Now that we’ve got four weeks in the books, it’s time for a check in with some of the notable picks from this year’s draft. Yes, the sample size is small, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some insights to be gleaned.
THE TOP FIVE
1. Chiefs – Eric Fisher (OT)
Usually you only notice your offensive lineman when your QB is lying on his rear after a defensive lineman just schooled one of your guys. Despite the Chiefs’ winning ways, Fisher’s struggles have gotten some attention, as he’s rated well below the rest of the line on blocking metrics. But as long as the Chiefs keep winning, I doubt the Arrowhead faithful are going to be asking too many
2. Jaguars – Luke Joeckel (OT)
Joeckel’s situation is Fisher’s inverted. While his performance has been below-average, it would be an understatement to say things have gone awry in Jacksonville. His saving grace might just be that on a team with so many holes and so many questions, it’s hard to zero in the blame on any one guy.
3. Dolphins – Dion Jordan (DE)
He hasn’t had a ton of playing time so far, but with starting DE Cameron Wake suffering a knee injury, he’s likely to get more of a role going forward. He has shown continual improvement and played a big role in the Dolphins’ Week Three win over Atlanta.
4. Eagles – Lane Johnson (OT)
He has been an effective run blocker but has had some trouble with pass protection. He was labeled as a project pick, a physical specimen that lacks experience but has an immense ceiling. As he continues to get more experience at right tackle, he should take big leaps forward.
5. Lions – Ezekiel Ansah (DE)
Talk about a wealth of talent up front. Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and Ansah… not exactly three guys you want staring you down from the other side of the line. Ansah has shown he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath, especially after a Week Three coming out party where he recorded two sacks and a forced fumble.
OTHER NOTABLE PICKS
16. Bills – E.J. Manuel (QB)
E.J. has had his ups and downs, but it’d be fair to claim that he’s a rich man’s Geno Smith or that Geno is a poor man’s E.J… you get the point. The big difference is that even when E.J. has struggled, he’s mostly managed to avoid the turnover bug, any rookie QB’s worst nightmare (see below). He looked flat last week against Baltimore, but a win’s a win, especially in Buffalo.
38. Chargers – Manti Te’o (LB)
Te’o hit the field for the first time Sunday in the Chargers’ win over the Cowboys, recording 3 tackles in the effort. He’d been out since the preseason opener with a sprained foot and many are hoping he spent his extra time meeting some living and breathing California girls.
39. Jets – Geno Smith (QB)
It’s certainly nice to take over a job from a guy who was pretty much despised by every one of your team’s fans. As per usual with the Jets, it’s been a mixed bag for Geno. He showed the ability to air it out against Buffalo and had some poise in the comeback win over Tampa. But 10 turnovers through four games is not exactly a recipe for success.
69. Cardinals – Tyrann Mathieu (FS)
Easily the steal of the draft and crazy in retrospect that he fell so far. It’s scary to think what this guy’s ceiling is when he’s already having such an immediate impact. He’s shown that he’s good in coverage, a sure tackler, and capable of forcing turnovers. The Honey Badger/Patrick Peterson combo is scary good.
Contact Pete Koehler at [email protected]