CBSSports.com Senior Writer

Grades: 2011 NFL Draft Round 1

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Grades: Round 1Round 2Round 3Round 4Round 5Round 6Round 7

CBSSports.com senior writer Pete Prisco analyzes each pick from Round 1 of the 2011 NFL Draft, grading each team on its draft-night selections.

*****

Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com Senior Writer - Round 1
No. 1: Panthers select: Cam Newton, QB, AuburnGrade
This is a pick that will define this franchise for the next 10 years. It could be feast or famine. Big risk.
C
No. 2: Broncos select: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M Grade
I think they are forcing getting a pass rusher with this pick. He is a little overrated. They should have taken Marcell Dareus.
C
No. 3: Bills select: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama Grade
The Bills were 32nd against the run last season. Dareus will fill a big need as they try and fix that.
B+
No. 4: Bengals select: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia Grade
I love this pick. They need a big-play receiver and Green will be a star. He plays faster than he runs. Now he has to hope Carson Palmer stays.
B+
No. 5: Cardinals select: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU Grade
I love Peterson. He is smooth, big and can cover. The Cardinals can pair him with Cromartie to form a heck of a cover combination.
A
No. 6: Falcons select: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama Grade
Wow. This is a big price to pay to get a receiver. It's a big gamble. He better be Larry Fitzgerald. Thomas Dimitroff is a bold GM.
C
No. 7: 49ers select: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri Grade
I think this is a risky pick. He is a bit overrated. He is somewhat tentative with contact coming at him. Why not a quarterback?
D
No. 8: Titans select: Jake Locker, QB, Washington Grade
Wow. They needed a quarterback, so it makes sense. But why not Gabbert? I would have picked Ponder. But that's just me.
C
No. 9: Cowboys select: Tyron Smith, OT, USC Grade
I love this pick. This kid will be a star left tackle. He is young, athletic and fills a need. He will start on the right side, but move to left. Love this pick.
B+
No. 10: Jaguars select: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri Grade
I like Christian Ponder more, but they had to get a quarterback. This is a bold move up. I like it. You can't win without a franchise passer.
B-
No. 11: Texans select: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin Grade
This is a good pick. I think he fits in their 3-4. He will be like Aaron Smith in Pittsburgh. Wade Phillips gets some help.
B
No. 12: Vikings select: Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State Grade
I love this pick. I think he will be the best in this class. Smart. Tough. Sees the field. Great move, Vikings.
A
No. 13: Lions select: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn Grade
This is a steal. He was the top player on my board. Now he plays next to Suh. Good luck handling that tandem for years to come.
A+
No. 14: Rams select: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina Grade
I love this pick. Steve Spagnuolo loves pass rushers and this is the best of the group.
A
No. 15: Dolphins select: Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida Grade
The Dolphins badly need help in the middle of their line. Pouncey can address that right away. Nice solid pick.
B
No. 16: Redskins select: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue Grade
This is one of my favorite players in this draft. He can rush the passer. He will be a 3-4 rush guy in Jim Haslett's defense.
B+
No. 17: Patriots select: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado Grade
Matt Light is a free agent, so this kid steps in and starts. Along with Sebastian Vollmer, they will have a good pair of young tackles. One question: Why not defense?
B
No. 18: Chargers select: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois Grade
He fits a big need as a down 3-4 end. He will be a nice replacement for Jacques Cesaire.
B
No. 19: Giants select: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska Grade
This kid was fourth on my board. How did he fall this far? The Giants get a great value pick, a guy who can cover DeSean Jackson.
A
No. 20: Buccaneers select: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa Grade
They needed to get an end, and this kid will help a pass rush that needs it. He was a productive player in in a good conference.
B
No. 21: Browns select: Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor Grade
This is a strange move for a team moving to a 4-3 scheme. He is more of a nose tackle. Strange pick.
C
No. 22: Colts select: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College Grade
This is a great pick. Colts haven't picked a lineman in the first round since Tarik Glenn. They need somebody to take care of Manning's blindside. This is a good pick.
B+
No. 23: Eagles select: Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor Grade
One thing about the Eagles, they love taking big people. This is an aggressive player who will fit right into the Eagles' style of play.
B-
No. 24: Saints select: Cameron Jordan, DE, California Grade
This is a need pick for a left end who will help their pass rush. He is a value pick who somehow slid down the board. Nice job by Mickey Loomis.
B-
No. 25: Seahawks select: James Carpenter, OT, Alabama Grade
I like this kid a lot. He was on my Better-than team. He was a left tackle, but will move to right tackle. Along with Russell Okung, they now have a nice pair of tackles.
B
No. 26: Chiefs select: Jon Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh Grade
He is a big-time player, but there are questions about his attitude. Some teams hated him. But he does fill a need.
C
No. 27: Ravens select: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado Grade
He has top-10 ability. But they better make sure he stays away from trouble. That's where the locker room will be big. Smith will be a quality shutdown corner -- if he stays problem-free.
C
No. 28: Saints select: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama Grade
Im not sure about this pick for the Saints. Don't they have guys like this already? They had other more pressing needs. And they gave up a 2012 first-round pick?
C-
No. 29: Bears select: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin Grade
He fills a major need. He is a tough guy who will start right away. Mike Tice loves him. He's his kind of lineman.
B+
No. 30: Jets select: Muhammad Wilkerson, OT, Temple Grade
They need help on their defensive line and this is a kid who can step in and provide help inside on the nose or at end.
B
No. 31: Steelers select: Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State Grade
They are getting old on the defensive line, so this makes sense. I think this kid will be a steal.
B+
No. 32: Packers select: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State Grade
They need a left tackle for the future and they get one here. He will be a good player in a year. The Packers can be patient.
B+


Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
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