NFL DRAFT RECAP
The 2011 NFL Draft kicked off with a welcoming barrage of boos on behalf of the fans towards Commissioner Roger Goodell. The chants were aimed at the NFL Lockout, which was one again put in effect after just a few days of being lifted. I do not intend on writing an article on the topic of the lockout so as the commissioner replied to the chants, I too will say, “Let’s get to some football”.
Hands down the biggest jump and the most surprising pick of the entire draft came during the twelfth overall pick by the Minnesota Vikings. With quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick, Ryan Mallet, and Andy Dalton still available, the Vikes’ selected QB Christian Ponder of FSU. Minnesota surprisingly chose Ponder to be their franchise leader under center, or at least to battle with Joe Webb and Tavaris Jackson. Since Ponder was projected to be a late second rounder, he receives this year’s biggest surprise as the twelfth overall selection.
The Cincinnati Bengals answered any questions about where they see veterans Carson Palmer, Terell Owens, and Chad Ochocinco fitting into the franchise with their draft selections. The Bengal’s first pick was used on Georgia WR, AJ Green. Green’s combination of size and athleticism tormented SEC opponents and will look to fill the hole left by two star yet aging playmakers. The Bengals second choice was quarterback Andy Dalton of TCU. Dalton will replace Carson Palmer as the franchise QB after Palmer struggled to fit in with the organization.
The two biggest falls of the draft are between defensive end Da’Quan Bowers and quarterback Ryan Mallett. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hoped that the monster defensive end from Clemson would slip to their #20 pick. It turns out that the Bucs passed on Bowers with this pick and spent it on Adrian Clayborn, but no one would have guessed that with the Buc’s second round pick Bowers would still be available. His knee injury must be more severe than the analysts thought because no one projected this stud to drop to 51st pick.
Entering the draft highly talented quarterback Ryan Mallett was stamped with slight attitude problems. These ‘slight’ problems proved to be substantial enough to slide the projected early first rounder all the way to the third round. The Arkansas QB was chosen by the New England Patriots, where he will be mentored by arguable the league’s best quarterback and leader in Tom Brady. If any coach could cure a rookie of an attitude problem, it would be Bill Bellichick.