2011 NFL Draft Grades: Winners and Losers After Day 2
Day 2 of the 2011 NFL Draft has come to a close, and teams can sit back and relax after stressing over prospects for such a long time.
Now it's time for experts, fans and anyone that has an opinion to break down each team's showing in the draft. Some teams will be praised for taking a risk on a player they fell in love with, while others get tons of flak for doing the same thing.
At this point, everything is opinion.
No one can back up their picks until their players hit the practice field and try to prepare for the season. However, people will gossip about which teams they think blindly chose their franchise's future.
Here's which teams did the best and worst in the first three rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Winner: Tennessee Titans
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Selections: Jake Locker (QB, Washington), Akeem Ayers (LB, UCLA) and Jurrell Casey (DL, USC)
The Tennessee Titans targeted the Pac-10 with their first three picks, and they became much stronger.
Taking Jake Locker over Blaine Gabbert might be criticized for a while, but the Titans have an offense that runs better with an mobile quarterback like Locker. Gabbert can move, but not quite like Locker.
Akeem Ayers is another speedy player selected by the Titans. He has an explosive first step that should allow him to exceed in the league. Ayers was an absolute steal in the second round.
Jurrell Casey was the third-round pick of the Titans. They allowed 115.7 rushing yards per game last season, and have been struggling to stop the run since Albert Haynesworth departed.
Casey will clog up the lane and cause problems because of his lower body strength.
They drafted the new face to their franchise, and tended to some team needs. Can't find a flaw in any of their choices.
Loser: Philadelphia Eagles
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Selections: Danny Watkins (OL, Baylor), Jaiquawn Jarrett (DB, Temple), Curtis Marsh (DT, Utah St.)
The Philadelphia Eagles were doomed to mediocrity in their draft performance when a cornerback wasn't their first pick.
With Mike Pouncey, Nate Solder and Anthony Castonzo off the board, their attention should have been on their secondary.
Instead, the Eagles decided to take the 26-year-old Danny Watkins with their first pick. The need to protect Michael Vick is forcing the Eagles to focus on the wrong side of the ball.
The Eagles finally picked some defense with their next two picks, but were unable to land a starting cornerback. Jimmy Smith was still available when Philadelphia was up in the first round.
They made the wrong choice.
Winner: New England Patriots
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Selections: Nate Solder (OL, Colorado), Ras-I Dowling (DB, Virginia), Shane Vereen (RB, California), Stevan Ridley (RB, LSU), Ryan Mallett (QB, Arkansas)
The New England Patriots didn't exactly address their most pressing needs with their picks, but I like what they did. Nate Solder is a "build for the future" type of pick.
It was a good move because the positions that they lack the most at are ones that they picked for in the last few years.
New England is a team that is built to return to the top in a few years.
Ras-I Dowling can come in and immediately assist the Patriots secondary. There were times when they couldn't stop anyone, but they really improved throughout the season.
Two new running backs will give New England younger options running the ball. The Patriots seem to be targeting a run-by-committee system, which is becoming more popular in the NFL.
Ryan Mallett is a serious talent at quarterback, but it's his attitude that's in question. However, I can't remember any player continuing to be an off-field problem in New England. By the time Tom Brady is done, Mallett will be ready to step in.
He'll be cleansed by the New England anger management program.
Loser: Atlanta Falcons
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Selections: Julio Jones (WR, Alabama), Akeem Dent (LB, Georgia)
This is not my way of saying that Julio Jones will be a bust. Jones is way too athletic to not succeed aside Roddy White in the NFL.
The Atlanta Falcons simply gave up way too much to reach their guy.
Two first-round picks, a second round pick and two fourth-round picks is a lot to forfeit for someone that might not even see 100 touches this season.
Akeem Dent is another SEC product, but one that won't have any impact on the Falcons this year. He's not quick or strong enough to start at linebacker at the professional level.
Basically, the Falcons took a huge risk on one player rather than filling their roster with some valuable help.
Will either one of these players help them against the Green Bay Packers, who scored 48 points on them in the playoffs?
I think not.
Winner: Detroit Lions
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Selections: Nick Fairley (DT, Auburn), Titus Young (WR, Boise St.) and Mikel Leshoure (RB, Illinois)
Watching the other teams battle over quarterbacks was a beautiful sight.
The Detroit Lions saw Nick Fairley fall all the way to No. 13, and they weren't passing up a chance at the scariest pair of young defensive tackles in the league.
With their second round pick, the Lions took some of the pressure off Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford.
Titus Young is a big-play receiver that can spread out the field, taking some of the double coverages away from Johnson.
Mikel Leshoure was the last addition to the Lions. Although Jahvid Best had a great rookie season, he seemed to tire out as the season went along. Leshoure will help save Best's legs, while also giving defenses another person to plan for.
The Lions had yet another good draft, potentially shattering their reputation of bad picks.
Loser: Seattle Seahawks
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Selections: James Carpenter (OL, Alabama), John Moffitt (G, Wisconsin)
The Seattle Seahawks didn't have much opportunity to pick a quality player they needed, however, they didn't try and improve their status.
Yes, the Seahawks won their division, but it wasn't much of a competition.
They upset the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs, but it was not their defense that won the game for them. Marshawn Lynch took it to the house to push the Seahawks further than anyone would have guessed.
Matt Hasselbeck isn't at the level he used to be, so many thought the Seahawks might make a move for a quarterback.
Instead, it was the Jaguars that made the move and the Seahawks were left with slim pickings at the QB position at pick No. 25.
Instead of trading down to the second round and adding more picks, the Seahawks took James Carpenter, who would have lasted a significant while longer.
Hopefully the Seahawks can rest easy at night knowing their top pick can barely protect their injury prone, fading quarterback.