We’ve had a week to digest the draft, so let’s rank the top-five draft classes. Here’s my list. Please submit your own.
1. Minnesota Vikings. 1 (23) – Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida; 1 (25) – Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State; 1 (29) Cordarrelle Patterson, WR/KR, Tennessee; 4 (120) – Gerald Hodges, OLB, Penn State; 5 (155) – Jeff Locke, P, UCLA; 6 (196) – Jeff Baca, OG, UCLA; 7 (213) – Michael Mauti, ILB, Penn State; 7 (214) Travis Bond, OG, North Carolina; 7 (229) – Everett Dawkins, DT, Florida State.
Analysis: The Vikings drafted three players who were considered top-15 picks before the draft – Floyd, Rhodes and Patterson. Theoretically, Minnesota should have three of the top-32 rookies this coming season.
2. Oakland Raiders. 1 (12) – D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston; 2 (42) – Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State; 3 (66) – Sio Moore, LB, DE, UConn; 4 (112) – Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas; 6 (172) – Nick Kasa, TE, Colorado; 6 (181) – Latavius Murry, RB, Central Florida; 6 (184) – Mychal Rivera, TE, Tennessee; 6 (205) – Stacy McGee, DT, Oklahoma; 7 (209) – Brice Butler, WR, San Diego State; 7 (233) – David Bass, DE, Missouri Western.
Analysis: The Raiders needed to trade down, and they did. Twice. Once for Hayden in the first round, and once for Wilson in the fourth round. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hayden becomes an All Pro early in his career and Wilson becomes the best quarterback in the entire draft. Oakland also drafted two more talented players who may start right away – Watson at right tackle, and Moore at outside linebacker. On top of that, the Raiders knocked their Day 3 picks out of the park. Their final pick, Bass, is about the same size as Aldon Smith, and had 40.5 sacks in college.
3. Seattle Seahawks. 1 (25), a seventh-round pick and a third-rounder next year for Percy Harvin; 2 (62) – Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M; 3 (87) – Jordan Hill, DT, Penn State; 4 (123) – Chris Harper, WR, Kansas State; 5 (137) – Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama; 5 (138) – Tharold Simon, CB, LSU’ 5 (158) – Luke Willson, TE, Rice; 6 (194) – Spencer Ware, RB, LSU; 7 (220) – Ryan Seymour, OG, Vanderbilt; 7 (231) – Ty Powell, DE, Harding; 7 (242) – Jared Smith, DT, New Hampshire; 7 (242) – Michael Bowie, OT, NE Oklahoma State.
Analysis: It was a smart move to trade for Percy Harvin, because there was no one better than him the Seahawks could have drafted with the 25th pick. When healthy, Harvin is one of the most dangerous offensive players in the NFL, and the Seahawks had one of the most dangerous offenses in football last season without him. Along with Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch, Harvin could be one of three MVP candidates on the Seahawks’ offense this season. With the second-round pick, Seattle drafted Christine Michael, who tore his left ACL almost two yeas ago, but is one of the most talented running backs in the draft when healthy. Jordan and Williams are run-stuffers who potentially could start right away at nose tackle and five-technique, respectively.
4. Green Bay Packers. 1 (26) – Datone Jones, DE, UCLA; 2 (61) – Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama; 4 (109) – David Bakhtiari, OT, Colorado; 4 (122) – J.C. Tretter, OT, Cornell; 4 (125) – Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA; 5 (159) – Micah Hyde, FS, Iowa; 5 (167) – Josh Boyd, DT, Mississippi State; 6 (193) – Nate Palmer, LB, Illinois State; 7 (216) – Charles Johnson, WR, Grand Valley State; 7 (224) – Kevin Dorsey, WR, Maryland; 7 (232) – Sam Barrington, OLB, South Florida.
Analysis: Jones should immediately improve Green Bay’s run defense and pass rush. Lacy is a good pick – he’s a power running back, which the Packers needed. But the Packers’ best pick may have been their fourth-rounder, Franklin. He’s one of the fastest running backs in football, and he can catch passes, too. The Packers are a pass-first team that likes to use 11 personnel – one running back, one tight end and three wide receivers. Franklin fits perfectly in this type of offense. These draft picks should make the Packers a significantly better team this season.
5. St. Louis Rams. 1 (8) – Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia; 1 (29) – Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia; 3 (71) – T.J. McDonald, S, Southern California; 3 (92) – Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia; 4 (113) – Barrett Jones, OC/OG, Alabama; 5 (149) – Brandon McGee, CB, Miami; 5 (160) – Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt.
Analysis: The Rams got Sam Bradford two electric receivers – Austin and Bailey – to complement the deep threat they drafted last year – Chris Givens. St. Louis also spent a first round pick on Ogletree to fill their hole at outside linebacker. The Rams replaced Steven Jackson by trading up to draft Stacy in the fifth round, and the Rams replaced Craig Dahl by drafting T.J. McDonald in the third round. The Rams filled all of their needs, drafted five players who could start as rookies and at least two – Austin and Ogletree – who could become Pro Bowlers.