The 2011 NFL Draft started off with some boo’s raining down on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The relentless booing was accompanied by chants of “We want football!”, and that about sums up the collective feelings of football fans across the country. Kudos to those fans in attendance for letting Goodell have it. Draft weekend was also about kids fulfilling their dreams, and fans finding hope in the new faces that will fill their teams.
I’m not big on grading a draft class, not after a couple days. But I can give my take on a few teams that, on paper at least, look to have really improved their talent. In the coming weeks I’ll spotlight a few teams that I believe had a solid start to the 2011 season.
The Indianapolis Colts had a heck of a haul. Getting offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo at #22, then nabbing offensive tackle Ben Ijalana in the 2nd round gives the Colts potential bookend tackles for the next 10 years. Castonzo is a very technical lineman with all the size and strength you’d want in a tackle and Ijalana has a ton of upside and could project inside to guard.
Drake Nevis has a legit shot to start at DT, but at the very least he’ll be in the DT rotation. It was a good value pick getting him in the 3rd round. The RB they picked up in the 4th, Delone Carter, is a short stocky runner that will get them tough yards between the tackles. And a plus, he’s an adept pass blocker.
Chris Rucker has prototypical size and speed for a corner. He was available in the 6th because his technique needs work and he has an injury history, but if he’s coached up he could be a real surprise. He’s a classic late round project with a high ceiling, but a low floor.
Click here for my look at the winning draft of the New Orleans Saints. And here for my look at the New England Patriots. And here for my look at the Houston Texans.