Battle of the AFC North Semi-Finale: Assessing the 2013 7th Round Draft Picks and UDFAs

via Steelers.com

Two weeks ago I started a series revisiting the 2013 draft for the Steelers. You can read about the first-round picks here, the second-round picks here,  and the third and fourth round picks here. The 5th and 6th round picks are here:

Let’s get right to the players. I’m going to list the seventh round draft picks here and deal with the undrafted free agents later.

The Picks and the Pundits:

Cleveland Browns: Pick No. 217, Armonty Bryant, DE; Pick No. 227, Garrett Gilkey, G

Pittsburgh Steelers: Pick No. 223, Nicolas Williams, DT

Cincinnati Bengals: Pick No. 240*, Reid Fragel, OT; Pick No. 251*, T. J. Johnson, C

Baltimore Ravens: Pick No. 238, Aaron Mellette, WR; Pick No. 247*, Marc Anthony, CB

*Compensatory selection

Trades:

The Browns yet again complicate the picture. First, there’s the third round deal: shortly after picking Leon McFadden in the third round they traded with the Miami Dolphins to get WR Davone Bess. In exchange they gave up their fourth and fifth round picks, got Miami’s fourth round and seventh round picks, and of course Bess. With the seventh round pick they took DE Armonty Bryant.

Although it’s pretty hard to follow, I think in effect they traded a fourth round pick for a seventh round pick and Bess, who will be evaluated with this group.

As to what happened to the 2014 pick, it’s actually more complicated than this, but basically  they used it to move up four spots in the first round. They then drafted Johnny Manziel, also giving up a third round pick in the process.

But there’s more. They got Pick No. 164 and 227 from San Francisco in exchange for quarterback Colt McCoy and Pick No. 173. They had gotten Pick No.173 from Philadelphia, in exchange for David Sims. (They also gave the Eagles Pick No. 212.)

Oh, and Pick No. 227? That was traded to San Francisco by the Bengals, who got Taylor Mays in return. They then…oh, never mind.

Have you got that straight? Me neither.

But to return to our regularly scheduled post subject, let’s check out what the draft experts had to say. Naturally as one gets lower in the draft the pundits had less to say, so I’ll report anything the usual three had to say.

Rob Rang, CBS Sports:

Ravens:  I’m particularly high on the selection of pass-rusher John Simon in the fourth round and a couple of seventh-round selections — wide receiver Aaron Mellette and cornerback Marc Anthony.

Bengals [no comments]

Browns: Frankly, I thought the Browns got their best value in the seventh round with intriguing developmental pass rusher Armonty Bryant and Garrett Gilkey, a developmental offensive lineman who impressed me at the Senior Bowl. Adding picks for the 2014 Draft helps what otherwise I thought was one of the least impressive draft classes.

Steelers: Of their third-day picks, I’m highest on cornerback Terry Hawthorne and developmental defensive lineman Nicholas Williams.

Rang’s grades for each team: Ravens, A, Bengals A, Browns C, Steelers B+

Bucky Brooks: NFL Network:

He had no comments on any individual players after the third round.

Brooks’ grades: Ravens, B; Bengals, A; Browns, C; Steelers, A-

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: [Actually, after the first several rounds the grades are given by various staff writers.]

Ravens: A rangy receiver out of Elan, Mellette also shows dash, vivacity, and verve in his pass routes.

Marc Anthony is an athletic developmental safety, who’s feisty and works hard to shed blocks. Has battled durability issues in the past.

Bengals: It’s an aging OL corps in Cincy, and TJ will work to inject some youth.

Browns: Bryant provides a couple of refreshing changes — he’s changed up the traditional spelling of “Armanti”, and he was actually arrested for selling marijuana rather than purchasing it. Apparently he can also block some kicks. Good for Armonty.

Jealous of rival Bengals’ fans’ “Who dat try to beat those Bengals” chants, the Browns grab a TE who just makes everyone say, “Who dat?”

Steelers: [Nick] Williams is a small-school project, but he has the kind of size that could allow him to fill a role as a 3-4 DE.

Prisco’s grades: Ravens, B; Bengals, A; Browns, C; Steelers, B-

The Actual Numbers

Part of the value of your draft picks is just being on the field. But it will become increasingly uncommon for most of the players to make it to the field any substantial amount as we get into the lower rounds, save for exceptional cases, or with special teams.

Therefore I’m just going to note how many, if any game snaps were played and the Pro Football Focus rating for said. Since special teams are going to comprise the bulk of a lot of these players’ work, I’ll also list how many games they played special teams and what they were rated. Naturally it will become more common to see players end up on the practice squad or be cut altogether, and this will be noted as well.

Round 7 2013Round 7 2014

As you can see, the bulk of the players made little or no contributions. Here’s the story. (And “story” may be appropriate, because I’m having to infer some of the transactions.)

Ravens:

   Aaron Mellette: Possibly on the practice squad on 2013, or possibly on the roster but never dressed. He had no stats of any kind. He was cut in June of 2014.

    Marc Anthony: Cut during training camp. After being on and off various teams’ practice squads and camps, he is in camp with the Eagles.

Bengals:

    Reid Fragel: Signed to practice squad, waived and signed to Browns practice squad and waived, signed by Falcons, practice squad, currently at Tampa Bay’s camp.

    T. J. Johnson: I’m making the assumption he was on the practice squad for 2013, even though the Wiki article doesn’t designate this, as he had no snaps of any kind. He saw limited game action in 2014 on the active roster.

Browns:

    Armonty Bryant: made the roster and is still on the team, both as a special teams player and defensive end.

    Garrett Gilkey: Played for one year, was cut and picked up by Tampa Bay. He is still on the roster.

Steelers:

    Nicolas Williams was an intriguing player, but very undeveloped, and the Steelers liked what they saw enough to place him on IR when he was injured in 2013. the Chiefs picked him up in 2014 and he is on the active roster.

Ironically, the only 7th rounders in the class to help the team which drafted them was the Browns—both 7th round picks panned out. Most of the other players are either benefitting another team or out of football.

All of the teams signed at least a dozen undrafted free agents. The Browns signed 18 of them—presumably because their draft class overall was so small. Since there are so many players to look at, I made the decision to not include a UDFA in the discussion unless they made the team’s roster at least once, for a reasonable period of time. A lot of the guys spent time on practice squads, either the team drafting them or another, and of course this is some value, but the whole thing just gets too unwieldy.

Of the UDFAs who made my cut, some number of them are actually on someone else’s roster, so this will be mentioned, but I otherwise won’t delve into their stats. There are a surprising number of them who are at someone’s camp this summer, but again unless they were ever on an active roster I’m bypassing thing.

Ultimately I’m trying to decide which team extracted the most value for themselves out of this draft, rather than approach it from a talent evaluation standpoint. Here are the charts:

UDFA 2013UDFAs 2014

Now for the guys who made it somewhere else, at least sort of, in a couple of cases:

Ravens:

Trent Steelman, WR: He is a curious story. The Ravens originally picked him up as a QB in 2013, but after minicamp he had to fulfill his commitment as a West Point graduate to enter the military. He was released from active duty late last year and is in camp as a WR.

Jordan Devey, OT: He was picked up for the New England practice squad, and was promoted to the active roster in 2014. He was traded to the 49ers a few weeks ago.

Rogers Gaines, OT: Signed by New York Giants in 2014 after spending 2013 on Bears’ practice squad.

Bengals:

The only UDFAs who pass the rules test are in the chart, although several of their UDFAs played in the CFL or Arena League for a few years.

Browns:

Caylin Hauptmann, OT: Played for the Seahawks in 2014, was on the Browns’ practice squad in 2014, and picked up by the Patriots during the 2014 season.

Justin Staples, LB: Picked up by Titans during 2014, still on roster.

Steelers:

Mike Golic, Jr.: Mainly makes it on here because of the interest factor of who his dad is. But he is actually on the Saints’ roster at the moment. He mainly played in various non-NFL leagues.

The Conclusions:

I’ll quickly address this portion of the draft class. In the seventh round there is no contest. The Browns were the only team to get anything substantial out of their picks, and both are still playing. It looks like Nicolas Williams was a decent pick who the Steelers just didn’t have the time or space to develop, especially after he was injured. The Ravens got pretty much nothing as well, the Bengals little more.

As for the UDFAs, the Ravens and the Bengals both got players who made the roster and have played a limited amount. Not particularly well, but played. The ultimate winner could turn out to be the Steelers, if they feel Chris Hubbard offers them enough to be the backup center, and continues to develop. Probably not, though.

As I contemplated assessing the class I realized it was a somewhat larger task than I first envisioned. So this will appear in the Actual Final Post, coming soon.

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