2011 NFL Draft First Round Review: NFC South


Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn (1st overall)

We all saw this coming, and now it finally happened.  The Carolina Panthers’ new regime will have their names attached to Cam Newton, the Heisman winning, National Champion quarterback from Auburn. Cam is a very gifted athlete with a strong arm, but he needs to work on the little things like footwork and pocket presence to make it in the NFL. I am a believer in Cam Newton, so I can’t wait to see what he can do in the NFL.

Atlanta Falcons: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama (6th overall)

Some feel the Falcons gave up too much for Jones, but I disagree completely. The Falcons do not need a second round pick, they need an elite wide receiver to pair with Roddy White. Jones and White is one of the scariest new combinations in the NFL, and the Falcons gave up a lot to get a lot. This move says, “We are going all in” to me, and I love those kind of moves for teams that aren’t far away from winning a title. I think this is a great pick for the Falcons, regardless of what they gave up.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa (20th overall)

This was a great pick for the Buccaneers. Clayborn is a disruptive player who isn’t going to make his living getting double digit sack totals every year, but double digit tackles for loss and just making plays on all four downs. I’ve gotten the chance to watch him develop over the last three years, and I think this was an excellent pick for an excellent organization on the rise. Clayborn will not have to change anything he does to fit into Morris’ defense, because it’s so close to what they run at Iowa.

New Orleans Saints: Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal (24th overall), Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama (28th overall)

The Saints had probably the best day of any team in the draft. They get a punishing defensive end in Cam Jordan who has a nasty streak about him and can put pressure on the quarterback as the strong-side defensive end or as a defensive tackle on passing downs. He is a versatile player and I think he is a top 15 talent that they got at 24.

Ingram is a Heisman trophy winning running back added to one of the best offensive attacks in the NFL. That alone is very, very scary. Ingram had a fantastic moment on ESPN’s coverage of the draft when he was read a letter from his father, who is currently in prison. Ingram showed a side of him that people probably have not seen, and it was just a great moment for the NFL and for fans, and a great moment for Mark Ingram.

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