2011 NFL Mock Draft - Post Combine Edition

It has been a few months since I have done a mock draft. But with the Combine come and gone, now would be a good time to do an update. As usual, ESPN will focus on nothing but the quarterbacks, but this draft has a monster number of defensive lineman prospects available. Enjoy.

1. Carolina Panthers - DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson. It has been a while since the number one pick has been this difficult to project. I'll stick with Bowers, who I like to the Panthers all along. His knee shouldn't be a problem, and the Panthers are looking for a playmaker anywhere on the field. Marcell Dareus had an amazing Combine, but I just have a problem taking a tackle first overall. Same with a cornerback (Patrick Peterson). No defensive back has ever been picked first overall. If Cam Newton rebounds from his weak Combine or Blaine Gabbert shows off during his Pro Day, I think either one of them could easily end up here. And the ultimate dark horse is linebacker Von Miller. I think he is a lock for the top 5 right now, but linebacker is also never a position that is taken first overall. So it comes down to six guys (so far). Bowers, Dareus, Gabbert, Newton, Peterson, Miller. Still way too early to predict what the Panthers are going to do, so I'll stick with Bowers for now.

2. Denver Broncos - DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama.
The Broncos are moving back to a 4-3 defense, so they have to readjust their front 7. I love Von Miller but I still think this is a little bit too early for a linebacker. Remember the last great linebacker prospect, Aaron Curry, went fourth overall in 2009, despite being the best prospect at the time. History shows defensive limenan going higher. Dareus had a monster pro day and shot past Nick Fairley as the top end available. The Broncos released former starters Justin Bannan and Jamal Williams, leaving a monster hole that Dareus will be able to fill.

3. Buffalo Bills - OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M.
I know Cam Newton to the Bills is picking up steam, but right now (or ever), I just can't see Newton as a top five pick. Miller is the most complete linebacker to come along in quite a while, and would be one constant on a Bills defense that never seems to know what they want to do. He is big and strong enough to get to the quarterback but can also drop back in coverage, making him a great fit in any scheme. Maybe I am giving the Bills too much credit. After all, a team with a ton of holes did take a 3rd down back in the top 10 last year even though they had two 1000 yard rushers on the roster.

4. Cincinnati Bengals - WR AJ Green, Georgia. Chad Ochiocinco is as good as gone in Cincinnati, and the Bengals really don't have a need for Miller or Peterson, as they have two young high picks at linebacker and one of the best cornerback duos in the NFL. So that makes Green a pretty easily selection. Maybe if they take this stud they can convince Carson Palmer to stick around. Probably not, though.

5. Arizona Cardinals - CB Patrick Peterson, LSU.
The Cardinals and Ken Whisenhunt would love to get their hands on someone like Von Miller or Robert Quinn. But if a player with the physical talent and skills of Peterson drops into your lap, you have to pull the trigger. The Cardinals have a need in the secondary as well. You may ask yourself, why not a quarterback here? I think it's a zero percent chance that they will go that route at all in this draft. They are a Bulger/McNabb/Kolb/Orton away from competing in this terrible division again.

6. Cleveland Browns - DT Nick Fairley, Auburn. Shaun Rogers was recently cut, opening up a spot for Fairley. Out of all the players available, I think he is clearly the best fit for Cleveland. They recently moved back to a 4-3, so even if he is a bit undersized right now he will be able to be pretty good in this system. It wasn't long ago that Fairley was being talked about as the first overall pick. Julio Jones is a dark horse here, but I just can't see Holmgren reaching for him, even though Colt McCoy really could use some weapons.

7. San Francisco 49ers - QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri. I am really not a fan of any quarterbacks in this draft. But the NFL loves big guys with strong arms. With so many teams in need of a quarterback in the top half of the first round, Gabbert will go. The fact that Miller and Peterson, two players who would be great fits in San Fran, were just picked makes this pick a little easier to take. John's brother Jim also took a big, strong armed quarterback in round one his first year on the job.

8. Tennessee Titans - DE Robert Quinn, LSU. Jason Babin had a huge year for the Titans, but will they really want to throw money at a 30 year old who bounced around before finding success with the Titans? They also have Derrick Morgan on the roster, but I think Quinn is the best available player here. The Titans don't have a lot of huge holes other then quarterback, but I just can't see Bud Adams taking Cam Newton here, even if the Vince Young comparisons are unfair.

9. Dallas Cowboys - CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska.
Terrence Newman was one of the worst starting cornerbacks in the NFL last year, is 33, and is due 8 million dollars next year. If the Cowboys can get themselves a starter like Amukamara, they can rid themselves of Newman and get a hard worker who can push Mike Jenkins a bit in practice. This is a very popular pick throughout mock land, and for good reason.

10. Washington Redskins - WR Julio Jones, Alabama.
I really think Washington is going to end up with Jake Locker, and would not be all that shocked if they took him here. But I think there are only two first round quarterbacks right now, Gabbert and Cam Newton. The Skins should be able to get their man in round two, as there are a ton of guys who can be taken there. So I will go with Jones, which will give them the guy they hoped they were getting with busts Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly. He is a big, strong target and would work very well opposite Santana Moss.

11. Houston Texans - DE JJ Watt, Wisconsin.
The Texans are switching to a 3-4 defense. It is a shame because their best defenders, Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans, will be hurt by the new scheme. However, it can't be any worse then the defense the Texans played last year. But it means they will need players to play the new scheme. Watt could be the best of the bunch. Watt has tremendous size and enough strength to hold down one end position. Antonio Smith is the loser in this, but I think he could be traded because is just a very poor fit. Also, say goodbye to Williams as possibly the best defensive end in the NFL. A shame.

12. Minnesota Vikings - QB Cam Newton, Auburn. If Cam Newton is available the Vikings will snatch him up. Leslie Frazier has publicly acknowledged that he wants to find a new franchise quarterback. So to usually get those guys you have to spend a first round pick on them. Newton has his detractors, and had a weak Combine, but is one of only two sure fire first round picks. It will be interesting to see how his career pans out.

13. Detroit Lions - CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado. Cornerbacks usually go higher then they probably should because so many teams need as much talent in the secondary to keep up with all the high powered offenses in the league. Smith has risen of the boards now that he has escaped the terrible teams he played for in Boulder and is able to shine in workouts. He has great size and strength and could be the best cornerback the pitiful Lions have had in a while. That could cause them to ignore the character concerns.

14. St. Louis Rams - DE Cameron Jordan, California. The Rams would love to end up with Julio Jones but he is already gone in this mock. So they go with the boring alternative in strengthening their line. James Hall and Chris Long are a nice defensive end duo, but Hall is 34, and you can never have too much depth at end. Jordan also has the size and strength to pack on some pounds and move inside. I think end is his best position though.

15. Miami Dolphins - OLB Aldon Smith, Missouri.
Every mock has the Dolphins taking Mark Ingram. While it does make a ton of sense, I just don't see Ingram as that much better then someone Miami can find in the third round. Maybe it's because I am a Dolphins fan and just don't really want to see him picked. The Dolphins love to move down and will probably do so and target someone like Mike Pouncey or one of the many quarterbacks knocking on the first round door. But if they stay put they could go with someone like Smith, who will be a project but boasts the potential to be a great pass rusher opposite Cameron Wake.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars - DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue. The Jaguars didn't finish with one of the lowest sack totals in NFL history again, but their defensive line is still a mess. They opt to go for college production over the potential stud that has burned them so many times in the past. Kerrigan is not the biggest or fastest, but he has a non stop motor that will remind the team of what Aaron Kampman used to be.

17. New England Patriots (from Oakland Raiders) - OG Mike Pouncey, Florida. I would have predicted a defensive end here, but the Patriots recently signed Marcus Stroud. So I give them Pouncey, which would allow Belichick to trade Logan Mankins for even more second round picks. Pouncey would be a pretty big reach here, but with so many teams below the Patriots interested in the drafts best interior lineman, the Patriots snatch him up. They have another first round pick to adress other positions, so they can afford the reach.

18. San Diego Chargers - DE/DT Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple. The Chargers don't have a ton of holes, but they could use a five technique end for their 3-4 defense. Wilkerson is one of the drafts biggest risers and could be gone by this point soon.

19. New York Giants - OT Nate Solder, Colorado.
The Giants offensive line is solid but not spectacular. William Beatty has been a disappointment so far in his NFL career, so the Giants could opt to grab the drafts most physically gifted tackle. Funny for how bad my Colorado Buffalos have been, they still managed to produce two first round draft picks this year.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DE/OLB Justin Houston, Georgia. The Buccaneers used their top two picks on defensive tackles last year. But the outside is a mess. They have no one that can even pretend to get to the quarterback. Unfortunately in a draft loaded with defensive lineman, most of the ends are already gone. Houston is a tweener who would be a better fit for a 3-4 team, but he already weighs 270 pounds and could pack on some more. He might get run over, but he could actually get to the quarterback.

21. Kansas City Chiefs - OLB Akeem Ayers, UCLA.
The Chiefs are still looking for pieces to run the 3-4. Tamba Hali was a monster at one outside linebacker position, and Ayers could be a nice fit on the other end.

22. Indianapolis Colts - OT Anthony Castanzo, Boston College. I have had Castanzo to the Colts for months and won't back off that prediction. I think he would be a great fit in Indy. Former second round pick Tony Ugoh was a failure and the Colts are still looking for someone to replace Tarik Glenn as Peyton's blind side bouncer.

23. Philadelphia Eagles - OT Tyron Smith, USC.
Winston Justice is not the answer on the right side of the line. The Eagles are counting on Michael Vick to make it through the whole season alive, so upgrading the line would be a good idea. Smith is undersized for the position and would be a better fit on the right side.

24. New Orleans Saints - DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa. I would have a tackle here but the Sains signed Shaun Rogers. I think the big man has some left in the tank, so they can go for end depth here. Clayborn did not have a great season or Combine, but there is talent in there, and the Saints can afford to develop it.

25. Seattle Seahawks - QB Jake Locker, Washington.
The Seahawks are having trouble resigning Matt Hasselbeck and he is 35 anyways. The Seahawks have admitted that they are probably going to draft a quarterback, and if they want one who might make a difference one day, they need to pounce now. I expect a few teams to trade up into the latter part of the first round to take the Mallett's, Ponder's and Locker's. Locker could be rejuvenated by playing near his hometown.

26. Baltimore Ravens - DT/DE Christian Ballard, Iowa. The Ravens are pretty deep everywhere, but could use an upgrade over Corey Redding. Ballard can play both end and tackle when the Ravens mix up their looks.

27. Atlanta Falcons - WR Torrey Smith, Maryland.
The Falcons would love to draft a defensive end, but the first round guys are all gone. Michael Jenkins is simply a weak possession receiver, and Smith has the speed to stretch the field and allow Roddy White to be even more dangerous.

28. New England Patriots - DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio St. Yes, I said in the last pick that the Patriots signed Marcus Stroud. But is he still a starter at this point in his career? The Patriots were at their best when they had three first round picks on the line. Heyward can learn for a year and step in for Stroud in 2012.

29. Chicago Bears - OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi St.
Yes, the Bears offensive line did play a little better as the year went on, but they simply had nowhere to go but up. The Bears have to find a way to keep Jay Cutler alive, and without free agency before the draft, it is almost a neccessity to come away with a starting tackle here.

30. New York Jets - DT Phil Taylor, Baylor.
Kris Jenkins never worked out for the Jets, and Taylor is the one great nose tackle prospect in this draft. He had a monster Combine and could continue to climb up the charts.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers - OG/OT Ben Ijalana, Villanova. The Steelers could use multiple upgrades on the offensive line. Ijalana can spend a year learning various positions and step in for one of the underachieving veterans in 2012.

32. Green Bay Packers - DE/DT Corey Liuget, Illinois. Mark Ingram makes some sense here on paper, but Mike McCarthy recently stated that he plans on splitting the carries between James Starks and Ryan Grant next year. He has never been a guy to rely heavily on a back, so Ingram is out here. Cullen Jenkins will be gone, so they could use a 3-4 end.

Round 2

33. New England Patriots (from Carolina Panthers) - WR Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburgh
34. Buffalo Bills - QB Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
35. Cincinnati Bengals - QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
36. Denver Broncos - DT Stephen Paea, Oregon St.
37. Cleveland Browns - WR Tandon Doss, Indiana
38. Arizona Cardinals - OLB Dontay Moch, Nevada
39. Tennessee Titans - QB Christian Ponder, Florida St.
40. Dallas Cowboys - S Rahim Moore, UCLA
41. Washington Redskins - RB Mark Ingram, Alabama
42. Houston Texans - CB Aaron Williams, Texas
43. Minnesota Vikings - CB Brandon Harris, Miami
44. Detroit Lions - OLB Bruce Carter, North Carolina
45. San Francisco 49ers - CB Curtis Brown, Texas
46. Denver Broncos (from Miami Dolphins) - RB Mikel LeShoure, Illinois
47. St. Louis Rams - WR Leonard Hankerson, Miami
48. Oakland Raiders - CB Ras-I Dowling, Virginia
49. Jacksonville Jaguars - CB Brandon Burton, Utah
50. San Diego Chargers - S Quinton Carter, Oklahoma
51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - MLB Martez Wilson, Illinois
52. New York Giants - OG/C Stefen Wisniewski, Penn St.
53. Indianapolis Colts - DT Marvin Austin, North Carolina
54. Philadelphia Eagles - CB Rashad Carmichael, Virginia Tech
55. Kansas City Chiefs - WR Titus Young, Boise St.
56. New Orleans Saints - MLB Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina
57. Seattle Seahawks - CB Davon House, New Mexico St.
58. Baltimore Ravens - WR Jerrel Jernigan, Troy
59. Atlanta Falcons - TE Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame
60. New England Patriots - DE/OLB Brooks Reed, Arizona
61. San Diego Chargers (from New York Jets) - DE/OLB Sam Acho, Texas
62. Chicago Bears - DT Drake Nevis, LSU
63. Pittsburgh Steelers - DT Jerrell Powe, Ole' Miss
64. Green Bay Packers - OG Danny Watkins, Baylor

Jonathan Carrano

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TheOUTLAW said...

Tandon Doss? The Browns actually need speed, not another possession guy.

ronniecabrera said...

you forgot carimi