2011 NFL Draft Viewing Guide: What to Watch For

What to Watch For on Draft Weekend:

Falling Bowers
First of all, I believe a lot of what’s being circulated about Da’Quan Bowers only being likely to have five years to play, etc. could be to drop him in the first round. I think the best place for someone like him would be with an established pass-rusher like Trent Cole or Jared Allen who could teach him next-level technique and keep him motivated.

Stock Up since NCAA Championship
Christian Ponder (great interview, great pro day, lock-out makes heavier emphasis on pro-ready quarterbacks), Andy Dalton (great interview, pro Day, doubts about Mallett), Robert Quinn (great pro day), Taiwan Jones (great pro day), Titus Young (great pro day, more teams trying to copy Green Bay after Super Bowl), Kenrick Ellis (strong work outs).

Stock Down since NCAA Championship
Ryan Mallett (dedication questions), Prince Amukamara (inferior work outs to Jimmy Smith, Smith off-the-field issues disappearing),  Justin Houston (marijuana), Phil Taylor (injury issues).

Replace Brady, Manning?

New England has a lot more uncertainty on their roster but also a lot more riding on this season than Indianapolis does on either account. With a fan base more rabid than Indianapolis’, they’ve underwhelmed after impressive regular seasons in 2007 and 2010. You would think that with such a young roster that fans should give them more time, but the expectation in Foxboro is a Lombardi and until they win one post-Spygate, disappointment will be the sentiment among the faithful. With the emphasis on winning now, quarterback would be the least of their needs yet – if Belichick finds one this year that he thinks is pro-ready – he could pull the trigger with Brady’s injury history in mind. For the Colts, it would be a character thing. They want a quarterback who has humble, persistent character to go with the skill because whoever they draft will be sitting for at least three more seasons. If Marino played until he was and his rocket arm was his strong suit, Manning – who thrives on accuracy and sleight of hand – could play even longer. Dan Marino missed time at ages 26 and 32 (his 5th and 11th seasons) and Peyton Manning is 35 headed into his 14th season and has yet to miss a game.

Andy Dalton is the most divisive quarterback in the draft. Jason La Confora – who desperately wants his prediction to have a chance of being true so he can try to make a name for himself on the level of Adam Schefter – predicts the Titans will probably go either Nick Fairley (their defensive staff wants him) or Andy Dalton (the offensive guys want him) with pick number 8.

With no free agency, if the Patriots or Colts are serious about getting quarterbacks, they’ll have to do it by the first half of the second round or go with my guy Tyrod Taylor.

Enjoy, and may your team take every player you like in each round!

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