2011 NFL Draft: 3rd round Updated 4/17
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65. Carolina Panthers: OG Orlando Franklin, Miami-
The Panthers could go a number of different routes, but if they want to give Jimmy Clausen a legitimate chance they need to improve the line in front of him. They are set at center and tackle, but their guard play was pretty poor last season. Franklin would be a very good addition with this pick and should help improve both their run and pass blocking. I think it is key that the Panthers grab an instant starter with this pick, and I feel that Franklin can step right in.
66. Cincinnati Bengals: DT Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson-
The Bengals need to add another pass rusher along their defensive line. While much of the focus is adding another end, they have some talent there that could end up developing to starting material. At tackle though the Bengals don’t have much in the way of talent so adding a DT like Jenkins could be a really good fit.
67. Denver Broncos: FS Quinton Carter, Oklahoma-
The Broncos should continue building up their defense in the 3rd round. While Peterson is a good start to improving their secondary, they still need help at FS. Carter is good value here and should at least be a 3rd safety as a rookie, if not win the starting job.
68. Buffalo Bills: OT Marcus Gilbert, Florida-
If the Bills don’t address their offensive line issues in the top 3 rounds this year, they should just fire their G.M. on the spot. Buffalo has some decent weapons at RB and WR, but until they get some protection their offense will always be second rate.
69. Arizona Cardinals: OT/G James Brewer, Indiana-
The Cardinals have to add talent to their offensive line and even if they do address this position in an earlier round a versatile player like Brewer could be a fit here. I think he is limited to either RT or G, but both of those are needs for Arizona. I like Brewer more than most and do see a little bit of the Roger Saffold comparison some people make.
70. Cleveland Browns: DE Pernell McPhee, Miss. State-
The Browns need to add some 4-3 linemen, and McPhee profiles well as a strong left end. He offers decent pass rush and should be a very good run defender as well.
71. Dallas Cowboys: G/OT Jason Pinkston, Pittsburgh-
The Cowboys fixed their secondary in the first two rounds, but not it is time to address their offensive line and find a way to protect Tony Romo. Pinkston could potentially be a fit at either RT or guard. I think Pinkston is a better fit at guard, but given the Cowboys tackle situation, he is probably an upgrade there as well.
72. New Orleans Saints (from Washington): G Clint Boling, Georgia-
The Saints have an extra pick this round and I could see them making a selection that could be more for the future. Guard isn’t a major need right now, but Carl Nix is a restricted free agent and I’m just not sure that the Saints will lock him up long term, one season after giving Evans a mega deal. The Saints could have some questions at tackle as well, which is what Boling played in college, meaning he has the versatility to help the Saints in a number of waves.
73. Houston Texans: CB Chimdi Chekwa, Ohio State –
The Texans need to address their need at corner back, after fixing their front 7 in the first two rounds. Chekwa has shown good upside and although this could be sligthy high for him, he fills a big need.
74. New England Patriots (from Minnesota): QB Colin Kaepernick, Nevada-
The Patriots with all their extra picks can make a luxury pick or two. While Tom Brady is still at the top of his game, he is getting up there in age, and the Patriots could look to add a mid-round future replacement. Kaepernick has a ton of potential, but he probably needs a couple of years before he would be ready, so this is a good fit all around.
75. Detroit Lions: OLB Mason Foster, Washington-
The Lions need linebacker help desperately so doubling up in the 2nd and 3rd rounds makes a lot of sense. The Lions could go from having one of the worst linebacker corps, to one of the most promising. I’m a big Mason Foster fan, and think he is a very good starter at the next level.
76. San Francisco 49ers: CB Kendrick Bruney, North Carolina-
After filling their QB and OLB needs the 49ers should look to address their secondary issues. The 49ers corners really struggled last season, and while Bruney might not be an instant starter, he should at the very least be a nickel corner next year.
77. Tennessee Titans: MLB Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina-
If the Titans lose MLB Stephen Tulloch this offfseason, finding his replacement becomes a top priority. Sturdivant is a good player and has the ability to start early in his career.
78. St. Louis Rams: DT Lawrence Guy, Arizona State-
Once the Rams take care of the WR and O-line needs, they need to look to add some help in the middle of their defense. Guy is a player who I think is rising and will be a good fit for the Rams defense.
79. Miami Dolphins: RB Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State-
The Dolphins passed on a running back in round one, but they can’t afford to wait any longer than round 3. Hunter is a tough quick back, who despite not having track star speed, breaks off a number of big runs. He should be a good value here for the Dolphins and help give some balance to their offense.
80. Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Tandon Doss, Indiana-
The Jags will need to replace Mike Sims-Walker and Doss would be a good fit for them. Doss in many ways is similar to Walker with good size and speed. He doesn’t excel in any one area, but is just a quality receiver across the board.
81. Oakland Raiders: OT Joesph Barksdale, LSU-
The Raiders biggest weakness is the play of their offensive line, so multiple upgrades are needed. Barksdale has a lot of potential, he could end up being their starting right tackle, and has the ability to play there for the next 10 years. If the Raiders can add Wiz and Barksdale, their offense could quickly become one of the better units in the NFL.
82. San Diego Chargers: WR Randall Cobb, Kentucky-
Last year the Chargers dealt with a number of receiver issues, and while for the most part it didn’t affect their overall play, I’m guessing they don’t want to be unprepared again. I know they typically favor bigger receivers, but Cobb is great value for them at this pick and should have a lot of freedom underneath (think Wes Welker), with Jackson stretching the field deep. Cobb also could end up being their primary kick returner if Darren Sproles leaves during free agency.
83. New York Giants: DT Jurrell Casey USC-
Does New York need another defensive tackle? No, but the Giants know they need to keep that front four strong if they want to contend. Casey offers good value for the pick, and the two things the Giants do the most in the draft is select on value and stockpile D-linemen.
84. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DE Greg Romeus, Pittsburgh-
The Buccaneers defensive front 7 needs quite a bit of work, but after this draft, they could be in pretty good shape. Romeus is coming off an injury but this was a 1st round guy a year ago. If Romeus checks out medically he is a fantastic value at this spot, and should team with Clayborn to give the Bucs a great starting pair of DE’s.
85. Philadelphia Eagles: OLB Nate Irving, North Carolina St.-
The Eagles linebackers last season were one of their biggest weak spots and an area that needs to be upgraded. Irving is an intriguing prospect and one that I feel will develop into a start player. He is pretty good in coverage, and is a very sure tackler. While he isn’t perfect, I like what I’ve seen from his instincts as well.
86. Kansas City Chiefs: NT Kendrick Ellis, Hampton-
The Chiefs defense improved a lot last season, and it looks like former first rounders Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson are going to finally start producing, but they need to add a man in the middle. Ellis has a lot of potential and could develop into a frontline NT.
87. Indianapolis Colts: G John Moffitt, Wisconsin-
The Colts offensive line was pretty bad last season. While it didn’t always amount to sacks, opponents put constant pressure on Manning. Moffitt can play anywhere on the interior and will also be a major addition in run blocking as well.
88. New Orleans Saints: OLB Bruce Carter, North Carolina-
The Saints have a need at outside linebacker and Carter would be a great value at their 2nd round pick. Unfortunately, Carter has some injury issues that will make him fall. While those are a concern and will keep him out of the 2nd round, Carter could be a steal here at the end of the 3rd round.
89. San Diego Chargers (from Seattle): ILB Colin McCarthy, Miami-
The Chargers could use some youth added to their linebacking corps. While McCarthy is a bit of a reach here I love his upside for the interior of a 3-4. He probably won’t be a starter in year one, but should quickly work his way into that role by year two.
90. Baltimore Ravens: OT Chris Hairston, Clemson-
The Ravens have multiple offensive linemen who are free agents this offseason and I doubt they can resign them all. Hairston could help out at either RT or G, and replace anyone the Ravens might have lost.
91. Atlanta Falcons: RB Jordan Todman, Connecticut-
The Falcons need to add weapons and speed this offseason and Todman would be a nice value for them here. While Michael Turner is the top back in Atlanta, their speed back, J. Norwood, is a free agent and always injured, so the Falcons need a replacement. Todman should be able to contribute immediately and could even be the long term starter, if Turner starts to wear down in the next couple of years.
92. New England Patriots: SS Tyler Sash, Iowa-
The Patriots could need to find a new strong safety given Brandon Merriweather’s legal problems. Even if he isn’t suspended or worse due to his involvement with a shooting, Merriweather was the weakest link for the Patriots secondary last season, so competition isn’t the worst thing in the world. I love Sash’s upside and think he can start at either safety position.
93. Chicago Bears: CB Curtis Marsh, Utah State-
For the Bears to contend this year they will have to get through Aaron Rodgers and his arsenal of weapons. To do so Chicago needs to upgrade their secondary and adding a corner like Marsh would go a long way to satisfying that goal. Marsh has starter potential and should be at worst the nickel corner next season.
94. New York Jets: WR Niles Paul, Nebraska-
The Jets are likely to lose one of their top receivers this offseason to free agency, and he will need to be replaced. While they could choose a bigger target if Edwards leaves, I really like Paul and think he can flourish in that offense. Paul has great secondary skills, and should contribute early.
95. Pittsburgh Steelers: NT Jerrell Powe, Ole Miss-
The Steelers could double up on corners here, but it might be tough to pass up a NT. Right now the Steelers are set there with Casey Hampton, but he is getting up there in age. Not to mention drafting a backup as good as Powe will allow the Steelers the opportunity to rest Hampton more, which should lead to him being more effective late in games.
96. Green Bay Packers: WR Greg Little, North Carolina-
Little is one of my favorite players in this draft. I think he possesses the ability and potential to be an elite receiver. I know there are some off the field red flags, but I’m not totally buying. While there are some immature issues, they don’t seem to be nearly as bad as some people make them out to be. Little is a good value pick here for the Packers and with James Jones a free agent and Driver starting to decline he fills a need as well.
97. Carolina Panthers (Compensation pick): TE Luke Stocker, Tennessee-
I know the Panthers signed Jeremy Shockey this offseason, but it was for only one season and Shockey isn’t exactly the picture of health. Adding a long term option would be a good idea for the Panthers. Whether their quarterback of the future is Clausen, a draft pick this year or next, he will need some reliable underneath targets to throw to. Stocker is a good enough blocker that he could stay in and block while Shockey is more involved in the passing game.