NFL Draft 2011: Ryan Mallett, Marvin Austin and Other Winners and Losers in Rd 2
We are back in business with Round Two of the NFL Draft.
There were plenty of questions left unanswered after Round One. Everyone was waiting to see who would make the big trade. Everyone was waiting to see what would happen to Da'Quan Bowers and Ryan Mallett. Everyone was wondering if the Vikings were serious when they drafted Christian Ponder.
You weren't wondering about the Vikings? Maybe it was just me then.
Anyways, there were clear winners and losers in Round Two, just like in Round One. Here is a list of the biggest winners and losers.
Winner: Colin Kaepernick, QB
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We knew someone was going to trade up early to grab a quarterback.
That team turned out to be the San Francisco 49ers who traded up to the 36th pick to grab Nevada quarterback, Colin Kaepernick.
This is an ideal situation for Kaepernick. He has one of the best coaches at grooming quarterbacks in Jim Harbaugh. He will enter training camp with a real chance at winning the starting job from Alex or Troy Smith. He has offensive weapons surrounding him with Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis and Frank Gore. It just looks like the perfect fit.
Don't be surprised if Kaepernick grows leaps and bounds under the tutelage of Jim Harbaugh and is starting before he midway point of the season.
Loser: Ryan Mallett, QB
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No player has been hurt more by his character issues than Ryan Mallett.
Mallett was once considered the third best quarterback in this draft. After hearing Locker, Ponder, Dalton, and Kaepernick all get their names called in the first or second round, Mallett must be kicking himself. He has the biggest arm in the draft, but his mobility and accuracy have caused red flags to teams looking for a quarterback. His biggest problem appears to be his maturity, as numerous stories are circulating about his party habits.
In early mock drafts, Mallett was a top-10 pick. Now he will have to wait another day to hear his name called. Don't be surprised if a team that doesn't need a quarterback right now takes a chance on him as a quality back-up.
Winner: Lance Kendricks, TE
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Sam Bradford proved to be every bit the franchise quarterback that the St. Louis Rams were hoping for. All he needed was a few weapons on offense other than Steven Jackson.
Lance Kendricks has great hands and speed. He can stretch the seam and be a huge target for Bradford. He isn't afraid to block and he is probably the most athletic tight end in the draft. To call with Antonio Gates is a little much, but he has that same type of big play ability.
The Rams have proved that they are committed to Sam Bradford by looking to get him weapons through the draft. Kendricks has the ability to make big plays right away for the Rams and should develop into a consistent threat for Bradford.
Loser: Kyle Rudolph, TE
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Kyle Rudolph has the talent to be a day-one starter in the NFL. He has good hands, is a good blocker and can make plays down the field.
Unfortunately for Rudolph, he was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings with the 43rd pick. The Vikings are already deep at tight end with Visanthe Shiancoe and Jim Kleinsasser. I don't see how Rudolph could be happy about being a potential third-stringer with his new team.
I know that Shiancoe and Kleinsasser are both starting to get old. However, Rudolph is ready to play now and I don't think he will get that chance in Minnesota.
Winner: Da'Quan Bowers, DE
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Da'Quan Bowers had to wait until the 51st pick to hear his name called. That should give Bowers all the motivation he needs to prove the 31 teams that passed on him wrong.
Bowers is an explosive pass rusher and could become the best defensive player in the draft. The major concern surround Bowers has been his knee, but he has passed all his medical tests in recent weeks. The Buccaneers needed to add a player who could get pressure on the quarterback off the edge and Bowers exactly fits that mold. He should have a huge rookie season.
There was no player that took a slide like Bowers, but now that he is drafted, he can get to work proving teams wrong. Don't be shocked if Bowers plays with a major chip on his shoulder and a mean streak during his rookie season.
Loser: Mikel LeShoure, RB
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Mikel Leshoure was the second best running back in the draft for many people. However, there were three backs drafted in front of him. Mark Ingram, Ryan Williams and Shane Vereen all heard their name called before Leshoure.
I'm not doubting Leshoure's ability, but Detroit spent a first-round pick on Jahvid Best last year. There are some doubts concerning Best's durability, which is probably why Detroit couldn't pass on Leshoure. But if Best can stay healthy, I don't see Leshoure getting much playing time. When Best was on the field he was often times the most explosive player out there. He is a threat to score a touchdown everytime he touches the ball. He also proved to be valuable as a receiver out of the backfield.
There were a few teams that Leshoure could have started for. Unfortunately, that team isn't the Lions.
Loser: Ryan Williams, RB
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How can you be a loser when you are the second running back drafted? When you get drafted to an already crowded backfield in Arizona.
This pick really surprised me. Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower haven't lived up to expectations, but both backs have proven they have what it takes to succeed in the NFL. Williams will likely enter training camp as the third string running back and unless he has an extremely impressive preseason, I don't see him getting much playing time. He has battled with injuries during his career, but when healthy, he is as good as any other running back in this draft.
Williams is an explosive runner who is a threat in the receiving game too. He might not be able to showcase his abilities playing behind Wells and Hightower unless one or the other gets injured.
Winner: Titus Young, WR
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Mark my words, the Lions will be competitive next season. They will have one of the best defensive lines with Suh and Fairley. If Stafford can stay healthy for 16 games, the offense should be explosive.
Titus Young is joining a young team that is on its way up. He will have the opportunity to be an instant producer. He should benefit from playing alongside Calvin Johnson and should see plenty of single coverage. Young is an explosive player who will need to mature, but could become a major headache for opposing defenses. His speed and vision could also make him a dangerous return man.
Watch out for Detroit for the first time in about a million years. They have had another great draft so far and their offense just became more impressive with the addition of Young. Look out for Young to be a possible Rookie of the Year candidate.
Winner: Greg Little, WR
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Everyone was shocked when the Browns traded the sixth pick to the Falcons when Julio Jones was still available. It looks like the Browns move paid off as they still found a receiver capable of being an elite player.
Little possesses all the physical tools you want in a wide receiver. He does have some character issues, but the potential for Little is huge. He is a physical receiver who has great speed and hands and is a perfect fit for Mike Holmgren. He had the talent to be a first-round selection and the Browns should be extremely excited to get him with the 59th pick.
Cleveland needed a No. 1 receiver and they possibly found it in Little. If he can keep out of trouble, he should be a fantastic target for Colt McCoy.
Loser: Marvin Austin, DT
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Marvin Austin is another player who possessed first-round talent, but fell hard because of character issues. He missed the entire 2010 college season due to a suspension.
The only real reason that Austin is a loser is because of how far he fell. Had he played college football last year, he could have been a top-5 pick. Most mock drafts still had Austin going in the first round. He had to wait until the 52nd pick to be drafted. It is amazing how a player with Austin's skill set can fall so far due to off-field issues.
The Giants are an absolute winner by picking up a talent like Austin this late in the draft. However, Austin will need to keep his head on straight in New York to prove his doubters wrong. No player had more issues surrounding his character than Austin, and that was his fault alone.