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2011 NFL Draft Grades: 5 Winners and 5 Losers from Round 1 of the Draft

Michael AkelsonCorrespondent IApril 29, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Grades: 5 Winners and 5 Losers from Round 1 of the Draft

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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

    2011 NFL Draft Grades: New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions among Winners; Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons among losers

    One of the craziest first rounds in NFL Draft history is officially in the books and it's definitely a tough one to evaluate.

    From the Falcons crazy trade for Julio Jones to the Saints steal of Mark Ingram, the draft had it's ups and downs.

    So let's take a look at five winners and five losers from day one.

Winner: New Orleans Saints

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

    Oh what a draft it was for the New Orleans Saints.

    Coming in, it seemed as if they'd have a tough time finding value while addressing a need at No.24, it turned out to be quite the opposite.

    New Orleans first got one of the best defensive line prospects and a guy who many saw as a top 10 pick in Cameron Jordan, and most Saints fans seemed happy.

    But then when the Saints made a trade with the Patriots for the rights to select Mark Ingram it capped off the first round for the biggest winner of Day 1.

    The Saints got excellent value on two great prospects and addressed a need with both picks.

    Great job.

Loser: Atlanta Falcons

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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

    I don't list the Falcons as a loser here because I think Julio Jones will be a bad NFL player, I list them as a loser because of what they did to acquire him.

    First of all, the Falcons needed an impact defensive player, not an impact offensive player, so giving up this much to get him didn't make much sense.

    Atlanta traded their first round picks this season and next season, their second and fourth round picks this season, and their fourth round pick next season.

    They had needs they needed to address on the defensive side of the ball, with all the picks they traded they won't be able to do that.

Winner: Detroit Lions

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses for a photo with Nick Fairley, #13 overall pick by the Detriot Lions, during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Imag
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    The Detroit Lions may have a need at corner back, but they made the right decision by picking Nick Fairley.

    Some say Fairley was a top five prospect in this draft, he has been called an extremely disruptive force in the middle of any defense.

    Now the Detroit Lions will pair him with fellow beast Ndamukong Suh to form the most formidable defensive tackle duo in the league.

    Suh and Fairley on the same line, is that even legal?

Loser: Seattle Seahawks

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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

    When the Seattle Seahwks selected James Carpenter with the 25th overall pick in the draft they shocked the world.

    Carpenter was considered by most a late second round prospect, and with Gabe Carimi and Derek Sherrod both on the board, you have to wonder what Seattle was thinking here.

    Carpenter probably would have still been there when Seattle picked in round two, they could have used this pick to pick a pass-rusher or quarterback.

    Not a smart pick at all.

Winner: New York Giants

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Prince Amukamara, #19 overall pick by the New York Giants, on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    The Giants were absolutely shocked to find that Nebraska corner back and top 15 prospect Prince Amukamara had fallen to them at No.19.

    While corner wasn't a huge need for the Giants, it wasn't exactly a strength either—Amukamara can change that.

    With this pick the Giants no longer have to worry about being torched by Aaron Rodgers and Michael Vick, they finally have a shutdown corner.

Loser: Kansas City Chiefs

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    PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 23:  Jon Baldwin #82 of the Pittsburgh Panthers is tackled by Brandon McGee #21 of the Miami Hurricanes on September 23, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    It was not a good Day 1 for the Kansas City Chiefs.

    First, they traded out of the No.21 spot where they could have drafted Phil Taylor and they pick up only a third round pick for it.

    Then, right before the Chiefs were going to pick, the Baltimore Ravens went over the time limit with their pick, so the Chiefs had a chance to make a quick pick or just take their time.

    After literally waiting about two seconds the Chiefs jumped on Pitt receiver Jonathan Baldwin as if the Ravens were planning on picking him and they needed to get the pick in fast.

    The Chiefs could have traded back and gotten more picks later and still have probably picked up Baldwin.

    But instead of weighing their options they rushed a pick that didn't need to be rushed and they paid for it.

Winner: Baltimore Ravens

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    LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 26: Cody Green #17 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers slips past Jimmy Smith #3 of the Colorado Buffaloes during their game at Memorial Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska defeated Colorado 45-17 (Photo by Eric Fran
    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    Even though the Baltimore Ravens nearly made the blunder of the draft by accidentally passing on their pick, it didn't end up costing them.

    They still got their man in Jimmy Smith.

    The Ravens biggest need was corner and they got a guy who was a top 10 talent, but he dropped because of character concerns.

    I'm sure Ray Lewis and the Ravens strong-willed defense can change that, great pick.

Loser: Late First-Round Talent Level Pass-Rushers

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    TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 18:  Quarterback Ricky Stanzi #12 of the Iowa Hawkeyes is sacked by Brooks Reed #42 of the Arizona Wildcats during the third quarter of the college football game at Arizona Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Tucson, Arizona.  The Wild
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the draft was seeing Brooks Reed, Akeem Ayers, Da'Quan Bowers AND Justin Houston all fall out of the first round.

    All four of these guys were projected as first round picks, yet all four dropped out of the first round.

    Who knows how long they'll be waiting on Day 2, but no matter what, they lost a lot of money Thursday night, especially Bowers.

Winner: Christian Ponder

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    MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 29:  Quarterback Christian Ponder #7 of the South Team  is hoisted into the air while celebrating after passing for a touchdown to wide receiver Jeremy Kerley #84 against the North Team during the fourth quarter of the Under Armour Se
    Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    Perhaps one of the biggest winners of the draft was Christian Ponder.

    Ponder was considered a Day 2 level quarterback, but the Vikings decided to reach for him at No.12.

    Which means one thing for Ponder, MONEY.

Loser: Minnesota Vikings

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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

    And the final loser of Day 1 is the Minnesota Vikings. They made a huge reach and they know it.

    Minnesota frantically tried to trade down from the No.12 overall pick but they couldn't work a trade out, so they decided to reach for Christian Ponder.

    He may be the man that they wanted, but they got horrible, horrible value here.

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