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2011 NFL Draft Grades

First Posted: 05/03/11 03:06 PM ET   Updated: 07/02/11 06:12 AM ET

UPDATE: Click HERE to listen to Jordan Schultz break down the 2011 NFL Draft results on Sports Talk 610 with host Nick Wright.

The NFL Draft has come and gone, which can only mean one thing: It's time to give out grades! Of course, with the NFL -- more than any other sport -- drafts take years to fully comprehend and evaluate. It's a long and trying process ... so why wouldn't we try after just one weekend to give some initial grades now?

A couple odd, yet entertaining facts before we begin: With the backdrop of a potential work stoppage, Thursday night's first round drew 1.3 million less viewers than in 2010. Fans booed NFL commissioner Roger Goddell and chanted "we want football," causing him to have to repeatedly say: "I hear ya, I hear ya."

By drafting Cam Newton, the Carolina Panthers became just the fourth team since 1967 to take a quarterback in the top 50 two consecutive years.

We knew going in that defensive line was very top heavy this year, but the 12 d-linemen drafted in the first round is a new record.

Lastly, and this is by far my favorite: Players born in California, Georgia, Florida and Texas accounted for 127 picks in the seven round draft, or exactly half of all draft picks.

Email me or ask me questions about your team, the draft or anything else on Twitter at @206Child for my upcoming mailbag.

Carolina Panthers
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No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton could transform a franchise. Or, he could break one. I'm going with the latter. While current QB Jimmy Clausen may start the first six games, this will soon be Newton's team. But the learning curve here is too steep and the timing is bad. A source tells me Newton is arrogant and immature and won't command the respect of an NFL huddle. The offense Newton ran at Auburn was a far cry from what he will run in the NFL, and it will require patience and mental fortitude to learn it. He only made around 30 NFL style throws last season -- a record that may also hurt him. I do however give the Panthers credit for addressing some vital needs with later picks in the draft. They filled needs such as a wide receiver and a corner, as well as two defensive tackles -- including Terrell McClain of South Florida, who should be a good one. With Newton as the first rounder though, this draft grade is perhaps the ultimate wait-and-see.

Grade: C-
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