NFL Mock Draft Results – RD. 1 & 2
2011 NFL MOCK DRAFT
1. Carolina Panthers: DT Nick Fairley, Auburn
Nick Fairley can be a game-changer at his position and a disruptive pass rush is the easiest way to improve a struggling defense. Carolina needs a quarterback or wide receiver as well but it seems as though there are no QBs who are worthy of a No. 1 pick. A.J. Green could go here or Da’Quan Bowers.
2. Denver Broncos: DE Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson
Since John Fox is the new head coach, Denver will switch back to a 4-3 defense. Fox began his career in Carolina by selecting Julius Peppers with the No. 2 overall pick in 2002. Lightning strikes twice here with the second selection as Da’Quan Bowers is athletically-gifted enough to compare to a young Peppers.
3. Buffalo Bills: OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M
New head coach Chan Gailey saw Von Miller and all his hype at the Senior Bowl. If Miller excels at the Combine, Gailey may view him as the safest bet after growing more familiar and comfortable with Miller’s elite pass-rushing talents.
4. Cincinnati Bengals: WR A.J. Green, Georgia
It appears Bengals owner Mike Brown is bending over backwards to appeal to QB Carson Palmer. He’s fired the offensive coordinator and he may get rid of both T.O. and Chad Ochocinco. This would obviously create a huge need that only Green could possibly fill.
5. Arizona Cardinals: DE/OLB Robert Quinn, North Carolina
Arizona will not draft a quarterback in the first round. The Cards may need offensive line help badly but every single prospect would be a reach. The next big need is a pass rushing outside linebacker. Quinn needs some fine-tuning but he can definitely learn a few things from an aging Joey Porter.
6. Cleveland Browns: WR Julio Jones, Alabama
Cleveland could use upgrades across the defense but adding a receiver for QB Colt McCoy will likely tempt the organization to take Jones. He isn’t a perfect prospect and isn’t as fast as some expect, but he should be a top notch possession receiver.
7. San Francisco 49ers: CB Patrick Peterson, LSU
Patrick Peterson slips slightly in the draft after both Buffalo and Denver pass on him. San Francisco would be delighted to have Peterson fall in their lap, much like Crabtree did two years ago.
8. Tennessee Titans: DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama
Every team could use a player like Dareus. He’s big, strong and plays well against both the run or pass in either a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. The AFC South is full of dynamic offenses so improving a slumping defense should be Tennessee’s top concern.
9. Dallas Cowboys: CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
Prince Amukamara is solid, but he’s a bit of a reach here. He isn’t gifted athletically and when people say “pure cover corner”, they generally mean a player is good in coverage but doesn’t make a lot of plays. For a top-ten cornerback, a guy has to be a dynamic game-changer, something Amukamara is not.
10. Washington Redskins: QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
The Redskins are going to pursue a veteran QB but I don’t think they succeed. Washington as an organization has to be one of the least appealing destinations for a free agent with a long history of hype over substance.
11. Houston Texans: DT/DE Cameron Jordan, California
Houston will need to rebuild their front seven as they transition into a 3-4 defense with Wade Phillips in town as a defensive coordinator. Jordan is a great fit as a 3-4 DE with ample size and strength.
12. Minnesota Vikings: QB Cam Newton, Auburn
Newton fits with the overall theme of Minnesota’s offense: athleticism. Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin and Cam Newton would make for quite an offensive trio.
13. Detroit Lions: OT Nate Solder, Colorado
Detroit’s most pressing needs are on defense in the eyes of both fans and analysts. But let’s not discount the fact that Matthew Stafford has been getting injured a lot. The Lions must better protect their prized quarterback. Solder is a huge prospect with loads of upside.
14. St. Louis Rams: DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
Kerrigan would be best suited slimming down and coming off the edge as a pass rushing outside linebacker. He’s a bit of a tweener at defensive end in a 4-3.
15. Miami Dolphins: RB Mark Ingram, Alabama
The list of team needs for Miami is long. Does the Chad Henne experiment continue? How do they replace free agents Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams? Ingram is the obvious choice here as the first running back selected. His draft projection could drop if he runs poorly at the combine. Ingram’s 40-yard dash numbers seem greatly exaggerated.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars: OLB Akeem Ayers, UCLA
Ayers has questions surrounding his work ethic but he’s a dynamic athlete at the position who can rush the passer. Many mock drafters are sending Ryan Kerrigan here so if he’s available, he also makes sense for the Jags.
17. New England Patriots: OT Tyson Smith, USC
New England could use a pass-rushing outside linebacker but with a couple offensive linemen needing to be re-signed they may need depth along the offensive line. It’s futile to predict what New England could do here, but Smith is the best man available for the job at offensive tackle. He will need a year to develop but the Patriots can afford to wait.
18. San Diego Chargers: DT Stephen Paea, Oregon State
Paea could be taken off the board far earlier than this but San Diego would be a great fit for him. He could begin his career at end and possibly move to NT after a year or two of bulking up. The Chargers need to understand they aren’t simply one player away from a Super Bowl and shore up problem positions like DT, SS, ILB and OT.
19. New York Giants: C/G Mike Pouncey, Florida
Pouncey can play anywhere along the interior of the offensive line. This is a slight reach for him but with the injuries and age of the Giants offensive linemen, the position has become a pressing need.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DE J.J. Watt, Wisconsin
Watt led the nation in sacks last season at Wisconsin while the Bucs had the second fewest sacks in the NFL. For a team that had such a rich history of getting after the quarterback, those days are now gone. Watt can definitely reignite that history.
21. Kansas City Chiefs: NT Phil Taylor, Baylor
In order to run a 3-4, nose tackle is the keystone position. The Chiefs simply do not have a viable NT. It starts and ends with that one player. Taylor really displayed his talents at the Senior Bowl and went from a potential second rounder to now a potential first rounder.
22. Indianapolis Colts: OT Anthony Castanzo, Boston College
The offensive tackle ratings are going to be all over the place in this draft and Castanzo may be gone by now or he could slip to round two. In any case, he is the most well-rounded prospect at the position. He’s strong and well-equipped to protect Peyton Manning.
23. Philadelphia Eagles: OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State
Philadelphia could wait to select an offensive lineman in this year’s draft but why wait on a sure thing? Sherrod is a giant at the position and the Eagles desperately need to better protect Michael Vick.
24. New Orleans Saints: DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa
New Orleans is a team without a true glaring need but defensive end is a position that could use depth and an upgrade. Clayborn is a steal this late in the draft after being considered a potential early first-round projection. His production went declined his senior year but he is effective against both the run and pass.
25. Seattle Seahawks: CB Brandon Harris, Miami
Harris is definitely a steal at this point of the draft and projects somewhere in the early teens but cornerback would be a luxury selection for almost any team that early. Seattle needs a cornerback as bad as team in the NFL.
26. Baltimore Ravens: DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio State
Heyward isn’t a pass rusher. He’s one of those classic no-name 3-4 defensive ends who eats up running backs and spits out reverse pancakes. Ray Lewis lighting a fire under Heyward could go a long way.
27. Atlanta Falcons: WR Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburgh
Atlanta has needed to address WR2 for quite sometime. In the playoffs, their offense was bottled up due to having limited offensive firepower. Baldwin is a big, athletic receiver who can open up the short receiving game as a possession guy.
28. New England Patriots: DT Corey Liuget, Illinois
Liuget is a good fit as a defensive end in a 3-4. He’s athletic, possesses a good burst, can pass rush and has a lot of potential. Will New England stick around with this many picks in the first two rounds in order to select Liuget? That’s a whole other issue but as they are, he’d be a nice pick-up.
29. Chicago Bears: C/G Stefen Wisniewski, Penn State
Chicago struggled to protect the quarterback all season and that was exploited in the NFC Championship against Green Bay. If the Bears resorted to playing their third-string quarterback in such a high-profile game due to injuries, it’s time for an upgrade in protection. Wisniewski can play anywhere in the interior from day one.
30. New York Jets: DE Aldon Smith, Missouri
Smith has all the potential in the world and that’s why he could potentially go earlier in than this in the draft. But the reality is that he is still young and will need some time to develop. Rex Ryan and Co. have a veteran front seven that needs to be infused with a young pass-rusher.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado
How did Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers beat the Steelers? By exploiting Pittsburgh’s pass coverage all day long. The Steelers may resist the natural inclination to fully address this issue in round one but I’m not them. They need help now and Smith could actually be the biggest steal of the first two rounds.
32. Green Bay Packers: OT/G Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin
Green Bay battled a lot of injuries on defense but the easiest fix is along the offensive line. Carimi may not be a true left tackle, but they don’t him to be which is what makes this a natural fit.
1 (33). New England Patriots: WR Leonard Hankerson, Miami
New England seems to make due with any receiver they stick in the starting lineup but Hankerson is a potential WR1 with round two value. He’s a nightmare one on one with the ability to go up and catch anything in sight, especially in the red zone.
2 (34). Buffalo Bills: DT Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple
Buffalo needs to get serious and find the right pieces for the 3-4 defense. Wilkerson is a good fit as a 3-4 DE. The Bills defense shined at times, but they also had lapses, particularly with their pass rush. A brute like Wilkerson would help bolster this inconsistent unit.
3 (35). Cincinnati Bengals: RB Mikel Leshoure, Illinois
Leshoure is one of those backs that is currently under the radar, but there’s a lot to like. The combine is going to be his coming out party, especially if he can run a sub-4.5 40 time.
4 (36). Denver Broncos: DE/OLB Justin Houston, Georgia
Houston is somewhat lost in the shuffle when it comes to the many talented pass-rushing players in this draft class but he’s a very talented guy who is slowly climbing up draft boards. Denver needs to improve their pass rush dramatically as they battled injuries and poor performers all season long.
5 (37). Cleveland Browns: ILB Martez Wilson, Illinois
The Browns’ linebackers are serviceable but ILB Eric Barton will turn 34 this season. Wilson would be a dramatic improvement and provide some great athleticism to an up-and-coming defense.
6 (38). Arizona Cardinals: WR Titus Young, Boise State
Young looked mighty impressive at the Senior Bowl and despite his diminutitive frame, he’s a burner who can stretch the field. Arizona’s offense struggled all year but add Young along with Larry Fitzgerald and a veteran QB free agent and this team can contend in a weak NFC West.
7 (39). Tennessee Titans: G Benjamin Ijalana, Villanova
The Titans’ bread and butter? The running game led by RB Chris Johnson. Ijalana is a road grader and one of the best small school prospects this draft has to offer.
8 (40). Dallas Cowboys: G Danny Watkins, Baylor
Watkins is 27 years old and that may end up hurting his increasing draft stock but he’s ready to play right now. Dallas offensive line struggled all year and needs to be fixed.
9 (41). Washington Redskins: DE Allen Bailey, Miami
Albert Haynesworth anyone? The Redskins need to find real answers in their 3-4 defense and Bailey is a big-bodied athletic prospect who is an absolute steal in the second round.
10 (42). Houston Texans: S Rahim Moore, UCLA
Houston’s defense was repeatedly torched by the pass and Moore is easily the best ball-hawking safety prospect in this draft. The Texans may also need an outside linebacker for their new 3-4 defense.
11 (43). Minnesota Vikings: CB Aaron Williams, Texas
Williams is a natural at the position and a very solid player. Minnesota needs youth at the position. Age and injuries have lain waste to the Vikings current corners so an upgrade is needed now, not later.
12 (44). Detroit Lions: CB Kendric Burney, North Carolina
The Lions too desperately need to resolve their cornerback issues to pass on a corner in the first two rounds. Really, they may be better served doing that in round one if possible. In any case, Burney is an immediate improvement and has a knack for making plays on the ball.
13 (45). San Francisco 49ers: QB Jake Locker, Washington
No one knows whether the 49ers will address the QB position this year or next but it should be on the team’s radar. Everyone knows about Alex Smith, there’s nothing to rehash but Locker presents a great value at this stage of the draft.
14 (46). Denver Broncos: CB Curtis Brown, Texas
Most Denver fans would be satisfied if with their first three selections they got a pass-rushing defensive end, a pass-rushing outside linebacker and a cover corner. Brown completes this defensive trifecta that could eventually be looked back on as a big turning point for the franchise.
15 (47). St. Louis Rams: OLB Mason Foster, Washington
Foster makes sense for many teams who are seeking a tackling machine at linebacker. He’s not a flashy prospect, but he plays hard and fast. St. Louis has a better than expected defense and Foster would go a long way for this unit.
16 (48). Oakland Raiders: CB Rashad Carmichael, Virginia Tech
After waiting 48 picks, Oakland definitely needs to address their most pressing concern: cornerback. Nnamdi Asomugha will be a free agent this offseason. Carmichael is the fastest cornerback available at this stage, so, welcome to Oakland.
17 (49). Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Christian Ponder, Florida State
Any number of quarterbacks could be considered at this spot but Ponder is a familiar face to the area and a good prospect with some mobility and a good arm.
18 (50). San Diego Chargers: ILB Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina
Name a San Diego Chargers inside linebacker. No, not Junior Seau! All kidding aside, ILB Kevin Burnett did have a great season, but they could use an upgrade to go alongside of him. Sturdivant is a very productive linebacker with good speed and can contribute in coverage.
19 (51). Tampa Bay Buccaneers: G/OT Marcus Cannon, TCU
If a defensive end slides down in the draft, Tampa Bay should certainly grab them here. If not, help along the offensive line is key. Protecting Josh Freeman and blocking for LeGarrette Blount are now priority No. 1. Cannon is a safe pick for a team that is close to competing at a playoff level.
20 (52). New York Giants: OLB Bruce Carter, North Carolina
The Giants’ Keith Bulluck isn’t getting any younger. They also lack depth at the position and need to secure their free agents at the position. If they don’t address that here, they may just take the best player available.
21 (53). Indianapolis Colts: G John Moffitt, Wisconsin
Protecting Peyton Manning is very important to this team. This past season showed what can happen if Manning isn’t given much time. Teams were able to get after him more than in previous seasons and it affected the Colts’ offense negatively.
22 (54). Philadelphia Eagles: CB Brandon Burton, Utah
The Eagles have plenty of warm bodies at cornerback but plenty of issues. Asante Samuel tends to miss games every year and Dmitri Patterson is better suited as a nickel back. Burton is an under the radar guy with a lot of talent and physicality despite a lean frame.
23 (55). Kansas City Chiefs: OLB Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma
Kansas City needs to lock-up OLB Tamba Hali but even if they don’t, adding another pass-rusher would improve their defense in a big way.
24 (56). New Orleans Saints: DT Drake Nevis, LSU
Defensive tackle is one of the few positions of need for a very good New Orleans team. Local prospect Drake Nevis is a good fit for the Saints’ pass-rush heavy defense.
25 (57). Seattle Seahawks: QB Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
Matt Hasselbeck is hanging on by a thread and Charlie Whitehurst may not be the answer. Kaepernick has a strong arm, great mobility and a project. Seattle may select a different QB, but they need one nonetheless.
26 (58). Baltimore Ravens: WR Torrey Smith, Maryland
Baltimore needs to get with the program and draft a receiver. Derrick Mason and T.J. Houshmandzadeh have nothing left. Boldin is great but he’s lost a step and needs more room in coverage to play his game. Smith can stretch defenses and has great hands.
27 (59). Atlanta Falcons: TE Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame
Roddy White can’t do it all by himself forever. Atlanta needs a compliment and Tony Gonzalez won’t be around much longer.
28 (60). New England Patriots: RB Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech
Assuming New England hasn’t traded this pick for a first-rounder in 2012 or something ridiculous like they always seem to do, it’s anyone’s guess at this stage. Mock drafters love to assign New England a running back and Williams would be a prospect that analysts would crown the steal of the draft if the Patriots landed him here.
29 (61). San Diego Chargers: G Rodney Hudson, Florida State
The Chargers have a number of free agents they need to re-sign which will ultimately dictate where they go in the draft. Their offensive line needs work no matter what happens and Hudson is a solid and talented interior lineman who can come in and contribute immediately.
30 (62). Chicago Bears: DT Jurrell Casey, USC
Chicago actually benched DT Tommie Harris this season so the position is obviously up for grabs. Casey is a big and powerful prospect who may need a year to improve his fundamentals, but the potential is there.
31 (63). Pittsburgh Steelers: G Jason Pinkston, Pittsburgh
Pinkston looks great as a run-blocker which is exactly what Pittsburgh needs. He’s also athletic enough to pull along the line and that’s something the Steelers love to do.
32 (64). Green Bay Packers: RB Shane Vereen, California
Vereen isn’t getting much attention yet but he’s very good. Green Bay had a ton of issues at the running back position once Ryan Grant went down and need a better insurance policy. Vereen is quick and can make guys miss as a big-play guy.
More 2011 NFL Draft Coverage