2011 NFL Draft Grades: Biggest Winners and Losers for the 2011 NFL Draft
The 2011 NFL Draft is one of the toughest in recent memory to asses.
That is why I'm here, to guide you through one of the craziest drafts ever.
As in any draft, this one had winners and losers, so I won't beat around the bush here.
These are your final grades for 2011 NFL Draft winners and losers.
Winner: Detroit Lions
One of the biggest winners of this draft has to be the Detroit Lions.
They got Nick Fairley to pair with Ndamukong Suh to form a defensive tackle duo that should be illegal. In the second round, they picked up speedy receiver Titus Young and they also got the second-best running back in the draft in Mikel Leshoure.
This was a great, great draft for Detroit.
Loser: Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons are on the brink of the Super Bowl, so they traded two first-round picks and three other picks to go up and get the man they think will push them into the Super Bowl.
Unfortunately, that man was Julio Jones.
Don't get me wrong, I think Jones will be a great NFL player, but where the Falcons need impact players is on defense.
Winner: Houston Texans
It was a great draft for the Houston Texans.
First, they picked up J.J Watt, who is an absolute stud that will go hard every play.
Then they got one of the biggest steals in the draft by getting pass-rushing guru Brooks Reed, who has the best motor the NFL Draft has seen since Clay Matthews.
With their other second-round pick they got Brandon Harris, a corner with first-round talent.
The Houston Texans came into this draft with improving their pass defense as their No. 1 priority, and they did just that.
Great draft for Houston.
Loser: Seattle Seahawks
Trent Dilfer said it best. The Seattle Seahawks reached for nearly every player they took in this draft, and they didn't improve nearly as much as everybody else in their division.
Do you really think Matt Hasselbeck is coming back now? They're the biggest losers team-wise of the draft.
Winner: New York Giants
The New York Giants were winners as soon as they made their second-round pick.
After getting one of the biggest steals of the draft by picking up Prince Amukamara at No. 19 in Round 1, they got another first-round talent in Round 2 in Marvin Austin, who fell only because of character issues.
Tom Coughlin won't put up with character issues, so expect Austin to fix himself.
The Giants definitely got better with this draft.
Loser: Justin Houston
Justin Houston was going in the first round in most mock drafts, but he fell to Round 3.
Character concerns and a failed drug test made him fall, and I'm sure that when he receives his first paycheck, he'll regret smoking that joint.
Winner: Christian Ponder
A projected second-round pick, Christian Ponder ended up going 12th overall.
While we all know he's not as talented as a 12th overall pick, he will now be paid like one. Plus, he gets Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice to play with.
Loser: Minnesota Vikings
Where Christian Ponder wins, the Minnesota Vikings lose.
Not only do they miss out on Prince Amukamara and Nick Fairley, who were both still available at the time of their first pick, but they now must pay Christian Ponder like a 12th overall pick.
Even getting Kyle Rudolph in Round 2 doesn't save them from picking Ponder that high while guys like Amukamara and Fairley were still available.
Winner: Cam Newton
Despite not even being a top-10 prospect on most experts' boards, Cam Newton was the first overall pick in the draft.
Which means the real winner is his bank account, which should be filled with zeros as soon as he signs.
Loser: Da'Quan Bowers
I really feel for Da'Quan Bowers. Once considered a consensus first-overall pick, Bowers fell all the way to the middle of the second round.
The reason is because he is now being called a one-contract player. He will have a knee surgery within the next four years, and it could possibly end his career.
So now that we know he'll probably only get one contract, it's not a good sign that he will be paid like a middle-of-the-second-round pick.
I hope he plays a long, healthy career and proves us all wrong, but as of right now, how could Da'Quan Bowers not be a loser?
Winner: St. Louis Rams
I love what the St. Louis Rams did in this draft.
In the first round, they stole one of the best players in the draft when they got Robert Quinn with the 14th pick, and then they proceeded to address their need at wide receiver.
They got Sam Bradford three, capable pass-catchers who can come in and help right away.
Great job by the Rams.
Loser: Ryan Mallett
Ryan Mallett was the biggest and strongest-armed quarterback in this draft.
Usually that can help you climb into the late first round, as Joe Flacco and Josh Freeman have proved in recent seasons, but that wasn't the case for Mallett.
His character issues potentially pushed him from being a first-round pick all the way to the Patriots at pick No. 73, with whom he won't even have a chance to play for a while.
Winner: Cincinnati Bengals
One of the biggest winners of this draft has to be the Cincinnati Bengals.
With their first two picks, they officially started a new era in Cincy.
They got their new star wide receiver in A.J Green (he even keeps his mouth shut) and new star quarterback Andy Dalton (he hasn't demanded a trade yet).
They also got good value by getting Dontay Moch in Round 3.
The future is looking bright in Cincinnati, that's for certain.
Loser: New England Patriots
Normally, the words loser and New England Patriots don't belong in the same sentence, but this year is an exception.
I'm highly unimpressed with the Patriots draft this year.
They reached for Nate Solder in Round 1 when Anthony Castonzo and Gabe Carimi were both still on the board.
Then they chose corner Ras-I Dowling in Round 2 instead of a pass rusher like Brooks Reed when they desperately needed one.
The Pats also passed on Cameron Jordan in Round 1, wasted second and third-round picks on bottom-of-the-depth-chart running backs and then made their best pick of the draft, which is saying a lot considering all they got was a backup QB.
Not a good draft for Bill Belichick. The only good that came from this year's draft for them really was the fact that they added a first and second-round pick next season.
But in terms of this draft, not good, not at all.