2011 NFL Draft: 25 Key Questions Heading into Draft Season
With the 2011 NFL Draft season on the horizon, it's finally an appropriate time to look ahead to next April.
Over half the teams in the NFL will have their seasons end this Sunday, and their focus will turn to one of my favorite times of the year, draft season.
These are the 25 most pressing questions for the 2011 Draft season...take them all in.
25. Will Donovan McNabb Get Cut?
The Washington Redskins have made no promises to McNabb, and if he's cut, all of a sudden the Redskins will be looking for a quarterback.
24. Will Cam Newton's NCAA Investigation Hurt His Draft Stock?
Most likely not, but if a few teams are worried, he could fall considerably.
23. Will Andrew Luck Go Pro or Stay at Stanford?
No one's sure what Luck will do. If he comes out, he's likely the No. 1 overall pick. If not, his absence will shake up the entire draft.
22. Have the Broncos Found Their Future QB in Tim Tebow?
Tim Tebow has been impressive and surprising in his first two starts, and if the Broncos see him as their franchise guy, they'll look at other positions in the 2011 draft.
21. Will the Indianapolis Colts Begin to Look for Peyton Manning's Replacement?
Manning, at times, wasn't himself this year, but he's still among the best in the NFL. Still, the Colts could start searching for his replacement this offseason, maybe in the draft.
20. Is John Skelton the Answer in Arizona?
Many have the Cardinals penciled in for a quarterback in the upcoming draft, but with Skelton's size and arm, he could be the future for Ken Whisenhunt.
19. Will the Bills Build Their Franchise Around Ryan Fitzpatrick?
The Bills are another team many believe will go quarterback in the first round of the draft. But after a solid year from the career backup, they could be looking elsewhere.
18. Will Ryan Mallett's Arm Shoot Him Up Draft Boards?
Every year there's a prospect who uses the Combine as a springboard to become a higher selection. When Mallett is firing rockets across the field in Indy, he could open many GM's eyes.
17. Will Nick Fairley's Versatility Put Him Ahead of Marcel Dareus?
Both of these defensive lineman are first-round material, but with Fairley capable of playing in the 3-4 or 4-3 and being slotted in as a DE or DT, he could cement himself as the best interior defensive front-runner in the draft.
16. Is Gabe Carimi Worthy of a Top-10 Selection?
It looks as though Carimi is the consensus top tackle in the class, but with many teams in need of edge linemen, will Carimi be able to prove himself worthy of a top-10 pick?
15. Where Will the Seattle Seahawks Turn in Their Search for a Franchise QB?
Matt Hasselbeck doesn't have many years left, and I doubt Seahawks management is banking on Charlie Whitehurst. They're in the sweepstakes for a top-tier signal caller.
14. How Dedicated Are the Green Bay Packers to Upgrading Their Run Game?
The Packers offense is superb, but very one-dimensional.
Aaron Rodgers can't do it all, and a top runner would be a huge boost.
13. Is Carson Palmer Done in Cincinnati?
Carson Palmer was booed multiple times at home this season, in the midst of his terrible 2010 campaign.
If Marvin Lewis is fired, the new coaching staff may want a young, new quarterback.
12. If Brett Favre Retires, Who's Next at QB for Vikings?
Brett Favre has put the Vikings in quite the predicament, and we aren't sure if Tarvaris Jackson or Joe Webb are the answer in Minnesota.
11. Will the Raiders Continue to Put Their First Priority on Drafting Speed?
They've made most of their recent selections based on the famous 40-yard dash, and actually, Jacoby Ford turned in quite the rookie season.
If so, look for Oakland to draft the guys with the lowest 40 time.
10. Who Will Test Better at the Combine: Julio Jones or Justin Blackmon?
These two physical receivers are the possession targets of the future in the NFL. Assuming Blackmon comes out, the battle between these two dynamic wideouts could be very intriguing.
9. How Far Will Jake Locker Fall?
If Locker would have come out last season, he probably would have been the No. 1 overall pick.
But after a disappointing and inaccurate senior season, Locker certainly hurt his draft stock.
8. How Will Mark Ingram Perform at the Combine?
The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner has been extremely productive with the Crimson Tide, with some analysts saying he runs like Emmitt Smith. If Ingram runs slow at the Combine, what could that do for his draft stock?
7. How Will Kyle Rudolph's Injury Affect His Draft Decision?
He'll still most likely enter the draft, but after getting surgery on his hamstring, will he stay in South Bend one more season? If he is a 2011 draft entry, how much has his injury hurt his draft stock?
6. After Da'Quan Bowers Who Will Emerge as the Best Pass Rusher in the Class?
Bowers is a likely top-three pick, but many teams are in dire need of a pure pass rusher. Von Miller?
5. How Will Robert Quinn's 2010 Absence Hurt His Draft Stock?
Robert Quinn was widely considered the ideal hybrid at the next level heading into the 2010 season, but without playing a down this year, where will he land in the draft?
4. Will the Indianapolis Colts Look for a Center?
Jeff Saturday isn't going to be around forever, but the Colts know the importance of a physical and intelligent pivot.
3. What Will the Eagles Do with Kevin Kolb?
Now that Vick's the man in Philadelphia, will the Eagles be looking to ship Kevin Kolb? If so, a bottom-feeder in need of a QB may not have to draft one, if they land No. 4.
2. Will the Texans Look to Upgrade Their Secondary in the Draft or Free Agency?
The Texans are dying for help in their defensive backfield, and it's possible they'll add a vet in free agency and draft a few youngsters in the draft. Things are that bad.
1. Will the Ravens Continue to Add Youth to Their Defense?
The Ravens still boast one of the NFL's best defenses, but they certainly need more youth to their secondary and linebacking core.