Back To Blog
Thoughts on the 2011 NFL Draft (1st Round)


#1 Panthers take Cam Newton (QB)
I was really hoping Roger Goodell would announce, "With the first pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers select... Prince Amukamara!" I think the fans in Radio City Music Hall would've torn the place apart.
Can't say I'm super excited about this pick. He may be great, but to give $40-50MM guaranteed to a guy who has a history of off the field issues and some character / work ethic issues to be the face of your franchise... Let's hope he pulls it together.
#2 Broncos take Von Miller (OLB)
This guy better be the second coming of Lawrence Taylor to be taken #2 OVERALL! Apparently he has amazing 40 times and really annihilated the heavy bag on Sports Science. His game film looked just ok to me. If there's any position you can get value for in later rounds, it's linebacker. 
#3 Buffalo takes Marcell Dareus (DE)
If you're iffy on this guy, just watch this segment of him on ESPN's Sports Science [link]. This is scary stuff. Of course, this reminds me of the time Yi JIanlian worked out against a chair and was drafted by the Bucks #6 overall. I'm serious. He never worked out against other players. He did look great posting up that chair though. Of course, in fairness to Dareus, he has quite a body of work at Alabama.
#4 Cincinnati takes A.J. Green (WR)
Couldn't they just keep Ochocinco and use this pick on one of the many needs of a 4-12 team? Is this really so complicated? Are they so sick of him that they had to take a WR with this pick?
#5 Arizona takes Patrick Peterson (CB)
Wow, taking a CB at #5. I know people really love this guy but that's very high. Any plans to address their horrendous QB situation?
#6 Atlanta takes Julio Jones (WR)
Ok, this pick is inconceivable to me. Atlanta traded a 1, 2, and 4 this year AND their #1 and #4 next year for this pick. (Congratulations, Cleveland.) I kid you not. Why would they do this? If you're trading 2 #1s, a #2, and a #4 -- why not just make a list of the top 5 WRs in the NFL right now and call each team and see who would do that deal? At least 2 or 3 of them would. Instead, you're drafting a rookie (always a reasonable probability for bust potential) and rookie WRs are notorious for having, at best, mediocre rookie seasons. I hate this trade for Atlanta. There's bold and there's stupid.
#8 Tennessee takes Jake Locker (QB)
#1 attribute for a QB? Has to be accuracy right? Well, this guy was like a 54% passer at UW. In his defense, Gruden points out that he had a subpar supporting cast and had to throw a lot of balls away. That being said, the film I saw of him didn't show an on the money type thrower. However, he sure is fast. Fastest QB I've seen since Michael Vick probably. Oh wait. I'm not allowed to compare white QBs to black QBs. Steve Young?
#9 Dallas take Tyron Smith (OT)
It's kind of awesome that the fans boo the living daylights out of Goodell every time out. Go get a deal done Goodell.
Also, shouldn't someone sit down with Goodell before this and just go over the pronunciations of all the player names? Isn't that the one thing he really has to get right?
Gruden makes a good point here. Why is this guy playing RT and not LT? And is it me or does Jon Gruden not really respect Mel Kiper Jr.'s opinion?
#11 Houston takes JJ Watt (DE)
Former TE, practice squad player of the year -- in Gruden's words, "A self made man." Impressive. The footage of him reflects that too -- non-stop motor. I like this pick.
#12 Minnesota takes Christian Ponder (QB)
I love when surprise picks occur. Not only does the crowd go nuts, but so do Gruden and Kiper. Good footage of Ponder. Throws in tight windows. Accurate. At least the Vikings have finally taken a QB. 
#13 Detroit takes Nick Fairley (DT)
My buddy Gavin calls this "the pick of the draft at this point" and I couldn't agree more. They already have Suh and now Fairley? Is there any team in the league who wouldn't worry about how to block them? I hear all the character concerns about Fairley -- but it's about value and risk/reward. Fairley at #13 is way different than Fairley at #1 or even #5. This is a brilliant pick. Well worth the risk even if he doesn't work out. Just watch his tape. He's awesome.
By the way, they just showed footage of Da'Quan Bowers -- the words literally out of my mouth? "Holy smokes." I can't believe this guy didn't get drafted in the 1st round. His knees must look terrible. Still... 
#28 New Orleans takes Mark Ingram (RB)
The Patriots had this pick and traded it for a #2 this year and New Orleans' #1 next year. Wow. What a haul. A free #2 in exchange for waiting a year. Great deal. Clearly the Saints like Ingram though. But that's the thing. There are great players that people like every year. But the bust potential is too high. Stock pile high picks who are paid at reasonable prices. Great move. Second round picks are like solid gold.
#30 Jets take Muhammad Wilkerson (DE)
This guy looks fast, explosive, and played in a 3-4. Kiper thinks he was one of the top 10 or 11 players in the draft. Love this pick.