2011 NFL Draft Grades: Three Winners

 

While this is far from a comprehensive breakdown of the 2011 NFL Draft, I would like to take a look at three teams I really thought helped themselves and three teams that could have done more. I will start with the winners in no particular order.

Indianapolis Colts: I like it when a team focuses on its weaknesses to turn them into strengths. Going offensive line with Anthony Castonzo and Ben Ijalana in the first two rounds will make Peyton Manning's life much easier. What Manning has done these past few years with spotty protection has been incredible, but giving him time had to be a priority. Drake Nevis is a good fit for Indy's system and might finally fill their perennial need at defensive tackle. My friend Big Blue Shoe of Stampede Blue was not a big fan of Delone Carter, but I liked him as a running back sleeper. The Colts issues running the ball have been more about blocking than the backs, but I think Carter will be a good pro and help the Indy run game.

Chicago Bears: They both filled needs and got excellent value early. Gabe Carimi was my favorite tackle prospect in the Draft. I was hoping he would fall to the Jets. Chicago got him instead where he will provide a huge upgrade to a patchwork defensive line. Stephen Paea in the second round really fit their need of help at defensive tackle.

Detroit Lions: Nick Fairley was fantastic value. It is scary to think that teams will have to block him and Ndamukong Suh together. Titus Young gives them a playmaker at the receiver position, and Mikel Leshoure is an every down back. Jahvid Best will be a great compliment.

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