2011 NFL Draft Results: The Biggest Reaches and Falls of the First Round

Keet BaileyCorrespondent IIApril 29, 2011

Christian Ponder is Charlie Frye 2.0.
Christian Ponder is Charlie Frye 2.0.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Let’s keep this real simple. The 2011 NFL Draft just shook us to our core, and we can’t help but break it down and talk about it. Because, really, there is just too much that hasn’t been or can’t at all be explained.

We’re talking about some ridiculous reaches, and some amazing falls from some elite prospects. If you missed any of the NFL Draft on Day One, allow us to get you updated with our Top 5 Reaches and Fallers in the first round:



Jake Locker, QB, Washington

Let’s be realistic…. Top-10 for Jake Locker? This isn’t the 2010 NFL Draft where quarterback was especially weak. While it was a weak quarterback draft, there were numerous better options for Tennessee than Locker. With that being said, Locker has great potential, but he’s going to take at least one season, if not two, to groom before he’s a legit NFL quarterback.

Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State

I know the Minnesota Vikings are in need of a quarterback, but I didn’t realize that they were this desperate. Ponder made a name for himself at Florida State, checking down to receivers, hitting his running back out of the backfield, and utilizing the screen numerous times. He’s not the answer in Minnesota, and while he’s a cerebral quarterback, his ability to throw to the sidelines as well as down the field are severely in question.

James Carpenter, OT/OG, Alabama

I have followed Alabama for quite some time now, and I see Carpenter as a slimmer Andre Smith. Carpenter is slow, and lacks the ability to play tackle in the NFL. The Seattle Seahawks may see him as a guard, which could pan out for him, but we’re talking about a guy that could have been had in the second or third round. Gabe Carimi, Derek Sherrod, Marcus Cannon, Ben Ijalana, and Rodney Hudson were on the board, and Pete Carroll reached for a project right guard.

Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

Cam Newton may be as physically gifted as they come, but to take him with the first overall selection is an extreme waste of a pick, and money. He doesn’t have the intangibles to be a great NFL quarterback, he will likely fail to read an NFL playbook, and he won’t be able to run all over defenses with his legs like he did at Auburn. The Panthers better hope for a miracle.

Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor

Don’t get me wrong… I love this guy. Watkins is a legit guard, and a top notch player. But selecting an offensive guard who is 26 years old and isn’t extremely experienced in the first round seems to be somewhat of a reach. I think Watkins would have had better value in the second round, while still making the same impact. While offensive lineman last much longer than running backs or quarterbacks, being almost 27 years old still takes away some of his shelf life in the NFL.



Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

It’s looking like the fall of Bowers has come to fruition. I didn’t believe it, and I was confident that a lineman with his potential would, at the very least, be drafted in the 20-30 range. But I was wrong. Bowers’ knee issues seem to be more serious to teams than initially expected. And while I am a proponent against drafting lineman with knee issues, I still think there was too much talent and value there for him to slip to the second round.

Aaron Williams, CB, Texas

This isn’t a huge fall, considering Williams was a fringe first round pick/second round pick at the very least. But had some of these quarterbacks like Christian Ponder and Jake Locker not been drafted so early, we could have seen a late first round flier been taken for the talented, physical cornerback/free safety.

Cameron Jordan, DE, California

There’s no real excuse I can make for the fall of Cameron Jordan. Jordan is a versatile Top-10 talent who can play at a five technique, switch to a penetrating under tackle, or a left defensive end in a 4-3 defense. Fortunately for the Saints, Jordan fell into their lap at pick 24, despite being one of the most talented and versatile defensive lineman to be a part of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

In my eyes, Mark Ingram is a Top 15 player. But running backs aren’t valued as highly anymore due to the fact that teams are finding #1 runners in the third and fourth rounds, if not later. But Ingram’s explosiveness is something that the Saints felt the need to trade their 2012 first round selection and second rounder of 2011 to come up and grab him. Look’s like Reggie Bush’s days are numbered, considering his latest Twitter post: “It’s been fun New Orleans.”

Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

My only question is how in the heck did Amukamara fall to pick 19? The Jaguars, Vikings, Texans, Rams, and Lions all passed on him. Those are teams among the league leaders in passing yards given up and touchdowns given up in the secondary. The Giants’ need for a corner isn’t huge, but they felt that passing on Amukamara was a crime and stole him with pick 19.

Don’t forget about Day Two of the 2011 NFL Draft. Hit us up at NFLSoup.com and track all the draft action with our Day Two NFL Draft Tracker and LIVE NFL Draft Chat!