10 thoughts about the 2013 NFL Draft


The NFL Draft is over. So much work, and then — poof — it’s over. Below are some thoughts about the Ravens and the overall draft. It’s my “top 10″ of sorts.

1. The three-day format (first round on Thursday, second and third rounds on Friday and rounds 4-7 on Saturday) was scary when it first came out. Now I am over it and think three days is fine, but you either start the draft earlier on Thursday — say, at 7 p.m. — or move the event to a Friday-Sunday timeslot. Ending the first round after 11 p.m. on Thursday is too late.

2. The worst pick of Round One was Buffalo taking E.J. Manuel at No. 16. Taking Christian Ponder at No. 12 and Jake Locker at No. 8 was just as crazy a few years back. I get that this is a quarterback-driven league, but shouldn’t the driver know the rules of the road? Manuel may turn into a great NFL signal caller, but he was not a great college quarterback. He did not seem overly accurate or jump out at me during games I watched.

3. The best pick of Round One was the Pittsburgh Steelers taking linebacker Jarvis Jones. Rarely does a player scream he belongs on a certain team. Jones and Pittsburgh were made for each other.

4. The head scratcher of Round One was Dallas Cowboys taking Travis Frederick. I like the player, but he would have been there during Round Two, so why the rush? Maybe Dallas was so scared of taking a potential bust player that they went with a safe pick?

5. The teams that did well were the Texans, Steelers, 49ers, Jags, Cardinals and Titans.

6. The teams that still don’t get it were the Jets, Colts and Cowboys. I just did not understand what they tried to do.

7. The second-round gems were the Jaguars taking Jonathan Cyprien, the Ravens snagging Arthur Brown, the 49ers grabbing Cornellius Carradine and the Texans picking up D.J. Swearinger.

8. The late-round picks I loved were the Ravens taking Aaron Mellette, the Bengals grabbing Reid Fragel, the Raiders picking up David Bass and the Bears taking Marquess Wilson.

9. Mr. Irrelevant was Justice Cunningham, a tight end from South Carolina. Don’t be surprised if Justice is served, and soon. OK, that was terrible, but I like the player and the pick.

10. The Ravens ended up with a 10-man draft class. Below is an analysis of each player.

Round One, Pick 32 (32nd Overall)
Matt Elam (5-foot-10, 208 pounds), FS, Florida

This is a solid pick, but I’m not in love with Elam, and preferred Jonathan Cyprien. I am concerned that Elam will be injured often, but his productivity at Florida was excellent.

Round Two, Pick 24 (56th Overall) (From Seahawks)
Arthur Brown (6-foot, 241 pounds), ILB, Kansas State

I don’t know whether I have written enough about Brown. This is a great pick. He’s the best linebacker in the draft and should fit perfectly with the Ravens. Walterfootball.com said: “This is the best pick of the second round. Arthur Brown may have been chosen in the 20 range had he been completely healthy. He’ll heal up, and Ozzie Newsome will end up with another draft-day steal. Brown is as best of a successor to Ray Lewis as Baltimore could have obtained in the 2013 NFL Draft.”

Round Three, Pick 32 (94th Overall)
Brandon Williams (6-foot-1, 335 pounds), DT, Missouri Southern State

Williams is a dancing bear who is built like an ox. He’s got quick feet and is strong. I love this kid.

Round Four, Pick 32 (129th Overall)
John Simon (6-foot-1, 257 pounds), DE, Ohio State

The 2012 Big Ten defensive player of the year lasted until the fourth round. That is a cause for concern. Ohio State linebackers and defensive linemen have struggled at the NFL level.

Round Four, Pick 33 (130th Overall) (Compensatory Selection)
Kyle Juszczyk (6-foot-1, 248 pounds), FB, Harvard

This is one of the best picks in this year’s draft by any team. Juszczyk is the best blocking back in the draft. He has great hands and can play tight end, H-back or fullback.

Round Five, Pick 35 (168th Overall) (Compensatory Selection)
Ricky Wagner (6-foot-6, 308 pounds), OT, Wisconsin

Any time you can get a lineman from Wisconsin, it’s a solid pick. Wagner is a big kid, who should be a solid guard.

Round Six, Pick 32 (200th Overall)
Kapron Lewis-Moore (6-foot-4, 298 pounds), DE, Notre Dame

Lewis-Moore will be a redshirt rookie. He tore his ACL during the national championship game; otherwise he could have been a second- or third-round pick. He is a solid player.

Round Six, Pick 35 (203th Overall) (Compensatory Selection)
Ryan Jensen (6-foot-3, 317 pounds), OT, Colorado State-Pueblo

Jensen is strong and athletic and plays with a nasty streak. The Ravens will try him at center.

Round Seven, Pick 32 (238th Overall)
Aaron Mellette (6-foot-2, 217 pounds), WR, Elon

Mellette has good size and shields defenders on slants. He has reliable hands in traffic, is not afraid to go over the middle and can make defenders miss. His speed on long routes is the biggest concern, but he’s a solid receiver prospect.

Round Seven, Pick 41 (247th Overall) (Compensatory Selection)
Marc Anthony (5-foot-11, 196 pounds), CB, California

Anthony possesses the size of a starting outside NFL cornerback. He’s solid in coverage, but his makeup speed is a concern. He’s also a suspect, but willing tackler.

Ravens Undrafted Free Agent Invites

Jose Cheeseborough, CB, Florida International
Steve Demilio, OL, Gardner-Webb
Jordan Devey, OL, Memphis
Matt Furstenburg, TE, Maryland
Rogers Gaines, OT, Tennessee State
Omarius Hines, WR, Florida
Ray Holley, RB, Louisiana Tech
Murphy Holloway TE, Ole Miss
Perry Jones, RB, Virginia
Moe Lee, CB, Utah
Nate Stanley, QB, Southeastern Louisiana
Trent Steelman, QB, Army
Brynden Trawick, SS, Troy
Gary Walker, FS, Idaho

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About Ken Zalis

Ken Zalis
Born in Randallstown Ken Zalis, KZ as he is known, is now a top 10 Fantasy Football Expert according to Fantasy Pro.com. His FansFantasyFootball.com which he founded is one of the most respected Fantasy Football and NFL Draft sites in the industry. KZ can be heard all over the Baltimore...more

20 Raves on “10 thoughts about the 2013 NFL Draft

  1. Bruce Almty on said:

    Ken, I read that Kyle Juszczyk was used almost exclusively as a TE at Harvard…only 5 carries for 19 yds as a FB. He did however workout on his proday as a FB which is probably why he’s listed that way. My SWAG (scientific wild ass guess) is he’ll be our blocking TE on the line or out of the backfield where he may also peel-off and catch a pass or 3.

  2. David on said:

    I didn’t understand the Simon pick, we have plenty of outside linebackers. We should have combined this pick with a lower one, moved up and gotten patton

    • Jerry M on said:

      I agree we should have gotten Patton because Simon would have been there waiting. But I also know Simon is a great leader and a hell a football player so either way he’s a great pick.

  3. RichieG on said:

    Any idea why they took Elam over Cyprien; why they weren’t interested enough in Fragel; wasn’t there ANY potential LT available at some point?!? Jensen and Wagner sound like this year’s version of JahReid – your thoughts?

  4. Will Spencer on said:

    The Ravens took Elam over Cyprien for a few reasons; Elam produced at a high level in the SEC, Elam was voted team captain AS A JUNIOR (no easy feat), Elam was a special teams standout, playing both punt and kick coverage, Elam played a wider range of coverages in Florida’s defense and Elam has better straight line speed.

    What I don’t understand is all the concern over Elam’s durability. He played in all 39 games while he was at Florida and started in 26 of them. Given the physical play style that Elam has, the amount of tackles he’s racked up AND the fact that all that happened in the SEC….he didn’t miss a single game due to injury and has no injury concerns. The thing people want to point to in regards to “projected durability” is his size. Well Elam is a bit short at 5’9 7/8″ but weighs 208 lbs….that is FAR from being a frail player. Troy Polamalu is 5’10″ and 206 lbs and he didn’t miss a game until his 4th season in Pittsburgh. And if you want to point to Bob Sanders as a comparison, you have to take into account that Bob Sanders had quite the injury history at Iowa, missing games in his sophomore, junior and senior season due to injury, including 3 games his senior season due to foot surgery. Sanders had medical red flags all over the place before he was drafted and that trend continued in the NFL. Elam has had ZERO injury concerns and has the same play style.

    In regards to Kyle Juszczyk….yes, he was listed as a TE at Harvard but his role was that of an H-Back due to Harvard’s offensive scheme. I don’t think you’ll see him as a tight end on the Ravens roster. What I think you’ll see is a transition in the Ravens offense that doesn’t use the “traditional, lead-blocker only” fullback like before. Juszczyk can block effectively (proved that at the Senior Bowl, for any doubters out there) but he’s also a natural pass catcher. His versatility would add a new dimension to their 21 and 22 personnel groups as he’s much more of a threat to catch out of the backfield than Leach was.

    As for John Simon, I don’t think you understand how solid of a pick this is. Simon is essentially a Jarret Johnson clone. What this pick does is allow the Ravens to have a solid rotation at OLB that involves pass rushers (Suggs, Dumervil) and edge setters (Upshaw, Simon). Simon will also be a great addition to special teams and quite possibly could be a 10+ year player in Baltimore. I think it’s seriously neglectful to say that Ohio State linebackers and defensive lineman have struggled in the NFL. Cameron Heyward, James Laurinaitis, AJ Hawk, Bobby Carpenter, Will Smith, Ryan Pickett and Mike Vrabel have all had solid, successful NFL careers or are off to solid starts. Just because there is the occasional Vernon Gholston doesn’t mean Ohio State LBs and DLs aren’t worth anything. The reason Simon lasted until the 4th round is because there’s nothing flashy about his play and his size potentially limits his scheme options. A 4-3 team couldn’t draft him to play DE in that system and many 3-4 teams could look at him as too small to play a 5-tech DE and not explosive enough to play OLB. Simon is a better football player than athlete and is a guy that does whatever a team asks him to. Everyone that has ever played with him has raved about him as a player and a teammate. Ravens fans will be happy with what he brings to the table.

    Finally, the Ravens knew that there were only a handful of OT prospects in this draft that had the potential to start within 1-2 years at LT. They weren’t going to reach for a guy JUST because he could potentially play LT. They stayed true to their board and grabbed the players they valued most when they had the opportunity. The comparison of Jensen to Jah Reid might be a good one, but Wagner is much more experienced and polished than what Reid was.

    • Bruce Almty on said:

      Excellent post Will.
      I think we can put to rest the mantra that Ozzie always takes the BPA though.
      While taking the best-player-available strategy sounds good, I am a strong believer in teams identifying their own weaknesses and aggressively addressing them. This is precisely the route the Ravens took, nabbing their two biggest needs with their first 2 picks.
      Regardless, an excellent draft by Oz and team.

      • Will Spencer on said:

        It’s not “strictly” BPA and it does have a slant towards need. However, that’s all built into their board. For example, this year a safety and a tight end could have been graded very close. In this case, the safety could get the slight edge due to need, but only if they’re ranked closely. This keeps the team from reaching just for need and still maintain the highest value possible in their picks.

  5. Gene on said:

    I liked Cyprien too. But, I have noticed that his went up close to the time of the draft . So, was there more hype with Cyprien than substance? Overall Elam is a playmaker and the Ravens I trust in the final say. Simon looks solid. Overall a fantastic draft.

    • Will Spencer on said:

      I think there is something to be said for Cyprien’s late rise. It’s also important to note that several teams had him in for closer looks. In fact, the Bengals were heavily linked to Cyprien because shortly before the draft, Mike Zimmer (Bengals DC) held a last minute, private workout with Cyprien. I believe teams were impressed with how Cyprien played at the Senior Bowl but he chose not to run at the combine, then ran in the low 4.6s at his Pro Day. Teams like the Bengals decided they wanted additional looks at Cyprien and ultimately decided that they would go with the value of Tyler Eifert at their pick instead of Cyprien.

  6. KZ on said:

    I hope Simon will change my view but history says Ohio State DE/OLB buyer beware. At the senior bowl Kyle Juszczyk worked out at TE, H-Back and FB and I can see him fill all roles with the Ravens very versatile kid. Why the concern for Elam? Small people in the NFL get hurt…never said he was not durable.

    • Will Spencer on said:

      Elam is a bit short, but he’s not a thin, frail guy. He has a thick build and long arms for his height, which helps him with bigger receivers.

      In your other article, where you have the Elam pick a “B-”, you said Cyprien is a better cover safety. Care to elaborate on that? Elam has better speed but regardless, the Ravens aren’t looking for him to be a center fielder. They need him to replace Pollard as a strong safety that spends a lot of time in the box. Elam not only replaces Pollard, he’s an upgrade. Pollard was not known for coverage ability and that was exposed at different times throughout the season. Elam is just as effective in the box and much better in coverage. I don’t understand what you think Cyprien would have provided the Ravens that Elam doesn’t…except for 2″ of height.

  7. Will Spencer on said:

    I’m also curious as to what history you’re referring to when it comes to having to beware of Ohio State DE/OLBs? Vernon Gholston? There isn’t a single school that’s produced only “can’t miss” products. It’s not like Ohio State runs some strange defense that makes their defenders unable to translate to the NFL…something akin to a QB that runs a spread offense like Hawaii and puts up unreal numbers, yet can’t make a single NFL throw. I don’t understand the logic…..

  8. ravcolt on said:

    The three-day draft is now a joke. What was once the greatest off season way to spend a weekend now inconveniences everyone (fans, front offiice, potential first round players – I don’t care much about inconveniencing red dye Berman), has turned a pure event and skill into an Academy Awards banquet of sorts, and improves the less than ready front offices who need to be able to make decisions on draft day by allowing them an extra night to regroup. What a beautiful thing ESPN wrought Roger Goodell, once again, put asunder. Oh, and can any of these guys play left tackle?

  9. Will Spencer on said:

    I agree. I’m not a fan of the 3 day draft. Actually, I might not mind the 3 day affair as much if it didn’t consist of 2 nights of “prime time”. If they’re hell bent on having a prime time event, just make the first round Friday night, rounds 2-4 on Saturday and 5-7 on Sunday. I’d be happy without any prime time coverage at all, actually. Can’t stand that they’re turning it into a red carpet/fashion event as well.

    As for the left tackle thing, Wagner is the only one with experience there but his footwork isn’t good enough (at least right now) to play LT in the NFL. He projects more to a RT and G. Jensen will be kicked inside as well and the team has stated they plan to develop him as a center.

    UDFA Jordan Devey played LT at Memphis, but also played LG and RG there. He has some size but he’s a developmental guy at this point.

    Watch out for Roger Gaines as a LT prospect. He’s raw and needs to further develop his skill set, but he’s a physically imposing guy with ridiculously long arms. Was an absolute beast at Tennessee State and was invited to the Texas vs The Nation game but didn’t compete. I’m trying to find out why he dropped out (did not appear to be injury related) but keep an eye on him. If Juan Castillo can coach him up right…Gaines has the physical ability to be a starting LT in the NFL.

    • Will Spencer on said:

      Just to clarify, I meant to say that Wagner was the only draft pick (not UDFA) with significant experience at LT. Jensen did play there as well, but obviously at a small school. And as I explained, UDFAs Devey and Gaines have experience at LT.

      Sorry, just thought I should clarify that.

  10. Big C the Guru on said:

    You guys also have to understand that we: A) aren’t privy to the Raven’s board and B) what get’s people on of off and what de-values them. Elam runs a 4.5 at safety, Brown runs a 4.58-4.62, Simon runs a 4.6 at 250 lbs… Even Willams runs a 5 flat and he’s 335 lbs with arms like tree trunks. It’s pretty obvious that they were looking for speed and this draft. I keep hearing that we need WR’s and we need to replace Boldin. Do you guys realize that we have a TON of good young WR’s and at if 2 of them catch on to replace Boldin you just saved yourself 6 million dollars. We still have Ray Rice (who by the way is going to be lined up at WR a TON this season), Bernard Pierce, 2 great TE’s, just added an all purpose back in the draft… Now add Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones. If we get get 2 WR’s say Laquan Williams and David Reed get it together… We’re awesome right now. Elam is exactly what we need, need a banger out there. McKinney is coming back… watch. Grabbing Mellette was great, he may do some damage. I love the young WR’s getting a ton of reps… Someone will step up, there’s a contract for someone who wants it…

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