2011 Draft, Day 1: What I Like, What I Don’t


WOW! What an unpredictable and very exciting Round 1! Props to my other Black&Teal writers, we did a good job assessing the positions teams were targeting and the players worthy of 1st round selection. Look forward to breaking down the Mock Drafts further next week…

As for Day 1…

What I Like:

  • 1.) The Jaguars trading up to draft Blaine Gabbert. Go ahead, call me a hypocrite – I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been waving the “Blaine Gabbert=BUST” flag all week and I was shocked/dismayed when we first made the pick. There are some flaws I’ve seen that concern me about his future and many of the pre-draft analysts have also pointed out the same things. He did not have eye-popping numbers in a system where one would think a QB worthy of a top 10 pick would. He has some pocket poise issues – often crumbling mechanically under pressure and making hurried or ill-advised throws. His accuracy on passes in the intermediate range are somewhat concerning. But look, they always say this is a “crystal ball business” – it’s not what a guy has done, it’s what a guy can do for you moving forward. And Gabbert has the tools and the drive (it would seem) to be successful and we sure hope he turns out this way. What I like about the pick is that the Jaguars obviously valued him highly and had the cajones to make a move for him when he fell within reach. From the various things I’ve seen/heard coming out of “The Vault” (Everbank Field), they might have had him as the #1 overall prospect in the draft and probably no lower than #3 and didn’t think he would be available for a price worth considering. For as much as we praise “value” and “trading back” and all of that, it’s about winning and Gene Smith obviously believes he can win with Blaine Gabbert and I respect that he did what it took to put him on our roster.
  • 2.) The Lions (and GM Shack Harris) drafting Nick Fairley. I think this is an admirable pick and hopefully is a sign of Shack having learned his lesson in his failures in Jacksonville. Defensive tackle is probably the position where the Lions are deepest and Fairley had to have been the BAP at #13. Except for Louis Delmas, they are starved for playmakers behind the D-line and their offensive line is due for some young talent. This move gives the Lions all kinds of scheming options and will allow Fairley and Suh to stay fresh and aggressive – with both of them going full speed on passing downs, I would expect the Lions’ secondary to *magically* appear much better and for their defense to possibly lead the league in opposing 3rd down %. Nice job, Shack.
  • 3.) The good player, high risk picks. I liked the Aldon Smith and Jake Locker picks in the top 10 and the Jimmy Smith and Jonathan Baldwin picks in the late 1st. Smith and Locker are not huge gambles, but not many people pegged them for top 10 picks, despite arguably being top 10 talents. Locker was last year’s Andrew Luck – the no-doubt #1 overall and his ceiling remains high. Aldon Smith reminds me a lot of Jason Pierre-Paul last year – a complete physical freak, who if his raw ability translates will be a terror in the pass rush. Jimmy Smith and Jonathan Baldwin were never doubted for their ability, but rather how important football is in their lives. Smith has a lot of red flags, but may have found the perfect team to set him straight and demand that he perform to his potential – Ozzie Newsome, Jim Harbaugh, and the Ravens D are no B.S. kinda guys. Any prima donna antics aren’t going to go over well in Baltimore. Baldwin’s problem is that he seems to disappear – if he matures into a professional, the Chiefs offense is starting to look mighty explosive in the passing game in addition to their home-run running game.

What I Didn’t Like

  • Oft-praised Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff mortgaging the team’s future. For a RECEIVER? Who wasn’t even YOUR TOP RANKED RECEIVER? Unbelievable and out of character for the young GM. If I’m a Falcons fan today that knows anything about football, this is me.

– Andrew Hofheimer