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.
Let’s get to it: Here’s how NFC South teams fared in the 2013 NFL Draft re-grade.
*All stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com and accurate through the end of the 2019 season.
Picks: DB Desmond Trufont (22nd overall), DB Robert Alford (60), DE Malliciah Goodman (127), Levine Toilolo (133), DE Stansly Maponga (153), DB Kemal Ishmael (243), Zeke Motta (244), QB Sean Renfree (249)
Best pick: Desmond Trufont
Ishmael has a solid case as a seventh-rounder with 95 appearances and a 97-tackle, four-interception season in 2014, but Trufont’s proved worthy of a first round selection. He has 97 starts to Ishmael’s 23 and made the Pro Bowl in 2015. Trufont’s amassed 13 interceptions, seven fumble recoveries and five sacks in addition to his 329 tackles. In 2019, he picked off a career-high four passes despite only playing in nine games.
Worst pick: Malliciah Goodman
All but one of Goodman’s 11 career starts came in 2014, the only year he recorded more than eight tackles. Goodman played in 34 games over three seasons with the Falcons before getting released during final roster cuts in 2016. He then joined the Seahawks for one game and re-signed with Atlanta, where he got on the field twice. His last appearance came in 2016. Goodman finished his career with 29 tackles and zero sacks.
Only Atlanta’s last two picks failed to reach the 25-game mark in their careers. Trufont, Alford, Toilolo and Ishmael have all played in at least 88 contests, with Toilolo’s 108 appearances topping the group. It may not be a star-studded group, but three guys with over 65 starts is an excellent return from two picks in the top 120. The Falcons got starters in rounds one and two and outstanding value with their late picks.
Picks: DT Star Lotulelei (14), DT Kawann Short (44), OG Edmund Kugbila (108), LB A.J. Klein (148), RE Kenjon Barner (182)
Best pick: Kawann Short
From 2015 to 2017, Short started every game for the Panthers, compiling 24.5 sacks. He didn’t miss a game until 2018 and had only been unavailable for two prior in his career prior to this past season. Short’s 32.5 sacks are good for second among players taken in the 2013 draft. The two-time Pro Bowler also has recorded 59 tackles for loss and forced nine fumbles in his 96-game career.
Worst pick: Edmund Kugbila
Kugbila strained his hamstring in the leadup to the 2013 season. Following a series of setbacks in his recovery, he was placed on injured reserve, ending his season. Kugbila missed the entire 2014 season rehabbing from back surgery and was waived by Carolina on May 20, 2015. His NFL career came to a close without him ever being active for a game.
Of the Panthers’ five picks, four were active in 2019 and have appeared in over four full seasons worth of games. Lotulelei, Short and Klein have at least 65 starts and average over 100 games played between them. Carolina went 4-for-5 despite three-fifths of its picks coming outside the top 100. The names don’t blow you away, but this is one of the most impressive draft classes to date in terms of getting value from every selection.
New Orleans Saints
Picks: DB Kenny Vaccaro (15), OT Terron Armstead (75), DT John Jenkins (82), WR Kenny Stills (144), DE Rufus Johnson (183)
Best pick: Kenny Stills
Stills has played the most games of anyone in the group (107) and is second behind Vaccaro in starts with 77. He also led the NFL in yards per reception as a rookie at 20.0. Stills has caught at least 40 passes four times and posted more than 550 receiving yards in six of his seven seasons as a pro. Two players in the 2013 draft class have more receiving touchdowns than Stills: DeAndre Hopkins and Travis Kelce. Both were taken more than 80 picks before him.
Worst pick: Rufus Johnson
There’s really no other option when the rest of the group has a minimum of 75 appearances and 28 starts while Johnson got into one game in his career. He spent his rookie season on the team’s practice squad and was released on Aug. 26, 2014. Johnson went on to impress in the 2015 preseason with the Patriots, earning him a spot on the 53-man roster. An undisclosed illness ended his season in late October. Johnson last played with the Raiders during the preseason in 2017.
This group is eerily similar to the Panthers’ draft class: very productive first-rounder, two-time Pro Bowler in round two, two guys who played last season and one who didn’t work out. The same logic used to justify Carolina’s grade applies here. Vaccaro, Armstead and Stills are a better trio than Lotulelei, Short and Klein as well. Any team that walks away from a draft with a class like this would be extremely pleased. New Orleans did it in five picks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pick: DB Jonathan Banks (43), QB Mike Glennon (73), DT Akeem Spence (100), DE William Gholston (126), DE Steven Means (147), RB Mike James (189)
Best pick: William Gholston
Gholston gets the nod over Spence thanks to better numbers (which is to be expected) and spending his entire career to date with the team that drafted him. He missed four games his rookie season but has played in at least 14 every year since. Among players drafted in 2013, Gholston ranks sixth in tackles for loss with 39. He has 272 tackles and 12 sacks in 103 games, 56 of which he started.
Worst pick: Jonathan Banks
In his first two seasons, Banks started 30 games, recorded 105 tackles and picked off seven passes. It went downhill quickly from there. His playing time was cut in half in 2015 as his production tailed off dramatically. Tampa Bay traded him to Detroit for a seventh round pick on Nov. 1, 2016. He made 57 appearances for the Buccaneers, Lions, Bears and Texans in his five-year career.
There’s something to be said for a six-man draft class where everyone plays in more than 20 games. Spence and Gohlston both have 103 career appearances and over 55 starts. Glennon did enough to garner a three-year, $45 million deal from the Bears, though he was released after one season. It’s not a bad class by any means, especially for a team without a first round pick. The first two picks leave something to be desired though.
Click here to see the entire draft grades series.
Photo by Chipermc / Wikimedia Commons