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    Top 5 2011 Draft Class

    Of course, JJ Watt is given the nod as the best of class but I want to see where Von fits in. My personal belief is that Watt is benefiting from a very very strong defense. He is a great player but I'm not sure I would take him over Von.

    Anyway, I'll give CP to the poster.

  • #2
    FROM MOBILE (iPhone copy+paste)


    J.J. Watt leads 2011 class (so far)
    Mel Kiper [ARCHIVE]

    ESPN Insider | October 13, 2012

    Brett Davis/US Presswire
    No 2011 draft pick has played better so far in his career than Houston's J.J. Watt.
    It's a good thing he didn't stay at tight end. As a college freshman at Central Michigan, that was J.J. Watt's role. After leaving football briefly and then landing at Wisconsin, he moved to the other side of the ball. Watt was pretty good at Wisconsin in 2010, then very good in 2011, but he might look back on that time and wonder why he managed only seven sacks in his final year.

    Watt already has 7.5 sacks for Houston in 2012 and is simply dominating opposing offenses thus far this season. And the brief look back isn't some statement about the power of perseverance; it's a reminder that Watt is still very young and perhaps just now starting to realize his full potential. It's a reminder that while Watt's draft position at No. 11 overall was a good fit given the skills he'd shown to that point, the ability of players to take their games to another level will always be something we're merely projecting, never assuming.

    I was asked to line up the best players so far from the 2011 class, and Watt sits at the top. Wade Phillips' exceptional scheming has taken the Texans' defense from perhaps the league's worst unit in 2010 to among the top few today, but Watt has been the central character in that transformation.

    Watt isn't the only guy from that class to already effect a transformation. Let's line them up.

    1. J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans (No. 11 overall)
    If he continues at this pace, Watt will be an easy pick for defensive player of the year. He's been simply incredible as a disruptive player against both the run and the pass, and he's doing it as a mix of a 3- and 5-technique, constantly exposed to double-teams.

    We consider Justin Smith a perfect example of what a great 3-4 defensive end looks like after shifting from that position in a 4-3, but Watt might be doing it one better right now. His ability as a pass-rusher is just one aspect to his dominance. He's also knocked down or tipped eight passes so far in 2012, creating interception opportunities not just with his rush, but with his awareness and active hands. In addition, he has 78 tackles, a significant total from that position through his first 21 NFL games.

    If he catches a TD pass before the season is over, showing off the old TE skills, will anyone be surprised? The guy has been brilliant.

    2. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (No. 4 overall)
    He's already caught 101 passes -- 21 more than any other WR from the 2011 class -- and piled up 1,550 yards and 11 TDs receiving, and he's done that as the central focus of the opposition's game plan on defense. Green isn't just an over-the-top threat; he makes catches all over the field, runs with conviction after the catch and is a constant red zone threat. In my opinion, he should already be considered among the best wide receivers in the NFL, and he could be at the top of the list before long.

    3. Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals (No. 35 overall)
    Cam Newton has more passing yards, but it's Dalton who has continued the momentum from a very good rookie season into 2012 and has more significantly shifted the fortunes of his team.

    It's worth remembering that when Dalton was drafted, the Bengals looked completely lost. Carson Palmer had made it clear he was done with the franchise, and most of us had the Bengals pegged for a terrible 2011 that would be defined by growing pains and an early draft pick in 2012. Instead, Dalton -- with a 92.9 passer rating so far in 2012 -- got the team to the playoffs last season, went to the Pro Bowl and has Cincinnati on course for another playoff berth in 2012.

    Dalton also is a reminder that QBs do add arm strength as pros. His ceiling is now higher than I considered it on draft day, and he had plenty of promise then.

    4. Von Miller, LB, Denver Broncos (No. 2 overall)
    He has 16.5 sacks through his first 20 NFL games, but Miller has shown he's so much more than a pass-rusher. He can be moved all over the formation and is an asset against the run, with 69 tackles. He was the best defender for the Broncos as a rookie, and will be a difference-maker and a Pro Bowl regular for years to come.

    5. Aldon Smith, LB, San Francisco 49ers (No. 7 overall)
    Smith's draft position at No. 7 wasn't a surprise to me, but it's fair to say he was seen as an incomplete player with a tremendous amount of upside. I thought he'd come along slowly and be a significant pass-rush factor by the end of 2011. Instead, Smith showed he could be a feared pass-rusher immediately; he finished his rookie season with 14.5 sacks and is on an early pace to exceed that total in 2012. Smith is surrounded by significant talent, but his pace among the league's best pass-rushers is already set.

    Next group
    Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers (No. 1 overall)
    He's struggled so far in 2012, but Newton's rookie season was nothing short of exceptional given his lack of experience as a pocket passer. He set the NFL record for passing yards as a rookie with 4,051, and he didn't forget how to affect the game as a runner. Newton has 17 rushing TDs thus far as a pro, 11 more than any other player in his draft class.


    Chris Trotman/Getty Images
    Julio Jones is already one of the toughest matchups in the NFL.
    Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons (No. 6 overall)
    The Falcons paid a ransom to get him, but Jones has lived up to the cost. He has 80 catches through his first 18 NFL games, and is easily one of the toughest matchups and most feared passing targets in the league. Green gets the slight nod because Jones has an experienced QB and benefits from the presence of Roddy White.

    Richard Sherman, CB, Seattle Seahawks (No. 154 overall)
    What a steal. The Seattle secondary isn't maybe the NFL's best without him. He has more interceptions (six) than any other player in his class, and his size (6-foot-3), quickness, smarts and physical nature combine to make him extremely tough to throw at.

    Nate Solder, OT, New England Patriots (No. 17 overall)
    Now the starting left tackle for the Patriots' offense, Solder was a physical freak with room to improve when he was drafted, but he's already playing really well at one of the league's spotlight positions. He's on Tom Brady's blind side, and he can maul as a run-blocker.

    Patrick Peterson, CB, Arizona Cardinals (No. 5 overall)
    He was No. 1 on my Big Board when he was drafted, and while Peterson still has work to do to become more dependable in coverage, he is going to keep getting better and has become a weapon on special teams in the meantime. Punt to him at your own risk.

    K.J. Wright, LB, Seattle Seahawks (No. 99 overall)
    Many still don't know who he is, but offensive coordinators do. Wright flies all over the field and has filled a huge role for the Seahawks, one Aaron Curry wasn't able to.

    Torrey Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens (No. 58 overall)
    He has 1,211 receiving yards through his first 21 games and has proved he's far more than the downfield threat Joe Flacco needed.

    Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina Tar Heels (No. 12 overall)
    After sitting out his final year at North Carolina, Quinn had the talent profile of a top-five pick but needed to shave some of the rust. He already has six sacks in 2012 and is going to be one of the NFL's best pass-rushing threats.

    In the mix:
    Ryan Kerrigan, Mason Foster, DeMarco Murray, Christian Ponder, Jabaal Sheard, Phil Taylor, Justin Houston, Randall Cobb, Tyron Smith, Kyle Rudolph, Jacquizz Rodgers, Chris Culliver, Brooks Reed
    Fightin' Texas Aggie c/o '16

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    • #3
      Well Mell kiper keeps proving he is an idiot...

      really Green before Von and jones not in the top 5 ? Shoulda been:

      1.Watt
      2.Miller
      3.Grenn
      4.jones
      5.Dalton
      Last edited by canadiansbronco; 10-13-2012, 10:37 PM.
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      Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.

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      • #4
        Miller is number one, watt is great, but starting to get overrated with all the love.

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        • #5
          Watt has a great supporting cast around him. Von, doesn't.

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          • #6
            Maybe but he is stupidly good, still think he is the best one yet
            Last edited by canadiansbronco; 10-13-2012, 10:37 PM.
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            Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Papa-pwn View Post
              Miller is number one, watt is great, but starting to get overrated with all the love.
              I don't think watt is getting overrated. The guy has been playing like a monster this year. It's hard to compare between Von and JJ because of different positions they play but JJ has made more of an impact this year. I'm not saying Von hasn't because he's having a pretty good season but JJ has had a better year so far.

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              • #8
                Not sure if Watt is overrated. I watch this guy and I see 100% individual effort. When a fella breaks double teams and crashes a play down, I can't think considering his teammates as a factor. I like Miller but he isn't the instinctive specimen that Watt is.

                Houston has done a fantastic job picking players since the beginning, and the good decisions started when they picked Williams over Bush.
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                Rogue Colts Fan

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                • #9
                  Look at Houstons D overall and ours. Its not even close. Watt is great, so is Miller, I would put them 1a and 1b. Miller had a better rookie season and he is off to a good start this year. Watt was good last year, but he has really improved to an all pro this season.

                  I have no idea why Green and Dalton are in front of him. Thats just Mel being stupid.

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                  • #10
                    JJ Watt has dominated games. He is not overrated in anyway at all. Von Miller is great and will contiue to be great. But as of right now he has no where near as dominatant or impactful as JJ Watt. JJ Watt is the leading candidate for Defensive player of the year.

                    And that draft class is looking great. That top 5 list is great and dead on. As expected AJ Green is a better player then Julio Jones. I wouldn't say Jones is top 5 from that class. There was no mention of Marcel Dareus at all and he has been good. Then Justin Houston has looked just like a first round pick like I had thought he should have been. Overall a talented group.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by canadiansbronco View Post
                      Well Mell kiper keeps proving he is an idiot...

                      really Green before Von and jones not in the top 5 ? Shoulda been:

                      1.Watt
                      2.Miller
                      3.Grenn
                      4.jones
                      5.Dalton
                      Green has been more successful overall so far. Green is THE Cin offense and Miller has been a good rusher he still struggles at other aspects of LB from time to time. I think in a year or 2, Miller will be higher than Green but as of now, Green is on top, imo.
                      Last edited by broncos SB2010; 10-14-2012, 08:12 AM.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Papa-pwn View Post
                        Miller is number one, watt is great, but starting to get overrated with all the love.
                        No. Watt has been the best player out of that group and showing huge development this year. I think he has been the best player so far.
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                        • #13
                          If you were picking top 12 last year and didn't want a QB you were lucky.

                          2. Von
                          3. Dareus
                          4. Green
                          5. Peterson
                          6. Jones
                          7. Aldon Smith
                          9. Tyron Smith
                          11. Watt

                          Everyone of those guys looks like a franchise cornerstone.
                          Go Broncos!!!:thumb:

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                          • #14
                            I agree with Watt being #1, but nothing else. ANDY DALTON ahead of VON MILLER? Are you kidding me? Dalton probably isn't even a top 15 quarterback right now, while Von is definitely top 5 for his position. But because Dalton is a quarterback that makes him a better player?

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                            • #15
                              I think it accounts for draft position.
                              Fightin' Texas Aggie c/o '16

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