Best pick: RB Eddie Lacy (second round).

Worst pick: Jones.

Comment: Jones was not worthy of being a first-round pick, but that was offset by getting Lacy in the second and LT David Bakhtiari in the fourth. The Packers did pretty well this entire draft, even in the seventh, where they snagged LB Sam Barrington.


Dallas Cowboys (Jerry Jones, Jason Garrett)

Average Career Approximate Value: 11.8.

First-round pick: C Travis Frederick (No. 31).

Best pick: Frederick.

Worst pick: TE Gavin Escobar (second round).

Comment: Despite having the penultimate pick in the first round, the Cowboys got a franchise center in Frederick, and got contributors in WR Terrence Williams, DB J.J. Wilcox and even RB Joseph Randle (before he collapsed off the field).

• MMQB: Dallas laments draft night prize that got away

New York Jets (John Idzik, Rex Ryan)

Average Career Approximate Value: 11.4.

First-round picks: CB Dee Milliner (No. 9), DE Sheldon Richardson (No. 13)

Best pick: Richardson.

Worst pick: Milliner.

Comment: Richardson’s greatness offsets the flop of Milliner. The grade is still incomplete on Geno Smith, but the Jets got a starter in RG Brian Winters, and FB Tommy Bohanon was an effective seventh-round pick.


Minnesota Vikings (Rick Spielman, Leslie Frazier)

Average Career Approximate Value: 11.0.

First-round picks: DT Sharrif Floyd (No. 23), CB Xavier Rhodes (No. 25), WR Cordarrelle Patterson (No 29).

Best pick: Rhodes.

Worst pick: Patterson.

Comment: Spielman had three first-round picks and did well with the first two, and got something out of Patterson (although you don’t draft someone in the first round thinking they’ll only return kicks). Fourth-rounder Gerald Hodges was a contributor at linebacker and brought back a pick in a trade to the 49ers last fall.

Philadelphia Eagles (Howie Roseman, Chip Kelly)

Average Career Approximate Value: 11.0.

First-round pick: OT Lane Johnson (No. 4)

Best pick: TE Zach Ertz (second round).

Worst pick: QB Matt Barkley (fourth round).

Comment: This is where you can make the argument that a more robust calculation would dock the Eagles points for their draft spot—Johnson did not deserve to be the fourth pick. Ertz and DT Bennie Logan make up for some of the misses.

•​ BISHOP: Inside the low-profile life of No. 2 pick QB Carson Wentz 


Kansas City Chiefs (John Dorsey, Andy Reid)

Average Career Approximate Value: 10.4.

First-round pick: OT Eric Fisher (No. 1)

Best pick: TE Travis Kelce (third round).

Worst pick: Fisher.

Comment: It’s fitting that the Chiefs and Eagles wind up near each other because both teams didn’t get near the return on their top picks along the offensive line. But the Chiefs did snap up a potential star in Kelce, and a solid RB in Knile Davis.



Jacksonville Jaguars (Dave Caldwell, Gus Bradley)

Average Career Approximate Value: 10.0.

First-round pick: OT Luke Joeckel (No. 2)

Best pick: DB Demetrius McCray (seventh round)

Worst pick: WR Ace Sanders (fourth round)

Comment: The Jaguars are yet another team in this class that overdrafted for what they thought was a franchise left tackle. Neither Joeckel nor Fisher nor Johnson has lived up to the billing so far, but they are playing and contributing, and Joeckel has a shot at fulfilling his promise. The Jags didn't get any great players this year, but they did land contributors for a building team.

• BANKS: Jaguars’ picks have them on the cusp of a huge turnaround

New England Patriots (Nick Caserio, Bill Belichick)

Average Career Approximate Value: 10.0

First-round pick: None.

Best pick: LB Jamie Collins (second round).

Worst pick: WR Aaron Dobson (second round).

Comment: Despite not having a first-round pick, the Patriots did well selecting a rising star in Collins, a solid starting corner in Logan Ryan and a role player in safety Duron Harmon. But those hits are tempered by the big misses (so far) on two wide receivers: Dobson and Josh Boyce (now with the Colts).

Pittsburgh Steelers (Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin)

Average Career Approximate Value: 10.0.

First-round pick: LB Jarvis Jones (No. 17).

Best pick: RB Le’Veon Bell (second round).

Worst pick: DB Shamarko Thomas (fourth round).

Comment: You could put Pittsburgh’s first three picks (Jones, Bell and WR Markus Wheaton) up against anybody’s, but the next three (Thomas, QB Landry Jones and CB Terry Hawthorne) make it a wash. Sixth-round LB Vince Williams has been a contributor.


Chicago Bears (Phil Emery, Marc Trestman)

Average Career Approximate Value: 14.5.

First-round pick: OG Kyle Long (No. 20).

Best pick: Long.

Worst pick: LB Jonathan Bostic (second round).

Each NFL team's best undrafted free agent signing of 2016

Comment: This is where having a rudimentary formula becomes a problem. The average CAV should put the Bears in the A range, but that’s not the truth. Almost all of this grade has to do with Long, with a big boost from fifth-round pick Jordan Mills, who started 29 games in his first two seasons but was released by the new front office last season and has bounced around since then. Three of Chicago’s first four picks are elsewhere at this point, so this grade is being very kind. Take it with a grain of salt.

Los Angeles Rams (Les Snead, Jeff Fisher)

Average Career Approximate Value: 9.9.

First-round picks: WR Tavon Austin (No. 8), LB Alec Ogletree (No. 30).

Best pick: S T.J. McDonald (third round).

Worst pick: WR Stedman Bailey (third round).

Comment: The Rams started off by overdrafting a small receiver, then got a decent middle linebacker at the end of the first round. McDonald is still a solid starter, but this is as mediocre as it gets.

• KAPLAN: How Jack fell to Jags | KLEMKO: Rams tried to make Goff sweat

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Mark Dominik, Greg Schiano)

Average Career Approximate Value: 9.4.

First-round pick: None.

Best pick: CB Johnthan Banks (second round).

Worst pick: DE Steven Means (fifth round).

Comment: It’s only been three years since Dominik and Schiano were running things in Tampa? Seems like a decade ago. There’s a whole lot of average in this group, although QB Mike Glennon could emerge as a starter elsewhere once he gets a chance to leave.


Arizona Cardinals (Steve Keim, Bruce Arians)

Average Career Approximate Value: 9.3.

First-round pick: OG Jonathan Cooper (No. 7)

Best pick: DB Tyrann Mathieu (third round).

Worst pick: Cooper.

Comment: This draft is being undersold a little bit because of the time Mathieu missed due to injury, but there’s no question that Cooper was a flop for the Cardinals before he was traded to New England in search of a career resuscitation. LB Kevin Minter, OLB Alex Okafor and RB Andre Ellington have all become contributors.

•​ BURKE: 2017 Mock Draft: Who will be next year’s Jared Goff?

Baltimore Ravens (Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh)

Average Career Approximate Value: 9.3.

First-round pick: S Matt Elam (No. 32).

Best pick: DT Brandon Williams (third round).

Worst pick: Elam.

Comment: Elam was a bust at a position of need, which forced the Ravens to pony up for Eric Weddle this off-season. Williams is a very good nose tackle, Ricky Wagner is now a starter at RT, and DE Kapron Lewis-Moore still has potential. But this was a thin haul overall.


Atlanta Falcons (Thomas Dimitroff, Mike Smith)

Average Career Approximate Value: 8.0.

First-round pick: CB Desmond Trufant (No. 22).

Best pick: Trufant.

Worst pick: DE Malliciah Goodman (fourth round)

Comment: The Falcons got a star (Trufant) and a starter (Robert Alford) at cornerback with their first two picks, but nothing after that. Better depth could have been useful during the current rebuild.

Indianapolis Colts (Ryan Grigson, Chuck Pagano)

Average Career Approximate Value: 8.0.

First-round pick: OLB Bjoern Werner (No. 24).

Best pick: OG Hugh Thornton (third round).

Worst pick: Werner.

Comment: This grade might be kind. Werner showed so little during his time with the Colts that he’s still a free agent. The best pick, Thornton, is average at best. Imagine how much better off the Colts would have been had they taken Frederick at center in the first round.

•​ BANKS: Can AFC South rise from the cellar after stellar draft?

Tennessee Titans (Ruston Webster, Mike Munchak)

Average Career Approximate Value: 7.8.

First-round pick: OG Chance Warmack (No. 10).

Best pick: C Brian Schwenke (fourth round).

Worst pick: Warmack.

Comment: Warmack looked like he was a sure thing at guard, but he continued the bad run of O-linemen in this draft, as he’s been nothing more than average to date. Schwenke was a serviceable center before suffering a gruesome injury last season, and the Titans signed free agent Ben Jones in the off-season to take his place as the starter. 


New York Giants (Jerry Reese, Tom Coughlin)

Average Career Approximate Value: 7.4.

First-round pick: OT Justin Pugh (No. 19)

Best pick: DT Johnathan Hankins (second round).

Worst pick: DE Damontre Moore (third round).

Comment: Pugh looked like he was going to be a bust but has found a home at guard, and Hankins has become a good player. The Giants have nothing to show for the other five picks.

• Eli Apple’s mom describes her emotional draft night experience

Buffalo Bills (Buddy Nix/Doug Whaley, Doug Marrone)

Average Career Approximate Value: 7.2.

First-round pick: QB EJ Manuel (No. 16).

Best pick: WR Robert Woods (second round).

Worst pick: Manuel.

Comment: Three years later, it’s hard to believe Manuel was the 16th pick. That’s hard to recover from, but Woods has softened the blow. This draft would have looked better had second-round pick LB Kiko Alonso not gotten hurt and now bounced around to two other teams.