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 NFC West wraps up the 2013 NFL Draft re-grade.
*All stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com and accurate through the end of the 2019 season.
Picks: OG Jonathan Cooper (7th overall), LB Kevin Minter (45), DB Tyrann Mathieu (69), DE Alex Okafor (103), OG Earl Watford (116), RB Stepfan Taylor (140), WR Ryan Swope (174), RB Andre Ellington (187), TE D.C. Jefferson (219)
Best pick: Tyrann Mathieu
The Honey Badger has recorded 75+ tackles and started all 16 games for a different team each of the past three seasons. After five years in Arizona, Mathieu signed a one-year deal with the Texans, which he turned into three years and $42 million from Kansas City last offseason. His first season with the team resulted in Mathieu’s second First Team All-Pro selection, and of course, a Super Bowl. Mathieu has 17 interceptions, four forced fumbles and nine sacks to go with his 472 career tackles.
Worst pick: Jonathan Cooper
Things might have turned out quite differently for Cooper and the Cardinals had he not broken his fibula before playing in a regular season game. A string of injuries ensued, limiting him to 10 appearances in 2014 and 14 in 2015. On March 15, 2016, Cooper was traded to the Patriots with Chandler Jones going the other way. New England was the first of six different teams Cooper would play for between 2016 and 2018. The only time in Cooper’s career he started more than nine games was 2017 as a member of the Cowboys. He appeared in 46 contests in six seasons.
It’s difficult to criticize the Cooper pick too much when he never got a chance to play at full health. Arizona drafted seven players who went on to play in more than 45 games, and every one except Cooper reached 60. Okafor has 27 sacks in 78 appearances and Ellington produced 3,120 yards of offense. Mathieu and the depth of this class more than make up for the disappointments of Cooper.
Los Angeles Rams (then the St. Louis Rams)
Picks: WR Tavon Austin (8), LB Alec Ogletree (30), DB T.J. McDonald (71), WR Stedman Bailey (92), OG Barrett Jones (113), DB Brandon McGee (149), RB Zac Stacy (160)
Best pick: Alec Ogletree
Ogletree began his professional career by making 36 consecutive starts before an ankle injury ended his 2015 season after four games. He returned and started all 16 games in 2016, recording a career-high 136 tackles. Ogletree is seventh in total tackles (676) and sixth in solo tackles (473) among all NFL players over the last seven seasons. He has also contributed 12 interceptions and 7.5 sacks in his 93 appearances, all of which were starts.
Worst pick: Stedman Bailey
Things started well enough for Bailey. He hauled in 17 passes as a rookie and caught 30 (including his first receiving touchdown) the following season. Then November 2015 happened. Bailey got suspended four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy at the beginning of the month. While serving the suspension, he was shot multiple times while in his car with family members. The injuries he suffered from the shooting led to his retirement just 38 games into his career.
Not only did the Rams have two first rounders, but all seven of their picks were in the first five rounds. The first was spent on Austin, who has never been more than a role player in his seven-year career. After Ogletree and McDonald, no one started more than 17 games. Jones and McGee played in 28 games combined, none of them starts. St. Louis squandered a really good chance to bolster its roster with that many picks near the top of the draft.
San Francisco 49ers
Picks: DB Eric Reid (18), DE Tank Carradine (40), TE Vance McDonald (55), DE Corey Lemonier (88), WR Quinton Patton (128), RB Marcus Lattimore (131), DE Quinton Dial (157), LB Nick Moody (180), QB B.J. Daniels (237), OT Carter Bykowski (246), DB Marcus Cooper (252)
Best pick: Eric Reid
Reid is one of 12 players with at least five sacks, 10 interceptions and 500 tackles since he entered the NFL. He burst onto the scene as a rookie, picking off four passes and earning a trip to the Pro Bowl. Reid has made a minimum of 10 starts every season with a career total of 98 through seven seasons. In 2019, he nearly doubled his previous career high in tackles with 130 and recorded four sacks as well. Reid has not disappointed from a production or consistency standpoint, which is really all you can ask for.
Worst pick: Tank Carradine
The most snaps Carradine has been on the field for in any of his seven NFL seasons is 291 back in 2016. He tore his ACL late in his final college season, which caused him to start his professional career on injured reserve. Carradine did not see the field as a rookie and did not make his first start until 2015. He has appeared in exactly one game each of the past two seasons, bringing his career total to 46. The last time Carradine played more than half a season was 2016.
Reid — who has more sacks than any of the three pass rushers San Francisco selected — is the only standout player in this 11-person group. McDonald, Lemonier, Dial and Cooper reached the 50-game mark, but Dial is the lone player not named Reid to start more than 34 times. Lattimore and Bykowski’s careers ended without appearing in a game. Reid and some guys who stuck around for a while is a disappointing return from six top-150 picks.
Picks: RB Christine Michael (62), DT Jordan Hill (87), WR Chris Harper (123), DT Jesse Williams (137), DB Tharold Simon (138), TE Luke Willson (158), RB Spencer Ware (194), OG Ryan Seymour (220), DE Ty Powell (231), DT Jared Smith (241), 242 Michael Bowie (242)
Best pick: Luke Willson
Here’s a fun fact for you: Willson has only started 55% of the 94 games he’s played in, yet he still has seven more starts than the rest of the draft class combined. Additionally, he’s the sole member of the group who’s seen action every year since being drafted. Thus, the award goes to the man who has never caught more than 22 passes in a season and has 110 receptions in his career.
Worst pick: Chris Harper
Harper failed to make Seattle’s roster out of training camp and landed on the team’s practice roster. After a brief stop in San Francisco, Harper played in four games with the Packers in 2013. He spent the 2014 season with the Giants but never appeared in a game. In 2017, Harper released his debut single called “Just for Me.”
The Seahawks deserve a break after the last three draft classes they put together. Ware scored 13 touchdowns and Hill recorded seven sacks. That’s pretty much all Seattle got out of this group besides the aforementioned Willson. If anyone could afford to have a rough go of it in 2013, it was the Seahawks.
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Photo by Keith Allison / Wikimedia Commons