2011 NFL Draft

I thought I’d get the draft talk rolling now that we’ve got a few weeks to go. It starts on Thursday the 28th - they’re doing the 3 day format again.

With the CBA issue, teams can’t trade players for draft picks, but they can apparently still trade draft picks for other draft picks. They can’t sign the rookies they draft. I’m not sure how else the situation affects the draft.

In years past, I’ve gotten really into the draft, reading scouting reports, watching the combine, watching bowl games to key in on certain players - but my heart just isn’t in it this year. Not sure if it’s the constant emotional beatdown of rooting for an inept team, or my distaste over the possibility of no football this year because multimillionaires are squabbling with billionaires, or what, but I’ve hardly done any research outside of seeing some people discuss the various prospects.

As a Browns fan the expected route the team is going to go seems to be either WR or DL. Given Heckert’s drafting history, DL seems more likely. But I can’t really say I like any of the prospects at #6 besides Dareus, and he’s likely to be gone by then. The rest of them have too many question marks to feel comfortable.

I’m actually hoping for Patrick Peterson. Corner isn’t a big need for the Browns but he’s supposed to be the best player of the draft and it’s plausible that if 2 quarterbacks are taken in the top 5 he may fall to #6. Snatch him right up, start him next to Haden for the next 10 years, move Sheldon Brown to FS, and you’ve got quite a secondary. The rest of the defense will be crap, but you can’t fix everything in one year. Would’ve been in a more flexible and less desperate position if they hadn’t dumped Shaun Rogers…

Other than that, I’d rather have AJ Green than any of the non-Dareus DL prospects. The WR corps is the worst in the league and Green is the whole package although not amazing in any particular way except maybe hands. I think McCoy may turn out to be decent, but I don’t have a ton of faith in him - he’s not the sort of QB that can turn scrubs into stars, he needs at least one good WR to make him effective. AJ Green could significantly revamp the offense and give him a chance. I’m hearing from people that Julio Jones is better suited to the WCO, but I think matching WRs to schemes is probably overrated. Still, if they have their hearts set on Jones, maybe they could trade down a few spots for a team that wanted Peterson or one of the DL prospects and pick him up at #9-15 somewhere.

Not sure what Carolina is going to do. Drafting a QB high always gets asses in the seats. Potentially we could have 4 teams in the top 5 interested in QB - Carolina, Arizona, and Cincinatti, and Buffalo. I don’t know if any of this year’s QBs are worth a top 5 pick, but there’s a decent chance two of them go that high.


First round draft order:

1 Carolina Panthers
2 Denver Broncos
3 Buffalo Bills
4 Cincinnati Bengals
5 Arizona Cardinals
6 Cleveland Browns
7 San Francisco 49ers
8 Tennessee Titans
9 Dallas Cowboys
10 Washington Redskins
11 Houston Texans
12 Minnesota Vikings
13 Detroit Lions
14 St. Louis Rams
15 Miami Dolphins
16 Jacksonville Jaguars
17 New England Patriots
18 San Diego Chargers
19 New York Giants
20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
21 Kansas City Chiefs
22 Indianapolis Colts
23 Philadelphia Eagles
24 New Orleans Saints
25 Seattle Seahawks
26 Baltimore Ravens
27 Atlanta Falcons
28 New England Patriots
29 Chicago Bears
30 New York Jets
31 Pittsburgh Steelers
32 Green Bay Packers

Btw, do you think we’ll see a draft slot pay system in the next CBA? If so, it could significant affect the top of the draft. Without the absurd cap hit that comes with a top player, teams would be more willing to trade there to get their guy. That stupid fucking trade chart may gain some accuracy again if that happens, and people would be more willing to make trades that would pass that stupid chart’s muster.

I’m also a Browns fan. I read or heard that Holmgren told Dick Juron he’d focus heavily on the D line in the draft. So, unless AJ Green is there, I think it’s a sure thing that they’ll spend their first pick on the best available D lineman.

I can understand why you’d want Peterson, but without a D line I don’t think it matters much who’s at the corners. Plus I wouldn’t give up on Eric Wright just yet.

A draft slot pay system would just not make sense to me. Especially if they keep the franchise tag. Position has a huge affect on pay. That said, something needs to change in regards to rookie pay.

A bit of an excitement dropoff this year for the Lions, with the Fun of waiting for a once a decade player and all last year. But generally I think The new team braintrust is pretty good.
Most projections currently are showing either OT or CB. Both would be good, and are needs. I’m not particularly exited about much of anybody in the middle of the first rounds, but They really don’t need to hit a home run here to get a decent upgrade.

What the Browns do matters a lot to me, as my 49ers pick right behind them. I have a feeling we’ll miss out on Peterson, one way or another. What happens on the second day matters to me even more than pick #7. Which QB will they get? Will a sleeper rush-OLB be there in round 3?

Are we going to do a mock draft on the boards again? That was fun.

As a Redskins fan, there’s not a lot for me to be interested in as far as the draft goes. They’ve only got two picks in the first four rounds, and I suspect that we’re going to take a QB with the #10 pick. Since there’s no way McNabb will be starting for them next year, that rookie will be thrown behind an inept offensive line, get his ass kicked for a few years, then wander the league as a journeyman for the rest of his career.

It’s funny, as far as the draft goes, the really bad teams and the really good teams end up drafting the same way: best player available. The horrible teams to id because they need help everywhere, and the really good teams are stocked everywhere, so you might as well take the best guy.

I’ve heard time and again that in the first round, the best tactic is to always pick BPA, even if you’re stocked at that position. I can see passing a player up if you’ve drafted two at their position in the first round the last two years. Or trading down (also a good strategy).
In later rounds you start targeting positions, with BPA in play for players “falling” if your board shows him.

But, really, nobody knows.

True, true. All I know is that this is the only time of the year where my Lions matter, so that’s nice.

Should be a pretty boring 1st Round for the Giants this year. God willing, they’ll just sit tight and take the offensive lineman (either Pouncey or one of the Tackles) that they should have taken last year. As usual, the Giants are in the enviable position of not having any glaring holes, so they have the luxury of drafting with 2012 in mind, or just taking the BPA if someone falls.

AFAICT, the top 5 Tackles all have very similar grades. Normally I would therefore advocate for the Giants’ trying to trade down and grab the fourth or fifth Tackle off the board instead of possibly the first. Unfortunately, New York picks 19th, and KC, Ind, Phi, NO, and Sea (picks 21-25) are all likely to be in the market for Tackles as well, to one degree or another. So there won’t be a whole lot of room for them to trade down, and the Giants may as well just take the guy they like the best.

Position makes little to no difference in rookie salary, it’s all about the draft slot. Usually everyone gets a contract that’s a few percent bigger than the guy who was drafted in that slot last year. It’s very unusual for a player to get more money than the guy who was taken ahead of them. Sometimes there’s a minor QB premium, but that’s about it.

The rookie wage scale makes perfect sense. As it is, the teams that are the worst get to draft on top because they need help the most - but tying so much of your cap dollars to a player who could be a big bust at some point becomes a greater liability than benefit. The way it has gotten, it’s a disadvantage to draft at the very top - and we’re foisting that disadvantage onto what’re already the worst franchises.

The rookie wage scale restores sanity to the pay (you hear how every year some top rookie becomes the best paid player at his position in the NFL, which is insane), makes draft day trades more sane (no one wants to trade up too far because of the disadvantage of the cost of the pick combined with an idiotic notion that one GM’s rule of thumb draft chart is actually meaningful when the cap implications of drafting high have changed so dramatically), keeps protracted holdouts from keeping rookies out of training camp, etc.

You mean there’s a huge market for a QB, and a team like Philly has one to trade… and even has a glaring need to fill by moving up (Peterson, if available)… and yet it won’t work out because of the fucking timing?

That isn’t to say that, were this any other year, the Eagles could swing a deal for a top 5 pick in a trade for Kolb… but the chances are significantly greater than normal due to the number of teams with such a need for a QB.

Otherwise, the Eagles are most likely to draft an OT with their first pick. Gabe Carimi being the guy taken by the Eagles in 90% of mocks I’ve seen. But knowing Philly, they’re just as likely to swing a trade to move around and go for quantity over quality. And considering how frequently these draft picks bust, that’s not necessarily a bad idea.

Absolutely. I don’t have any idea who will win what in the labor negotiations/litigation, but the one thing I am practically sure of is a rookie salary cap/slot system, a la the NBA’s. The owners want one for obvious reasons and the players have little incentive not to yield on this issue. It screws over top rookies, which none of the current player reps currently are. So why not “compromise” here and get a concession from the owners somewhere else?

Make rookie contracts short, thinking three years max (and maybe two) and limit the salary. Pay it all up front if you want, or some mixture of signing bonus/game check. Perhaps add a restricted free agent/right to match structure for the next contract, again, like the NBA.

As far as the draft, it’s amazing that they’re going to have one, considering no one is certain of how much salary each draft pick will command, which adds even more uncertainty to the whole drafting process, especially trades.

Personally, I’d like to see the Texans address their defensive deficiencies with this draft. Since I doubt Patterson falls enough for them to trade up, and I’m not sold on Amukamara, I would like to see them grab a guy who can be a 3-4 OLB. With Williams and Smith, they really don’t need a 3-4 DE, although it would not surprise me at all if they traded Williams. (Let some other team have the headache of paying Williams’s next contract, Williams’s stats will slip in a 3-4 as opposed to a 4-3—so he’ll want to leave, trade value should be staggering, and the Texans are more than one guy away on D, etc…) Von Miller would be ideal, duh, and he isn’t falling that far either. Someone from the Robert Quinn/J.J. Watt/Cameron Jordan/Aldon Smith/Ryan Kerrigan pool? Hard to screw it up too bad when there are this many guys to choose from.

Maybe grab Phil Taylor in round 2 at NT or Brooks Reed if he’s still there? Stephen Paea or Sione Fua wouldn’t be bad either, though you probably want to wait until Rd. 3 to grab Fua. The Texans need a NT bad—if they roll with Earl Mitchell full time, they’re getting rolled—which makes their refusal to look at Shaun Rogers puzzling, and so they’re getting someone. Of course this is the Texans we’re talking about, so anything can happen.

I posted this in another thread, but I want to make it easy to find in 4 years when I look back and laugh at how poorly I did. (I’ll note in the 2006 draft, I had Bush ahead of Mario and called selecting Greg Jennings a “dumb pick”. Feel free to point and laugh).

Thoughts on the draft:

  1. In the words of Cubs fans every year: Just wait till next year. Were I the GM of a rebuilding team, I’d be waiting until next year to draft a QB. Gabbert, Newton, Mallett, and Locker do nothing for me in this year’s draft and are no better than prospects like Landry Jones, Matt Barkley, and Terrelle Pryor coming out next year, and a whole lot worse than Andrew Luck. Next year’s draft will be QB heavy, with those guys, and John Brantley, Kirk Cousins, and even Kellen Moore likely being able to help your team out. To me, it’s much smarter for teams like the Panthers, Bills, Cardinals, Redskins, and Broncos to grab a solid defensive player like Dareus, Miller, or Peterson than reach for a project QB early in the first round. None of the QB’s in this years’ draft are ready for the NFL, so grab another position and wait till next year. Gdsf

  2. I like the depth at OT. I think Castonzo, Smith, Carimi, and Sherrod are all first round talents who may be available for the Packers. There are also some intriguing prospects like Benjamin Ijalana, Marcus Cannon, and David Mims who could make a splash. But part of the reason there is so much depth is that there isn’t a special talent among them. Solder has the build you love, but is inexperienced and uncoached. Castonzo may not have elite athleticism. Smith could have used another year in college. But later in the first round is not a bad spot to grab one of these guys. Personally, I really like Sherrod as a LT. He’s too weak to help in the run game, but I think he’s got he quick feet, good hands, and length to deal with pass rushers in the NFL.

  3. I am extremely risk averse when it comes to the NFL draft, especially in the first round. Which is why I would want absolutely nothing to do with Cam Newton, Nick Fairly, Robert Quinn, and Jimmy Smith. Objectively, I understand that these guys have special talents and could be gamechangers in the NFL, but I’d want nothing to do with drafting them in the first round.

Favorite named guys in this draft:

Prince Amukamara
Jock Sanders
Ladi Ajiboye
Sam Acho
Buster Skrine
Will Hill
Eugene Germany
Bront Bird

Peter King seems to think the Panthers are enamored of Cam Newton, and that they’ll take him first overall.

I didn’t think Newton’s early workouts had gone very well, but he must have impressed SOMEBODY in Carolina.

Mel Kiper and Todd McShay at ESPN agree with this. I think I’d steer clear of Newton if it were up to me.

What’s the knock on Fairley? I seem to remember him being talked up as a potential top pick, now I see him falling down to the 8-10 range.

One year wonder from JUCO who, while he can dominate, tends to take plays off and has some red flags for concerns about his character and undisciplined on the field. At least that’s why I wouldn’t want him.

One year wonder (juco transfer). I also vaguely remember reading about some sort of character/work ethic/motor problems but I can’t remember details.

Quick googling says he’s dirty too, diving for the knees, hitting after the whistle.

All the D-line prospects scare me. Dareus seems solid but after him I’d almost be tempted to take a roll of the dice with JJ Watt than any of the Bowers/Quinn/Fairley bunch. Again, just based on what I’ve heard - not doing my own scouting this year.

Edit: Hamlet’s nearly identical post wasn’t there a minute ago!

This isn’t draft related but I figured a minor nfl-related hijack would be okay. The Madden Cover Athlete this year is going to be determined by vote. I’m amazed that Peyton Hillis made it to the final 4.

You should vote for him because it would just be awesome for a blue collar wrecking ball with no star power who carried a crappy team with no help to make it to the cover instead of one of the sorts of stars that make it every year, like the rest of the three candidates are.

If that doesn’t convince you, watch this and the various other Hillis clips on youtube.