NFL Draft 2011 Results: Pick-by-Pick Grades for Blaine Gabbert and Picks 9-12

Nathaniel UyFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2011

NFL Draft 2011 Results: Pick-by-Pick Grades for Blaine Gabbert and Picks 9-12

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissoner Roger Goodell poses for a photo with Blaine Gabbert, #11 overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars, holds up a jersey during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo b
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    The 2011 NFL draft continued with even more trades. 

    Blaine Gabbert, the quarterback many believed would be the second passer to be taken in the draft, fell to No. 10. 

    But instead of going to the Washington Redskins, it was the Jacksonville Jaguars who traded up in order to add Gabbert to their roster.

    Also, the Cowboys grabbed an offensive lineman.  Houston elected to shore up their defense with a pass-rusher and the Minnesota Vikings shocked everyone by taking a quarterback that no one expected to go until much later int he draft.

    Here's an analysis and grades of those four picks.

9. Dallas Cowboys: Tyron Smith, OT, USC

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Tyron Smith, #9 overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys, on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotma
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Jerry Jones marches to the beat of his own drummer, and just because talent evaluators frown upon drafting offensive tackles in the top 10, that doesn't mean Jones will follow the rule of thumb.

    Smith is still the best tackle available and boasts great athleticism that will allow him to make an immediate impact for the 'Boys.

    Given last season's group of error-prone offensive linemen who committed costly penalties and made boneheaded mistakes, Dallas was right in addressing their needs at that position right away.

    Grade: B

10. Jacksonville Jaguars: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissoner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Blaine Gabbert, #11 overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars, holds up a jersey during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Pho
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    After years of putting their fate in David Garrard's hands, it's become abundantly clear that he's not right guy if this team wants to make the playoffs.

    It was time for the Jaguars to find their quarterback of the future.

    In Gabbert, they get a guy with prototypical size and a strong and accurate throwing arm that they can continue to develop and refine. 

    It's also an ideal situation for Gabbert, who may not be forced into playing right away.  Unlike other teams with quarterback vacancies, Gabbert can spend some time learning from the sidelines while Garrard makes the best of his last days with the Jaguars.

    Grade: B+

11. Houston Texans: J.J. Watt, DE/OLB, Wisconsin

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, poses for a photo with J.J. Watt, #11 overall pick by the Houston Texans, on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Ge
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    After owning the distinction of being one of the worst pass defenses in the league, the addition of the large and explosive Watt to the Texans' defensive line gives them an instant upgrade.

    Defense is clearly the focus for the Texans after bringing in Wade Phillips as coordinator.  In Watt, they get get a powerful athlete with elite explosion that can play the end in Phillips' 3-4 scheme.

    His addition to a line that includes former-No. 1 pick Mario Williams makes the Houston defense a lot scarier and more impressive.

    Grade: B+

12. Minnesota Vikings: Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State

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    MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 29: Quarterback  Christian Ponder #7 of the South Team passes over defensive lineman Pierre Allen #95 North Team during the fourth quarter of the Under Armour Senior Bowl on January 29, 2011 at Ladd-Pebbles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.
    Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    It was quite a stunner to see the Vikings go with Ponder this early in the draft.

    Now it all makes sense why there were rumors that they were actively trying to trade down as their turn came up on the draft boards—it's because they had Ponder on their minds.

    With no takers, they were forced to pull the trigger on a quarterback that many didn't expect to go until early in the second round and perhaps late in the first.

    Even though Ponder brings a lot of experience running a pro-style offense and other intangibles, there are still concerns over his elbow injuries.

    Grade: C-