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2011 NFL Draft Grades: Colorado's Nate Solder, Jimmy Smith Provide Patriots, Ravens With Solid 1st Rounds

The Colorado Buffaloes had two first-round selections in the 2011 NFL Draft on Thursday evening. Offensive tackle Nate Solder went the to the New England Patriots with the 17th overall pick, while cornerback Jimmy Smith went 27th overall to the Baltimore Ravens. Both went in the general area they were expected to go.

According to SB Nation's 2011 NFL Draft Grades by Brian Galliford, both the Patriots and the Ravens made great pickups in the first round. The Patriots received an "A-minus" for getting a tackle who could potentially be the best one a few years down the line. Though, that grade also comes from trading out of their second first-round pick to acquire a second-round pick in 2011 and a 2012 first-rounder from the Saints. Solder will be protecting Tom Brady's blindside in no time.

The Ravens received a "B-plus" for selecting Smith, who had some talent evaluators calling him the best corner in the draft. But character concerns dropped him a bit. But the Ravens are in need of a top-flight cornerback and Smith has the potential to be one.

Jalil Brown figures to be the next Buffalo off the board.

SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule and more. Check it all out at our 2011 NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft. Visit the Ralphie Report for more on the Colorado Buffaloes.