A fairly uneventful BCS championship game came and went on Monday night when the Auburn Tigers defeated the Oregon Ducks. The whole thing was disappointing on a number of levels -- starting with the lack of offensive production and ending with a fluke run by Auburn to close out the game.
What it was good for, though, was giving another look at several promising prospects on both sides of the field. While Oregon does boast some talented players, the real cream of the crop donned the Auburn uniform for yesterday’s outing.
And so, with that game now in the rear view, it’s good to analyze what it meant for the top five picks in the 2011 NFL draft.
The first pick, assuming the Carolina Panthers opt to go with talent above all else – will remain unchanged. A.J. Green is an athletic, talented wide receiver that will give that team an instant boost on offense. However, if they want to cause a stir, Carolina can opt to go defense with the No. 1 pick.
No player helped his stock grow in the eyes of the professional teams scouting Monday’s game as much as Auburn’s defensive end, Nick Fairley. Without a doubt, his dominance on that side of the ball made him the clear-cut people’s favorite to be the first defensive player taken off the board.
The other big name player in yesterday’s game wearing the Tigers uniform, obviously, was Cam Newton. The jury is out on whether or not Newton helped or hurt his stock against the Ducks in that low-scoring match-up. However, considering the disparity that existed between where some had him going before the game versus where others had him going before the game, it doesn’t seem as though much has changed.
I subscribe to the school of thought that believes that Newton would be a great fit for the Buffalo Bills at the No. 3 spot. He would give that team a much-needed identity, and as has been said on countless occasions, the guy is a proven winner.
With no further delay, here is how the top five picks shake out after the BCS title game:
1. Carolina Panthers – A.J. Green
2. Denver Broncos – Nick Fairley
3. Buffalo Bills – Cam Newton
4. Cincinnati Bengals – Patrick Peterson
5. Arizona Cardinals – Blaine Gabbert