NFL Draft: The Top Five Safest Picks

Ty HodgesContributor IApril 12, 2011

NFL Draft: The Top Five Safest Picks

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    There is a lot of talk about the NFL labor negotiations in the news, in case you haven't noticed.  This certainly worries the NFL fan, casual or hardcore. However, despite all of this, there will still be an NFL Draft (no matter how odd it seems).

    If your team is known for taking risky picks in the first round, it will likely avoid these five players that I am about to list.

    These are the five safest picks in the upcoming 2011 NFL Draft.

#5 Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

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    Simply put, this guy is a hoss. 

    Standing at 6'7" and weighing in at 314 lbs. at the NFL Draft Combine, this is a pure-bred offensive tackle.  Carimi has great footwork for a big man and simply does not let defenders by him. 

    Carimi is the most highly-touted of all of Wisconsin's offensive linemen from the 2010-2011 campaign, which is very impressive considering how dominant and stout that line was. 

    The only flaw with Carimi is that he might be a little underweight for that position. The average NFL offensive lineman weights 323 lbs. When I say a little underweight, I really mean a little underweight. He misses the average weight by the slightest of margins. 

    Carimi makes up for his "lack" of size with his strength. Carimi pulled a solid 29 reps at the bench press at the NFL Draft Combine.

    If you need an offensive tackle, Carimi is your guy this year.

#4 Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

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    This is one of those times when the NFL Draft Combine can be very deceiving. Ingram's numbers weren't flashy or even good at the Combine.

    He ran a 4.62 40-yard dash, had a 31.5-inch vertical jump and had a running back group-worst 4.62 in the 20-yard shuttle.

    To this I say: irrelevant. 

    Ingram has proven himself at Alabama, and more specifically the SEC. In two years, Ingram has won a Heisman trophy and a BCS Championship. 

    Playing efficiently in the SEC shows more than any scouting combine could. Ingram has a great football IQ and can read the defenses like a book. He sees holes cleanly and moves through them with ease. Ingram is one of two running backs who deserves to potentially be taken in the first round.

#3 Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

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    Another Alabama player?  Yes, I know, but these are legit players here.

    Julio Jones is a beast of a stud of a man (the likes that you would only find in an Old Spice commercial). 

    Jones ran a 4.34 at the NFL Draft Combine (second-fastest among all participants) and jumped an insane 135 inches in the broad jump. 

    Jones has not only the physical tools needed to be an elite talent in the NFL, but he also has the hands and football IQ to do it. Jones is as strong as he is fast, and quite smart to boot. 

    Jones knows how to run his routes and is very crisp when he cuts. All of these skills added together make for a damn good wide receiver.

#2 Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

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    Patrick Peterson can do it all. Whether it be coverage or returning, Peterson is the man for the job.

    Peterson is blazing fast (4.31 40-yard dash fast). Peterson also has a 38-inch vertical. Combine that speed and jumping ability, and you have a perfect coverage corner. 

    If needed, though, Peterson has proven himself as a brilliant and masterful kick returner. Say what you will about any other player in this draft, Peterson might have the best resume of any of them (including Cam Newton).

    Also, keep in mind that Peterson was a shutdown corner in the SEC, the hotbed of great college talent. Being elite in the SEC proves something in a big way.

#1 Von Miller, OLB, Texas AM

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    The safest pick in the 2011 NFL Draft is none other than Von Miller out of Texas A&M.

    Miller has everything you could ask from a linebacker: Speed, strength and great instincts.

    Miller ran a 4.42 40-yard dash at the NFL Draft Combine, so you know he has the speed. He bench-pressed 215 lbs. 21 times and showed a broad jump of 126 inches, so you know he has the strength.  And if you want to know about his instincts, watch the video posted, that will show you all you need to know.

    Sure, you can thumb your way through the pages and pages of numbers and stats on Miller, but until you actually watch him, you can't get an appreciation for how talented he is.

    As the only true elite outside linebacker in this draft, that makes him a hot commodity. To raise his stock even more, Miller is very intellectual and articulate. A lot of defensive players get the rep of being slower or dumb—not this kid.

    Miller is one of those rare players that can come in on defense and contribute immediately. As a great pass rusher and pass defender, Miller is a brilliant specimen at the outside linebacker position.

    That's why he's earned my pick as the safest choice in the 2011 NFL Draft.