2011 NFL Draft: Round One Pick by Pick Analysis

My comments on the first round of the NFL draft follow. Each selection will get one of the following four designations:

Agree – nothing more needs to be said and nothing more is written.

Can’t argue, but … – the pick makes sense, there are no negative marks for the selection, however, I might have done something different and I’ll explain what that was.

Disagree, here’s why … – I see some merit in the pick but I definitely would have done something different and I’ll explain what that was.

Mistake – most often this will be because I would have gone in a totally different direction and in my opinion the team will regret their selection in the long run. A mistake listing is not a negative mark on the player drafted. That player could have an excellent NFL career. It’s just that I feel the NFL team will regret passing on another player, or not drafting a player at a different position.

Please note that this analysis is being done pick by pick not after-the-fact so at the time of this analysis, I have no knowledge of what a team did after their selection.

1 (1) Panthers – Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
Agree with the selection.

2 (2) Broncos – Von Miller, L,B Texas A&M
Can’t argue, but Miller is most valuable in a 3-4 defense, and Denver plays a 4-3 defense, so I may have drafted Dareus.

3 (3) Bills – Marcell Dareus, DT ,Alabama
Agree with the selection.

4 (4) Bengals – A. J. Green, WR, Georgia
Can’t argue, but they better be right and get a quarterback not named Dalton in round two; after all I don’t think Cincinnati is a destination free agent quarterbacks are going to flock to.

NOTE – Dalton is an interesting case. Analysts talking to teams felt he was a definite first round pick. Analysts that study tape had him with a third or fourth round grade. He was my 8th, not even 7th rated quarterback (behind Stanzi). My current thought process is that teams floated Dalton’s name as the quarterback they were interested in to reporters so as not to reveal who they really wanted since he was not even their first choice as a fallback option. And the reporters bit. We’ll see what happens on day two.

5 (5) Cardinals – Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
Agree with the selection.

6 (6) Falcons (draft day trade with Browns) – Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
Can’t argue, but they gave up a lot to get Jones and I might have stayed put and drafted an offensive lineman or defensive end in round one and gone speed receiver in round two.

7 (7) 49ers – Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
Disagree, and this isn’t a knock on Smith, I just think if they are planning on signing and using Alex Smith at quarterback, this team will be treading water, holding steady at blah. I definitely would have drafted Gabbert.

8 (8) Titans – Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Mistake; while I like Locker to the Titans and he wasn’t going to last until their spot in round two, I have too much of a question mark regarding Locker being a top starter to, at this point, commit a major portion of a salary cap to him. He may be very good. However, having accuracy issues from the pocket is not good statement to make regarding a franchise quarterback. Normally I would say Mallett (my top rated quarterback) would have been a better roll of the dice here, but after off the field problems with Young, drafting Mallett was not going to happen. So I would drafted Fairley here and looked at Stanzi on day two, or even McElroy on day three at quarterback

9 (9) Cowboys – Tyron Smith, OT, USC
Agree with the selection.

10 (10) Jaguars (draft day trade with Redskins) – Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
Can’t argue, I like what the Jaguars did, but why didn’t Washington stay here and make the same pick?

11 (11) Texans – J. J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
Agree with the selection.

12 (12) Vikings – Christian Ponder, QB, Florida St.
Disagree, if I was going to draft a quarterback here, I would have over-drafted (based on the Kiper/McShay/Mayock draft boards) Mallett, not Ponder. Ponder should be fine, but may have a hard time living up to where he was drafted. In round two he would have been an over-achiever or a solid second round pick. At number 12 in round one, he will be expected to be a top NFL quarterback who makes multiple Pro Bowls. That I do not see.

13 (13) Lions – Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
Agree with the selection. I know I wrote that I wouldn’t comment when I agreed with a selection but have to write at least one word. Wow!

14 (14) Rams – Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
Agree with the selection. Wow part II.

15 (15) Dolphins Mike Pouncey, OC/OG, Florida
Disagree, Pouncey is needed and will be a solid player worthy of this draft slot, however, this team needs a running back badly and Ingram is the player I would have drafted here. If DeAngelo Williams becomes a free agent and the Dolphins sign him, then this would change to I agree with the selection. But at this point in time, that is a big risk.

16 (16) Redskins (draft day trade with Jaguars) – Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
Can’t argue, but I would have stayed put and drafted Gabbert. However, given the trade, I might have pulled the trigger on nose tackle Phil Taylor here over Kerrigan. However, Kerrigan is a good pick here as well.

17 (17) Patriots (From Oakland) – Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
Can’t argue, Solder fits a need, is very athletic, and has a tremendous upside. However, I might have gone defensive end Cameron Jordan here.

18 (18) Chargers – Corey Liuget, DT/DE, Illinois
D isagree; Liguet is ideal as a defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense. The Chargers plan is to move him to defensive end in their 3-4 defense. However, with Cameron Jordan, a very good 3-4 defensive end on avalable, why draft a projection when the real deal is staring you in the face. Liguet has good movement skills for a defensive tackle, but is no where near as quick as Jordan. My pick would have been Jordan.

19 (19) Giants – Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Agree with the selection.

20 (20) Buccaneers – Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
Can’t argue, and good for Clayborn who some teams had a medical red flag on. However, how bad is the red flag on Bowers that the Bucs didn’t pull the trigger on him. I don’t have that information, so it’s hard for me to say I would have gone Bowers. Where Bowers eventually goes will be a good indicator of how bad his medical report is.

21 (21) Browns (draft day trade with Chiefs) – Phil Taylor, DL, Baylor
Disagree, Taylor is a talented, big bodied defensive tackle. However, he is a perfect fit at nose tackle in a 3-4 defense and the Browns are moving to a 4-3. As a 4-3 defensive tackle I would have drafted Marvin Austin or Muhammad Wilkerson over Taylor.

22 (22) Colts – Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
Agree with the selection.

23 (23) Eagles – Danny Watkins, OG/OT, Baylor
Can’t argue, Watkins is a good player, good value here and fills a need. However, I might have been tempted to draft cornerback Jimmy Smith.

24 (24) Saints – Cameron Jordan, DE, California
Can’t argue, but what a weird first round with 3-4 players being drafted by teams playing a 4-3 defense. Jordan is the perfect 3-4 defensive end. However, he can play early downs for the Saints at end and kick inside and rush from defensive tackle in the nickel.

25 (25) Seahawks – James Carpenter, OT/OG, Alabama
Mistake, and not because Carpenter was as much of a reach as some TV talking heads indicated. However, if there was ever a team and situation that was perfect for Ryan Mallett, this was it. Especially since Carpenter was not in the top tier of offensive lineman in the draft. Mallett should have been the pick here. When he proves to be the best quarterback to come out of the draft, many teams will be kicking themselves, but none more than the Seahawks.

26 (26) Chiefs (draft day trades, from the Falcons through the Browns; and the Ravens taking too much time on the clock) – Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
Agree with the selection.

27 (27) Ravens (through taking too much time on the clock) – Jimmy Smith, Jimmy, CB, Colorado
Agree with the selection.

Note – For you conspiracy theorists; maybe someone slipped the Ravens something to solidify that no one would win the $10,000,000 pick the first round of the draft contest. After all, trades are highly unlikely to be predicted, but not impossible. But how do you predict the Ravens moving down a slot due to time running out.

28 (28) Saints (draft day trade with the Patriots) – Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Agree with the selection.

29 (29) Bears – Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
Agree with the selection.

30 (30) Jets – Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple
Agree with the selection.

31 (31) Steelers – Cam Heyward, DE, Ohio St.
Agree with the selection.

32 (32) Packers – Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi St.
Agree with the selection.

Hmmm, isn’t it interesting that I agree with the selection for the teams at the very end of round one of the draft. Think that has something to do with why they are picking there?

Jay Goldberg is lead draft analyst for http://www.900footballlinks.net.