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NFL Lockout Increases 2011 NFL Draft's Importance

The NFL lockout is technically over, but not really. While Judge Susan Nelson did issue an injunction which did end the lockout, the owners are still seeking a stay and the league's offseason is not underway. Basically, the end is in sight but free agency is not underway and teams cannot trade players yet. This makes the 2011 NFL Draft even more important as it's the only way teams can currently improve their rosters.

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Since trades on draft night can only involve trade picks, teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals are significantly disadvantaged. With so many teams looking for quarterbacks, especially at the top of the draft such as Carolina, Arizona, Tennessee and Minnesota, quarterbacks like Kevin Kolb and Carson Palmer would be in demand - I mean, wouldn't you rather have Palmer or Kolb than Cam Newton?

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It also gives teams with a slew of draft picks an advantage, since they have the only ammo to move up in the draft. A team like, oh, say, I don't know, the New England Patriots really sits in a power position tonight. New England owns two picks in each of the first three rounds, including the 17th, 28th and 33rd overall picks. The Pats have six of the first 92 picks, making trading up extremely easy and it also affords them the opportunity to move down or trade for picks in next year's draft, which they'll inevitably do. 

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Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.