For at least one night, the NFL is back

By Hector Gama |Staff Writer|

With the first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers select…
Soon after the Green Bay Packers hoisted up the Vince Lombardi trophy, reclaiming the title that was rightfully theirs to begin with, uncertainty, concern, and pessimism overtook NFL fans and players alike.
With a possible lockout looming in the distance, many people feared that the 2011 season would be as lifeless as a graveyard in the middle of the night.
Earlier this year, DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the National Football League Players’ Association (NFLPA), was asked by Cincinnati
Bengals receiver, Chad Ochocinco, how serious he viewed the possibility of football not being played in 2011.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 14,” said Smith according to ESPN.
Today, it is still uncertain whether or not there will be football next season.
What is for certain, however, is that the NFL Draft took place last Thursday, April 28.
Prior to the event, there was much speculation as to who would be selected first overall, where players like Cam Newton and Patrick Peterson would end up and whether or not players would even show up.
Many mock drafts were formulated, none of which resembled each other.
Mel Kiper Jr., American football analyst for the ESPN television channel, projected that Cam Newton, Von Miller, Marcell Dareus, A.J. Green, and Patrick Peterson would be the first five players selected in this year’s draft.
I asked Thomas Brown, CSUSB student, who he thought would be selected number one.
“I think Cam Newton will be the first pick,” said Brown. “He’s big and strong, and has a cannon. He’ll really help Carolina,” he concluded.
As it turned out, Cam Newton was indeed drafted number one overall.
One interesting name that was being tossed around was Tryon Smith’s.
Smith, who was an offensive lineman for USC, attended Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley.
He emerged as a standout in the Pac-10, winning the Morris Trophy as the conference’s top offensive lineman as voted by the league’s defensive linemen according to CBS Sports.
Kiper projected that he would be selected 13th overall by the Detroit Lions.
He ended up being selected 10th overall by the Dallas Cowboys.
The first surprise of the night came when the Atlanta Falcons, following a trade with the Cleveland Browns, selected wide receiver Julio Jones 6th overall.
Atlanta gave up their first, second, and fourth round picks this year, and a first and fourth round pick next year in order to attain Jones.
The following two picks were also shocking as the San Francisco 49ers selected defensive end Aldon Smith 7th overall, and the Tennessee Titans selected quarterback Jake Locker 8th overall.
Many question Tennessee’s decision to select Locker over Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
In addition, many analysts feel that quarterback Christian Ponder, who was selected 12th overall by the Minnesota Vikings, was picked too high in the draft.
Alabama’s star running back Mark Ingram dropped all the way down to 28, as he was selected by the New Orleans Saints.
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