2011 NFL Draft Facts: Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton Usher in Year of the QB

James Brown@@chasingballgameSenior Analyst IApril 9, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Facts: Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton Usher in Year of the QB

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Cam Newton passes the ball 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

    The NFL draft is quickly approaching, and there are still many questions that remain unanswered.

    Using the latest NFL rumors and mock drafts, this edition of Fact or Fiction will attempt to answer the most compelling questions surrounding the NFL draft.

    The NFL draft will have a different feel to it with a pending lockout looming and it will be interesting to see how it all unfolds.

2011 Is the Year of the Quarterback

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    TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 28:  Quarterback Blaine Gabbert #11 of the Missouri Tigers drops back to pass during the Insight Bowl against the Iowa Hawkeyes  at Sun Devil Stadium on December 28, 2010 in Tempe, Arizona.  The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers 27-24.  (P
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Fact: 2011 will see a great stable of quarterbacks heading to the NFL. While it is uncertain how many of them will pan out at the next level, teams that need signal-callers will have plenty to choose from.

    Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert will go in the first round. Jake Locker and Andy Dalton have tremendous upside, and Christian Ponder is zipping up the big board. Ryan Mallett and Colin Kaepernick are worth a pick and even sleepers like Tyrod Taylor are worth a look.

    The draft is filled with talent, and it won’t be lacking at the quarterback position.

Da'Quan Bowers Will Fall out of the Top 15

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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

    Fact: At one point, Da'Quan Bowers was the projected No. 1 overall pick.

    This defensive dynamo out of Clemson is a quarterback’s worst nightmare, as he has the potential to be a great pass rusher in the NFL, if he is healthy.

    Medical concerns have become a big issue with Bowers, and that has teams avoiding him like the plague.

    His big numbers from a year ago are also under scrutiny, as video reveals six of his 15 sacks were not all achieved based on his ability, but because he was left unblocked.  

    It all equates to a bad draft day for Bowers, who could easily drop out of the top 20.

The Minnesota Vikings Will Draft a Quarterback in the First Round

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    DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 13:  Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on during warm ups prior to playing the New York Giants at Ford Field on December 13, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Fiction: The Vikings need a quarterback and since Brett Favre is not coming back to town, the easy assumption is they will draft one with the first pick.

    However, the Vikings need more than just a quarterback, and this draft is stocked with young signal-callers with potential.

    Don’t be surprised if the Vikings use the first pick on a defensive end like Da’Quan Bowers or Cameron Jordan. With Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert already off the board, the Vikings can wait to get a quarterback and build the team with the first-round pick.

Georgia’s A.J Green Is the Best Wide Receiver in the Draft

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Julio Jones #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after a long reception against the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Fiction: The best wide receiver in the draft is Julio Jones out of Alabama.

    A.J.Green is very talented and a deep threat that will improve any NFL team but don’t sleep on Jones.

    Jones has the same type of bruising physique and is a threat underneath, catching short passes as well as running deep routes.  He is lighting quick and has the ability to separate from defensive backs and break tackles.

    Both wide receivers are first-round talents, but Julio Jones gets the nod has the best on the board.

Cam Newton Will Be Drafted No. 1 Overall

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Cameron Newton #2 of the Auburn Tigers scrambles against the Oregon Ducks during the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Peters
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Fact:  The Carolina Panthers have plenty of holes to fill, so why not draft Cam Newton first overall?

    Newton brings tremendous buzz and will undoubtedly become a popular player in Carolina. This means bringing fans back to the stadium and revenue from sales of Newton's jersey.

    There is some argument to whether or not Newton is the best player in the draft, but he is the best fit for the Carolina Panthers.

Quarterback Jake Locker Will Be Drafted by the Seattle Seahawks

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    SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 11:  Quarterback Jake Locker #10 of the Washington Huskies passes against the Syracuse Orange on September 11, 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Fiction: Jake Locker had a chance to come out and be the No. 1 pick a year ago but stayed at Washington and it cost him with injuries by playing on a bad team.

    He is coming out this year, and his stock is slowly starting to rise after a “safe” pro day in Seattle. Although the Seattle Seahawks seem to be a nice destination for the hometown quarterback, he will end up on a different team.

    Locker does not fit well in the west coast system that Seattle runs, and he does not have the accuracy needed to succeed.  Minnesota and Washington are potential destinations and don’t be surprised if Buffalo trades up to take a shot at Locker.

Mike Pouncey Will Be Drafted by the Dallas Cowboys

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    Fact: If you follow Mike Pouncey on Twitter, you already know he is on his way to Big D. Pouncey tweeted that he would not be surprised if he ended up in Dallas next year.

    The tweet has attracted some questions that the offensive lineman has answered, and it has yet to be removed. It will be interesting to see how many other players will announce where they will land as the draft approaches.

Mark Ingram Is Headed to the Miami Dolphins

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Mark Ingram #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide rushes for a touchdown against the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Fiction: Mark Ingram will not be a member of the Miami Dolphins.

    Many of the mock drafts out there today have Ingram going to the Dolphins, but in a draft that is limited on first-round running backs, many teams have interest in the Heisman trophy winner.

    Another deterrent could be the shelf life of running backs.

    Running backs are fragile to begin with, and Ingram has a history with knee injuries. The Dolphins will view Ingram as a risk, and he could slip out of the first round if the New England Patriots decide to pass on him at No. 28.

Cam Newton Is the Best Player in the Draft

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 02:  Marcell Dareus #57 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Florida Gators at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 2, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Fiction: Cam Newton may bet all the hype, but the best player in the draft is defensive tackle Marcell Dareus.

    Dareus is a main stay on the front of any line in the NFL. He carries his weight well, and he is surprisingly agile for a big man. Dareus has the kind of talent that a team can build the defense around, and he will be a mainstay in the league for a long time.


     

The NFL Labor Dispute Will Overshadow the Draft

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    WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 11:  NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith (C) speaks as he and a group of player representatives arrive for labor talks at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 11, 2011 in Washington, D
    Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images

    Fact: This is the easiest question on the board.

    Of course, the potential for an NFL lockout will over shadow this draft.

    No future drafts beyond 2011 are written into the expired CBA, NFL teams have been informed that they can still trade future draft picks this year, but that they will do so at their own risk.

    Linebacker Von Miller is already part of the lawsuit, and these drafted rookies may not be playing next year.

    There is some slim hope this will all be solved by the time the draft gets underway, but that is wishful thinking.

    Matt Regaw is a B/R Featured Columnist and the founder of BookieBlitz.com, your one-stop shop for sports articles, previews and predictions. Feel free to contact Matt at mregaw@gmail.com.

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