NFL draft analysis: Picks 17-32

With each pick in the first round of the NFL draft, provides expert, behind-the-scenes analysis. We

continue with the remainder of Round 1.



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Czar will analyze each team’s draft-night war room,

the reasoning behind every first-round pick and why teams

did or didn’t cut a deal.

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Adam provides a breakdown of each player selected,

with an inside look at how the draftees may fit in with

their new NFL teams.


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Solder has tremendous feet and wingspan, but he hurt his

stock at the Senior Bowl and with poor strength tests at

the Combine. A lot of scouts said he got bull-rushed on the

outside and failed to cope with the rusher’s

power. However, Solder was considered by the Patriots to be

a top 10 pick in this draft because of his skill set. All

he has to do now is hit the weight room and improve his

strength because he already has the footwork to be a

quality left tackle in the NFL. No question this was the

best athlete at tackle in the draft. This was the pick the

Patriots got from Raiders owner Al Davis for defensive

lineman Richard Seymour. If Davis is unable to trade back

into the first round, it will be the first time since 1989

that his team won’t make a selection on the first

night of the draft.

CAPLAN’S ANALYSIS: Nate Solder was considered to be

a first-round pick by many teams, so his selection by the

Patriots shouldn’t come to much of a surprise. Solder

is known in scouting circles for having great feet for his

size. Look for him to play on the left side of the

Patriots’ offensive line for years to come with

Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle. Solder’s selection

probably ends left tackle Matt Light’s career with

the Patriots.



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CZAR’S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: Corey Liuget is considered

a 4-3 defensive tackle and could be lost in the

Chargers’ 3-4 alignment. Yes, Lieget is perfect value

at the 18th spot, but he may be wasted as a nose tackle.

Defensive ends aren’t very productive in 3-4

alignments and the Chargers rarely get big numbers out of

starters Luis Castillo and Jacques Cesaire. But we all knew

San Diego was going defense with this pick because of how

the Raiders ran for 251 yards against them in a must-win

game back in December. Liuget wants to play every down and

it’s a question how he fits the San Diego scheme. Odd

pick, but a very good football player with a high motor.

CAPLAN’S ANALYSIS: The Chargers surprisingly

selected Liuget over defensive end Cameron Jordan with the

18th overall pick. But personnel sources said Liuget was

perhaps one of the most versatile defensive linemen in this

draft because he has the ability to play end and tackle in

a 3-4 scheme. Jordan probably is best used in a 3-4. Look

for Liuget to start immediately for the Chargers.



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CZAR’S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: Nebraska cornerback Prince

Amukamara was never projected for the Giants, who were

looking for defensive tackles and offensive linemen. But

Amukamara ranked high on GM Jerry Reese’s draft board

and it made sense to grab a player who slipped for whatever

reasons. The Giants have a strong secondary, but it wilted

against the Eagles without a pass rush. Amukamara has

tremendous size and he can play press coverage. Now, a lot

of teams questioned his ball skills and that’s why he

fell. The Rams were arguing between him and Quinn when

their pick came up. Mike Mayock of the NFL Network loved

this pick, but Amukamara had only five interceptions in 31

starts at Nebraska, including none in his senior season.

CAPLAN’S ANALYSIS:The Giants made a surprising

selection with Amukamara, but there’s simply no way

that they could pass up the defensive back with their

first-round selection because he has tremendous value. He

was projected to go off the board much earlier, perhaps as

a top-10 selection. Look for Amukamara to compete for a

nickel job initially, but to start by 2012 opposite veteran

cornerback Corey Webster.


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CZAR’S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: The Bucs made it official.

Teams are definitely afraid of Da’Quan Bowers’ right

knee. Most teams believed the Bucs would pull the trigger

on Bowers, but GM Mark Dominik went for another

questionable defensive player in Iowa pass rusher Adrian

Clayborn. A lot of teams downgraded Clayborn because of his

unusual condition, Erb’s Palsy, a disorder that

caused nerve damage in his right shoulder and arm. Clayborn

had only three sacks this past season, but he is a fighter.

I know it has been reported that the Bucs will

dump troubled cornerback Aqib Talib, but there’s

no way that this first-rounder will be simply released.

Talib has good trade value even if he’s facing a

four-game suspension once the lockout is officially lifted.

You can bet that the Redskins (former Bucs GM Bruce Allen)

would have an interest in a hard-hitting cornerback.

CAPLAN’S ANALYSIS: The Buccaneers were looking for

much needed pass rushing help and got some with the

selection of the talented Clayborn. The Buccaneers,

according to one personnel source, spent a lot of time

evaluating Clayborn’s medical condition called

Erb’s Palsy. The congenital condition caused nerve

damage on the right side of his body. A personnel source

said he probably will be able to play only on the right

side in Tampa Bay’s 4-3 defense.



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CZAR’S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: The Browns swapped

first-round picks with the Chiefs, plus gave up a

third-rounder, in order to take Baylor defensive tackle

Phil Taylor to plug the middle of their defense. Taylor

will replace Shaun Rogers, who was released by the Browns.

Taylor seems to be a perfect fit for new defensive

coordinator Dick Jauron’s 4-3 scheme. Taylor was

announced by Browns running Peyton Hillis, the coverboy for

the upcoming Madden video game. Taylor is a load and a

player Cleveland needs to be a star in order to contain the

Pittsburgh and Baltimore running games. Solid pick. The

Browns have a lot of needs and Mike Holmgren has enough

picks to get the job done this weekend.

CAPLAN’S ANALYSIS: Taylor, who was tremendous

during Senior Bowl practices, was thought by many to

be the best nose tackle available for the 2011 draft. Not

only will he compete for playing time right away, but

he’ll start as a rookie. With Taylor in the fold, the

Browns can now look to add a few defensive ends and

linebackers to help accommodate their switch to a 4-3

defensive scheme this season.



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CZAR’S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: There were rumors that

Colts GM Bill Polian was thinking of drafting a future

replacement for Peyton Manning, but he backed off Andy

Dalton and took an offensive tackle in Boston

College’s Anthony Castonzo. Castonzo could be an

immediate starter and he showed a lot of versatility by

playing three different offensive line positions at the

Senior Bowl. This is a smart kid and the Colts definitely

have an need on the offensive line. There has been a ton of

talk that Polian is unhappy that Peyton is squeezing the

team for every dime in his current contract talks with the

Colts. Yes, he’s a great quarterback. But he eats

up 25 percent of the salary cap and he still has only

one Super Bowl ring.

CAPLAN’S ANALYSIS: The Colts were very lucky to be

able to select the talented Castonzo because he was

projected to go off the board much earlier in the first

round. He’ll be expected to start as a rookie at left

tackle. With a young blindside protector onboard, they

could re-sign veteran offensive lineman Charlie Johnson and

play him inside at guard.



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CZAR’S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: Baylor guard Danny

Watkins, a volunteer firefighter, discovered football

when he went to Butte Junior College in California. Yes,

the same school that produced the Packers’ Aaron

Rodgers. Watkins used to be a hockey player, having grown

up in Canada. Offensive line was a priority with the

Eagles, who need to protect Michael Vick. Watkins started

25 games at Baylor and he’s a tough guy, a known

fighter. His attitude should appeal to Philadelphia fans.

The Eagles have traded up in the first round four times in

the last eight years, including in 2010, but they

didn’t have the ammunition to do it. They were hoping

to secure another first-round pick this year by trading

their backup quarterback, Kevin Kolb. But the NFL labor

troubles prevented that. Honestly, there are a lot of teams

that took quarterbacks today who wouldn’t have

swapped their first-round pick for Kolb. Solid choice by

the Eagles and about where Watkins ranked.

CAPLAN’S ANALYSIS: The Eagles decided to pass on

offensive tackle Gabe Carimi in order to select a true

guard in Danny Watkins. The 26-year old interior offensive

lineman will compete for the starting right guard job with

the Eagles. With Watkins in the mix, Philadelphia could

look at filling a need at cornerback later in the




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CZAR’S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: The Saints have been

looking for someone to go with Will Smith, the team’s

only quality defensive end. Cal’s Cameron Jordan fits

the bill and he’s the son of former Vikings tight end

Steve Jordan. Jordan might not have Smith’s pass-rush

skills, but he’s a solid overall player. He should be

very good against the run. This was a good value pick. It

should be noted that teams are passing on Colorado

cornerback Jimmy Smith, who was pegged for the Eagles in

most mock drafts. Smith has top-10 talent, but he’s

been busted for marijuana and he’s had other

off-the-field issues. Smith deserves watching.

CAPLAN’S ANALYSIS: The Saints were looking for a

defensive end, so they went with the athletic Jordan. What

makes him such an attractive selection for New Orleans is

that he’s capable of playing end or tackle within

their 4-3 defensive scheme. He’ll also be able to

play inside in nickel situations.


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CZAR’S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: The Seahawks spent all

their time on the clock, desperate to trade out of the

first round and the 25th overall pick. Many had them pegged

for Washington quarterback Jake Locker, who was long gone.

The Seahawks used 10 different starting offensive line

combinations last season, and have needs at three different

positions. They chose Alabama’s James Carpenter, who

could start at either right guard or right tackle. The

Seahawks averaged just 89 rushing yards a game, second

worst in the league last season, and Carpenter can move

bodies although he has questionable pass-rush skills.

CAPLAN’S ANALYSIS: The underrated Carpenter has the

kind of positional versatility which will come in handy for

the Seahawks. While he is projected to play right tackle at

the next level, he could also play inside at guard. Because

the Seahawks have no depth on their offensive line, he

should be able to compete right away for a starting




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CZAR’S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: The Ravens were also

trying to trade out of the first round and they started

days ago to sell their pick, 26th overall, and they failed

to it, leaving this pick for the Chiefs after their time

elapsed. Kansas City jumped in and took Pitt receiver

Jonathan Baldwin, who was always considered the third-best

receiver in this draft. The Chiefs definitely need

playmakers opposide Dwayne Bowe and GM Scott Pioli is

crossing his fingers that Baldwin will deliver. Nobody

knows why Pioli passed on Wisconsin offensive lineman Gabe

Carimi, who seemed to be a good fit.

CAPLAN’S ANALYSIS: Baldwin was considered to be one

of the top three wide receivers available in this draft, so

they got nice value with him. Because the Chiefs are thin

at the position, this tall receiver should be able to

compete for a starting job as a rookie. Baldwin has drawn

comparison to San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent

Jackson because of his size and speed.



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CZAR’S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: The Ravens made a bold

pick with Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith, maybe the

biggest problem athlete in the first round. However,

personnel people who spent time with Smith and interviewed

him, liked him. Said Lions GM Martin Mayhew, who passed on

him: “I feel better about him. He was a guy who made

some mistakes but who seems to now realize the mistakes

that he made. He’s a young guy who’s very

talented. He has a really good skill level, good size and

speed and if you look at our corners, we don’t have

that.” Smith’s measurables are eye-popping.

He’s 6-foot-2 1/4, 211 pounds, and he ran a 4.37 at

the Combine. He has a long reach (77 inches) and thrives on

playing physical, press coverage. But, Smith failed four

drug tests at Colorado. He was busted for possession. His

intensity and work ethic were criticized. And he raised

more flags when he showed up seemingly out of shape at his

pro day workout. The Ravens are hoping that Ray Lewis puts

him under his wing.

CAPLAN’S ANALYSIS: The Ravens were clearly looking

for help at cornerback because their secondary was very

inconsistent in coverage last season. The tall defensive

back should be able to come right in and compete for a

starting job immediately. While some would call him a great

value this late in the first round, there’s a reason

why he dropped so far. His off-the-field issues were a

deterrent for many teams.



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trade with the Patriots in order to take the

draft’s best running back in Alabama’s Mark

Ingram. A lot of teams questioned Ingram’s top-end

speed, but he was very productive in 2009 when he won the

Heisman Trophy. He rushed for 1,658 yards and 17 touchdowns

that year. He was hurt this past season, but still finished

his college career with 42 touchdowns and a 5.7-yard

average per game. He’s the son of former

Giants’ Mark Ingram, Sr. Ironically, Ingram’s

father was also drafted with the 28th overall pick. Ingram

is a quality inside runner and he could flourish in the

Saints’ offense, one that loves to spread the field.

CAPLAN’S ANALYSIS: The Saints seemingly had good

depth at running back, but they didn’t really have

anyone who was capable of being a featured back on their

roster. Ingram not only is capable of playing on first and

second down, but he can handle a pass catching role on

third downs. Ingram’s versatility could impact the

future of running back Reggie Bush. Bush is almost certain

to take a huge pay cut from his scheduled $11.8 million

base salary.



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CZAR’S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: Bears GM Jerry Angelo had

been trying to trade out of the first round, but he

definitely feels good about landing Wisconsin tackle Gabe

Carimi, who has the toughness and ability to force his way

into the starting lineup. Chicago has a definite need on

the offensive line, one that failed to protect brittle

quarterback Jay Cutler last season. The Bears were looking

at Danny Watkins and then they passed on defensive lineman

Marvin Austin.

CAPLAN’S ANALYSIS: The Bears probably didn’t

think they would have a chance at Carimi this late in the

first round, but they wound up selecting him. The talented

offensive lineman is capable of playing right or left

tackle, but personnel sources said he’s better off on

the right side. Some teams actually believe he can play




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CZAR’S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: The Jets took a bit of a

reach in the first round, but defensive tackle Muhammad

Wilkerson is a player on the rise and a big reason why the

Temple Owls had a decent team this past season. He is a

very good athlete (played AAU basketball) and could end up

being a decent under tackle under Rex Ryan. This was kind

of a need for the Jets, who are aging up front on the

defensive line. Wilkerson is a New Jersey kid and

he’s pretty excited about being a Jet, considering

they are now a New Jersey team.

CAPLAN’S ANALYSIS: Wilkerson, according to personnel

sources, was projected to go to the Jets because of his

ability to play defensive end in their 3-4 scheme.

Wilkerson easily should compete for a starting job because

of the team’s lack of depth on their defensive line.

He’s one of two Temple players projected to go off

the board within the first three rounds.



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CZAR’S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: The Steelers always make

solid picks and Ohio State’s Cameron Heyward is a

perfect fit in Pittsburgh. Several mock drafts had him

going here, so GM Kevin Colbert wasn’t hiding his

interest in this all-around defensive end. Hewyard,

the son of the late Ironhead Heyward, became the 12th

defensive lineman to be taken in the first round, a NFL

record. Eleven were taken in 2003. And this selection means

that teams were definitely afraid of Da’Quan Bowers,

who had meniscus surgery on his right knee at the end of

the season at Clemson. Had the draft been held in January,

Bowers was pegged as a top five player. But he failed so

many club physicals because of the fear that he may need

microfracture surgery, with bone rubbing against bone

inside his right knee. With the Pittsburgh line aging,

Heyward could be a force with all those pass-rushing


CAPLAN’S ANALYSIS: Heyward was listed as one of the

top 3-4 defensive ends in this draft, so it comes to no

surprise that the Steelers wound up selecting the talented

defensive lineman. Heyward, once he becomes acclimated to

their defensive scheme, could eventually replace veteran

defensive end Aaron Smith, who has dealt with various

injury issues in recent years.



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CZAR’S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: As usual, the Packers

simply followed their draft board in taking Mississippi

State’s Derek Sherrod, who will give Green Bay solid

depth on the offensive line. He was pegged to be taken

among the bottom 10 picks. Sherrod graduated in August 2010

with 3.54 grade point average in business. Sherrod took

graduate classes in financial risk management during his

final season and could help teammates with their retirement

plans. He started at both right and left tackle at

Mississippi State and gives the Packers some insurance if

Chad Clifton, who had a remarkable 2010 season,

doesn’t return to his old form. Clifton has chronic

knee problems.

CAPLAN’S ANALYSIS: General manager Ted Thompson made

a very solid value selection with Sherrod since many

personnel evaluators projected him to go off the board at

least five spots earlier. Sherrod will play behind veteran

left tackle Chad Clifton this season, but he’s

projected to be Green Bay’s long-term replacement at

this important position. With Bryan Bulaga on the right

side, the Packers have their bookend tackles of the





ANALYSIS: Picks 1-16