Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett admitted that “it was nice to win” on Thursday, as his team rallied to defeat the Denver Broncos, 24-23. However, despite the limited performance of starting quarterback Tony Romo, back up Stephen McGeeleft fans wondering, if he’s someone the squad can rely on down the road? It’s way too early to answer that particular question, yet, it’s quite possible that one day, McGee could be the starter, but he needs to do more than convert on two-point conversion plays. McGee finished the game with 208 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
Broncos head coach John Fox was pleased with quarterback Tim Tebow’s on-field presence, however, I think it’s an obvious that Kyle Ortonwill retain his starting job. Orton completed two-of-six passes for 37-yards, while Tebow finished the game with 91 yards, but no touchdown. In fact, former Notre Dame star, Brady Quinnended his evening with one touchdown pass to Eron Riley, but who knows if either player will make the final cut.
The New England Patriots were rather hot on Thursday, as they beat up the Jacksonville Jaguars, 47-12. Tom Brady, Chad Ochocinco and Wes Welkersuited up, but instead, watched backup quarterbacks, Brian Hoyerand Ryan Malletcombine for 335 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Yet, despite the successful play of both quarterbacks, running backsStevan Ridley and Richard Medlin combined for four rushing touchdowns.
However, the Patriots did encountered some negative issues, which included fumbling the ball twice, as well as special teams struggles, such as kicking the ball out of bounds and mishandling snaps. Although, I am sure head coach Bill Belichick has told his team that’s unacceptable.
Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert struggled in his NFL debut, as he finished the game with nine completions. Gabbert didn’t register a single touchdown or interception too.
OTHER NOTES —
*Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolbended his evening with four completions for 68 yards. However, despite just seven pass attempts, Kolb’s Cardinals did defeat the Oakland Raiders, 24-18
The New England Patriots selected four new players to join their successful franchise and here is some more information about each player.
Round 2: Pick 33
Name: Ras-I Dowling
Overview: This isn’t a bad pick for the Patriots. Clearly New England did not think great pass rush value was available in the second round and figured if they were not going to put a ton of pressure on opposing quarterbacks, shoring up the secondary would help. Dowling had a tough time his senior year with injuries, but the Patriots have never shown hesitation to draft a banged up player to let him recover. Dowling had 8 career picks for the University of Virginia and it is possible he can make an immediate impact as a number 3 or 4 corner behind Leigh Bodden and Devin McCourty. Players like Dowling usually have to prove themselves on special teams, but Bill Belichick must think highly of Dowling to select him 33rd overall in the draft.
Overview: I like the selection of Vereen. Even though BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a fantastic year for New England, the Patriots need some depth at the running back position. Much like last year’s draft when New England selected two tight ends in the second round, this year the Patriots took two running backs. Vereen was the first and had a very good year for Cal as a junior rushing for 1,167 yards and 13 touchdowns and caught 22 passes for 209 yards and three scores. He’s got a low center of gravity and should be able to help New England when needed. I don’t anticipate a ton of playing time unless the Patriots decide upon platooning their running backs, but Vereen will be a very capable option behind the “Law Firm” and Danny Woodhead.
Overview: I watch a ton of SEC football being an Alabama Crimson Tide fan and Ridley is a bruiser. He looks for contact and can wear out a defense. In the toughest conference in college football Ridley ran for 1,147 yards and 15 touchdowns, including a 159-yard game at Vanderbilt and 123 yards against Tennessee. In the Cotton Bowl against Texan A&M he torched the Aggies for 105 yards on the ground and a score. I believe (partially biased) that Ridley is a better runner than Vereen, but it will be an interesting battle between the two in the pre-season (if there is one) for who comes out higher on the depth chart.
Overview: I will fully admit (again, I’m an SEC fan) I was completely stoked when New England selected Mallett. Not only do I believe Mallett is a steal, but also a first round, NFL ready talent.
Who better to put behind Tom Brady to learn? No offense to those who wanted Jake Locker or possibly Blaine Gabbert, but Locker and Gabbert couldn’t hold Mallett’s jock strap in college. Again, Mallett played in (and torched) the toughest defensive conference in college football. In 2010 he threw for 3,869 yards with 32 touchdowns and 12 picks.
Mallett ended his career with 69 touchdown passes and threw for 30+ touchdowns two years in a row in the SEC. However, what stands out the most (aside from his laser, rocket arm) is his size. Ben Roethlisberger is 6’5” and 241 pounds, making Mallett one inch taller and 12 pounds heavier. He has good awareness and with a lockout possible, the Patriots are preparing for the future of their offense without Tom Brady about a year sooner than anticipated.
Mallett was drafted to eventually take over as the starter after Brady leaves. Mallett will be under phenomenal tutelage and this pick for New England may prove to be one of the bigger steals of the draft in a few years. To editorialize some more, I believe this to be a great pick, if that wasn’t already very obvious.
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.