The second half of the 2013 NFL Draft is when its defensive depth will become really apparent. This year’s proceedings are shockingly lacking when it comes to skill position players, but it is deep with defensive ends, defensive tackles and, to a lesser degree, interesting offensive line players.
While some fans may be frustrated about the fact that they won’t be able to land a wide receiver for their young quarterback, or a fancy speedy running back, or a big name passer to replace the guy currently at the helm of their franchise, ultimately this is for the best. Defense is how you build successful franchises, and the fact that there are so many quality defensive players available this year is actually great for the league.
And if it makes anyone feel better, we do have one surprise quarterback making an appearance in the 20ish range. It will shock you at first, however, it will probably make sense when you chew on it for a bit.
As always, a few maintenance issues we should get out of the way: 1. The draft order was determined by ESPN’s most recent power rankings. Obviously things will change as the season progresses, but that is the structure we opted to use for now. 2. We didn’t hold anyone’s performances from this weekend against them. (These guys have long résumés, there is no need to pick and choose individual outings.) 3. We weighed team needs over best player available whenever it was clear that a team had a really glaring hole. In the case of teams that didn’t have particularly glaring holes, we emphasized best player available.
With all that in mind, here are picks Nos. 16-23.