Grading the 2013 NFC South draft

By
Updated: April 30, 2013

The Carolina Pathers’ 2013 draft could hardly have started out better, as Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei fell to them with the 14th overall pick.

When one embarks on the fool’s errand of grading each player in a draft, there are four key components to consider:

  1. Need: Does he fit a need?
  2. Cost: How much did the team have to give up to acquire him?
  3. BPA: Who else was available at that spot, and was the pick the best player available?
  4. Stats: What are his measurables (height, weight, speed, etc.)?

Obviously, measurables have to be graded on a sliding scale. A sixth rounder does not have the same pure athleticism and prototypical body of a first-round pick; that’s why he is taken in the later rounds. Likewise, when it comes to the final team grades, I weight the grades for earlier-round picks more heavily than the later-round picks.

My grading scale is pretty standard, although I am known as a tough grader:

  • A: exceptionally above average
  • B: above average,
  • C: average
  • D: below average
  • F: exceptionally below average

Carolina Panthers

Player
NEED
COST
BPA
STATS
Overall
1.14 Star Lotulelei (DT) A+ N/A A+ A+ A+
2.12 Kawann Short (DT) B- N/A A B B+
4.11 Edmund Kugbila (OG) C N/A D C C-
5.15 A.J. Klein (ILB) D+ N/A B+ B- C+
6.14 Kenjon Barner (RB) F- N/A B C D+

General manager Dave Gettleman started out strong. The choice of Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei pick wasn’t a tough one but the intersection of need and talent falling to them at the 14th-overall pick. Following it up with another top talent at the same position greatly improves Carolina’s defensive line, enabling them to rotate personnel to handle all situations and effectively giving a boost to the linebacking corps and secondary. They now have options galore for pressuring the quarterback.

Unfortunately, Gettleman seemed to lose focus on Day 3. Had he addressed the strong safety spot with Shamarko Thomas (Syracuse) in the fourth round or Bacarri Rambo (Georgia) in the sixth, he would have threatened for a very rare “A” grade in his first outing. As it is, he took much of the steam out of an outstanding first round. Panther fans who were floating on air Friday now feel unduly deflated.

Final Grade: B

New Orleans Saints

Player
NEED
COST
BPA
STATS
Overall
1.15 Kenny Vaccaro (SS) A N/A D- B+ B-
3.13 Terron Armstead (OT) C+ N/A A- B+ B
3.20 John Jenkins (DT) A- N/A A+ B+ A
5.11 Kenny Stills (WR) C+ N/A C+ C- C
6.15 Rufus Johnson (DE) A- N/A C- C B-

As a Panthers fan, I can’t help but take a homeristic sort of pleasure in the name Rufus Johnson. It doesn’t get more hillbilly than that. It brings images of the kinfolk toasting the selection of the Tarleton State defensive end with mason jars full of homemade moonshine.

But there is no poking fun at the Saints’ draft. They addressed needs with every single pick, while always finding very good value at their spot. This is about as complete and solid a draft as one will ever see. The only demerit of note is that taking Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro was a slight reach with Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes, Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, and Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones still available. Loomis continues to earn his reputation as an elite general manager. What black arts are at work in New Orleans these days?

Final Grade: B+

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Player
NEED
COST
BPA
STATS
Overall
Darrelle Revis (CB) A+ B A A- A-
2.11 Johnthan Banks (CB) B- N/A A C+ B
3.11 Mike Glennon (QB) D- N/A F C- D-
4.3 Akeem Spence (DT) B+ C C+ B B-
4.29 William Gholston (DE) C+ C A- A- B
5.14 Steven Means (DE) D N/A D+ D+ D+
6.21 Mike James (RB) B+ B+ C C+ B-

I give the trade for cornerback Darrelle Revis an “A-” only because it’s not yet clear how he will return from last year’s knee injury. In other cornerback news, Johnthan Banks (Mississippi State) can now afford to pay off that center vowel his parents have held on layaway for so long. With these two pickups, Tampa Bad has turned a historically bad weakness into a strength.

Their picks became rocky and uncertain later in the draft, although I like the move to jettison unproductive and troublesome running back LeGarrette Blount in favor of Mike James out of Miami.

The real elephant in the room is the selection of North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon in the third round. Sure, he has a similar skill set to that of starter Josh Freeman, which will be helpful should Freeman go down with injury, but everyone — including general manager Mark Dominick — knows that this is Freeman’s make-or-break year. Either he has a winning season and gets paid, or Tampa Bay will be moving up in the 2014 draft to take the top quarterback. If Glennon is ever needed for more than a game this year, the Bucs’ season is headed for complete disaster anyway. There was simply no reason to make this kind of reach for a player who was projected as a fourth- or fifth-round talent. Fans cannot see this as anything but a wasted pick.

Final Grade: B-

Atlanta Falcons

Player
NEED
COST
BPA
STATS
Overall
1.22 Desmond Trufant (CB) A- F- B A- B
2.28 Robert Alford (CB) C+ N/A F- B- D-
4.30 Malliciah Goodman (DE) B N/A C D+ C
4.36 Levine Toilolo (TE) B N/A C+ B- B+
5.20 Stansly Maponga (DE) B N/A D- C- D+
7.37 Kemal Ishmael (DB) B- N/A D- D+ C-
7.38 Zeke Motta (SS) C N/A A+ A- A-
7.43 Sean Renfree (QB) C+ N/A A+ B B+

Under general manager Thomas Dimitroff, the Atlanta Falcons have been a perennial winner; unlike their divisional foes, their needs are not so drastic. Even without the influx of new talent from the draft, they would have remained a strong competitor.

That being said, this was a disappointing draft-day outing on the part of Atlanta. Despite starting with 11 picks and having the luxury of picking the best player available at any point, they allowed themselves to get tunnel vision in their attempt to address needs, which drove them to make odd reaches and even huge mistakes.

Each time Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy is instrumental in foiling their playoff dreams, the Atlanta Falcons will rue the day they let him slip through their fingers.

Each time Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy is instrumental in foiling their playoff dreams, the Atlanta Falcons will rue the day they let him slip through their fingers.

Although plenty of players at positions of need remained on the board, Atlanta moved up eight spots to take Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant. Did they really have to jump so far? Might not Trufant or Rhodes still have fallen to them?

What we do know is losing that third rounder meant they had to settle on an uninspiring defensive end in Malliciah Goodman (Clemson) in the fourth round, could have grabbed linebackers Alex Okafor (Texas) or Sam Montgomery (LSU) instead. Nevertheless, the move is forgivable. If a team knows a player is their man, they do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Vastly more troubling is following up a risky move with a desperate one. Dimitroff went cornerback again, selecting Robert Alford out of Southeastern Louisiana. This move could have been a well-reasoned reach at this point — if not for the fact that far more impactful and useful players remained, primarily the very next draftee, Alabama running back Eddie Lacy.

With Lacy, Atlanta could have immediately defused the landmine most likely to obstruct their Super Bowl aspirations: Steven Jackson’s age and health. Jackson has been great and even may have another year left in him, but why put all the eggs in this basket? Drafting a running back of Lacy’s caliber would have paid immediate dividends for a team that is in win-now mode, whereas Alford will have little impact this season.

Even worse, the mistake enabled the Green Bay Packers, a team on a trajectory similar to Atlanta’s, to scoop Lacy up. Giving a top rival the biggest piece they have been missing qualifies as one of the most lunkheaded moves by any team in the 2013 draft.

The couple of late gems Dimitroff dug up after even the most ardent fan had turned off the television could not salvage his miserable performance.

Final Grade: D+

About the author

A self-described NFL addict and "stats geek," Robert J. Russ loves to demolish conventional wisdom with cold, hard numbers. When reputation doesn't jive with reality, he plows tirelessly through play-by-play charts and statistical tables to separate fact from fiction. A military brat who was born in California, raised in North Carolina, and bounced between the two states through college, Russ has lived in Coastal Carolina since 1990. He owns a small pest-control business and a free fantasy football and NFL betting line website. Feel free to contact him at with questions, comments, or ideas for future articles.

716 comments
Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused moderator

YAY! More hypothetical bickering over people none of us even knew about more than 2 months ago!

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This is why I love women who lift. I am bewitched.

JVince 11
JVince 11

 did you see her lack of muscle in her shoulders and wrists though??? Her eyes do not highlight the natural colors of her hair in synthetic light enough for me.. I would not hit that at all!!!


2/10 WOULD NOT FUCK!

Nard-Dog
Nard-Dog

  You're right you're not the resident expert - I'd pee in her butt!

JVince 11
JVince 11 like.author.displayName 1 Like

   lol... it was my sarcastic impersonation of what Rourke does to every girl that has a picture posted on here.. I would fuck that girl until her pussy dried up and fell off her body.

___pb___
___pb___

 I am enamored of her legs, and I love slender wrists.

Nard-Dog
Nard-Dog

 Hey so if I can pick your brain since you are our resident expert, what did you think of the Kyle Long pick?

JVince 11
JVince 11

  I am not a resident expert... I get chewed out and yelled at every time I try to say something based on my history.... I am just a homer who thinks he is smarter than people but really PFF owns the world.

Nard-Dog
Nard-Dog

  Ok I'll take that as a "I loved the pick Nardo - he's going to be a stud."

Nard-Dog
Nard-Dog

  Well they should be good enough on the line where he won't have to be thrown in to start right away.  Good enough I mean with bodies, not that the line will be good I'm not that naive as a Bears' fan.

JVince 11
JVince 11

  nope... I think that he shouldn't have come out of school this year.. he was only a 6 game starter at Guard for Oregon.. he is the genetics but he doesn't know he game well enough right now.. i think that if he continueed his success he could ahve been top 10 or 15 next year.. but to be thrown into the NFL right now.... he just doesn't have anything besides a 40 time, long arms, and quick feet.

That Guy They Have Now
That Guy They Have Now

Ziggy Ziggy Ziggy Can't you see sometimes your words just hypnotize me

JVince 11
JVince 11 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 

Scout: "What do you like to play out of more.. a 2 point stance or a 3 point stance?"

Ansah: "I don't know what those are"

That Guy They Have Now
That Guy They Have Now

  Then he blows up the Tackle one on one regardless. Speed to power and power to speed son

That Guy They Have Now
That Guy They Have Now

   Also true. Bar set really really low in run D. Impossible to be worse than Avril and KVB. Average would be a huge upgrade

jwoude23 Bear Down
jwoude23 Bear Down moderator

  it's ok, Detroit is used to their DEs not playing the run.

JVince 11
JVince 11

  I know..... Datone Jones doesn't have long enough arms to be elite in the NFL... 


DAMN IT!!!


*kicks the dirt and runs away*

That Guy They Have Now
That Guy They Have Now

  He can play the run well with his power. It's not just the pass rush where he will be disruptive. Ansah can shed with the best of them and track down RBs

JVince 11
JVince 11

  so who replaces him on 1st and 2nd down?  I doubt this kid can play the run very well?

Nard-Dog
Nard-Dog

   Unless he falls into the abyss of bust-dom?

JVince 11
JVince 11 like.author.displayName 1 Like

   Good lord.. Kyle Long and Ziggy Ansah... what do they have in common????


Neither one of them have even been starters in D1 football for more than half of a season.

That Guy They Have Now
That Guy They Have Now

  Tall, run fast, power, ability to learn are through the roof with this kid. His job will be simple in Detroit. Destroy the QB. It's not a complex scheme.

JVince 11
JVince 11

  alright.. well if being tall and run fast lets you be in the NFL now then that club just got a shit less exclusive to the best players in the world... I really see him being a 2-3 year project and situational at best for the first few years.

That Guy They Have Now
That Guy They Have Now

  The dude has great measurables and the smarts to learn. He can break doubles. He was a DT in a 3-4 like Raji at times. He played all over the line. Wide 9, one job to rush the passer, he will succeed big time.

JVince 11
JVince 11

  I am not trying to be an asshole LKP.. I am just telling you... drafting a player like that 5th overall who didn't know what football was until 3 years ago... is a HUGE risk... HUGE... he might not be able to learn while he plays.. because when he plays against hte big boys he won't be able to do shit... he only had 4.5 sacks in college.. that is not exactly Terrell Suggs-like.

That Guy They Have Now
That Guy They Have Now

  Ansah has a way higher ceiling and no floor based on measurables and ability to learn. Experience comes easily as he plays

Nard-Dog
Nard-Dog

   Polian gave him the courtesy reach-around. 

JVince 11
JVince 11

  Boom no bust?? for a 5th overall pick... Ansah is a HUGE HUGE HUGE risk... the kind of risk that will cost a normal GM his job for blowing that pick on him when franchise players like:

Mingo, Cooper, Milliner, Warmack, Fluker, Hayden, Richardson, and Vaccaro all still on the board that could draft then or back to them.

Nard-Dog
Nard-Dog

  Well thank god for that!!!  I watched the draft Polian loves everyone!

That Guy They Have Now
That Guy They Have Now like.author.displayName 1 Like

  Perfect fit for the wide 9. speed to power, power to speed.  Boom no bust. Polian loves him.

JVince 11
JVince 11

 lol yea.... his 4.5 CAREER sacks in college football really just yell.. KILLER to me...

JVince 11
JVince 11

  he then kicks the football and yells "GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL!"