2011 NFL Draft: Biggest Surprises from Round 1

Bobby DaleContributor IIApril 29, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: Biggest Surprises from Round 1

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses for a photo with Carolina Panthers #1 overall pick Cam Newton from Auburn during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    After the first night of picks, the NFL's first round is over.

    Through recent modifications, the NFL Draft has become more user friendly, as evidenced by the first round's speedy three and half hour finish. Perhaps this increased pace brought about some of the serious surprises we saw tonight.

    Here are the five upsets from Thursday night.

Aldon Smith 1st DE Taken

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  Aldon Smith, #7 overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Despite talented prospects like Da'Quan Bowers, Robert Quinn and J.J. Watts being on the board, the San Francisco 49ers selected Aldon Smith from the University of Missouri. While this is Harbaugh's first draft, maybe he sees something a lot of scouts did not. 

Christian Ponder Goes 12th Overall as the 4th QB Selected in the 1st Round

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Quarterback Christian Ponder of Florida State looks on during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    This move shook up the first round.

    It was so unexpected that it stunted the likelihood of a quarterback rush later in the round. Perhaps this is because Ponder was the fourth quarterback taken and we were only at the 12th pick. The lack of free agency and the sense of urgency about selecting a quarterback preceded this move, which may be a boom or a bust this early. 

James Carpenter Goes in the 1st Round to Seattle

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 16:  Marcell Dareus #57 and James Carpenter #77 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Ole Miss Rebels at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Maybe you missed this one, but judging from the war room footage, Seattle, in its failed effort to trade out of this spot, had to select someone.

    Since many experts did not have Carpenter rated higher than the second round, it's possible this pick was a random draw. Maybe in the rush and scramble the Seahawks grabbed their list of second round guys and saw Carpenter at the top of that list. That is perhaps the only explanation for a move like this.

    But maybe things will be alright, after all this kid did get to practice with Marcell Dareus everyday.

Falcons Trade Up to Draft Julio Jones 6thOverall

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Julio Jones, #6 overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Ph
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Julio Jones is a solid receiver with a pro body, but perhaps the Falcons didn't realize he might be an exact clone of Roddy White. While some people might see this as a good thing, they could be missing out on the chance to diversify their offense.

    Jones is a guy with questionable hands and doesn't play up to his timed speed. 

Da'Quan Bowers Falls out of the 1st Round

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Defensive lineman Da'Quan Bowers of Clemson looks on during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Among all the surprises, this one had to be the biggest, a guy who was once in consideration for the first overall pick, fell entirely out of the first round.

    Keep in mind he doesn't play a specialized position like QB or WR where there might be only a few elite players. He had to watch 12 defensive lineman go before him, including seven defensive ends. While his knee has to be of major concern to many teams—and likely the reason for this—his fall is equally shocking.