Big 12 Insider: How Did the Conference Do in the Draft?
The 2011 NFL Draft has come to a close, and there was a lot of interesting action during the draft. Some of the most interesting news surrounded where some of the Big 12’s best and brightest went in the draft and which teams drafted them.
The following is a look, by school, at all of the players that were drafted in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Note: Kansas didn't have any draft picks this year.
Blaine Gabbert-QB: Round 1, No. 10 pick to Jacksonville
This was a nice pick by the Jaguars, and if he gets started off right, he should have a solid career there.
Aldon Smith: Round 1, No. 7 to San Francisco
The 49ers made Smith a high pick, seeing that they needed the help at the defensive end position. Hopefully Smith can live up to his lofty billing and will be able to be what the Niners think he can be.
Andrew Gachkar, OLB: Round 7, No. 234 to San Diego
This one came as a bit of a surprise because there weren’t too many people out there that felt that Gachkar would be picked, but the Chargers are taking a chance on him. Perhaps he can develop into a nice backup in the future.
Not Drafted: Kevin Rutland, DB
It was thought that Rutland could be drafted in the later rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft, but it wasn’t meant to be. Rutland should see some interested as an undrafted free agent once those players can be signed.
Von Miller, LB: Round 1, No. 2 to Denver
The Broncos went defense with their first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, and they got a great player in Miller. Miller will line up on one side with pass rushing expert Elvis Dumervil on the other side and give opponent’s headaches.
Not Drafted: Jerrod Johnson, QB
Johnson was not picked in the NFL Draft, but he was the first pick in the UFL Draft. Maybe he will find his way into the NFL at some point in the future, but no one had enough interest in him to take him in the draft.
Sam Acho, OLB: Round 4, No. 6 to Arizona
The Cardinals are getting a guy that will be a starter at the outside linebacker position at some point in his career. Acho landed in a good spot, and we should be hearing about him more on Sundays in the future.
Chykie Brown, CB: Round 5, No. 33 to Baltimore
The cornerback-hungry Ravens snatched Brown and will certainly get a shot to contribute early on in his career.
Curtis Brown, CB: Round 3, No. 31 to Pittsburgh
The Steelers needed help at the cornerback position, and they found it with Brown in the third round. Brown was thought to be the second-best player to come out of Texas this year by several draft experts, and his selection proves this.
Aaron Williams, CB: Round 2, No. 2 to Buffalo
The Bills added to their already solid secondary by drafting Williams early in the second round. Williams is going into a good situation with the Bills and has a chance to be a Pro Bowl player in short order.
Not Drafted: Kyle Hix, OT
Experts felt that Hix could be drafted in the later rounds of the draft, but as it turned he went undrafted. It’s possible he could be picked up as an undrafted free agent and should get some looks by a few NFL teams once they are able to sign those undrafted players.
Daniel Thomas, RB: Round 2, No. 30 to Miami
The Dolphins were in need of a running back, and after bypassing one in the first round, they grabbed Thomas in the second round. He should see immediate action in Miami. Experts felt that he was a mid-round prospect, but the Dolphins saw value and took him late in the second round.
Baron Batch, RB: Round 7, No. 29 to Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers added some depth at the running back position by taking Batch. Batch had been thought to be a seventh round pick or a free agent heading into the draft and most likely went right where he should have.
Not Drafted: Colby Whitlock, DT
Whitlock had received some interest from NFL teams but wasn’t able to get drafted in this year’s draft. Look for him to land with a team in the NFL after the restrictions on signing undrafted free agents.
Not Drafted: David Sims, DB
The Cyclones didn’t have any players drafted this year and had one prospect that should have gotten some late round consideration in Sims. Sims may get some calls from NFL teams in the future, and he may land on a practice squad at some point.
Jalil Brown, DB: Round 4, No. 21 to Kansas City
Brown will help add some depth to the Chief’s secondary, but he may have gone a little too high for some. Brown should be able to make the team and have a nice career in the NFL.
Scotty McKnight, WR: Round 7, No. 24 to the New York Jets
The Jets are in need of help at wide receiver; even though McKnight is a fringe player as a seventh round pick, he will give them some depth at that position. McKnight was thought to be headed towards being an undrafted free agent but got picked up at the last moment and has a chance to contribute in New York.
Jimmy Smith, CB: Round 1, No. 27 to Baltimore
Baltimore had a big need at the cornerback position, and they took the best guy for the job at that point in the draft. Character concerns may have kept Smith from being selected a little earlier than this, but he went in the right spot and to the right team.
Hopefully he has a nice career with Baltimore.
Nate Solder, OT: Round 1, No. 17 to New England Patriots
The Patriots went ahead and took care of their need on the offensive line and took Solder, one of the best offensive tackles in this year’s draft. Solder should prove to be a good fit in the Patriots system and will see himself be a starter right away. Solder has a high ceiling and has the potential to have a good career in New England.
Prince Amukamara, CB: Round 1, No. 19 to the New York Giants
The Cornhuskers started to move off of the board early in the draft after their best player in the draft went to the New York Giants. After suffering some injury problems in the secondary over the past couple of seasons the Giants really got better and Amukamara should be a star with them shortly. This was a great pick.
Dejon Gomes, DB: Round 5, No. 15 to Washington
The Redskins decided to take a shot at Gomes, a player that could have been a seventh round pick and was thought to be by many experts. Gomes workouts this offseason may have creeped him up the Redskin’s draft boards.
He will get a shot to make the roster and could add some depth in the secondary for them in 2011.
Eric Hagg, DB: Round 7, No. 45 to Cleveland
Hagg just made the cut in this year’s draft and will try to make the team as a long shot. Hagg may be able to exhibit enough ability to make the Browns consider him as a practice squad player but has a lot of work to go in order to make Cleveland’s active roster (if he can).
Roy Helu, RB: Round 4, No. 8 to Washington
The Redskins must have really liked the Nebraska players as this was the third one that they selected. Helu has an opportunity to make the roster as a back that can get those tough yards through the middle and help make up for the loss of Clinton Portis. He should be able to make the roster and have a decent career in Washington.
Alex Henery, K: Round 4, No. 23 to Philadelphia
The Eagles took Henery in the fourth round meaning that he will probably end up being the starting kicker, barring any setbacks, before it’s all said and done. Henery should be able to fit what the Eagles are looking for in a kicker but will have a tough place to play with the weather and the crowd there in Philadelphia.
Niles Paul, WR: Round 5, No. 24 to Washington
Washington dipped into the Cornhuskers pool of talent and pulled out their third Nebraska player in Paul. Paul has quietly been one of the more underrated wide receivers in the draft. With his versatility (his ability to play on special teams and return kicks) he could find a home on their active roster at the end of training camp.
Keep an eye on Paul as he may develop into a solid player as his career moves forward.
Keith Williams, OL: Round 6, No. 31 Picked 31st, Round 6 by the Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers needed a lot of offensive line help in this draft, and even though they waited until the sixth round to grab him, Williams may be able to contribute at some point in his career. He’s got a long uphill battle ahead of him but he just might make the practice squad and end up contributing sometime down the road.
Not Drafted: Pierre Allen, DL
Allen not being drafted comes as a little bit of a surprise because he was rated by some to be a fifth or sixth round pick. You can bet that someone is going to want him when undrafted free agents can be signed.
Henry Richard, OL
Richard is another prospect that most experts felt could have been a late round pick but he slipped out of the draft without getting drafted. He’s another strong candidate for getting signed as an undrafted free agent and making his way into the NFL that way.
Mikail Baker, DB: Round 7, Picked 13th, Round 7 to the St. Louis Rams
Depth was the key motive here for the Rams and he will get a shot to add some depth to their secondary. Heading into the draft, it was projected that Baker would be an undrafted free agent so his being drafted did come as somewhat of a surprise.
Perhaps he can make it onto the practice squad, but it’s possible his career in the NFL could be short.
Jay Finley, RB: Round 7, No. 43 to the Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals are in a never ending state of trying to find some backups at the running back position and Finley will get a shot at helping them out there. Finley, like Baker, was another player that was not figured to be taken in the draft so his selection comes as a surprise also.
Can he make the final roster? It’s not likely but you could see him on a practice squad somewhere as the 2011 season starts.
Phil Taylor, DT: Round 1, No. 21 to the Cleveland Browns
This appears to be the spot where Taylor should have gone and he went to a team that can really use his services. With the Browns in need of someone to man the middle of their defensive line the Browns will utilize Taylor right away.
If Taylor can live up to his billing the Browns defense will be that much better in 2011 and beyond.
Danny Watkins, OG: Round 1, No. 21 to Philadelphia
The Eagles went into this year’s draft knowing that they needed some help on the offensive line and with their first round pick they added some help there with Watkins. Watkins age was thought to be a deterrent to some teams but he went right about where most people thought he would go.
Let’s see how he does in Philadelphia and how long his career lasts.
Kendall Hunter, RB: Round 4, No. 18 to San Francisco
Hunter ended up being the only Cowboy drafted in the draft and he’s poised to contribute on offense for the 49ers right away. Most people feel that Hunter was a third or fourth round talent so he went right about where he should have.
With Frank Gore injured often and little depth at the running back position, Hunter should see some opportunities with the 49ers and make their active roster this season.
Not Drafted: Dan Bailey, K
Kickers don’t get drafted that much so this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Look for Bailey to be signed as an extra training camp “leg” when undrafted free agents can be signed.
Ugo Chinasa, DL
Chinasa had a chance of getting drafted in the later rounds of the draft but teams may have felt that he was too inconsistent and didn’t have enough to be drafted. It’s possible that he could be picked up as an undrafted free agent but in order to make an NFL team he needs to prove he will play all out all of the time.
Orie Lemon, LB
Lemon went into the draft with some pretty nice draft grades and it was thought, by some experts, the he would get picked in this year’s draft. But that didn’t happen and now Lemon stands ready to be picked up by someone that may be surprised at what they get in Lemon.
Look for him to get picked up quickly once undrafted free agents can be signed.
Andrew McGee, DB
Like Lemon, McGee came into the draft with a rating that many thought would earn him a late round pick but that didn’t happen. Like so many others, he should be signed an on an NFL roster in training camp.