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2011 NFL Draft: First Round Winners & Losers

With the first round still fresh in our minds, let's look at who hit the jackpot and whose fan bases are drowning their sorrows in a six-pack of beer.

Seattle Seahawks - They bolstered their offensive line with a potential right tackle. That was a nice idea, but they must have not seen Gabe Carimi on the draft board. Instead, Seattle takes 2nd/3rd round talent James Carpenter. Yes, he's SEC tested, but he could have been had in the 2nd round or 3rd round. Why not take someone else in the 1st? Or, better yet, why not take the best tackle available (and arguably in the draft)? A Barkley-esque turrible pick.

Carolina Panthers - I just don't buy Cam Newton as a quarterback, simple as that.

Atlanta Falcons - I won't deny that Julio Jones is a talented receiver, but they gave up a lot to get him. Correct me if I'm wrong, but they got shredded in their playoff loss last season, right? Why move up for a receiver when you need more defense? If you're going to burn those picks then why not go for a pass rusher or cornerback? It's a confusing move to me.

De'Quan Bowers - The guy who was once in the number one overall pick conversation is now sitting wondering if he'll go in round two. One of the great NFL Draft free falls.

NFC North Quarterbacks - Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley are teammates. The middle of the Detroit Lions defensive line is as deadly as they come. If Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch can push Fairley into staying on the straight and narrow, the Lions are going to find themselves with an intimidating defense.

Baltimore Ravens - They got the talented, yet risky, Jimmy Smith, but this is more about missing their pick. It was confusing and gave us all a laugh. Not losers really, but definitely Ozzie's worst draft moment.

Chicago Bears - They needed an offensive lineman and word was they coveted Gabe Carimi. As fate would have it, Carimi made it past New York, Kansas City, Indianapolis, and Seattle. Now, Jay Cutler will have some much needed protection from a tackle spot.

Cleveland Browns - They got a bunch of draft picks to help their rebuilding process and then used some to get a guy (Phil Taylor) who can potentially be an anchor in their defense. It didn't matter who they drafted in round one, picking up four extra picks was a winning move.

New York Giants - A guy with top-10 talent fell to 19 and has no injury or character concerns. Way to luck out there, Big Blue.

New England Patriots - Once again, they take a talented player they like (Nate Solder) and then trade a pick for more picks (picking up a third 2nd round pick and a second 1st round pick with a potential rookie salary cap in place next season). New England knows how to stock up on assets.

New Orleans Saints - The first round's biggest winner. Cameron Jordan was being talked about at the ninth overall pick. He falls to 24 and fills a need that the Saints have on the defensive line. Then the Saints turn their 2nd rounder (with the help of next year's 1st) into Mark Ingram who will A) rid them of Reggie Bush and B) bring balance to their dynamic offense. They got a player they didn't think they had a shot at and one they were hoping for. A fantastic night for New Orleans.

Pittsburgh Steelers - I know Cameron Heyward was rated, somehow, as a late first round pick, but Pittsburgh was able to nab a talented player. Heyward can really do it all as a defensive lineman and will be a great fit in Dick LeBeau's zone blitz. He can rush the passer, stop the run, drop into coverage, and is a high-character hard working football player. Pittsburgh will love this kid and rightfully so.

On the whole, I think more teams made good picks than bad ones. You saw a lot of teams building their offensive and defensive lines, so there is some skilled talent available in round two for teams to pluck. Will the Houston Texans find someone talented at 42 like a Brandon Harris? We'll know in less than a day.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.