The life of a draft analyst can be unforgiving. We make predictions and rankings based on evaluations and data but final decisions are often coupled with personal opinion. It seems easy for draft experts to chime in on players and where they will get drafted but not many seem to hold themselves accountable to what they said the previous season. Because I stand by my player evaluations, what I put on my website and on social media, I am deciding to start my draft season by holding myself accountable to what I wrote last year.
No one is perfect when it comes to predicting the future. I know that 1 year does not make or break a player and the verdict is still out for the 2013 draft class but, looking back, I was right about some of my evaluations and was way off on some others. This is based on my positional top 5 rankings after the combine.
Let’s go over offense first!
- Geno Smith, West Virginia
- Matt Barkley, USC
- E.J. Manuel, Florida
- Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
- Tyler Bray- Tennessee
After seeing EJs performance in the 2013 Senior Bowl I paid special attention to his evaluations. I didn’t think he would go as high as he did in the draft but I still stand by my excitement about him. The injury concerns me but we saw some flash last year and this guy is passionate about winning. Geno also showed flashes but he was more inconsistent. I’m not sure if I have ever seen a more inconsistent and roller coaster year. He will be interesting to watch this coming year. Short leash by the Jets I presume before making another mistake like they did with Sanchez costing them mucho dinero.
Ok so Matt Barkley will not be the man in Philly at least but we should see him if Foles gets hurt. Verdict still out. Wilson and Bray may never get a shot to play. I was way off on those two although I still think Bray is an interesting prospect.
- Good call – EJ Manuel
- What were you thinking– Tyler Wilson, Oakland Raiders
- Overall: One of my poorest performances in recent memory at this position. I can only hope one of the bottom guys breaks out as a gem in the next few years. Truth is, good chance that none of these guys are starters 3 years down the road.
- Eddie Lacy, Alabama
- Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State
- Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State
- Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
- Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
One of my best positions in 2013 was the RBs. Eddie Lacy turned out to be the Offensive Rookie of the Year and he got drafted into the right system. Let’s take a look at my take on Le’Veon Bell last year. ” Not many experts are choosing Le’Veon Bell as a top back in this draft and that is a mistake. This guy is the most complete back out of the group.” Bell got better and better and showed he is the man in Pittsburgh moving forward.
Bernard really surprised me but had a typical rookie season with his ups and downs. His upside is tremendous and a perfect system in Cincy. Joseph Randle was my biggest disappointment. He had his shot when Murray went down and failed to show he can start in this league. I expect more out of him next year if he gets another shot.
- Good call- LeVeon Bell
- What were you thinking- Joseph Randle- Dallas Cowboys
- Should have chosen: Zac Stacy- Rams- A lot of these guys are successful because of the system. Zac Stacy had a heck of a rookie season but I would argue that any of these top 5 guys would have done just as well or better if drafted by the Rams.
Overall- Headed in the right direction with the RB position for the 2nd year in a row. This position seems to be getting easier as more teams are going to a 2 or even 3-headed monster backfield.
1. DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
2. Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
3. Keenan Allen, California
4. Robert Woods, USC
5. Tavon Austin, West Virginia
Another strong showing at the WR position in 2013 for MackDraft.com. Hopkins showed he is likely the #1 guy in Houston when Andre Johnson leaves. Patterson has opened a lot of eyes, not only with his receiving skills, but also his playmaking ability at KR/PR. Keenan Allen was my #1 guy early in evaluations but moved down because of injury concerns. A lot of draft analysts took him into the 2nd or 2rd day because of the same reason but this guy is way too good to drop that far. He had arguably the best rookie season of all the WRs and showed he is a #1. Austin was an easy call for me. Yes he is still in my top 5 and he did show some of the big play potential that experts and scouts were raving about. I knew he was not a #1 WR and also not the best WR in the class.
- Good call- Keenan Allen
- What were you thinking- Robert Woods- Still had decent season even with a 3rd string QB for most of the year
- Should have chosen- Kenny Stills- NO Saints- Showed he can be a reliable target in the Saints high powered passing attack.
1. Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
2. Zach Ertz, Stanford
3. Gavin Escobar, San Diego State
4. Jordan Reed, Florida
5. Vance McDonald, Rice
I am going to keep the Tight End segment short. Jordan Reed ended up being the man in Washington and had a heck of a season. Eifert also flashed at times but being draft in the first round at #21 will require a lot more than his 2013 production for me to open my eyes.
- Good call- Jordan Reed
- What were you thinking- Gavin Escobar
- Should have chosen- Travis Kelce- KC Chiefs- Mostly just because of the beard.
I am going to lump these guys together. More than any other position it is hard to see an offensive lineman’s true potential over the first year only. Many of these guys played both the right and left side this season. Last year I said that I certainly wouldn’t spend a top 10 pick on a right tackle but now I am starting to open my eyes more to the idea since these guys are so versatile now and some defenses are putting their best pass rusher on the right side.
- Good call- So far so good on Center-Travis Fredrickson-Dallas, LT-DJ Fluker- San Diego and OG Larry Warford- Detroit.
- What were you thinking- Even though some injuries were factors I would say Joeckel and Eric Fisher were both disappointments for the 1st and 2nd pick of the draft. Expecting big strides this year.
- Should have chosen- OT Justin Pugh- New York Giants