The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft wrapped up Thursday night and I was disappointed within the first eight picks. Here are some notes on the night.
1st pick: Cam Newton/QB from Auburn/Carolina Panthers. The 2010 Heisman Trophy winner and NCAA newsmaker was booed when announced as the first pick official pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. For months he’s been projected as the first selection, but I truly did not expect Carolina to choose him. I wanted his ego to be blown like it should be. He only had one year – albeit a great year – at Auburn, but he just seems incredibly cocky.
8th pick: Jake Locker/QB from University of Washington/Tennessee Titans. First words out of my mouth… “NOOOOOOOO!” I wanted the New England Patriots to select him, so he could back up Tom Brady. I cheered for him at Washington and wanted to cheer for him as a member of the Pats. This made me want to stop watching the draft.
10th pick: Blaine Gabbert/QB from Missouri/Jacksonville Jaguars. After seeing him and his suave, slicked back blonde hair, I thought, “Never heard of him. Don’t even know what school he’s from.” I rarely watched Missouri’s football team and the few times that I did, clearly I wasn’t paying attention to Gabbert. And going to the Jacksonville Jaguars? That’s combining two teams that never cross my mind. But he must be good, so I’ll watch him this season, hopefully.
In the top 10 picks there were three quarterbacks for the first time since 1999. The third time overall (1971, 1999 and now 2011).
13th pick: Nick Fairley/DT from Auburn/Detroit Lions. He is a big guy. I remember watching him, especially with Newton during the Alabama game this past November and he was an absolute BEAST.
14th pick: Robert Quinn/DE from North Carolina/St. Louis Rams. Quinn was out the entire 2010-11 season and yet he was still picked 14th overall. But then again, former Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford was out most of 2009, but he was St. Louis’s first selection in 2010.
16th pick: Ryan Kerrigan/DE from Purdue/Washington Redskins. He looks like Chris Noth from The Good Wife and (Mr. Big) Sex and the City fame. I’m sure all of you football fanatics know just whom I am speaking of, yes?
17th pick: Nate Solder/OT from Colorado/New England Patriots. I was hoping my team would have picked a player I actually knew, but from what I’ve read about Solder, he seems definitely like a solid pick, especially since he only allowed five sacks in three seasons.
22nd pick: Anthony Castonzo/OT from Boston College/Indianapolis Colts. 54 career starts, which is most in Boston College.
23rd pick: Danny Watkins/OG from Baylor/Philadelphia Eagles. The 26-year-old rookie never played football in high school and yet, he’s a first round pick by the Eagles. The 6’3”, 310-pounder played hockey and rugby. Also, he is a firefighter. This guy sounds tough and oh, by the way, some of his firemen buddies were at the draft going nuts when he was selected. How can I not root for him?
The Baltimore Ravens passed their 26th pick for 27 for – I don’t know why.
27th pick: Jimmy Smith/CB from Colorado/Baltimore Ravens. Smith appeared to be at home – he wasn’t in New York City and was shown not wearing a jacket or tie, which is bizarre. This is the NFL Draft, right?
The New England Patriots traded their 28th pick to the New Orleans Saints.
28th pick: Mark Ingram/RB from Alabama/New Orleans Saints. The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner goes to the 2010 Super Bowl Champions down in New Orleans. He had 875 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns after missing the first two games in 2010. Ingram’s father, Mark Ingram Sr., a former player for the New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles is currently in jail, although the two reportedly have a decent relationship. An ESPN reporter read a congratulatory email that she received from Mark’s father and in all honesty, it was certainly very touching. People say men don’t cry. There’s no crying in sports, especially in football, but Ingram cried on national television and it was a great, heartfelt moment.
32nd pick: Derek Sharrod/OT from Mississippi State/Green Bay Packers. In the final selection of the first round, the 2011 Super Bowl Champs selected Derek Sharrod. Shouldn’t he have been wearing a cheesehead?
Rounds two and three of the 2011 NFL Draft take place Friday, April 29 at 6 p.m. ET. Rounds 4-7 will be held Saturday, April 30 at 12 p.m. ET.
The 2011 NFL Draft is upon us, which means Noontime Sports is ready for the first round to begin on Thursday. So, with that being said, here is our conversation with Carl Desberg (Boston Sports Then and Now) about the Draft itself, as well as the NFL Lockout and New England Patriots.
Matt Noonan: What would you say is the biggest and most important item the Patriots need to address in the NFL Draft?
Carl Desberg: Offensive line – protect Tom Brady. Matt Light a free agent. If they don’t draft a tackle, it gives him a lot of leverage. Also, on the interior, Logan Mankins is unhappy and Dan Connolly is very solid backup, but has never been asked to do it for more than 16 games, (although he proved durable and versatile last year).
MN: Going into the draft, which Patriots unit could be considered the weakest? Which one is the strongest? Also, how can the weaker unit be improved, if not through the Draft?
CD: The obvious answer is outside linebacker, which is the weakest Patriots unite. I’ll venture to say wide receiver for sake of the argument.
Wes Welker, I believe is entering the last year of his deal, Deion Branch is solid receiver in the Patriots system, but also is entering his last year too. Brandon Tate is inconsistent, although does help spread the field. Second year player Taylor Price looked very good in week 17 last season after being inactive for practically the entire year.
Improved if not through the draft? Chad Ochocinco! Strongest position has to be the quarterback, duh! Brady just signed a lucrative extension and backup Brian Hoyer is a well respected and affordable backup.
MN: Out of all the college players who are entering the draft this year, which will have the most promising career?
CD: I’ll say, Anthony Castonzo from Boston College. He could be a bookend on the line for over a decade for any team. Boston College does an exceptional job with producing great offensive lineman.
MN: Yes, the Judge lifted the NFL Lockout ban on Monday, but still, so much has to occur before players can actually work out and return to their day-to-day roles with the organization. How much has this current off-season downgraded the NFL as a whole and in your opinion, will there be a season come September? Yes or No? Why?
CD: I don’t think the NFL has been downgraded. If no games are missed (and it sounds like owners and players may be forced to head back to the bargaining tables), then a new CBA will strengthen the league as a whole for years to come. Any new deal will improve the game and league, one would have to think.
MN:How much would not having a NFL season hurt the league, players and fans? Would college football then dominate the football world? Would football fans flock to the NHL or MLB instead?
CD: I don’t think it would affect fans, especially if games were missed.
MN: Finally, assuming that there is a season, which Patriots game on the schedule will be one of those “can’t miss games?”
CD: Both games against the Jets are can’t miss television, especially after their playoff loss this past season. They are truly the Patriots rival passing the Indianapolis Colts.