NFL Draft 2011 Predictions: 6 GMs Who Will Make Draft Day Blunders
With the NFL Draft nearly upon us, many teams are hurrying to put the finishing touches on their draft boards.
Which need is more important? Which quarterback prospect has the most chance to succeed in a quarterback driven league? Are there any potential teams willing to swap position with us in the draft?
These are just three of the absurd amount of questions that general managers face heading into the weekend.
With all the variables that are factored into the potential of a prospect, it is very difficult for GMs to keep up with it all.
Sometimes, they'll make selections that on paper make sense, but can be confusing considering the talent still left on the draft board. Sometimes, they'll make selections that no one really saw coming (see: Denver Broncos select Tim Tebow in 2010).
Regardless, there are going to be a few GMs making selections that leave their team's fans scratching their hands and pondering the justifiable "why."
Here are the six most likely candidates to make questionable moves.
AJ Smith, San Diego Chargers
Watching Smith make decisions for San Diego reminds me a lot of politics. With every move he makes, roughly half of the football world agrees with it and the other half thinks he is ludicrous.
The way he has handled players/coaches such as Drew Brees, Antonio Gates, Michael Turner, and Marty Schottenheimer have made many fans question his decision-making.
The draft has been no different.
In 2007, Smith traded the Chargers' second round, third round, fifth round, and next year's third-round selection to the Bears in return for their 37th overall pick, used to select safety Eric Weddle.
In 2009, Smith used the 16th overall pick on Larry English, a DE out of Northern Illinois who they've unsuccessfully attempted to convert to OLB.
Point being, Smith is the ultimate hit-or-miss GM and that won't change in 2011.
Brian Xanders, Denver Broncos
This will be Xanders' third draft as general manager of the Denver Broncos.
So far his first-round selections include Tim Tebow, Demaryius Thomas, Robert Ayers, and Knowshon Moreno.
It's too early to say whether those selections were hits or misses, but there are already plenty of people begging for Xanders to be fired.
Xanders is a far better negotiator than he is a drafter and should probably stick to crunching numbers, but as of right now he remains the GM.
With all the holes on the Broncos defense, will he be able to make the right selection or will he once again pull a shocker and draft a player out of left field like last season?
Mike Reinfeldt, Tennessee Titans
Reinfeldt goes into the draft finding himself in a difficult situation.
Rusty Smith is currently the only quarterback on the Titans roster, and by the time Tennessee is on the clock, Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert will be long gone.
Jake Locker isn't a good enough prospect to warrant a top-10 selection. In fact, just a few weeks ago a lot of people had him falling out of the first round.
The Titans are now in rebuilding mode and in need of a quarterback.
Where does that leave them? Either they'll make the biggest reach of the draft and take Locker eighth overall, or wait until at least the second round and settle for Colin Kaepernick.
Either way, Reinfeldt is going to leave some people disappointed this year thanks to his predicament.
Billy Devaney, St Louis Rams
With the Rams having the 14th overall selection in 2011, it will be the first year Devaney hasn't had a top-2 selection since taking over as GM in 2008.
It is easy to pick a future star when you have your choice of anyone in the entire draft, but this year he'll actually have to scratch a few players off of the draft board before the Rams make it on the clock.
Chances are they'll select a defensive lineman with their selection due to the unlikeliness that Julio Jones falls to them.
There are plenty of lineman projected to go in the first round and unless they all somehow turn out to be future stars, there are going to be a couple misses in that group.
Something tells me Devaney's first journey into the mid-first round selection will be a miss that leaves Rams' fans pondering why they selected Cameron Jordan when Corey Liuget was still available.
Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys
Jerry Jones the owner is fantastic. He cares about the team and interacts with them more than any other owner in football. He is devoted to winning and expects nothing but excellence from his players, coaches, and himself.
Jerry Jones the GM is a very different story.
The man ignores character concerns and has stated that team chemistry is of no importance to him. Jones has also had a bad habit of drafting and signing the best players rather than the right players.
Many fans have called for him to step down as GM and allow someone more experienced to make the calls. However, it doesn't appear Jones to step down anytime soon.
With his 2010 first-round selection Dez Bryant already showing an abundance of off-field problems, will Jones add another questionable decision to his resume this weekend?
Al Davis, Oakland Raiders
The Raiders don't even have a pick until the mid-second round (48th overall), but leave it to Al Davis to make a selection that leaves everyone scratching their head.
The Raiders' draft day conversations have to go something like this:
Scout: We have this receiver, real big, real good hands, could probably be lethal in the red zone.
Al Davis: How fast does he run?
Scout: Sir, his game doesn't revolve around speed. He is a physical receiver with great hands. His...
Al Davis: What is his 40-time!?!
Al Davis: Blasphemy, bring me Darius Heyward-Bey.
Last year, Davis shocked everyone and made a great selection with Rolando McClain, making two solid selections two years in a row may be a bit of a stretch.