The 2011 NFL Draft is has brought a few surprises and plenty of good news for fans. A distraction from the CBA fight and legal mess over the lockout, the draft gives the promise of hope for teams needing to upgrade their rosters. This year the NFL Draft featured four players from Arizona high schools who were drafted in the top three rounds. Prince Amukamara, Cameron Jordan, Brooks Reed, and Dontay Moch a play on the defensive side of the ball and all four grade extremely high for their new teams.
It's possible a class of NFL Draft prospects from Arizona has done better than these four, but if so, we can't remember it. All of these high-grade players will have a chance to impact their teams immediately and one or two could possibly join Maryvale Highschool's Darren Woodson (a classmate of mine) at the pantheon of defensive stars.
Prince Amukamara, like Woodson, comes from a west side high school. Apollo High School, home to to Arizona Republic beat writer Paul Coro as well, is proud of Prince who played running back for most of his high school career. It wasn't until his sophomore year at Nebraska that he converted to cornerback where he excelled and was eventually the second-rated CB in the 2011 NFL Draft behind only Cardinal's pick, Patrick Peterson.
Amukamara fell to the New York Giants at no. 19 and they were thrilled to get him. 77 percent of Giants fans graded the Prince pick an "A - a home run".
Cameron Jordan played high school ball at Chandler High School. One of many great defensive ends in the 2011 Draft, the New Orleans Saints selected him with the 24th overall pick. The choice helped earn the Saints a grade "A" in the early draft grades.
Brooks Reed not only played high school football at Sabino High School in Tucson, Arizona but he stayed local and played for the University of Arizona Wildcats. Reed fell out of the first round where the defensive end was projected to go in mock drafts and right into the laps of very happy Houston Texan fans. SB Nation Houston said the following about the Texan's second round (42nd overall) pick. "Grade: A slightly used record of Nena's 99 Luftballons". No, we don't really know what that means either but we are sure it much be positive.
Dontay Moch not played high school football at Hamilton High School in Chandler, he blogged regularly here at SB Nation Arizona about his preparation leading up to being drafted early in the third round by the Cincinnati Bengals. 73 precent of Bengals fans polled like the pick and the other 27 percent just haven't learned enough yet.
Overall, it was a fantastic 2011 NFL Draft for Arizona schools. All four of these guys will certainly have great careers in the NFL and we wish them the best.