2011 NFL Draft Results: Responding to the Madness of the First 3 Rounds

Zach JacksonContributor IApril 30, 2011

TEMPE, AZ - APRIL 29:  First round draft pick Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals poses with a team jersey during a press conference to introduce him at the team's training center auditorium on April 29, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With the first three rounds of this newest rendition of the NFL Draft in the books, teams now move on to the final rounds and the numerous unknown players that will come out of them tomorrow. Not quite as interesting as seeing big name prospects taken off the board with every pick, in my opinion. Here are my opinions on some of the most striking developments of the first two days of chaos.

Cam Newton was the only option for the Panthers at No. 1

There is no doubt in my mind that there were better prospects on the board for the Panthers to pick and maybe they would've been better served by drafting one.

However, this is a team in disarray, a team that very badly needs an icon to rally around and this is what Cam Newton brings. He has the potential to be truly great or to be a huge bust as time passes, but either way he will be fascinating to watch, will bring interest to the franchise, and we'll all be sitting on the edge of our seats to see how it turns out.

Cardinals got a steal at No. 5 with Patrick Peterson

I definitely thought he was the best player in this draft with great ability and amazing upside. Peterson will go down to Arizona and form an elite tandem with DRC and even though the Cards didn't find their future signal-caller, the likes of Kevin Kolb and Carson Palmer are still out there waiting for an offer.

Julio Jones at No. 6 to the Falcons is a great move for BOTH teams involved

The Browns were given an offer they absolutely couldn't refuse getting five high draft picks for the price of one, so there is no question they came out winners here. However, Atlanta has taken criticism for selling the farm for one player.

Julio Jones is an elite talent, only a hair below A.J. Green in ability, and fits into the hard-running, hard-working possession offense that the Falcons run, making them a top-five offensive unit in the conference right now.

In addition, when you played as well as they did last season and had legitimate championship aspirations, I think it's okay to sell a lot of mediocre picks that translate into mediocre players if you can add a talented guy at a key spot that could put you over the top. I think this move does just that.

Aldon Smith was a risk at No. 7 to San Fran

This is another case of a player being over drafted based on upside and potential. While this might pay off down the road, I think a team in coaching transition with no definitive quarterback has got to go with the talented Blaine Gabbert in that instance.

The Whole Quarterback Fiasco...

Alright, first things first, I am a Jake Locker fan. I think he has the potential to become a good, if not great starter in the NFL if supported properly and I think the Titans could be a good fit. However, by no means was he worth the No. 8 pick. Tennessee definitely needed to trade down and get more picks, even if it meant getting a different quarterback like Andy Dalton or Christian Ponder.

For as much criticism as it gets, I like Jacksonville's trade to get Blaine Gabbert. They've already got a solid team and with proper development, he could push them over the top. The Christian Ponder pick just puzzles me. I know that the Vikings saw a run on quarterbacks and panicked, but his talent and potential didn't warrant that pick at No. 12, especially considering his injury history.

Watch out for Detroit

I absolutely love the moves that the Lions have made over the last two drafts. Adding two explosive defensive tackles in Suh last year and Fairley this year, building a strong backfield with Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure and adding another good wideout in Titus Young this year, I think they've had a couple of stellar drafts since their dismal 0-16 season.

If they can keep Matthew Stafford healthy—and that is a big if—they will challenge for a playoff spot in the NFC and turn heads while doing it, mark my words.

Kansas City has had a pretty good draft all in all

The Chiefs have been criticized for taking Jon Baldwin with their first-round pick, saying he is too much like Dwayne Bowe for that offense. Seriously, is getting another iteration of Dwayne Bowe a bad thing considering the season he had last year, especially considering that they have speed at wideout in Dexter McCluster? Also, Justin Houston is a great addition, giving them a pass-rushing talent to set up opposite Tamba Hali and help strengthen the defense.

The Saints hit home runs

This draft for the Saints has been sensational. Not only do they get a steal with the ultra talented Cameron Jordan to fill out their defense at No. 24, but they trade back up again and grab Heisman winner Mark Ingram to be a possible feature back. Ingram plays smart, tough and physical as a runner and the Saints should have no problem finding ways to use him in their dynamic offense.

Also, Martez Wilson is a great, versatile value pick for the linebacking corps, giving them speed and the ability to play inside or outside in their ball-hawking defense.

The Packers add more pieces to an already stacked team

Derek Sherrod could and should be the future on the offensive line for the Packers after Chad Clifton retires and will bookend very nicely with last year's first rounder Bryan Bulaga. I think Randall Cobb will flourish in this offense, using his great quickness to provide mismatches in the slot when Donald Driver ultimately retires and Jordy Nelson moves outside. A good draft for the Super Bowl champs—nothing too flashy, but adding talent nonetheless.