Vikings lead the charge in a first round full of surprises

It was a draft that few found easy to figure out, and after one round of the 2013 edition of the National Football League's player selection process, there were quite a few shockers that had most observers shaking their heads.

The Minnesota Vikings became the first team since the 2001 St. Louis Rams to manage three picks in the first round -- there was their 23rd pick, the 25th pick they received from the Seattle Seahawks in the Percy Harvin trade, and the 29th pick they received in a draft-day trade with the New England Patriots. The 2001 haul for the Rams ended in a Super Bowl appearance, and the Vikings are hoping that the additions of Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes, and Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson will increase their chances to advance in the postseason. The last time the Vikings had three picks in the first round was 1967, and they grabbed defensive tackle Alan Page -- perhaps the greatest player in franchise history.

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman was actually in the middle of a press conference discussing the Floyd and Rhodes picks when he had to excuse himself to execute the trade with the Patriots. Spielman later said that Patterson's skill set made the extra work worth it.

"We had talked about potentially moving up to try to go get [Patterson on Friday] but when something came to fruition tonight while I was talking to you guys, we wanted to jump on that," Spielman later told the media. "We were very, very aggressive to go do that just because I know what he can do as a receiver. But especially what he can do as a potential punt and kickoff returner because he is magic in that area as well."

By the time the Vikings took their picks, another bit of history had been made, when the Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars took Central Michigan's Eric Fisher and Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel with the first two selections -- the first time offensive tackles were taken back-to-back with the first two picks.

"You build your foundation with players like Eric," new Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said.

It was also the first draft since 1963 in which no running back was selected, which leaves some interesting prospects for NFL teams in the second round and beyond. Alabama's Eddie Lacy, UCLA's Jonathan Franklin, and Wisconsin's Monte Ball are three names to watch.

One of the primary names to watch in the first round was that of the New York Jets, who grabbed an extra high first-round pick by way of their trade of cornerback Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Those who were thinking Rex Ryan was a lame-duck head coach and new general manager John Idzik might make a play for more playmakers to benefir quarterback Mark Sanchez were left to think again. With the ninth overall pick, the Jets took Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, and they used Tampa Bay's former 13th overall pick to take Missouri's Sheldon Richardson, one of the most dynamic penetrating defensive tackles in this draft class.

"We love what they bring to the defense -- the kind of mentality that both these young men play are the same traits we look for in all our players," Ryan said.

For their parts, Milliner and Richardson appeared supremely confident - -even claiming that they couldn't wait to get a closer look at Tom Brady.

"It's always a good challenge to go up against one of the greatest quarterbacks in our division. I'm looking forward to that," Milliner said. "Hopefully, I get my hands on a couple of his balls and take them back."

There were also a few interesting trades up top. The Miami Dolphins moved up from the 12th overall pick to third after a trade with the Oakland Raiders, and selected Oregon end/linebacker Dion Jordan. That was a flashy move, but the Raiders may have gotten the better deal when they were able to take Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden, this year's best pass defender, lower than they otherwise would have.

And the St. Louis Rams traded up from the 16th overall pick to Buffalo's eighth overall selection to move ahead of the Jets to take West Virginia speed receiver Tavon Austin. The Rams, another team with two first-round picks as part of last year's draft trade with the Washington Redskins, later took Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree with the 30th pick. That selection had belonged to the Atlanta Falcons, who moved up to the Rams' old spot at 22 to take Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant.

The Bills took that 16th pick to nab the only quarterback in the first round -- Florida State's E.J. Manuel, a move that was a surprise to just about everyone outside of the Bills' war room, Manuel, and Manuel's immediate family.

The biggest surprise in a negative sense had to belong to the Dallas Cowboys, who traded down from 18 to San Francisco's former 31st overall pick and took Wisconsin center Travis Frederick -- a player many analysts had with a second-round grade at the highest.

Frederick was among those analysts. He told Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan that he was surprised by the pick because "I thought I was a 2nd round offensive lineman ... I thought somewhere in the second round would be more of a fit for me. I truly didn't expect this."

Cowboys Chief Operating Officer, Executive Vice President, and Director of Player Personnel Stephen Jones (also known as the son of team owner Jerry Jones) later said that Dallas coveted LSU safety Eric Reid but thought the player was too rich at 18, and the extra third-round pick they acquired in the trade down was more valuable. The younger Jones later insisted that he did better than the trade value chart would imply.

And in a way, that's a balm of security on a draft day in which a lot of things seemed to change at lightning speed -- when the Cowboys are overvaluing their process and wrecking their drafts with the Joneses in charge, it's a reminder that some things never change.

What to Read Next