2011 NFL Draft Grades: Winners And Losers From Day One

There are two kinds of winners and losers in the first round of the draft. The ones we label as winners and loser right now and the ones who actually turn out to be winners and losers when we find out if these guys are any good in a few years. But we won't let the latter fact stop us from handing down swift and terrible judgment on a few teams...

Losers

Atlanta Falcons - If there's a team that I feel good about calling a loser no matter what, it's Atlanta. Julio Jones might be a really good player, but they gave up five picks including two firsts, a second and two fourths for that guy. That's 3 to 5 players they could have had with a real potential for impact that they gave up for one guy who was generally seen as the second best WR in the draft.

Also how did they have to give up the extra fourth in 2011? Was two firsts a second and one fourth not enough? Crazy deal.

Basically every team that took a QB - In a year that many scouts claimed was a bad year for QBs, teams picked the second most QBs in the first round since 1970. Forget all the questions surrounding a guy like Cam Newton or even the lack of production of a guy like Blaine Gabbert. There were the two other picks in the top in the top 12 that literally solicited laughter from the scouts and media in attendance. Those were of course Jake Locker and Christian Ponder. Maybe those guys prove everyone wrong and become stars, but right now they're all head scratching picks.

Winners

Washington Redskins - As I said earlier, the Redskins put on a clinic. Washington traded down from #10 to a QB desperate team in Jacksonville, who saw a run on QBs and decided to go up and get Blaine Gabbert. The Skins only moved back six spots and picked up an extra second round pick in the process. When their pick came up at #16, Ryan Kerrigan, who they likely wanted all along was still there. They played the first round perfectly.

 

Cleveland Browns - One draft expert remarked to me after their trade with Atlanta, "That's a franchise changing haul for them." The Browns got that massive package of picks from the Falcons to drop out of the #5 spot to #27, then they spent a third round pick to pop back up the draft later in the round to fill a need with big NT Phil Taylor, who should fit nicely in the middle of their 3-4.

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