NFL Draft 2011 Results: 6 Teams That Improved on Day 1
With Day 1 of the 2011 NFL Draft in the books, there is a lot to review.
Players like Da'Quan Bowers and Andy Dalton are still on the board, even though both have been projected as top-10 picks at some point.
Jake Locker and Christian Ponder were likely the two biggest surprises, as Locker went off the board ahead of Blaine Gabbert and Ponder was selected No. 12.
There is still a lot of talent on the board, and there is likely going to be a lot of activity early on tomorrow evening. It will be curious to see where Bowers is selected and how Justin Houston and Marcus Cannon fare after apparently failing drug tests at the combine.
Some teams got significantly better with the first round of Thursday's draft, but did they have to draft a QB to do so?
6. New York Giants
New York Giants Select CB Prince Amukamara at No. 19
Amukamara was once seen as a top-10 pick; however, his stock fell as the draft neared due to concerns about how well his game would adapt to the NFL game.
He constantly uses a bump five-to-10 yards down field to help him gain an edge on WRs, something that he will not be able to get away with at the NFL level. However, he should be able to adapt his game and should help the Giants secondary next season.
Giants fans are still having nightmares about their fourth-quarter collapse against the Philadelphia Eagles last season, and the Giants will be hoping that Amukamara can come in and help limit the Eagles passing attack.
5. Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens Select Colorado CB Jimmy Smith at No. 27
The Baltimore Ravens appeared to be a little confused when they forgot to pick at No. 26. They were apparently working out a deal to trade down with the Chicago Bears, as the Bears were concerned about the Kansas City Chiefs selecting OT Gabe Carimi.
However, the deal was not finalized before the timer ran out, and the Chiefs ran up to select WR Jonathan Baldwin. The Ravens then decided to rush their pick in to be sure they were not jumped over again.
The Ravens decided the former Colorado star CB with their first-round pick. Smith has top-10 talent, but concerns over his character forced him down to the bottom of the first round. He is a big, physical corner that has all the tools to be successful in the NFL.
The Ravens needed a lot of help in the secondary following their playoff collapse against Ben Roethlisberger, and this could be the first step to finally beating the Steelers in the playoffs.
This was also an ideal scenario for Smith, as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed should be able to take him under their wings and prevent him from getting into too much trouble off the field.
4. Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons Trade Up To No. 6 To Select Alabama WR Julio Jones
The Atlanta Falcons had their hearts set on bringing in a playmaking WR in this draft, and they came through early in the draft.
The Falcons traded the house to move up and select Julio Jones to play opposite of Roddy White. The Falcons need some help on the defensive side of the ball, but they appear to be taking a page out of the Saints playbook.
It appears that the Falcons think they can start beating teams down on the offensive side of the ball instead of on the defensive side.
Atlanta should look to bring in some help on the defensive line through free agency and possibly add a third corner as well, but this team will look to have one of the most dominant offenses in the NFL next year.
3. Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions Select DT Nick Fairley at No. 13
The Detroit Lions now have the best defensive line in the NFL, without a doubt. Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh will pair together on the interior of the defensive line and will become a nightmare for offensive line coaches.
Fairley and Suh are both built to rush the passer from the DT position, and it will be extremely difficult for opposing teams to slow down both of them at the same time.
With Kyle Vanden Bosch wreaking havoc from the DE position, teams are going to have to keep extra blockers in to protect against the Lions pass rush. If the Lions bring back Cliff Avril, they are going to be a very, very scary defense.
The best way to hide a poor secondary is to have a ferocious pass rush—the Lions now have that.
2. Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns Trade Down With Falcons, Then Trade Up for Phil Taylor at No. 21
Phil Taylor was a solid selection for the Cleveland Browns, as they felt that they needed to address their defensive line after letting Shaun Rogers walk earlier this offseason.
However, the big news for Browns fans was the trade with the Atlanta Falcons. While the Falcons picked up one of the best offensive players in the draft, the Browns picked up four additional picks, including an additional first-rounder next season.
The Browns realize they are a few years away and are looking to add as many young pieces around Peyton Hillis and Colt McCoy as possible. This trade gives the Browns the chance to add an impact WR in the second round, and they could still land a big-time pass rusher if Brooks Reed or Da'Quan Bowers falls to them at No. 37.
The city of Cleveland should be resting easy tonight, as it appears the "Dog Pound" is in good hands with Mike Holmgren.
1. New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints Select DE Cameron Jordan No. 24, Mark Ingram No. 28
The New Orleans Saints hit the jackpot on Thursday night as they filled two of their biggest needs. The Saints were looking to bring in a DE/DT hybrid player in this draft, and they were able to with their first pick.
At one point, it appeared that Jordan may actually crack the top 10; however, he fell to the Saints at No. 24 and Gregg Williams got the playmaker on the defensive line that they desperately needed.
The Saints also addressed their biggest need on the offensive side of the ball by bringing in former Heisman Trophy-winner Mark Ingram. The Saints rushing attack struggled last season when Pierre Thomas was out, and Reggie Bush has never been an every-down threat.
Ingram should be able to step in and make the Saints offense that much more dynamic and explosive. He was an absolute steal for the Saints at No. 28, even though they had to give up two picks, including a first next year, to land him.
Both of these players should be able to step in and start immediately and both provide major positions of need.
So far, the Saints get an A+ for this year's draft.
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