2011 NFL Draft Results: The Five Winners and Losers Plus the Best Value Pick

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2011 NFL Draft Results: The Five Winners and Losers Plus the Best Value Pick
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Nick Fairley: This is a site that will make most NFC quarterbacks very nervous.

On the day that the NFL draft finishes, I've always found it difficult to definitely define the "winners," but even more difficult to pick out the "losers."

It's an optimistic day for nearly everyone. Fans of a myriad of teams can look at their drafts, see some talented players, and have reason to cheer. Only a minority of fanbases found themselves wincing. 

So even though it's a difficult proposition, here's a look at some of the teams I believe won and lost on draft day. You'll notice there's one more winner than loser. You can chalk that up to me being a "glass half full" guy.

My rankings are based as little as possible on subjective things like "I don't think he's a good player." Instead, I'm leaning heavily on how well a team addressed their major needs.

We'll start with my favorite pick: Nick Fairley to the Lions! Tremendous choice for Detroit. With one pick they now have one of the best interior defensive lines in professional football.

Any team that doubles Ndamukong Suh will contend at their own peril with Fairley in one-on-one blocking. That's a problem for anyone. Great pick.

And now to the winners and losers:

 

Losers:

Was Jacksonville right to draft Blaine Gabbert?

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1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Okay, I know that some of you might say I'm an idiot for hating on the Blaine Gabbert pick, but hear me out.

First of all, no one really knows if Gabbert will be able to be effective in a pro-style offense. It's one thing to look good in a spread-only system, but we've seen guys more talented than Gabbert struggle to make the transition (Andre Ware?)

Also, do they need him? David Gerrard might not be John Elway, but he's a solid quarterback whose never had an elite receiver. Even still, he's had a completion percentage about 60 percent for the last five seasons in a row.

And even if he does work out, that probably won't be until a few years down the road. In the meantime, Jacksonville has extreme needs on the defensive side of the football. They were horrible last year at stopping opponents (ranking 28th in the league in total defense).

Why didn't they trade the 10th pick for some added picks later? They only had five draft choices as it was. And they didn't take a defensive player until the end of the fourth round! Not a the most logical move.

 

2. Seattle Seahawks: Trent Dilfer pretty much said everything I was going to say here. Look, I love the 'Hawks. They have a great home-field crowd and I love Seattle as a city. But Pete Carrol and his team didn't exactly light the draft on fire. 

Where Jacksonville's mistake was taking a QB, Seattle's was probably not taking signal-caller. Why not grab Andy Dalton at the end of the first round? And if they were going to take another lineman (which, admittedly, is a strategy I'm not against), then why not take Gabe Carimi from Wisconsin.

That would have made sense, particularly because they took Carimi's teammate with their next pick (another lineman, John Moffitt.)

Phew, okay I hate talking about the losers, because I honestly hope that they prove me wrong. But enough already, onto the teams I thought did very well.

 

Winners:

 

Cincinnati Bengals: Loved their draft up and down. They took the highest rated receiver in the draft with A.J. Green. Then they got arguably the "smartest" QB with Andy Dalton. Most importantly, they got great value for their picks.

Three of the players I had listed as "sleepers" were taken by the Bengals a round after I had them going (Dontay Moch in the third, Clint Boling in the fourth, and Korey Lindsey in the seventh). Great moves. Those guys could all turn into starters.

 

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Dontay Moch: Extremely athletic and could be a great value pick.

Arizona Cardinals: They got the best overall player in the draft with Peterson at the fifth pick (always a win). I think he's the closest thing to a sure thing (knock on wood Cards fans). They also got possibly this year's annual "devastatingly awesome second round running back" with Ryan Williams from Virginia Tech.

Adding Quan Sturdivant in the sixth round was a great move. He should be able to help that aging linebacker corps.

The only catch was that they missed a QB. If they can maybe swing a trade (Kevin Kolb?), then that fear will be allayed.

 

Indiana Colts: They didn't have a lot of picks, but they made them count. I think they got the best lineman in the draft with BC's Anthony Costanzo. And they tacked onto that mindset of protecting Peyton Manning  by taking lineman Benjamin Ijalana.

I also liked how they added a power running back in Delone Carter from Syracuse. It also emphasizes how those lineman will help Indy get back to running the ball a little more effectively.

If they can do that, then the offense will be back to running on all cylinders and that play-action will strike fear into the NFL once again.

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