Perhaps the only thing more impressive about the NFL draft than the amount of time it takes to complete all seven rounds is the amount of grades produced in the aftermath of each selection. The draft’s winners and losers are decided before any pick plays a down of professional football.
For all the immediate evaluation that is done, it is impossible to fairly assess a draft class without data and the gift of time. Starting with 2010, 110 Sports is going back and grading every NFL draft of the past decade on a team-by-team basis.
These grades are based first and foremost on production. Other factors were taken into consideration, but the primary goal is figuring out how successful teams were at identifying talent.
The 2013 NFL Draft re-grade makes its debut with the AFC East.
*All stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com and accurate through the end of the 2019 season.
Picks: QB E.J. Manuel (16th overall), WR Robert Woods (41), LB Kiko Alonso (46), WR Marquise Goodwin (78), DB Duke Williams (105), DB Jonathan Meeks (143), K Dustin Hopkins (177), TE Chris Gragg (222)
Best pick: Kiko Alonso
Alonso recorded 159 tackles as a rookie, good for third in the NFL behind Vontaze Burfict (171) and Paul Posluszny (162). The former second-round pick also ranks in the top 15 in tackles since joining in the league. In three consecutive seasons from 2016 to 2018, Alonso started at least 15 games and produced at least 115 tackles as a member of the Dolphins. In addition to the 558 tackles in 86 games, he has 10 interceptions, seven forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries to his name.
Worst pick: E.J. Manuel
Manuel went 4-6 as a starter in his rookie season and never started more than four games in a season again. He opened the 2014 season as the Bills starter, lasting four games before being replaced by Kyle Orton. Manuel lost all four games he started between 2015 and 2017, the last time he appeared in an NFL game. After an unsuccessful attempt to make the Raiders’ roster in 2018, he announced his retirement on May 13, 2019. Manuel appeared in 30 contests in his career.
Spending a first-rounder on Manuel meant this grade wasn’t going any higher. However, all eight players Buffalo selected saw action in at least 30 games. Woods is coming off his second straight 1,000-yard season and has posted over 500 yards every season of his career. Hopkins has made 124 field goals, though none have come as a member of the Bills. Take away Manuel and this class is up in the B+ range.
Picks: DE Dion Jordan (3), DB Jamar Taylor (54), OT Dallas Thomas (77), DB Will Davis (93), LB Jelani Jenkins (104), TE Dion Sims (106), RB Mike Gillislee (164), K Caleb Sturgis (166), DB Don Jones (250)
Best pick: Jamar Taylor
The bar is not exactly high here, so Taylor gets the nod due to his two seasons (2016 and 2017) as a regular starter. In those two seasons, Taylor picked off three passes and registered 119 tackles. His 90 career appearances and 41 starts are the most of any player Miami took in this draft. Taylor spent time with the Falcons and Seahawks last season, playing in a total of 12 games.
Worst pick: Dion Jordan
The former No. 3 overall pick played in the first 26 games of his career and did not see the field again until 2017. Jordan missed the final six games of 2014 and all of 2015 after violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy three times. He was conditionally reinstated prior to the 2016 season but didn’t play a down for the second year in a row. The Dolphins released him on March 31, 2017. Jordan has since played for the Seahawks and Raiders, recording 10.5 sacks in 50 career games.
Miami’s draft got off to a rough start with Jordan and didn’t get much better. With six picks in the first four rounds, the best the Dolphins could manage was a role player in Taylor and a backup tight end with nine career receiving touchdowns in Sims. To make matters worse, Jordan and Taylor were the only players of the nine-person class to see the field last season. Four guys have played in at least 60 games though.
New England Patriots
Picks: LB Jamie Collins (52), WR Aaron Dobson (59), DB Logan Ryan (83), DB Duran Harmon (91), WR Josh Boyce (102), DE Michael Buchanan (226), LB Steve Beauharnais (235)
Best pick: Jamie Collins
Collins impacts a game in just about every possible way from the linebacker position. He has forced 16 fumbles — including a league-leading five in 2015 — and intercepted 10 passes in his eight seasons. Collins also has three 100+ tackle campaigns, none of which came in the year he made the Pro Bowl (2015). And don’t forget about the 24.5 sacks and the career-best seven he registered last season when he returned to New England. He really does it all.
Worst pick: Aaron Dobson
Dobson’s career started out well enough. He caught 37 passes for 519 yards and scored four touchdowns as a rookie. In 2014, he was either inactive or injured for all but four games. A high ankle sprain in Week 11 of the 2015 season prematurely ended his season for the second year in a row. New England released him during final roster cuts in 2016 and he never played in an NFL game again. Dobson ended his career with 53 receptions in 24 games.
Ryan and Collins are tied for the most starts in the group at 85 while Harmon has actually appeared in the most games (111). Aside from those three though, nobody saw the field after 2015 or reached the 25-game mark. Collins, Ryan and Harmon have all played more games individually than the other four guys combined. Three regular contributors from four picks between 50 and 100 is not a bad result at all.
New York Jets
Picks: DB Dee Milliner (9), DE/DT Sheldon Richardson (13), QB Geno Smith (39), OG Brian Winters (72), OT Oday Aboushi (141), OT William Campbell (178), FB Tommy Bohanon (215)
Best pick: Sheldon Richardson
Five of the seven games Richardson’s missed in his career were the result of two suspensions: one for a positive marijuana test and the other related to a road race in which he attempted to evade police. On the field, he has 26.5 sacks and 397 tackles in 105 games. Richardson’s best season came in 2014, when he recorded eight sacks and made the Pro Bowl. He is so far and away the most productive player the Jets drafted that he claims this spot by a considerable margin even with the legal issues.
Worst pick: Dee Milliner
Milliner immediately earned a starting cornerback spot and appeared in 12 games as a rookie. Poor performance led to three separate benchings during the season. A torn Achilles and wrist surgery limited Milliner to three games in 2014 and five in 2015. New York released him on Sept. 28, 2016. He was out of the NFL before his four-year rookie deal expired. Milliner played in a total of 21 games and intercepted three passes.
After completely missing at No. 9, New York did find some good value later in the draft. Winters has started over half the games for the Jets six of the last seven seasons. Aboushi and Bohanon have appeared in 117 games between them. In addition to the Milliner pick, the Jets spent their second-rounder on Smith, who is 12-19 as a starter with more interceptions than touchdowns in his career. Two picks in the top 15 and another in the top 40 should result in more than one standout player. At least New York found one though.
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Photo by Keith Allison / Wikimedia Commons