NFL

Tough Decisions On First-Round Picks- Part 2

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The 2013 NFL Draft class is widely regarded as one of the worst in recent memory.  There are many more busts than hits, and there are a lot of players headed into the bust direction.

With that in mind, we’re going to look at some of the tougher decisions for NFL general managers involving their players selected in the first round in 2013.

We looked at the top half of the 2013 NFL Draft and now we’re going to look at the back half.

Jarvis Jones, OLB, Pittsburgh Steelers

With the way the Steelers throw money around in free agency (like a skinny man tossing a monster truck tire), it’s highly unlikely that Jones will be part of their plans going forward.  He’s a rotational player whose option is $8.3 million.

Eric Reid, S, San Francisco 49ers

This is truly one of the tougher decisions that 49ers general manager Trent Baalke has to make. Reid had a spectacular rookie season and then tailed off significantly ever since.  If you look solely at the potential and the moderate $5.3 million price tag, you’d think that it would be more likely than not he gets picked up.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) for Reid, there’s more to the story.  He’s had multiple concussions and has contemplated retirement (along with much of the 2014 San Fran defense). The brain injuries add risk to player that had his worst season in 2015.  It’s likely very much up in the air whether or not the 49ers will exercise his option.

Justin Pugh, OG, New York Giants

When the Giants selected Pugh with the 19th overall pick, he was expected to start at tackle.  After struggling there, Pugh had a very strong season at guard and he could go back out to the right side in a pinch. Pugh is the definition of positional versatility and his option will be picked up by New York at $8.8 million.

Kyle Long, OG, Chicago Bears

Long is a mortal lock to have his option picked up by the Bears.  He’s been named to the Pro Bowl every year as a pro and they will be more than happy to pay him $8.8 million for 2017, assuming they don’t come to terms on a long-term contract extension sooner.

Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals

This is an absolute no-brainer as Eifert might be the second-best tight end in football.  His option is only $4.7 million and it will be picked up.

Desmond Trufant, CB, Atlanta Falcons

Although many haven’t noticed, Trufant has turned into a really good player on a less than stellar defense.  The Falcons couldn’t be much happier with him and they will pick up the tab on the $8 million option.

Sharrif Floyd, DT, Minnesota Vikings

Although Floyd doesn’t have monstrous stats, much of that is because he plays on the inside and sucks up blocks for everyone else to make plays.  The former Florida Gator is certainly in Minnesota’s plans and $6.7 million is a team-friendly price to keep him in purple.

Xavier Rhodes, CB, Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota ended up having three first round picks in the 2013 Draft, and they have realized some production out of the first two.  Rhodes hasn’t been the ballhawk he was a Florida State, but he’s a more than solid cornerback who the Vikes will gladly keep around for $8 million for 2017.

Datone Jones, DE, Green Bay Packers

Jones isn’t a bad football player, but he hasn’t been worthy of a first round pick.  He’s little more than a rotational guy and another example of a missed big man early in the draft by Packers personnel czar Ted Thompson.  There’s virtually no way the Packers pick up his $8 million option.

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

Hopkins is yet another example that the back part of the 2013 Draft was much better then the top part.  Nuk is one of the best receivers in the NFL and the only way the Texans don’t pick up the $7.9 million option is if they sign him to a long-term deal.

Sylvester Williams, DT, Denver Broncos

Williams is getting better each year and he will really have an opportunity to ascend in 2016 without Malik Jackson.  One can imagine that John Elway learned his very expensive free agency lesson and pick up Williams option for $6.7 million.

Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Two out of three isn’t bad in this draft.  With the Vikings striking oil on Sharrif Floyd and Xavier Rhodes, things didn’t go so well for Cordarrelle Patterson.  He’s an explosive kickoff return man, but leaves a lot to be desired as a receiver and a change of scenery would do him well.  There’s no way Minnesota will be picking up Patterson’s $7.9 million option.

Alec Ogletree, LB, Los Angeles Rams

Ogletree has been a centerpiece of the Rams defense and he’s a player that can’t be easily replaced on the street.  It is pretty much a foregone conclusion that Los Angeles picks up his $8.3 million option.

Travis Frederick, C, Dallas Cowboys

The center position is largely underrated as far as fans are concerned, but the Cowboys know that they have a great one and couldn’t imagine replacing him.  Frederick is a mortal lock to have his $8.8 million option picked up, assuming they can’t sign him long-term.

Matt Elam, S, Baltimore Ravens

The most important ability is availability and Matt Elam has been unavailable for large stretches of his career.  When he has been healthy, he hasn’t played up to a first-round level and the team signed Eric Weddle to replace him in free agency.  There’s no way Ozzie Newsome picks up Elam’s $5.6 million option.


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.