The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft provided several surprises, but not at the top of the event, as the Carolina Panthers selected Auburn quarterback Cam Newton at No. 1.
The NFL provided several notes on the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, held April 28 at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall.
HEISMAN TO FIRST OVERALL: Carolina selected QB Cam Newton of Auburn at the top of Round 1, marking the first time Heisman-winning quarterbacks have been chosen No. 1 overall in consecutive years since the inception of the common NFL Draft in 1967. Newton follows St. Louis QB Sam Bradford, who won the 2008 Heisman Trophy and was chosen first by the Rams in last year’s NFL Draft.
Newton, the 2010 Heisman winner, became the 10th recipient of the award to be selected first overall since 1967.
The full list:
Name (Year Drafted; Won Heisman); Team (School)
O.J. Simpson (1969; won Heisman in 1968) Buffalo (Southern California)
Jim Plunkett (1971; won Heisman in 1970) New England (Stanford)
Earl Campbell (1978; won Heisman in 1977) Houston (Texas)
Billy Sims (1980, won Heisman in 1978) Detroit (Oklahoma)
George Rogers (1981; won Heisman in 1980) New Orleans (South Carolina)
Bo Jackson (1986; won Heisman in 1985) Tampa Bay (Auburn)
Vinny Testaverde (1987; won Heisman in 1986) Tampa Bay (Miami)
Carson Palmer (2003; won Heisman in 2002) Cincinnati (Southern California)
Sam Bradford (2010; won Heisman in 2008) St. Louis (Oklahoma)
Cam Newton (2011; won Heisman in 2010) Carolina (Auburn)
In addition to Newton, 2009 Heisman Trophy-winning RB Mark Ingram was chosen No. 28 overall by New Orleans, marking the second consecutive year and fourth time since 1990 that two Heisman Trophy winners were selected in the same draft.
Last year, Bradford and Tim Tebow (No. 25 overall, Denver), who won the 2007 Heisman Trophy while quarterbacking the Florida Gators, were both chosen in Round 1. In 2006, Reggie Bush (No. 2 overall, New Orleans), who won (and subsquently returned) the Heisman in 2005 and Matt Leinart (No. 10 overall, Arizona), who won the award in 2005, were both selected out of Southern California. Prior to the recent runs of dual Heisman winners in the same draft, Michigan’s Desmond Howard (No. 4 overall, Washington), the 1991 winner, and BYU’s Ty Detmer (No. 230 in 9th round, Green Bay), the 1990 winner, were both taken in 1992.
SAINTS LOVE HEISMAN RUNNERS: A note from friend of the blog, Lenny Vangilder, of SportsNOLA.com: The Saints have drafted four Heisman Trophy-winning running backs in their history:
1981 – George Rogers
1999 – Ricky Williams
2006 – Reggie Bush
2011 – Mark Ingram
Only two running backs won the Heisman in the decade of the 2000s – Bush and Ingram. New Orleans drafted both of them. And of the last four running backs to win the Heisman, three were drafted by the Saints (Williams, Bush and Ingram). The only Heisman RB the Saints didn’t draft was Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne, who went to the New York Giants in 2000 after winning the award in 1999.
QBs DOMINATE 1ST DOZEN: Four quarterbacks – Cam Newton, Jake Locker (No. 8, Tennessee), Blaine Gabbert (No. 10, Jacksonville) and Christian Ponder (No. 12, Minnesota) – were among the first 12 players selected in the 2011 NFL Draft, the second-most since 1970.
Quarterbacks represented five of the first 12 picks in 1999, the most during that span. Tim Couch (No. 1, Cleveland), Donovan McNabb (No. 2, Philadelphia), Akili Smith (No. 3, Cincinnati), Daunte Culpepper (No. 11, Minnesota) and Cade McNown (No. 12, Chicago) were selected.
BRONCO ’BACKER: Texas A&M LB Von Miller (No. 2 overall, Denver) became the fourth linebacker to be selected in the top five since 2000. The most recent top-five selection at the linebacker position was Aaron Curry (No. 4, Seattle) in 2009. In addition, A.J. Hawk (No. 5 overall, Green Bay) was taken in 2006 and LaVar Arrington (No. 2 overall, Washington) was taken in 2000.
BACK-TO-BACK QBs: With the selection of Newton, Carolina became the first team since 1967 to select a quarterback with its top draft choice in consecutive years. In Round 2 of the 2010 NFL Draft, the Panthers chose Jimmy Clausen of Notre Dame. Carolina did not have a first-round draft pick in 2010.
HUSKY GOES HIGH: At No. 8 overall, Jake Locker became the first quarterback in Washington history to be selected in Round 1 of an NFL Draft. Don Heinrich, who was taken in the third round by the New York Giants in 1952 (No. 35 overall), previously had been the highest-drafted QB in school history.
BAYLOR DUO: College teammates Phil Taylor (No. 21 overall, Cleveland) and Danny Watkins (No. 23, Philadelphia) became the first pair of Baylor players to be selected in Round 1 of an NFL Draft.
Including Taylor and Watkins, Baylor has had eight first-round picks since the inception of the common draft in 1967.
Watkins, a Canadian native and firefighter, was drafted fourth overall in the 2010 CFL Draft by his hometown British Columbia Lions, but opted to return to Baylor for his senior season.
GETTING DEFENSIVE: Six defensive ends – J.J. Watt (No. 11 overall, Houston), Robert Quinn (No. 14, St. Louis), Corey Liuget (No. 18, San Diego), Adrian Clayborn (No. 20, Tampa Bay), Cameron Jordan (No. 24, New Orleans) and Cameron Heyward (No. 31, Pittsburgh) – were selected in the first round, tied for the most in NFL Draft history.
The 1992 NFL Draft also featured six first-round defensive ends: Steve Emtman (No. 1, Indianapolis), Sean Gilbert (No. 3, L.A. Rams), Chester McGlockton (No. 16, L.A. Raiders), Alonzo Spellman (No. 22, Chicago), Chris Mims (No. 23, San Diego) and Robert Porcher (No. 26, Detroit).