2011 NFL Draft Results: Predicting the Five Best Players from Each Round

Matt SmithContributor IIIMay 4, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Results: Predicting the Five Best Players from Each Round

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner ROger Goodell poses for a photo with A.J. Green, #4 overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals, as Green holds up a jersey during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Phot
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    If you want to have a good football team, you've got to get value out of your late round picks.

    In fact, if you want a good football team, you should probably think about getting some value out of the majority of your picks.

    Though the first rounders seemingly are the stars of the draft, and some of them will be, there are players in every round with great value.

    These early round players will help their teams through assuming the starting position while the later round players will become quality rotation players.

    Some are picked where they should and will be quality, while others have experienced free falls. So who presents the best value for each round? 

First Rounders

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  Patrick Peterson, #5 overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals, holds up his 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

    5. Tyron Smith, OT, Cowboys: The offensive tackle class was good this year, and the strong, athletic Smith will get a shot at right tackle this season for the Cowboys. 

    4. Cameron Jordan, DE, Saints: Jordan has excellent work ethic and versatility that allows him to play anywhere on the line.

    3. J.J. Watt, DE, Texans: Watt is a safe pick who constantly makes strides to improve. Playing opposite Mario Williams helps his chances of becoming great.

    2. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals: Green never had over 1,000 yards receiving in college. Expect that to change as he unlocks his freakish potential in the NFL.

    1. Patrick Peterson, CB, Arizona: The best player in the draft, Peterson has amazing speed and size. He will become a perennial Pro Bowler and shutdown corner.   

Second Rounders

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    AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 18:  Da'Quan Bowers #93 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

    5. Rahim Moore, S, Broncos: The ball-hawking safety from UCLA will be all over the field. He will learn from a hard-hitter in Brian Dawkins and learn some from Champ Bailey, as he's tied down for four years.

    4. Stephen Paea, DT, Bears: Will he put up gaudy stats? Maybe. But will he draw attention away from Peppers and let him go loose? Yes.

    3. Randall Cobb, WR, Packers: People compare Cobb to Percy Harvin. Harvin is better, but the Packers can use him in a similar way. Plus, in the wildcat, he can also throw the ball.

    2. Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: This kid won't quit on the Bengals like Carson Palmer will. He and A.J. Green will form a nice duo. It won't be an instant success, but watch out a couple years down the road.

    1. Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Buccaneers: The risky pick out of Clemson will pay off huge. If he comes back from his knee injury fine, then he will be as dominant a pass rusher as we have seen in a while.

Third Rounders

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    ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 27:  Justin Houston #42 of the Georgia Bulldogs pressures quarterback Tevin Washington #13 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Sanford Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    5. William Rackley, OL, Jaguars: Rackley absolutely dominated against lower level competition and he should've been a second rounder. If he adjusts well, Rackley could become a Pro Bowler down the road.

    4. Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Giants: Jernigan is a small, explosive wide receiver. He is a home run threat when he gets the ball and should make an excellent WR/KR for the Giants. 

    3. Mason Foster, LB, Buccaneers: If Foster learns to become a better pass rusher, then watch out. He diagnoses plays well, is a sound tackler and should start in his rookie season.

    2. Leonard Hankerson, WR, Washington: The Redskins are without a legitimate No.1 wide receiver. Hankerson will be the No. 2 in his first year, but should evolve into the Redskins No.1 of the future.

    1. Justin Houston, LB, Chiefs: Houston is an absolute steal here in the third round. Playing opposite sack master Tamba Hali will only increase his sack numbers. Watch for this formidable tandem in the future. 

Fourth Rounders

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    BLOOMINGTON, IN - NOVEMBER 01:  Tandon Doss #81 of the Indiana Hooisers celebrates on the field during the game against the Central Michigan Chippewas at Memorial Stadium on November 1, 2008 in Bloomington, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    5. Taiwan Jones, RB, Raiders: A case of Al Davis taking a fast guy works out? What? Jones is one of the fastest players and should tag-team with Darren McFadden and perhaps Michael Bush.

    4. Christian Ballard, DL, Vikings: Like Houston, after failing a drug test, he dropped this far. Playing with Jared Allen is a benefit for him, and he could start in his sophomore year. 

    3. Clint Boling, OL, Bengals: Boling dropped here but he has nice versatility on the line. Unlike most fourth rounders, he'll have an opportunity to start sometime in the next few years.

    2. Sam Acho, DE/LB, Cardinals: The Cardinals will get their money's worth out of Acho, who could've gone as early as the second round. He has extraordinary character and is a solid pass rusher.

    1. Tandon Doss, WR, Ravens: Flacco didn't necessarily select him, but out of a group he was given, he hand-picked Doss. Doss has sure hands and will be a nice addition to the Ravens receiving corps.

Fifth Rounders

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    SAN DIEGO - NOVEMBER 20:  Wide receiver DeMarco Sampson #1 of the San Diego State Aztecs makes a catch over cornerback Brandon Burton #27 of the Utah Utes at Qualcomm Stadium on November 20, 2010 in San Diego, California.  Utah won 38-34.  (Photo by Steph
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    5. D.J. Williams, TE, Packers: Williams might just be the best pass catching tight end in the draft, as he has sure hands. His production will be hurt a little playing behind Jermichael Finley.

    4. Jeremy Kerley, WR, Jets: In my mind, Kerley was very underrated. The TCU product is explosive and could find time as the Jets fourth receiver. At his peak, though, he'll be a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver.

    3. Johnny White, RB, Bills: Fred Jackson is 30 and may be on his way out in a couple of years. If Spiller doesn't work out, then they turn to White. Even if he does, White could split carries with him. 

    2. Chris Carter, LB, Steelers: Like most linebackers taken in the late rounds, he'll initially find a home in special teams. The experienced Steelers defense will help him develop to become a better player. 

    1. Brandon Burton, CB, Vikings: Burton slipped to the fifth, and the Vikings snapped him up. Good move. Burton is a good cover corner but needs to improve in the run support department.

Sixth Rounders

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    ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 04:  Quan Sturdivant #52 of the North Carolina Tar Heels against the LSU Tigers during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Georgia Dome on September 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    5. Dwayne Harris, WR, Cowboys: Even in the highly paid squad of the Cowboys, Harris will fit nicely. He may not remain with the Cowboys forever, but with his hard work ethic, he'll continually improve.

    4. Chris Rucker, DB, Colts: I would've thought Rucker would have gone a round or two earlier, but he lasted here. Has the physical tools to succeed but has to be coached up. 

    3. Tyler Sash, S, Giants: Sash is an unheralded safety who made a living by making big plays at Iowa. He hits with velocity and will be serviceable. Answering questions about his athleticism is the key to a promising future.

    2. Ronald Johnson, WR, 49ers: If you watch Ronald Johnson, one of the first things you notice is that he's a bit small. But he is a playmaker, and the 49ers need that at WR. He'll likely start as a No. 3 receiver.

    1. Quan Sturdivant, LB, Cardinals: We knew his injury would drop him, but who would've thought it would take him this far down? Sturdivant is a great athlete who'll find a home in the Arizona 'backing corps mid-season.

Seventh Rounders

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    5. Da'Rel Scott, RB, Giants: Scott will benefit the Giants in several ways. First, the Giants can get rid of notorious fumbler Ahmad Bradshaw. Second, he will be the lightning to Brandon Jacob's thunder.

    4. Andrew Jackson, OL, Falcons: The Falcons traded away most their picks, but they hit on a lineman that plays with a mean streak. A quality back-up will be his role for the Falcons as offensive line wasn't a big need.

    3. Greg McElroy, QB, Jets: I'm not 100 percent sold on McElroy as a starter, but I know he will be a top backup. He manages the game well and makes very little mistakes. Who knows, maybe he'll even become a starter for a QB needy team. 

    2. Virgil Green, TE, Broncos: One of the better tight ends as a passing threat, Green fell to here. Green will compete with fellow rookie Julius Thomas. Green will be a solid tight end for the Broncos.

    1. Greg Romeus, DE/LB, Saints: A first round talent in the seventh round. That pretty much sums up how people will reflect on this pick in the future if Romeus can stay healthy.