Rick Snider: Choosing an elite QB makes it a good draft

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,Rick Snider
The draft was classic NFL parity.

Eight teams did well, eight fared poorly and 16 were average. Sounds like a typical season.

Washington, Baltimore, Green Bay, Dallas, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Minnesota and Philadelphia fared the best over the three-day draft. The tough part for Washington was that two of its division rivals and neighboring Baltimore also excelled, so the Redskins didn't separate themselves from some key teams.

Top quarterbacks make a draft, so Washington and Indianapolis both overachieved. Robert Griffin III lured nearly 20,000 to FedEx Field just to get a first look at him Saturday, so optimism is definitely back for a team that was losing its longtime fan base. Why, those 74,000 seats this fall may be filled mostly with Redskins fans -- at least until the late-season division games.

Otherwise, Washington managed to find some needed offensive line depth, curiously chose a second quarterback and took some special teamers. It was a lukewarm draft other than Griffin, but one big hit can carry the draft.

The same goes for Indianapolis, which took quarterback Andrew Luck first overall. The Colts picked a couple of tight ends and a nice receiver in T.Y. Hilton to put some oomph in the passing game, but it's all about Luck.

Dallas managed to have one of the top drafts by trading up for cornerback Morris Claiborne. Boise State defensive end Tyrone Crawford will contribute well, too.

Baltimore always drafts smartly and managed to trade out of the first round and still get Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw and Iowa State guard Kelechi Osemele. Both will play this season.

Philadelphia always drafts well. The Eagles found three contributors in Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox in the first and California linebacker Mychal Kendricks and Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry in the second. The Eagles will rebound and reach the playoffs this season.

Buffalo waited until the second round to take a tackle in Georgia's Cordy Glenn after selecting South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore in the first. Buffalo is getting so close to a wild-card spot.

Minnesota played a smart game, leveraging the third overall choice to trade down, gain picks and still get desired left tackle Matt Kalil. Overall, the Vikings found a handful of players who should help them rebuild.

Strangely absent from the top grades is St. Louis. The Rams chose 10 players, including three second-rounders, but opted for bulk instead of breakout players after two trades. LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers seemed like a reach at 14th, but Appalachian State receiver Brian Quick, a second-round pick, is one to watch.

Jacksonville, Chicago, Denver, the New York Jets, Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Carolina and Kansas City were the big losers in the draft. What were the Jaguars thinking when they took a punter in the third round who wasn't on many teams' boards?

Not all teams play the draft game well. It usually reflects in their fall finishes.

Examiner columnist Rick Snider has covered local sports since 1978. Read more on Twitter @Snide_Remarks or email rsnider@washingtonexaminer.com.

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