Thanks to everyone that participated in our live draft chat last night. During the early first round, we had roughly 30 commenters contributing to the live feed, so thank you for that. Anyway, the first round was pretty shocking to me. Some of the trades were very unexpected. Some of the picks left everyone scratching their heads while some teams continued their year after year status quo in the draft (Looking at you, trading Patriots). We’ll go more in detail with the Giants and Jet picks later, but here’s five thoughts about the first round.
1. Minnesota Vikings: What the Hell?
All of the NYSOS writers that I watched the draft with were in pure shock when the Purple People Eaters selected quarterback Christian Ponder(?) with the 12th pick in the first round. After watching Ponder play his four seasons for Florida State, I always thought he was a gritty, tough player, but definitely not a first round talent. I didn’t even see any publications having Ponder drafted in the first round. To me, this seemed like a pure panic move on Minnesota’s part. Three quarterbacks Newton (1), Jake Locker (8), and Blaine Gabbert (10) all went off the board before Minnesota picked. We heard all week long that the Vikes liked Locker, but Ponder was rated much, much lower. Minnesota probably could have waited until the second round to get him. Minnesota probably had a trade in the works that fell through and paniced by drafting Ponder. This team will definitely need to bring in a veteran QB in the short-term.
2. The New Orleans Saints had the best first round
The New Orleans Saints had arguably the best first round out of any team. They grabbed two, top-2o players at Picks 24 (Cameron Jordan) and 28 (Mark Ingram). Jordan was an absolute monster at California and will give the Saints a strong outside rushing presence. The Saints traded back into the first round (with New England, surprisingly) to grab Ingram. With Reggie Bush’s impending free agency, this is a clear sign that the Saints are ready to move on. Ingram is a winner and pairing him with one of the best offensive minds in Sean Payton and quarterbacks in Drew Brees will only raise his potential. Great first round by New Orleans.
3. The Atlanta Falcons moved ‘All-In’
The Atlanta Falcons wanted to give quarterback, Matt Ryan another explosive receiving option. They wasted no time by trading up from Pick 27 to Pick 6 to grab Alabama wideout, Julio Jones. To move up that far, Atlanta had to surrender Pick 27, 2011 2nd and 4th round picks, and 2012 1st round and 4th round picks to the Cleveland Browns. That’s a lot for any player. It may be too much for a team that needed to add an explosive player or two on their defense. The Falcons were the NFC’s top seed last year, but were run over by Green Bay Packers in the second round of the playoffs. Adding Jones to the offense gives the Falcons one of the league receiving cores (Don’t forget Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, and Harry Douglas) to complement running back, Michael Turner. The Falcon offense will be explosive, but did they give up too much? That remains to be seen.
4. The Detroit Lions and New York Giants Got Great Value
Watching Top-10 talent fall in the draft happens, but it’s not supposed to last until Picks 13 or 19. The Detroit Lions drafted Auburn defensive tackle, Nick Fairley at Pick 13 while the Giants drafted corner Prince Amukamara. Both players were consensus Top 10 talents that fell in the draft. Fairley was even going first overall in some mock drafts. Pairing Fairley with 2010 second overall pick and All-Pro Ndamukong Suh will give the Lions arguably the league’s toughest inside presence. The days of teams torching the Lions on the ground are over.
As for the Giants, Mike will go into more detail later, but the Giants selected the best player on the board when their selection came up. Amukamara is a very talented corner who will already bolstered the Giants deep secondary. Amukamara is a play maker, has good ball skills, and will make an impact right away. Drafting is all about value and the Giants definitely took advantage of that.
5. Ho Hum for the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts
The Patriots and Colts are always two of the most boring teams in the draft. They never do anything flashy with their picks and just fill needs. Maybe that’s why these two teams are always Super Bowl favorites. Who knows, but both teams added beefy, athletic offensive tackles that will protect each team’s Hall of Fame signal caller. The Patriots had two first-round pick this year, but dealt their second first-rounder to New Orleans. The Patriots were interested in Mark Ingram, but basically gave him up to the Saints who used the Patriot pick to nab him. For Ingram, the Saints gave the Pats their first round pick next year and a second rounder. I can already see a potential trade coming.