Friday, April 29, 2011

Round 1 Draft Grades: NFC South

Carolina Panthers (1): Cam Newton, QB Auburn Grade: C
I feel badly for the Panthers. Andrew Luck was supposed to be available but he decided to go back to Stanford. Newton has some talent, but this is the Panthers swinging for the fences. Only problem is, the best home run hitters get one home run every 10 at bats. Carolina fans better start hoping that this is in the 10% and not the 90% or else the Panthers may be faced with an even more difficult decision next year when Luck (and Matt Barkley) will be available.

Atlanta Falcons (6 via trade): Julio Jones, WR Alabama Grade: A-
I love Julio Jones, but Atlanta gave up a gaggle of picks for him. I hesitate giving the Falcons an A+ only because of how many picks they gave up. This is a case where the Falcons believe they are "one guy away." I just hope that it doesn't go as badly as San Diego's "one guy away" guy last year in Ryan Matthews.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (20): Adrian Clayborn, DE Iowa Grade: B-
If this was the 2010 NFL draft, getting Clayborn at #20 would have been an A+, but it is 2011, and this is the Not For Long league. Clayborn is a great story overcoming a childhood disease to become an NFL athlete, and a first rounder to boot, but Da'Quan Bowers was still available and the Bucs did not take him. Right position, but the wrong guy.

New Orleans Saints (24): Cameron Jordan Grade: B+
(28 via Trade): Mark Ingram A+
New Orleans had one of the most successful first rounds this year because they took two great athletes. Cameron Jordan was one of the highest rated 3-4 DE/OLB, but New Orleans took him as a pass rushing DE. I'm intrigued to see how Gregg Williams decides to use Jordan, but I'm sure that Williams loves the fact that he has an elite pass rusher and that he has to "find a way" to utilize him. Mark Ingram was the right move at the right time. As I said last night, Ingram and Reggie Bush will be the newest version of Thunder and Lightening. Ingram gives the Saints a legit between-the-tackles runner who is excellent in short yardage and goal line sets. Drew Brees' job just got a lot easier.

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