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2011 NFL Draft Analysis - Round 1 (No. 26-32)
New Orleans RB Mark Ingram
New Orleans RB Mark Ingram
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 28, 2011


Who went where and how good are each of the draft picks in the 1st round picks 26 through 32?

2011 NFL Draft - 1st Round

No. 26-32 Picks & Analysis


2011 NFL Draft Analysis
1st Round (1-5) | 1st Round (6-10) | 1st Round (11-15) | 1st Round (16-20)
1st Round (21-25) | 1st Round (26-32) | 2nd Round | 3rd Round
4th Round | 5th Round | 6th Round | 7th Round | Top Free Agents

2011 NFL Draft Team Analysis - AFC
EAST Buffalo | Miami | New England | NY Jets
WEST Denver | Kansas CityOakland | San Diego
NORTH Baltimore | Cincinnati  Cleveland | Pittsburgh
SOUTH Houston | Indy | Jacksonville | Tennessee

2011 NFL Draft Team Analysis - NFC
EAST Dallas | NY Giants | Philadelphia | Washington
WEST Arizona | San Francisco | Seattle | St. Louis
NORTH Chicago | Detroit | Green Bay | Minnesota
SOUTH Atlanta | Carolina | New Orleans | Tampa Bay

2011 NFL Prospect Rankings & Breakdowns
- QBs | RBs | FBs | WRs | TEs | OTs | OGs | Cs 
- OLBs | ILBs | DTs | DEs | CBs

26 (26) Kansas City Chiefs (from Atlanta) after picking ahead of Baltimore
WR Jonathan Baldwin, Pitt 6-4, 228
Overall Pick No. 26 CFN Overall Ranking: 43

While there are certainly risks and question marks, he’s a freak of nature who should explode on the other side of Dwayne Bowe. He has No. 1 target ability and tremendous skills, and now all he has to do is take advantage of single coverage and hit home run after home run while Bowe draws everyone’s top cover-corner. Matt Cassel’s fantasy stock just went through the roof.

CFN Analysis: A receiver who’s built like a tight end, he has the look and the bulk to be an Andre Johnson-type size-wise, and he’s physical enough to use his size well. However, he’s not nearly as fast as a top-shelf target needs to be, isn’t all that quick, and has a knucklehead streak that’ll turn off some, but he’s a great athlete, can jump out of the stadium, and has enough pure football talent to be a potential superstar. One of the toughest calls in the draft, he could be a Pro Bowl talent if he wants it and if he turns into a workout warrior who takes to coaching. If he doesn’t bring the effort, which is a legitimate concern, he could be maddeningly inconsistent.
CFN Projection:
Second Round

27 (27) Baltimore Ravens after passing on the 26th pick
CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado 6-2, 211
Overall Pick No. 27 CFN Overall Ranking: 45

Smith has huge character questions and was dropped by some teams because of his Facebook page, and then he spends draft day wearing a Scarface t-shirt. Good move. However, Baltimore got a top ten talent late in the first round, and while Smith would be a risky pick for most teams, give him a year of getting his butt kicked by Ray Lewis and he has all the makings of being the next great Raven defensive back.

CFN Analysis: Very big, very athletic, and very fast, Smith has the tools that scouts dream about. He measured even bigger than expected at the Combine, flashed a 4.44 in the 40, and threw up 24 reps on the bench. While his future is as a safety with his size and range, he’s going to be a corner right away thanks to his measureables. Smooth as a three-day beard with the working definition of tight hips, he doesn’t cut well and doesn’t look quite as fluid as you’d like for a corner. While he’ll be great against the bigger, fast receivers, he’ll have problems against the jitterbug-quick targets he can’t get his hands on. Again, his future is brightest as a free safety, but he should be solid right away no matter where he plays if, and it’s a big if, he keep his attitude in check and can absorb an NFL playbook. He’s not exactly in the running for the Rhodes Scholarship.
CFN Projection: Second Round

28 (28) New Orleand Saints (from New England) 
RB Mark Ingram, Alabama 5-9, 215 (Jr.)
Overall Pick No. 28 CFN Overall Ranking: 12


Woooooooo. If New England had kept the pick, Ingram would’ve been the centerpiece of a Patriot running game that’s loaded with mediocre talent. Instead, New Orleans just came up with a special piece to the offensive puzzle and he just made Drew Brees a whole lot better. Five years ago, when running backs were valued more, he would’ve been a sure-thing top ten pick, if not a top three. New England, you got too cute … again. Multiple picks are nice, but a Heisman running back of Ingram’s caliber doesn’t fall in your lap every day.

The 2009 Heisman winner and main cog for a national title team is the one back in the draft who might be a franchise difference maker. In today’s day and age of multiple back rotations and dime-a-dozen runners, Ingram has it when it comes to that special something that makes a great back special. Emmitt Smith didn’t run fast and wasn’t all that big, but he always seemed to know how to produce, and that’s Ingram … to a point.

He’s a very thick, very tough runner with better hands than he gets credit for, and with an innate ability to make the right cut at the very last nanosecond, he’s the definition of a downhill runner. Patient, he rarely makes a wrong decision and he makes up for his errors with power and always fighting through contact.

While he had a decent Combine, showed he doesn’t have elite speed and is a mediocre athlete. Forget about any home runs and he’s not going to provide the Adrian Peterson-like highlight runs. He was dinged up early last year and was never consistent, and there might be some concern that he’s a bit of a one-year wonder. With his running style he might have a short shelf life, but he’ll be ultra-productive for a few years on the right team.
CFN Projection:
First Round

29 (29) Chicago Bears
OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin 6-7, 314
Overall Pick No. 29 CFN Overall Ranking: 22

The Bears had been barking for weeks about wanting to trade down, but if they were going to stay put, Carimi was among the most obvious picks in the draft. The worst offensive line in the NFL was getting Jay Cutler killed, and Carimi had been the target all along. There weren’t any left tackle options, and there was no way, no how the offense could go into the season with J’Marcus Webb, a seventh round pick last year, protecting Mr. Cavallari’s blind side.

CFN Analysis: Very, very big and very, very tough, the Outland Trophy winner beat up the best the brightest defensive linemen the Big Ten had to offer, and he was the key part of the puzzle on a great run blocking line. There’s no real work needing to be done with his technique or his style; plug him in and let him go. Can he stay healthy? He got cut way too much and was chopped down, but he still has injury concerns. While he might not be athletic enough to handle the speediest NFL pass rushers, he’ll be a very steady, very good starter for a decade somewhere on a line. Outside of injury concerns, there’s no real downside.
CFN Projection: First Round

30 (30) New York Jets
DT Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple 6-4, 315 (Jr.)
Overall Pick No. 30 CFN Overall Ranking: 112

He’d be a slight bit of a reach for almost anyone else, but for the Rex Ryan defense he’s a terrific pick who should blow up on the inside. A replacement for Kris Jenkins was needed, and Ryan got an ultra-athletic prospect who’ll be asked to produce from the moment he steps on the field. He’s not necessarily going to be an anchor, but he has the skills to be tremendously productive when surrounded by a ton of talent.

While his production mostly came in MAC play, he was ultra-productive and ultra-reliable as the anchor of a very good Temple defense. With his size and bulk, he has the raw mass needed to sit in the middle someone’s line, but he also has the tools and the quickness to get into the backfield and work as a 3-4 end if needed. Now he has to get better and go to work on coming up with more creative moves. He got by on simply having better skills than everyone he was facing, but that’s not going to work at the next level. He needs coaching and needs technique work, and he’ll probably be overdrafted in a strong class of tackles, but the potential and talent are undeniable.
CFN Projection: Second Round

31 (31) Pittsburgh Steelers
DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio State 6-5, 294
Overall Pick No. 31 CFN Overall Ranking: 26

With Da’Quan Bowers still on the board, the Steelers went with the more versatile Heyward. Pittsburgh gets the benefit of the doubt when it comes to finding tremendous defensive lineman, and Heyward, while not a speed rusher, will be used in a variety of ways to fill in the gaps, especially in a rotation, both inside and out. It’s a good pick at the right slot, but there are plenty of other big-time players on the board, like Bowers, Martez Wilson, and several offensive tackles, who’d be better immediate fits.

The son of former NFL star running back Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, Cameron has the strength and he has the athleticism to be the ideal 3-4 end. The problem is his lack of consistency. He should be great all the time, and when the lights were turned on and he was challenged, he dominated. The Buckeye line was being maligned two years ago, and he came out and destroyed Wisconsin. In the 2011 Sugar Bowl against Arkansas, he spent most of the evening sitting on Ryan Mallett’s head. His size and his football talent make him almost a sure thing not to bust, but he’s not a pure pass rusher and he doesn’t get off the ball in a hurry. While he’ll probably be a rock-solid ten-year starter, he’s not going to be a Pro Bowl dominator and there’s a hard ceiling on how good he can be.
CFN Projection: Second Round

32 (32) Green Bay Packers
OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State 6-6, 321
Overall Pick No. 32 CFN Overall Ranking: 25

This means the end for Chad Clifton. With Bryan Bulaga on the other side, possibly moving to left tackle, Sherrod can be a right tackle and the Packer line is set on the outside for the next decade. However, Da’Quan Bowers was still on the board. Take a chance on the pass rushing superstar with Clay Matthews working on the other side, and it would’ve been uh-oh time for the rest of the NFC North. Even so, Sherrod is a good, sound pick taken at the right time.

Very big and very long, he has the prototype size and bulked up to get stronger and look even more like the ideal tackle. He moves well for is size and is good at burying his man when he’s able to lock on, but he’s not a consistent blaster for the ground game He’ll work to be good and he’s smart enough to adjust to the NFL immediately, however, he’s a good all-around prospect, but he doesn’t do any one thing at a high level. He’ll start, but he’ll be a cog and he definitely won’t be an anchor.
CFN Projection: Second Round