Quite a first round tonight, huh? Before digging into the Vikings’ first round selection, here are a few things I came away with:
1. The fans were largely classless when Goodell was at the podium. Booing? Seriously?
2. I think the lack of a football offseason to this point has fueled this draft into a frenzied event, which I really enjoyed tonight.
3. The scene with Mark Ingram and Suzy Kolber was pretty special, even if it was only reading a letter from Ingram’s incarcerated father by the same name.
4. A Suh-Fairley defensive tackle duo is scary. Very, very scary.
As for the Vikings’ selection of Ponder, I guess I come away lukewarm about it. He may have been a reach at 12, but if they worked the phones and couldn’t find a taker to move down (and I have no doubt they did this), the team did well to get their targeted guy.
Ponder is intelligent, which is no doubt a huge key for a starting quarterback in the NFL. If I recall correctly, he’s on his way to his second Master’s degree. He also scored a 35 on the Wonderlic exam, which isn’t the tell-all that some draft pundits make it out to be, but still doesn’t hurt him in this instance.
What hurts Ponder is his lack of durability and ideal arm strength, which may or may not be made up for by his pretty stellar accuracy. If the team can keep him upright, which is a legit concern after last season’s debacle, there’s a good chance that Ponder can contribute more than adequately at this level.
What it basically comes down to is that the club needed a quarterback. They still may target a veteran so they can bring Ponder along slowly, or heck, they may go Ponder-Webb-Bomar into next season, with an undrafted free agent in there to hold down the practice squad (Adam Weber, anyone?). My money is on a veteran (preferably McNabb, or Carson Palmer if he’s cut)-Ponder-Webb/Bomar depth chart, since I think Ponder shouldn’t be thrown to the wolves right away, and I don’t buy that Webb is anything other than a wide receiver at this level.
So those are a few of my fleeting thoughts from the opening night of the 2011 NFL Draft. What are yours?