2011 NFL Draft Results: 5 Surprise Starters in 2011

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IIMay 1, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Results: 5 Surprise Starters in 2011

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  Taxi cabs drive down the Avenue of the Americas past the Radio City Music Hall marquee, site of the 2011 NFL Draft, on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    We all know that Von Miller, A.J. Green and Patrick Peterson are going to start for their respective teams.

    What we know as fact is often very boring.  For example, I know that when I drop a ball, it is going to fall to the ground.  Does anyone get excited when a ball drops to the ground?  Exactly my point.

    What makes sports exciting is the unpredictability and the surprises.  Whoever though that a seventh-round selection out of Alcorn State (Donald Driver) would ever become a great wide receiver in the NFL?  Who ever thought that a sixth-round selection out of Michigan (Tom Brady) would become the face of the NFL?

    The unpredictable is what we live for as sports fans.

    Here is a look at the five biggest surprise players who will be starting for their team in 2011.


5. DeMarco Murray, RB

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  DeMarco Murray #7 of the Oklahoma Sooners runs the football to score a touchdown in the first quarter against the Connecticut Huskies during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2011 in G
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    DeMarco Murray was drafted in the third round by the Dallas Cowboys.

    The Cowboys running game has just been bad over the past few seasons.  Marion Barber hasn't proved to be the franchise running back that Dallas expected.  Felix Jones has shown flashes of brilliance but is too inconsistent.  Barber and Jones only managed to find the end zone five times last year.  There were 23 running backs in the NFL who had more touchdowns by themselves than Barber and Jones had combined.  That just won't work in the NFL.

    DeMarco Murray is a running back who can do it all.  He is a fantastic receiver out of the backfield.  He is a powerful runner.  He also has a knack for finding the end zone.  The only issue surrounding him is his durability, but Dallas shouldn't be too concerned about that.

    Murray should show enough of his ability during the preseason to start getting carries early in the season.  By Week 6, expect Murray to be handling the major running load in Dallas.

4. Virgil Green, TE

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    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 09:  Virgil Green #85 of the Nevada Wolf Pack and Okechukwu Okoroha #27 of Boston College fight for the ball during the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park on January 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Green came down with
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Virgil Green was drafted in the seventh round by the Denver Broncos.

    The Broncos drafted Julius Thomas, a tight end from Portland State, in the fourth round.  However, Virgil Green was the most athletic tight end in the draft.

    The Broncos certainly needed a new tight end as Dan Gronkowski just isn't getting it done.  Having a target like Green should help with Tim Tebow's growth as a quarterback.  Green is a freak athlete who has good hands.  He has a great work ethic and loves the game of football.  He doesn't possess great strength and will need to become a more physical blocker.

    Getting Green, who was projected as the third or fourth best tight end, was an absolute steal for the Broncos.  Look for Green to be the opening day starter at tight end for the Broncos and become Tebow's favorite target over the course of the season.

3. Ricky Stanzi, QB

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    TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 28:  Quarterback Ricky Stanzi #12 of the Iowa Hawkeyes walks off the field after defeating the Missouri Tigers in the Insight Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium on December 28, 2010 in Tempe, Arizona. The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers 27-24. (P
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Ricky Stanzi was drafted in the fifth round by the Kansas City Chiefs.

    I know what you are saying,  "Kansas City already has a Pro Bowl quarterback with Matt Cassel.  How will Stanzi start?" 

    Injury.  Stanzi will start due to an injury.

    Remember when Brady went down in Week 1 and Cassel stepped in for New England?  After that, Cassel was traded to the Chiefs and signed a huge contract.  Look for the same thing to happen this year in Kansas City.

    Stanzi was a great college quarterback with all the intangibles you could ever want.  He is a game manager who doesn't have a big arm, but is extremely accurate.

    Look for Cassel to go down with an injury early in the season and for Stanzi to step in and play well enough to earn a starting job for another team next season.

2. Ricky Elmore, DE/OLB

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    LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 5:  Defensive ends Brooks Reed #42 and Ricky Elmore #44 of the Arizona Wildcats celebrate after stopping the USC Trojans on the final play on December 5, 2009 at the Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. Arizona won 21-17
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Ricky Elmore was drafted in the sixth round by the Green Bay Packers.

    The Packers needed to address their defense, especially defensive end and linebacker.  Green Bay has some players who could be leaving for free agency.  Even though they return a bunch of guys from injury, they could still use some more depth on the defensive side of the ball.

    Ricky Elmore was often overshadowed by Brooks Reed at Arizona, but Elmore actually put up more impressive statistics.  He is the type of player who knows how to attack the quarterback.  He is faster than he looks and has a good first step.  He will need to become more consistent in his effort and will need to improve in coverage.

    Elmore benefited from playing with Reed and should also benefit from playing across Clay Matthews.  Look for Elmore to show his ability to get after the quarterback early in the season and be starting by Week 8.

1. Greg Romeus, DE

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    LOUISVILLE, KY - OCTOBER 02:  Adam Froman #9 of the Louisville Cardinals is sacked by Greg Romeus #91  of the Pittsburgh Panthers during the Big East Conference game at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on October 2, 2009 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by An
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Greg Romeus was drafted in the seventh round by the New Orleans Saints.

    Romeus was the biggest steal of the draft, and Romeus will be the biggest surprise starter of the 2011 season.

    Will Smith and Alex Brown with both be over 30 this season.  Their production was down last season, and don't be surprised if they are off to a slow start in 2011. 

    Romeus was once considered an early round pick before injuries derailed his career at Pittsburgh.  It was surprising to see him drop to the seventh round, but that should only fuel his desire to prove everyone wrong.  Romeus is a great pass rusher due to his size and speed combination.  He will certainly need to prove that he can still play after his injuries.

    Romeus will be fighting to prove his doubters wrong for the entire season.  When healthy, Romeus was an incredible player with a bright future.  Look for Romeus to gain playing time throughout the season and be starting at left end by Week 12.