2011 NFL Draft: Round 1 Recap

By Jason Ciano
 
 I arrived at the draft and took some photos, cheered a while and before I knew it the first 5 picks whizzed by; then the NFL DRAFT Started! 
 
 With a trade to the 6th pick Atlanta might have taken the midnight train to Georgia securing WR Julio Jones, but they got ROBBED doing it. The Browns got their 2011  27, 59 and 124 picks plus next year’s 1 and 4 for the 6!
 
 I quickly grabbed a diet Pepsi, and as I typed that I though, how can a fella get endorsements around here?
 
 I’m PONDERING who the 49ers will take, could it be DE Aldon Smith?  I must admit, I had them going Blaine Gabbert or trading down. Rumor has it they tried to trade out and then took the best edge rusher on their board. And it is Aldon Smith. Smith will have to learn to play outside linebacker with the 49er defense but should add to their 36 total sacks last year. Looks like Jim Harbaugh is gonna try and horse whisperer Alex Smith or bring in a FA.
 
 In the 8 hole I thought I saw Blaine answer his phone, but it is JAKE LOCKER from UW, GO HUSKIES, I yelled and said oh Shizzle…. As I thought of what just happened, I realized this draft was going on the crazy train. One thing is certain, staying in college and not coming out early, probably helped his career. Not many players have the hutzpah or rather chutzpah to  graduate, help the team make the playoffs, and skip the chance to make a few million. No matter what, Tennessee will be ok with Locker.
 
 With the 9th pick Dallas finally took Tyrone Smith 2 days after Jerry said he wouldn’t take a tackle on the NFL network. Mr. Jones should run for office.
 
 So things are back to normal, when Washington trades down with Jacksonville, and at 10 they take Blaine Gabbert. This was good value and need and if he sits behind David Gerrard for a couple years, he could become Aaron Rodgers.
 
 At 11 Houston took DE JJ Watt, probably a bone with some meat on it for new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. That H-Town defense ranked 30th overall and last against the pass so he is gonna help in a hurry. Surprisingly, the Texans are fairly stout against the run at 13th best.
 
 Have I told you yet I am a Charger fan? Nothing but Bolts for me through and through. I hoped San Diego would get DE JJ Watt but there were too many 3-4 defense teams in front of us for him to last to 18; I thought we might have to move to 10 to get him.
 
 Vikings fans were now sounding the horns as they were on the clock at 12 and I believe they stretched the most and took QB Christian Ponder, which will be a bad idea unless they bring in a Bulger or McNabb to mentor him. 
 
 The buzz of the room turn confused as a lot of guys that were TOP 15 talents are still on the board!
 
 Detroit chose Nick Fairley whose stock dropped a bit before the draft. Looks like a perfect fit for that system and the only questions that remain are if he’s a one-hit wonder or if he’s sufficiently motivated.
 
 The St. Louis Rams took DE Robert Quinn who might be the steal of the draft at 14. Probably will start backing up DE James Hall. He didn’t play football last year because he took money from an agent. He owned up to his mistake and is gonna be playing with an edge.
 
 The Dolphins make a solid choice with Mike Pouncey, the G/C out of Florida. Will probably play center but can help out elsewhere if needed. The beginning of an upgrade for the Miami front line, which should start to improve from 38 sacks and 70 QB hits allowed.  I guess he will hitchhike to work today, he doesn’t have far to go! 
 
 Now I start hearing Hail to the Redskins and realize they are back on the clock and they select DE Ryan Kerrigan, a player most believe is going to be a stud, kinda like Long from a few years back. Either way the Skins got great value at 14, moved back a bit, and snatched a pick for their troubles.
 
 With the 1st round half over I have to take a break. Eating and drinkin’ with both hands, I’m waiting for the Patriots to take DE Cameron Jordan right in front of my Bolts!
 
 The Pats came marching in and they pick  OT Nate Solder, who I had ranked behind Gabe Carimi, but he should be a good starter for them. Remember, free agent OT Matt Light is recovering from shoulder surgery and is past 30, and called out NE owner Bob Kraft for sitting out the end of CBA talks. G Logan Mankins is mad as a wet hen he was franchised again, and G Stephen Neal retired. Oh, ok. As usual, Belichick’s ahead of the curve and last I checked, pretty good.
 
 And now the pick I have been waiting for, the SAN DIEGO CHARGERS are on the clock. I hoped DE Cameron Jordan, DE JJ Watt or OT Anthony Castonzo would be available. I didn’t think DT Corey Liuget would be available here and besides, we play a 3-4 so why we would take him anyway. With the 18th pick in the 2011 draft the CHARGERS select Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois. WHAT?!! Ok, I will not judge this pick for 2 years, unless one of the other two make the Pro Bowl and he doesn’t!  He has good size, quickness, footwork and is athletic but still, still, we take a 4-3 tackle and we’ll try and make a 3-4 DE/OLB out of him?
  
 Well onto 19 as we still have a draft here. The Giants take a solid player with Prince Amakamara CB Nebraska, some have to wonder why he fell this far, but the Giants didn’t waste much time taking him. His royal highness better get used to the NFL quick. We’ll find out what kind of baller they have the first time a DC  gets in his grill.
 
 The Bucs took DE Adrian Clayborn, many thought this pick would be DE Da’quan Bowers, but most worry about the microfracture surgery on his knee and feel he will need another surgery sometime soon. He will be on the board for the 2nd round and remember friends, Bowers has the ability to become a franchise NFL defensive end with the potential to dominate against the run and pass. Who will take a chance on him in the 2nd round?
 
 Up next, the KC CHIEFS, until the Browns swoop in at 21 to grab a 3-4 NT… excuse me didn’t you just switch to a 4-3? I am confused, I love Phil Taylor but not to the Browns! Maybe he gives inside support to a team that was 28th in the NFL against the run
 
 I just saw Peyton Manning call in the 22 pick, it is Anthony Castonzo OT from BC, ok it wasn’t Peyton but I know he will be happy. Castonzo, a Rhodes Scholar nominee, no doubt will help out the O-line and provide some interesting commentary with Manning. Just imagine those locker room discussions.
 
 For the first time in a long time the Eagles do something normal with a need and value pick in Danny Watkins OG/C from Baylor, good move. Will help to put out fires on that OL that varies with skill and injuries. At 26, a mature, heavy-handed player that has a mean streak, perfect fit for Philly.
 
 Here come the Saints, and they grab DE Cameron Jordan with the 24 pick, this 5 tech will be a force in the NFL, a great value here and helps out immediately on both ends of the line.
 
 The 1st round is now 75% over and I am hoping the Bolts back in for OT Gabe Carimi, but something tells me they will not get the chance.
 
 The 25th pick comes in for the Seahawks and it is not who I expect, G/T James Carpenter from Alabama. Great size and athleticism and familiar with the zone blocking technique they use in Seattle as they they use a similar scheme with the Crimson Tide. Immediate help for the run game so long as he stays low. I think he has raw footwork and maybe this is a real dark horse but to me it is a….REACH. Looks like they try to either get a couple more years out of Hasselbeck as QB or a FA QB coming in. Could Whitehurst really start in Seattle in 2011?
 
 Now at 26 the time runs out on Baltimore, everyone is confused but we later find out that a deal had been worked out with Chicago to take their 29 and a 4th for the 26, which they’d use to get OT Gabe Carimi.  In the confusion the Chiefs run up and select Jon Baldwin WR Pitt. Issues concerning attitude but is a big receiver that could help take double teams off Dewayne Bowe. This could turn out to be Jerry Rice or even David Tyree; only time will tell.
 
 Baltimore now at  27 grabs shut down CB Jimmy Smith, from Colorado. No question about his skills, this guy can flat-out play, but he likes to party, a red flag for sure. Be interesting to see how he turns out for the Ravens, I wish him well. I had him as the 27th best athlete available on my top 300 and amazingly, that’s where he goes.
Now NE, who I predicted would trade this specific pick, moves down, and  NO, who I predicted would take Mark Ingram RB Alabama makes the 28th pick, and I win the daily double, and with that and $2.00 I can get a cup of coffee! Looks like Reggie Bush won’t be cashing his last 12 million dollar check.  Mark Ingram Sr. sent  e-mail from the federal pen congratulating his son. His son has a real chance of getting a ring himself.
  
 DA Bears take Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi at 29, so much for him being a Charger in 2011, and the Bears get a mauler for a decade. Welcome relief to Cutler as the Bears had the most sacks allowed in the league with 56 last year.
 
 The Rumblings now start as the J-E-T-S JETS! JETS! JETS! cheer starts. Since I started watching the draft in 1980 there is one thing for sure, the Jets and Giants fans love to boo their picks. Now maybe their fan bases have gotten younger but usually if they do not like the pick they carry on the tradition. With the 30 pick the Jets take DT Muhammad Wilkerson, perhaps a steal here at 30, either way they should be happy, unless he is Vernan Gholston is disguise! Getting up in experience, DE Shaun Ellis a free agent, and NT Kris Jenkins released means time on the line immediately, most likely in 2 spots.
 
 At 31 black and yellow attack and get BPA on the inside with DE Cameron Heyward, who has great blood lines (Ironhead) and should be a can’t miss for Steeler nation. The Steelers start to rebuild, half their defense is over 30.
 
 The Pack on the clock to finish the day could go OLB-RB-OT and they chose OT Derek Sherrod, and the rich get richer. They just won the super bowl, and do not have any glaring needs, so adding a top 6 Tackle to the cupboard can’t be too bad!!
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