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2011 NFL Draft Picks: Jake Locker Changes Course Of First Round

The Tennessee Titanssurprising selection of Jake Locker proved to be the turning point among 2011 NFL Draft picks Thursday night, causing a run on quarterbacks that led to a fall for Blaine Gabbert, an early selection of Christian Ponder, and a restructuring in the glut of defensive linemen that dominated the first round of the draft. Nick Fairley, former consensus No. 1, fell all the way to 13; Robert Quinn went 14th, and Corey Liuget, expected to go 14th, went 18th. 

More interesting in the long term is how many of these draft picks at quarterback will develop, and when. Cam Newton will dominate the spotlight no matter how quickly he assumes the starting role, and Jake Locker's early selection has turned him into the likely focus of the Tennessee Titans' 2011 season. Blaine Gabbert might have the best situation of all—he'll have some time to develop while backing up David Garrard with the Jacksonville Jaguars. As for Christian Ponder, the Minnesota Vikings' pick smacked of desperation with Locker off the board, but as a team they've got so much offensive talent that Ponder could hide, Mark Sanchez-style, behind Adrian Peterson and company for a while, if necessary.