NFL Draft 2011: 10 Predictions for the Draft's Final Day
The first two days of the 2011 NFL draft have been full of surprises, and this has shaped up to be one of the more unpredictable drafts in recent memory.
As such, it may be foolish of me to try and predict what will happen on the draft's third and final day. I'll do my best to prognosticate at least a few things that could occur on day three.
With how unpredictable this draft has been, if I only have a 25 percent success rate, I'll be happy.
So here goes nothing.
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The New England Patriots Will Trade into the Future
The Patriots did it in the first round, and again in the second round, and they do it virtually every year. It's like an annual heist of any NFL team they choose.
A late fourth-round pick can be flipped into a third-round pick if the right team thinks the Patriots will take their guy. People always talk about how you need to find a trade partner, but the Patriots never seem to have any problems with that.
They have already added a 2012 first-round pick from the Saints and a 2012 second-round pick from the Raiders.
The Houston Texans Will Continue to Draft for Defense
The Texans have drafted three players on the defensive side of the ball. It's about time they focus on revamping their defense, which has been historically bad for years.
The offense remains explosive with names like Andre Johnson, Matt Schaub, Owen Daniels and Arian Foster dotting the i's at the skill positions.
Now with former Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips at the helm as defensive coordinator, there has been an increased focus on addressing those issues.
The Carolina Panthers Will Try to Acquire More Picks
With so many holes to fill on the roster, the Carolina Panthers could definitely benefit from drafting a few more players. This is especially true considering the fact that they didn't have a second-round pick this year.
Great teams are built not just in the early rounds of the draft, but the late rounds, too. And let's face it: the more picks they make, the more chances they have of striking gold with a huge steal.
All those late-round players are inexpensive, too, which is huge for a franchise that's getting back on its feet like the Panthers.
The Washington Redskins Will Draft Ricky Stanzi
The Redskins need a quarterback and were projected by some teams to take one in the first round. At the spot where they would have selected, Blaine Gabbert was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars after a trade was made between the two teams.
Ricky Stanzi is the best quarterback available on the board, and many of the teams that are looking for a quarterback have already addressed the need. The Redskins have a few picks to trade in order to assure that they get Stanzi.
He doesn't have the strongest arm, but he's very accurate and exhibits good footwork and solid mechanics. He should be a solid fit in the Redskins' West Coast-style offense.
The Indianapolis Colts Will Draft Another Offensive Linemen
Bill Polian is set on making Peyton Manning the highest-paid player in league history. As such, he wants to make sure that the soon-to-be 35-year-old quarterback has ample protection for the duration of his career.
The Colts have already used a first- and a second-round pick on the offensive line, and both were tackles. Hypothetically they could look for Jeff Saturday's successor on Day 3. Saturday himself was an undrafted free agent, so perhaps the Colts could look for similar value in his heir.
The New England Patriots Will Draft a Pass Rusher
Two of the biggest needs on the Patriots roster—defensive end and outside linebacker—are also the two needs which the Patriots haven't yet addressed in the 2011 NFL Draft.
This has sent the northeast into quite a stir, with plenty of offensive players drafted, including two running backs and quarterback Ryan Mallett.
Rest assured, Patriots Nation—Bill Belichick will improve the pass rush some way before the start of the 2011 NFL season.
No Punters Will Be Drafted
I've heard several pundits comment that there just isn't any talent at punter in this year's draft. At least, not any talent worth using a pick on.
Some team will scour the undrafted free-agent market for a punter if they need a young guy to groom, but no one will spend a pick.
Christian Ballard Will Not Be Drafted Until the Seventh Round
Ballard was never considered a top prospect, but one had to figure his talents would land him somewhere in the top three rounds.
A positive test for marijuana at the 2011 NFL combine may have contributed at least in part to his slide. The other part of that slide may have been as a result of an inconsistent motor. He's also not quite the pass-rushing talent that teams are targeting as the NFL transitions to a pass-dominated league.
With all those factors in mind, it's easy to see why the stock for a defensive linemen like Ballard would come crashing down, even all the way to the seventh round.
Casey Matthews Won't Be Drafted Until the Fifth Round
The consensus on Casey Matthews was that although he is a talented linebacker, he's not worth a pick in the top three rounds. Still, it was assumed that his relationship to brother Clay Matthews would have some team reaching on him for pedigree alone.
Now with the third round in the book and Casey Matthews still on the board, one has to wonder what has caused teams to take pause in reaching for him.
Of course, it's not yet time to panic for the Oregon prospect. I would say chances are 99.9 percent certain he'll be drafted at some point, but one has to wonder why he hasn't been yet.
Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. Will Continue to Disagree
Even as the draft nears the who-the-heck-is-this-guy stages, Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay will still bicker for draft guru supremacy. They will both claim to have all the answers, and they will both be wrong multiple times.
It's just the nature of their arguments. They both take one side, and one is bound to be wrong at some point.