2011 NFL Draft Grades: Is No. 1 Pick Cam Newton a C?

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2011 NFL Draft Grades: Is No. 1 Pick Cam Newton a C?
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The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft is in the books and, moreso this year than in drafts past, nothing went as planned.

We saw four quarterbacks taken in the first round of the draft, only one of the four truly matched up with the team expected to select him.

We saw two teams trade up into the top 10 picks and give up a substantial amount to select players considered far from "mortal lock" status.

We saw one of the 2011 NFL Draft's top prospects, Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, fall all the way to pick 13, where he was chosen by a team with no considerable need at the position.

And tonight, for rounds two and three, we'll surely see even more mind-boggling draft decisions.

Before we get to that, though, we'll review the first round, pick-by-pick, and analyze which teams made good decisions, which teams made desperate decisions and what other options may have been available to teams that didn't perform quite as well as their fans had hoped.

Understanding, of course, that NFL historians will dig this article up three years from now and laugh at how incredibly premature its analysis was.

2011 NFL Draft Report Card

1. Carolina—Cam Newton, QB, Auburn..................................C
2. Denver
—Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M..................................C
3. Buffalo
—Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama...............................A
4. Cincinnati
—A.J. Green, WR, Georgia................................A
5. Arizona
—Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU.................................A
6. Atlanta
—Julio Jones, WR, Alabama...................................F
7. San Francisco—Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri.......................B-
8. Tennessee
—Jake Locker, QB, Washington.......................C-
9. Dallas
—Tyron Smith, OT, USC.........................................B+
10. Jacksonville—
Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri...................B
11. Houston
J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin...............................A+
12. Minnesota
Christian Ponder, QB, Florida St.................*
13. DetroitNick Fairley, DT, Auburn..................................A+
14. St. Louis—Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina...........A-
15. Miami—Mike Pouncey, OG/C, Florida............................B+
16. Washington—Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue.......................A


* = see related post to fully comprehend just how terrible this pick was. 

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