NFL draft featured wise decisions and baffling picks

Each team seemed to come up with a favorable move, but also with strange ones.

May 01, 2011|By Sam Farmer, Tribune Newspapers

ARIZONA CARDINALS

Heady move: Got CB Patrick Peterson with 5th pick. When they had 5th pick 4 years ago, they let guy with same last name — RB Adrian Peterson — slip past in favor of T Levi Brown. Oops.

Head scratcher: Took Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams in 2nd. Cardinals used 1st-rounder on Beanie Wells only 2 years ago.

ATLANTA FALCONS

Heady move: Traded up from No. 27 to No. 6 to get Alabama WR Julio Jones. That's big for team that was tied for last in league in 2010 with 44 plays of 20 yards or longer.

Head scratcher: Gave up lots to get Jones — Nos. 1, 2 and 4 this year, and Nos. 1 and 4 next year.

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Heady move: Got field-stretching Maryland WR Torrey Smith in 2nd, giving them freedom to dump T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Donte Stallworth.

Head scratcher: Saw good pass rushers come and go, including Ohio State's Cameron Heyward and Pitt's Jabaal Sheard.

BUFFALO BILLS

Heady move: Sun-blotting DT Marcell Dareus will instantly shore up league's worst rushing defense.

Head scratcher: Surprised some by passing on promising QBs in 2nd.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Heady move: With worst offense last season, they basically had to cross their fingers and use No. 1 pick on QB Cam Newton.

Head scratcher: It's not often you see team use top pick on QB in consecutive years.

CHICAGO BEARS

Heady move: Grabbing Oregon State DT Stephen Paea late in 2nd a steal.

Head scratcher: Failed to put finishing touches on routine trade with Ravens in 1st, but it worked out in their favor anyway.

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Heady move: Landed replacements for WR Chad Ochocinco (A.J. Green) and QB Carson Palmer (Andy Dalton).

Head scratcher: At first blush, they made all the right moves. Were these really the Bengals?

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Heady move: Hit motherlode by trading out of the No. 6 spot, pushing their pick total to 18 over this season and next.

Head scratcher: Although USC's Cameron Jordan was good value in 4th, did they really need a TE?

DALLAS COWBOYS

Heady move: Got younger and more athletic on O-line, and USC T Tyron Smith could be terrific.

Head scratcher: Taking North Carolina LB Bruce Carter in 2nd was gamble. He's coming off knee reconstruction.

DENVER BRONCOS

Heady move: Von Miller has superstar potential for worst sacking team in 2010.

Head scratcher: Desperately needed a defensive tackle, yet took safety (UCLA's Rahim Moore) instead of big bodies Marvin Austin or Paea in 2nd.

DETROIT LIONS

Heady move: WR Titus Young and RB Mikel Leshoure will be exciting players, especially on Ford Field turf.

Head scratcher: Nick Fairley could give them best defensive line in football, but why did so many teams cool on him?

GREEN BAY PACKERS

Heady move: Kentucky WR Randall Cobb should really help team that has gotten old at position.

Head scratcher: Failed to get pass rusher early, perhaps their biggest need.

HOUSTON TEXANS

Heady move: Arizona LB Brooks Reed could wind up being 2nd-round steal.

Head scratcher: Wisconsin's J.J. Watt very solid player but an unexpected pick for Texans, who already have DEs Mario Williams and Antonio Smith.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Heady move: Boston College T Anthony Castonzo could wind up starting for 10 years or longer, and Peyton Manning isn't getting any more

mobile.

Head scratcher: For team with patchwork secondary, they didn't draft that way.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Heady move: Jaguars traded up to get Blaine Gabbert, and Missouri QB has luxury of learning behind David Garrard.

Head scratcher: Using consecutive picks on small-school players, Lehigh T William Rackley and Mount Union WR Cecil Shorts.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Heady move: Character concerns pushed Georgia LB Justin Houston down board, but if Chiefs can keep him in line he'll be good find

in 3rd.

Head scratcher: Draftniks think Pittsburgh WR Jonathan Baldwin was a reach in 1st.

MIAMI DOLPHINS

Heady move: Selecting center in middle of 1st is meat-and-potatoes decision, but playing it safe could be wise.

Head scratcher: Failed to land one of the top seven QBs.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Heady move: Notre Dame TE Kyle Rudolph was good value in 2nd, even though they already have depth there.

Head scratcher: Florida State QB Christian Ponder could turn out to be great, but they passed on some elite OTs to get him.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Heady move: Although his character is concern, Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett goes to team that keeps those guys in line.

Head scratcher: Failed to land top-notch pass rusher, something they need.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Heady move: Grabbed Cal DE Cameron Jordan at No. 24. He figures to be key player in front seven badly in need of makeover.

Head scratcher: They say they want to keep Reggie Bush, but they used the 28th pick on Mark Ingram.

NEW YORK GIANTS

Heady move: They landed two slipping standouts in Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara and North Carolina DT Marvin Austin.

Head scratcher: Couldn't address every need. Center remains concern.

NEW YORK JETS

Heady move: By taking massive Temple DT Muhammad Wilkerson, Jets helped solidify front end of defense that no longer has Kris Jenkins.

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