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Not the best NFL draft class, but teams filled voids

Published: Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05

   Despite not having as much talent in the 2013 class, this year’s NFL draft definitely had a variety of stories worth following, and in the end most teams did well when assessing their needs.

Three offensive tackles were chosen in the first four picks of the draft. Eric Fisher from Central Michigan was the overall No. 1 pick and will play for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Only 11 quarterbacks were selected this year, and to the surprise of many E.J. Manuel (Florida State) was the first one to be picked. He was selected by the Buffalo Bills over the projected No. 1 quarterback prospect, Geno Smith (West Virginia). Smith was the second quarterback to be drafted and will go to the New York Jets to compete for the starting job.

In the third round, Mike Glennon (North Carolina State) was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Most of the quarterbacks were chosen in the fourth round, Matt Barkley (USC) selected by the Philadelphia Eagles, Ryan Nassib (Syracuse) went to the New York Giants, Tyler Wilson (Arkansas) was selected by the Oakland Raiders and Landry Jones (Oklahoma) was picked by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

One of the players talked about the most the last couple of months were Notre Dame’s linebacker Manti Te’o, who was a victim of an online dating hoax earlier in the year. Despite being projected a first round pick, Te’o was selected early in the second round by the San Diego Chargers.

For the most part, teams did good in the draft taking care of filling the voids in their teams. Possibly the best ones were the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens. The 49ers got safety Eric Reid form LSU, tight end Vance McDonald (Rice), and running back Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina). The Ravens took care of getting playmakers in the secondary with safety Matt Elam (Florida) and linebacker Arthur Brown (Kansas State).

The Dallas Cowboys had a decent draft. The team obtained center Travis Frederick (Wisconsin) which will immediately help boost the offensive line. The Cowboys also got a cornerback, BW Webb (William & Mary) and safety JJ Wilcox (Georgia Southern), which were major needs in the team. The teams also brought in a very good wide receiver in Terrance Williams (Baylor) but lacked a pass-rusher and some additional help for Tony Romo in the offensive line, which should be the priority for free agency.

Surprisingly enough, the Arizona Cardinals had a fairly good draft after selecting Guard Jonathan Cooper (North Carolina) who should immediately play a vital role in the team. Cornerback Tyrann Mathieu from LSU, who after being suspended by the school for controlled substance abuse, will get his chance in the NFL. Alex Okafor defensive end (Texas) joins the team to aid in rebuilding a depleted defensive line. Their offense will get a lot of help with the addition of two very good but different running backs in Stepfan Taylor (Stanford) and Andre Ellington (Clemson). Wide receiver Ryan Swope, who destroyed Alabama’s secondary, was also picked by the Cardinals.

Other teams that took care of business are the Rams, Vikings, Texans, Patriots, Giants, Seahawks, Eagles, Bengals, Steelers and the Packers. The weakest link for the Packers last season was their running game and they went for two of the most explosive backs in college, Eddie Lacy (Alabama) and Jonathan Franklin (UCLA), who both led their conferences in rushing.

The teams that didn’t do that well in the draft were the Jacksonville Jaguars, Washington Redskins, Chicago Bears and the Tennessee Titans.

The Jacksonville Jaguars drafted cornerback, Jeremy Harris, from New Mexico State in the seventh round. He will join former Aggies head coach, Dwayne Walker, as part of the Jaguars.

Even though no UTEP players were drafted, four of them did manage to sign free agent contracts. Center Eloy Atkinson signed with the Tennessee Titans, wide receiver Michael Edwards with the Cleveland Browns and cornerbacks Drew Thomas and Darren Woodard will both join the St. Louis Rams.

Edwin Delgado may be reached at prospector@utep.edu.

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