As the 2nd round of the draft is upon us, here’s my recap of round 1:
The Carolina Panthers did what they had to taking quarterback Cam Newton from Auburn; they now have to surround him with talent to make sure he succeeds. He’ll have to dive right into the playbook and learn the NFL terminology. They’ll definitely have to get a wide receiver as Steve Smith is getting up there in age.
The Arizona Cardinals are desperate for a quarterback, but when cornerback from LSU Patrick Peterson fell to them, they had no choice but to take him, and with the majority of the top tier quarterbacks taken already they’ll most likely have to look in free agency or trades to acquire.
With the #6 pick the Cleveland Browns traded with the Atlanta Falcons receiving the 27th Pick a 2011 2nd and 4th round pick as well as a 2012 1st and 4th round pick. The Falcons then proceeded to take wide receiver Julio Jones from Georgia, now pairing him up with Roddy White gives them a solid one two punch on the outside. If Jones can play to his potential, the Falcons will have two Pro Bowl caliber players to throw to for years to come.
The Tennessee Titans selected quarterback from Washington Jake Locker. The intrigue with this pick, he has darn near the same skill set as Vince Young, the player they plan on releasing. He’s athletic and there are concerns with his accuracy, however Locker doesn’t pose any off the field issues and that’s what many are saying why they selected a player so close to one they already have. Time will tell if Locker can produce like Young.
The Jacksonville Jaguars selected quarterback Blaine Gabbert from Missouri. Quality pick, they have the luxury of sitting him behind David Garrard and grooming him over the next season or two. Then depending on the production of Garrard, that learning curve may need to be fast tracked and this is a perfect example of no job is safe in the NFL.
The Minnesota Vikings have been in need of a quarterback for the last few seasons. After the Tavaris Jackson experiment wasn’t going how the envisioned, they then acquired Brett Favre and now they have Christian Ponder quarterback from Florida State. At the 12th pick, they passed on defensive lineman Nick Fairley, offensive lineman Anthony Castanzo. Both of these players could’ve added youth to an area of their team that is aging. Ponder may fit a need, but due to the pieces surrounding him, who knows how long it will stay filed.
The Detroit Lions in my opinion got the steal of the draft selecting Nick Fairley defensive lineman from Auburn. You pair him with Ndomakung Suh and I find it very hard to believe a team will be able to run on them with much success. With Jim Schwartz calling the defensive call, you may see a team that will cause chaos for Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler for years.
The Browns who traded out of the 6th pick down to the 27th pick decided they weren’t done. They then swapped first round picks with the Kansas City Chiefs (the Browns receiving the 21st and the Chiefs receiving 27th pick) and sending their 2011 3rd round pick to the Chiefs as well. And with all that movement, the Browns took Phil Taylor defensive tackle from Baylor. This does fill a need the Browns are desperately weak in, considering there ineptness against the run. However, rumors of injury concerns with his feet gave some teams some hesitation in taking Taylor and he has battled weight issues during college. Nonetheless, a focused Taylor could mean a productive run defense for the Browns.
Cool, calm and quiet the Indianapolis Colts continue to add pieces around Peyton Manning to keep him upright, and this year’s draft is no different. The Colts selected offensive lineman Anthony Castonzo. Value and depth is what was obtained here; this won’t win any awards for flash, but Peyton will be more than appreciative.
The New Orleans Saints needing help at only a few positions selected Cameron Jordan defensive end from The University of California. Growing up under the tutelage of his dad former tight end Steve Jordan knows firsthand what it will take to be successful. With a his strength Jordan won’t be pushed around, and will provide a solid anchor opposite of fellow Saint defensive end Will Smith.
The Baltimore Ravens have had one of the best defensive runs in the history of the NFL. However, as the defense ages, there is the need to have an influx of youth to preserve your veterans. And with their 27th pick the Ravens selected Jimmy Smith, cornerback from Colorado. Though Smith has some character issues, surrounding him with veterans Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs, he should be just fine. As far as talent goes, he’s a top 10 talent; however character issues are what caused him to fall. Time will tell if Smith has seen the error of his ways, cause if he has, on a team like the Ravens he could be the one the torch is passed to.
Here we are again talking about the Saints; they traded back into the 1st round sending the New England Patriots their 2011 2nd round pick and 2012 1st round pick. With that 28th pick the Saints drafted work horse running back Mark Ingram from Alabama. Ingram is as reliable as those hands in the All State commercials. He holds on to the ball, can run in between the tackles and has the burst enough to run away from defenders. Playing on turf should only help his elusiveness.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were picking 31st and it should be no surprise they obtained a quality player here. Always known for their solid drafting skills the Steelers chose defensive end Cameron Heyward from The Ohio State University. Adding that young man to a defense that was already dangerous with James Harrison and company, Heyward should have no trouble fitting in.
The Green Bay Packers at times last year had issues keeping Aaron Rodgers upright, he suffered numerous concussions last year which could’ve easily derailed their Super Bowl run. So them taking Derek Sherrod out of Mississippi State makes all the sense in the world. He’s solid in pass protection which will serve the Packers well considering how often they throw the ball.