With four days left until the 2011 draft, I have come up with my very own personal mock draft. Now remember, this draft seems more unpredictable than other years as far as where teams will actually pick. The reason for that is because i believe there will be a ton of movement this year as far as trading back and trading up go. So i know that my mock is probably going to be way off than the actual outcome of the draft, but here’s what i think will happen if every team in the first round stays put at their assigned spot. I put serious thought and effort into every pick I made and I hope you all enjoy my take on them.
Cam Newton – QB – Auburn
6’5” – 248 lbs
My reason: Pretty much every analyst says it, “If you think you’ve found a franchise quarterback, you HAVE to take him.” And I think the Panthers have found that guy in Cam Newton. Now I’m not a big Newton fan, but I can’t deny the fact that his potential is phenomenal. He’s the definition of a boom or bust prospect and if this guy turns out to boom, it’ll be a nuke. Not to mention this would turn the NFC South into THEE quarterback division.
Marcell Dareus – DT – Alabama
6’3” – 319 lbs
My reason: The difference between Marcell Dareus and Nick Fairley? One had a year, the other had a career. Dareus had the Career and that’s why he’s the 2nd overall pick in the 2011 draft. He’s an extremely gifted player that will be the center piece of the 4-3 defense John Fox is bringing back to Denver. Patrick Peterson could be an option here too, but the corner position isn’t nearly as important as the 3-technique in a 4-3 defense and they brought back Champ Bailey anyways. Just remember what Fox did when he had Kris Jenkins in the middle of his Panther defense. Good things happened.
Von Miller – OLB – Texas A&M
6’3” – 246 lbs
My reason: Remember when they drafter Aaron Maybin to be their pass rusher? Well Von Miller will help them forget all about that. He’s the best hybrid player in the entire draft and in my opinion the cleanest. If the Panthers pass up on Newton, I think the Bills will take him instead of Miller, although, I don’t think Blaine Gabbert will be in the mix.
A.J. Green – WR – Georgia
6’4” – 211 lbs
My reason: Who wouldn’t want Larry Fitzgerald on their team right now? Well A.J. Green is as close as it gets in this draft. He’s a tremendous athlete with the size and speed to be a superstar in the NFL. Gabbert is another possibility, but I think they can get better value at QB in the early 2nd round while getting a playmaker here. When Chad Johnson said no more Ochocinco…I wonder if he meant in Cincinnati too.
Blaine Gabbert – QB – Missouri
6’4” – 234 lbs
My reason: I just praised Fitzgerald with the last pick, and why not? He’s the most lethal weapon the Cards have and a regular at the pro-bowl. The problem is, they need a guy to give him the ball, and that’s why I have Blaine Gabbert going here. Was it a coincidence that the Cards went from playoff contenders one year to having the 5th overall selection in the draft after Kurt Warner retired? They need a quarterback. Bad.
Robert Quinn – DE – UNC
6’4” – 265 lbs
My reason: With De’Quan Bowers having injury concerns about his knee, Robert Quinn takes the cake as the best DE prospect in the draft. And seeing as how the Browns are going back to the 4-3 defense as well, they need a DE that will get to the passer for the next ten years. This DE class is considered the deepest DE class ever by many, and being at the top of that list should speak a lot of what Quinn can bring to a team. Missing a whole year does hurt him, but he stayed in shape and it showed at the combine and pro-day.
Patrick Peterson – CB – LSU
6’0” – 219 lbs
My reason: Maybe the best player in the entire draft but definitely the best corner to come out in a very long time. The 49ers are ecstatic to have him fall to them at seven and have him team him up with a playmaker like Patrick Willis. Man, maybe I should name my kid Patrick so he can turn out to be an athletic beast too.
Nick Fairley – DT – Auburn
6’4” – 291 lbs
My reason: He may have only had one good year, but that good year was ridiculously good. He reminds me a lot of ex-Titan Albert Haynesworth, and the Titans could use another guy like him. The knocks on Fairley are that he was a one year wonder at Auburn and he has character issues. The one year wonder label does worry me, but like Newton, his potential is incredible and may turn out to be the best DT in the draft. As for his character concerns, he cleared up on NFL Total Access that he never missed a meeting at the combine or ANY meeting for that matter.
Tyron Smith – OT – USC
6’5” – 307 lbs
My reason: The Cowboys could use this pick on a 3-4 end or corner, but offensive tackle is still a glaring need for them. Smith is only 20 years old which makes him one of the youngest in this draft, has good technique, and has those long arms coaches like in their offensive tackles. He could be good for a very long time in the NFL.
Julio Jones – WR – Alabama
6’3” – 220 lbs
My reason: Sure the Skins could go QB here, but at this point in the draft, there really isn’t good value at QB with Newton and Gabbert gone. Which makes it awesome that Jones falls right into their lap. So instead of worrying about that QB position, be happy to get the first legitimate receiving threat Washington has had in…forever. Julio Jones is often compared to Terrell Owens because on his size, speed, and physicality. The last time Donavan McNabb threw to a guy like T.O. they made it to the super bowl (despite the feud). Too bad they seem to be going separate ways.
11. Houston Texans
Prince Amukamara – CB – Nebraska
6’0” – 206 lbs
My reason: Is it just me, or have the Texans been bound for the playoffs for the past 3 years? Well I don’t know if they’ll make it this year especially with number 18 on the Colts still playing in that division, but what I DO know is that their pass defense was absolutely horrific last year. Prince Amukamara is a very good corner that can start right away for Wade Phillips and will only get better. A pass rusher can be had in the second round with such a deep class.
Jake Locker – QB – Washington
6’2” – 231 lbs
My reason: Haha, I hate on the Vikings a lot, not because I hate them, but because a lot of my good friends are Viking fans while I sit alone as the Buccaneer fan. But I’ll evaluate them for the sake of the mock. With the 12th pick in the draft, the Vikings could go DE here seeing as Ray Edwards is more than likely leaving for free agency when a new CBA is reached. Although, Minnesota is in need for one of those franchise QB’s everyone always talks about. Well they may or may not have found one in Jake Locker. A lot of people might consider this a reach and it very well could be, but Locker reminds me a lot of young Brett Favre with his strong arm, passion on the field, and his leadership abilities. He may have accuracy issues, but fits what the Vikings like to do, plus waiting till the 2nd round for a QB is just too risky with so many teams considering drafting one.
13. Detroit Lions
De’Quan Bowers – DE – Clemson
6’3” – 280 lbs
My reason: There have been rumors going around for the longest time about Bowers and his knee. A lot of analysts actually have him dropping all the way to the Bucs. Now my question is, if he’s healthy enough to get drafted at 20, why wouldn’t he be healthy enough at 12? I think his health concerns are just a smokescreen during a time where smokescreens always seem to appear. Detroit is in critical need of a CB here but Amukamara and Peterson are long gone by this pick and Jimmy smith will get some serious consideration. But at the end of the day, they’ll choose to pick what could possibly become the best player in the entire draft barring health concerns to team up with Ndamukong Suh and create one of the most lethal young lines in the NFL. You can never have enough pass rushers.
14. St. Louis Rams
Cameron Jordan – DE – Cal.
6’4” – 287 lbs
My reason: Nothing would have made the Rams happier than to have a playmaker like Julio Jones fall to them here, but it seems like that’s not happening. Well then it’s a good thing they also need to beef up that d-line and Jordan is a great player that many teams will target. He was impressive at the senior bowl and a very clean player. I’m sure Steve Spagnuolo will find the best way to utilize Jordan and his skills in their defense.
15. Miami Dolphins
Ryan Mallet – QB – Arkansas
6’7” – 253 lbs
My reason: They could use a RB, but they need a QB. Ryan Mallet is arguably the best pure passer in this entire draft. Is he first round worthy? I’m not so sure on that. He has all the talent in the world to be, but has character concerns that might force teams to hold on until the second round for him. The reason I have him going here is because the Dolphins have reportedly had Mallet visit them four different times. FOUR!? Man, I hope the Dolphins at least got laid with that amount of time spent on someone. There’s no way in my mind that he’ll still be there when the dolphins pick again (third round, they traded their second rounder this year for the recently stabbed Brandon Marshall).
Ryan Kerrigan – DE – Purdue
6’4” – 267 lbs
My reason: Last year, the Jags reached on Tyson Alualu to solidify the middle of their defense. That pick turned out pretty well for them and now they’re picking six spots later. With this pick, Jacksonville will try to make up for their mistake in drafting Derrick Harvey. I hate seeing Ryan Kerrigan go here because I think he’d fit really well with the Bucs and I love those high motor guys, but Jack Del Rio will LOVE IT.
17. New England Patriots (Via Oak)
J.J. Watt – DE – Wisconsin
6’5” – 290
My reason: It says alot about this class when a guy as good as Watt lasts until the 17th pick in the draft. The Pats need a DE and Watt is the perfect fit for them in a 3-4 defense. He’s a huge athletic freak with a non-stop motor and can step right in and play for Bill Bellichick on day one.
Akeem Ayers – OLB – UCLA
6’2” – 254 lbs
My reason: The Chargers need a LB and Ayers is their answer. Some might say this is a reach, but I believe the only reason his stock dropped was because of his bad workouts and some guys just don’t work out as well as they play. The tape doesn’t lie, Ayers can play.
19. New York Giants
Mike Pouncey – OG/OC – Florida
6’5” – 303 lbs
My reason: Pouncey could go well before this pick, but it turns out he’s still on the board so the Giants will have the pleasure of selecting him. His twin, Maurkice Pouncey, was an all pro for the Steelers in his rookie year. This guy will create running lanes and pockets for whoever picks him. I’m not sure if he’ll turn out like his brother, but so far…so good.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Aldon Smith – DE – Missouri
6’4” – 263 lbs
My reason: Having a player like Aldon Smith fall to the bucs at 20 is nothing short of a blessing. He has great size and speed for 4-3 DE or a 3-4 OLB. He has quick hands, can bull rush blockers, and a tremendous athlete that would be a top 15 pick if it were any other year. Smith had a 2 year college career at Missouri and collected 29 tackles for loss in that span even with a broken leg in his second year. He is technically sound but hasn’t even touched his full potential, and he’ll probably have to add some bulk to his frame to be effective against the run in the NFL. At the end of the day, the Bucs made bank with this pick.
Justin Houston – DE – Georgia
6’3” – 270 lbs
My reason: Like our beloved Buccaneers, the Chiefs were also a pleasant surprise in 2010 with another 10-6 record. It seems like that have the nucleus of that team intact, so why not add more pass rushers to get things going even smoother? I have them taking Justin Houston out of Georgia to compliment Tamba Hali on the other side. Houston is fast enough, big enough, and explosive enough to succeed in the 3-4 scheme the chiefs play and might give them book end pass rushers for years to come. But buyer beware, this kid needs to learn some more moves because he only possesses a speed move to get around blockers…and that doesn’t fly in the NFL.
Anthony Castonzo – OT – Boston College
6’7” – 311 lbs
My Reason: Anyone else hear about the Colts possibly drafting number 18’s replacement? Yeah, well I don’t buy it. Rather than replacing Peyton Manning, the Colts will choose to protect him even better with this pick. Last year, they regretted not drafting an offensive tackle so they’ll make it up this year by drafting a 6’7” beast named Anthony Castonzo. He has a lot of experience from his playing time at Boston College and has the potential to be a very good left tackle in the NFL.
Jimmy Smith – CB – Colorado
6’2” – 211 lbs
My reason: Alright, so this guy has all the talent in the world, but his character had him slide all the way to the 23rd pick in the draft. Smith is an extremely gifted corner and has the traits to become a legitimate shutdown guy. If he stays out of trouble, he may actually become the best corner in the entire draft.
Cameron Heyward – DE – Ohio St.
6’5” – 294
My reason: It’s pretty basic; the saints need a guy opposite of Will Smith to rush the passer. Heyward would be perfect for that position with the ability to stop the run, rush the passer, and occupy more than one blocker. Did I mention his dad played for the Saints back in the day?
25. Seattle Seahawks
Christian Ponder – QB – FSU
6’2” – 229 lbs
My reason: You know, the Seahawks could go in quite a few different directions with this pick, but I don’t see Matt Hasselbeck coming back to them next year and Charlie Whitehurst is still a question mark. You can’t get back into the playoffs without a legitimate QB that can ATLEAST manage a game. So I have them taking Ponder with the 25th pick in the draft because (1) he has great intangibles, (2) how he fits with the Seahawks, and (3) to compete with Whitehurst.
26. Baltimore Ravens
Muhammad Wilkerson – DE – Temple
6’4” – 315 lbs
My reason: This guy isn’t the most polished defensive lineman in the draft, but has tremendous upside if coached up correctly. The ravens seem to always bring out the best out of their defenders so Wilkerson would be a great fit in their 3-4 scheme with his big body and good athleticism.
27. Atlanta Falcons
Adrian Clayborn – DE – Iowa
6’3” – 281 lbs
My reason: I’ve been an Iowa fan since I can remember. That means I had the pleasure of watching Clayborn dominate for Iowa in 2009 and although he didn’t have the numbers in 2010, he was still a huge part of that Iowa defense. All opposing coaches and players rave about Clayborn and how much of a factor he is. Even though he’s limited to only being a right end, the Falcons will enjoy him and John Abraham complimenting each other, while i curse at the TV.
28. New England Patriots
Gabe Carimi – OT – Wisconsin
6’7” – 314 lbs
My reason: How ballin’ would it be to have two first rounders this year? The Patriots have plenty of needs to fill, but after addressing their pass rushing need with their last pick, they’ll choose an offensive tackle here in Gabe Carimi. Like Anthony Castonzo, Carimi is a massive man standing at 6’7” and is very physical. The Pats need to do what’s best for the franchise, and what’s best is to protect Tom Brady.
29. Chicago Bears
Marvin Austin – DT – UNC
6’2” – 309 lbs
My reason: Austin missed all of last year just like his teammate Robert Quinn did. He also rose his stock back up just like Quinn did just enough to make it back into the first round in my opinion. Had he not been suspended last year, he might have been a top 5 pick in the draft. The Bears released Tommy Harris before the CBA ran out so you know they’ll be looking to fill that 3-technique that’s so pivotal in the Tampa-2 scheme. I think the bears actually get a steal here.
30. New York Jets
Corey Liuget – DT – Illinois
6’2” – 298 lbs
My reason: The Jets would have loved for a pass rushing linebacker to be here, but they also need a DE for their 3-4 scheme. Although Liuget is considered a defensive tackle, I honestly think he’s athletic enough to be a DE for Rex Ryan’s defense. Corey has a very high ceiling and let’s face it, he’s too Liuget to quit!
Nate Solder – OT – Colorado
6’8″ – 307 lbs
My reason: Good thing Ben Roethlisberger is really good at avoiding sacks because his offensive line wasn’t what you call a dream team. By adding Solder here, they found an upgrade over Flozell Adams and also upgrade their entire line as a whole. The Steelers had the injury bug bite them last year on the offensive line, so when they all come back, Nate Solder will make them even better with depth and talent.
Brooks Reed – OLB – Arizona
6’2” – 236 lbs
My reason: Clay Matthews is a beast. Does anyone disagree? No? Well imagine what he would be if teams had to worry about another pass rushing linebacker on the other side. Obviously the Packers have their team pretty much intact after winning the super bowl, so with the 32nd overall pick in the draft, they’ll take Brooks Reed out of Arizona. Reed will fit perfectly in a 3-4 scheme as an OLB and seemed unstoppable at times last year. He and Clay Matthews will scare offenses everywhere.