NFL Prospect Draft Depth May Create More Second Round Trades

Michael TierneyAnalyst IApril 2, 2011

 2011 NFL Draft Player Position Depth

Top tier 4-3 defensive ends will be there in the second round—so will cornerbacks, defensive tackles, and offensive tackles.

Teams needing a top-tier true nose tackle in the second round will be out of luck.

Good luck finding a top-tier center, safety, or 4-3 outside linebacker in the second round as well. They won’t be there.

Most analysts agree that 2011 is not a bumper crop of top-ten players.

But many will also say that the drop off from the first to the second round is not as severe.

That depends on the Team's needs though.

Some needs won't be there in the second round and the larger disparity comes after the second round.

A pick at 16 is more likely to have a somewhat equivalent value to a pick at 33 this year.

Every round is important in the NFL draft; however, each successive round lands each team a player who NFL life becomes shorter with the greater number of his overall pick.

Quality drops more sharply after pick 64.

Player position depth becomes important in the second round after teams capture their top pick and look to address team needs.

Players picked in the top half of the first round may not always address team needs.

They could be one of the top players available that just could not be left on the board.

Picks one through 16 also might address team needs that are not the most urgent such as taking a top player for a team’s second or third most urgent need.

Will Your Team Trade their Second Round Pick? (49ers Example):

After teams complete the first round picking the expected top 32 players, things will begin to get interesting. A team like the San Francisco 49ers will probably have top rated Patrick Peterson fall into their first round pick at number seven. Cornerback isn’t the 49ers greatest need, quarterback is. But Peterson does fill a serious need.

The fun comes in the second round. Will the 49ers go after a quarterback?

With Blaine Gabbert-through-Ryan Mallet probably gone, and Andy Dalton/Colin Kaepernick not worth the 45th pick, they may look to a tertiary need at 3-4 outside linebacker.

But if Von Miller-through-Brooks Reed are already assigned, they may opt to slide 10-to-15 spots to pick up Jabaal Sheard closer where he is actually valued (between pick 65 and 85). Dontay Moch/Chris Carter/Sam Acho will most likely go in the third round.

Another option for the 49ers would be to look at nose tackle needs; however, true nose tackles Phil Taylor and Stephen Paea will be off the board and Kendrick Ellis, the next best nose tackle, is a third rounder. Christian Ballard or Jurrell Casey may be an option here since they are second-round players, but they are more of a DE/DT and might not fit Vic Fangio's scheme.

The answer for the 49ers may be to look at doubling up on cornerbacks. Brandon Harris and Aaron Williams will be off the board by then and it becomes a question of taking a chance on Ras-I Dowling before Oakland picks him.

The result for the 49ers may be to slide for CB Johnny Patrick, 3-4 OLB Jabaal Sheard, or QB Colin Kaepernick. Perhaps defensive tackles Christian Ballard or Jurrell Casey could be project as nose tackles, but that projection would also call for the 49ers to slide a bit for that reach.

Many Teams are in a Similar Situation 

This is the same story for many teams in the second round. There could be a significant amount of horse trading going on in the second round of this year’s NFL draft. Expect to yawn for the first round on Thursday night (April 28th), followed by “Fun Friday” the following night. This could be the year when you need your accountant by your side just to keep track of the draft. Will the team you follow trade in the second round?

That is a tough question (unless you work in your team's front office). But you do probably have a pretty good idea who your team will choose in the first round. How about the second round? And will he be available? To give you an idea of the quality of depth at each position, here is a list:

Decided Depth

4-3 Defensive End (Eleven Top-64 Players)

Defensive Tackle (Ten Top-64 Players)

Cornerbacks (Nine Top-64 Players)

Offensive Tackle (Nine Top-64 Players)

Decent Depth

Wide Receiver (Eight Top-64 Players)

3-4 Defensive End (Eight Top-64 Players)

3-4 Outside Linebackers (Seven Top-64 Players)

Deficient Depth

Quarterback (Six Top-64 Players)

Nose Tackle (Five Top 64-Players)

Running Back (Five Top-64 Players)

Tight End (Four Top 64-Players)

Offensive Guard (Four Top-64 Players)

Dreadful Depth

Offensive Center (Two Top-64 Players)

4-3 Outside Linebackers (Two Top-64 Players)

Inside Linebackers (Two Top-64 Players)

Safeties (Two Top-64 Players)

If you are wondering which players at each position might capture a top-64 player positions, they are listed below by position:

Top-64 Quarterback Depth (6):

Blaine Gabbert

Jake Locker

Cam Newton

Christian Ponder

Ryan Mallett

Colin Kaepernick (very late second round)

Top-64 Running Back Depth (5):

Mark Ingram

Mikel LeShoure

Ryan Williams

DeMarco Murray

Daniel Thomas (very late second round)

Top-64 Wide Receiver Depth (8):

A.J. Green

Julio Jones

Torrey Smith

Leonard Hankerson

Randall Cobb

Jerrel Jernigan

Jon Baldwin

Titus Young (very late second round)

Top-64 Tight End Depth (4):

Kyle Rudolph

Luke Stocker

Lance Kendricks (very late second round)

Jordan Cameron (very late second round)

Top-64 Offensive Tackle Depth (9):

Tyron Smith

Anthony Castonzo

Gabe Carimi

Derek Sherrod

Nate Solder

Marcus Cannon

Orlando Franklin

Joseph Barksdale

James Carpenter (very late second round)

Top-64 Offensive Guard Depth (4):

Mike Pouncey

Danny Watkins

Benjamin Ijalana

Clint Boling (very late second round)

Top-64 Offensive Center Depth (2):

Rodney Hudson

Stefen Wisniewski

Top-64 Nose Tackle Depth (5):

Marcell Dareus

Phil Taylor

Stephen Paea

Kenrick Ellis (very late second round)

Jerrell Powe (very late second round)

Top-64 Defensive Tackle Depth (10):

Marcell Dareus

Nick Fairley

Muhammad Wilkerson

Phil Taylor

Corey Liuget

Marvin Austin

Stephen Paea

Kenrick Ellis

Drake Nevis

Jurrell Casey (very late second round)

Top-64 3-4 Defensive End Depth (8):

Marcell Dareus

Nick Fairley

J.J. Watt

Cameron Jordan

Muhammad Wilkerson

Cameron Heyward

Christian Ballard

Allen Bailey (very late second round)

Top-64 4-3 Defensive End Depth (11):

Robert Quinn

Da'Quan Bowers

Aldon Smith

J.J. Watt

Cameron Jordan

Ryan Kerrigan

Adrian Clayborn

Justin Houston

Brooks Reed

Jabaal Sheard

Allen Bailey (very late second round)

Top-64 3-4 Outside Linebacker Depth (7):

Von Miller

Robert Quinn

Aldon Smith

Akeem Ayers

Jabaal Sheard

Brooks Reed

Sam Acho (very late second round)

Top-64 4-3 Outside Linebacker Depth (2):

Akeem Ayers

Bruce Carter

Top-64 Inside Linebacker Depth (2):

Martez Wilson

Quan Sturdivant (very late second round)

Top-64 Cornerback Depth (9):

Patrick Peterson

Prince Amukamara

Jimmy Smith

Ras-I Dowling

Aaron Williams

Brandon Harris

Davon House

Curtis Brown

Brandon Burton (very late second round)

Top-64 Safety Depth (2):

Rahim Moore

Quinton Carter (very late second round)

With less than four weeks left before the 2011 NFL Draft, trying to guess which teams will trade their picks presents too many possible permutations to ponder. But it is the bifurcations that come from these possible trades that will make the draft interesting.


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