Craig: Spielman can't rest on his laurels, ask other GMs

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 26, 2013 - 7:23 AM

Numerous general managers drafting Thursday night were doing so for the first time, a sign of the high job turnover in the NFL last season.

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Rick Spielman.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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If Rick Spielman needed a reminder not to rest on his past draft-day successes, all he had to do was look at all the new faces making the decisions at the top of Thursday night’s first round.

Eight of the first 14 picks were made by the league’s seven new general managers. They’re new because the teams they work for were a combined 34-78 and 0-for-7 in playoff appearances a year ago. They’re new because their predecessors messed up way too badly on way too many draft days.

Those seven new faces mean that nearly a quarter of the league’s decisionmakers are new this year. That’s a good thing for the Vikings, who look comfortable and confident with Spielman overseeing the Vikings’ draft for the seventh time, including the past two with final say on all transactions.

In his first six drafts, Spielman used his first-rounders on rookies of the year Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin, a rookie Pro Bowl tackle in Matt Kalil, a 16-game rookie starter at safety in Harrison Smith and trade bait to land multiple All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen.

Spielman also used Day 3 picks (fourth round or lower) to land five starters – Brian Robison, John Sullivan, Brandon Fusco, Jamarca Sanford and Letroy Guion – a rising star in Everson Griffen and an All-Pro kicker in Blair Walsh.

Thursday night, he filled not one, not two, but three needs with first rounders. No. 23 pick Sharrif Floyd will play nose tackle this year and then replace Kevin Williams, the last Vikings’ defensive tackle taken in the first round back in 2003.

No. 25 pick Xavier Rhodes gives the Vikings a pair of 6-2 starting cornerbacks, along with Chris Cook, to combat the NFC North’s giant receivers. And No. 29 pick Cordarrelle Patterson fills a huge need at receiver, which was obvious by how much the Vikings paid (picks in the second, third, fourth and seventh rounds) to New England to trade back into the first round to get him.

– would be more than happy to do as well as Spielman has on draft day.

The new guys owned the first (Chiefs), second (Jaguars), sixth (Browns), seventh (Cardinals), ninth (Jets), 11th (Chargers), 13th (Jets) and 14th (Panthers) picks.

Four played it safe with offensive linemen in what was considered a meat-and-potatoes draft. Also taken were two powerful, mobile defensive tackles, a pass-rushing 3-4 outside linebacker and the top cornerback.

Here’s who the new guys took in Round 1:

Chiefs: Dorsey. No. 1 overall: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan.

Dorsey gave himself leverage to trade disgruntled franchise player Branden Albert when he went with a predictable position, but a surprise player. Fisher was considered more of a risk because he came from a smaller school than Luke Joeckel, the consensus No. 1 projection from Texas A&M.

Jaguars: Caldwell. No. 2: Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

Jacksonville had the fewest sacks in the league (20) a year ago. But rather than take Oregon pass rusher Dion Jordan, they went the safer route with Joeckel.

Browns: Lombardi. No. 6: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU.

Cardinals: Keim. No. 7: Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina

Jets: Idzik. Nos. 9 and 13: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama; Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri.

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Kansas City - LP: B. Chen 1 FINAL
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 5
Cincinnati - WP: T. Cingrani 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: B. Cumpton 1
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Quintana 4 FINAL
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 7
St. Louis - LP: L. Lynn 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: B. Colon 4
Minnesota - WP: R. Nolasco 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: E. Bedard 7
Arizona - WP: M. Bolsinger 5 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 2
San Diego - WP: A. Torres 4 FINAL
Washington - LP: C. Stammen 3
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 11 FINAL
Toronto - LP: B. Cecil 4
NY Yankees - WP: C. Sabathia 14 FINAL
Boston - LP: F. Doubront 5
Oakland - WP: S. Kazmir 10 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 1
Philadelphia - WP: M. Adams 7 FINAL
Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 3
Indiana 85 FINAL
Atlanta 98
Oklahoma City 95 FINAL
Memphis 98
LA Clippers 98 FINAL
Golden State 96
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 2
Colorado 1 FINAL
Minnesota 2
San Jose 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 6
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13

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