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From Smart To Strange

Each team seemed to come up with a favorable move, but also with strange ones.

May 01, 2011|Sam Farmer

Times NFL writer Sam Farmer looks at the bold

(and potentially backward) draft decisions of each NFL team:

Arizona

Heady move: Cardinals got cornerback Patrick Peterson with the fifth pick. When they had the fifth pick four years ago, they let a guy with the same last name -- running back Adrian Peterson -- slip past in favor of tackle Levi Brown. Oops.

Head scratcher: Took Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams in the second round. Cardinals used a first-round pick on Beanie Wells only two years ago, plus they already have Tim Hightower and LaRod Stephens-Howling.

Atlanta

Heady move: Falcons traded up from No. 27 to No. 6 to get Alabama receiver Julio Jones. That's big for a team that was tied for last in the league in 2010 with 44 plays of 20 yards or longer.

Head scratcher: Gave up a lot to get Jones -- Nos. 1, 2 and 4 this year, and Nos. 1 and 4 next year.

Baltimore

Heady move: Ravens got field-stretching Maryland receiver Torrey Smith in the second round, giving them the freedom to part ways with T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Donte Stallworth.

Head scratcher: Saw a lot of good pass rushers come and go, including Ohio State's Cameron Heyward (to Pittsburgh at No. 31) and Pittsburgh's Jabaal Sheard (to Cleveland at No. 37), both of whom they'll face twice a season.

Buffalo

Heady move: Sun-blotting defensive tackle Marcell Dareus will instantly shore up a hole in the middle of the league's worst rushing defense.

Head scratcher: Bills surprised some by passing on a couple of promising quarterbacks in the second round. That's welcome news for Ryan Fitzpatrick, who did a solid job last season.

Carolina

Heady move: With the worst offense by far last season, the Panthers basically had to cross their fingers and use the No. 1 pick on Cam Newton.

Head scratcher: It's not often you see a team use its top pick on a quarterback in consecutive years.

Chicago

Heady move: Grabbing Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea late in the second round was a steal for a team that could be without Tommie Harris (released) and Anthony Adams (free agent).

Head scratcher: Bears failed to put the finishing touches on a routine trade with Baltimore in the first round, but it worked out in Chicago's favor anyway.

Cincinnati

Heady move: In their first two picks, the Bengals landed replacements for Chad Ochocinco (A.J. Green) and Carson Palmer (Andy Dalton).

Head scratcher: At first blush, they made all the right moves. Were these really the Bengals?

Cleveland

Heady move: Browns hit the motherlode by trading out of the No. 6 spot, pushing their pick total to 18 over this season and next. That includes two first-rounders in the 2012 draft.

Head scratcher: Although USC's Jordan Cameron was good value in the fourth round, did the Browns really need a tight end? They already had depth there.

Dallas

Heady move: The Cowboys got younger and more athletic on their offensive line, and USC tackle Tyron Smith could be terrific.

Head scratcher: Taking North Carolina linebacker Bruce Carter in the second round was a gamble. He's coming off knee reconstruction and couldn't work out at the combine or the Tar Heels' pro day.

Denver

Heady move: Von Miller has superstar potential for a team that had a league-worst 23 sacks in 2010.

Head scratcher: The Broncos desperately needed a defensive tackle, yet took a safety -- albeit a good one in UCLA's Rahim Moore -- instead of big bodies Marvin Austin or Paea in the second.

Detroit

Heady move: Receiver Titus Young and running back Mikel Leshoure will be exciting players, especially on that Ford Field turf.

Head scratcher: Nick Fairley could be the piece that gives the Lions the best defensive line in football, but there has to be a reason so many teams were cooling on him as the draft approached.

Green Bay

Heady move: Kentucky receiver Randall Cobb, the last guy in the Radio City green room, should really help a team that has gotten old at the position.

Head scratcher: Their first three picks addressed important spots -- tackle, receiver and running back -- but another pass rusher might be the Packers' biggest need.

Houston

Heady move: Arizona's Brooks Reed could wind up being a second-round steal. The key for this Clay Matthews look-alike: try to play like him.

Head scratcher: Wisconsin's J.J. Watt is a solid player but an unexpected pick for the Texans, who have defensive ends Mario Williams and Antonio Smith, and had greater needs at outside linebacker and cornerback.

Indianapolis

Heady move: Boston College tackle Anthony Castonzo could wind up starting for 10 years or longer, and Peyton Manning isn't getting any more mobile.

Head scratcher: For a team with a patchwork secondary, and a defense that finished 30th in interceptions, the Colts didn't draft that way.

Jacksonville

Heady move: Jaguars traded up to get Blaine Gabbert, and now the Missouri quarterback has the luxury of learning behind David Garrard instead of being forced to play right away.

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