The 2013 NFL Draft has come and gone, and I'm sort of happy because as fun as the whole event is, the coverage leading up to it is maddening. There is enough to talk about to fill maybe a month's span. That we pick over practice reports and mock drafts for over four months is insane, especially for something that relegates all of that information useless the moment Mr. Irrelevant is announced.
Four months is also a long time to have to worry about the future of the players you actually like. It's a relief when they go someplace suited for them. To that end, Wisconsin fans should be really pleased with where Travis Frederick, Montee Ball and Ricky Wagner ended up.
Frederick's selection at No. 31 overall was met with a lot of surprise. Few if anyone (including the Cowboys) had Frederick rated as a first round prospect. That said, he should play a lot as a rookie. Current Cowboys center Phil Costa is an injury concern on top of not being very good. If the Cowboys do want to keep Costa at center, Frederick can easily slide over to guard. Taking interior offensive linemen early in the NFL Draft obviously isn't a flashy move, but historically it is one of the safest bets you can make.
The draft played out exactly how I hoped it would for Ball. He was selected at the upper end of his projections, and he gets to go to his childhood favorite. He also has a clear route to playing time in Denver. Willis McGahee can't handle a full rushing load at his age, and Knowshon Moreno is approaching the bust point (he averaged 3.8 YPC last year and was a healthy scratch early in the season). Ball should be the No. 2 running back on the depth chart entering the season, and become a top 10 fantasy running back by the end (maybe, hopefully, how do people predict these things anyway?).
Wagner was drafted in the fifth round, which isn't a guarantee he'll make the roster much less see the field. The Ravens need help at offensive tackle, however, and Wagner could fill in on either the right or left side. Expert-like substances agree that right tackle is where he'll likely end up, in which case he'll likely compete with 2011 third round pick Jah Reid for playing time while Michael Oher slides to left tackle. Given the Ravens' depth, it'd be a surprise if Wagner isn't on at least the two-deep when the season begins.
Kudos to the Cowboys, Broncos and Ravens for getting the three best players in the draft. Ditto goes for the five teams below. Go Jake Bscherer!
Marcus Cromartie - San Diego Chargers
Devin Smith - Dallas Cowboys
Shelton Johnson - Oakland Raiders
Jake Bscherer - Seattle Seahawks
Mike Taylor - Green Bay Packers
Barry Alvarez is trying to get LSU to play Wisconsin at Lambeau and holy hell that isn't happening but it sure would be awesome
Jeff Potrykus debates the pros and cons of the new divisions with himself
Analysis from Patrick Vint at the mothership - 2013 NFL Draft pick by conference, high school rating and state