Monday, May 2, 2011

Breaking Down NFL Draft Round 1

With the 1st round of the NFL Draft completed (and boy, was it nuts) we now have the task of breaking it all down to see what it all means. Let's take a look at the developments from yesterday.

Picks By School/Conference

The NFL Draft certainly was a BCS slanted affair yesterday, as only one non-AQ conference player was selected, and that was Muhammad Wilkerson of Temple at #30 by the Jets. With so many quality Non-AQ players available, it seemed like there was a conscious desicion at times to avoid the lower ranks to solidify the Big 6 hold on the game. Understandably, that happens often where smaller school athletes float towards the bottom, but it's not right, and several players were taken way too early based on what was probably school or level affiliation without regards to how potentially bad they may be on the next level. This means you, Vikings and Christian Ponder.
The breakdown of picks by school is as follows:
Auburn (2), Texas A&M (1), Alabama (4), Georgia (1), LSU (1), Missouri (2),
Washington (1), USC (1), Wisconsin (2), Florida State (1), North Carolina (1), Florida (1)
Purdue (1), Colorado (2), Illinois (1), Nebraska (1), Iowa (1), Baylor (2),                     Boston College (1), California (1), Pittsburgh (1), Temple (1), Ohio State (1),
Mississippi State (1)

There are no brainers here, and there are some interesting numbers. First, looking at schools with multiple picks. Alabama, with 4 picks, led the pack, and that is a no brainer. Nick Saban knows how to develop NFL ready talent, and he did a tremendous job with the class of 2011.  Wisconsin is also a very solid winner with 2 picks. Watt and Carimi were solid 1st rounders, and both should qualify as future NFL stars. Auburn, with Newton and Fairley, was a forgone conclusion to have multiple 1s, and is no surprise to have gained ground early.
The reachers are coming out of schools like Missouri. Aldon Smith was highly considered, but when you throw in Blaine Gabbert at number 10, even though he was the best rated on our board at QB, it becomes questionable. Note to the NFL. Just because there are QBs sitting there to be drafted, it does not mean that you have to over value them. Let them slide. It's ok.
Colorado with two 1st rounders was also strange. Some folks love Solder, but he needs coaching, and quite frankly, I feel that the Patriots busted on passing on home town guy Costanzo, who went to the Colts instead. In our assessments, Costanzo is the best tackle in the draft. Jimmy Smith went all of 2010 without a single pick at CB, and his passes defended numbers were not incredible either, making Colorado's two 1st rounders a number that was not necessarily solid. Baylor, with Phil Taylor and Danny Watkins, also goes down as a surprise, as when you look at Taylor's numbers from 2010, he was nothing but a warm big body that occupied blockers. You can get that at a much lower pick, and get value. Overspent. Watkins could have been available in the second, maybe the third round.
When you look at Alabama having four players drafted in the first round, it makes sense, based especially on what the Tide has done in the last two seasons under Nick Saban, who has always been quite solid at developing NFL talent. Auburn was hit and miss. How Nick Fairley dropped as far as he did was bufuddling to me, as was the #1 overall selection of Cam Newton, who is not an NFL QB technically speaking. That being said, Auburn still scored well based on recent success.
Wisconsin, with the drafting of Carimi and Watt, was rated a huge success on Thursday, because one can hardly dooubt the success of these players, and that of the Badgers in 2010.
In our final words in regards to round one in this piece, the 1st round of the NFL 2011 Draft was a mixed bag at best. The early drafting of Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton, and Christian Ponder, an oft injured and average at best QB, showed that too high a priority was placed on position over actual value. Not surprising based on the weak nature of the early portion of this draft. In the next couple of days, I will grade ever team, and wil highlight the hits, misses, and the snubs from the ranks of the undrafted. I will also take a look at who is available from the undrafted ranks, and who has the ability to succeed regardless of that fact. Stay tuned.

Also stay tuned for major announcements in regards to this site, and a larger, more intensive project from our group. Major changes are coming, and we have exciting new news to share!
Stay tuned!

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