Let’s take a look back at the first round of the NFL Draft. My take on Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, the trade for Julio Jones, plus some quick hits.

Newton to Carolina at No.1: Not much suspense here with the former Auburn QB going to the Panthers, and I still stand behind what I wrote earlier this week—because I would love to coach the guy. The first step for Newton in Carolina? His development. There is so much talent here to work with, but footwork, mechanics, etc. need to be drilled hard with the rookie. Now let’s see what the coaching staff can do with his unique skill set once they get him into camp.

Julio JonesThe talent of Jones is a fit with the Falcons, but was the price too high?

The Falcons trade up for Jones: Julio Jones can be a weapon with Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offense. Power football with deep play action schemes. Plus, when we are talking about situational football (3rd and medium, red zone, etc.) Jones can be the ideal receiver to run the 3-step concepts and go get the football inside of the 20-yard line. I don’t question the talent or the desire for Atlanta to move up. However, I do question the price is cost to jump from No.27 into the top ten. Give the Browns credit for pulling this deal off.

Saints pick up Ingram: Solid play here. We tend to always think of New Orleans as this wide open offense under Sean Payton because of the empty sets, bunch looks, etc. But this team will line up in 2-backs and run the football downhill. What happens with Reggie Bush is up for discussion, but for now, the Saints get a running back that will produce in the pro game.

First round reaches…

No.8—Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee: I didn’t see a top ten QB when watching Locker throw down at the Senior Bowl in Mobile and the game tape showed the same thing. A very questionable move for the Titans—even for a team that is in desperate need of a signal caller.

No.12—Christian Ponder, QB. Minnesota: A run on QBs? I understand that was expected to happen, but just like the Titans, a reach this high in the draft. I do see Ponder developing into a starting QB in this league; however, there was plenty of defensive line talent (Fairley, Quinn, Kerrigan, Jordan, etc.) sitting by the phone at No.12.

No.25—James Carpenter, OT, Seattle: One of the biggest reaches of the night? Consider that both Gabe Carimi and Derek Sherrod were still on the board for the Seahawks at No. 25. I don’t have an issue drafting at the OT position, but as one scout told me last night, Carpenter had a mid-to-late second round grade.

First round gems…

Nick Fairley ICONPicking up Fairley at No.13 gives the Lions more talent along the D-Line.

No.13—Nick Fairley, DT, Detroit: Draft day slide? Doesn’t matter to Detroit, because they get a DT that had big production in the SEC conference. And Jim Schwartz is building his defense the right way—up front.

No.24—Cam Jordan, DE, New Orleans: To play any position in Gregg Williams’ defensive scheme down in New Orleans, you need versatility to your game. That’s what the Saints get with Jordan. I was shocked he was still on the board, but Williams picks up the best player I saw in Mobile.

No.29—Gabe Carimi, OT, Chicago: This is a gift for Jerry Angelo and the Bears. I have been vocal about Carimi throughout the draft process because I love his attitude and his play up front. The type of player you want on your side. And Chicago gets the O-Line help they desperately need. 

Quick Hits…

--The Super Bowl champs? The right pick with Derek Sherrod. You get value and solid talent at the end of the first round in Green Bay.

--Is No.7 too high for Aldon Smith? Raw talent at the OLB position, but I would have gone with UNC’s Robert Quinn in San Fran.

--Like the move from the Chiefs to get WR Jon Baldwin. Forget about top end speed, because this guy will go get the football for you.

--Marcell Dareus sounds too easy for the Bills at No.3, but when you look at that roster up front, it is right move.

--Smart play for Washington to trade back. They still get front seven help with Kerrigan, and add more picks—finally.

--Jimmy Smith can be a big time player in Baltimore if he pushes himself—because the overall talent is there.

--It could be a while before we see QB Blaine Gabbert take any meaningful snaps in the NFL.

Check back to the NFP at 11 AM EST for Wes Bunting’s top prospects still available.

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