Fantasy Football News

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Who Came out Winners and Losers in this Year's Draft?

Sorry everyone, it's been about two weeks since I've last posted content and I have yet to reflect on this coming season's draft, which concluded at the end of April.

Some teams made solid decisions and managed to improve its chances in making a playoff appearance in 2011, others missed out on an opportunity. Here are teams, and players, who came out of the draft as winners. And still others who may not have had the best ending to the month of April.

Winners:

Nick Fairley...taken at the No. 13 spot by the Detroit Lions, Fairley obviously took a significant drop (I had him going at No. 4 in my mock draft), but it played out for the best for the former Auburn defensive tackle. I personally thought Detroit should have selected a corner (Prince Amukamara or Jimmy Smith) since they took DT Ndamukong Suh with their first round pick last year. But instead they stacked up at the tackle position as Fairley will play alongside Suh, who won the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year award and made the Pro Bowl roster in 2010.

Christian Ponder...not even projected a first rounder, Ponder made a huge leap in the draft after three quarterbacks (Cam Newton at No. 1, Jake Locker at No. 8 and Blaine Gabbert at No. 10) were off the board when Minnesota's turn came. With an iffy quarterback situation in Minnesota, it is likely that Ponder, with plenty of talent around him, will get thrown in as the starter right away as long as he performs in training camp. I don't see Joe Webb and Tarvaris Jackson becoming much of a threat to Ponder, and there's no way Brett Favre can handle one more season.
New England Patriots...with nine picks in this year's draft, New England managed to add both depth and youth on to its roster for the coming season. Preparing for whatever the future holds, coach Bill Belichick was able to solidify replacements for both Matt Light (drafted OT Nate Solder in first round) and Tom Brady (drafted Ryan Mallett in third round). There have already been comparisons between Mallett and Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers. In addition, New England added a couple of RBs (Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley), a defensive back (Ras-I Dowling) and a linebacker (Markell Carter) in the later rounds.

Losers:

Miami Dolphins...in my opinion, I think the Phins went about this all wrong. What I would have done, without hesitation, is trade up in the draft a couple of slots and pick up a quarterback in this draft. Chad Henne will get a second chance, but I don't think keeping him at QB is the wise decision. The drafting of Mike Pouncey will definitely improve the protection up front, but they could have landed a couple of picks in the 2012 draft if they had waited and used Henne as trade bait for another QB-hungry team. Instead, the Dolphins are stuck with Henne at the helm for another season without any viable, proven targets other than Brandon Marshall and a couple of aged veteran RBs.

Cam Newton...it isn't often that the No. 1 overall pick ends up being a loser. But in Newton's case, he surely is in a losing situation. Yes, the No. 1 overall pick usually ends in a higher paycheck at the end of the day, but there isn't much of a difference between the contract of the first overall pick and the 32nd overall pick. Either way, if you're picked in the first round you are likely to get a nice sum of money. What makes him the loser is the fact that he will be thrown on to the field right away without a whole lot of experience and development in to the professional game. We all saw what happened with JaMarcus Russell just a few years ago. Newton used his size to his advantage in college, but that may not work as well against fellow professionals. I'm just afraid he could be driven out of the league rather quickly, much like Russell, if he isn't given time to develop his game.
Arizona Cardinals...I have come to the realization that the previous two listed "losers" of the draft involve quarterbacks--the lack of Miami drafting one, and former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton--but that doesn't stop me from picking a third one. Yes, Arizona picked up one of the most talented players in the draft in LSU's corner Patrick Peterson. But at the same time, they passed up the opportunity to snag a franchise quarterback with the fifth overall pick. The quarterback position was, by far, the Cards' most needed going in to the draft. They had the shot at snagging Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker and Christian Ponder, all of whom were taken with the next seven picks. Now, instead of having a young, talented quarterback to give them hope for the next several years, they will begin the season with Derek Anderson, John Skelton, Max Hall and Richard Bartel at quarterback.

Other winners: Torrey Smith (Baltimore), Blaine Gabbert (Jacksonville), Cleveland Browns
Other losers: A.J. Green (Bengals), Seattle Seahawks


Photos taken from: christianponderjersey.com, Zimbio.com

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