Let the Circus Begin- Round One Thoughts

Round 1 is officially in the books, and football fans can’t help but get excited for next season. The top of the draft went smoothly, with consensus top prospects Cam Newton, Von Miller, and Patrick Peterson all going in the top 5. It wasn’t until the Tennessee Titans selection of Jake Locker that dictated the rest of the first round. By taking Locker, a better athlete than quarterback who struggled in his senior season at Washington, other teams felt the pressure to over-draft, while others decided to let the best remaining prospects come to them.

With the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens making first day “moves,” John and I can both breathe a sigh of relief. The Redskins, who initially held the tenth pick, elected to switch picks with Jacksonville in exchange for the Jaguars’ 49th overall pick. Meanwhile, the Ravens provided some excitement by passing on their selection. After thinking they had a trade in place with the Chicago Bears, something fell through, and the Ravens allowed the Chiefs to move up one spot to take former Pitt product Jonathan Baldwin. The Ravens still got their cornerback in Jimmy Smith, whose lack of excitement after the announcement has already generated some buzz online.

Here are John Sisson’s thoughts on the Redskins pick of Ryan Kerrigan, and his thoughts and expectations of tomorrow:

The Washington Redskins are not a team to play it safe in the Dan Snyder era; that was until Mike Shanahan came along. I think their philosophy in this draft was to bring in blue collar guys onto the struggling offensive and defensive fronts. A lot of fans wanted and expected some “help us now” picks. I don’t think the redskins would be quite ready for that without the right moves.

The Pick: With pick 16 of the 2011 NFL draft the Washington Redskins select… Ryan Kerrigan, LB out of Purdue. Wait! Did he just say 16? Where’s our QB? The Washington Redskins traded out of the number 10 spot to pick up the 16th overall pick of the first round plus an additional 2nd round pick from the Jacksonville Jaguars. In Ryan Kerrigan they get a guy who can stick his hand in the dirt and play ball. A safe pick for the Redskins who can’t afford a failure in the draft without a base for this aging team. They solidify their linebacking corps with this pick and show me that their priority is to build a team for the future.

What to expect tomorrow: Watch for the Redskins to pick up a guy like Stephen Wisniewski, OC, out of Penn State. This gives hope to a unit that you could say is “out of touch” on the football feild. He’s young, he’s big, and he’s good. With a lack of Centers in free agency this is a guy to build the interior of your offensive line around.

I expect the Redskins to make a move for a WR in this round too. Look out for them to pick up either Leonard Hankerson, Greg Little, or Torrey Smith. They’ll address this position in the second round and in free agency.

One might ask why the Redskins wouldn’t take a Quarterback here. Perhaps they go after Andy Dalton or Ryan Mallett. Shanahan may want to build that core before he goes picking up someone who won’t take the reigns right away.

Here are Barry Kamen’s thoughts on the Ravens newest addition, and some insight into Round 2.

As Roger Goodell announced the Kansas City Chiefs pick at 26, I was in complete shock. The Ravens were picking at 26! How could this be?! Despite the discrepancy with Chicago, the Ravens had a plethora of prospects to choose from. Muhammad Wilkerson was my selection in our mock draft, and he was still available. However Jimmy Smith’s combination of size, speed, and shutdown corner skills were too much to pass up. With the pending free agencies of Chris Carr and Josh Wilson, it is now likely that the Ravens will only bring one of them back (hopefully Carr) to join a solid group that includes Dominique Foxworth, Lardarius Webb, and Cary Williams.

Looking ahead to round two, the Ravens will more than likely look to address the need at wide receiver. Only three wide receivers were chosen in round one, with the only surprise being Baldwin, a big-bodied target with his own slew of character issues. At 58, the Ravens will look to add one of the receivers that John eluded to. If Titus Young, a former Boise State standout, is available, the team would be silly not to take him.

If a wide receiver isn’t to their liking, the Ravens could search for offensive tackle depth. The Bengals strong selection of A.J. Green was countered with the drafting of Smith.  The Steelers selection of Cameron Hayward give them yet another great pass rusher who can put the hurt on Joe Flacco. In order to compete in the AFC North, a stable offensive line is necessary in order to open holes for Ray Rice and provide protection for Flacco. An intriguing prospect is TCU’s Marcus Cannon, who at nearly 365 lbs, would provide a dominating presence, both in the trenches, as well as the buffet line.

With six more rounds to go, the drama and excitement surrounding the NFL Draft has just begun. Look for our thoughts later in the weekend as both the Ravens and Redskins continue to do their homework. The circus has only begun, and we cannot wait to see the Patriots kick off Day Two.


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