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    Hunt for the 2011 No. 1 overall pick: An early breakdown

    Hunt for the 2011 No. 1 overall pick: An early breakdown
    Bills could be destined for top of the draft
    By Brad Biggs
    National Football Post

    Now that Week 6 is in the books, it’s time to start taking a look at the top of the draft for 2011.

    The Dallas Cowboys are working on ways to convince themselves their season isn’t over at 1-4, and granted there is precedence for teams with such a poor start rebounding to reach the postseason. But the odds are stacked against the Cowboys, and right now they’re among a small group of teams with less than two wins.

    Yes, parity (or in some cases mediocrity) is alive and well in the NFL. The Cowboys are one of only four one-win teams in the league with two teams – Buffalo and Carolina – yet to crack the win column. So, we might as well assess where this group is right now in the chase for the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2011.

    While Sam Bradford and Ndamukong Suh looked like solid bets to be at the top of the draft board at this time a year ago, it’s probably fair to say the Class of 2011 isn’t as well defined in mid-October. So what prize will be waiting for the No. 1 pick come the next draft, we’ll just have to wait and see. Here’s how we stack the bottom six teams in the NFL right now in the race for No.1:

    1. Buffalo (0-5). The Bills might have a better chance of running the table Motown-style and finishing 0-16 than they do of not having the No. 1 pick when this season is over. They’re coming off a needed bye and will travel to Baltimore this Sunday where it won’t be pretty. Tell me where this team finds a win on its schedule? The Bills host the Detroit Lions in Week 10 and the Cleveland Browns in Week 14. Those look like their best opportunities as they’re stuck in a loaded AFC East this season.

    At least Buffalo did something with the No. 1 pick the last time it owned it. The Bills selected defensive end Bruce Smith at the top of the 1985 draft. The last time they were near the top, they swung and missed with offensive tackle Mike Williams fourth overall in 2002. Yes, recent drafts have proven to be disasters for this franchise which one longtime league observer noted suffers from “organizational incompetence.”

    2. Cleveland (1-5). Colt McCoy certainly didn’t embarrass himself with his first career start at Pittsburgh but the Browns went halfway toward a full-fledged rebuilding progress when Mike Holmgren was brought in to lead the organization. It’s hard to say if everyone is on the same page here and with the Browns drawing the AFC East on the schedule this season, things don’t set up nicely moving forward. It’s going to be another long season along the banks of Lake Erie.

    The good news is the last time the Browns were near the top of the draft they got it right by selecting left tackle Joe Thomas third overall in 2007. Problem is most of their other picks near the top since nabbing Tim Couch No. 1 in 1999 have stunk.

    3. Carolina (0-5). Like the Bills, the Panthers are in a pretty solid division and they’re getting zero from the quarterback position. Jimmy Clausen proved he’s far from ready for the NFL and they’ll turn back to Matt Moore this week coming off their own bye.

    The Panthers have a decent defense, solid offensive line and two quality running backs so they should be able to get some wins. It’s been a while since the Panthers have been forced to pick near the top of the draft. They got offensive tackle Jordan Gross eighth overall in 2003 and Julius Peppers at No. 2 in 2002.

    4. Detroit (1-5). We were tempted to list the Lions third, if for no other reason than they’re the Lions. Quarterback Matthew Stafford could return from a shoulder injury on Oct. 31 after the team’s bye week, but there can’t be any guarantees with him as it’s his third significant injury in a year-and-a-half. The Lions have actually outscored their opponents by six points this season, but that is what will happen when you run it up on the Rams at home. Yippee!

    The Lions are bad at Ford Field and losers away from it. They’re now dropped 24 straight away from home – three straight years of demoralization. That’s why they’ve got to be using extra thick markers to circle that Nov. 14 date at Buffalo. But who says the Lions are a sure bet to win that one? They’ve had two seconds and one No. 1 overall pick in the last four seasons and right now they have a very good chance of being back in the top four in 2011. The offensive line and defense could use upgrades.

    5. San Francisco (1-5). The general manager left under bizarre circumstances six weeks before the draft so there’s really no reason for the coach to finish the season. Picked by many to be the team to beat in the NFC West, the ***** have proven to be as dysfunctional as ever under the control of the York family. A win over Oakland this past Sunday couple with a cross-country trip to Carolina this week gives them a chance to build a little momentum.

    But we’re convinced that the players have tuned out Mike Singletary, and it’s going to be difficult for them to pull out of this rut completely. It wasn’t too long ago the Niners selected Alex Smith with the No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft. That’s been a wasted selection for the most part, but that was a rough draft.

    6. Dallas (1-4). Sure, they probably have a better chance of reaching the postseason than they do of owning the No. 1 overall pick, but until they do something to turn it around, the horrendous start is impossible to ignore. The Cowboys are going to have to put some wins together pretty soon because owner Jerry Jones will soon run out of votes of confidence for his man Wade Phillips.

    It's early and a lot of things can change. Buffalo's fortunes might not be one of them, unfortunately.



    *******



    The current draft order, according to Great Blue North Draft Report, is actually...

    1. Carolina
    2. Buffalo
    3. San Francisco
    4. Detroit
    5. Cleveland
    6. Dallas
    7. San Diego
    8. Denver
    9. New England (from Oakland)
    10. Cincinnati
    11. Minnesota
    12. St. Louis

    So presently the winless Panthers edge out the winless Bills due to strength of schedule, but I do agree with the author's opinion that Carolina is probably more likely than Buffalo to win some games though.


  2. #2
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    Re: Hunt for the 2011 No. 1 overall pick: An early breakdown

    So that puts us in the Michael Floyd, Jon Baldwin area if we go WR. Or if we go defense (which I hope), Cameron Heyward, Allen Bailey, or Travis Lewis become possibilitiies.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Hunt for the 2011 No. 1 overall pick: An early breakdown

    Still gotta go WR, this puts us in position to draft Baldwin.

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    Re: Hunt for the 2011 No. 1 overall pick: An early breakdown

    The more games we win, the more I look at Leonard Hankerson as a potential target.

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    Re: Hunt for the 2011 No. 1 overall pick: An early breakdown

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    The more games we win, the more I look at Leonard Hankerson as a potential target.
    AV, you are such a homer, I like Hankerson as well, but not as a #1 WR which I still feel we need, he has alot of potential but it remains to be seen if he'll live up to it. Not to mention, even if we continue to do well, we should still be able to draft Julio Jones in the mid-late first round (although I'd much rather have Green or Baldwin).

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    Re: Hunt for the 2011 No. 1 overall pick: An early breakdown

    i don`t care who we draft next year at this point of the regular season..but after the last few years,how sweet is it to not be involved in the race for the top pick.
    even if we lost every remaining game this season..i believe we are already out of the top spot.

  7. #7
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    Re: Hunt for the 2011 No. 1 overall pick: An early breakdown

    Quote Originally Posted by ManofGod View Post
    AV, you are such a homer, I like Hankerson as well, but not as a #1 WR which I still feel we need, he has alot of potential but it remains to be seen if he'll live up to it. Not to mention, even if we continue to do well, we should still be able to draft Julio Jones in the mid-late first round (although I'd much rather have Green or Baldwin).
    I'd rather have Green or Baldwin too, but I'm hoping the Rams are drafting too late in the first round to get either of those players.

    As for Hankerson, you obviously have not been paying attention to him this year. After 6 games (including games against Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Clemson and Florida State), he has 34 receptions, 540 yards and 7 TDs.

    With his size (6'3, 205), I see him as a late-first/early-second round prospect.

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    Re: Hunt for the 2011 No. 1 overall pick: An early breakdown

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    I'd rather have Green or Baldwin too, but I'm hoping the Rams are drafting too late in the first round to get either of those players.

    As for Hankerson, you obviously have not been paying attention to him this year. After 6 games (including games against Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Clemson and Florida State), he has 34 receptions, 540 yards and 7 TDs.

    With his size (6'3, 205), I see him as a late-first/early-second round prospect.
    Actually I'm a huge fan of "The U" since I was recruited to play CB there, so if I was looking at this w/ my heart (and not my mind) then I"d agree with ya here.
    However since we are talking stats let's look at the top 10 WR's in yards, receptions, and TD's thus far this season (and I'll highlight a few):

    1. Justin Blackmon, OKST 57 rec. 995yds. 12 TD
    2.Greg Salas, Hawaii 61 rec. 910 yds. 7 TD
    3. Kealoha Pilares, Hawaii 53 rec. 793 yds. 11 TD
    4. Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
    5. Kamar Jorden, BGSU
    6. Alshon Jeffery, S. Carolina
    7. Marquess Wilson, WSU
    8. Michael Floyd, ND
    9. Jermaine Kearse, Washington
    10. Armand Robinson, M-OH

    Notice only 1 of these guys would be a potential household name (Floyd), and the rest of these guys wouldn't be discussed on here until sometime in late march as "draft talk". With that being said/typed stats don't mean squat. Currently Hankerson is ranked 24th, and we can't use these stats to justify talking this guy as our first WR prospect, if we are gonna do that, then we have to consider 23 guys ahead of him...non of whom is named Green (due to suspension, Baldwin, or Jones.

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    Re: Hunt for the 2011 No. 1 overall pick: An early breakdown

    Quote Originally Posted by ManofGod View Post
    Actually I'm a huge fan of "The U" since I was recruited to play CB there, so if I was looking at this w/ my heart (and not my mind) then I"d agree with ya here.
    However since we are talking stats let's look at the top 10 WR's in yards, receptions, and TD's thus far this season (and I'll highlight a few):

    1. Justin Blackmon, OKST 57 rec. 995yds. 12 TD
    2.Greg Salas, Hawaii 61 rec. 910 yds. 7 TD
    3. Kealoha Pilares, Hawaii 53 rec. 793 yds. 11 TD
    4. Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
    5. Kamar Jorden, BGSU
    6. Alshon Jeffery, S. Carolina
    7. Marquess Wilson, WSU
    8. Michael Floyd, ND
    9. Jermaine Kearse, Washington
    10. Armand Robinson, M-OH

    Notice only 1 of these guys would be a potential household name (Floyd), and the rest of these guys wouldn't be discussed on here until sometime in late march as "draft talk". With that being said/typed stats don't mean squat. Currently Hankerson is ranked 24th, and we can't use these stats to justify talking this guy as our first WR prospect, if we are gonna do that, then we have to consider 23 guys ahead of him...non of whom is named Green (due to suspension, Baldwin, or Jones.
    Blackmon is a heisman contender while Alshon Jeffery seems to have great game after great game with a below average QB. I wouldnt count those two out on becoming first rounders.

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    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Hunt for the 2011 No. 1 overall pick: An early breakdown

    Quote Originally Posted by ManofGod View Post
    However since we are talking stats let's look at the top 10 WR's in yards, receptions, and TD's thus far this season (and I'll highlight a few):

    1. Justin Blackmon, OKST 57 rec. 995yds. 12 TD
    2.Greg Salas, Hawaii 61 rec. 910 yds. 7 TD
    3. Kealoha Pilares, Hawaii 53 rec. 793 yds. 11 TD
    4. Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
    5. Kamar Jorden, BGSU
    6. Alshon Jeffery, S. Carolina
    7. Marquess Wilson, WSU
    8. Michael Floyd, ND
    9. Jermaine Kearse, Washington
    10. Armand Robinson, M-OH

    Notice only 1 of these guys would be a potential household name (Floyd), and the rest of these guys wouldn't be discussed on here until sometime in late march as "draft talk".
    While I don't necessarily disagree with you about stats and college production, I'd say perhaps a bigger reason not many of these guys are being talked about as much now is because 70% of your list is underclassmen, including three sophomores and a freshman, and are not guaranteed to be in the 2011 draft class.

    For what it's worth, Sideline Scouting currently has Leonard Hankerson as their top senior receiver, Scott Wright of Draft Countdown currently has Hankerson as his second rated senior receiver, and NFL Draft Scoutt on CBS Sports has him as their third rated senior receiver.

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    Re: Hunt for the 2011 No. 1 overall pick: An early breakdown

    You also have to consider the level of competition. For example, receivers in the WAC often have inflated stats (which is why its not surprising to see 2 guys from Hawaii on the list).

    Miami plays in a good conference, and has played quality out of conference opponents (Ohio State, Pitt).

    That's one of the reasons why, as Nick noted, LH is among to top Sr. WRs in the country.

    Also, FWIW, the stats you listed are total, not per game stats.

    Here's a comparison I find notable:

    Per Game Stats
    Michael Floyd: 6.3 receptions, 89.1 yards, .86 TDs
    Leonard Hankerson: 5.7 receptions, 90 yards, 1.17 TDs
    Last edited by AvengerRam; -10-20-2010 at 10:38 AM.

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    Re: Hunt for the 2011 No. 1 overall pick: An early breakdown

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    You also have to consider the level of competition. For example, receivers in the WAC often have inflated stats (which is why its not surprising to see 2 guys from Hawaii on the list).

    Miami plays in a good conference, and has played quality out of conference opponents (Ohio State, Pitt).

    That's one of the reasons why, as Nick noted, LH is among to top Sr. WRs in the country.
    Agreed on Hawaii. I don't think they've had a draftable receiver since '05 or '06. Salas might get drafted this year, but it'll probably be late.

    On a separate note, I'm not sure I'd consider Pitt a quality out of conference opponent, ZING!!! Go Mountaineers!

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    Re: Hunt for the 2011 No. 1 overall pick: An early breakdown

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Agreed on Hawaii. I don't think they've had a draftable receiver since '05 or '06.
    There's been 2 drafted this decade....Chad Owens in '05 and Ashley Lelie in '02. Davone Bess came out in '08, but went undrafted.

    Your point, of course, being confirmed that gaudy numbers generated on the island state does not typically translate.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Hunt for the 2011 No. 1 overall pick: An early breakdown

    For me, it would be Floyd, Baldwin, or Travis Lewis.

    The knock on Floyd is his durability concerns.

    The knock on Baldwin would be his lack of speed, meaning he would only be a "possession" receiver.

    The knock on Lewis would be that we couldn't draft a #1 WR. This means there's basically nothing wrong about Lewis.



    Ryan Broyles could be a consideration in the bottom of the first, or top of the second. Although he isn't the tallest guy at 5'11, he's quick, speedy, and is a playmaker. I'm not totally sold on Hankerson yet, but he does have some solid moments.

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    Re: Hunt for the 2011 No. 1 overall pick: An early breakdown

    Quote Originally Posted by RockinRam View Post
    The knock on Lewis would be that we couldn't draft a #1 WR. This means there's basically nothing wrong about Lewis.
    Agreed, he's very well rounded. Might need to bulk/strengthen up a little bit; I've read more than one opinion talking about him being built more like a safety than a linebacker at 6'2" and 232 pounds. But if that's the biggest complaint...

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