Commentary

Winners and questions in Round 1

New Orleans traded value, but loaded up. Did the Vikings panic with their QB pick?

Originally Published: April 29, 2011
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider

NEW YORK -- There were some surprises on Day 1 of the 2011 NFL draft, but also a lot of things that went as I thought they might. The first six picks from the final mock all came through, albeit with a surprise at No. 6, where Julio Jones went to Atlanta. The big theme was obviously the early run on quarterbacks. I didn't have a single quarterback rated higher than No. 14 on my final Big Board, but four had been taken by the time the Vikings had made their selection at No. 12.

That, of course, is a perfect example of how you have to gauge needs versus overall value. It's a constant tug-of-war and when you're here at the draft, you really get a sense of that tension involved when a team in front of you surprises with a pick, and you have to adjust and have your plan ready. That all said, here are the moves I like and a few questions I had from Day 1 at Radio City.


Three I liked


New Orleans Saints
The picks: Cameron Jordan (24), Mark Ingram (28)
Summary: New Orleans gave up some value by ceding a 2012 first-round pick to the Patriots, but nobody ends the first day with more overall talent in Round 1, and the value was great. Besides, given what they have on the current roster and what they were able to add on Thursday, nobody involved in the trade will expect that Round 1 pick to be a high one in 2012. Jordan is a tremendous value at No. 24. I thought he could go as high as No. 9 overall to Dallas, so you get a lot for the pick. This is a smart, versatile player who can get after the quarterback. Then the Saints got the No. 1 running back in the draft all the way down at No. 28. So they get two really good fits, plus the value, A great first day. (And the obvious tip of the cap to the Patriots, who continue to keep piling up picks.)

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst