2011 NFL Draft: Deep Thoughts Through Day Two
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I'm no Jack Handey, but I do have a few thoughts on the NFL Draft thus far.
Yeah, I know. There are still four rounds left today. Whatever.
We can evaluate the draft in its entirety later. Besides, there are approximately the same number of current players in the NFL who were undrafted as there are from Rounds 4-7 combined. So, you know, who cares that much about what happens today?
Unless, of course, there's another Tom Brady just waiting to be unearthed.
Anyway, these are some observations I have over the first two days:
- The term "scheme diverse" will be put to the test after this draft. In the first round alone, guys like Ryan Kerrigan, Cameron Jordan and Phil Taylor all went to situations which seem to fly in the face of what each player is best suited for. Kerrigan seems, to me anyway, to be more of a 4-3 end, and he got selected by Washington, which runs a 3-4 defense. And on the flipside, Jordan and Taylor both seemed perfect for 3-4 schemes and they both went to 4-3 teams.
- Reaches were the story of the first round. Minnesota, Seattle and Kansas City all reached dramatically and, I fear, could pay dearly for their transgressions. Christian Ponder could set the Vikings organization back years if someone like Joe Webb can't bail them out. Meanwhile, Jonathan Baldwin's lackadaisical attitude and lazy play will mesh with head coach Todd Haley about as well as Sith gets along with Jedi. And, while I like James Carpenter, the Seahawks could have waited and possibly still gotten him as late as the third round.
- Quarterbacks have been seriously overvalued so far this draft. Except for Ryan Mallett. And that's another story altogether. Bottom line, there is no true franchise QB in this draft. Cam Newton has "sky's the limit" potential but a very low floor too. Jake Locker did the whole senior season thing at U Dub, but is still no lock to be a productive NFL signal caller. Blaine Gabbert landed in an incredible situation in Jacksonville and should get a chance to learn the Jaguars system before being thrown into the fray. But he's not ready now. And you know how hopeless I think Ponder is. Beyond that, Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick each experienced inflated value because NFL decision makers apparently thought the sky was falling and felt they had to get their guy at QB posthaste. History has taught us that many more QBs miss than hit in the NFL Draft. This year will be no different.
- Minnesota and Kansas City were at least able to redeem themselves on Day 2 of the draft. The Vikings got first round value at a second round price in Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph, while the Chiefs added useful players like Rodney Hudson, Allen Bailey and Justin Houston to offset the mistake of drafting Baldwin, the next Darrius Heyward-Bey, in the first.
- It may be time to start taking Detroit and Tampa Bay really seriously on defense. The Lions added Ndamukong Suh at defensive tackle in 2010, and he became arguably the best DT in the NFL by season's end. This year, Detroit was able to pair the nasty Nick Fairley with Suh for what could become a historically dominant defensive tackle duo. And in Tampa, the Bucs followed up last season's drafting of solid young DTs Gerald McCoy and Brian Price by adding two talented defensive ends, Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers, and an underrated linebacker in Mason Foster.
- A few teams sent out big F-U's to current (soon to be former?) players. Carolina, by taking Cam Newton with Jimmy Clausen still on board. New Orleans, by drafting Mark Ingram with Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas still on the roster. Dallas, by drafting the talented yet injury prone DeMarco Murray with an aging Marion Barber still around. Green Bay, by selecting Randall Cobb with James Jones uncertain of his standing with the team. And lastly, Arizona. The Cardinals took explosive running back Ryan Williams from Virginia Tech to send a clear message to both Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower.
- The fantasy football fallout from the NFL Draft so far is still to be determined, but Ingram, Julio Jones and Daniel Thomas are all in positions to contribute immediately, while Mikel LeShoure could render Jahvid Best nothing more than a Justin Forsett type back in Detroit and A.J. Green, despite his blue chip ability, will be limited by how fast his young QB develops. Also, keep an eye on both of the young Boise State wide receivers (Titus Young in Detroit and Austin Pettis in St. Louis) and Lance Kendricks at tight end for the Rams.
- A few bold trade predictions if/when teams are allowed to start making moves again? Why certainly. Donovan McNabb gets dealt to Arizona straight up for Beanie Wells. Steve Smith gets shipped out to Boston by the Panthers to play out his final productive years with Tom Brady. Seattle realizes that Matt Hasselbeck is done as an NFL starter, and Charlie Whitehurst isn't the answer and responds by going out and dealing for Carson Palmer, who happily reunites with Pete Carroll. Cincy also deals Chad Ochocinco away to the always happy to overpay Raiders and he changes his name back to Johnson. Finally, poor Kevin Kolb goes nowhere.
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