This past Friday evening and Saturday afternoon I took part in the draft geek equivalent of LARPing, but instead of running around hitting each other with foam swords, a few dozen of us over at MtD each took control of a franchise for the first 5 rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft.
My haul running the Colts draft:
1. Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College (MtD Scouting Report)
There was an expected run on offensive lineman in the middle of the first round with Gabe Carimi, Derek Sherrod, Mike Pouncey and Nate Solder all coming off the board in the space of 5 picks. Luckily Castonzo made it to pick 22 to make my decision easy. The Colts offense was extremely limited by their offensive line last year, struggling to run and rarely being able to attack deep downfield. Castonzo will greatly upgrade the pass protection on Peyton Manning’s blindside and while he isn’t a great run blocker now, he can develop those skills and moving LT Charlie Johnson to a position better suited for his abilities should provide a boost to the run game.
Next 5 on my board: Stephen Paea (DT, Oregon St.), Jimmy Smith (CB, Colorado), Mikel LeShoure (RB, Illinois), Tyron Smith (OT, USC), Stefen Wisniewski (C/G, Penn St.)
2. Quinton Carter, S, Oklahoma (NFL Draft Scout Report)
Real life intervened and TAC (Travis Tango) made this pick in my place. Paea was still available and would have been my choice and I would have been very tempted by Mikel LeShoure as well, but Carter is a fine pick. With Bob Sanders cut and Melvin Bullitt a free agent coming off a major injury the Colts could really use another talented player at safety. As a rookie Carter would be a great asset as a 3rd safety and could step into either spot in case of injuries. While Bethea is locked in long term, Bullitt is unlikely to get such a deal coming off a serious injury. Carter gives them a replacement for when Bullitt hits free agency again.
Next 5 on my board: Stephen Paea (DT, Oregon St.), Mikel LeShoure (RB, Illinois), Danny Watkins (G, Baylor), Tyler Sash (S, Iowa), James Carpenter (T/G, Alabama)
3. James Carpenter, T/G, Alabama (NFL Draft Scout Report)
I started celebrating a great 3rd round pick before I was even on the clock with both Sione Fua (DT, Stanford) and Carpenter on the board with only one pick left in front of me. The Chiefs were nice enough to take Fua so I didn’t even need to think hard about my choice. Carpenter started the last two years for ‘Bama at LT after coming out of JUCO. At the Senior Bowl Carpenter was expected to do most of his work inside or at least at right tackle, but played extensively at LT where he held his own against elite DE prospects while more highly touted tackles like Nate Solder got embarrassed.
Next 5 on my board: Ahmad Black (S, Florida), Jarvis Jenkins (DT, Clemson), Curtis Brown (CB, Texas), Jalil Brown (CB, Colorado), Chris Hairston (OT, Clemson)
4. Jalil Brown, CB, Colorado (MtD Scouting Report)
Brown is a guy I’ve been very excited about since first looking into him. Brown doesn’t have great speed, but is fast enough he isn’t limited to zone coverage. Where he really stands out is in run support, with good size, great strength and no tendency to shy from contact. Brown reminds me of Marlin Jackson’s contributions in the nickel package where he his run support abilities made the nickel much less vulnerable to the run.
Next 5 on my board: Chris Hairston (OT, Clemson), Lawrence Wilson (OLB, UConn), Brandon Fusco (C, Slippery Rock), Will Rackley (T/G, Lehigh), Delone Carter (RB, Syracuse)
5. Delone Carter, RB, Syracuse (NFP Report)
At 5’9″ 226lbs Carter is the kind of human bowling ball that terrorizes the Colts D. He had excellent ball security at Syracuse, showed good hands at the East-West Shrine Bowl and has the strength and frame to improve from a decent pass blocker to a great one. He doesn’t have breakaway speed and character is a concern after he was suspended much of the last offseason for punching a student who threw a snowball at his car.
Next 5 on my board: James Brewer (T/G, Indiana), Daniel Thomas (RB, Kansas St), Justin Boren (G, Ohio St.), Brian Lainhart (S, Kent St.), Andrew Jackson (G, Fresno St.)
Overall a class I’m quite happy with, although repeatedly missing out on a 1-tech DT was disappointing with Paea passed over for Carter in the 2nd, Fua coming off the board the pick before me in the 3rd and the last 1-tech I like Jarvis Jenkins taken with the 9th pick of the 4th round. The full 5 rounds are available here.