30 April 2011

2011 NFL Draft: Best Picks of Day 2

It certainly was an interesting Day 2 of the 2011 NFL Draft as the second and third rounds were held at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Hear are what I thought were the best picks from Friday night.
Round 2

35. Cincinnati Bengals - Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
While I do not love Dalton, the Bengals were in serious danger at the quarterback position with Carson Palmer's threats of "trade me or I'll retire" because Jordan Palmer is basically Brett Ratliff, a scrub who might get an opportunity. The Bengals have been infatuated with Dalton as have many teams and they did not have to move up to get him.

36. San Francisco 49ers (from Denver) - Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
I am a huge fan of Kaepernick and I think he has a lot of potential. He has awesome athleticism plus a tremendous arm, he had the most velocity as tested at the Combine, that can make all the throws. He did work out of the funky Pistol at Nevada but if Jim Harbaugh can bring him along to work seamlessly from under center, this kid could be a stud.

39. Tennessee Titans - Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
The Titans had a big void at the outside linebacker slot and filled it with a first round talent in Ayers. Ayers is a very good pass rusher and is very versatile. The Titans are getting a very good football player with great value here (unlike in round 1).

42. Houston Texans - Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona
Similar to the pick before, the Texans are getting first round value while filling a need. With the Texans transitioning to a 3-4, they desperately needed personnel that would fit the scheme and combined with their first round pick of J.J. Watt, they did that perfectly here. Reed is a very good fit as a 3-4 edge rusher and he should team with fellow Bergen County legend Brian Cushing to strike fear off the edge.

43. Minnesota Vikings - Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame
The Vikings needed weapons for Christian Ponder to build a future as a franchise quarterback and they landed the clear top tight end in the draft. Rudolph is an extremely athletic TE who can block well as well. He might've gone in the first round had Atlanta not traded up for Julio Jones. He did have some injury concerns at South Bend but they are not that much to worry about.

44. Detroit Lions - Titus Young, WR, Boise State
I don't like that the Lions continue to refuse to address their holes in the offensive line or cornerback and I would've taken either Ben Ijalana or Brandon Harris here. That said, this is a very good pick. The Lions have needed another threat opposite Calvin Johnson for a while now and Young is DeSean Jackson Jr., in my opinion. Plus he will immediately inject life in the comatose Lions punt return attack.

45. Denver Broncos (from San Francisco) - Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
This needed to be a defensive draft for the Broncos and they scored a steal here with Moore, even after trading down. Moore is the best safety prospect in the draft and he has the tools you want from your ideal free safety. He immediately improves the Broncos' secondary.

47. St. Louis Rams - Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin
Sam Bradford needs more weapons to work with and now he has a very talented tight end to work with in Kendricks. This pick is right around where Kendricks should have gone and it fills a big need.

48. Oakland Raiders - Stefen Wisniewski, C, Penn State
Al Davis making a good pick? Wha? Anyways this makes too much sense because Oakland had a big void at the center slot and Wisniewski was either the best center or the second best center prospect in the draft, depending on where you slotted Mike Pouncey.

49. Indianapolis Colts - Ben Ijalana, G/OT, Villanova
Who's the most important player on the Colts? With Peyton Manning getting up there in age a little, the Colts needed to vastly upgrade their porous offensive line and they got a steal with Ijalana, who can play a variety of slots alongside the offensive front. Ijalana probably could have gone in the first round and certainly before James Carpenter. Taking both Ijalana and Anthony Costanzo will drastically improve the o-line in the Circle City.

51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
This is just too easy. We all know about the serious knee issues with Bowers. We all know the inconsistency issues. We all know he may not have the determination once he gets that first paycheck. But you are getting this guy with the 51st pick? Please. I love what the Bucs are doing in the draft the last two years, building the defensive front. Tampa Bay needed more juice from their pass rush and they succeeding in doing that with their first two selections.

52. New York Giants - Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina
Jerry Reese is a master of the value pick at the NFL and he showed his skill again with the Austin pick. Austin should have gone in the late first round because he has incredible talent. If Tom Coughlin can get this kid to give it his all, he can be a stud.

57. Detroit Lions - Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois
Although the Lions still need a lot of help along the offensive line and in the defensive backfield, this is a great pick. Leshoure at 57 is great value and he should be the big, physical back that the Lions have not had in years. He will keep Jahvid Best fresh and allow him to be the big-time playmaker that he can be.

58. Baltimore Ravens - Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
The Ravens have needed to give Joe Flacco more weapons at the wide receiver position and in Smith they get a burner who can stretch the field. Now the Ravens can really take advantage of Falcco's huge arm.

60. Houston Texans (from New England) - Brandon Harris, CB, Miami(FL) 
Many people criticized the Texans for pass on Prince Amukamara in the first round but they make up for it here. The Texans' pass defense was awful to a biblical extent and Harris was mocked in the first round by some as recently as a couple of weeks ago.

64. Green Bay Packers - Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky
Ted Thompson is another master of picking for value and he works his skills yet again with this pick. Some thought Cobb would go at the end of the first round. The Packers needed some more depth in their receiving corps with the ageless Donald Driver getting up there close to retirement and Cobb is an excellent addition for Aaron Rodgers.

Round 3

70. Kansas City Chiefs - Justin Houston, DE/OLB, Georgia
Here is another terrific value pick. Houston probably should have gone at the end of round 1 but his positive test for marijuana at the Combine hurt. Houston has the talent to team with Tamba Hali to give the Chiefs much better production from their pass rush.

72. New Orleans - Martez Wilson, OLB, Illinois
The Saints had a big need at linebacker so Wilson fills a big need. Plus he should have gone higher than this so New Orleans is getting quality value. Gregg Williams will really like this guy.

75. Seattle Seahawks - John Moffitt, G, Wisconsin
The Seahawks came into this draft with a big need with the offensive line but unlike their absurd first round pick of James Carpenter, Moffitt is a good fit and is not a reach at all. Now with better production from their o-line Marshawn Lynch should go into beast mode more often.

79. Washington Redskins - Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami (FL)
Not certain why Hankerson fell but Mike Shanahan will not complain. The 'Skins did not have a great receiving corps so Hankerson has an an opportunity to contribute and showcase his talent right away. However if John Beck is his quarterback...

83. New York Giants - Jernal Jernigan, WR, Troy
This is another steal but initially I did not love this pick. But then I realized that Steve Smith may not be ready if the 2011 NFL Season comes in September. Jernigan may come from a small school but he fits what the Giants like from their receivers, good route running ability and great hands. Plus he has a great ability to change gears with an incredible burst.

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