Seventy-two hours of non-stop, in your face, NFL Draft talk got you spent? Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett, a quarterback who has thrown for over 7,000 yards and over 60 touchdown passes in two seasons, slid all the way to pick #74. For the second straight season the Detroit Lions added the most dominant defensive player in college football, this time it was the nearly 300 lb. Nick Fairley. Four quarterbacks selected atop the draft, Newton, Locker, Gabbert, and Ponder, all selected before pick #13. This weekend took many twists and turns throughout the seven rounds, oh and I didn't even mention the most dreaded word used L-O-C-K-O-U-T.
Because there isn't an original way to go about this, we're breaking down the winners and losers in typical '3 up, 3 down' fashion . . .
Get After It!
The '3 Up'
3. The Falcons - How many times do you wait for your team to just go out and swing for the fences, and they don't do it? By trading up from twenty-seven to six to select wide receiver Julio Jones, the Falcons swung. After watching the 5'6" Jacquizz Rodgers move into round five, Thomas Dimitroff laid down a pretty good bunt as well. I've got to give credit to a team that is willing to gamble on a player they think puts them over the top.
2. The Lions - Landing Nick Fairley was not at all what Detroit thought they'd have the opportunity to do in this years draft, but they did. When Fairley and last years defensive rookie of the year Ndamukong Suh make up the core of the Lions front seven, I'd be scared to walk under center if I was Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and whoever ends up taking over the quarterback position in Minnesota. Oh, and I love Titus Young, the super fast receiver from Boise State.
1. The Bengals - A.J. Green, Wide Receiver / Andy Dalton, QB was a perfect way to select their first two rounds. Signaling a new day in Cincinnati with the pick of Dalton in the second round, the heir apparent to Carson Palmer and the pick of A.J. Green, the 6'4" show-stopping receiver from Georgia, the Bengals are moving on from Ochocinco. Bottom line is, the Bengals were taking matters into their own hands and giving new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden exactly what he asked for, the chance to rebuild.
The '3 Down'
3. *The Bills - Buffalo refuses to draft a franchise quarterback, and it continues to boggle my mind. The Bills are the only team who are content on drafting in the top ten of the draft every single year and never getting a guy who can help change things. They had the option to select guys like Blaine Gabbert, trade back and pick up Jake Locker, even take Andy Dalton before Cincinnati could, and they didn't. I don't care who they pick up on defense, they can't get in the endzone with Ryan Fitzpatrick forever.
2. *The 49ers Very similiar to the Bills, I'm not thrilled by the second round selection of Nevada's quarterback Colin Kaepernick. One step further, I wasn't that thrilled with a work out beast Aldon Smith from Missouri at seventh overall. Both players probably won't make an impact this year and the 49ers have some tools already in place that could have looked very nice with some impact drafts. Kaepernick is going to have to adjust to a pro-style system which the 49ers fans don't want to wait around for because they're still waiting for Alex Smith to adjust.
1. *The Buccaneers - Both of their first two selections, Iowa's Adrian Clayborn and Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers have medical issues which caused them to slide in the draft, and the Bucs thought it was their position to select them. Yes, they could come out with two of the steals in this years draft but what if it goes the other way? When New England continued to pass on Bowers I had a feeling there was a very real problem, they would have loved a defensive end with that kind of speed who slid that far down, but they didn't. Don't out think yourself Tampa Bay.
* I refuse to discuss the Raiders.
And for a preview of next year at this time . . .
2012 Top 5 Prospects
5. Matt Kalil, Offensive Tackle - USC Kalil is projected to be the first offensive tackle chosen next year and for good reason. When fellow Trojan Tyron Smith was selected as the first offensive tackle in this years draft, the question that was asked most, why did he play on the right side? The answer is a two word answer, Matt Kalil. At 6'7", 295 lbs., Kalil is a monstrous athletic left tackle.
4. Alshon Jeffery, Wide Receiver - South Carolina The South Carolina wide receiver doubled his receptions and receiving yards in his sophomore season in Columbia, South Carolina. In a two week stretch against SEC heavyweights Auburn and Alabama, Jeffery caught 15 balls, recorded 4 touchdowns, and 319 yards. Jeffery has the opportunity to be amongst the most sought after receiving talents in next years draft.
3. Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver - Oklahoma State There is no doubt of the character issues surrounding the Cowboy wideout, but they're issues that could be ignored if he stays on the field and continues to put up the mind boggling stats that he did in 2010. Last seasons Biletnikoff Award winner caught over 100 passes while recording 100+ yard games in each of the twelve games he played in. Blackmon is slightly shorter than Alshon Jeffery but has tremendous hands and can make big plays after the catch.
2. Quinton Coples, Defensive End - North Carolina Really, how good could the North Carolina Tar Heels defense have been this past season (2010)? The Heels had five defensive players drafted over the weekend, and one top five talent will go off the board very early next year. Quinton Coples, a 6'6" defensive end will compete for ACC Defensive Player of The Year in 2011, you can bank on that. Coples recorded 10 sacks leading the Carolina defense a season ago. Given the run on defensive ends in this years draft, expect Coples to be first off the board at that position in 2012.
1. Andrew Luck, Quarterback - Stanford I'm not the first or the last one to say it, Andrew Luck is the best quarterback to enter the selection process since Peyton Manning. He's mature, he can make nearly every throw, he's intelligent, and he'll continue to show improvement in the coming season. When Andrew Luck decided to go back to college, he actually became even better in my eyes, being able to determine the best decision for him even with his coach moving to the next level. Andrew Luck is the type of quarterback you tank a season for, cough, cough Buffalo and Washington.
Nothing like NFL Draft talk . . . till next year! For more, catch us on TheRightNowPodcast every Thursday night!