May 1, 2011 – By Scott
The 2011 NFL draft has finally come to an end and left many fans scratching their heads as some surpirse picks startled quite a few. Of course Cam Newton being selected as the first overall pick by the Carolina Panthers came as no suprise, but there were some moves and selections by teams that raised many eyebrows.
One of the biggest moves in the first round was made by the Atlanta Falcons and selecting wide receiver Julio Jones. The pick wasn’t so much of a surprise, what they gave up to get him is though. The offense was not really an issue last season, it was their defense that faltered in their playoff loss. So, many thought defensive issues would be addressed in this year’s draft. The Falcons gave up two first round picks…one this year, a second and two fourth round picks for Jones.
The early quarterback picks, excluding Newton, were also a surprise to many. Former Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder, who many experts did not have in the top 5 on their quarterbacks list, was selected 12th overall by the Minnesota Vikings. Many also thought Jake Locker as an 8th overall pick by the Tennessee Titans was also a gutsy pick.
A few teams who needed defensive help after last season’s performances addressed this issue very well. The Detroit Lions will be a huge force on the defensive front as they selected Nick Fairley as their first overall pick. With him accompanying Ndamukong Suh, the should be very strong stopping the run and very effective in opositions passing games. The Houston Texans defense was at the bottom of the NFL in all categories last season. They knew this and took advantage of by using their first five picks on defensive players, three of whom could start right away in J.J. Watt, Brooks Reed and Brandon Harris.
NFL fans will have wait and see who will have benefited the most from this year’s draft. NFL sportsbooks have already fielded odds on who will win the 2012 Super Bowl and they have the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers as the early favorites with odds set at 7/1.