2013 NFL Draft: Live Fantasy Recap (Round 1)
The 2013 NFL Draft begins at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 25th with the first round. The second and third rounds will be held on Friday (beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET), while the remainder of the draft will finish up on Saturday (12 p.m. ET). Coverage is on ESPN and the NFL Network.
Throughout the first round, I'll be updating this page with live analysis of the fantasy implications of each skill position pick. Be sure to come back tomorrow for the second and third rounds. Executive Editor Josh Moore will be checking in on Saturday to summarize the mid- to late-round picks. Since opportunity is crucial for a rookie, we'll give a grade for each early pick given the player's opportunity for playing time.
The Chiefs and Jaguars started things off by drafting T Eric Fisher and T Luke Joeckel, respectively. When a team drafts an O-lineman in the first round, it's usually a good sign for the RB, so Jamaal Charles and Maurice Jones-Drew are probably happy about those picks.
Austin is small in stature (5'8"), but lightning quick (4.40 40-yard dash) and is a big playmaker in the passing and return games. He projects to be a slot receiver, though his ball skills are somewhat inconsistent. "Sudden" and "explosive" are two words often used to describe him.
He’ll replace the departed Danny Amendola in the slot and immediately becomes the most intriguing fantasy receiver in St. Louis. He’s a couple of inches shorter than Percy Harvin and Randall Cobb, but has the same type of skill set. Look for him to hold mid-round (5th-8th round) value come August. This is a big boost for QB Sam Bradford.
The Titans took G Chance Warmack at #10. He's a strong run-blocker, so Chris Johnson gets a bump. The Chargers followed up at #11 with T D.J. Fluker, who should start immediately at RT. That's good news for Philip Rivers and Ryan Mathews.
Manuel is a terrific athlete and has great leadership skills. He's raw and isn't the most accurate thrower, but he has a strong arm. It’s going to be interesting to see how the Bills handle him with Kevin Kolb already on the roster. If he shows early progress, he could beat out Kolb in the same way Russell Wilson beat out Matt Flynn. The Bills have Steve Johnson in the passing game and C.J. Spiller is a great RB, but otherwise the team is unproven offensively. Unless Manuel progresses quickly, this doesn't look like a great pick for Johnson in 2013.
The Giants took T Justin Pugh at 1.19, which is good news for Eli Manning, David Wilson and Andre Brown. He may not start right away, but he gives the team depth on the right side. The Bears took T Kyle Long who should start immediately at guard, if not tackle. Chicago's O-line has been a problem for a while, and the Long pick should help.
Eifert is everything that NFL teams want at tight end. He's big (250 lbs), tall (6'6"), above average speed (4.70 40-yard dash) and has great ball skills. His biggest concern is his durability. He had a concussion in 2012 and missed most of the 2009 season with a back injury.
Obviously, the Eifert pick puts a big dent in Jermaine Gresham’s upside. The Bengals could be planning to go with two TEs, a la the Patriots, but if not, either Eifert or Gresham will be playing limited snaps in 2013. Gresham is signed through 2014, so this could be an issue for a while. While the pick is bad for Gresham, it’s good for QB Andy Dalton, who gets another good weapon in the passing game. QB just got a little deeper.
The 6’1” Hopkins has very good ball skills and good speed (4.49 40-yard dash). He has quick feet but needs to clean up his route-running.
The Texans have recently drafted Lestar Jean and Keshawn Martin, so Hopkins will have to compete for snaps. Houston has been struggling to find a solid WR2 for a while, so there is plenty of opportunity for playing time if Hopkins can progress. Houston has been a run-heavy team lately, so there aren’t a ton of targets to go around with Andre Johnson getting the lion's share.
Patterson has been called an "athletic freak" with "explosive" burst and speed (4.48 40-yard dash), and along with Tavon Austin, is one of the two best playmakers in this draft. But Patterson is much bigger at 6'2" and 216 lbs. He's raw and has had trouble academically, so there is some concern about how quickly he will pick up an NFL offense. He is also inconsistent in his route-running and on-field effort when he doesn't have the ball in his hands.
The Vikings have recovered from the loss of Percy Harvin by signing a still effective Greg Jennings and trading away four picks to move up and draft Patterson. Assuming he can pick up things quickly, he should start in 2013. He doesn't have a whole lot of competition for the WR2 spot. The only downside with the fit is that Christian Ponder is only an average QB. I'd expect him to hold late-round (8th-11th round) value as an upside pick in August.
For a fantasy recap of the second and third rounds, click here.