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Draft was light on glamour, heavy on intrigue

Sunday - 4/28/2013, 7:16pm  ET

Kansas City Chiefs No. 1 draft pick Eric Fisher, an offensive lineman from Central Michigan, poses with coach Andy Reid, right, and owner Clark Hunt, left, during an NFL football news conference Friday, April 26, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo. Fisher was the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft on Thursday. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer

Minnesota went all in with three first-round picks.

Super Bowl champion Baltimore went for replacements for Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.

The New York Jets added to their quarterback uncertainty by taking Geno Smith in the second round.

Teams loaded up on linemen, making the big and beefy guys this year's stars.

The 2013 NFL draft was light on glamour at the skill positions, but heavy on intrigue (when would Manti Te'o go?) and burly bodies able to either get after or protect all those pricey passers.

Denver Broncos boss John Elway called the draft "deep in the trenches.

"It wasn't sexy, but there were a lot of good football players in this draft, he said. "It was deep in the other-than-glitzy positions."

The first round included 18 linemen, one quarterback and, for the first time since 1963, no running backs.

"That's a lot of love for the big boys up front, which we usually don't get," said No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher, an offensive tackle from Central Michigan taken by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Here's a breakdown:

VALIANT VIKINGS

Nobody made more noise in this year's draft than the Vikings.

Coming of a surprising run to the playoffs spearheaded by MVP Adrian Peterson, they became the first team since the Rams in 2001 to have three first-round picks. They traded four selections to New England to move up and take Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson after grabbing Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes.

That's pushing all your chips into the center of the table.

"I don't think it could've worked out any better for the caliber of players we got coming into our program," Vikings GM Rick Spielman said after addressing three of his four major needs in a dizzying 30-minute span. "I'm very excited."

When the Vikings finally got back on the clock Saturday, Spielman addressed his other big need by grabbing Penn State linebackers Gerald Hodges in the fourth round and Michael Mauti in the seventh.

With that, Minnesota served notice that they're coming after Aaron Rodgers and everyone else in 2013.

QB CONUNDRUM

The Jets are testing out the old saying you can never have too many quarterbacks.

After Buffalo surprised nearly everyone by picking Florida State's EJ Manuel as the only QB in the first round (at No. 16), the Jets pulled off their own stunner by selecting West Virginia's Geno Smith in the second round, at No. 39.

Coach Rex Ryan's three-ring circus at QB now includes a half dozen passers. The others are Mark Sanchez, David Garrard, Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy and Matt Simms.

"I hope they're all thinking, 'Hey, I have an opportunity to go win a job,'" Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said.

Smith certainly is.

"My goal is to be a franchise quarterback," he said. "But as of now, there's lots of work to be done."

Smith put up great numbers in college but also had accuracy issues and fumbled the ball an alarming 32 times, and scouts also questioned his overall skills and leadership in some pre-draft reports.

"You know what," Smith said, "critics don't have a pick."

SUPER SELECTIONS

Will the Harbaugh brothers be making plans for another family reunion in February? Both Baltimore and San Francisco restocked for another Super Bowl run.

Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome launched a defensive makeover after Lewis retired and Reed led a free agency exodus following their title, signing with Houston. Newsome used his first four picks and six of 10 selections on defenders, beginning with safety Matt Elam and linebacker Arthur Brown, who have some huge cleats to fill.

San Francisco's 11-player haul included defensive back Eric Reid, defensive end Tank Carradine and tight end Vance McDonald, but the most intriguing pick was that of fourth-rounder Marcus Lattimore. The South Carolina running back suffered a career-threatening right knee injury last season just one year after tearing ligaments in his left knee.

San Francisco took a similar gamble several years ago when it spent a third-round selection on Frank Gore, who had suffered torn ligaments in each of his knees a year apart at the University of Miami, but has made the Pro Bowl four times and is the franchise's all-time leading rusher.

"I love the aggressive mental approach he has taken through this whole process, but we're going to slow down the aggressive physical things and make sure Marcus is 100 percent healthy before he goes out there on the field," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "If he doesn't play this year, then he doesn't play this year."

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