2013 NFL Draft – Breaking Down First Round Picks by the Eagles, Jets and Giants
If there was any question that the National Football League is concerned with passing, that issue was clarified on Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
Without a true elite passer in this year's draft class, teams with early picks became pre-occupied with either protecting or attacking quarterbacks as the 2013 NFL Draft saw the first six picks occupied by offensive linemen and defensive ends.
It was a day for the big boys. Central Michigan Offensive Tackle Eric Fisher was the first off the board, selected by the Kansas City Chiefs with the number one pick. Texas A&M Offensive Tackle Luke Joeckel went second to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Eagles, Jets and Giants, who all missed the playoffs last season, looked to bolster their rosters in the first round.
With the fourth pick overall, the Philadelphia Eagles selected Oklahoma Offensive Tackle Lane Johnson. There was some speculation about whether or not Chip Kelly, in his first year as Eagles head coach, would select one of his former players from Oregon; his Defensive End Dion Jordan went third to the Dolphins.
Johnson is a natural fit for Chip Kelly's fast-paced offense. The high speed, quick snap scheme that baffled so many opponents in the Big 12 will only work in the NFL if Kelly has fast, mobile linemen. Johnson, a former junior college quarterback and tight end, is expected to be an immediate role player.
To say the New York Jets are in a rebuilding year would be an understatement. The team needs bodies and they were able to add two immediate starters in the first round.
With their own ninth pick and the thirteenth overall pick, dealt to them by the Tampa Bay Bucaneers for veteran cornerback Darrelle Revis, the team brought in two high profile players who come with their own sets of questions.
With the sixth pick, the Jets took an obvious step towards replacing Revis by selected Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner. The scurge of SEC quarterbacks and wide receivers last season, Milliner is an incredibly fast and instinctive corner who can also make a tackle.
The question now: Will he get healthy?
Milliner missed the NFL Combine earlier this year with a shoulder injury. He is expected to begin the off-season on the physically unable to perform list. There isn't a consensus on when he will be able to play.
With the thirteenth pick, the Jets selected Missouri Defensive Tackle Sheldon Richardson. While there have been questions about his attitude and some off-field concerns, Richardson is still a tremendously athletic space-eater on the defensive line.
The first question for Rex Ryan and new General Manager John Idzik is if the Jets really needed help on the defensive line as opposed to other areas. The second question is, with the three best defensive tackles available, why did they choose the third highest rated? Utah's Star Lotulelei went to the Carolina Panthers at fourteen while Florida's Sharrif Floyd didn't come off the board until the Minnesota Vikings grabbed him with the twenty-third pick.
Regardless of any concerns, Richardson is sure to be a factor for the Jets in their upcoming campaign.
The New York Giants didn't make a huge splash with their first round pick, but in true Giants style, they made a sensible pick in selecting Syracuse Offensive Tackle Justin Pugh.
A good locker room guy with plenty of starting experience, Pugh has great feet and the ability to get to the second level on defenses. Given his size and arm length, it's likely that the Giants will convert him to a guard.
The NFL Draft will continue throughout the weekend.