NFL Draft 2011: 10 Things Guaranteed in the First Round of Action
As the story-lines, arguments, and boundless analysis only begin to take shape this offseason, the 2011 NFL Draft now shows it's true colors—as in, nothing can be certain.
In a world where guarantees are few and far between (especially in America's most popular sport), there is more than enough reason for teams and fans alike to become as energized as possible for what the coming weeks hold in store.
What can be assured is this: a majority of NFL franchises are in desperate need of some insurance and talent.
Let's take a look at 10 things certain to come true in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Tennessee Will Draft a Quarterback
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In wake of Vince Young's absence, it's hard to imagine the Titans not looking for a franchise quarterback of the future. And with Jeff Fisher now out, the entire organization will (hopefully) take a turn for the better.
How can Tennessee bounce back from a dismal, forgettable 2010 season?
Well, to start, they should take a look at the plethora of quarterbacking talent ripe for the picking (pun intended) in this year's draft. Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, Arkansas' Ryan Mallet, and Auburn's Cam Newton are all qualified for the position.
Expect the new-look Titans to upgrade from the ground up.
Carolina Will Take Nick Fairley wIth the No. 1 Pick
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Since Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck opted out of his eligibility to enter the 2011 NFL Draft, the Panthers have to be thinking about enhancing their lacking defense. And that assumption would be correct.
With the No. 1 pick, Carolina's more viable option would be in taking Auburn's beastly nose tackle Nick Fairley.
Suring up the gaps on the line of scrimmage will be Fairley's No. 1 priority in 2011, and the Panthers cannot afford not to take him.
Green Bay Will Be Protective
After one of the most dominating postseason runs in NFL history, the Green Bay Packers can only be thinking one thing: repeating.
But for the Packers to succeed once more in 2011, protection of Aaron Rodgers will be of the utmost importance as he (obviously) holds the key towards Green Bay's playoff successes.
Taking an young, talented offensive lineman like Boston College's Anthony Castonzo would be the most useful draft choice the Packers could make.
Cam Newton Will Wait a While
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Okay, so this may be a bit of a stretch.
However take a look at the teams in need of direction and stability at the quarterback position that may be interested in Cam Newton's services: Washington, Arizona, Minnesota and Miami?
Doesn't sound like a solid fit for any of those teams; and once the late first-round picks roll around, it will be extremely unlikely that a playoff-caliber franchise will be in need of Newton's services.
Look for Cam to be a bit disappointed.
Tampa Bay Will Go Defensive...
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Under the guidance and leadership of their young, talented quarterback Josh Freeman, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers managed to fall just short of the postseason with a 10-6 record.
As a team on the rise, Tampa Bay will need to continue their progress towards regaining their status as one of the most tenacious defensive-minded teams in the league.
The first step of that process should be to draft a brute defensive end like Iowa's Adrian Clayborn. With great speed off the edge and a nose for the football, the Bucs will take one giant step forward to becoming the defense they've always envisioned.
...As Will Houston
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It's no surprise that Houston's embarrassing defense led to their abysmal 2010 season. A season, let it be known, that was shaping up to be the best the franchise had ever seen, mind you.
Allowing over 376 yards per game to opposing offenses won't get you anywhere—especially with Peyton Manning looming in your own division.
So, what can the Texans do? Taking Missouri's Aldon Smith would be their best bet.
St. Louis Will Take the Best Available Wide Receiver
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St. Louis's Sam Bradford set the record for the most passing yardage by a rookie quarterback, which was previously held by Peyton Manning. So, obviously, great things are in store for Bradford.
But the one key element the held Bradford back from accumulating even more yardage was the lack of talent and depth at the wide receiver position.
So in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Rams will be alert and aware of the potential talent that could help Bradford in the passing game.
Julio Jones looks to be a solid draft choice.
Von Miller Will Be the First Linebacker off the Board
Great physical abilities and high praise from scouts around the league will catapult Texas A&M's stud linebacker Von Miller into the Top 10 potential choices in the draft.
And with a multitude of teams likely interested in Miller's talents, look for the all-purpose linebacker to be taken in the Top 10, and possibly the Top Five.
Houston, Detroit, Denver, Arizona and San Fransisco could all use Miller's services.
Cincinnati Will Go Bold
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Should Georgia's luminary wideout A.J. Green fall to the Bengals at the No. 4 spot, look for Cincinnati to be quick and decisive with their draft selection.
With Chad Ochocinco, you never know what could happen. Cincinnati could potentially trade their All-Pro receiver for more young talent in the draft. And with Terrell Owens nearing the end of his illustrious career, now is the perfect time to pick up the best available offensive talent in the draft.
Next season, A.J. Green will be a Bengal—and you can count on that.
More Defensive Players Will Be Taken than Offensive Players
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In an offensive-minded NFL we live in today, teams and scouts alike will be focusing in on ways to stop the plethora of talent on the offensive side of the football. Because we all know the age-old saying "defense wins championships"—and it's true.
Both Green Bay and Pittsburgh met up in Super Bowl XLV just days ago, having maintained the two best defenses in the league.
If that's not evidence enough, then I don't know what is.
Besides that, many playmakers on the defensive side of the ball are entering this year's draft with a lack of offensive talent available.