2011 First Round Thoughts and Notes

7:43 pm So, as I sit here in the media room at One Buc Place just minutes before the start of the draft, it’s time to start making some random picks and see just how right, or more likely, terribly wrong that I am.

NEWTON: I firmly believe the best player in this draft is LSU CB Patrick Peterson. He is as sure a pick in this draft as one can make and is of the take-away-half-the-field mold that every team yearns to find. However, given that this is a quarterback-driven league and that Carolina’s quarterback play was laughable at best last year, I think we’ll hear Cam Newton’s name called with the first overall pick. it also doesn’t hurt that CAR owner Jerry Richardson is reported to be infatuated with the idea of taking him.

Although some have questioned Newton’s ability to grasp and adjust to NFL defenses, it’s hard to doubt Newton’s physical tools. He is tough to tackle. Quick. Agile. A freakish athlete. Strong arm….well, strong enough of an arm. Josh Freeman has shown that those kind of tools, coupled with a good set of skill position players, can turn an anemic offense into a winner quickly.

However, Josh has been more the exception to the rule. Newton would be expected, as would any young quarterback, to learn the ropes of playing the position and gradually work his way into the starting position. Perhaps Carolina would consider acquiring a veteran QB to ease the transition, such as a guy like Matt Hasselbeck or maybe trade for Carson Palmer.

And this Carolina team is nowhere near ready to compete for a title in the next year, possibly two.

QUARTERBACKS: it could be ollie-ollie-oxen-free on the quarterbacks in the first round. Carolina, Buffalo, Arizona, Tennessee, Minnesota, and Washington are all among teams in the first 12 of the draft who are in need of quarterback help. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Newton, Blaine Gabbert, and Jake Locker all go in the top half of the draft, with Andy Dalton being in play as well.

BUCS TRADE DOWN? At this point, I’m starting to wonder if it might be entirely plausible for the Bucs to trade down and take a player at a need position. Defensive end is obvious, but if the guys that they really want aren’t there at 20, it would make sense to move down, acquire an extra pick or two, get a defensive end that they have maybe valued a little lower….or maybe take a look at a linebacker, tight end or cornerback.

UPDATES

  • As expected, Cam Newton goes #1 to Carolina…a welcome sight for Buccaneer fans.
  • Von Miller goes to Denver. A little surprising to me that Denver didn’t address defensive line first. They’re really bad there.
  • Dareus to Buffalo. Mmmm, well, he seems to be a good fit in Buffalo’s 3-4 scheme.
  • AJ Green to Cincy. Not surprising. Question is…..who’ll be throwing him the ball? Palmer (Jordan, that is)? Takes two to tango. Just ask Steve Smith. Might make sense for Cincy to look at Christian Ponder or Andy Dalton either in the 2nd, or late 1st rd by trade.
  • After Zona passes on QB for Peterson, Atlanta stuns by trading up to 6 with Cleveland. That compensation must be heavy. Atlanta takes Julio Jones. Not a stunning move, as Falcons are close to getting over the top and need that piece. Upgrading their #2 WR spot across from Roddy White is a great move. Double trouble for opponents in the Falcon passing game.
  • Oh WOW. By trading down to #27, Cleveland gets Atlanta’s 2011 2nd/4th rounders, and their 2012 1st/4th rounders. That is a huge, huge ransom to pay. Great for a rebuilding team like Cleveland.
  • Aldon Smith is the first DE off the board to SF at 7. Maybe a little surprised Robert Quinn didn’t go, but eh….to each team, his own. Very close in talent among some of the top DEs.
  • In a surprising move, Jake Locker goes to the Titans at #8. Gabbert’s slide is entering free-fall territory.
  • Incredible. Christian Ponder to Minny at 12. Holy cow….so far the Bucs will have at least 5 games next year against teams with 1st-rd QB picks.
  • When the Bucs take the field on Sept 11 against Detroit, they will probably be facing Nick Fairley and Suh in the middle. Crikey.
  • Robert Quinn goes off the board to St. Louis at 14. A guy that realistically wasn’t going to fall to the Bucs. Kerrigan is still on the board, as are Cameron Jordon and DaQuan Bowers.
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