2013 was probably one of the most talented NFL draft classes we’ve had in a long time. There were a few big reaches but a lot more late round steals. Here are my 5 biggest steals of the draft in terms of: college career, pro day, combine and post combine draft stock from the 2013 NFL Draft.
5. Quinton Patton, San Francisco 49ers
College/Conference: Louisiana Tech/WAC
Highest People Thought: Late First Round
Lowest People Thought: Round 2
He Went: Round 4, Pick 31
Quinton Patton is a 2nd team All-American who led the mid major Louisiana Tech Bulldogs on a near Cinderella like season. They finishing 9-3 and he led the conference with 1392 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. Against Texas A&M, their toughest opponent he led his team very close to an upset bringing in 21 passes for 233 yards and 4 touchdowns only to come short by 2 points. Patton is the playmaking receiver the 49ers have been looking to add and will make up for the 1st round pick of AJ Jenkins in last year’s draft.
4. Bacarri Rambo, S, Washington Redskins
Highest People Thought: Round 2
Lowest People Thought: Early Round 4 (after character issues)
He Went: Round 6, Pick 23
Bacarri Rambo is an immensely talented safety who started on one of the best defenses in the SEC since his sophomore year. His junior year, he was named an AP 1st team all American and was a consensus 1st team all SEC. He got into some trouble failing drug tests which suspended him 4 games his senior season but despite that he still made 73 tackles and caused 6 turnovers (3 INTs, 3 FFs). He’s a true football player with an NFL skillset. As long as he can focus on football and stay out of trouble, he’s a long-term solution for a full time safety on the Redskins. That’s quite a haul for a 6th round pick.
3. Geno Smith, QB, New York Jets
College/Conference: West Virginia/Big 12
Highest People Thought: Top Pick
Lowest People Thought: Top 5 of Round 2
He Went: Round 2, Pick 7
Geno Smith is a great pickup who has been vastly underrated by his critics who compare him to the top QBs of last year, Luck and RG3. Last year’s quarterbacks are rarer talent than your annual top QBs. A good recently drafted QB to compare Geno Smith to is Ryan Tannehill, who went 8th overall last year. Geno’s West Virginia team basically took the spot of Tannehill’s Aggies. Geno played all the same defense and finished with the same record as Tannehill. Geno’s stats however, blow Tannehill’s out of the water. Tannehill finished 2011 with 3744 yards, 29 tds and 15 ints, which is good in it’s own regard. Geno Smith finished his season playing against the same style and caliber defenses with 4198 yards, 42 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. Geno also wowed at pro day and had a good combine like Tannehill. Geno Smith as a prospect is probably a little bit better of an NFL prospect than last year’s #8 overall pick was and the Jets got him with their 2nd round pick after adding two dynamic defensive playmakers in the first. Jets fans have a reason to get excited next season.
2. Larry Warford, G, Detroit Lions
Highest People Thought: Mid/Late Round 1
Lowest People Thought: Pre-teens of Round 2
He Went: Round 3, Pick 3
Larry Warford is a 3 time All-SEC guard who consistently dominates at the line of scrimmage. Many thought he would rise from early 2nd to the late 1st round on draft day because of all the teams looking to build their offensive line. The consensus was that Warford would be the 3rd Offensive Guard off the board. He’s a lucky grab for the Lions in round 3 who needed some depth on their offensive line and grabbed someone in the 3rd that would’ve been 1st round talent in last year’s draft.
1. Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Highest People Thought: Late Round 1
Lowest People Thought: Round 2
He Went: Round 6, Pick 19
Andre Ellington is a 2 time All-ACC running back and has led the conference’s emerging power in Clemson to the ACC championship game his junior season. In his senior season, he helped Clemson to its first 11 win season since 1981. This guy is a quick, agile runner capable of making an immediate impact on an NFL team in need of a rusher. Some people, including hall of fame San Diego Chargers running back, Ladainian Tomlinson had Ellington as their favorite running back in the draft this year. For him to fall from the 2nd round all the way to the 6th is great news for the running back hungry Cardinals who add a pair of promising rookies to their backfield this season.