Here is my 2011 first round Mock Draft for every one to criticize, analyze, and scrutinize up until draft day this week. Some are serious, some are more for entertainment purposes, but all are legitimate picks for the teams. The Raiders don’t have a first round pick, so that eliminates the kickers and third round talent from the first round. As always, comments are appreciated and encouraged.
1. CAR – Cam Newton QB – I love this pick for Carolina… because I am a Bucs fan and Newton just has Ryan Leaf/JaMarcus Russell written all over him. Let me know where you have heard this before: extremely confident, superb athlete with a great arm and all the tools to be an NFL quarterback with some character and work ethic concerns.
2. DEN – Marcell Dareus DT- This is the best of a very deep draft of D-linemen. He should be able to start right away and make an impact. His rookie year will likely be somewhere between Suh‘s (DET) and McCoy‘s (TAM) last year.
3. BUF – Von Miller LB – Miller should have a couple of good years in Buffalo, but then may sue them when they move to Toronto and his taxes go way up.
4. CIN – AJ Green WR – Bengals are torn between drafting nothing but receivers this year or a motivational Lou Holtz to try and convince Carson Palmer to return next year.
5. ARI – Patrick Paterson CB – The Cardinals finally have the good sense to ignore their biggest needs and take the best player available in the draft.
6. CLE – Robert Quinn DE – The Browns take the versatile Quinn who is probably the best pass rusher in the draft. They also really need help at receiver, so Julio Jones will get consideration, but I am not as sold on Jones.
7. SF – Blaine Gabbert QB – How long before Jim Harbaugh realizes his quarterback of 2010 is much better than either this pick or Alex Smith (former first pick in the draft).
8. TEN – Nick Fairley DT – the Titans hope he can have Haynesworth like production without Haynesworth like headaches and distractions.
9. DAL – Tyron Smith OT – Jerry Jones tries to decide whether he can spend about a billion dollars to genetically engineer a player to upgrade the offensive line or to just draft a good college tackle.
10. WAS – Julio Jones WR – the Redskins are confused at this point in the year as they are unable to completely overspend on free agents due to the lockout.
11. HOU – Prince Amukamara CB – Texans make a safe pick here and upgrade a defense that was not good against the pass last year. Of course, playing Peyton Manning twice a year can do that.
12. MIN – Cameron Jordan DE – Minnesota could really use a QB, but makes the safe pick as they can’t decide which quarterback to take and didn’t want to risk not getting their card up to the podium in time.
13. DET – Da’Quan Bowers DE – Lions are confident and take a slight risk here on a guy with a bad knee, but at least he’s not a receiver where they are like 1 for 4 in last decade
14. STL – Corey Liuget DT – The Rams know that Sam Bradford can make some plays, but will not win a game that becomes a shootout as he just doesn’t complete many passes over 6-7 yards. Thus, they shore up the defensive line to keep them in games.
15. MIA – Mike Pauncey G/C – The Dolphins learned that getting players from the Steelers in free agency (i.e. Joey Porter) is not near as effective as drafting their player’s brothers. Watch out for a reach for a quarterback here, instead of Pauncey
16. JAC – JJ Watt DE – The Jaguars have been searching for a good DE through free agency and the draft the last couple years, and they will continue to until they get one that is effective.
17. NE – Anthony Castonzo OT – Pats need more help on the interior line than at the tackles, but they know this is the best player available. I wouldn’t be surprized if the Patriots trade either of their first two picks to trade down and get more picks.
18. SD – Ryan Kerrigan DE – Team officials hold post-draft press conference in Los Angles to generate buzz for the 2012 season.
19. NYG – Gabe Carimi OT – The Giants Offensive line is old enough to have owned Hypercolor T-shirts and mix tapes in high school.
20. TAM – Aldon Smith DE – Bucs need and edge rusher and he is the best available at this point in the draft.
21. KC – Akeem Ayers LB – Chiefs need help on D, and there just won’t be that many former Patriots available in free agency.
22. IND – Derek Sherrod OT – Better pass blocker than Nate Solder but the Colts could go either way here. They seem to really care about that Manning guy.
23. PHI – Danny Watkins G – Andy Reid loves to take lineman, and Watkins is a former working class hero that Philly will embrace.
24. NO – Adrian Clayborn DE – Saints take best DE still available who can help against both run and pass. Watch out for them to roll the dice here and take a quarterback instead.
25. SEA – Jake Locker – Seahawks take a new quarterback already popular in the city. (Author note: I currently live in Seattle and Locker was dinged up all year and is much better then he appeared his senior year).
26. BAL – Jimmy Smith CB – Ravens keep with tradition and draft defense early in 3 out of every 5 years to keep Ray Lewis from publically complaining about management.
27. ATL – Marvin Austin DT – Falcons may flirt with taking Mark Ingram to run him into the ground until he becomes injured like they try to do with Turner
28. NE – Mark Ingram RB – Patriots take best player available again, and get the best RB in the draft late in the first round.
29. CHI – Cam Heywood DT – Had to put him on the list just so I could mention using his dad “Ironhead” on Tecmo Super Bowl.
30. NYJ – Phil Taylor DL – Jets react immediately to the Patriots taking Ingram two picks earlier
31. PIT – Aaron Williams DB – Steelers improve already great defense with a guy who won’t have to step in right away, but will contribute.
32. GB – Muhammad Wilkerson DL – Packers consider drafting James Andrews, MD as they play so much better when healthy.
There you have it. Of course, I did not project a single trade, and there will probably be at least three or four of them. Let the mocking begin.