New Orleans Saints Make Splash In 1st; Take Cam Jordan And Mark Ingram


The first round of the 2011 NFL draft is in the books as they say, ironically the same day that Judge Susan Nelson denied the NFL’s stay to block the injunction, which could have prolonged the lockout.

No lockout means teams can get back to regular football operations starting as soon as tomorrow — OTA’s, rehab, and possibly even free agency — although the stay still has to be ruled on by the 8th Circuit Court.

However the 2011 NFL draft is the news of the day, and plenty surprises were in store for all the spectators. The complete draft list is as follows.

  1. Panthers: Cam Newton, QB Auburn
  2. Broncos: Von Miller, OLB Texas A&M
  3. Bills: Marcell Dareus, DT Alabama
  4. Bengals: AJ Green, WR Georgia
  5. Cardinals: Patrick Peterson, CB LSU
  6. Falcons: Julio Jones, WR Alabama (Trade from Cleveland)
  7. 49ers: Aldon Smith, DE Missouri
  8.  Titans: Jake Locker, QB Washington
  9. Cowboys: Tyron Smith, OT USC
  10. Jaguars: Blain Gabbert, QB Missouri (Trade from Redskins)
  11. Texans: JJ Watt, DE Wisconsin
  12. Vikings: Christian Ponder, QB Florida State
  13. Lions: Nick Fairley, DT Auburn
  14. Rams: Robert Quinn, DE North Carolina
  15. Dolphins: Mike Pouncey, OL Florida
  16. Redskins: Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB Purdue
  17. Patriots: Nate Solder, OT Colorado
  18. Chargers: Corey Liuget, DT Illinois
  19. Giants: Prince Amukamara, CB Nebraska
  20. Buccaneers: Adrian Clayborn, DE Iowa
  21. Browns: Phil Taylor, DT Baylor (Trade from Chiefs)
  22. Colts: Anthony Costanzo, OT Boston College
  23. Eagles: Danny Watkins, OT Baylor
  24. Saints: Cameron Jordan, DE California
  25. Seahawks: James Carpenter, OT Alabama
  26. Chiefs: Jonathan Baldwin, WR Pittsburgh (Trade from Ravens)
  27. Ravens: Jimmy Smith, CB Colorado
  28. Saints: Mark Ingram, RB Alabama (Trade from Patriots, 2012 1st round pick, 56th pick 2ndround)
  29. Bears: Gabe Carimi, OT Wisconsin
  30. Jets: Muhammad Wilkerson, DT Temple
  31. Steelers, Cameron Heyward, DE Ohio State
  32. Packers, Derek Sherrod, OT Mississippi State

There were many moves that caught us off guard. For instance the Falcons gave away almost their entire draft this year, and a first round pick next year, to move up and take Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones with the number six pick.

Jones is a phenomanal talent to be sure, and will be paired with the Falcon’s current stud wide receiver Roddy White, in the hopes they will form an unstoppable duo.

It just doesn’t seem Jones was worth all that Atlanta gave up to get him.

Another surprise is that Jake Locker, not Blaine Gabbert, went to the Tennessee Titans with the eighth overall pick.

While it was nearly assured that Auburn quarterback Cam Newton would be the first pick, it was not expected that Locker would go before Gabbert.

Ultimately Gabbert fell all the way to the tenth pick, a pick the Redskins held, but the Jaguars would trade up and take him, raising questions about the future of their current starting quarterback David Garrard.

Staying with the quarterbacks, another shocker of a pick was the Vikings selection of Florida State signal caller Christian Ponder.

Most scouts projected Ponder as a second round pick, and his drafting in the first round marked the  first time in NFL history four quarterbacks were taken in the first twenty picks.

Quarterbacks aside, the New Orleans Saints made the biggest splash during the first round of the draft, taking two top twenty picks in the bottom part of the first round.

Every position on the Saints roster was a possibility in the draft considering the twenty-seven free agents they still need to contend with re-signing this off season.

Literally every position was up for grabs — OT, LB, DT, DE, RB, CB, S — but with their pick so sat California defensive end Cameron Jordan, and the trigger was pulled.

Defensive end has widely been considered the Saints biggest need. Will Smith, the Saints starting right defensive end, is likely to be suspended next season.

Couple that with the lack of production from left defensive end Alex Brown, who totaled only two sacks in 2010, and it makes the their need at defensive end shine even more so above others.

The drafting of Jordan is huge as he can provide immediate depth on the defensive line, but is also likely to step in from day one and contribute in the regular season.

It seems likely he will fill in for Smith during his absence, and eventually he should become the Saints new left defensive end, although Brown may switch to his original RDE spot in replacement of Will Smith.

Jordan is widely considered as the second best defensive end in this years draft. While he is not perfect by any means, he also considered to be one of best defensive ends when it comes to defending the run, an area where the Saints struggled last season.

New Orleans wasn’t done however, as the next move they made shocked everyone.

Three picks later the Saints traded back into the first round, by giving up their 56th pick in the second round and a 2012 first round pick, to take Heisman trophy winning running back Mark Ingram with the 28th overall pick.

Ingram is considered by most close to the sport as a top fifteen pick. A surgically repaired knee however kept most from taking him in the top part of the draft.

Ingram had been in New Orleans over recent weeks training at Sonic Boom, a favorite training spot of many current Saints players.

He amassed 3,261 rushing yards and 42 touchdowns in three seasons with the Crimson Tide.

He helped lead Alabama to a National Championship that seam year when he rushed for a school best 1,631 yards and seventeen touchdowns.

Ingram was still considered the best running back available in this years crop of college free agents, and as it turns out was the only back taken in the first round.

No only did the Saints get one of the top tier pass rushers in the draft in Cameron Jordan, thet were also able to secure it’s best running back, making it one of the teams most successful drafts in recent memory.