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2011 NFL Draft: Seven Mountain West Players Taken In The Second And Third Round

No Mountain West players were taken in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday, but seven Mountain West players went in Friday's 2nd and 3rd round. TCU's Andy Dalton was taken first, going to the Bengals at 35. Colin Kaepernick immediately followed, as San Francisco traded up to the 36th pick to take the most decorated player in Nevada history. Titus Young, out of Boise State, then was the next to appear on the board at 44 when the Detroit Lions traded up to take the speedy receiver.

After that, there was a major break between Mountain West players getting drafted. No Mountain West Player was drafted again until Dontay Moch became the second MWC player to go to the Bengals at the beginning of the third round. Then the Rams made a surprise pick to grab the second Boise State player of the night, Austin Pettis at 78. Occuring only 4 picks after the Rams made their selection was San Diego's pick of Vincent Brown at 82. Brown is from SDSU, so I'm sure the San Diego fans are thrilled to hear that Brown is going to be a Charger.

The latest of the night to be picked was Hawaii's Alex Green, who went 96th overall to the Green Bay Packers.

Jason Garrison of SB Nation's Cincinnati Bengals blog apparently thinks that Dalton is a better vocal leader than Carson Palmer was, and that could have an impact in the huddle.

I'll be honest. I've always liked Carson Palmer but I also always wished that he was more of a vocal leader. In a huddle with guys like Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens, you would need a quarterback that has more command of the huddle than two of the most talkative players in NFL history. Palmer never really seemed to be that kind of guy, to me. Maybe I'm wrong though, I wasn't in the huddle. There's a lot more to the quarterback position than a strong arm and accuracy, not to say that those things aren't important. A quarterback has to be a leader, both on and off the field and he's got to be smart. Those are two attributes that Dalton seems to possess.

Dalton was a good pick by the Bengals since their quarterback situation was getting ready to fall apart due to Carson Palmer's ultimatum with the team. Since the other quarterbacks on roster aren't exactly starting caliber, I wouldn't be surprised to see Dalton start with the team as a rookie next season.

Here is the initial reaction from David Fucillo over at Niners Nation when the pick was made to bring in Colin Kaepernick.

 I have to say I could not be more excited! I realize he is a bit of a project, but I really like his upside. And if Dave-Te Thomas was correct in his scouting report, maybe he can be a taller Aaron Rodgers. He's got a lot to prove, but I really can't wait to see what Jim Harbaugh can do with Kaepernick.

And some thoughts on Kaepernick by another writer on the site.

People talk about his long delivery, the fact that he played in the Pistol offense, etc.  I know that this is a hard worker, impeccable character, who overcame the odds at the collegiate level and perfected the offense he was given.  There's nothing to make me believe he wont be Harbaugh's best friend and overcome any scrutiny at the next level in order to become a legitimate NFL passer.

Kaepernick was one of the most underrated players coming out of college. Most people didn't even know his name until he pulled off the epic comeback to beat Boise State, and yet he is the only player in College Football history to rush for 4,000 yards and pass for 10,000. He had gained tons of experience, playing all 4 years at Nevada, and the guy showed at the NFL Combine just how athletic he was.

The only problem Kaepernick might run into is that there are some guys on the team who are around his talent level and have had a few years head start. He'll have to battle it out with Alex Smith and Troy Smith, but both have proven to be sub-par quarterbacks in the league.

One of many surprise picks today was Titus Young getting taken so early. Young wasn't expected to go in the second round, as mock drafts had him going somewhere in the third round at the earliest, but alas it was not so. Here is what Pride of Detroit had to say about it.

Young will hopefully fill the Lions' need for a speedy wide receiver. They have been looking for one for a few years now, and this pick will hopefully give them a guy that can be a burner and stretch the field. Adding Young into the Lions' offense now gives them a solid group of wide receivers. Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson are still the top two WRs, but Young is someone that can come into the offense and make plays. At least that's what the Lions hope he can do.

Looking at just the skill positions for the Lions now, you now have Calvin Johnson, Nate Burlson, and Titus Young in the Wide Receiver unit. You also have two speedy backs in Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure, as well as the cherry on top - Matthew Stafford. The Lions are now pretty much stacked for the next 6-7 years at the skill positions (as long as they can hold on to each player) and that is something very hard to come by these days.

The other Mountain West team to go to the Cincinnati Bengals this evening was Dontay Moch. Here is some more commentary from Cincy Jungle on the Linebacker situation for the Bengals.

This could seal the ending of Dhani Jones, which would prompt the team to move Rey Maualuga to inside linebacker and create open competition between Roddrick Muckelroy and Dontay Moch as the strong-side linebacker. Another scenario, it could also be in response to losing Brandon Johnson, who will also be a free agent once the new league year starts. Moch gives the Bengals an aggressive pass rusher on third down.

It's definitely a downside for Moch that he will be going into a 4-3 defense, since that calls for more pass-coverage and Moch made his name known for his rushing abilities out of a 3-4 set. He may struggle with that transition, but as the quote points out, Moch creates pass rushing opportunities on third down for the Bengals.

The next pick that involved the Mountain West was Boise State's Austin Pettis. Pettis went 78th overall to the Rams, who were in dire need of a receiver. SB Nation's St. Louis Rams blog, Turf Show Times, put up a quick explanation on Pettis.

Pettis isn't the sexy, complete package No. 1 wide receiver that many fans wanted. The biggest knock on the big man is a lack of elite speed (he ran a 4.56 forty). What he does do is make the Rams receivers a more reliable group, better hands, better ability in traffic and a better track record on his medical report than anyone else on the roster. 

Pettis should be able to make an immediate impact on the Rams. St. Louis's receiving unit was absolutely atrocious last season and showed with dropped ball after dropped ball. Doesn't really help to have such a great quarterback in Sam Bradford if nobody has the ability to catch those beautifully thrown balls. Pettis should come in and immediately help the Rams in a department where they struggled mightily last season.

Vincent Brown is probably pretty excited about staying in San Diego, as he was selected 82nd overall by the San Diego Chargers. According to Bolts From The Blue, SB Nation's San Diego Chargers blog, it was a horribly kept secret that the Chargers liked Brown.

San Diego State plays a pro-style offense which is similar to the one that Norv Turner runs with the Chargers so he should have no problem getting up to speed on the playbook. He is not a "burner" by any means and he is not going to be the fastest guy on the field. He does, however, run his routes to perfection, has tremendous fundamentals, and really good hands. Additionally, he is a good run blocker and could also contribute on special teams.

Brown is definitely one who can make an impact right away, especially with a guy like Phillip Rivers throwing the ball to him. Some of San Diego's big issues last season were dropped balls and miscommunication on routes. It looks as if Vincent Brown can help with both of those issues.

Last but not least is Alex Green, who was drafted near the very end of the night to the Green Bay Packers. In fact, the pick was made so late that apparently there isn't much reaction up yet around SB Nation, so I'll provide my own.

This was a surprise pick by the Packers by all means. With the Packers three deep at the running back position, and with good talent too, there isn't much of a reason to bring in Green, especially considering he was a stretch to begin with. Green had good numbers at Hawaii in his senior season, about 1,200 rushing yards and a NCAA-best 8.5 yards per carry, but that shouldn't be any reason for the Packers to add to an already filled position.

Green could be a very good talent at this level, but getting playing time to prove his worth could be a serious issue while playing at Green Bay.


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