The 2011 NFL Draft is over and many of us are hoping the selected players will be able to provide an immediate impact. With free agency on hold, the only hope we have for an immediate improvement are the rookies. Free agency will take place but without knowing the specifics we have no choice but to rely on the draft selections. Below is my list of the top 5 1st round players I expect to have an immediate impact.
1. Von Miller- LB- Denver Broncos
- The Broncos had one of the worst defenses in the entire NFL and Miller will help make improvements. Miller's ability to create pressure will impact the play of the entire defense. He also has the quickness to purse and cover sideline to sideline. Miller could easily produce double digit sacks which would help greatly improve this defense.
2. Anthony Castonzo- OT- Indianapolis Colts
- Peyton Manning wasn't his perfect self last season especially when faced with pressure. Castonzo is an athletic tackle that will be able to protect Manning's blindside from day one. His addition also allows other members of the offensive line to shuffle around strengthening the unit as a whole.
3. Gabe Carimi- OT- Chicago Bears
- The Bears were 1 win away from a Super Bowl appearance and the biggest team weakness was the offensive line. Many will talk about how much pressure was on Jay Cutler but the offensive line also struggled to open consistent running lanes. Carimi's presence could help his team in a few ways ultimately giving them another shot at a Super Bowl run.
- The Bills won more games than many expected and that was basically because of their effort. Through the draft, the Bills added a lot of talent and non more talented than Marcell Dareus. Dareus will help bring stability to the defensive line which struggled to consistently stop the run. Dareus is the type of player that will demand double teams making the players around him better.
5. Nick Fairley- DT- Detroit Lions
- Detroit has one of the best defensive lines in the NFL and the addition of Fairley only makes them nastier. Fairley's ability to penetrate will wreak havoc in opponents backfields. This will also command some extra attention from the offensive line opening things up for the rest of his team. There are not enough offensive lineman on the field to control both Fairley and Suh.