2011 NFL Draft First Round Review by: “The Better Looking Mel Kiper”

After watching a first round where unexpected picks were happening all over the board, I’m sad to say that my mock draft was a disappointment.  With the amount of trades that happened, I couldn’t have expected many of my predictions to come true, but I didn’t do as well as I had expected.  That being said, let’s get into a quick review of the good, bad and ugly trades and picks that went down on Thursday night.

Best Trade: Cleveland

Cleveland Received: Atlanta’s 2011 1st , 2nd, and 4th round picks (27, 59, 124) and 2012 1st and 4th round picks.

Atlanta Received: Cleveland’s 2011 1st round pick (6)

Cleveland is a team that needs an abundance of youthful bodies rather than one great player.  Mike Holmgren was able to pull off one of the more lopsided trades that I have seen in a while.  Atlanta wanted one of the top two wideouts in the 2011 Draft, but they gave up way too much (five valuable picks) in my opinion

Worst Trade: Atlanta

See explanation above.

Best Pick: New York Giants / Pittsburgh Steelers

With the 19th overall pick the New York Giants selected Prince Amukamara, cornerback from Nebraska.  Before the start of the draft, Amukamara was thought by many to be a lock top 10 pick, with the lowest spot he could fall being 11 to Houston.  But, surprisingly, Prince slipped all the way down to #19 where the Giants stuck to their philosophy of picking the best player available.  Last year it was Jason Pierre-Paul and this year it’s Amukamara.  Prince should be able to contribute immediately, and could wind up being an absolute steal for the G-Men.

With the 31st overall pick, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Cameron Heyward, defensive end from Ohio State.  The Pittsburgh Steelers know how to draft, and they proved it again on Thursday night.  In any other draft, Heyward may have been a top 15 selection, but the defensive line depth had Heyward slipping down the board until the Steelers grabbed one of the best 3-4 defensive ends in the draft.  A once aging front three in Pittsburgh is now looking like a young, explosive front that should cause trouble for offensive lines over the next several seasons (Ziggy Hood, Casey Hampton, Cameron Heyward).

Worst Pick: Minnesota

With the 12th overall pick the Minnesota Vikings selected Christian Ponder, quarterback from Florida State.  I’m a big advocate of the thought that teams are usually picking in the top 12-15 picks for a reason, because they have made some draft day mistakes over the years.  It’s looking to me like the Minnesota Vikings have made a draft day mistake in 2011.  To be rational, I have absolutely no idea how Christian Ponder will be as a pro.  He could come out and be the next Aaron Rodgers for all I know.  But, from the tape that I’ve watched on Ponder, his arm isn’t that amazing and he is very inconsistent.  This isn’t an indictment of Christian Ponder, I’m attacking the Vikings.  I understand their need for a quarterback, and don’t have a problem with them drafting one, but taking Ponder at 12 was ridiculous.  Christian Ponder was thought by many to be a late first pick if he was lucky.  At least trade down just a few spots and pick up some extra picks if this is your guy.  The placement of this selection is baffling.

PATS REVIEW

I’m not going to lie to you, last night I was livid with the Pats selection of Nate Solder with the 17th overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.  I don’t have an issue with Nate Solder, I actually believe that he will turn out to be a good NFL lineman.  The issue I have is that the Pats keep ignoring their biggest need areas.  Yes, I know that I’m only an ignorant fan that knows nothing about these prospects.  The almighty Bill Belichick knows a lot more about every one of these prospects than I do.  I should have faith in the Pats because their last two drafts have been really good.  If you agree with these last three statements, stop reading now!

First, how about being critical of Belichick for a minute.  Yes, last draft was a good one, but let’s no start calling this guy the best drafter of all time.  To begin, last year the Pats selected Ted Larsen in the 6th round, and eventually released him during training camp.  Larsen then signed with Tampa Bay and started for nearly the entire season at offensive guard.  Would be have a need for an interior offensive lineman if they kept Larsen around?  Probably not.  Was 2009’s draft really all that spectacular.  With all the wheeling and dealing that the Pats did to stockpile second round picks, they used those selections on Ron Brace, Darius Butler, and Sebastian Vollmer.  Vollmer has worked out well, but Brace and Butler can’t stay on the field.  Jerod Mayo is the only player that has done anything from the 2008 draft.  Terrence Wheatley, Shawn Crable, Kevin O’Connell, Jonathan Wilhite, etc are either no longer on the team or do not contribute.  So, let’s not anoint Belichick as the all-mighty drafter before we actually take a look at his success rate.  I’m not saying that the Pats need to hit on every pick, and they probably are more successful with their picks than most teams, but they do make mistakes.

It was very, very evident last season that the Pats were desperate for a pass rusher.  Sure enough at #17, there was an abundance of talent available at the 3-4 defensive end position.  Adrian Clayborn, Cameron Jordan, Cameron Heyward, and Muhammad Wilkerson were all available.  3-4 outside linebacker Robert Quinn, who is a pass rushing stud was taken at #14.  The Pats could have easily jumped up to grab a supreme talent like Robert Quinn.  At some point in time the Pats need to address their lack of pass rushing ability and I want to see them do it sooner rather than later.

Also, let’s stop making a huge deal about stockpiling picks.  There has been excitement entering the last few drafts about the number of picks that the Pats have and how amazing of a job they did the previous draft of grabbing extra picks for the current year.  Can the Pats really be commended for stockpiling picks if they never use them?  Seriously, this was supposed to be the season that they made a huge move because Belichick’s genius got them the Raiders first round pick for Richard Seymour.  Yes, they selected at #17, but 28 got dealt for picks next season.  Sure enough, next year is going to come around and the fans will be looking for the Pats to load up on young talent, only to be disappointed when they trade those picks again.  All I’m saying is don’t accept everything the Pats do as the right move.  Let’s be critical…after all we essentially pay their salaries as fans.

Speaking of Richard Seymour, the Patriots essentially traded Richard Seymour for Nate Solder…I’m not sure I’d still make that move.

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One Response

  1. you’re an idiot, that’s why BB runs an NFL franchise and you write crap articles

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