Football Memo

Taking a look back before we jump forward

Photo utsandiego.com

Some hits, some misses.That’s the story for every draft evaluator. The good ones hit more than they miss, but that success rate certainly changes year-to-year. While other evaluators get away with saying how much they love players, but aren’t accountable when it doesn’t work out, I’ll give you my Super 32 every season. While I’m working hard and will post my 2014 Super 32 soon, let’s take a look back at my 2013 rankings. I realize one season is clearly not enough time to make a clear-cut judgment; but there are some players who’ve already shown flashes of NFL stardom, while others have gotten off to not-so-super starts.

My 2013 Pre-Draft Super 32:

  1. Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina (Cardinals): Fractured left fibula last August prevented Cooper from playing his rookie season. I still have complete confidence he is a blue-chip talent.
  2. Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri (Jets): Was named Associated Press Defensive Rookie of Year after making 77 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Looks to be a dominant force.
  3. Luke Joeckel, T, Texas A&M (Jags): Played five games, and his performance was uneven at best, before missing the remainder of the season due to an ankle injury.
  4. Keenan Allen, WR, Cal, (Chargers): Allen will never be Calvin Johnson, but he’ll consistently put up good numbers as his 71 catches and 8 TDs prove.
  5. Star Lotulelei, DT/DE, Utah (Panthers):  A solid season for the massive tackle. Notched 42 tackles and three sacks.
  6. Chance Warmack, G, Alabama (Titans): Warmack started all 16 games and seems well on his way to a long, productive career.
  7. Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU (Lions): Had a very good rookie season with eight sacks and two forced fumbles. Really needs to improve into a three-down player, as he currently isn’t much of a force against the run.
  8. D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston (Raiders): Hayden didn’t produce like I expected, making just 26 tackles and a pick before ending up in IR after just eight games.
  9. Eric Fisher, T, Central Michigan (Chiefs): Much more will be expected of Fisher, who will have to step into the left tackle role this season.
  10. Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas (Saints): Before a late-season injury, Vaccaro was playing as well at safety as anyone in the league. This is a major talent, who will be a consistent all-pro.
  11. Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia (Rams): Unreal athlete, who made his presence felt early and often against both the running and passing games, notching 118 tackles and forcing six fumbles.
  12. Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State (Niners): Missed entire season due to injury. I can’t wait to see how he fits in with the Niners.
  13. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia (Rams): Austin disappointed early on, but showed flashes of what the Rams hoped he’d be as the season progressed, notching six total TDs.
  14. Lane Johnson, T, Oklahoma (Eagles): Showed dramatic improvement after looking lost early on in the season. Johnson still has much to learn, but is athletically gifted and should, at least, become a solid starter.
  15. Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford, (Eagles): Had 36 catches and four touchdowns and benefits from playing in Chip Kelly’s wide-open system.
  16. Datone Jones, DE, UCLA (Packers): Had only 11 tackles and 3.5 sacks, but seemed to come on late in the season for the Pack. This season will tell a lot.
  17. Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon (Dolphins): The Dolphins really took things slowly with Jordan, who despite his athletic prowess, is a raw talent.
  18. Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame (Bengals): Had an average rookie campaign, tallying 39 receptions and two touchdowns.
  19. Kiko Alonso, LB, Oregon (Bills): One of my sleepers in 2013 surely didn’t disappoint as he was a tackling machine from Day 1, posting 159 tackles, four picks and two sacks.
  20. Sharriff Floyd, DT, Florida (Vikings): Just 19 tackles and 2.5 sacks in his rookie campaign, but expect those numbers to rise as much more should be asked of Floyd in 2014.
  21. Barkevious Mingo, OLB/DE, LSU (Browns): Another freakish athlete, Mingo posted five sacks and 42 tackles in a limited role. Expect a jump in year two.
  22. Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina (Bengals): My favorite back coming out, showed dynamic flashes in both the running and passing game, accounting for eight TDs and over 1,200 yards.
  23. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Mich. St. (Steelers): In my opinion, Bell was the best rookie back in 2013. Hard to find a weakness in his game. Totaled 1,259 yards and eight TDs in just 13 games.
  24. Eric Reid, S, LSU (Niners): Was a solidifying force for the Niners in 2013. He finished with 77 tackles, four picks and 11 passes defensed.
  25. Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina (Broncos): Didn’t have a tremendous impact in his rookie season, tallying just 19 tackles and two sacks.
  26. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU (Cardinals): Some guys just make plays. Mathieu is one of those guys. Before a season-ending injury, he made plays all over the field. I hope he can return to form.
  27. Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech (Bills, Colts FA): Another troubled college kid, Rogers had a few moments in his rookie season and has a wealth of potential.
  28. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama (Packers): The AP’s Offensive Rookie of the Season , is a very good all-around back. He totaled 1,429 yards and 11 touchdowns and has the benefit from playing with Aaron Rodgers.
  29. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson (Texans):  Had 52 receptions and a pair of touchdowns for Houston. More stability at the quarterback position would certainly help his production.
  30. Justin Pugh, OT/G, Syracuse (Giants): Started all 16 games and should have a long, productive career in New York.
  31. D.J. Fluker, RT, Alabama (Chargers): Fluker had a better season than Joeckel, Fisher and Johnson. If he keeps his weight in check, he should be a mainstay for the Chargers.
  32. Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Miss (Patriots): Loved this kid coming out of college. Super athlete along the lines of Ogletree. Really came on late in the season and had a great playoff run.

 Other Notable Rankings from Rookies who enjoyed solid seasons in 2013: 36. Sio Moore (Raiders); 40. Matt Elam (Ravens); 44. Kyle Long (Bears); 46. Montee Ball (Broncos); 48. Robert Woods (Bills); 50. Cordarelle Patterson (Vikings).

My biggest hits … so far: Richardson, Allen, Vaccaro, Ogletree, Alonso, Bernard, Bell, Mathieu, Collins, Moore.

I fear I’ve overrated these players: Joeckel, Hayden.

I fear I’ve underrated these players: Elam, Patterson.

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