2011 NFL Mock Draft Selections – April
1. Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
If he isn’t the pick, open your windows and listen to half the world cheer and the other half to gasp in disbelief.
2. Denver Broncos: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
Best defensive lineman in the draft goes to the team with the worst defensive line. It’s the circle of life.
3. Buffalo Bills: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
I’m not convinced this is the pick. Why? It makes too much sense for a team that rarely makes the logical choice. Just look at their first round picks the last few years.
4. Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
This has been the pick in my mocks for so long that it’s hard to see it any other way. If the Bengals were wise, they’d grab Nick Fairley.
5. Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
The so-called best player in the draft goes with the fifth pick? That sort of logic carried out is a microcosm of why teams struggle for years and years at a time.
6. Cleveland Browns: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
Due to Mel Kiper’s shady ties with certain schools (not going to fully elaborate here), I don’t take him seriously when he rates kids from North Carolina. Quinn may be the exception, but don’t be surprised if he falls out of the top ten.
7. San Francisco 49ers: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
Jim Harbaugh recruited Gabbert out of high school. Isn’t that interesting?!
8. Tennessee Titans: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
So the guy who actually carried the national championship game on his back and proved in primetime why he’s a beast, gets downgraded because he doesn’t care about football? Even a Hollywood writer couldn’t come up with this stuff.
9. Dallas Cowboys: Tyron Smith, OT, USC
If Smith stayed another year at USC, he’d be the No. 2 pick in the 2012 Draft behind Andrew Luck.
10. Washington Redskins: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
Jones is awesome but what’s comical to me is think of all the ways the Redskins are no good… And they want a receiver? Who’s going to pass to him? Who’s going to block for that passer who will throw to him? Who else do they have that will draw coverage away from him?
11. Houston Texans: Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri
Amobi Okoye part deux.
12. Minnesota Vikings: Jake Locker, QB, Washington
He could go sooner if someone trades up. Actually, the Vikings might trade up to get him. That’s what we’re dealing with this year.
13. Detroit Lions: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Amukamarkookaburra sits on an old gum tree. Eating all the gumdrops he can see. Stop Kookaburra, stop Kookaburra leave some gums for me.
14. St. Louis Rams: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
I like this kid a lot. So does Mike Mayock. Therefore, he’s a beast. If the Rams get him and a receiver in the first two rounds, the NFC West is a wrap for the next few years.
15. Miami Dolphins: Mike Pouncey, G, Florida
After months and months of Ingram being selected here, alas he doesn’t take his talents to South Beach. Pouncey is the wiser choice even if he is a bit of a reach at No. 15.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
I’ve read that the Jags take Kerrigan because “he’s the sort of player they like” but to me, if you don’t just start plugging in defensive ends all over the place, they end up having nowhere else to go as you get towards the bottom of your mock draft. My point? I think a few defensive ends slip: Kerrigan, J.J. Watt, Da’Quan Bowers, Adrian Clayborn and Muhammed Wilkerson to be specific.
17. New England Patriots: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
My concern with that is despite a great motor, I don’t think Watt is big enough to be a 3-4 end. But he’s more than welcome to prove me wrong.
18. San Diego Chargers: Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal
I love Jordan’s versatility and toughness. If he slips past 12, it’s a sin but again, this boils down to quarterback supply and demand.
19. New York Giants: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
Don’t be surprised if Castonzo goes No. 9 to Dallas and Smith is left to go somewhere in the teens.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
From potential No. 1 pick down to No. 20? Brutal. I’m no doctor so I don’t know where to stand on this knee issue. If it’s as bad as they, it’s a tough break for a young man who’s been through a lot already.
21. Kansas City Chiefs: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
I can’t decide between Carimi and NT Phil Taylor here. The Chiefs need to better protect Matt Cassel but their 3-4 defense only needs a couple more pieces to be excellent.
22. Indianapolis Colts: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
Solder is probably higher on most draft boards since he’s long and athletic. The Colts gave up the fewest sacks in the NFL but that has more to Peyton Manning’s ability to deliver the football while under duress than it has to do with their offensive line.
23. Philadelphia Eagles: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
The character concerns may have been oversold but Smith’s status as “the top pure cover corner” in the draft has been overstated as well.
24. New Orleans Saints: Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple
The media seems in consensus that the Saints need a big defensive lineman. But what if they go QB? Brees is 32 and if the argument can be made that the Colts need to start grooming their future QB, the Saints could do the same.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
I don’t necessarily think this is a good fit for Mallett, but he’s too talented to slip into the second round. Somebody will move up to grab him. Seattle will likely draft Jimmy Smith if he’s available, an offensive tackle or defensive lineman.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
Heyward makes a great fit for Baltimore, New England, the New York Jets and even Pittsburgh. One of those four are a likely candidate if Baltimore passes on him.
27. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame
I saw Rich Eisen make this pick, not to say he was the first and it made sense to me.
28. New England Patriots: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
The Pats have needed a blitz-happy outside linebacker for years and they get it in Ayers. He’s also good enough in coverage to not be a liability.
29. Chicago Bears: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
The Bears need to rework their offensive line but Sherrod is a reach here at No. 29. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chicago grab a receiver or a defensive tackle.
30. New York Jets: Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
The Jets have Sione Pouha, but they just as easily could slide him over to defensive end. Left guard is a possibility here as well.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers: Danny Watkins, G, Baylor
I may be misinterpreting the signals but Aaron Williams isn’t all that great. The buzz is that the Steelers like him but I don’t see why they would.
32. Green Bay Packers: Brooks Reed, DE/OLB, Arizona
Figuring out what the Packers will do is no easy task. After all, they’re a team with great depth and solid starters across the board. They have the luxury of taking the best player available and it may be Reed, it may not be.
33. New England Patriots: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
I’m not an Ingram believer. While he is a good, he’s not great. He won’t break big runs, he won’t do a whole lot as a pass-catcher and I doubt his ability to make men miss or knock them over in the NFL.
34. Buffalo Bills: Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State
My first mock for this draft stated adamantly the Bills would not take a quarterback in this draft. They’ve said they will and Buffalo is one of the very few teams that doesn’t misrepresent their needs in the media. Ponder can move around a bit and has an accurate arm, this fits with what Buffalo has liked at quarterback in recent years.
35. Cincinnati Bengals: Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
There are rumors circulating through NFL.com and the NFL Network that Dalton could go in the top half of the draft, as early as No. 8 to the Titans. I’m not buying it. He’s got a great quick release and doesn’t have much downside so who knows, it only takes one team to like a player.
36. Denver Broncos: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
This would be a great value pick for Denver as Clayborn has trickled down draft boards all offseason long. He has red flag injury issues that knock him down this low so I don’t mind seeing him go this late.
37. Cleveland Browns: Aaron Williams, CB/S, Texas
Williams lacks the fluidity to be a great cornerback. I’ve watched his tape and his fundamentals are a mess. He has a lot to prove before I give him any credit.
38. Arizona Cardinals: Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina
Arizona was doomed when they lost Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin, Karlos Dansby and Antrel Rolle last offseason. Getting those pieces back in order should be a top priority. That said, Austin is a good pass-rushing tackle who can draw some attention away from Calais Campbell.
39. Tennessee Titans: Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
The Titans need to get back to their roots: a tough as nails defense. Adding Fairley and Paea would be awesome. They need help on offense, but screw it, double down on defense and let’s go.
40. Dallas Cowboys: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
Like Aaron Williams, Harris is overrated. He plays with a chip on his shoulder but his play is sloppy and it’s indicative of what the University of Miami has become. All swagger, no technique. There’s a reason why Hurricanes aren’t drafted in the first round anymore.
41. Washington Redskins: Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
The odd man out when it comes to draft buzz. Kaepernick has a very high ceiling as he is still learning the details of the position. If Washington can add a veteran QB, this would be ideal by allowing Kaepernick to sit for at least one season and better learn the game.
42. Houston Texans: Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia
It really says something when a corner is 6’2″ and fast and slides all the way into the secnod round. Dowling just can’t stay healthy, some guys are that way. As Colin Cowherd said about UVA players, they’re soft.
43. Minnesota Vikings: Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina
When watching his game tape, I can’t tell if Carter is a beat slow making reads or if he’s playing conservatively. In either case, if Carter played a step faster, he’d be a first round lock.
44. Detroit Lions: Benjamin Ijalana, OT, Villanova
Ijalana is a big reach here but that’s the nature of the offensive tackle position in recent years.
45. San Francisco 49ers: Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
Taylor Mays isn’t the answer. Moore is a ball-hawk and then some.
46. Denver Broncos: Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech
With Knowshon Moreno going down every other week, the Broncos need a change of pace guy on third down.
47. St. Louis Rams: Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami
Big Hank is a No. 1 receiver with first-round value.
48. Oakland Raiders: William Rackley, G, Lehigh
The Raiders play it low-key with a team need. Forget a cornerback, they let Nnamdi Asomugha go because Stanford Routt is better than most realize.
49. Jacksonville Jaguars: Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky
The Jags let go of Mike Sims-Walker and their passing game struggled last season. Adding Cobb not only helps move the ball downfield, he’s a great kick returner.
50. San Diego Chargers: Mason Foster, ILB, Washington
Foster is one of those players teams will really like or have no use for. The Chargers like specialist linebackers and Foster is great against the run.
51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Allen Bailey, DE, Miami
Tampa badly needs two defensive ends who can pass rush, that’s why I’ve got them taking two of them with their first two picks.
52. New York Giants: Dontay Moch, OLB, Nevada
Moch lit up the combine with his speed and even though he isn’t that good, somebody’s bound to fall in love with him in the second round.
53. Indianapolis Colts: Clint Boling, G, Georgia
Again, the Colts pass protection fell off a cliff last season. Retooling their line is a must moving forward.
54. Philadelphia Eagles: Rodney Hudson, G, Florida State
Protecting Michael Vick should be priority No. 1, even if it’s inevitable that he ends up flushed out of the pocket.
55. Kansas City Chiefs: Justin Houston, DE, Georgia
Houston drops from a potential late first rounder because of a failed drug test.
56. New Orleans Saints: Martez Wilson, OLB, Illinois
Wilson isn’t pretty, but he’s very athletic for his size and has great instincts.
57. Seattle Seahawks: Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
Golden Tate and Mike Williams are complimentary receivers. Adding a potential No. 1 receiver at this stage of the draft would be a nice addition for Seattle.
58. Baltimore Ravens: Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
If Smith were a little bit bigger, he’d be a first round pick. He had huge production on a mediocre Maryland team.
59. Atlanta Falcons: Jabaal Sheard, DE/OLB, Pittsburgh
Atlanta needs to find someone to replace John Abraham in another season. HIs draft stock is on the rise so taking him at No. 59 presents a lot of value.
60. New England Patriots: Marcus Gilbert, OT, Florida
This is assuming the Pats use all their early picks. They may address the offensive line sooner rather than later if they end up wheeling and dealing.
61. San Diego Chargers: Titus Young, WR, Boise State
All of San Diego’s receivers are big targets that lack top-end speed. Young can play the slot and open up coverages for Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd.
62. Chicago Bears: Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois
Chicago struggled converting on short third downs. Leshoure is low to the ground and hits the hole at full speed.
63. Pittsburgh Steelers: Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville
A player that better fits what the Steelers like to do is Patrick. He’s not a great cover corner, but he’s physical and provides great run support.
64. Green Bay Packers: Stefen Wisniewski, C, Penn State
Again, I don’t know what the Packers will do. Wisniewski could potentially play any of three interior line spots. He’s also got a nasty play style and NFL bloodlines. Not a bad deal to close out Day 2.