Mock Draft 1
February 16, 2011
1. Carolina- Cam Newton QB Auburn
The Panthers have a glaring weakness at the most important position on the field. Nick Fairley will be tempting but in a division that features Josh Freeman, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees, the Panthers know they have to get a franchise quarterback to compete. Say what you want about Newton but under tremendous national scrutiny all the guy did was go out and win the Heisman and lead his team to the national championship.
2. Denver- Nick Fairley DT Auburn
The Broncos will be switching back to a 4-3 defense under new coach John Fox. The defensive line will get a major boost with the addition of Fairley. The Broncos also need help in the secondary and Patrick Peterson has to be considered an option.
3. Buffalo- Blaine Gabbert QB Missouri
Gabbert has an above average arm, outstanding awareness and great NFL size. The only question about Gabbert will be the ability to adjust to a pro style offense. Defensive line help is also needed in Buffalo but Gabbert is better than any quarterback currently on the roster and would be starting by mid-season.
4. Cincinnati- A.J. Green WR Georgia
Terrell Owens and Ochocinco will both be leaving Cincinnati before the beginning of 2011. Marvin Lewis will happily replace them with the best wide receiver in the draft. Green is a huge target at 6'4 and is extremely athletic. Green compares to a young Randy Moss or Calvin Johnson type. We are talking about the Bengals though so other options could include a punter or anybody with a criminal record.
5. Arizona- Von Miller OLB Texas A&M
Arizona took a chance on an aging Joey Porter to provide a pass rush last season. Fail. Fortunately for the Cardinals a new season brings new opportunity to address this pressing need. Miller is a potentially dominant pass rusher off the edge and will fit perfectly in Arizona's 3-4 defense.
6. Cleveland- Da'Quan Bowers DE Clemson
Bowers is considered the best pass rushing defensive lineman in the draft by many experts. He compares favorably to Julius Peppers. The Browns are switching back to a 4-3 defense and will build their defensive line around the former Clemson standout.
7. San Francisco- Patrick Peterson CB LSU
Peterson is an elite athlete and a play maker from the cornerback position. The 49ers could also use help at quarterback but Jim Harbaugh seems to be leaning towards keeping Alex Smith. Outside of Nate Clements, who has lost a step, the 49ers secondary is lacking to say the least. Adding Peterson will go a long way towards fixing that.
8. Tennessee- Marcell Dareus DT/DE Alabama
Tennessee is still looking to replace Albert Haynesworth on the defensive line. Dareus is a penetrating defensive lineman who could dominate in a 3 or 4 man front. Prince Amukamara is another option here for the Titans.
9. Dallas- Prince Amukamara CB Nebraska
The Cowboys pass defense was horrendous last season. Amukamara is ranked slightly behind Peterson at the corner position but many experts believe he is the better pure cover guy. Time will tell but Dallas fans will not be disappointed with the addition of the former Cornhusker to the secondary. He will start from day one.
10. Washington- Julio Jones WR Alabama
The quarterback position in Washington needs some attention but I think the Skins will go with a veteran signal caller. Jones will be a nice target for whoever is playing under center next season. Santana Moss is an unrestricted free agent and more than likely is done in Washington so this fills another huge need for the Redskins.
11. Houston- Robert Quinn DE/OLB North Carolina
The Texans will be switching to a 3-4 front this season under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Quinn will fill a DeMarcus Ware type pass rush role off the edge for Houston. As a sophomore Quinn recorded 19 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and 6 forced fumbles.
12. Minnesota- Jake Locker QB Washington
Jake Locker's stock has slipped a bit after returning for his senior season. I have a feeling a lot of this talk is from teams who are hoping Locker falls to them later in the round. Locker is mobile, has a great arm and is an excellent leader in the huddle and locker room. Minnesota may sign a veteran to start early but Locker will be the guy for the Vikings for a long time.
13. Detroit- Jimmy Smith CB Colorado
Smith would have posted better numbers at Colorado if teams didn't avoid him at all costs. Detroit finished 16th in pass defense last season without a true number one corner. Smith gives them exactly that.
14. St. Louis- Corey Liuget DT Illinois
Liuget is a disruptive defensive lineman who can create pressure in the backfield. Putting this guy on the line with with Chris Long makes the entire defense better in St. Louis.
15. Miami- Mark Ingram RB Alabama
Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are both free agents. Mark Ingram is the best running back in the draft. The Dolphins may have questions about Chad Henne but having Ingram line up behind him will help him immensely.
16. Jacksonville- Ryan Mallett QB Arkansas
Jacksonville needs somebody to develop behind and soon replace David Garrard. They also need somebody to put fans in the seats on Sundays. Mallett has some off field concerns but he also has a big time arm and will not fall too far come draft day.
17. New England- Aldon Smith DE/OLB Missouri
Smith set the Missouri single season sack record as a freshman. The Patriots add another piece to a defense that is looking to return to greatness. The offense is still in pretty good hands.
18. San Diego- Nate Solder OT Colorado
Solder only allowed 5 sacks in his entire college career, only 1 as a senior. Defensive line help is a possibility but Solder is far and away the best player available here for the Chargers.
19. N.Y. Giants- Mike Pouncey C/G Florida
The Giants do not have a lot of holes to fill, that gives them some flexibility with this pick. In the end New York gets the best interior offensive lineman in the draft. He will start immediately and for a long time to come.
20. Tampa Bay- Adrian Clayborn DE Iowa
It is no secret that the Bucs are looking for a stud defensive end. Clayborn plays with great strength and provides an excellent rush off the edge. He should be an early contributor for the Bucs.
21. Kansas City- Akeem Ayers OLB UCLA
Kansas City is looking for another pass rusher to play opposite Tamba Hali. Ayers has the ability to step in and replace Mike Vrabel immediately. The Chiefs could also go offensive line or wide receiver at this pick. Tyron Smith or Titus Young would not surprise me but I don't see them passing on Ayers.
22. Indianapolis- Tyron Smith OT USC
Manning is not getting any younger. Protecting him will be a priority until he decides to call it a career. Tyron Smith is the best offensive lineman remaining and could end up going much higher than this.
23. Philadelphia- Brandon Harris CB Miami
Brandon Harris fills an immediate need for the Eagles. He should start opposite Samuel by opening day.
24. New Orleans- Cameron Jordan DE California
Cameron Jordan will finally give the Saints a legitimate defensive end to play opposite the under-rated Will Smith. New Orleans also needs help at running back but with Ingram off the board that need will be addressed later in the draft.
25. Seattle- Aaron Williams CB Texas
Seattle desperately needs quarterback help but I don't see them reaching for one here. Marcus Trufant is not getting any younger and Seattle will be more than happy to reunite Williams with last years first rounder, Earl Thomas.
26. Baltimore- Titus Young WR Boise State
Titus Young averaged over 17 yards per catch as a senior. The Ravens wide receivers are talented veterans but none of them has the speed that Young does. Young will provide Flacco with a true deep threat.
27. Atlanta- Rahim Moore S UCLA
Moore is coming out after his junior season. He is considered the best safety in the draft and has never missed a start. The Falcons need an upgrade here and Moore is a guy who can make plays in the secondary and be counted on every Sunday.
28. New England- J.J. Watt DE Wisconsin
The Patriots grab Watt and finally replace Richard Seymour after sending him to Oakland. Watt is considered the best five technique in the draft and should be able to start immediately for New England.
29. Chicago- Gabe Carimi OT Wisconsin
Chicago's offensive line played better down the stretch but an upgrade in talent is needed here immediately. Carimi was the only unanimous All-American at offensive tackle this year and also won the 2010 Outland Trophy awarded to the nations best lineman.
30. N.Y. Jets- Muhammad Wilkerson DE Temple
The Jets may lose Shaun Ellis this season. Even if he comes back Wilkerson will eventually replace him on the Jets defensive line. Wilkerson posted 70 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks as a Junior. He may not be a common name but NFL scouts are fully aware of Wilkerson.
31. Pittsburgh- Anthony Castonzo OT Boston College
Flozell Adams will more than likely not be back in Pittsburgh next season. Castonzo was the first freshman to start on the offensive line for B.C. in over a decade. He will step in and start immediately for the Steelers as well.
32. Green Bay- Ryan Kerrigan DE/OLB Purdue
The Packers are loaded all over the depth chart. They have the luxury of taking the best player available here. Kerrigan tied for the NCAA lead in tackles for loss in 2010 with 26. He also added 13 sacks and 5 forced fumbles.