2011 NFL Mock Draft: SB Nation Bloggers Picking First Two Rounds

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft is up and running. Bloggers from every SB Nation NFL blog are representing their team in a two-round mock draft.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Green Bay Packers Select DE Allen Bailey

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft continues with the Green Bay Packers making the final pick of the second round. Acme Packing Company is looking to bolster the Pack's defense and selects DE Allen Bailey from Miami.

Acme Packing Company explains the pick:

He's a great athlete, but not a speed rusher, which might make him ideal as a five-technique (over the offensive tackle) DE in a 3-4 defense. It sounds like he's got the strength to hold the edge against the run. He could also compete with ends Mike Neal and C.J. Wilson as the lineman alongside NT B.J. Raji when the Packers play with only two linemen on passing downs.

This is an interesting pick for the 3-4 defense. The Packers have a very strong defense so Bailey can not only learn from the best but have a little time to get acclimated to the NFL. I like this pick.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Pittsburgh Steelers Select CB Ras-I Dowling

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft continues with the 63rd pick which is held by the PIttsburgh SteelersBehind The Steel Curtain has decided to address a position many mock drafters think they need to address -- cornerback. With that, the Steelers select CB Ras-I Dowling.

BTSC explains the pick:

Dowling is 6'2" so check on the size front; he's got 4.3-4.4 speed; he's physical and tough at 200 pounds; his ball skills are solid; and he's a high character guy. I don't see there being any way that he lasts this long next weekend in the draft, and I can tell you that Steeler Nation would be thrilled to see his name still on the board when the six-time Super Bowl champs select late in the second round.

Can't complain about going with a need, especially in the second round. 

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Chicago Bears Select C Stefan Wisniewski

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft continues with pick No. 62 and it's the Chicago Bears making the selection. Windy City Gridiron has taken a look at their needs and the available players and decided to select C Stefan Wisniewski.

Windy City Gridiron explains the pick:

Wisniewski comes from a family of NFL players, and his elite football intelligence and technique are a testament to those bloodlines. Many have pointed out that Wisniewski's upper-body strength is nothing more than average, but he knows how to play football, and uses technique, leverage and brains to more than make up for it.

Even though the second round is a little early for a center, I like this pick. The Bears have a major investment in QB Jay Cutler and need to do all they can to protect him. As they say, your team only goes as far as your quarterback can take them. This is an investment in the quarterback.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: San Diego Chargers Select WR Randall Cobb

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft rolls on with the San Diego Chargers making the 61st pick in the draft. Bolts From The Blue has looked at the available players and decided to select WR Randall Cobb. 

Bolts From The Blue explains the pick:

Randall Cobb fits the bill as both a WR and an experienced KR/PR. He's a little on the small side for the Chargers' style, but ability to get separation in man coverage is what the Chargers really want, and Cobb can do that. He can work the middle, make plays after the catch, break the tops off defenses and can even run block with exceptional toughness. He'll do nicely.

And why would the Chargers, with WR Vincent Jackson, need to focus on receiver so early? Well, Jackson's long-term status with the Chargers is very much up in the air. He'll be around in 2011 but after that? It's a big unknown. Cobb gives them some protection in case he leaves.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: New England Patriots Select WR Torrey Smith

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft continues with the 60th overall pick. Represented by Pats Pulpit, the New England Patriots will address receiver and select Maryland WR Torrey Smith.

Here's what Pats Pulpit said:

On my board, not only did I have Torrey Smith ranked as the top receiver remaining, I had him ranked as the number three receiver above both Jon Baldwin and Leonard Hankerson, who were both taken ahead of Smith. In fact, Smith was strongly considered as a BPA prospect with the 33rd overall pick. Clearly, at this point, Smith is an excellent value pick for the Patriots (in my opinion).

I like this pick a lot. Doesn't it seem like the rich get richer? The Pats need a receiver and they get one here at good value and one that can probably play quickly. The Pats are once again having a solid draft.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Atlanta Falcons Select OT Marcus Gilbert

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft continues with the 59th overall pick. The Atlanta Falcons, represented by The Falcoholic, looks at the offensive line and selects OT Marcus Gilbert out of Florida.

Here's what Mocking The Draft said:

Whenever free agency comes around, linemen Justin Blalock, Tyson Clabo and Harvey Dahl are all free agents for the Falcons. They may choose not to bring all of them back. If they don't, a lineman with versatility is needed. That is what Gilbert provides them. He was a college tackle for Florida who projects as a guard because he's not incredibly fluid or athletic.

Can't blame them for looking to solidify the offensive line. The largest reason the Falcons are a good team is because QB Matt Ryan is healthy and has time to throw. Might as well make one of your strengths even stronger. I like this pick.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Baltimore Ravens Select WR Jon Baldwin

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft continues with the 58th overall pick and representing the Baltimore Ravens is Baltimore Beatdown. Looking at the players on the board, they've selected WR Jon Baldwin.

Here's what Baltimore Beatdown says:

He will make a great complement for the sure-handed Derrick Mason and intense Anquan Boldin in the Ravens passing game. Once again, very surprised to see such a highly ranked wideout still on the board in this position, a pick that no Ravens fan can be disappointed with.    

Aldon Smith in the first round and now Baldwin here. The Ravens are having a solid draft getting players at great values. It's hard for them to pass this up even with the supposed character concerns on Baldwin. Baltimore is a veteran locker room so I think if any team can handle a player with character concerns, it's the Ravens. 

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Seattle Seahawks Select DT Drake Nevis

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft moves to the 57th overall pick and the Seattle Seahawks, represented by Field Gulls, have addressed the defensive line selecting LSU DT Drake Nevis.

Here's what Field Gulls said about the pick:

Nevis was one of the most disruptive defensive tackles in the SEC in 2010, leading LSU with 56 tackles, 13 for a loss, six sacks, three forced fumbles, four QB hurries, and an interception in 13 games. He's extremely strong - he squats 535 and benches 475 - and combined with his quick initial burst and ability to disengage blocks, he'll make an immediate impact for the Hawks. With Colin Cole or Brandon Mebane playing next to him at one-tech and Red Bryant returning to the five-tech DE position, he'll draw a lot of one-on-one matchups. His quickness, lateral agility, and hand strength will be put to good use, and he'll be effective in putting pressure on the opposing QB.

If he was disruptive in the best conference in college football then I imagine he has a shot at being disruptive in the NFL. I like his size, his experience and his ability to penetrate the offensive line. This is a solid pick by the Seahawks.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: New Orleans Saints Select LB Quin Sturdivant

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft continues with the New Orleans Saints and the 56th overall pick. Canal Street Chronicles, representing the Saints, looks to improve the defense by selecting LB Quan Sturdivant.

Here's what CSC had to say:

After going the "Best Player Available" route and getting some much-needed help on the defensive line by drafting Muhammad Wilkerson in the first round, it's time for the Saints to upgrade their other position of need: outside linebacker. Though listed as an inside linebacker, Sturdivant also spent significant time playing on the outside during his college career with the Tar Heels. Despite some reported minor character and injury issues, his ability to contribute on special teams will make him very attractive to Sean Payton and Gregg Williams. Plus, he's got a cool name.

The Saints can always use help on defense as it seems the defense is always one step behind that offense. I like this pick -- solidifying a weakness.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Kansas City Chiefs Select WR Leonard Hankerson

The Kansas City Chiefs are selecting 55th in SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draftArrowhead Pride has looked at the big board and decided to select Miami WR Leonard Hankerson as a complement to WR Dwayne Bowe.

Here's what Mocking The Draft said about the pick:

At the very least, Hankeron could ease his way into an NFL role as Kansas City's No. 2 receiver. He'd also be great insurance in case Bowe decides to leave via free agency. Hankerson is a big target who knows how to get open over the top. He would give the Chiefs another red zone target to go along with Bow and Tony Moeaki.

Bowe is entering the final year of his contract so this could be an insurance policy. In the meantime he'll give Matt Cassel another target and take away some of those double teams on Bowe.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Philadelphia Eagles Select OT Clint Boling

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft is in the second round with the 54th overall pick the Philadelphia Eagles have selected OT Clint Boling. Bleeding Green Nation makes the pick arguing that a versatile offensive lineman is what the Eagles are looking for.

Frankly, I was a bit surprised to see Clint Boling still on the board at No. 53. The Eagles love versatile offensive linemen that can play all over the place. Boling has started at RT, RG and LT. They also have always loved athletic offensive linemen that can move around and pull, which Boling is known to do.    

Dan Kadar from Mocking The Draft thinks this is a little high but I'm usually not going to knock safe picks like offensive linemen on the first two days. I like this pick as the Eagles figure out a way to protect QB Michael Vick.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Indianapolis Colts Select S Quinton Carter

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft moves onto the 53rd overall pick which is owned by the Indianapolis Colts. Stampede Blue looks to shore up that defense and selects S Quinton Carter.

Bob Sanders leaves. A new safety comes in. Here's what Stampede Blue says:

Strong safety is a very important position in the Tampa 2. Carter can thrive in Larry Coyer's system, which took a step back last year due in part to the injuries at safety.

They'd really like to go with a defensive tackle here but they're stuck in that area where it's just not a good value. Sanders was such a force at safety (when healthy) for the Colts so they're hoping Carter can turn into the same.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: New York Giants Select TE Kyle Rudolph

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft moves to the 52nd pick and the New York Giantsrepresented by Big Blue View, has decided to go with offense and select a golden domer in TE Kyle Rudolph.

Here's what Big Blue View said about the pick:

A classic case of value meeting need. Starting tight end Kevin Boss can be a free agent, and he is not a true impact player, anyway. Backup Travis Beckum is an H-Back. Bear Pascoe is likely moving to fullback. Rudolph is the best tight end in this class, a first-round value in the eyes of many who is found sitting here at No. 52. This is a pick I'm happy to have the opportunity to make. It does not address the Giants' need at linebacker, but Rudolph is the best player on the board and adds another weapon for Eli Manning.    

I'm getting this feeling that Rudolph is going to be hell of a player in the NFL. I really like this pick, especially as it helps your quarterback. Good pick here.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Select OLB Mason Foster

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft rolls on in the second round with Bucs Nation representing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With the 51st pick the Bucs have stayed on defense and selected OLB Mason Foster out of Washington.

Quincy Black, Barrett Ruud and Adam Hayward are scheduled to be free agents, so the Bucs could do with an infusion of talent at the linebacker position. Mason Foster seems like the perfect linebacker for the Buccaneers defense. He's always around the ball, has tremendous instincts and does a good job in coverage, which could make him an immediate three-down starter. He's a bigger linebacker for the Bucs' Tampa 2, but they've been adding size to their defense for the past two years.

Looking at a need and filling it -- good pick by the Bucs. If there's not an offensive tackle they like enough to take then this is a solid pick.

For the full explanation fo the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: San Diego Chargers Select DE Jabaal Sheard

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft continues with Bolts from the Blue selecting for the San Diego Chargers. The 50th overall pick is in and it will be Pittsburgh DE Jabaal Sheard.

Here's what Bolts from the Blue said about the pick:

The draft just kind of fell right for Jabaal Sheard to be the pick here. First off, the Chargers chose a DE in the first round with Cameron Jordan, so that hole was patched and a player like Iowa's Christian Ballard no longer was an option. The pick previous saw OT Ben Ijalana go off the board, so trying to fill in for a possible Jeromey Clary departure was off the table. There still are some holes at WR to fill, but looking at the draft board and an additional second-round pick coming 11 spots later, it was worth taking a player that might not be around later, as opposed to a position that will certainly have someone worth taking later.

It makes sense. The Chargers front seven was one of the best in football and they need to add the pieces to make that the case again. I like this pick.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft.   

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Jacksonville Jaguars Select G Ben Ijalana

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft continues in the second round with Big Cat Country selecting for the Jacksonville Jaguars. They decided to go offense again selecting G Ben Ijalana.

Here's what they said about the pick:

While some feel the Jaguars' selection of Christian Ponder at No. 16 might have been a reach, as the draft has fallen it was the only way the Jaguars were to come away with their quarterback of the future in this draft. In the second round however, while the Jaguars' biggest needs are on the defensive side of the football, the pick of offensive lineman Ben Ijalana is purely a best available player pick on my draft board.     

You're not going to find me complaining very often about spending first and second round picks on offensive linemen. If Ponder stands a chance of succeeding in Jacksonville, he needs a competent line. I like this pick.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Oakland Raiders Select OT Marcus Cannon

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft rolls on in the second round with the Oakland Raiders. Silver and Black Pride, with the 48th overall pick, has selected OT Marcus Cannon.

Here's what they said about this pick:

Cannon can start on the inside right away, and may be able to replace Langston Walker at the right tackle position, which would allow Walker to move inside and give the Raiders 700-plus pounds on the right side to open holes for Darren McFadden and Michael Bush. Cannon was a terrific part of the success that TCU has enjoyed over the past few years, and he will be a force in the NFL as well.

When you have one of the best running games in the NFL, it's a smart move to keep those offensive linemen fresh. I like this pick for that reason. The Raiders know what their strength is and continue to add pieces to it.

For the full explanation of this pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: St. Louis Rams Select RB Mikel Leshoure

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft continues with the St. Louis Rams selecting in the second round. With the 47th overall pick, Turf Show Times selects another Illinois player -- RB Mikel Leshoure.

Here's what they said about the pick:

Leshoure is a little different tact for that plan than many thought just a month or so ago, when it was assumed that a speedy, slender third-down runner was the best option. But why take the ball out of Jackson's hands on third-down? Years of abuse have added up, and Jackson's talent is wasted pushing him between the tackles. Jackson is the best so-called third-down back the Rams are going get... and they already have him. Leshoure will take over many of the first- and second-down carries, or the between the tackles stuff.    

I love this pick. A lot. It's perfect, really. The Rams need a running game with Sam Bradfordimproving as a young player and RB Steven Jackson is the exception not the rule when it comes to lasting this long. He's likely on the down hill side of his career and Leshoure can help extend his life in the league. Plus, some argue Leshoure is the best back in this draft. 

For the full explanation of this pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Denver Broncos Select CB Brandon Burton

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft rolls on with the Denver Broncos making the 46th selection. The pick, according to Mile High Report, will be CB Brandon Burton.

Let's see what Mocking The Draft says about the pick:

Although the Broncos added Perrish Cox in the fifth round last year, his off-the-field problems are concerning. In addition, Andre Goodman was decent at best, and is the same age as Bailey. Syd'Quan Thompson is probably little more than a nickel cornerback.

Burton has the ability to be much more than that. He has good size, athleticism and instincts for the position. Being drafted to a team where he doesn't have to be the No. 1 guy immediately is exactly what he needs.

It never hurts to add corners. They're pass rushers -- you can't have enough of them. With Champ Bailey on the down hill side of his career, this makes sense.

For more on this pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: San Francisco 49ers Select QB Colin Kaepernick

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft continues with the San Francisco 49ers on the clock in the second round. Niners Nation has decided to go with a quarterback selecting Nevada's Colin Kaepernick.

Niners Nation explains the pick:

Of all the quarterbacks in this draft, Colin Kaepernick intrigues me the most with his combination of skills and upside. I spoke with one draft analyst who views Kaepernick as a slightly taller version of Aaron Rodgers. He has a combination of scrambling ability and arm that could make him the perfect match for the 49ers offense.     

Because of the lockout, the 49ers will probably have to roll with Alex Smith in 2011 but from there they need someone for the future. That appears to Kaepernick. He's been rising lately and has a real shot to be successful especially working with Jim Harbaugh.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Detroit Lions Select CB Brandon Harris

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft continues with the Detroit Lions and the 44th pick. Pride Of Detroit has decided to focus on defense selecting Miami CB Brandon Harris.

Here's what Pride of Detroit had to say about the pick:

 Cornerback is perhaps the position of biggest need for the Lions. Depth isn't great, and with the CBA in limbo it's unclear if free agent Chris Houston, the Lions' top CB last season, will be restricted or unrestricted. That means it's unclear if the Lions will be able to re-sign him, so I felt it was important to add talent to this position both as an insurance plan for Houston and to make the position better in general.

I feel like the Lions got great value with both their picks so far. Bowers dropped a little in the first round because of the knee issues and there are some who feel Harris could be a first round pick in the draft. This is a solid draft for the Lions.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft.   

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Minnesota Vikings Select QB Ricky Stanzi

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft continues in the second round with the Minnesota Vikings on the clock. Daily Norseman has decided to find their next quarterback with Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi.

Here's what Mocking The Draft says about the pick:

It really wasn't a surprise to see the Vikings use this pick on a quarterback. It was a shock to see it be Stanzi. Although I'm not as high on Nevada's Colin Kaepernick as others, he's a much better player than Stanzi. It sort of seems like people are touting Stanzi as maybe the next Tom Brady solely to take a flier.     

I like Stanzi a lot as a fourth round pick but not this high. Alas, that's life when you don't have a future at quarterback -- you have to reach.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Houston Texans Select S Rahim Moore

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft rolls on in the second round with the Houston Texans picking 42nd. Battle Red Blog is looking to shore up the Texans defense and has selected S Rahim Moore in the second round.

Here's what Battle Red Blog said about the pick:

Breaking news, MTD readers: the Texans' defense is horrendous. Breakinger news: the stench emanating from the Houston secondary is the biggest reason why. Breakingest news: not once in their previous nine rookie drafts have the Texans ever seen fit to address the free safety position with anything other than a late-round pick. That wouldn't be so offensive if the team had ever signed a respectable free agent to play free safety. Alas, that hasn't happened either. So here we are, as desperate for coverage help at safety as ever, with monstrous problems at corner as well.

This is even an understatement -- that's how bad the Texans defense was this year. Really bad. This is about their only choice with some of these high picks -- fix the defense. The offense is nearing elite levels to a competent defense makes this a dangerous team.

For the full explanation of this pick, check out Mocking The Draft.   

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Washington Redskins Select G Danny Watkins

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft continues with the Washington RedskinsHogs Haven, picking 41st, has selected Baylor G Danny Watkins to help solidify that offensive line. Having picked OT Trent Williams last year, it's clear Mike Shanahan wants to fix this offensive line.

Here's what Hogs Haven said about the pick:

What he lacks in experience on the gridiron, he makes up for in strength, athleticism and technique - the exact things that Mike Shanahan and son/assistant Kyle value most in their offensive linemen. The 26-year old also brings a great deal of maturity and character, having spent four years as a firefighter in his native British Columbia.    

When Shanahan went to the Redskins, I always imagined them having an elite offensive line like his days in Denver. We'll see if he decides to address that this week in the real NFL draft.

For more on the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Dallas Cowboys Select CB Aaron Williams

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft continues with the Dallas Cowboys who have the 40th overall pick. The Cowboys went with OT Tyron Smith in the first round although some thought they could address the cornerback position. So Blogging The Boys has decided to go the cornerback route in the second round selecting Texas CB Aaron Williams.

Dan Kadar of Mocking The Draft thinks this would be another excellent pick for the Cowboys.

If this is how Dallas' draft turns out, the team would get an A. Both Smith and Williams are high-upside players. Williams in particular would be able to step into the team's starting lineup as a rookie and make an impact.    

I like this draft a lot too because you have a nice combination of need and best player available. The Cowboys don't have to reach much because, despite their 2010 record, they're a very good team. QB Tony Romo will be back healthy and this is probably a playoff team.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Tennessee Titans Select LB Bruce Carter

The Tennessee Titans have the 39th overall pick in SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft and representing them will be Music City Miracles. The Titans have yet to grab a quarterback and MCM writes that it's a little early for QB Colin Kaepernick so they'll select North Carolina OLB Bruce Carter. 

The Titans' biggest need outside of quarterback is OLB, and Carter is a really good value at this pick. He would be a first-round pick if it weren't for the ACL injury he suffered last November. He should be 100 percent healthy by the time the Titans take the field to start preparations for the 2011 season.

MCM is right about this mock draft and the Titans They were probably hoping Cincy didn't snag QB Andy Dalton. They're in some trouble if they don't pick one up somehow.

On Carter, it appears the Titans could be getting a steal. Perhaps that injury had no long-term damage and he recovers just fine. Or it's also possible this slows him down and he loses his burst. It's the risk of taking someone coming off of an injury like this. 

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Arizona Cardinals Select LB Martez Wilson

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft rolls on with the 38th overall pick. Revenge Of The Birds, representing the Arizona Cardinals, has decided to address the linebackers with Martez Wilson out of Illinois.

Here's what they had to say:

The Cardinals need help on the outside in their pass rush, but also miss a presence inside. Adding him to a corps of Daryl Washington and O'Brien Schofield would give Arizona perhaps the fastest group of linebackers in the league. The great thing about Wilson's versatility is that wherever he is able to show greater potential (inside or out), he will be able to fill a great need.    

Sometimes you just need to collect good football players regardless of position and I think that's Wilson. Whether he's inside or outside, he's going to fill a need. 

The Cardinals are getting better day-by-day. Cam Newton and Martez Wilson aren't a bad 1-2 punch.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Cleveland Browns Select DE Adrian Clayborn

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft moves on in the second round and Dawgs By Nature is up representing the Cleveland Browns with the 37th overall pick. The Browns have a few options on the board but have decided to continue the re-make of their defensive line by grabbing Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn.

Here's what Dawgs By Nature said:

Clayborn has fallen pretty significantly from his original projected value in mock drafts, so this marks the second steal in a row for the Browns. Through the rest of the draft, Cleveland would have the luxury of taking chances on other prospects since other holes, such as safety and depth on the offensive line, can be addressed through free agency.    

What I would consider a luxury is being able to re-make your defensive line in one swoop like this. Clayborn has talent and comes from a school, Iowa, with a good reputation of producing quality NFL players. 

It's also worth noting that the Browns are building a defensive line similar to their divisional opponents, Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens. I like what Dawgs By Nature has done for the Browns in this mock draft.

Check out the full explanation atMocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Denver Broncos Select DT Marvin Austin

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft continues with the Denver Broncos drafting in the second round at 36th overall. The Broncos can go in a number of directions since they have plenty of holes to fill but Mile High Report decided to address the defensive line with North Carolina DT Marvin Austin.

Dan Kadar of Mocking The Draft says Austin has talent but there are of course question marks.

Austin can move around as well as any interior lineman in this year's class, and is quick for his size. The issue he still faces is about his work ethic. Working out is easy. Translating it consistently to game day is another story. At North Carolina, Austin too frequently took plays off or seemed to go half speed. Is that a good fit for Denver's rebuilding defense?    

It seems this happens with defensive linemen more than any other position. You've got this great player who can dominate but you just need him to bust his hump on a daily basis. It's easier said than done...or else every team would have a great defensive tackle instead of only a few.

For more on the selection, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Cincinnati Bengals Select QB Andy Dalton

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft continues with the Cincinnati Bengals taking a quarterback in the second round at pick No. 35 -- QB Andy Dalton. The Bengals are in an odd position with QB Carson Palmer possibly not returning next season so they'll need some sort of quarterback of the future in the fold.

SB Nation's Cincy Jungle explains the pick:

Regardless, the Bengals need a quarterback while Carson Palmer lives luxuriously in the retirement phase of his career while his younger, and less talented, brother suddenly becomes the team's top quarterback. Dalton, according to many experts, is believed to be a quarterback that can run the West Coast offense - a system implemented this off-season with the hiring of Jay Gruden as the team's offensive coordinator.

The Bengals are really in a tough position. Dalton probably isn't a day one starter and they don't have much else in the pipeline outside of Palmer so 2011 can be a really tough year. But, in the long-term interests of the team, Dalton makes sense. 

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Buffalo Bills Select QB Jake Locker

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft continues with the 34th overall pick and picking for the Buffalo Bills will be Buffalo Rumblings. They have a bit of a surprise in the second round with QB Jake Locker still on the board. It's too much to pass up so Locker is the pick.

Buffalo Rumblings explains Locker in Buffalo.

 He's a Gailey type of quarterback, capable of making plays on the move, and Gailey can scheme around his flaws just as easily as he could Newton's. (I mean, it's not like Fitzpatrick is the most accurate guy in the world, and Gailey loves him.) I think you get as much upside in Locker as you do with the other guys, and in this case, you get it at significantly better value (and compared to Newton, much less off-field risk). Locker's no sure bet, but Buffalo is an ideal developmental situation for him, and it's a risk worth taking.

I like this pick if only because I totally don't expect him to be here. Locker should be a first round pick. Crazier things have happened but plenty of teams will reach on a quarterback and I suspect Locker will be gone. But for Buffalo here, this is a solid pick.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft.  

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: New England Patriots Select LB Brooks Reed

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft rolls on into the second round with the New England Patriots picking 33rd. Pats Pulpit has a range of prospects to choose from but has decided to go defense once again picking LB Brooks Reed out of Arizona.

Pats Pulpit runs down the numbers on Reed:

Reed has an explosive first step, and ran one of the fastest 10-yard splits at the Combine at 1.54 seconds. In fact, his 10-yard split was even faster than Georgia's A.J. Green. While it's hard to measure a prospect largely on what he did at the Combine, Reed showed good side-to-side quickness and better fluidity than expected in the linebacker drills. Add in the fact that Reed ran a 4.65, and has the build of a typical Patriots 3-4 outside linebacker at 6'3" and 263 lbs., and you've got a multitude of reasons why Reed could be an excellent pick for the Patriots.    

He can step into the Patriots system and immediately be surrounded by veterans and one of the best coaches in the league -- it's not a bad situation. Reed clearly has some things to work on but he could be solid value for the Pats here if he can contribute early.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Green Bay Packers Select OT Derek Sherrod

The Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl so they have the honor of picking last in SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft.The Packers, represented by SB Nation's Acme Packing Company, will address the offensive line and pick OT Derek Sherrod.

This now makes two consecutive first round picks at offensive tackle for a team that doesn't have a consensus need.

Sherrod and Bulaga both have question marks as NFL left tackles, but there's a lot of time left for them to develop and sort out which side is best for either player. Keeping QB Aaron Rodgers protected in the pocket should be a constant long-term goal in the back of GM Ted Thompson's mind.

You were in the Super Bowl because of your quarterback so you may as well do all you can to invest in the resources necessary to protect that quarterback. It's hard to complain about this pick, although there are other options.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Pittsburgh Steelers Select OT Nate Solder

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft rolls on and at pick No. 31 the Pittsburgh Steelers, represented by Behind The Steel Curtain, have selected Colorado OT Nate Solder. The big, 6'8" offensive tackle has long been considered a first round pick and the Steelers will make him one.

BTSC says given the current state of the Steelers offensive line, Solder is the best possible pick.

When you look at the total package of offensive tackles for the Steelers, the optimist might tell you that Max Starks and Willie Colon will be back, that Flozell Adams has another year in him, and that coach Sean Kugler can make Jonathan Scott better. The pessimist will tell you that the group is shaky at best, aging, coming off severe injuries and mediocre to begin with. The realist will tell you that drafting Solder, regardless of whether you see the glass half empty or half full, would upgrade the entire complexion of that unit with the addition of talent, youth and durability.    

It's hard to disagree with that. The Steelers were in the Super Bowl for a reason and part of that is because of their consistency. Consistency comes from having solid offensive and defensive line. I like this upgrade.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: New York Jets Select LB Akeem Ayers

The New York Jets are selecting 30th overall in SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft and Gang Green Nation has made UCLA LB Akeem Ayers their selection. Rex Ryan loves rushing the passer and he'll get another linebacker for that.

Gang Green Nation says this is a situation where need meets value.

The front office has made it clear the status quo at outside linebacker was not good enough. Otherwise, Jason Taylor would be back at his reasonable 2011 salary. While Ayers is more raw as a pass rusher than the Jets would like, they have an excellent defensive coaching staff to try and mold his big time athleticism into a pass rushing threat.     

If I were a linebacker in this draft, I would love to be picked by the Jets. Rex Ryan does incredible work with defensive players and he could have Ayers playing at his highest potential.

For more on the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Chicago Bears Select DT Stephen Paea

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft rolls along with the 29th overall pick and for that we turn to our Chicago Bears blog, Windy City Gridiron. With DT Tommie Harris out of Chicago, the Bears are looking to pick up another defensive lineman, writes WCG, and that pick will be DT Stephen Paea.

Paea is the one who set a new Combine record on the bench press last February. Here's what WCG says about him:

Paea has a fast burst off the snap, is very strong, and can man-handle offensive linemen in his pursuit to the QB. He has a non-stop motor, and his "bull rushing" style can quickly wear down interior offensive linemen. Not only is this 3-technique a dominating pass-rusher, but can also cause traffic jams at the point of attack on running plays, and has the strength to make tackles even while being blocked.    

It's hard to pass up on strong defensive linemen when they're available so I can't blame WCG for this pick. Their strength is their defense so they need to reload to ensure that continues to be their strength.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: New England Patriots Select DE Cameron Heyward

The New England Patriots are up next drafting 28th overall in SB Nation's 2011 NFL draft. This pick is a candidate to be traded on draft day but, for now, Pats Pulpit is selecting DE Cameron Heyward with the 28th overall pick.

I like this pick a lot, as does Pats Pulpit.

Sure, his production was not terrific last season, but he's a team captain, hard worker, and high character player. In addition, he looks the part of a 3-4 right defensive end in the mold of a Richard Seymour, standing at 6'5" and 294 lbs. He's not an elite run defender that will dominate double teams in the form of a left end such as Ty Warren, but he can push the pocket and line up in a variety of positions along the line to take advantage of his quickness.    

One of the early draft picks in the Patriots dynasty was securing DEs Richard Seymour and Ty Warren. It's not a sexy position by any means but it's one of those positions that you absolutely have to get right. Plus, Heyward sounds like the type of person the Patriots tend to draft.

For more on the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Atlanta Falcons Select DE Justin Houston

The Atlanta Falcons are drafting 27th in SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft and The Falcoholic writes they'll be looking for DE John Abraham's eventual replacement. For that, the Falcons have selected Georgia DE Justin Houston. The Falcons will stay in-state which will more than likely make quite a few of their fans happy.

Here's what The Falcoholic said about Houston:

Most importantly, he becomes the heir apparent to John Abraham. One of his generation's finest sack masters, Abraham is on the wrong side of 30 and his contract is up after 2011. The team has long been in need of an effective complement to him and someone who can take his place should he not return to Atlanta, and Houston looks like he could be that guy.

The great teams recognize when their stars are falling and have replacements ready. They don't just let them age and do nothing about it. Plus, rushing the passer is incredibly important and the Falcons recognize that. I like this move a lot and it's a very popular mock draft pick so others do, too.

For the full explanation of the pick,check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Baltimore Ravens Select DE Aldon Smith

The Baltimore Ravens are on the clock with the 26th pick in SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft and Baltimore Beatdown is getting excellent value with their pick, DE Aldon Smith. He'll move to outside linebacker in the Ravens defensive scheme but this is an excellent pick for them.

They get another great pass rushing linebacker who, in this scheme, will likely perform at a high level. I really like this pick. I think Baltimore Beatdown is right in writing this is the steal of the first round.

He has the perfect size and speed to put his hand in the dirt and be a fierce pass rushing complement to Terrell Suggs, and will erase the problem of sacking the QB that the Ravens have had in the past few years. Value-wise, Aldon Smith may be the biggest steal of any team in the first round.

This would be a case of the rich getting richer. The Ravens have a wealth of talent on the defensive side of the ball and Smith would add to that. Smith would be very happy to land here.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft.   

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Seattle Seahawks Select QB Ryan Mallett

The Seattle Seahawks are picking 25th in SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft and plenty of folks think they'll look hard and long at drafting a quarterback. Picking for the Seahawks, SB Nation's Field Gulls decides that quarterback is the route to go selecting QB Ryan Mallett.

This will be among the most controversial picks as Mallett has some red flags attached to him but Field Gulls says this is ultimately a good value.

Ultimately the upside of Ryan Mallett is too much to pass up. The character concerns are there but widely unsubstantiated, and Mallett is a good fit for the direction the Seahawks want to go in. Most scouts rate his arm in the top 10 range, but Mallett will fall due to off-field and character concerns. The Seahawks' front office has shown a willingness to take a chance on these types of issues, and will see Mallett at No. 25 as a good value.     

This is a tough pick here. Mallett may not be the best fit for Seattle's offense but they need some sort of future behind QB Matt Hasselbeck, who may not be back with the Seahawks next year.

Check out the full explanation of the pick at Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: New Orleans Saints Select DT Muhammad Wilkerson

The New Orleans Saints are next on the clock in SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft and with the 24th pick Canal Street Chronicles goes with a big defensive tackle in Muhammad Wilkerson out of Temple. Only a junior, Wilkerson is considered by many to be a good value late in the first round so this spot suits him well.

We know what the Saints offense can do so now it's time they address the defense. Wilkerson will be paired alongside former top 10 pick DT Sedrick Ellis to open up the pass rushing lanes for the Saints, Canal Street Chronicles writes. 

It would be a crime for me to pass up the opportunity to take him here for New Orleans. Sedrick Ellis has been holding his own on the inside of the defensive line, but he needs some help, and the Saints have lacked depth at the position for years. Hopefully, Wilkerson puts an end to that problem. He's known to be scheme diverse, so the Saints could even move him over to defensive end as needed.

As Mocking The Draft notesin response to the pick, it's hard to see DE Aldon Smith continue to fall as he's one of the better pass rushers in the draft.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Cam Newton Strengthening Grip On Top Overall Status

With the 2011 NFL Draft creeping ever closer, Auburn junior QB Cam Newton's stranglehold on the top overall pick seems to be strengthening as he remains the No. 1 selection in our NFL Mock Draft. Can anyone challenge him by April 28?

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Philadelphia Eagles Select CB Jimmy Smith

The Philadelphia Eagles are drafting 23rd in SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft and representing the birds, Bleeding Green Nation, has selected CB Jimmy Smith. The Eagles two biggest areas of need are offensive line and cornerback. OTs Anthony Castonzo and Gabe Carimi are off the board so this is a somewhat easy pick for BGN.

The biggest question mark with Smith is of course "character concerns." On that, BGN writes:

We've heard rumors that he's overly cocky, but we heard those same things about DeSean Jackson, and look how that turned out. A lot of teams outsmarted themselves taking guys like Devin Thomas and Jerome Simpson before him. A lot of teams probably did the same thing last year with Dez Bryant. The Eagles have never shied away from taking guys with character concerns, and I know they recently had Smith in for a visit to Philadelphia. Assuming he carried himself reasonably well in that face to face interview, I don't think the Eagles would have any reservations about taking him.

Character is important but if you have a veteran locker room, I think you can handle it. The Eagles are a veteran team, with a coach who has won a lot before, so I think they can handle guys with character concerns.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft.    

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Indianapolis Colts Select OT Anthony Castonzo

The Indianapolis Colts are drafting 22nd in SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft and there are a number of positions they can look at. Stampede Blue is repping the Colts and their pick will be Boston College OT Anthony Castonzo. Whenever you go for the size up front on the offensive line it's a good pick, I think.

The Colts are a team that revolves around QB Peyton Manning so it makes plenty of sense that they draft to protect him. Per Stampede Blue:

If the primary focus of the Colts during the 2011offseason is re-signing Manning, then it makes absolutely no sense for Peyton to sign his name on that dotted line if the Colts are not going to surround him with players who can protect him. Peyton is 35 years old, and while he is still considered by many to be ‘the best,' the reality is not even ‘the best' can help their team win if the offensive line can't block in front of them.

Yep, that explains it pretty well. Without Manning, this team isn't much. So the priority should be keeping Manning healthy, which he has been able to do in his career to this point.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Kansas City Chiefs Select DT Phil Taylor

The Kansas City Chiefs are drafting outside of the top five for the first time in three years and with the 21st pick in SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft, representing the Chiefs, Arrowhead Pride, has selected Baylor DT Phil Taylor.

The Chiefs have a number of needs and they could go in a number of places, including Mizzou's Aldon Smith, but they have to address the nose tackle long term amid uncertainty.

Ron Edwards and Shaun Smith don't have contracts next year and Anthony Toribio doesn't have much experience so they need a future at nose tackle and that will be Taylor.

The Chiefs worked him out privately and will bring him in for a visit as well, so they're displaying interest in him and his arrival in Kansas City makes sense on a number of levels. There are other holes that the Chiefs may choose to address - outside linebacker, wide receiver and offensive tackle - but I don't think Pioli finds what he's looking for at the 21st pick with those positions.    

The pick makes sense and hits on a position of need.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Select DE Ryan Kerrigan

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are selecting 20th in SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft and representing Tampa Bay, Bucs Nation, has selected Ryan Kerrigan. I think a lot of folks are predicting they go with a pass-rusher here and it comes down to Kerrigan or Aldon Smith.

On the difference between the two,Bucs Nation writes:

With Missouri's Aldon Smith and Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan both still on the board, they get to choose between a highly talented but raw and inexperienced prospect in Smith, and a less talented but highly productive prospect in Kerrigan. In the end, I think the Bucs will fall in love with Kerrigan's motor and college production and pick him over the higher upside of Smith. The fact that Kerrigan was a co-captain in college will speak to the Buccaneers, as they've made it a point to target team captains since Raheem Morris and Mark Dominik took over the team.

It's hard to complain when you go with a pass-rusher considering the importance of getting to the quarterback. If you can get to the quarterback, it eases the pressure on the rest of the defense. I like this pick.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: New York Giants Select G/C Mike Pouncey

The New York Giants are up next in SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft and with the 19th overall pick Big Blue Viewgoing offensive line with G/C Mike Pouncey. The other Pouncey brother out of Florida figures to be a first round pick and this is a spot we've seen him go before.

If you're a team in need of interior offensive line help, and drafting around this area, Pouncey is a no-brainer. He's similar to his brother, who had an excellent rookie year with the Steelers, so there's reason to believe he can do very well.

SB Nation's Big Blue View explains the pick:

The Giants have injury and age concerns with both center Shaun O'Hara and guard Rich Seubert heading into the 2011 season, and Pouncey covers them in both slots. I know some people wonder if Pouncey is really a center, but if Giants offensive line coach Pat Flaherty can make Adam Koets into an adequate center, he can make Pouncey into a star.

Pouncey seems close to a sure thing so I can't complain about this pick.

For the full explanation, check out Mocking The Draft.   

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: San Diego Chargers Select DE Cameron Jordan

The San Diego Chargers have one of the most talented rosters and they'll look to add to it in SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft. Selecting for the Chargers will be SB Nation's Bolts From The Blue. 

With the 18th overall pick, the Chargers select California DE Cameron Jordan. The Chargers address their defense who, statistically, had a great year. However, statistics can be misleading, writes Bolts From The Blue.

Cameron Jordan is ideal for the 3-4 since he can both eat up space when necessary, but is agile enough to break containment and stop ballcarriers. He doesn't have to be the guy that gets the sacks in this defense, he just needs to be a menace that works for four quarters and attracts the attention of offensive linemen. For this son of a former NFL player, that's right in his wheelhouse.

This pick really comes down to whether he's the best defensive end on the board because I think the Chargers are going defensive end. If he's the best on the board, he's the pick. I feel pretty confident that they're looking at someone like Jordan, if he falls.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: New England Patriots Select OT Gabe Carimi

The New England Patriots are next up in the SB Nation 2011 NFL mock draft picking 17th overall. The Patriots are among the most interesting drafting teams because they've shown they can trade up or down and make unconventional picks.

With that said, representing the Patriots, SB Nation's Pats Pulpit selects Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi. In my opinion, it's hard to complain about an offensive tackle in the first round because it's generally a safe pick and everyone can use a bolster to the offensive line.

SB Nation's Pats Pulpit explains taking Carimi over other players who could fit here like DE Aldon Smith or DE Ryan Kerrigan.

The reason I opted not to select Kerrigan or Smith is because both of these players are projections for the Patriots' system. Smith is an athletic pass rusher, but would certainly have a ways to go before being a polished 3-4 outside linebacker that has the ability to set the edge. Kerrigan has questions surrounding his fluidity and ability to make that transition to linebacker, making him a bit of a risky pick for the Patriots. 

Dan from Mocking The Draft says while this is a fine pick it would be surprising if they didn't go with a pass-rusher here.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Jacksonville Jaguars Select QB Christian Ponder

The Jacksonville Jaguars are on the clock in SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft. Picking 16th, Big Cat Country is making the selection and it's a bit of a surprise: QB Christian Ponder. (If you're a regular BCC reader, then this isn't a huge surprise.)

Ponder comes off the board much earlier than many figured and, frankly, it's hard to argue. As BCC notes, the run on quarterbacks may be happening before they pick in the second round putting them out of the running for guys like Ryan Mallett, Colin Kaepernick, Andy Dalton or Ponder. 

Selecting him now ensures that you get him and potentially gives you a year to stick him on the bench, if that's what they decide to do. The Jags have other holes they could be filling but there's no position in sports as important as quarterback. I like that they don't necessarily have to rush Ponder.

SB Nation's Mocking The Draft says this pick isn't out of the realm of possibility.

This is a gamble, sort of. If people can recall, Ponder was considered a first-round player heading into the 2010 season. While it may be odd to see him being picked this high, if a team like Jacksonville likes him, they'll take him. We see that every year with the draft.    

Interesting stuff. For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Miami Dolphins Select RB Mark Ingram

The Miami Dolphins are up next in SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft picking 15th. Their needs range from quarterback to interior offensive line to receiver to running back. They can make a case for any of those positions and SB Nation's The Phinsider has opted for running back picking Alabama's Mark Ingram.

I'm definitely not a huge fan of first round running backs but they're potentially losing Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams to free agency so there's a significant hole. There's not a sure-fire quarterback at the 15th spot, and it seems a little high for a guard or a center. The top two receivers are off the board and the next one may not go until late in the first round. 

That leaves running back, which makes sense from that perspective. SB Nation's Mocking The Draft notes that it's possible a quarterback comes off the board here.

This would also be a spot to watch for quarterbacks Jake Locker or Christian Ponder coming off the board. It's early for both, but it wouldn't be a surprise.

It wouldn't be a major surprise but I don't expect it at this point. That said, if you're going to reach for a position, it's probably quarterback.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: St. Louis Rams Select DT Corey Liuget

The St. Louis Rams are on the clock with the 14th pick in the SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft and Turf Show Times is making the pick: DT Corey Liuget. The big defensive tackle out of Illinois is first-round talent and Turf Show Times noted it's difficult to make this pick with Mizzou's Aldon Smith still on the board but Liuget fills a big hole. 

The biggest hole in the unit was at the three-technique, where the Rams lacked a player capable of holding his owner with bigger guards, much less getting through them. Liuget gives that unit an instant upgrade in both the pass rush and run defense, as well as providing something of an insurance policy if 34-year-old Fred Robbins' career renaissance was just a one-year phenomenon.    

This is a tough pick. I can completely see the reasoning behind the Liuget pick but I have a hard time seeing Aldon Smith passing them by. Mocking The Draft seems to agree noting that Smith is still available.

Smith would carry the most value with this choice, by far. The Rams have Chris Long at one end spot, but not much else. Smith would give them the speed rush they haven't had in a long time. Liuget isn't a bad pick, though. While he's become a little overrated, he fills another big need for the Rams.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Detroit Lions Select DE Da'Quan Bowers

We have what we believe is the first real "steal" of SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft. With the 13th pick, Pride of Detroit, representing the Detroit Lions, has selected Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers. Sure, there are plenty of question marks with him but at the 13th pick it's worth the gamble.

Pride of Detroit runs down the players available and, with CB Prince Amukamara off the board, and being unsure of the offensive tackle prospects, instilling the best player available strategy make sense. SB Nation's Mocking The Draft agrees:

Of the 13 picks thus far in this mock, this is clearly the biggest steal. Bowers could have been the pick several times already and been a good one. With Vanden Bosch, 32, getting up there in age, Bowers would be able to ease his transition into the NFL.    

The Lions will be turning into the best defensive line in football. With DT Ndamukong Suh already there, this quickly becomes the identity of the Lions. Solid pick and worth the risk.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Minnesota Vikings Select DE J.J. Watt

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft moves to the 12th pick where SB Nation's Daily Norseman will be representing the Vikings. Minnesota's brain trust has made their decision and the 12th pick in the draft will be Wisconsin DE J.J. Watt. 

If you're addressing defensive end at this spot, and Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers is still on the board, you have to answer those wondering why you went with Watt. Daily Norseman writes that Bowers simply had too many red flags while Watt appeared to be the real deal.

Watt, on the other hand, has no questions about his work ethic, or his production. Measuring in at 6'6" and a shade over 290 pounds, Watt would be able to fill in most of the positions along the defensive line. He would likely immediately step into Ray Edwards' spot at left defensive end, and could play on passing downs either on the outside or in-between Kevin Williams and Jared Allen as a tackle.    

Dan Kadar of Mocking The Draft has the same questions about Bowers: As much as people want to dog on him for an occasional lack of effort, he still had a sack in every game he played in 2010. Do that in the NFL and you're an All Pro.

With Jones going to the Texans at the 11th pick, and Watt over Bowers at the 12th pick, we've had a few surprises in SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft.

For the full explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Houston Texans Select WR Julio Jones

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft rolls along with the 11th pick going to the Houston Texans. Battle Red Blog is at the podium making the selection and the pick is Alabama WR Julio Jones. Personally, I'm a huge Julio Jones fan. Everyone seems to have one player in the draft every year that they become attached to and think they'll be great. For me this year, that's Jones.

That said, I'm not sure I totally agree with the pick. The Texans defense is pretty low on the totem pole right now and I think there are several positions they could be addressing before hitting receiver, where they already have Pro Bowler WR Andre Johnson.

SB Nation's Mocking The Draft is sort of like me -- this is an excellent player but you have to wonder if there are other priorities.

To snag Jones here, though, is a coup. He's pretty similar in style to Johnson but could also work the inside part of the field really well. If Houston's tight ends continue their history of getting injured, Jones would be an excellent open working the underneath area while Johnson streaks down field. This isn't a bad pick by any means, but [Missouri DE Aldon] Smith just might be a better one.

Andre Johnson and Julio Jones on the same field? That would be pretty wild.

Check out Mocking The Draft for the full explanation of the pick. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Washington Redskins Select DE Robert Quinn

The Washington Redskins are on the clock in SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft and Hogs Haven has their pick -- UNC DE Robert Quinn. The 10th overall pick will go to a guy who sat our the entire 2010 college football season but has a lot of upside.

Hogs Haven reasons there aren't the character concerns with him you might hear about (read this) and he'll be a steal with the 10th pick. Our own Mocking The Draft responds:

Character is not what should be questioned in Quinn. What should be is whether or not he'd be able to transition to playing linebacker. At North Carolina, Quinn was almost always used moving forward from the defensive end spot. He'll also go to a team being extremely rusty after sitting out the 2010 season.    

If this pick works, think about Quinn and Orakpo rushing the passer. That's an intimidating combo and one you can build a defense around. I'm skeptical as to whether it will work and what kind of time Quinn will need to get back into the swing of things but the idea of it is a great one.

For Hogs Haven entire explanation of the pick, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Dallas Cowboys Select OT Tyron Smith

The Dallas Cowboys are on the clock with the ninth pick of SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft and Blogging The Boyshas selected USC OT Tyron Smith. This pick is a bit of a surprise to me but it's hard to complain about going with the big boys up front. 

Blogging The Boys has reasoned that offensive tackle and defensive end were among the top needs but opted to go with the guy who will protect their quarterback. I like the logic. 

Dallas could have gone strictly BPA here, where Robert Quinn is the likely guy according to most experts, but the Cowboys are having problems along their line as age and injury are catching up, and their depth has not developed. They need an infusion along the line to keep Tony Romo healthy, and Smith is generally considered the top offensive lineman in the draft. So you mix need in with BPA, and go with Tyron Smith.

As Mocking The Draft points out, I think Dallas does want to trade out of this pick. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said a couple weeks ago he's received multiple offers for the ninth pick and, whether that's accurate or not we don't know, but it certainly got the word out that the pick is for sale.

For more on this pick, and Blogging The Boys full explanation, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Tennessee Titans Select DT Nick Fairley

The Tennessee Titans are up next in SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft and with the eighth pick Music City Miracleshas tapped Auburn DT Nick Fairley. There are a couple of ways to look at this pick, I think. 

First, this is awesome value if he turns out to be the player some think he is. In January, after the 2010 college football season, Fairley was considered by many to be the top player in the draft.

Second, what if his work ethic really is a problem? Then this pick becomes a lot more meh. He's been falling down draft boards because a little more digging has raised more questions than answers.

Here's what Mocking The Draft had to say about the pick:

This is Tennessee's top need after quarterback, and Fairley is a big-time talent. What Tennessee will have to figure out before making the pick is whether or not Fairley has the work ethic to be great. The trouble is, he may not.

I seem to recall a defensive tackle with work ethic questions doing pretty darn well for himself in Tennessee. So well, in fact, that he received a $100-plus million contract in Washington.

For more on the pick and Music City Miracles' full explanation, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: San Francisco 49ers Select CB Prince Amukamara

The San Francisco 49ers are up next in SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft selecting seventh. The 49ers are an interesting pick because they can go in a few different directions. SB Nation's Niners Nation is making the pick and they're going with Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara.

Niners Nation says the two biggest needs heading into draft day are quarterback and cornerback. With quarterback, the top two guys -- Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton -- are off the board and there's not a third guy that will be in the top 10. So the 49ers look to cornerback and Amukamara is the best on the board.

Mocking The Draft agrees that, if quarterback is gone, defense is the pick butsuggests another linebacker.

While it's highly likely cornerback will be the selection, the team may also consider a rush linebacker with this pick. There is a good amount of depth at cornerback this year, but not as much for 3-4 outside linebackers. If San Francisco goes linebacker, it would either be North Carolina's Robert Quinn and Missouri's Aldon Smith.

Still, it's hard to go argue with a top corner like Amukamara. He was the best player on one of the best defenses in the country last year San Francisco could do worse. 

Check out Niners Nation for more on the 49ers draft needs and check out Mocking The Draft for the full explanation of the Amukamara pick.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Cleveland Browns Select DT Marcell Dareus

The Cleveland Browns are up next in SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft and with the sixth pick Dawgs By Nature has selected Alabama DT Marcell Dareus. We haven't seen this pick mocked to the Browns a lot because many have Dareus off the board before the sixth pick.

SB Nation's Dawgs By Nature explains the pick:

It was difficult to see Patrick Peterson and A.J. Green drafted in front of the Browns. Defensive line might be the biggest need that Cleveland has, but I think this class is deep enough that quality linemen would have still been available in the second round. With that said, after seeing the top two players on my draft board disappear, it isn't like I will be disappointed by the team grabbing an elite defensive lineman here in Marcell Dareus.    

Check out Mocking The Draft for the entire explanation including where the Browns stand right now on the defensive line.

What other pick I might consider is WR Julio Jones. Personally, I don't see him that far behind Georgia's A.J. Green. I think it's important that, if the Browns are committing to Colt McCoy, that they give him the tools necessary to succeed.

That said, it's hard to argue with Dareus. Check out Mocking The Draft to see what they're saying about the pick.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Arizona Cardinals Select QB Cam Newton

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft makes its way to the fifth pick and representing the Arizona Cardinals, SB Nation's Revenge of the Birds selects Auburn QB Cam Newton. 

Newton was not the number one choice for the team, as most would probably imagine. It just happened to be, though, that their top four picks went one through four in the draft. Based on the available talent and team needs, Newton was the best option.    

Agreed completely. I think they'd prefer Mizzou QB Blaine Gabbert but he went No. 1 overall to the Panthers so he's not there. Given what's in house with Arizona right now, there's a strong case for Newton. 

Mocking The Draft points out that there are no bigger holes on the Cardinals than quarterback so Newton "needs" to be the pick which I agree wholeheartedly with. Newton has some question marks but he'll have arguably the top receiver in the game right off the bat to help him get acclimated to the pro game.

For the complete explanation of this pick, check out Mocking The Draft

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Cincinnati Bengals Select WR A.J. Green

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft rolls on with the Cincinnati Bengals and the fourth pick. Making the selection is Cincy Jungle and the big winner is Georgia WR A.J. Green. 

I like the player and I like the pick but I'm not sure it's the best pick. Right now, it appears the Bengals won't have QB Carson Palmer in 2011. He has threatened to hold out the season if he's not traded or released and if he follows through on that -- many expect him to -- that would leave a gaping hole at quarterback.

So I like Green and it's hard to argue that he wouldn't help the Bengals, who may lose WR Chad Ochocinco before the season starts. But I think they could have gone another direction.

Mocking The Draft has a similar thought process as me. Green is definitely worthy of the fourth overall pick but you have to find out who will throw to him.

Check out Cincy Jungle's full explanation of the pick at Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Buffalo Bills Select CB Patrick Peterson

We're three picks into SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft and QB Cam Newton is still on the board. Buffalo Rumblings,picking third, has surprised a few of us and selected LSU CB Patrick Peterson. The talent, as Buffalo Rumblings writes, is undeniable.

I have absolutely no qualms about the idea of the Bills drafting Peterson. Cornerback is a need: Terrence McGee is injury-prone and aging, Drayton Florence is a free agent, and Leodis McKelvin has been a disappointment. Peterson is a clean prospect, a unique athletic talent, and the type of playmaker that any team can use. He was also the top player on my board from the word 'go.'    

Obviously the question here is why not quarterback. The full thought process on this pick is explained but basically quarterback isn't Buffalo's biggest need right now. I'd agree with that but think you have to give a long, hard look at Newton with pick No. 3. 

Mocking The Draft calls Peterson "one of the safest and the best" prospects in the draft. From that standpoint, I like picking Peterson because Buffalo simply cannot miss on this pick.

For more on the selection, and a full explanation from Buffalo Rumblings, check out Mocking The Draft. 

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Denver Broncos Select LB Von Miller

The SB Nation 2011 NFL mock draft rolls on with our Denver Broncos blog, Mile High Report, making the second overall pick. After contemplating it, MHR has gone with Texas A&M LB Von Miller.

As Mocking the Draft points out, hardly anyone is projecting this. I've seen more folks going with defensive tackle -- Nick Fairley or Marcell Dareus -- than linebacker. In fact, I've probably seen more people picking a quarterback than Miller. That's not to say it's not a good pick. It very well could be. The Broncos defense has needs all over the place and Miler helps fill a need. My question, though, would be whether it's harder to find a defensive tackle or a 

MHR's reasoning:

Miller would instantly inject athleticism onto a team that needs it, and with the Broncos going back to the 4-3 defense, they have need at the position. A group of D.J. Williams, Miller and Mario Haggan (or Wesley Woodyard) would be an upgrade - especially with Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers moving back to defensive end.    

At the end of the day, the Broncos need help on defense -- tackle, linebacker and even in the secondary -- so this can't be considered a bad pick. Perhaps there are better options but this isn't a bad one.

For more on the pick, check out Mile High Report and go to Mocking The Draft to see the full analysis of the pick.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Carolina Panthers Select QB Blaine Gabbert

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft is up and running at Mocking The Draft and the first pick is in. Representing the Carolina Panthers, SB Nation's Cat Scratch Reader selects QB Blaine Gabbert. 

Given the players available, and the Panthers current position with the No. 1 overall pick, I think this is the best selection. Gabbert isn't as good of a prospect as some other top picks but he comes with little baggage and a good work ethic. 

Cat Scratch Reader explains the pick:

Gabbert may not be the best prospect in the draft, but short of a sudden trade for Kevin Kolb, the Panthers' need for a franchise-caliber prospect at QB outweighs the risk. Gabbert's humble upbringing and polished persona will be the face of the Panthers franchise for many years to come.

Check out Mocking The Draft for the reaction to the pick. I like it because, as MTD points out, you have examine the risk involved. I believe Gabbert comes with little risk relative to another potential top pick, QB Cam Newton. Newton's ceiling may be a little higher but for a franchise that simply cannot miss on this pick, Gabbert is the safer choice.

Check out Cat Scratch Reader for more on the Panthers draft plans and Mocking The Draft for the full explanation of the pick.

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