After Drew's marathon effort last night to get a recap of the 32 picks in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, I've grabbed the baton from him and thought I'd take a stab at my thoughts on some of the winners and losers from last night. There were some pretty sizable surprises as we saw guys like Prince Amukamara and Cameron Jordan slip-slide their way down into the bottom third of the draft. We saw Da'Quan Bowers drop entirely out of the first round after red flags flared up over his knee. He supposedly might have some kind of degenerative arthritis in one of his knees. If he could stay healthy he'd be a steal in the second round, but obviously it's a huge IF.
Originally I was going to go with straight winners and losers, but I think instead I'll take a look at a few teams and players and how they did. A lot of teams that appeared to be winners, also came across as losers in other aspects. I also understand the reality that we really can't judge a draft for at least three or four years. However, that's not going to stop me from casting judgment. Feel free to do the same thing. It relieves a lot of stress. Who do you think were the big winners and losers of day one?
New Orleans Saints: Apparently a lot of the media had Cameron Jordan overrated. Nonetheless I think the Saints got a steal in this guy. I could be proven wrong but I think you've got a strong 10-year pro you can plug into your defensive line just like that. Consider them a winner for that. But trading back into the first round to get Mark Ingram and giving up a 2012 first round pick in the process? Unless you think the NFLPA will be forcing the draft to shut down due to antitrust issues, I just don't know if it's worth it. I suppose you can't have enough running backs, but after re-upping Pierre Thomas on a four year deal, I just don't know about this.
Cleveland Browns: While Atlanta got the guy they wanted in Julio Jones, the Browns got a truckload of picks in moving down to the 27th pick. However, they sort of stumbled, in my estimation when they then moved back up six spots feom 27 to get Phil Taylor. I really think Phil Taylor would have been there at 27, but the Browns obviously thought differently. They're winners for all the picks they added, but losers for giving some of that back up in a curious decision.
New England Patriots: There were vastly differing opinions on Nate Solder and I'm a bit surprised he went this high, but obviously the Patriots do fairly well in the draft from time to time. And of course they once again found a way to add a future first round pick as they moved back into the second round from No. 28. I question the Solder move, but we'll see how they use the newly acquired second round pick later today.
Jake Locker: I was fairly stunned to see the Tennessee Titans grab Jake Locker this high in the first round. There had been some rumblings Locker could go top ten so I guess I shouldn't be completely stunned, It remains to be seen whether the Titans will prove to be "winners" but it's very clear that Jake Locker won out yesterday. Even with a potential rookie salary scale, Locker will be getting a nice little payday as a top ten pick.
Prince Amukamara: I have to say I was also stunned to see the royal one drop all the way to 19. I know this gets people saying, "well clearly this means he was overrated by the pundits." But even still, can anybody find a link to a mock or information that had Amukamara dropping anywhere near this far? I thought the 49ers could have snagged him in the 10-12 range maybe, but I thought even that was a stretch. Prince undoubtedly will be playing with quite the chip on his shoulder. We'll see if he can turn that into fire and production on the field.
Atlanta Falcons: It's safe to say the Atlanta Falcons had a little bit of interest in Julio Jones, wouldn't you say? They paid a heavy price to add a big time weapon alongside Roddy White. The question basically comes down to whether they're close enough that Jones is enough to put them over the top. They gave up their second and fourth this year and a first and fourth next year to move up from No. 27 to No. 6. They've still got a third, fifth, sixth, and 3 seventh round picks remaining, but they were clearly preparing to roll the dice with this pick. Are they close enough for this move to make sense?