NFL Draft: First Round Impressions


I’m a very vocal and opinionated kind of guy. It’s rare that anything leaves me speechless, but last night, there were so many draft picks that dropped my jaw and bugged my eyes. Picks on through five were ordinary. Many people were accurate in their guesses in their mock drafts. Pick six is when the “huh” moments, drama, surprises, disappointments, and jubilee began — reminded me of an episode of a MTV reality show. As a fan, I couldn’t have asked for anything better (besides player trades).

Even though it was late when the 32nd pick was made, I was ready to do it all over again — immediately. The second and third rounds should be just as spectacular, but before we get to those, lets recap the first round. If we didn’t, we would be depriving ourselves of the opportunity to relive some of the historical moments in the NFL Draft. Below are my impressions of some of the “wow” moments.

Mike Ditka reincarnated in Thomas Dimitroff:

  • The Atlanta Falcons gave up everything but the kitchen sink in a trade with the Cleveland Browns. For the 6th overall pick, the Browns received the Falcons 2011 1st, 2nd, and 4th round picks (27th, 59th, 124th), and they also received their 2012 1st and forth round picks. This can only be described as a kings ransom. The only other trade in history that holds up to this is Mike Ditka giving up his entire draft to draft Ricky Williams. I would typically be down on something like this, but I like the statement the Falcons have made. They’re putting the NFC South on notice, “we mean business”. It’s a good look for them.

The Vince Young era is officially over:

  • There had been pre draft rumors about the Tennessee Titans taking Washington Quarterback, Jake Locker, but no one really believed they would pull the trigger. I thought for sure they would be looking at some defensive line help or cornerbacks. Even if they were to go quarterback, I thought Andy Dalton could land there. Shocking the world, the Titans put Jake Lockers name on the card and viola, the Vince Young era is officially over. I love the pick for the Titans. I think there’s enough offensive talent there for Locker to succeed. He brings that mobility, but he also brings that leadership and toughness that Vince Young was inconsistent with.

Jaguars mean business, trade up for their future:

  • No one, and I mean no one saw this coming. Do not let anyone tell you differently. The Jaguars pulled one of the surprise moves of the night and traded up to get their franchise quarterback. They made a deal with the Washington Redskins who held the 10th overall pick, and selected Missouri Quarterback, Blaine Gabbert. I haven’t been a fan of the Jaguars moves the past 2-3 years, but I think this one is very solid. Gabbert will bring hope and competition to the team, and those two components will do nothing but improve things.

Not Dalton, not Kaepernick, not Mallett, but Ponder to wear Purple and Gold:

  • After the 2010 fiasco that was Bret Farve, the Vikings felt it was necessary to leave the first round with their quarterback of the future. They ignored the high profile guys and went with Christian Ponder — a sturdy leader who is more than capable of getting the job done. Analyst and fans frowned upon this, but Ponder was one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the draft. In fact, he was my favorite. I think he’ll have instant success, ala Matt Ryan and Sam Bradford. There is a strong nucleus of talent in Minnesota that will help him transition to the pros.

Nick Fairley, Robert Quinn, Prince Amukamara fall in draft:

  • With four Quarterbacks coming off the board in the early first round, Nick Fairley, Robert Quinn, and Prince Amukamara became casualties. One by one they slipped, and one-by-one, teams grinned as it became their time to pick. The Lions landed Fairley, to pair with Ndamukong Suh. That combination is going to be nasty for years to come. Quinn landed in St. Louis. Under Steve Spagnuolo, Quinn is bound to become an elite pass rusher. Amukamara saw the biggest drop. He didn’t come off the board until the 19th pick. However, the Giants might be the best situation for him. With their pass rush, he can man up and bully the heck out of receivers.

Seattle Seahawks seem to have panicked:

  • As the clock dwindled down on the Seattle Seahawks, the direction in which they would go became unclear. They desperately attempted to execute a trade down, but failed. No one really knew what player they were going to go with. Most thought it would be Cornerback, Jimmy Smith, or Offensive Tackle, Gabe Carimi. Well, it was neither. The Seahawks selected Alabama Tackle, James Carpenter. It was quite the shock to everyone. No one really considered him a first round guy, but the beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Three team snafu, Chiefs, Ravens, Bears still end up with desired players:

  • The Chiefs managed to trade out of the 21st pick into the 27th pick. The Ravens picked right before the Chiefs at 26. The Bears held the 29th pick. Many speculated that the Chiefs would take Gabe Carimi in the first round. With that notion, the Bears tried to trade up with the Ravens, so they could secure Carimi. Before they could finalize the deal, the clock ran out. Mayhem ensued, yelling phone calls displayed on camera, and analyst stalled while it was all figured out. The Chiefs were suddenly on the board, and made their pick expeditiously. After, the Ravens stayed and made their pick, and soon after the Bears did the same. Despite the confusion, all three teams landed their guy. The Chiefs came away with one of the best vertical threats in the draft, Jon Baldwin. The Ravens got their “shut-down” corner, Jimmy Smith, and the Bears got the big and nasty linemen, Gabe Carimi. Everything worked out in the end.

Mark Ingram is selected where his father was:

  • The headline story towards the end of the draft was, “will Mark Ingram be selected in the first round.” Well, he was, and it was in dramatic fashion. The New Orleans Saints had already selected Cam Jordan with the 24th pick, but they managed to work out a deal with the New England Patriots for the 28th pick. The Patriots received the Saints 2011 2nd round pick and 2012 first round pick. The jump was made so they could get their hands on Heisman Award Winner, Mark Ingram. His father, Mark Ingram Sr., is incarcerated at the moment, but accomplished to get his son a letter on draft day. It was a special moment on stage, given the hardship he endured throughout his life.