2011 NFL Draft Grades: The 15 Worst Picks of the 2011 NFL Draft, All 7 Rounds

Dean HoldenAnalyst IMay 1, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Grades: The 15 Worst Picks of the 2011 NFL Draft, All 7 Rounds

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (botom row R) poses for a photo on stage with the members of the 2011 Draft class and the 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame class during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    With the conclusion of the 2011 NFL Draft, 254 new players have entered the rosters of 32 NFL teams.

    Or at least they will, as soon as lockout lifts again.

    Anyway, there will eventually be Pro Bowlers, Hall of Famers, and legends from this draft. That's the stuff everybody likes to focus on.

    What nobody likes to think about is the guys who will never live up to their billing (or their paychecks). And there will be plenty of those from this draft, as well.

    Do we know who those are, mere hours after the draft's conclusion? Of course not.

    Is it fun to project them in reactionary fashion, mere hours after the draft's conclusion? No question.

    So prepare to get defensive as I pick on your team for having no idea what it's doing. Well, except Vikings fans. I expect you already know...whoops, almost let one slip.

    Just read.

15. 121st Overall Pick: Christopher Prosinski to Jacksonville

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    In many ways, this pick isn't that bad for Jacksonville.

    FIlls a need? Check.

    One of the better players on the board? Check.

    Productive in college? Check.

    Here's where the problem is. He was productive at Wyoming (draw your own conclusions there), and fills a need at a position with precious little talent this year.

    Prosinski was a fourth-round pick this year. Last year, he would very possibly have been an undrafted free agent. But the well was just very dry in terms of safety talent this year.

    Prosinski doesn't have much upside; he's a high-floor, low ceiling guy. If he works hard, he might hang around for a while as a depth/special teams player. Not much more.

14. 125th Overall Pick: Taiwan Jones to Oakland

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    BERKELEY, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Mychal Kendricks #30 of the California Golden Bears returns a fumble for 45 yards against Taiwan Jones #22 of the Eastern Washington Eagles at Memorial Stadium on September 12, 2009 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Jed Jacob
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    I am convinced Al Davis no longer includes names on his big board.

    His new big board consists exclusively of 40-yard dash times, listed fastest to slowest by position. So when he made the call to draft Taiwan Jones, I imagine the conversation went something like this:

    Al Davis: Hey, don't we need a running back this year?

    Hue Jackson: Well, actually no, Mr. Davis. We had the second-best rushing attack in the NFL last year.

    Davis: I have just the thing to make us first! Let's take this 4.33 guy here. I like this kid.

    Jackson: But Mr. Davis, we had the fourth-worst rushing defense last year, and all we've taken is two offensive linemen and two defensive backs so far.

    Davis: What can you tell me about 4.33 here?

    Jackson: (sighs) Well, he's injured a lot, has a fumbling problem, hasn't really played top-level competition and we don't really have a place for him on the roster.

    Davis: And?

    Jackson: (defeated) And... he runs the 40 in 4.33.

    Davis: Sold!

13. Sixth Overall Pick: Julio Jones to Atlanta

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  Julio Jones, #6 overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    There's not much to be said about Julio Jones that hasn't already been said, so I'll spare the scouting report.

    Honestly, I think Jones fits in Atlanta, otherwise this pick skyrockets to the top of the list. The reason it makes the list at all is because of the cost.

    There is a reason teams are given seven picks in the NFL draft. It's because teams need that many picks to keep fortifying teams year after year. So when they go and give away five picks to get one guy, it's a little bit scary.

    It gets more scary when you give up that much for a guy who, on a really good day, will touch the ball about 10 times a game.

12. 107th Overall Pick: Kris Durham to Seattle

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    AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 13:  Kris Durham #16 of the Georgia Bulldogs pulls in this reception against T'Sharvan Bell #22 of the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    This one is just strange. Yeah, the Seahawks needed a wide receiver, and I guess you take the guy you like regardless of round, but Kris Durham?

    Durham might be solid, but they could have gotten him two rounds later if they wanted.

    Did Pete Carroll know Greg Salas and Edmund Gates were still on the board? They did?

    And they took Kris Durham?

11. 25th Overall Pick: James Carpenter to Seattle

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 16:  Marcell Dareus #57 and James Carpenter #77 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Ole Miss Rebels at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    As long as I'm picking on Seattle, let me go a bit into James Carpenter.

    And before you Seahawks fans get all huffy with me, remember that being back-to-back this high up is actually better than if this one was second or third on the list.

    I just want to know, why James Carpenter? Derek Sherrod and Gabe Carimi were both still on the board. Clearly, Pete Carroll is sending the message that he knows what players he likes, and he's going to take them regardless of what round he's in or what your big board says.

    If you're Bill Belichick or Bill Polian, you get the benefit of the doubt. Carroll doesn't have that kind of clout just yet, so we can't just assume he's right.

    Besides, if he were Polian or Belichick, he would have traded back three or four times and still gotten the guy he wanted. Instead, he reached past two potentially better players, and he's getting second-guessed as a result.

10. 160th Overall Pick: Nathan Enderle to Chicago

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    LINCOLN, NEBRASKA - SEPTEMBER 11: Idaho Vandals quarterback Nathan Enderle #10 tries to elude over Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive tackle Baker Steinkuhler #55 during first half action of their game at Memorial Stadium on September 4, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebr
    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    First of all, overrated. That's not a very precise assessment, so I'll provide detail.

    Nathan Enderle's draft process was a nightmare, but he put up gaudy numbers at Idaho. So he had to count on somebody overlooking his workouts, where he acted like he had just changed positions at middle school football camp.

    Only a sub-par front office that keeps itself in business by having a fluky good year right when its seat heats up would do something that stupid.

    Naturally, he called up Chicago, and they took him in the fifth round. Speaking of the late-round quarterbacks, whatever happened to Dan LeFevour after they drafted him last year? Didn't make the final roster? And Todd Collins played for them? Sounds like the Bears really can pick quarterbacks.

    Speaking of which, drafting quarterbacks in back-to-back years is going to do wonders for Jay Cutler's self-confidence. But no worries, he's a tough guy, right?

9. 81st Overall Pick: DeMarcus Van Dyke to Oakland

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    COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 11:  DeVier Posey #8 of the Ohio State Buckeyes battles with DeMarcus Van Dyke #8 for possession of a pass at Ohio Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  The pass was incomplete.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Al Davis: Hey, this 4.28 kid can really play!

    Hue Jackson: Not really. I mean, he's fast, but he never really established coverage or ball skills, and he's a poor tackler.

    Davis: Ball skills? What does he need those for? He doesn't even play offense! I bet he can outrun anybody on the field!

    Jackson: You know, outrunning the receiver is actually not a good thing for a cornerback.

    Davis: (stares blankly)

    Jackson: (regretting his decision to accept the Raiders HC job already) What would you do if I made a pick to improve our 29th-ranked run defense instead of just taking the fastest guy on the board?

    Davis: You know, somebody asked me that once. I think his name was Kiffin something-or-other. I forget what happened to him.

    Jackson: I guess I'll call in the pick.

8. Seventh Overall Pick: Aldon Smith to San Francisco

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  Aldon Smith, #7 overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    It's hard to do this, because I like Aldon Smith. He has a lot of potential and could be great in the future.

    Key words: In the future.

    Smith is a project pick right now. He hasn't even grown into his frame, and is raw as a redshirt sophomore.

    His ceiling is high, but seventh is too high to draft a question mark, no matter how much potential he has.

    If the 49ers were determined to take a pass rusher, was there a problem with Robert Quinn?

7. 41st Overall Pick: Jarvis Jenkins to Washington

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    AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 18:  Jarvis Jenkins #99 of the Clemson Tigers against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    To be fair, this pick isn't terrible. It's an okay pick that fills a need as Washington overhauls its defense.

    This is is an issue of "why him before someone else?"

    That's a shaky argument, since a lot of it has to do with a coach's individual intuition and the time they've spent with the player.

    But still, Stephen Paea could have filled that need. I would have taken Marvin Austin or Jurrell Casey first, too.

    You can make the argument about Mike Shanahan looking for a nose tackle...if Jenkins hadn't played in a 4-3 at Clemson.

6. 26th Overall Pick: Jon Baldwin to Kansas City

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    PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 05: Jonathan Baldwin #82 of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers catches a pass against the Cincinnati Bearcats on December 5, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Talent with an attitude.

    And I don't mean that in a good way.

    With Randy Moss and Terrell Owens on their way out of the league, it's high time we found ourselves a new "me-first" receiver in the NFL, don't you think?

    Scott Pioli apparently does. He's a good target for Matt Cassel and the Chiefs' offense, and he should put up numbers as long as he's happy.

    The trouble will be when he wants to sit his coach and quarterback down and discuss how he would like to see the Kansas City Chiefs start doing more for Jon Baldwin.

5. 28th Overall Pick: Mark Ingram to New Orleans

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  Mark Ingram, #28 overall pick by the New Orleans Saints, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    I'm not a Saints fan (though I'll freely admit rooting for them in the Super Bowl), so maybe those who are can help me understand this pick.

    See, I thought the Saints actually liked Pierre Thomas. I thought he was actually quite good.

    Now it seems the Saints' front office disagrees. Don't be fooled, this pick has nothing to do with Reggie Bush. Replacing Reggie Bush with Mark Ingram would be like replacing your knee joint with an iron bar.

    Yeah, it might be stronger, but you sure won't be any faster or more effective.

    So what role does Mark Ingram have in New Orleans? Barring a three-headed rushing attack, it seems he's there to replace Pierre Thomas.

    You can argue about value if you want, since he did slide a fair amount down in the first round.

    But the value argument goes out the window when you consider they traded away a their second and a 2012 first-rounder for him. Instead of getting him for a high pick, you get him for two slightly lower picks?

    I don't get it. Any insight, Saints fans?

4. 73rd Overall Pick: Stevan Ridley to New England

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    ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 07:  Stevan Ridley #34 of the Louisiana State University Tigers avoids a tackle by Dustin Harris #22 of the Texas A&M Aggies during the AT&T Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium on January 7, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Chris Gr
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    I don't have a problem with the player, I have a problem with the pick.

    I'm tempted to give Bill Belichick the benefit of the doubt, but it's not like he's never been wrong before. It's rare, but it happens.

    So why back-to-back running backs? What does he plan to do with Ridley, in conjunction with Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead?

    I have the same problem with this that I have with Ingram and New Orleans. What do you need with that many running backs? Who are you planning on depriving of carries?

    If it's Woodhead, why? He was a do-everything back last year.

    If it's Vereen or Ridley, why did you draft them in the second and third rounds?

3. 12th Overall Pick: Christian Ponder to Minnesota

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Quarterback Christian Ponder of Florida State looks on during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    In Christian Ponder's defense, he did everything he could to ensure a high draft grade. He had a good Senior Bowl, good combine, good workouts, good interviews.

    I also think he'll fit in Minnesota, and I applaud them for finally addressing quarterback after it had been a serious, imminent need for a decade.

    But how much better would the Vikings' draft have been if they had taken Nick Fairley in the first round and Ponder in the second?

    It's simple what happened. The Vikings thought Ponder was their man, and after a run of three QBs in the top 10, they panicked.

    I can support the Vikings putting their support behind Ponder, they just missed out on a lot of value by taking him at 12.

2. 61st Overall Pick: Jonas Mouton to San Diego

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    SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 11: Kyle Randolph #9 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs as Jonas Mouton #8 of the Michigan Wolverines closes in at Notre Dame Stadium on September 11, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. Michigan defeated Notre Dame 28-24.  (Photo b
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Look, I like a Michigan man as much as the next guy.

    But what?

    I wish this made an ounce of sense, but it doesn't.

    You like Jonas Mouton, San Diego?

    Fine. I'm sure you have great scouts, and you trust their word. So first, shop your fourth-round pick around, see if you can get any takers on a trade down. He'll probably still be there in the fifth, so just to be safe, go ahead and...wait.

    Did you just take him in the second round? Um... okay.

    No, you're right. That Martez Wilson guy would have been a total reach here.

1. First Overall Pick: Cam Newton to Carolina

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  Cam Newton, #1 overall pick by the Carolina Panthers holds up a jersey on stage after he was picked during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Oooh, let the hate parade begin (comments below)!

    Prediction: I catch more flak about this from Auburn fans than Carolina Panthers fans.

    Other prediction: Cam Newton is Vince Young.

    I hate to see it happen, because I've liked Carolina since they joined the NFL in 1995. But I don't like where this is going one bit.

    I mean, how many red flags does a guy have to raise to lower his draft stock?

    He may have cheated academically.

    He may have stolen school property at Florida.

    He may have been involved in a pay-for-play scandal.

    He may be an attention-seeking diva in the making.

    He may have had one of the worst performances of his career in the BCS Championship game.

    Of course, if you're from Auburn (or apparently the Panthers' front office), this is all coincidence. And the fact that he's a run-first quarterback (mark my words, this will be an red flag for QBs in the next 10 years) doesn't bother you either.

    I loved the breakdown of Newton on NFL Network.

    To paraphrase from memory, they said he's not going to win games for you by himself without a strong supporting cast. But he'll keep you in games, and can be a winner with enough people around him.

    Doesn't that sound like they just described the top overall pick as a game manager? Shouldn't you be able to count on the best player in the draft to win you some games? Especially when he's a quarterback?

    Meanwhile, Mike Mayock "doesn't know if he cares enough," and that he might be "content to be a multi-millionaire who's pretty good."

    So good luck with that, Carolina.