2011 NFL Draft First Round Review: NFC North


Minnesota Vikings: Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State (12th overall)

Vikings fans need to realize here–their team did not select a bad player. Christian Ponder was the top quarterback on some teams’ boards, so they are getting a good player. The reason people are upset with this pick was the value of it. The Vikings fan base likely feels they could have got Ponder at a later pick, but they pulled the trigger at 12. Ponder is a solid quarterback, and he compared himself recently to a fellow NFC North QB, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers. We will see if that comes to fruition.

Detroit Lions: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn (13th overall)

Personally, I feel this was the best pick of the draft in terms of the fit and the value of where he was selected. Fairley is a top five talent who will now team up with Ndamukong Suh on the Lions’ front line. Can any team in the NFC stop these guys? Time will tell in that regard, but Jim Schwartz worked with Albert Haynesworth in Tennessee, and now he will work with Nick Fairley in Detroit. This, like I said, was the best pick of the draft.

Chicago Bears: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin (29th overall)

The Bears apparently tried to trade up with the Ravens, but that fell through. It didn’t really matter though, because the Bears got the player who likely was the top player on their board. Carimi is a big, powerful offensive tackle who will be a great fit for the locker room, and a guy who will help keep Jay Cutler upright in a division with tons of defensive line talent.

Green Bay Packers: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State (32nd overall)

Last year, the Packers picked their left tackle of the future in Bryan Bulaga from Iowa, and this year they got their bookend in Sherrod. This is a passing league, and Sherrod is one of the best knee benders in the draft. The Packers got a nice talent here, and a guy that many scouts were high on going into the draft. They continue to solidify their status as one of the top young teams in the NFL.

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