Day one of the 2011 NFL draft made me feel like a Freshman again. Why? Because all I keep thinking this morning is "What the heck happened last night?" Four quarterbacks were picked in the top 12 picks. Jake Locker went before Blaine Gabbert, and the Jaguars made a bold move to jump up to pick #10 and land a potential franchise quarterback, who was not Christian Ponder or Colin Kaepernick or Andy Dalton.
I struggled to assemble my thoughts, but now that I have, I'll share them with you.
The Jaguars got the new face of their franchise last night, and what a face it is. My dad, who is a very goofy man, said this to me after the Jaguars picked:
"Brian, there are two guys that I really liked in the first round: Prince Amukamara, because he has the coolest name ever, and Blaine Gabbert because he looks just like Tom Brady... the hair, the jawline, everything."
Anyways, who am I suddenly scared of?
Detroit Lions: First Ndamakong Suh, and now Nick Fairly? Wow! That's a Stroud/Henderson level pairing at DT if Fairley is what we think he is. Add Kyle Vanden Bosch to the mix and that D-line will really cause a lot of headaches for years to come. The smart teams build up their team from the front back, and the Lions are clearly doing that now.
New Orleans Saints: They gave up a lot to get the guys they got, but the Saints added a couple of serious playmakers last night. Cameron Jordan had enough talent that many thought he could go as early as the low teens. Instead he lasted until pick 24 where the Saints grabbed him. Cameron Jordan could turn out to be the best 3-4 DE in this draft. Oh yeah, and then they trade back up to snag the consensus top running back in the draft in Mark Ingram with pick 28. That team knows what they're doing.
Who am I happy for?
New York Giants: Prince Amukamara at #19 is great value. I thought of him for the longest time as a top 10 or top 12 player in the 2011 NFL draft. I think a lot of people did. He showed his good speed at the combine, and really looked like a potential shut down corner to me. Jags fans were worried/assumed that Prince A would be gone before #16. The Giants got him three picks later. Well done, Tommy Boy.
Cleveland Browns: Man oh man, the Browns fleeced the Falcons worse than anyone I've ever seen! They basically got a whole extra draft from the Falcons. Two 1st rounders, a 2nd rounder and two 4th rounders? The Browns have enough picks to wipe their butt with one of them. As long as they are not completely incompetent drafters, which their pick of Phil Taylor the big NT suggests they are not, this trade could easily catapult this franchise back to relevance. Which is cool, because I like Peyton Hillis a lot and I'm always rooting for running teams to succeed.
The New England Patriots should be in one of the previous two lists for snagging a 2nd and a 2012 first for pick 28. BTW, that was exactly what I predicted they would get (admittedly from a different team, but still). The thing is, I'm not all of a sudden afraid of them because they're a powerhouse team already, and I can't say that I'm actually happy for them because, well they're the Patriots
Who do I feel sorry for?
Atlanta Falcons: Yeah, the not-so-secret about Julio Jones is that while he has incredible physical skill, he drops passes. That franchise is going down fast because of this, which is a shame because I'm seriously considering living in Atlanta long-term. I wonder if Jack Del Rio and Mike Smith talked yesterday, because if they did I'm guessing the conversation went something like:
JDR "Hey Mike. Heck of a trade you made."
Smith: "Yup, well, we targeted our biggest need and we went out and got the guy we wanted in Julio Jones."
JDR: "Yeah... Did you maybe pay attention to my Jaguars at all after you left for Atlanta in '08?"
Smith: "Yeah, I saw you guys gave up a bunch of draft picks for the one player to put the franchise over the top and it wound up setting the team back 3 or 4 years. Why do you ask?"
JDR: "Oh, no reason... Enjoy."
Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton is pretty much all they're going to come away from this draft with. On the bright side, they'll probably be in a great position to get Andrew Luck next year when they go 2-14 again... Oh, the irony.
Da'Quan Bowers: Bowers slid all the way out of the first round. For the guy who was thought of as the number one overall player in the draft, that's gotta hurt. Those doctors must have told teams that Bowers has the plague, because no one even went near him in round 1. Hopefully he'll find someone who is willing to take a risk on him in spite of all of his knee trouble.