2011 NFL Draft: 10 Players Set to Go in Round 2 with First Round Talent
During last night's exciting and admittedly quick first round, many people made questionable picks that left analysts scratching their head.
I'm mainly talking about Jake Locker ahead of Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville trading up for a quarterback to take Gabbert, and the Vikings scrambling and reaching for Ponder once Locker was off the table.
You could also point to the Seahawks questionable selection of James Carpenter, but that could actually turn out to be a great pick since Carpenter is mostly upside at this point. He has potential, but I'm not sure I would have taken him over Gabe Carimi or Derek Sherrod.
Anyways, this left several players who we either thought were going in Round 1 or were already expected to fall to Round 2; either way these players have first round grades.
So let's take a look at my top 10 players available for tonight's Round 2 action. This is not in any order whatsoever.
Justin Houston DE, Georgia
Justin Houston's stock has dropped significantly when it was revealed on Tuesday that he failed a drug test at the Combine. That doesn't change the fact that he has first round talent and was probably going to go in the first were it not for that.
Houston could actually fall all the way to the third round, and a team will have to look past that huge red flag to take him.
Akeem Ayers OLB, UCLA
Many speculated that Ayers could fall out of the first round because of so many other guys improving their stock and Ayers basically in a stand still.
He is a terrific talent that can play in both a 3-4 and a 4-3 system, and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see the Patriots make him the first pick of day two.
He shows the ability to get sideline to sideline in run support in a 4-3, but also has a knack for finding the quarterback and could make a great 3-4 rush linebacker. He is very versatile and I would be very surprised not to see him gone within the first couple picks.
Brooks Reed DE/OLB, Arizona
Brooks Reed is drawing comparison to Clay Matthews, and with his 1.59 10-yard split at the combine, why not? He is incredibly explosive off the edge and was only outshined by No. 2 overall pick Von Miller at the Senior Bowl.
Reed consistently worked college football's top lineman both in practice and during the game, and with his great combine many thought he would be taken by the Jets or the Patriots.
Kyle Rudolph TE, Notre Dame
Kyle Rudolph is easily the best tight end in this draft, and there was buzz prior to the first round last night that he could have gone, but I believe teams realized he could be had in the second round.
Still, his combination of size, speed and great hands make him first round-caliber talent. He is 6'6'', 259 lbs and has the ability to stay in and block and also be a great threat over the middle with his height and incredibly long arms.
He battled injuries in 2010 and couldn't run at the combine, so teams have stayed away from him until now.
Andy Dalton QB, TCU
With all of the quarterbacks going in the first round, it was surprising not to see a team at the top of the second round in the market for one trade back in for Andy Dalton.
Buffalo, Cincinnati, Arizona and Washington are still in the market for a quarterback, and even Seattle probably could have taken one, so it was surprising not to see Dalton picked.
He is a winner, point blank, and has good accuracy and is a smart guy. He makes good decisions and can make changes on the fly, but many question his arm strength and the fact that he played in a weak conference.
I think whoever gets him will be getting a very serviceable guy, but he will never be one of the elite.
Ryan Mallet QB, Arkansas
Ryan Mallet definitely would have been taken before some of those other quarterbacks if he didn't have character concerns and teams also worrying about his work ethic.
He has ridiculous size for the position, standing at 6'7'', and his arm strength is easily the best in the class. He can make all of the NFL throws and often fits the ball through incredibly tight windows, but again, the reason he was not selected goes back to character issues.
If he can overcome those by staying out of trouble and proving his work ethic can be up to par, he will make a team very happy for waiting to take him.
Bruce Carter OLB, North Carolina
Bruce Carter is someone who would have been a first round lock if he wasn't coming off ACL surgery. His athleticism is off the charts, and if he can recover fully from his injury he will be one of the steals of the draft, as many believe he could fall to the third round because of his injury.
I personally don't see him falling past my Giants.
Mikel LeShoure RB, Illinois
With an incredible combination of power and speed, if more teams were in the market for a running back there is no way LeShoure would have made it out of the first round.
Some actually graded LeShoure better than Ingram, but even if you didn't he was not far off the Heisman trophy winner in terms of talent.
He reminds me of Stephen Jackson in that he has a big body with great speed who can dominate between the tackles, but also occasionally take one to the house.
Marvin Austin DT, North Carolina
Marvin Austin is yet another one of those players who would have been a first round pick were it not for minor character issues. He was one of the many UNC players alleged for taking improper benefits from agents and missed the entire 2010 season because of it.
At 310 pounds, his agility and explosiveness are not matched by many. He is just below Marcell Dareus and Nick Fairley in terms of talent, and if he can overcome the character flaws he will have a great career in the NFL.
Da'Quan Bowers DE, Clemson
Da'Quan Bowers played through a knee injury last year and wracked up an incredible 16 sacks and 24 tackles per loss (that number varies based on where you find the statistic).
However, it's that same knee injury that has caused him to fall from top three pick to out of the first round completely in two short months.
His Pro Day didn't help matters because it was clear the knee was bothering him, and teams expect him to need arthroscopic surgery at some point in the near future.
However, just watching this guy's film will cause your jaw to drop. It's a big if, but if he can recover from the knee injury, he could be the next Michael Strahan.