This was as wacky of a draft that I have seen in years. Several teams made shocking moves and everyone else made moves that were somewhat expected.
There's no telling how any of these players will do once they are young men amongst pro's. Some will fall off the map and others will carve out their legacies. It's as simple as that.
There were players that were pegged to be day two picks, some even day three, selected early in the draft. Some teams selected for need and others stayed true to their best player available theories.
As much as I hate to remind everyone, and as normal as things may seem, the players drafted today may not be able to be signed right away. And on top of that, we still have to wait for a ruling from the 8th circuit as to whether or not a stay will be granted in the NFL vs. the players lawsuit.
Hopefully the draft will make all parties realize just how fun it is for everyone. And hopefully the boo's made Rodger Goodell feel horrible about promoting all this lockout stuff. Either way, we need football, and it is us (the fans) who suffer the most without it.
After the jump, we'll take a look back at tonight's selection.
1. CAROLINA PANTHERS - CAM NEWTON | QUARTERBACK | AUBURN: Before the draft, it was already predetermined that Newton would be selected by the Panthers. They spent countless hours talking with him and evaluating him and felt that he offered the most upside to their team at that position. Considering the pick here, it seems as though Jimmy Clausen's days as the starter were short lived. It will be an interesting camp to say the least. The Panthers will rely heavily on the run still, so the pressure may not be cranked up full volume on Newton to start the season. It will be a journey for Newton but if he can work hard, he may shock all of us and turn out to be quite good.
2. DENVER BRONCOS - VON MILLER | LINEBACKER | TEXAS A&M: Most folks thought that Miller would be around till at least the third pick and that Darues or Fairley would be the pick for John Fox and John Elway. Miller is a solid pick that will provide a flash of energy in to that front seven which is already dangerous. It looks like Fox and company will try and get their defensive tackle a bit later. Excellent pick with some youth for an aging defense. We could be looking at the next Lawrence Taylor; although Mel Kiper used the comparison to Derrick Thomas.
3. BUFFALO BILLS - MARCELL DAREUS | DEFENSIVE TACKLE | ALABAMA: This comes as no surprise as the Bills were ranked at the bottom of the barrel in terms of defending the run. Dareus could wind up being a bit overdrafted here. And on top of that, the Bills will expect quite a bit out of him right out of the gates. This pick shows that the Bills are not shying away from picking need over best player available. This could be good news in that everyone is expecting there to be a free agency to patch up holes that aren't addressed in the draft.
4. CINCINNATI BENGALS - A.J. GREEN | WIDE RECEIVER | GEORGIA: Most folks had this young phenomenal player pegged at this slot here. I think his upside is above Randy Moss'. A.J. Green may be the best offensive player in this draft. If Ochocinco and Owens are as gone as people say they are, Green could be in the running for rookie of the year. I am certain, barring injury, that he will at the very least be in the talks.
5. ARIZONA CARDINALS - PATRICK PETERSON | LSU: He is being chalked up as possibly the best player in the draft. He is obviously the best player available on the board here. They cannot pass him up. It is amazing that he made it down this far. He will be a great compliment to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The 49ers wide receivers lives just got a bit more difficult. Peterson will also more than likely provide them with some big play ability on returns.
6. CLEVELAND BROWNS (TRADE 1) ATLANTA FALCONS - JULIO JONES | WIDE RECEIVER| ALABAMA: This was not a shocker. At least to me. The price was steep, but Jones is going to free up Roddy White, who happens to be one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. The Falcons are going to be hard to stop through the air now. Jones is a big target for Ryan that is hard to bring down. They have a solid defense which will make Atlanta hard to beat each and every week... And I didn'r even mention the Turner factor.
7. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS - ALDON SMITH | LINEBACKER | MISSOURI: This comes as a huge surprise in the selection of yet another Smith. I think this pick shocked most 49ers fans. It shocked me, that's for sure. A lot of folks were saying, "not Gabbert, not Gabbert" and their wishes were granted. The 49ers ended up with the 52nd Smith to fill the roster. In any case, even though it comes as a shock, Smith will provide a fierce and immediate pass rush if he comes in to the regular season healthy. This could be one of the more shocking picks yet this year.
8. TENNESSEE TITANS - JAKE LOCKER | QUARTERBACK | WASHINGTON: The Titans already had stated that Vince Young was going to be on his way and they needed to fill the vacancy. Not many folks thought they would do that with such a reach. This move sends Blaine Gabbert sliding even further down the board. Most people were pretty shocked at this pick. The Titans must have felt very solid about Locker. Solid enough to select him in the top ten.
9. DALLAS COWBOYS - TYRON SMITH | OFFENSIVE TACKLE | USC: This is not too much of a surprise. The Cowboys had trouble keeping their quarterback upright whether it was Romo or Kitna. They need to protect their major assets and they set out to try and do that with Smith. He will struggle initially but I think once he settles down and adjusts to the speed of the game, he will be a pretty darn good tackle. The Cowboys may have reached a bit here with a lot of talent still on the board. I thought they would have went after Amukamara or Quinn since they were still there. But Jones and company had their eyes set on Smith apparently.
10. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (TRADE 2) JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS - BLAINE GABBERT | QUARTERBACK: Wow! That's all you can say about this pick. First, the Jags have plenty of money tied up with David Garrard. Gabbert will not have to start immediately which may be the best possible scenario for Gabbert. This is the same thing that a lot of the more talented teams have done in grooming quarterbacks. Not a lot of folks saw this coming. This could be the second biggest shocker of this years draft. Gabbert will be a good quarterback in a few years.
11. HOUSTON TEXANS - J.J. WATT | DEFENSIVE END | WISCONSIN: This is a solid pick for the Texans. This os going to free up Mario Williams to be more of a menace. And Watt should be a menace in his own light. He has drawn comparison's to Justin Smith and Jared Allen. Even is he is three-quarters the players of the two aforementioned, then the Texans are in for a treat. All he does is make plays on the defensive side of the ball. The Texans did ignore their glaring weakness in the secondary but should address that on day two, or possibly free agency.
12. MINNESOTA VIKINGS - CHRISTIAN PONDER | QUARTERBACK | FLORIDA STATE: This is shocker number three or four. It could be the biggest shock of the draft. Nobody had Ponder pegged as a first rounder. Not even in the bottom half of the first round. It is seeming more and more as though people are grabbing what needs they can while they can. I don't have a ton of faith in Ponder as it is well documented but the Vikings and Leslie Frazier think that he was worth the number twelve. I don't think we have seen the last first round quarterback off the board just yet.
13. DETROIT LIONS - NICK FAIRLEY | DEFENSIVE TACKLE | AUBURN: The Lions may have just created the most fearful defensive lines in the National Football League. Kyle Vanden Bosch, Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, and McBride will give defensive coordinators fits and nightmares. Fairley may be the best pure defensive tackle in this draft and the Lions just got the steal of the first round. If you are in the NFC North, you just realized that your run game doesn't exist for at least two games out of the year.
14. ST. LOUIS RAMS - ROBERT QUINN | DEFENSIVE END | NORTH CAROLINA: This is another amazing pick up for a division rival to the 49ers. It seems as though the entire division is getting stronger today on the defensive side of the ball. There is no question that Quinn plays the game with passion. He is as explosive as dynamite and the Rams defense will now be stocked full of youth. Had Quinn played last year, he would have easily been a top ten pick. The Rams get some major value with the selection here.
15. MIAMI DOLPHINS - MIKE POUNCEY | CENTER | FLORIDA: He is selected three spots ahead of where his brother was drafted last year by the Steelers. This pick is a bit surprising to me. I thought that they would get a positional player on offense whether it be a running back, wide receiver, or even quarterback. In any case, if he plays as good as his bother did last year in his rookie year, the Dolphins will be very satisfied with their selection. I do not think that if the twins were in the same draft, that Mike would have been considered as a first rounder. He should be thanking his brother quite a bit for his performance last year. Genetics can only go so far.
16. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (TRADE 2 WITH JAGS) - RYAN KERRIGAN | LINEBACKER | PURDUE: With Orakpo on one side and Kerrigan on the other, the 'Skins will have a nice set of pass rushers to get after the passer. They instantly will be better on the defensive side of the ball. With how bad the Redskins offense is though, it makes one wonder what and when they will start building the offense through the draft. They traded out of the tenth overall pick and wound up with a solid football player but there may be a lot left to be desired for fans in D.C.
17. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS - NATE SOLDER | OFFENSIVE TACKLE | COLORADO: I thought that the Patriots may go here but I didn't think that they would have done it this soon. Solder has lengthy arms and good bounce in the way he blocks. With the way ol' Billy can coach up a player, he could have Solder ready to play sooner than later. I am sure that Brady encouraged this pick as well. This is just the beginning for the Pats. They have several more picks to go throughout this draft... as they do always in every draft; so it seems.
18. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS - COREY LIUGET | DEFENSIVE END | ILLINOIS: This pick is not a too much of a surprise. They have weakened in recent years as far as their defensive line is concerned. Luiget will provide a Justin Smith type of pass rush and be able to hold down the fort for the four linebackers behind him. Most folks thought that Liuget would be selected around here. The Chargers still have a lot of pieces to put together on that defense in rounds to come.
19. NEW YORK GIANTS - PRINCE AMUKAMARA | CORNERBACK | NEBRASKA: They had to do it. Their secondary got a little beat up last year and Amukamara was the consensus number two. He has his work cut out for him but Coughlin and company think they may be able to mold him. Giants fans were clamoring for an offensive lineman to help out Eli Manning but wound up with a Prince instead. They better just hope he doesn't play like a princess. He is now in one of the largest spotlights in America. They will chew him up and spit him out in New York if he doesn't produce, and produce quickly.
20. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS - ADRIAN CLAYBORN | DEFENSIVE END | IOWA: Two years ago, Clayborn was an absolute menace. The Bucs got McCoy in last years draft and they instantly get even better on that defensive line by picking up Clayborn. He has high energy and can be a force on the edge. He will help in the run game right away but I am concerned in how fast he can produce in providing a pass rush. He does have the ability to turn a game in a split second though. His technique is fantastic. The sky is the limit for the Bucs and Clayborn next year.
21. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (TRADE 3) CLEVELAND BROWNS - PHIL TAYLOR | NOSE TACKLE | BAYLOR: The Browns have not had a solid defensive tackle for a very long time. Taylor is going to blast holes in to the middle of offensive lines. They won the AFC North surprisingly last year but had issues in the playoffs, period. Taylor is a monument of a man and will be hard to stop. If I was a center or a guard in the AFC North, I would not be liking this selection very much. The new cover boy of John Madden Football 2012, Peyton Hillis (a.k.a clone of Mike Alstott) announced the Phil Taylor pick.
22. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS - ANTHONY CASTONZO | OFFENSIVE TACKLE | BOSTON COLLEGE: Castonzo is a great pass protector but has his issues in run blocking. That kind of works out for the Colts considering that that's what they do good. It works out for Castonzo and it works out even better for Peyton Manning. It's a win, win for everyone in Indy. As things stand, Mark Ingram is still on the board. I thought that there would be some interest there but as it turns out, the Colts may be looking to pay Peyton Manning a junk load of money. Castonzo is the insurance policy.
23. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES - DANNY WATKINS | GUARD | BAYLOR: This is a bit of a shock. He is not only a rookie but he is 26-years old. He was a firefighter and all that too... maybe he will pull double-duty in case a fire breaks out at Lincoln Financial Field. In any case, I don't think that he is as good as advertised. I really don't think he is the second best interior lineman in the draft. Oh well, Philly can enjoy their cheese steaks and their new firefighter tonight. I think they got snowballed, personally; karma is a...
24. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS - CAMERON JORDAN | DEFENSIVE END | CALIFORNIA: Will Smith and Cameron Jordan on either side equals a win for the New Olreans Saints fans. This is an extremely good pick. For the twenty-fourth pick, they are getting the most bang for their buck. Jordan was an absolute monster and I think his success will follow him in to the NFL. At the end of the year, I am sure the league will be well aware of Cameron Jordan out of the University of California.
25. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS - JAMES CARPENTER | GUARD | ALABAMA: I don't know what the Seahawks front office is thinking here. I mean I do, they want to get better along the offensive line... but... Wisniewski? Hudson? Fusco? ... Wow. That is a shock...and in a good way for 49ers fans. This could be the largest reach of this years draft. I don't have much more to say about this draft pick except, WOW. Carpenter did average in college and now is finding himself as a first rounder. Good run blocking guard, bad in pass protection. He must've really said his prayers last night. Either that, or he sold his soul to the Devil.
26. BALTIMORE RAVENS (TRADE 4) KANSAS CITY CHIEFS - JONATHAN BALDWIN | WIDE RECEIVER | PITTSBURGH: The Chiefs aren't quite set at the wide receiver position so I view this trade as a pretty good one for them. Bowe had an excellent season last year which makes this selection even better. Bowe will now not be keyed in on and can have a bit more free reign to elevate his game. The Chiefs will be the front runners to win the division once again next year.
27. BALTIMORE RAVENS - JIMMY SMITH | CORNERBACK | COLORADO: The Ravens are getting old on the defensive side of the ball. Getting in Jimmy Smith with the selection here is very strategic in that he will get to learn from Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. He will undoubtedly be an upgrade to the current cornerback situation in Baltimore. Smith is a bit raw around the edges but has the physical and mental tools that it will take to be successful playing for John Harbaugh.
28. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (TRADE 5) NEW ORLEANS SAINTS - MARK INGRAM | RUNNING BACK | ALABAMA: Finally. I am sure that Ingram is as relieved as he possibly could be. He has looked worried all night long. He will be a great addition to an already dangerous backfield. If Pierre Thomas can stay healthy, the Thomas, Ingram one-two punch could be pretty lethal (not even factoring in what could happen with Reggie Bush). Then there is the Drew Brees factor. The Saints may be back next year. One thing is for sure, the NFC South is going to be very, very tough next year. It's a good thing in that the Niners do not have to play the South (with exception of the Bucs) again this upcoming year.
29. CHICAGO BEARS - GABE CARIMI | OFFENSIVE TACKLE | WISCONSIN: This was a very solid pick for the Bears. They had trouble keeping Jay Cutler upright last year. Carimi at one point before the offseason began was considered the number one tackle. He has played in cold weather which will suit him well in the Windy City. He has to be coached up but I believe that he will be starting and making an impact right away both in the run game as well as the pass.
30. NEW YORK JETS - MUHAMMAD WILKERSON | DEFENSIVE TACKLE | TEMPLE: Shaun Ellis is getting up there in age, so this pick is one to secure the future in New York. He may have been one of the most underrated player in this draft. He is already used to playing in a 3-4 defense so the transition will not be a bumpy one for him. Wilkerson will make an immediate impact. He was a very disruptive player at Temple, and I believe he will continue to be in the NFL.
31. PITTSBURGH STEELERS - CAMERON HEYWARD | DEFENSIVE END | OHIO STATE: The son of Craig "Iron Head" Heyward was finally selected at thirty-one. With one more pick left, Heyward barely squeezes his way in the the first round. Most folks thought that the Steelers would have gone with a cornerback considering how badly they got torched in the Superbowl last year. However, Heyward will help secure the defensive line for years to come. And if he is half as passionate as his father was in playing in the NFL, he is going to leave a lot of opposing players with migraines at the end of the day.
32. GREEN BAY PACKERS - DEREK SHERROD | OFFENSIVE TACKLE | MISSISSIPPI STATE: This is as good as it gets for the Superbowl Champs. Maybe this means that the Pack is ready to slide Bulaga over? In any case, it's quite conceivable that one of the two will be the starting left tackle to protect Aaron Rodgers blind side next year. It was a weak spot in their offense, so the pick makes sense. If they can get a rushed Aaron Rodgers a second or more per play each and every down, the Packers may just be even more of a force next year.
And that's a wrap folks... stay tuned for another summary tomorrow morning. Have a good night!