Muscle Sport Magazine

Football Lives Again at the 2011 NFL Draft

At least for one weekend, football fans will have their fix at the annual NFL Draft. Radio City Music Hall was buzzing with the usual fans wearing every jersey from around the league but there was certainly something missing as the labor dispute – which may  not have taken center stage but had a share of it – loomed large.

“We want football!”

The chant resonated throughout the theater following a chorus of boos to “greet” Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Me, too,” he sheepishly responded to the fan’s plea. There were a few trades throughout the first round on Thursday evening, but war room personnel had to be satisfied moving only present and future draft picks with the labor issues.

The Atlanta Falcons made the boldest move of the night by trading up to Cleveland’s fifth spot for their first (27th overall), second (59th) and fourth round (124th) picks, plus a one and four in 2012. Alabama wideout Julio Jones will have a lot of pressure on him to come in and prove that he was worth all of that. He certainly feels confident enough to do that and where to give credit.

“Coach (Nick) Saban is a great coach to get you ready for the pros,” Jones said of his Crimson Tide collegiate mentor.

Quarterbacks came off the board fast as Cam Newton was picked first overall by the Carolina Panthers, followed by Jake Locker (eighth to Tennessee), Blaine Gabbert (10th to Jacksonville) and Christian Ponder (12th to Minnesota). Newton has a lot to prove, as pundits have been saying that the Auburn product does not have the intelligence to excel at the professional level. The Panthers cleaned house and will start fresh with Newton as the new face of the franchise.


Gabbert will sit behind David Garrard for a year or two but will get the nod prior to that if the incumbent starter falters or becomes injured, as he is prone to do. Ponder very well may earn the Vikings’ starting job, with Brett Favre (supposedly) retired.

Only one running back was drafted in the first round and the New Orleans Saints traded up to grab Mark Ingram. The NFL is a pass-first league and runners have felt the change.

Defense wins and the top of the draft was peppered with players like linebacker Von Miller (second to Denver), defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (third to Buffalo), defensive back Patrick Peterson (fifth to Arizona) and defensive end Aldon Smith (seventh to San Francisco) to round out the top ten alone.

Perhaps the best pure player in the entire  draft is Peterson, who is chomping at the bit to begin his professional career. “I can’t wait to get to Arizona, show those guys what I have to offer and get them back to the Super Bowl,” he said. DB’s have had great success in the NFL when drafted high and expect Peterson to top the list when it’s all said and done.

First things first, though. Getting a new Collective Bargaining Agreement signed is priority but it is fun to be able to follow America’s Game again, albeit only for a few days.


1. Carolina (2-14)
2. Denver (4-12)
3. Buffalo (4-12)
4. Cincinnati (4-12)
5. Arizona (5-11)
6. Cleveland (5-11)
7. San Francisco (6-10)
8. Tennessee (6-10)
9. Dallas (6-10)
10. Washington (6-10)
11. Houston (6-10)
12. Minnesota (6-10)
13. Detroit (6-10)
14. St. Louis (7-9)
15. Miami (7-9)
16. Jacksonville (8-8)
17. New England (14-2) — from Oakland
18. San Diego (9-7)
19. New York Giants (10-6)
20. Tampa Bay (10-6)
21. Kansas City (10-6)
22. Indianapolis (10-6)
23. Philadelphia (10-6)
24. New Orleans (11-5)
25. Seattle (7-9)
26. Baltimore (12-4)
27. Atlanta (13-3)
28. New England (14-2)
29. Chicago (11-5)
30. New York Jets (11-5)
31. Green Bay (10-6)*
32. Pittsburgh (12-4)*

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