It’s been less than 6 hours after the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft and the evaluating has already begun.
Thirty-two players were selected Thursday night and nobody knows how their careers will turn out. Nobody knows whether Patrick Peterson is the next Deion Sanders or if Cam Newton is the next JaMarcus Russel, only time will tell. Until then, we can entertain ourselves by analyzing each draft pick under a microscope and give our own opinion.
Here are my thoughts on the first round of the NFL Draft, broken up into 4 different categories:
Charlie Sheen’s Winners:
The title is self explanatory isn’t it? These teams were the winners of Day 1 and look to build onto their draft in the coming days.
Detroit Lions: Before last year it had been a while since winning and the Detroit Lions were mentioned together, but the Lions look to be putting together another solid draft. The addition of Nick Fairley to the defensive line should strike fear in all NFL quarterbacks. The Lions need to address their linebacker and cornerback issues if they want to take the next step into the playoffs.
New Orleans Saints: The Saints weren’t the same last year following their Super Bowl victory. They were struck by injuries and their defense struggled throughout the year. The Saints stole two remarkable talents in Cameron Jordan and Mark Ingram. Jordan should help provide pressure on the opposing quarterback while Ingram will have an immediate impact in the ground game.
Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens addressed one of their weaknesses from last year with the drafting of DB Jimmy Smith. Smith’s talent and athletic ability has been compared to Nnamdi Asomugha but he has off-the-field issues that made teams hesitate on drafting him earlier. The Ravens have the perfect core group of guys to make sure Smith heads in the right direction.
The Royal Wedding Group:
I understand the Royal Wedding is a big deal. Although I think it is dumb, I can understand why some people want to get up in the morning to watch it. Most girls grow up wanting to become a princess and this is the closest that you will get to that fantasy. This group is picks that I don’t quite agree with, but I understand the logic.
Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons traded everything and the kitchen sink to get up to the 6th spot in the draft. They drafted Julio Jones which gives them another stud wide receiver to play opposite Roddy White. The Falcons definitely got better on offense but is that what they needed? They could have used the draft picks they threw away to shore up their defense which was thrashed by the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs last year. I understand getting better on offense, just not sure the juice was worth the squeeze.
New England Patriots: With two picks in the first round, many expected the Patriots to address their pass rush struggles and build on a defense that was less than average last year. Instead, the Patriots drafted OT Nate Solder and traded away their other first round pick instead of drafting Mark Ingram. I know it’s not wise to disagree with the man in the hoodie, but I question whether these decisions will work out. I understand compiling draft picks, but Ingram could’ve helped them.
Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars seized the chance to draft Blaine Gabbert and traded up with the Washington Redskins to grab him. Gabbert is a highly regarded prospect but I don’t know if that’s what the Jaguars needed. David Garrard just came off one of his better seasons and the Jaguars have other holes that needed to be filled.
The Jump Over a Tennis Net Group:
This past weekend while playing tennis, I decided it would be a good idea to try to jump over a tennis net while trying to catch up to a ball that went out of bounds. At the time, it seemed like a good idea. After I failed to clear the net, ehhh not so much. This group is the picks that can make or break your franchise. You will either look like a genius by successfully hoping over the net, or look like a moron when you fall flat on your face. Good luck.
Carolina Panthers: With the first pick in the NFL Draft, the Panthers chose Cam Newton. I’ll admit, Newton is a rare talent and he could do great things in the NFL, but Newton could also be a huge bust. Adjusting to the NFL will be a huge learning process for Newton and I’m not sure he can succeed at this level.
Cleveland Browns: The Cleveland Browns had a chance to select a playmaker with the 6th pick but traded it to the Atlanta Falcons. The trade is beneficial to the Browns but only if the players they choose with those picks pan out. The move was a risky one and could burn the Browns, or it could turn the franchise around.
San Francisco 49ers: It is clear the 49ers had a massive brain freeze when they selected Alex Smith instead of Aaron Rodgers. A few years from now, will they be regretting this year’s draft as well? Instead of taking Blaine Gabbert or J.J. Watt, the 49ers chose DE Aldon Smith at 7th overall. Gabbert could’ve been their answer to a franchise quarterback. For now, the hopes of their season rest on the right arm of Alex Smith, or tanking the season to draft Andrew Luck next year.
Matt Millen’s Losers:
This name should also be self explanatory but if not, this is BAD! These are picks that Matt Millen would make if he were trying to get your franchise to become the second team to go 0-16. Beware.
Tennessee Titans: The Titans drafting Jake Locker 8th overall was your first “WOW!” of the NFL Draft. After parting ways with Vince Young, it was obvious the Titans needed another franchise QB. Taking Locker at 8 was a stretch and it could backfire on the Titans.
Minnesota Vikings: Your second “WOW!” of the draft come only 4 picks after the first when the Vikings selected QB Christian Ponder 12th overall. Many experts gave Ponder a second round grade but the Vikings obviously felt extremely confident with him. With the talent still on the board at 12, Ponder needs to turn out to be an excellent franchise quarterback for the Vikings to avoid criticism.
Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks offensive line is poor and the fact that they won a playoff game last year is a mini-miracle in itself. This team has a ton of needs and drafting OG James Carpenter fills one of those needs. The problem is, Carpenter didn’t need to be drafted there. Carpenter received a grade of 85 by ESPN, the lowest of any of first round draft pick. There were other viable options for the Seahawks who look to be headed for another subpar season.
Tomorrow should be another exciting day of the NFL Draft as rounds 2-3 will completed starting at 6 p.m. It shall be interesting to see who teams pick after having time to discuss the results of the first round. Good luck to all of your favorite teams. Click here for full NFL Draft coverage and results.