Thursday, April 14, 2011

Final 2011 NFL First Round Mock

Mock Draft 3
April 14th, 2011

1. Panthers- Cam Newton QB Auburn

When it's all said and done the importance of finding a franchise quarterback will outweigh all of the other glaring needs in Carolina. Cam Newton is the most talented quarterback in this draft and a player who will put fans in the seats on Sunday. The Panthers need to make this pick to be competitive in a division that features Brees, Ryan and Freeman.

2. Broncos- Marcell Dareus DT Alabama

The Broncos hope to trade out of this pick but I don't think they find any takers with Newton off the board. The Denver Johns, Elway and Fox, go with a prospect who many consider the safest in the draft. John Fox likes to build his team from the inside out and Dareus provides an outstanding addition to what is becoming a talented Bronco defensive line.

3. Bills- Von Miller OLB Texas A&M

Von Miller is considered one of the most talented players in this draft. The Bills have many needs and have to think real hard about a quarterback here. In the end adding the best pass rusher in the draft takes precedence over reaching for a quarterback. Miller will provide immediate pass rush and make the entire defense better around him.

4. Bengals- A.J. Green WR Georgia

Green gets the nod here over Gabbert because the Bengals are losing Ochocinco and Terrell Owens. He is also a safer and more talented NFL prospect. Green looks to be one of the few rookie wide receivers who can contribute early. He will keep defenses honest and give Carson Palmer another reason to reconsider the retirement threat.

5. Cardinals- Blaine Gabbert QB Missouri

Arizona desperately needs an upgrade at the quarterback position. I am not completely sold on Gabbert but I do believe he is more talented than any quarterback the Cardinals currently have. This is a good fit as Gabbert comes to a veteran team with a talented offense around him.

6. Browns- Nick Fairley DT Auburn

Cleveland has needs all over the field. McCoy could use a Julio Jones to throw to and Patrick Peterson would be the best defensive back in Cleveland as soon as he signed. I think the Browns rebuild that defensive line first. Cleveland is switching back to a 4-3 defense and Fairley will be the best defensive lineman in a Browns uniform this year. He will provide pressure up the middle and draw double teams making his teammates better.

7. 49ers- Patrick Peterson CB LSU

Peterson, in my opinion, is the most talented player in this draft. The 49ers are fortunate not only that he is still on the board, but also that he plays a position of huge need in San Francisco. Peterson is an excellent cover corner and has the size and attitude to play very physical. He is a true play maker, not only in the secondary but in the return game as well.

8. Lions from Titans- Da'Quan Bowers DE Clemson

The Titans don't get the top two defensive tackle or quarterback prospects to fall to them and will not reach for either position. The Lions are reportedly in love with Bowers despite the knee concerns and did not think he would make it to their pick at 13. Many teams had Bowers rated as the best prospect in this draft so this is not at all a reach. The Lions give up their 1st and 3rd round picks in the 2011 draft to move up and select Bowers.

9. Cowboys- Tyron Smith OT USC

Many experts had Smith as the top tackle prospect all along. He is the most athletic tackle in the draft and is extremely quick for a man his size. Smith has the skills to man the left tackle position in the NFL and has experience at right tackle. The Cowboys need help on the offensive line in a big way and Smith will be able to start from day one.

10. Redskins- Julio Jones WR Alabama

The Redskins have needs on both sides of the ball and have a lot of options. I think they go with Jones because the other high upside prospects available here have a lot of question marks. Jones is a physically gifted wide receiver with excellent hands and size. He also loves the game of football and is one of those guys that is willing to put in the extra work to be a great player.

11. Texans- Robert Quinn DE/OLB North Carolina

There is not as much game tape on Quinn as some of the other prospects in this draft. Quinn missed the entire 2010 season due to suspension for NCAA rule violations. There are also health concerns surrounding a tumor that was removed in high school. That being said, Quinn is a top five talent and a legitimate pass rush threat. His skills are worth a lot in the NFL and his ability translates well regardless of what type of defense he ends up in. This guy can flat out get after the quarterback and make plays in the backfield.

12. Vikings- Prince Amukamara CB Nebraska

The Vikings simply go with the best available player. Most "experts" have Amukamara going in the top ten. Amukamara is the highest rated prospect available and will be groomed to replace Antoine Winfield whose skills are declining as his contract is getting more expensive.

13. Titans from Lions- Jake Locker QB Washington

The word on Locker varies from top half of the first round to out of the first round all together. I don't buy it, Locker was almost a lock to go number one if he came out last year. Maybe more game tape just gave people more to critique. Locker has all the physical tools and is an extremely smart player. He is a leader on the field and in the locker room. Off the chart intangibles at the quarterback position. Scouts say he needs work on his accuracy but he is completely coach-able and willing to work to improve his game.

14. Rams- Corey Liuget DT Illinois

Liuget is a play maker in the middle of the defensive line. Very strong and disruptive player who can make plays in the backfield. Some teams have Liuget rated higher than Nick Fairley. The Rams need a WR but will find better value at that position later in the draft.

15. Dolphins- J.J. Watt DE Wisconsin

Everybody and their neighbor expects the Dolphins to take Alabama running back Mark Ingram here. Ingram's knee is a concern to some teams and the Dolphins have a need on the defensive line. Watt is also far too good to pass up here. Watt is a beast against the run and can also pressure the quarterback. He will start at defensive end for Miami from day one.

16. Jaguars- Ryan Kerrigan DE Purdue

The Jaguars are still trying to figure out a pass rush. Kerrigan is a relentless edge rusher from the end position. The former Purdue standout plays with a non-stop motor and has an excellent array of pass rush moves. Beats you with technique as well as speed. Kerrigan is also a great locker room guy and has a strong passion for the game.

17. Patriots- Aldon Smith DE/OLB Missouri

The Patriots are in a great position with multiple early picks in this draft. Smith is the highest rated prospect on the board and a great fit at outside linebacker in the Patriots 3-4. Smith will immediately improve the New England pass rush.

18. Chargers- Cameron Jordan DE California

The Chargers need for a defensive end is no secret around the league. Cameron Jordan comes from one of the few college systems that runs a 3-4 defense. He is a four year starter who put up consistently good numbers and comes in ready to play. Should be able to earn the starting five technique job in training camp for San Diego.

19. Giants- Mike Pouncey G/C Florida

The Giants have needs on the offensive line and Pouncey is versatile enough to play all three interior offensive line positions. Pouncey will probably start at guard for the Giants and could eventually move to center if needed. Pouncey is a strong lineman who plays with good technique. He is also very athletic for a player his size. The Giants add the best interior offensive lineman in the draft here.

20. Buccaneers- Adrian Clayborn DE Iowa

The Bucs are looking for a defensive end who can provide some pass rush and take a little heat off of Gerald McCoy. This draft is very deep at defensive end and the Bucs have many choices here. Clayborn is above average at stopping the run and pressuring the quarterback. He is a legitimate top twenty talent who plays with excellent technique and doesn't have any real weaknesses in his game.

21. Chiefs- Anthony Castonzo OT Boston College

The Chiefs address two positions with this pick. Castonzo can step in and start at left tackle for the Chiefs allowing Brandon Albert to move to right tackle. This upgrades both positions for Kansas City and will improve the offense all around. This is a Pioli guy all the way, first rate intangibles.

22. Colts- Nate Solder OT Colorado

Protecting Peyton Manning is going to be a priority until he retires. Solder is a better pass blocker than run blocker but is no slouch in either area. The Colts get a pass blocking left tackle who can contribute immediately and Manning gets a little more time in the pocket.

23. Eagles- Jimmy Smith CB Colorado

Smith has the talent to be drafted much higher than this. He is a true number one corner with excellent speed and ball skills. There are some off field concerns with Smith and that is why he is still on the board. Reid has been known to take some chances on guys with talent and Smith has answered all the questions for scouts leading up to the draft.

24. Saints- Mark Ingram RB Alabama

The Saints are thrilled to see the draft's top running back still on the board. Ingram joins an extremely talented offense and immediately gives it more balance than it has had in recent years. The Saints are still a contending football team and Ingram is one of the few players available that can come in and make an immediate impact for them.

25. Seahawks- Ryan Mallett QB Arkansas

Mallett has the best arm in the draft. Off field concerns and character issues are the only reason he is not drafted higher. Seattle is in dire need of a quarterback and Mallett can make every throw a coach can ask of him. Big time arm with the size and vision to see the entire field. There is no question Mallett is an upgrade to everybody currently on the Seahawks roster. The Charlie Whitehurst experiment is over.

26. Ravens- Muhammad Wilkerson DE/DT Temple

The Ravens had defensive tackles playing end in their 3-4 last year. Wilkerson is not only the highest rated prospect remaining but he is the prototypical five technique defensive end. Wilkerson is versatile enough to play any position except for nose tackle in either a 3 or 4 man front. The Ravens plug another talented player into an already dominant defense.

27. Vikings from Falcons- Andy Dalton QB Texas Christian University

The Vikings trade their 2011 2nd rounder, 4th rounder and the first of their two 5th rounders to Atlanta for the number 27 pick to select Dalton. The Vikings prefer Dalton over Locker and Mallett and are thrilled to be able to slide back into the first round and grab their guy. Dalton can make all the throws and is a highly intelligent football player. Extremely accurate passer with excellent touch and good timing.

28. Patriots- Gabe Carimi OT Wisconsin

The Patriots stay put and take the best available offensive lineman. Carimi is a four year starter and team captain for Wisconsin. Tough, physical player with outstanding NFL size. Carimi does not project as a left tackle prospect or he would be selected higher. The Patriots will be able to put Carimi at right tackle for the next decade.

29. Bears- Derek Sherrod Mississippi State

The Bears have to find a way to keep Jay Cutler standing to be competitive. Talent on the offensive line is currently lacking and has to be the priority here. Sherrod is a four year starter against tough SEC opponents and will be able to contribute as a rookie.

30. Jets- Phil Taylor DT Baylor

The Jets need to replace Kris Jenkins who was released. There are not many true nose tackle prospects in this draft, Taylor is the best of the group. Taylor has rare athleticism for a man his size. He will command double teams and is a brick wall against the run.

31. Steelers- Aaron Williams CB Texas

Pittsburgh usually does not have any glaring holes on their roster. That is not the case this offseason. Outside of Ike Taylor the Steelers do not have a starting caliber NFL cornerback on their roster. Williams is not only the top corner left but he is a perfect fit for the Pittsburgh defense. He will be able to start as a rookie for the Steelers.

32. Packers- Justin Houston DE/OLB Georgia

Houston is an extremely talented but raw prospect. He has experience as a 4-3 defensive end and a 3-4 outside linebacker. No matter what position he plays he has the ability to pressure the quarterback. If coaches are able to develop Houston's extraordinary potential he could be the best pass rusher to come out of this draft.

On the first round bubble: Kyle Rudolph, Akeem Ayers, Cameron Heyward, Brooks Reed, Brandon Harris, Mikel Leshoure, Colin Kaepernick, Danny Watkins, Marcus Cannon, Christian Ponder.

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