The 2 Point Conversion

The Complete NFL Scoop

2011…The Best Draft Class Ever (Offense)

Everybody said 2010 was the deepest draft class to come along in a long while, but 2011 will be deeper. Not only that, it will have more top-notch talent at the top. In 2010, there were not ten guys worthy of a top ten selection. In 2011, there will be a ton of steals at nearly every position.

At quarterback, Jake Locker and Andrew Luck will be top 5 picks if their success continues. Locker would have been the #1 pick in the 2010 draft had he come out. Behind them are Ryan Mallett and Terrelle Pryor, two guys with unlimited upside. Like Jamarcus Russell, if they have a huge year, their stock could leapfrog the more traditional quarterback (Brady Quinn), or in this case, Andrew Luck. Four quarterbacks could go in the top 15, and Pat Devlin, another big armed Delaware signal caller (remind you of anybody?) could also go in the bottom half of round 1. Even beyond him, Florida State’s Christian Ponder, Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi, Wisconsin’s Scott Tolzein, and Texas A&M’s Jerrod Johnson could all go in round 2. The message is clear for the Alex Smiths and Ben Roethlisbergers of the world; perform or lose your job.

The running back position is much thinner than the 2010 crop, but it does boast Mark Ingram, who should be a top 10 selection. Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech) will be eligible, but he’ll only be a redshirt sophomore. If he does come out, he should be a mid to late first rounder. After him, guys like DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma), Evan Royster (Penn State), Noel Devine (West Virginia), and Jacquizz Rodgers (Oregon State) should be picked in the second or third round.

2011 should be the year of the wide receiver. AJ Green will push Jake Locker to be the #1 overall pick at 6-4 with 4.4 speed and great production. If Julio Jones can get his drops problem fixed, he will be a top 10 pick. Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburgh’s 6-5 receiver, will also go in the top half of the first round if he keeps up his 1100 yard season from a year ago. He may end up being the best of the bunch. Michael Floyd (Notre Dame) and Terrance Toliver (LSU) also are probable first rounders. DeVier Posey (Ohio State), Chris Owusu (Stanford), Greg Little (UNC), and Austin Pettis (Boise State) are all deserving of second round grades. The deep sleeper is DeAndre Brown of Southern Mississippi, who is 6-6 and caught nine touchdowns coming off of a broken leg from the previous winter.

Tight end is a glaring weakness for this class, and besides Kyle Rudolph, who I compare to Greg Olsen (31st overall), there isn’t much to write home about. Lance Kendricks of Wisconsin appears to be the only other talent worthy of going in the top 50. Weslye Saunders of South Carolina is 280 pounds and runs a 4.7, but has character issues and Tennessee’s Luke Stocker is too small to be a traditional tight end.

There are tons of capable offensive tackles, most of which are capable of playing on the blind side. The cream of the crop is 6-8 Wisconsin Badger Gabe Carimi. He should be a top 10 pick. The athletic Anthony Costanzo needs to add muscle to his 6-7, 295 pound frame, but will be a top 20 pick anyways. The 6-9 Nate Solder is very raw but has amazing potential. A team may roll the dice on him in the 25-30 range. LSU’s Joseph Barksdale will get his crack at left tackle, and could be a first rounder if he does well in that role. BYU’s Matt Reynolds is a devastating right tackle/guard who is this year’s version of Mike Iupati. Lee Ziemba (Auburn), Nate Potter (Boise State), and Jason Pinkston (Pittsburgh) are all extremely athletic, but need to get stronger if they want to be picked in the top 40 or 50. Five tackles should go in the first round, but other than Carimi and Costanzo, it’s tough to tell which will and which won’t.

There are a handful of very solid interior offensive linemen. Kris O’Dowd (USC) and Steven Wisniewski (Penn State) could sneak into the bottom of the first round. Mike Pouncey (Florida) and John Moffitt (Wisconsin) are also two very good linemen who can play center or guard at the next level. They should be second rounders along with Rodney Hudson (Florida State) and Justin Boren (Ohio State). Things drop off considerably afterwards, however.


May 31, 2010 - Posted by | NFL Draft 2011

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