NEW YORK - APRIL 22: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at the podium on stage during the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 22, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

NFL Draft 2011: Day One News And Rumors

The first round of the 2011 NFL draft has come and gone. Here are all the news and rumors that passed by on Thursday night.

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Von Miller To Broncos In 2011 NFL Draft At '90 Percent'

We're about an hour from finding out who the Denver Broncos will select in the 2011 NFL draft but former Broncos beat writer and current ESPN analyst Adam Schefter tweets that he's been told that the percentage is at "90 percent" for LB Von Miller being the Broncos pick.

This isn't a major surprise as many have starting honing in on Miller to the Broncos. The other option would be DT Marcell Dareus, who now appears likely to land in Buffalo.

Miller has been compared to NFL Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas so there will immediately be lofty expectations for him in the AFC West if the Broncos opt to select him.

All you Broncos fans should head to Mile High Report to see what Broncos fans are saying about Denver's pick in the draft. 

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.


Cam Newton To Carolina Panthers Already Settled, According To Report

The 2011 NFL draft won't begin for another hour but it appears the Carolina Panthers have found their man. As everyone has been predicting for several weeks now, the Panthers will select QB Cam Newton at 8:04 p.m. (ET) when they officially go on the clock.

ESPN's Sal Paolantonio, who just spoke with Panthers GM Marty Hurney, said the Panthers are at piece with their decision.

"Jerry Richardson the owner of the team met with Marty Hurney the general manager and the head coach Ron Rivera and he signed off on the proposal of drafting Cam Newton, who he met with in his home for many, many hours and was very impressed with."

Also worth noting: the Panthers say they haven't received a single offer for the No. 1 overall pick. Not one. That's a little surprising given all the trade talks that go on during draft season.

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.


NFL Trade Rumors Now Point To Browns, Falcons With Julio Jones In Play

The 2011 NFL draft is less than an hour away and there's an awful lot of talk out there about the Atlanta Falcons trying to move up into the top 10 of the draft. Jay Glazer of previously reported that Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff wants to get a play maker and that list included WR A.J. Green, WR Julio Jones and CB Patrick Peterson.

It seems the best guess right now is that Green will be drafted fourth by the Cincinnati Bengals and Peterson has a shot at being drafted fifth by the Arizona Cardinals.

That leaves the Cleveland Browns, a team that is trying to trade down. Glazer's prediction is that it's "likely" that Atlant and Cleveland will make a trade that will put the Falcons at the sixth spot. 

The target, according to Glazer, will be Jones.

This would be a major trade and one that would presumably cost the Falcons their 2012 first round pick. I just don't see the value in doing this. The Falcons are already a solid team and they just need to continue adding pieces -- not take draft picks away.

We'll see if it happens. 

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.


NFL Draft 2011: A.J. Green Sits Atop Bengals Draft Board

This news won't surprise anyone but ESPN's Bob Holtzmann is reporting that Georgia WR A.J. Green sits atop the Cincinnati Bengals wish list. Green has consistently been sent to the Bengals in various 2011 NFL mock drafts.

The other option, from what I can tell, would be QB Blaine Gabbert. He was tied to the Bengals for some time but reports have suggested that team owner Mike Brown isn't convinced QB Carson Palmer plans to retire if he's not traded.

If the Bengals go with Green, they'll be testing Palmer on that.

Of course, they can also address quarterback in the second round, or by moving back into the first round. But if Holtzmann's report is accurate, then the Bengals will likely have the best receiver in the draft waiting for whoever their quarterback is. 

The best part about all this is that we're only a few hours away from finding out who the pick is.

Check out Cincy Jungle for more on the Bengals draft day plans. 

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.


NFL Draft Trade Rumors: Falcons 'Aggressively' Looking At Top 10

The Atlanta Falcons are apparently serious about getting into the top 10 of the 2011 NFL draft.

Earlier this week SI's Peter King reported that the Falcons wanted to trade into the top 10 to acquire WR A.J. Green or WR Julio Jones.

Jay Glazer of also reports the Falcons are trying to move up and has a few more nuggets of information. The Falcons are talking to the Arizona Cardinals (fifth pick), Cleveland Browns (sixth pick) and San Francisco 49ers (seventh pick) about moving up.

Glazer also reports that CB Patrick Peterson is among the Falcons targets.

It would be very, very costly for the Falcons to move up into the top 10 from where they sit now. They're looking at giving up their 2012 first round pick to start the conversation. Are they willing to go that far for one of those players?

Many mock drafts have the Bengals, with the fourth pick, selecting Green. They're reportedly not in love with either of the top quarterbacks.  That would leave Jones and Peterson at the fifth pick and the Cardinals could take one of them. So that likely leaves the Browns as the trade partner -- and we know the Browns are looking to trade down.

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.


NFL Draft Trade Rumors: Patriots Looking At Cowboys Pick

The New England Patriots are armed with three of the top 33 picks in the 2011 NFL draft making them the most obvious candidate to start trading picks. In addition to that, no team has traded more draft picks over the last decade than Bill Belichick.

So expect some trades to go down. ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports that one of those trades could be with the Dallas Cowboys. Apparently, the Patriots are looking to trade with the Cowboys, who hold the ninth overall pick.

Who would their target be?

Mort says it's DE Cameron Jordan. SB Nation Boston weighs in on the Patriots trade rumors:

Jordan, 6-4 and 287 pounds, is the type of pass-rushing specialist the Pats are eyeing in the 2011 NFL Draft. There's no word on what New England would give up in return, but it's fair to assume one of their first-rounders would be sent to Dallas, if not both. 

The Patriots traded away DE Richard Seymour so plenty of people are thinking a defensive end for their 3-4 scheme is a solid possibility. Jordan makes sense and, if the Patriots feel they need to trade up for him, then that means they expect him to be gone by the time the 17th pick comes around.

Check out SB Nation Boston and Pats Pulpit to see what Patriots fans are saying about this rumor.

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.


NFL Draft 2011: Predictions On Cleveland Browns Draft Picks

The Cleveland Browns are drafting sixth in the 2011 NFL draft and there are a number of positions they can address including defensive tackle, linebacker and receiver. The majority of folks seem to be predicting receiver for the Browns which makes a lot of sense given there's a young quarterback in QB Colt McCoy.

Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer believes she has a list of four players the Browns could be considering: DT Marcell Dareus, LB Von Miller, CB Patrick Peterson, WR A.J. Green, CB Prince Amukamara or OT Tyron Smith. 

The surprise there would be Smith as there's no buzz for him to the Browns. 

Cabot also predicts that, given the right opportunity, the Browns would like to trade back.

I think the Browns would love to trade out of the No. 6 pick to bolster their roster. They need several quality players more than one superstar. But it would all depend on how far back and what they'd get in return. They're talking to teams already and will be all ears tomorrow.

Lots of teams would like to trade back but not many teams are willing to pay the price to move up so it could be a difficult task for the Browns to move around. If one of the top receivers are on the board, or maybe even QB Blaine Gabbert, I could see someone trading up.

It's just a matter of identifying a trade partner. If we're to believe the rumors floating around, that partner would be the Patriots

Check out Dawgs By Nature to see what Browns fans are saying about Cleveland's plans. 

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.


Da'Quan Bowers' NFL Mock Draft Tumble Has Patriots' Attention, Says Tampa Bay GM

Just a couple months ago, Clemson Tigers DE Da'Quan Bowers was a potential No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. But after knee problems, a surgery to correct the injury, a skipped NFL Combine and a shaky pro day performance, his draft projection has slid all the way to the middle of the first -- and beyond, according to some. Some team is going to have to take a risk, and it might be exactly who you'd think.

Peter King quotes Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik as saying, "New England's got to be licking their chops at 17 about him." The Pats have made a living of drafting players whom other teams are concerned about and usually making it work.

Of course, the Bucs could be tipping their own hand there, as they're also being predicted to take a pass rusher by many and pick right behind New England at No. 20.

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation’s NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.


Peter King's 2011 Mock Draft Has Cam Newton As Unconvincing No. 1 Pick

Sports Illustrated Peter King released his 2011 NFL mock draft last week and, unsurprisingly, he has Cam Newton going No. 1 overall to the Carolina Panthers (as does everyone else). But King is not as convinced as most pundits seem to be that Newton will end up in Carolina. King cites Newton’s poor showing in the “classroom” with Jon Gruden on ESPN, and the fact that new head coach Ron Rivera is defensive-minded.

Newton is one of five quarterbacks King has in the first round, with Colin Kaepernick and Ryan Mallett barely slipping to the second.

King’s full top 10 draft picks are as follows:
1. Cam Newton, Panthers
2. Marcell Dareus, Broncos
3. Von Miller, Bills
4. Blaine Gabbert, Bengals
5. A.J. Green, Cardinals
6. Julio Jones, Browns
7. Patrick Peterson, Texans via trade with 49ers
8. Nick Fairley, Titans
9. Tyron Smith, Cowboys
10. Robert Quinn, Redskins

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation’s NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.


NFL Draft Trade Rumors: Will Steelers Move Up?

Earlier this week a report came out from NFL Network's Jason La Canfora that the Pittsburgh Steelers wanted to move up in the 2011 NFL draft in order to secure G/C Mike Pouncey, brother of Steelers' Maurkice Pouncey. It seemed to make sense as to why the Steelers would want him but moving up doesn't seem to be their style.

That hasn't stopped SB Nation's Behind The Steel Curtain from predicting the Steelers will trade up all the way to No. 20 and select Pouncey. Check out their mock draft here.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the other hand is playing it safe and going with a familiar name for the Steelers pick -- CB Aaron Williams. He's been a popular mock draft choice for the Steelers assuming they stay at pick No. 31. 

He is not the fastest cornerback in the group (which is why he will last to No. 31), but he has other attributes including size and unrealized talent that a good coaching staff might bring out in him. Many believe his best position will be at safety, and that's OK, too, because he can help put the finger in the Steelers' cornerback dike for a few years. Then he can move to safety after they find other corners and when either Troy Polamalu and/or Ryan Clark retire.

Do the Steelers take a risk and move up for Pouncey or do they play it safe and take Williams? History says it'll be the latter.

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.


NFL Draft Rumors: Where Will Bills Get Their Quarterback?

The 2011 NFL draft is especially interesting because there is so much disagreement on the quarterbacks. Rick Gosselin's mock draft has five quarterbacks in the top 12 while Todd McShay's mock draft has two quarterbacks in all of the first round.

Buffalo is one of several teams who could look at a quarterback. The problem is that we don't know if that will be at the third overall pick in the first round or if they'll wait to the second round. Or, as some think, they could trade back into the first round to secure one.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Wednesday that he's been hearing some buzz about QB Blaine Gabbert in Buffalo. He would be talking about the third overall pick there. Most mock drafts are predicting DT Marcell Dareus or LB Von Miller to Buffalo with the third pick, although most recognize we don't really know what Buffalo will do.

The Bills and their quarterback situation are turning into one of the more intriguing stories in this draft. QB Christian Ponder could be a possibility but there's hardly a guarantee he'll make it to the second round. 

So what will Buffalo do?

Check out Buffalo Rumblings to see what Bills fans are thinking .

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.


NFL Draft 2011: Start Time And ESPN's TV Schedule For The Weekend

The 2011 NFL draft is mere hours away at this point. The excitement is building, especially with the news that the NFL lockout may be ending. ESPN and NFL Network will be televising the draft and you can tune in now and see draft talk all day long.

First off, here's the 2011 NFL draft order. That's where everyone will be picking until all the trades start coming in. SB Nation's latest 2011 NFL Mock draft, published this morning, follows that order. 

The real action -- the actual picks -- will officially start at 8:04 p.m. (ET) on Thursday night. That's when the Carolina Panthers are officially on the clock. The first round will be on Thursday night and there will be 10 minutes between each pick so the draft will likely end after midnight.

The second round of the draft starts on Friday at 6:30 p.m. This day will include the second and third rounds and there will be seven minutes between each pick in the second round and five minutes between each pick in the third round.

The fourth through seventh rounds of the draft will start on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. This is the home stretch but it will also be the longest day with the most picks. There will be five minutes between each pick.

That's your 2011 NFL draft schedule. As always, the only thing we can truly expect is the unexpected.

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.


Todd McShay's Mock Draft Has A Surprise Pick For Cardinals

The top four of Todd McShay's mock draft looks similar to Mel Kiper's mock draft with QB Cam Newton going to the Panthers, LB Von Miller going to the Broncos, DT Marcell Dareus to the Bills and WR A.J. Green to the Bengals.

It's the fifth pick where things get interesting. Some think the Cardinals will go with QB Blaine Gabbert while others are predicting CB Patrick Peterson.

McShay predicts it'll be Mizzou DE Aldon Smith. This is a surprise, to say the least. The earliest we've been seeing Smith is No. 7 to the 49ers. I can't recall seeing any of the major mock drafters sending him fifth overall to the Cardinals.

Smith to the Cardinals means Gabbert is still on the board and McShay sends him to the 49ers with the seventh pick. CB Patrick Peterson slips all the way to the 11th pick by the Texans, which seems like a long drop for the top corner in the draft. 

On the quarterbacks, McShay has just two in the first round -- Newton to the Panthers and Gabbert to the 49ers. That shows the uncertainty of this draft because Rick Gosselin has five quarterbacks going in the top 12.

Obviously, what happens with the quarterbacks is the key to this draft. 

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.


Mel Kiper's 2011 Mock Draft Includes Three Quarterbacks In Top 12

We heard from Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News who had five quarterbacks drafted in the top 12 and now we'll hear from ESPN's Mel Kiper who has just three quarterbacks in the top 12. 

Kiper has QB Cam Newton going No. 1 overall to the Carolina Panthers like the rest of the world. At No.7, he has the San Francisco 49ers selecting QB Blaine Gabbert and at No.12 he has the Minnesota Vikings rolling the dice with QB Jake Locker.

Kiper doesn't have the Cincinnati Bengals or Arizona Cardinals taking a quarterback at the fourth and fifth picks, respectively. That's a slight surprise as many people think one of those teams will go with Gabbert. However, his reasoning for the picks he did make -- WR A.J. Green to the Bengals and CB Patrick Peterson to the Cardinals -- makes sense.

Also notable is that he has CB Prince Amukamara falling farther than previously thought -- all the way to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the 20th pick. Many mock drafts over the past few weeks and months have him as a top 10 pick. 

One of the biggest fallers in the draft is DE Da'Quan Bowers. Once thought of as a potential No. 1 overall pick, Kiper has him going 24th to the New Orleans Saints. Some questions about his knee have killed his draft stock.

As Kiper suggests, it will take just one trade to completely throw months of mock drafts off track. 

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.


NFL Draft Trade Rumors: Patriots Have Talked To Browns, According To Report

We've talked about one of the keys to the 2011 NFL draft being what the New England Patriots decide to do in the first round. They hold three of the first 33 picks -- 17th, 28th and 33rd -- and are known as one of the most active trading teams on draft day.

So will they move up and snag someone? Will they move back in the first round?

They have at least explored the idea of moving up -- all the way to the sixth pick. This coming from Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe.

ESPN reported that the Patriots have shown an interest in moving up. A league source said the Patriots have spoken to the Browns about the sixth pick and Quinn would be the likely target, although receiver Julio Jones and cornerback Patrick Peterson cannot be discounted.

Interesting. This would throw a major wrench in the last two months of mock drafts. The Patriots are looking for a pass rusher and Bedard's story in the Boston Globe is pushing UNC's Robert Quinn.

Trading up all the way to the sixth pick doesn't seem like something the Patriots would do. It would be out of character for them, I think, to give up that many mid-level picks to acquire a top pick.

That said, if anyone is going to surprise us, it's going to be Bill Belichick. It should also be noted that the Patriots aren't the only ones interested in getting up to the top of the draft. 

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.


NFL Draft Rumors: Raiders Could Trade Into First Round

The Oakland Raiders sent their 2011 first round pick to the New England Patriots in the trade for DE Richard Seymour so they don't have a first round pick right now.

Key words: right now.

The Raiders want back in the first round, according to the San Francisco Chronicle

The first step to making a deal is finding a team to dance with, and the Raiders have been working the phones to see if there are teams willing to trade out of the first round (there are). The second step is finding the right player to trade up to get.

I think there will be several teams they can trade with at the bottom of the first round. There will, however, be some competition. It's believed that at least a couple of teams will be looking to move back into the first round to select one of the quarterbacks that will still be available. 

It's difficult to identify who the Raiders are hoping to snag. They have a number of different needs so you can realistically predict 5-10 different players they would be looking at.

There is precedent for the Raiders getting back in the first round. In 2005, they didn't have a first round pick and got back into the first round to select CB Fabian Washington. The Chronicle report notes that owner Al Davis has had a first round pick every dating back to 1989. 

For more on the Raiders draft day plans, check out Silver and Black Pride. 

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.


NFL Draft 2011: Is Five Quarterbacks In Top 12 Possible?

As many of you know by now, Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News has predicted in his latest 2011 NFL mock draft that there will be five quarterbacks selected in the first 12 picks on Thursday night. That's the highest number we've seen to this point so it's worth noting.

But could five quarterbacks really go that high?

Anything is possible but with the NFL lockout looking like it will remain lifted, I'm not sure that it will.

If the NFL's stay on the lockout had been granted, and it was still in place, I could see that happening. That would mean free agency would be put on hold indefinitely and teams who need quarterbacks desperately -- like the Titans and Vikings -- may opt to go ahead and take one now while they still have an opportunity. If there is no free agency, they wouldn't have another shot to pick one up.

But since the stay was not granted, it appears there's a shot of free agency coming sooner rather than later. That may cause teams like the Titans and Vikings to wait for free agency to address the quarterback position as opposed to reaching for one on draft day. 

So with the NFL lockout potentially ending soon and the league actually entering free agency, I don't think we see five quarterbacks drafted that high. 

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.


Cam Newton Ready For 2011 NFL Draft, And To Compete At Next Level

As Cam Newton waits to find out if he will be the first player picked in the 2011 NFL Draft on Thursday night (our 2011 NFL Mock Draft says he will be), his father, Cecil, spoke about his son to USA TODAY. When asked about the Carolina Panthers drafting Cam with the No. 1 pick, Cecil said the Newtons are still unsure what the Panthers’ plan is:

“I can’t say what Carolina might do. From what I know about coach Ron Rivera, they’re coming in with a new start, a fresh approach that would offer a great, ideal start for Cam. I’ve heard nothing but great things.”

Cecil was also asked about how Cam’s game will translate to the NFL. There has been much made about Newton’s lack of experience under center at the college level.

“He’s a top-shelf athlete. He’s a competitor and he’ll put the body of work in necessary to advance. I can’t say where his ceiling is or what learning curve he will progress on. He’s capable of making plays outside of the pocket. It remains to be seen how it turns out. But he’ll come into the league looking to do the right things.”

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation’s NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.


Rick Gosselin's Mock Draft Has Five Quarterbacks In Top 12

At the very top of the list of smart people covering the 2011 NFL draft is Rick Gosselin. Along with ESPN's Mel Kiper and NFL Network's Mike Mayock, Gosselin's NFL mock draft is one folks look forward to the most because of his accuracy over the years.

Gosselin's mock draft is out and th top five looks similar to what we've been seeing from Kiper and Mayock. He has Cam Newton at the top going to the Panthers, followed by LB Von Miller to the Broncos, DT Marcell Dareus to the Bills, WR A.J. Green to the Bengals and CB Patrick Peterson to the Cardinals.

There are a few surprises in his mock draft.

-Five quarterbacks in the top 12: Newton to the Panthers, QB Blaine Gabbert to the 49ers, QB Jake Locker to the Titans, QB Christian Ponder to the 49ers and QB Andy Dalton to the Vikings. This is the most quarterbacks we've seen in the top 15 yet.

-RB Mark Ingram goes 14th to the Rams. Plenty of people have Ingram falling but I think this pick makes a lot of sense. RB Steven Jackson has been productive for longer than the usual running back so it's time they find a replacement. This will help with QB Sam Bradford's development as well. 

-CB Prince Amukamara to the Seahawks. This is much, much lower than we've seen him mocked. He's been a top 10 pick in a lot of mock drafts yet Gosselin has him falling all the way to the 25th pick.

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.


Another 2011 NFL Mock Draft With WR Jonathan Baldwin In First Round

Mike Mayock's 2011 NFL mock draft is an interesting one because I think many people look to Mayock as the best NFL draft analyst in the business. He's got some odd ball picks and his mock draft definitely makes you think.

My ears perked up a little when I saw who he had going 29th overall to the Chicago Bears: WR Jonathan Baldwin. I just wrote about him the other day because Don Banks of also included him in the first round. Bill Parcells big board has him rated as a third rounder and, for the most part, mock drafts have been putting him in the second round. 

So I find it interesting that a couple of respected mock drafters like Mayock and Banks have him in the first round.

There's no doubt he has the physical skills to succeed. He's 6'4", 228 pounds which is ideal size for a No. 1 receiver. He hasn't been incredibly productive and he has some off-the-field question marks so that's why folks were knocking him into the second round.

But I can see what Mayock and Banks are predicting. Some team out there -- like the Falcons or Bears -- will ignore the off-the-field questions and look at that size and potential and they won't be able to resist it. 


Mike Mayock's Mock Draft: Cam Newton No. 1, Blaine Gabbert Falls

Mike Mayock is arguably the best NFL draft analyst so I've been looking forward to his 2011 NFL mock draft. Despite trying to talk himself out of a quarterback at the top, QB Cam Newton is his No. 1 pick for the Carolina Panthers. Following that he has LB Von Miller to the Denver Broncos and DT Marcell Dareus to the Buffalo Bills at the third pick.

I can't argue a whole lot with that. I can easily see those three players picked in the top three but in various order. Dareus could still go No. 1 overall, Miller to No. 2 and Newton to No. 3. Or I could see Newton going first followed by Dareus and then Miller. 

No position can change a franchise like quarterback so Newton will be a very high pick, if not No. 1 overall. But there's no consensus on the top defensive player in the draft. Mayock says Dareus is the best defensive player in the draft but others have compared Miller to Derrick Thomas so I think either way you're getting a player that's highly thought of.

Now that my top three rant is out of the way, here are a few other notes on Mayock's mock draft:

-Blaine Gabbert falls to No. 7. This is a little surprising because many have him going in the top five. The momentum in the last few days seems to have Gabbert falling past both Cincinnati and Arizona so he may not be a top five pick after all.

-No quarterbacks for Titans, Redskins, Vikings and Dolphins. That's quarterback row right there and none of them went with a signal-caller in Mayock's mock draft. 

-Jake Locker to the Patriots? That's what Mayock has but he says that's only because the Patriots will trade the 28th pick to a quarterback-needy team.


NFL Draft 2011: TCU's Marcus Cannon Begins Treatment For Lymphoma

TCU offensive tackle Marcus Cannon shows up as a first- or second-round pick in many 2011 NFL mock drafts this week (SB Nation has him going 48th overall to the Raiders). His draft status might now be called into question after starting chemotherapy today at a Fort Worth hospital for a treatable form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

This is nothing new for Cannon, who first learned of the tumor in his abdomen in 2006. Tests on it in 2008 came back negative but the mass was noticeable at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. After a nasty rumor circulated that Cannon had testicular cancer, he had to send each NFL team biopsy results proving he did not. Unfortunately, that same test revealed that he had lymphoma.

His four treatments conclude June 29.

"It will hurt, but if teams think he'll be OK, then it will be OK," one NFL scout said. "He will slide some. It's just a question of how far."

For more on Cannon and TCU players heading into the draft, follow Mountain West Connection.

2011 NFL Draft Rumors: Broncos Looking At Four Players; Von Miller Rising?

The Denver Broncos hold the second overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft and, though we're not sure who they'll pick, the best bet is on one of the top two defensive players -- DT Marcell Dareus or LB Von Miller.

NFL Network reports that the word one night before the draft is that the Broncos camp is leaning to Miller, although it's hard to take anything you hear during draft week seriously. Teams routinely spread information with other motives in mind. Maybe they really do like Miller. Or maybe they're hoping others who covet Miller will move up for him.

The Broncos have reportedly shown interest in trading back so they would presumably entertain offers. 

Meanwhile ESPN's Ed Werder says the Broncos are considering four players with the second overall pick. In addition to Dareus and Miller, they're looking at DT Nick Fairley and CB Patrick Peterson. 

SB Nation's Mile High Report should have some fun tracking all the rumors that are coming out, and will continue come out, regarding the Broncos draft day plans. Check out MHR's latest dip into the NFL draft rumors flying around


NFL Draft Rumors: Cam Newton The Favorite, But Panthers Considering Four Players

The Carolina Panthers are on clock and have been the last four months as owners of the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft. When the Panthers head to the podium on Thursday night, they'll be faced with identifying the best possible draft choice out of hundreds of options.

Of those hundreds of options, the Panthers have narrowed their search to just four players, ESPN's Sal Paolantonio reports. Those four start with QB Cam Newton, who is the "odds-on favorite" to be the top pick, followed by DT Marcell Dareus, CB Patrick Peterson and WR A.J. Green.

SB Nation's Cat Scratch Reader has a look at a few of the Panthers possible picks including NewtonDareusGreen and Blaine Gabbert. 

Dareus, Peterson and Green are seen as three of the safest players in the draft but none of them can affect a franchise like a quarterback can. Newton's future depends on who you ask. Some say his one-year at Auburn is not a fluke and he's the real deal while others wonder about his dedication to being the best.

Paolantonio also reports the Panthers, who own two third round picks, will try to trade back into the second round on Friday night. 

The Panthers will be making their decision sometime before 8:04 p.m. (ET) on Thursday night when they officially are on the clock.

For more on the Panthers draft day plans, check out Cat Scratch Reader. 


Mark Ingram's Knee Injury Reportedly Isn't A Concern In 2011 NFL Draft

In the weeks leading up to the 2011 NFL draft, NFL Network's Michael Lombardi reported that at least two teams had taken RB Mark Ingram off their draft boards because of concerns over the long-term health of his knee.

That's not the case, says Dr. James Andrews. Armando Salguero reports that Dr. Andrews sent a letter to all 32 teams giving Ingram a clean bill of health.

Further disproving the talk that the former Heisman Trophy winner should slide -- perhaps all the way out of the first round -- is the fact he was not asked to return to Indianapolis for a medical recheck for any reason, a source said. Potential draftees with medical red flags are often asked to return to the site of the Indianapolis Combine for rechecks so doctors can report the findings to interested teams.

Teams have been privy to his medical information from the Combine so this probably isn't a huge surprise. Dr. Andrews has confirmed that news.

We'll see what teams really think when the NFL draft comes on Thursday night. Ingram has been projected in the middle of the draft -- perhaps to the Dolphins -- and as late as falling out of the first round entirely.


NFL Draft 2011: Von Miller Wants To Go To Cowboys, Or Beat Cowboys

LB Von Miller is expected to be a very high pick in the 2011 NFL draft -- perhaps as high as second overall to the Denver Broncos. He's arguably the best linebacker in the draft and has drawn comparisons to Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas.

He also really likes the Dallas Cowboys. SB Nation's Brad Wells is in New York at some NFL draft festivities and passes along this note about Miller, the Cowboys, and beating the Cowboys.

Miller said he wouldn't be disappointed if not draft in the top five as long as the Dallas Cowboys took him at No. 9. However, if the Cowboys pass on him, he hopes the Redskins take him at No. 10 so he can 'beat up on' the Cowboys twice a year for passing on him.

Unfortunately for Miller, he won't be going to the Cowboys or Redskins. I can't envision a scenario where he lasts to the ninth or 10th pick.

Check out the full report on the draft activities in New York, courtesy of Mocking The Draft. 


Mel Kiper's Final 2011 NFL Draft Big Board Keeps Patrick Peterson At Top

The 2011 NFL draft is just over 24 hours away and ESPN's Mel Kiper has released his final big board of the draft season. Remaining at No. 1 is LSU CB Patrick Peterson. 

Among some of the notable rankings:

-DT Marcell Dareus jumps ahead of DT Nick Fairley is this edition of the big board. Dareus is four and Fairley is five this week and their roles were reversed in the last edition.

-QB Blaine Gabbert is the 14th best prospect, one spot ahead of QB Cam Newton. They were ranked the same way last week as well. It sounds like Newton will be selected ahead of Gabbert, possibly No. 1 to the Carolina Panthers.

-DT Corey Liuget is ranked as the 11th best prospect which is interesting when you see Bill Parcells has a second round grade on him.

It doesn't look like there were many changes, as it should be. These players' values haven't changed much because many of them haven't played a game since January. While we talk about risers and fallers, the most important part of a player's draft grade is based on the game tape.


NFL Mock Draft Surprise: WR Jonathan Baldwin To Falcons In Round One

If you've been watching ESPN this week then you probably noticed the 2011 NFL draft special with Bill Parcells. They showed portions of his draft board and I noticed that he had Pittsburgh WR Jonathan Baldwin rated as a third round pick.

That's an interesting spot for him in light of the latest mock draft from Don Banks of, who has him going in the first round. 

Indeed, Baldwin, who's widely viewed as a second round pick, could move into the first round. Banks has the Atlanta Falcons selecting him. The team is especially relevant because Peter King of reported that the Falcons would like to move up far enough to select WR A.J. Green or WR Julio Jones. That seems unlikely, though.

So if they go receiver, Baldwin could be an option. He has the physical skills but seems to be more of a boom or bust player and I'm not sure that's GM Thomas Dimitroff's style.

So keep an eye on Baldwin. I don't think Banks' logic is too far off with this.


NFL Draft Rumors: Are The Top Three Picks Already Set?

The 2011 NFL draft is only a day away at this point and we're still trying to figure out where each player will land. Usually the top few picks of the NFL draft are the easiest to figure out but this year there seems to be less clarity than usual because we don't even know for sure who the Carolina Panthers will take with the first pick.

ESPN's Adam Schefter went on on Mike and Mike this week and says he thinks the draft's top three players are already set -- we just don't know the order.

First, he predicts QB Cam Newton will be the Panthers first pick. That's not much of a surprise as most have been predicting this move. But he says if they don't go with Newton then DT Marcell Dareus is a major player for the top pick.

Second, he predicts LB Von Miller will go to the Denver Broncos with the second pick. If the Panthers go with Newton, I think the Broncos also have to seriously consider Dareus.

Third, he predicts the Buffalo Bills will select Newton or Dareus -- whoever is available. 

I'd agree with this list for the most part. These three appear to be the most likely to be selected in the top three with the order not yet decided. 

Here's a link to the story with quotes from Schefter. 


NFL Draft 2011: Steelers Exploring Trade-Up For Mike Pouncey

The Pittsburgh Steelers made a very smart decision in the 2010 NFL draft with offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey who went on to one of the best seasons of all rookies last year. They're hoping to make another smart decision with Maurkice's twin brother, Mike.

Jason La Canfora of NFL Networkreports the Steelers, who normally stay away from much trading in the NFL draft, are looking very hard at the possibility of teaming Mike Pouncey with Maurkice.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has given an edict to his personnel department to explore all realistic trade options for Pouncey, a guard/center, to be prepared to acquire him should he "start to slip," according to the source.

What does "start to slip" mean? The Steelers are 31st in the draft so they can't move up too far. If Pouncey gets past the Dolphins with the 15th pick, a Pouncey brothers scenario could start to unfold. The Giants with the 19th pick and the Chiefs with the 21st pick are threats to take Pouncey so they would likely have to move up somewhere in that range. 

For more on what the Steelers draft day plans are, check out Behind The Steel Curtain


NFL Draft Rumors: Cardinals Could Look To Trade Back

The feeling by many of the national media is that the Arizona Cardinals, picking fifth in the 2011 NFL draft, will select QB Blaine Gabbert if he's available. The feeling by many of the local media in Arizona is that they will not select a quarterback so there's some definitely some confusion on what the Cardinals want to do with their first round pick in the NFL draft.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports there's at least one team that believes the Cardinals will now consider trading back in the NFL draft. Since they're in the top five they could command quite a bit for their pick meaning this would be a blockbuster trade of sorts. 

What's interesting is that another report surfaced on Wednesday that the Atlanta Falcons were targeting WR A.J. Green or Julio Jones in the draft. The Falcons are picking 27th and Green is expected to be a top five pick. So I wonder if the team that feels Arizona could trade back is Atlanta. 

Will the Cardinals be able to move the pick if they wanted? I imagine they would at least have some offers. There could be a team or two hoping to get in front of the 49ers (seventh) or Titans (eighth) in order to select a quarterback that's still there like Gabbert. 

For more on the Cardinals draft day plans, check out Revenge of the Birds. 


NFL Draft Rumors: Falcons Eye Trade Up For A.J. Green Or Julio Jones

You have to give the Atlanta Falcons credit. They can shoot for the stars. 

Peter King of reports the Falcons, who are drafting 27th, are hoping to move up in the draft to acquire one of the top two receivers -- Georgia's A.J. Green or Alabama's Julio Jones.

That the Falcons covet Green and Jones is no surprise. They're the draft's top two receivers with a proven track record of success in the best conference. Plus, there aren't really any other first round receivers so if you want elite, then these are you guys.

But that the Falcons think they can move up to get either one of them is a surprise. Green will be a top five pick, if not top four pick. I'm not sure if the Falcons even own enough picks to move from No. 27 to No. 4. Jones on the other hand could slip -- perhaps as far as No. 14 to the Rams. He could also go as high as No. 6. The Falcons would likely need to hope he slips out of the top 10 and make a draft day trade. 

If the league and the players come up with some agreement that allows players to be traded during the NFL draft and not just picks then I think this becomes more of a possibility. As it stands now, I just don't think the Falcons have the ammo to move up that far. 

The Falcons were among the NFC's elite last year and they're hoping to stay that way by making a run at a player like Green or Jones. They would be a fairly incredible offense with either of those players in the fold. 

For the full story on the Falcons draft day plans, check out The Falcoholic


NFL Draft 2011 Start Time: Panthers Officially On Clock At 8:04 P.M. ET

2011 NFL draft season really started when the Super Bowl was finished and we knew the official draft order. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy reports that the Carolina Panthers are officially on the clock at 8:04 p.m. (ET).

The draft's TV schedule starts hours before with pre-draft coverage on ESPN and NFL Network.

The first round of the draft will start at 8:04 p.m. (ET) and there will be 10 minutes between each pick. The second and third rounds of the draft will start on Friday with the second round having seven minutes between each pick and the third round having five minutes between each pick. The fourth through seventh rounds will begin on Saturday and there will be five minutes between each pick.

The 2011 NFL draft is almost here. With the recent NFL lockout news, I imagine plenty of people are ready for Thursday night to come. 


NFL Draft 2011: Browns' Options Include Two Players, Then Trade

The Akron Beacon-Journal has a very interesting look at Cleveland Browns GM Tom Heckert that includes a look at a system Heckert uses to select players in the NFL draft. That system, the story says, has given the Browns their options in the 2011 NFL draft.

Their options include two players -- neither of whom is named -- and if those players aren't there they will trade. Obviously, identifying those two players is the key to figuring out what the Browns plan to do with the sixth pick on Thursday night.

We can take a guess at the two players. The first guess would be WR A.J. Green who is considered to be the top receiver in the draft, if not the top player. Green seems unlikely to make it to the sixth pick as both Cincinnati and Arizona could take him. The second guess would be DT Marcell Dareus. We're not sure if those are the two players but looking at the various mock drafts out there those two make the most sense.

If the Browns' two players aren't there, they'll look to trade the pick. Trading out of the top 10 is a difficult task because of the cost involved to acquire the pick. Plus, there has to be someone in the top 10 worth trading up for and I'm not sure that there is. 

We'll find out on Thursday night a little more about Heckert's system and what two players he's identified as worthy of the sixth pick.

For more on the Browns draft day plans, check out Dawgs By Nature


NFL Draft Rumors: Could Andy Dalton Be A Top 10 Pick?

We mentioned in our last update that it seemed QB Blaine Gabbert's stock could be dropping in the 2011 NFL draft. Earlier this week Pat Kirwan of suggested in his latest NFL mock draft that Gabbert could slip all the way to No. 15 even though the majority of mock drafts say he's likely to be the fourth or fifth overall pick.

Michael Lombardi of NFL Network has since chimed in and said Gabbert could slip out of the top 10

Jason La Canfora of NFL Network  has an even bigger surprise than Gabbert slipping all the way to the 15th pick. He suggests QB Andy Dalton could go as high as eighth overall to the Tennessee Titans

Several league sources said the Titans are high on Dalton and consider him to be an elite prospect who carries less of the varied risk of other quarterbacks in this draft. One source indicated the offensive coaches in Tennessee are pushing for Dalton, while the defensive staff is high on Auburn defensive lineman Nick Fairley.

So it's possible that Dalton goes ahead of Gabbert. Considering the months of mock drafts we've been looking at, that would be a complete shock. La Canfora's report comes on the heels of NFL Films' Greg Cosell saying Dalton grades out as a fourth round pick. 

As there is every year, surprises will fill the first round of the draft.

Check out more of our 2011 NFL draft coverage. 


NFL Draft Rumors: Is Blaine Gabbert Slipping?

We don't really know where any players will go in the 2011 NFL draft. A lot of people feel confident that QB Cam Newton will go first overall but there are also compelling arguments for them to take a defensive tackle. DT Marcell Dareus seems like a great fit in Denver but the Broncos are also looking at quarterbacks.

It's all a confusing time right now as we try to piece together which players will be selected by which teams in the NFL draft. Some of the confusion comes from QB Blaine Gabbert.

There's a slight chance he could be the Panthers pick at No. 1 but it seems most are mocking him to the Bengals (fourth pick) or Cardinals (fifth pick). 

NFL Network's Michael Lombardi feels Gabbert's stock is slipping and he could be available for the 49ers (seventh pick) or Titans (eighth pick). The vast majority of mock drafts don't have him slipping past the Cardinals with the fifth pick but several noted draft analysts like Lombardi and Pat Kirwan of think he can slip out of the top 10 entirely.

I think Gabbert would be a good fit with the 49ers if he were to slip. They could bring back Alex Smith, as they've said publicly, and let Gabbert ride it out behind Smith in year one. I think that would be a good fit but apparently the 49ers are "lukewarm" on Gabbert.

The draft is only a couple days away and we haven't yet nailed down a range for Gabbert.


2011 NFL Draft Predictions: Odds On Top 10 Picks

The 2011 NFL draft is only a couple days away and there's still not a very good idea of who will be the top picks in the draft. Sure, many people feel the Panthers will take QB Cam Newton but there's hardly any confirmations out there. It seems there's more uncertainty in this draft than in previous years. believes they have an idea of how the top 10 of the NFL draft will go and released some odds on who will be picked at which draft slot. 

1. Panthers, QB Cam Newton (1/2): This is the media favorite as well. Most people are now thinking the Panthers are leaning toward Newton over DT Marcell Dareus.

2. Broncos, DT Marcell Dareus (1/2): This is also a pick that most media folks think will happen. Despite what the Broncos say, they probably won't be swayed by the availability of Newton or QB Blaine Gabbert. They should go with the top defensive player.

3. Bills, LB Von Miller (1/2): The Bills are more of a mystery at this point but Miller seems as good of a guess as anyone else.

4. Bengals, WR A.J. Green (1/3): Hmm...will it be Green or Gabbert? That's a tough question to answer. The odds say Green, though it's close.

5. Cardinals, QB Blaine Gabbert (5/7): What's interesting about Gabbert here is that none of the Cardinals beat writers are predicting they go with a quarterback yet nearly everyone else thinks they'll pick Gabbert if he's available.

6. Browns, WR Julio Jones (6/5): This is where things really get tough because the picks are really based on who is still available. If Green is gone, Jones or the next best defensive player makes sense here.

7. 49ers, CB Patrick Peterson (5/7): I feel fairly confident about this. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the 49ers would be interested in a trade down if the player they want isn't there. I believe the player they want is Peterson.

8. Titans, DT Nick Fairley (4/5): The Titans got rid of one big defensive tackle a couple years ago in Albert Haynesworth and they could bring in another big one in Fairley. Absent a quarterback, this makes sense.

9. Cowboys, OT Tyron Smith (2/3): Many smart draft people think the Cowboys will go with Smith. It seems like a solid guess.

10. Redskins, WR Julio Jones (4/5): This is the second time he's been on this list. If he's gone, I could see Locker or DE Robert Quinn here. 

And then some team will probably go and make a trade screwing up up a month's worth of predictions on the top 10 of the draft. 


Report: 2011 NFL Draft Prospect Marcus Cannon Has Lymphoma

A rumor was going around earlier this month that TCU offensive lineman Marcus Cannon had testicular cancer. A biopsy was performed with the results sent to all 32 teams. 

Cannon doesn't have testicular cancer but he does have a treatable form of lymphoma, according to reports from Pro Football Talk and ESPN's Adam Schefter. He has non-Hodgkins lymphoma and is currently in stage 2-3. 

Via PFT:

Doctors are recommending that Cannon will have to undergo chemotherapy, which could be potentially finished in 12 weeks.  Even if Cannon has the most advanced stage of the disease, he could be finished with treatments in 24 weeks and the doctor said could "hopefully" continue with his football career at that time.

Schefter reports he will receive his first chemotherapy session on Wednesday. There is a 90 percent success rate. 

Another unfortunate part of all this is the timing relative to the NFL draft. With the draft starting on Thursday, there's not a lot of time for teams to gather more information before making a decision on whether to draft him. 

He's considered a second round pick by many draft analysts. 


NFL Draft 2011: Panthers GM Knows Importance Of Quarterbacks

There's the old saying around the NFL that during draft season a GM is only lying if his lips are moving. So we're keeping that in mind when hearing that Carolina Panthers GM Marty Hurney suggested this week that they could be going quarterback in the 2011 NFL draft. 

Here's what Hurney said on FOX Sports in Charlotte (via Rotoworld):

"This is a quarterback league," said Hurney. "Look at the order of the draft. The ones who have 'em are picking low, and the ones who don't are picking high." Hurney added, "This has nothing to do with Jimmy Clausen."     

This doesn't necessarily mean the Panthers are or aren't going quarterback. It means that Hurney understands one of the basics of the NFL -- you can only go as far as your quarterback takes you.

That said, it would suggest that the Panthers understand the importance of quarterback. And, if you watched QB Jimmy Clausen play last year, then you know there are certainly questions about how good he can be.

I don't think Hurney meant to indicate that the Panthers will or won't take a quarterback but that he understands the importance of a great quarterback may not be great news for Clausen. 

For more on the Panthers draft day plans, check out Cat Scratch Reader. 


NFL Draft 2011: Justin Houston, Christian Ballard Fail Drug Test, According To Report

The league drug tests players at the NFL Combine every year and despite the fact that players know it's coming there are some that will fail. This year that list includes Georgia DE Justin Houston and Iowa DE Christian Ballard. Jay Glazer of reports both players failed the Combine drug test for marijuana.

The news is just getting out now but teams have had this information so it's not news to everyone. It remains to be seen how this affects their draft stock. Marijuana doesn't mean a player can't be great and steer clear of any problems but it does raise a flag for those teams wondering how a player can know a drug test is coming and still fail it.

Houston is seen as a late first round pick so if he slips into the second round it's possible that's because the failed drug test scared a couple teams off. Or it's also possible he's still a first round pick and this doesn't affect how teams view him. Ballard is seen as a second round prospect so he's in a similar boat as Houston. 

Neither player has a police record or long history of trouble so it's possible this is just a blip on the radar and it won't affect their draft stock.


2011 NFL Mock Draft: Marcell Dareus Widely Seen As No. 2 Pick

With Cam Newton the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, our attention turns to the rest of the top-10, where the picture remains unclear. While much of the top-10 remains in-flux, the No. 2 spot appears to belong to Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. The 2011 draft class boasts a wealth of depth at the defensive tackle spot, and Dareus has been the most steady performer leading up to the draft.

Where do the experts think Dareus will end up? A spin around the Internet shows an overwhelming majority of 2011 NFL mock drafts have him off the board at No. 2, to the Denver Broncos.

Rob Rang, CBS Sports: Defensive tackle is a big position of need for the Broncos and Dareus could immediately step in and plug a hole. Rang likes Dareus as the Broncos’ pick at No. 2, and expects Denver to take Dareus, calling him one of the safest picks in the draft.

The Broncos have a variety of needs, but none bigger than at defensive tackle. Denver finished 31st in the NFL in run defense last year and recently released former starters Justin Bannan and Jamal Williams. Dareus is the best run-stuffing defensive tackle in this class and among the safer picks.

Chad Reuter, CBS Sports: Reuter concurs with his CBS Sports counterpart and has Dareus heading to Denver with the No. 2 pick. Da’Quan Bowers had a chance to jump into the No. 1 spot on the defensive tackle board, but questions about his health and less than impressive workouts have him falling, to the benefit of Dareus.

Da’Quan Bowers failed to put up the exceptional pro day needed to quiet fears about his health, so Denver instead picks the playmaker on the interior needed to play off edge rushers Robert Ayers and Elvis Dumervil.

SB Nation’s latest 2011 NFL Mock Draft: Brian Galliford and Dan Kadar also have Dareus coming off the board at No. 2, but also note the Denver Broncos may be looking to trade down. With the NFL lockout still ongoing and teams only allowed to trade picks, putting together a package for the No. 2 pick looks to be nearly impossible. Forced to bite the bullet, the Broncos should scoop up Dareus with the pick.

For more on the Broncos, head over to SB Nation’s Mile High Report. Stay with our 2011 NFL Draft StoryStream for the latest news and rumors ahead of Thursday’s first round.


NFL Draft Rumors: Patriots, Eagles Among Teams Looking To Trade Up

The 2011 NFL draft is only a couple of days away now and we're starting to hear more rumors about which teams like which players. We're also hearing more about the teams looking to trade up. ESPN's Adam Schefter identified several teams in the draft that are seeking a trade-up if the right player is there.

He identifies the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles as the teams looking to trade up in the draft.

We've talked about the Patriots and the ammo they have to trade up. It's unclear who their target is, which picks they're looking to package to move up or how high they're trying to go. They hold the 17th, 28th and 33rd picks in the draft so they can get just about anywhere in the draft if they'd like.

The Eagles are drafting 23rd in the first round and I don't think they can move up very far with the picks they have. Could they be looking for an offensive tackle before a possible run on tackles hits with the Kansas City Chiefs (21st) and Indianapolis Colts (22nd)?

Schefter also reports the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings could be looking to trade up. I imagine those first three teams would want to be moving back into the first round after using their first round selection with the target probably being a quarterback. The Vikings could be looking to trade up from the 12th spot or perhaps from the second round back into the first.

It's starting to feel like draft season with all these rumors coming on. To get your draft fix, check out SB Nation's Mocking The Draft. 


NFL Draft 2011: Jake Locker Will Be Picked By...

The 2011 NFL draft is only a few days away and one of the many mysteries remaining is QB Jake Locker. Do teams have a first round grade on him? Some, but not all. Will he be a first round pick? More than likley.

But who will take him?

That's the question we've been trying to figure out. There are a number of options.

The Tennessee Titans are a candidate to select him with the eighth overall pick but that seems a little high for a quarterback who struggled at times with his accuracy. The Minnesota Vikings are also a candidate to select him with the 12th pick but I'm not sure he'll be ready to start from day one, which the Vikings need.

And then there's the Seattle Seahawks. Picking 25th, the Seahawks seem like a natural spot for Locker -- it's his home town team. 

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times, though, says there's no indication that will happen.

But there haven't been any indications the Seahawks are high on him. Maybe that's all a ruse, a stern poker face of sorts, but if Seattle is really interested, it has done a pretty good job hiding it.

It's very possible Pete Carroll and Co. are simply hiding their interest in him hoping that he falls to the 25th pick. My early guess is that when the 25th pick comes, Locker is off the board. Perhaps that means the Seahawks won't get him. Or maybe that means the Seahawks trade up to get him.

The Seahawks may be interested in him but there's no concrete evidence to tie him to Seattle.


One 2011 NFL Mock Draft Has Blaine Gabbert Falling To Dolphins

We look at a lot of 2011 NFL mock drafts around here so there's bound to be some major surprises now and again. One of the latest surprises comes from Pat Kirwan of He has QB Blaine Gabbert falling out of the top five, out of the top 10 and all the way to No. 15 to the Miami Dolphins.

Count me as someone who would be completely shocked if this happened. 

I know some draft analysts have Gabbert ranked lower than the top five top 10 -- National Football Post has him as the 39th best prospect -- but that doesn't mean he'll fall that far.

Gabbert falling to the Dolphins would mean some quarterback-needy team would have to pass on him including potentially the Bills, Bengals, Cardinals, 49ers, Titans, 49ers and Vikings. You can make a case that some of those teams don't need a quarterback or won't draft one but all of them combined passing on Gabbert? I don't see it.

With the NFL lockout eliminating free agency to this point, there will likely be some team out there who needs a quarterback -- and needs one immediately -- that will have to take Gabbert. I can't envision a scenario where Gabbert falls that far (although I've been wrong before).


NFL Draft Rumors: Who Will Pull Off First Trade?

The 2011 NFL draft will include, at some point, a trade. The NFL lockout prohibits players from being traded but picks and future picks can be traded to we'll see at least some action.

But who will be the first to pull the trigger and make a trade?

SB Nation's Brian Galliford predicted in his latest 2011 NFL mock draft that the Dallas Cowboys will be the first to make a trade moving up to the fifth spot and getting CB Patrick Peterson. That's certainly a possibility but it's nearly impossible to predict all the first round trades. 

So which team will be the first to pull the trigger on a trade?

Houston moving up to get CB Patrick Peterson. Plenty of people have talked about how much the Texans love Peterson so I wouldn't be surprised to see them move up to get him. That said, I don't think it's likely. That's an expensive move-up.

Tennessee moving back and still selecting a quarterback. I could see some team wanting to get into the top 10 and finding a trade parter in the Titans. Tennessee could move back a few spots and still pick up the third best quarterback -- QB Jake Locker. The Titans are also a candidate to move back into the first round to select a quarterback.

The Patriots trading into the top 10. I don't think this is likely but New England is the only team with enough ammo to make a serious splash moving up in the first round. They have three of the first 33 picks so, if they wanted, they could get into the top 10. I just don't think that's their style, though. 


NFL Draft 2011: 25 Players In Attendance At Radio City Music Hall

There will be a record 25 players at the 2011 NFL draft, the league announced on Monday. 

The NFL previously invited only a few of the top players but in recent years has started increasing that number to the point where we now have a whopping 25 players going to the draft.

Those players are: Prince Amukamara, Akeem Ayers, Adrian Clayborn, Randall Cobb, Marcell Dareus, Nick Fairley, Blaine Gabbert, A.J. Green, Mark Herzlich, Mark Ingram, Julio Jones, Cameron Jordan, Von Miller, Rahim Moore, Cam Newton, Patrick Peterson, Mike Pouncey, Aldon Smith, Tyron Smith, Phil Taylor, Danny Watkins, J.J. Watt, Corey Liuget, Ryan Kerrigan and Ryan Williams.

The players that the NFL used to have attend the draft were those expecting to be top picks but that's not the case this year. I can pick out a number of players from this list who are more likely to be second round (or later) picks including Cobb, Herzlich and Watkins. 

The other interesting dynamic of the players attending the draft this year is the report last month that the NFLPA was asking its players not to attend the draft. The NFLPA has since clarified that they're not asking players not to attend, but will instead host their own set of events during draft week that won't conflict with the actual draft. Just another interesting tweak to the draft, thanks to the lockout.


One 2011 NFL Draft Trade May Already Be On The Table

One of the biggest differences with the 2011 NFL draft compared to previous years is the lack of trades involving players. The NFL lockout has prohibited teams from trading players so any trades going down will have to involve 2011 draft picks or future draft picks. 

Peter King of says that, even though it hasn't been completed yet, there's already a trade on the table. 

There's a team in the draft that has a deal on the table -- I'm guessing New England (surprise!) -- with a team trying to come back into the first round. The deal will net the team dealing the first-rounder the following: a second-round pick in 2011 and a first-round pick in 2012. The deal, I hear, is contingent on the player the trade-up team wants still being there.

Worth noting: King has the Tennessee Titans trading back with New England  into the second round in his mock draft to select QB Christian Ponder. I wonder if that's more than a hunch.

SB Nation's Mocking The Draft recently warned some teams looking to trade back into the first round. Read about that here

Also worth noting: New England has only five 2012 draft picks. This year they have three of the top 33 picks thanks to trades made last year so it wouldn't be a bad guess that they'll look to trade a 2011 draft pick for future draft picks. 


NFL Draft 2011: Will Dolphins Reach For A Quarterback?

The NFL lockout has created a difficult scenario for several NFL teams because free agency hasn't come yet. Besides the NFL draft, free agency is your way to fill holes on your team. For some teams, a hole is at quarterback.

With the lockout this year, it's making things very difficult for quarterback-needy teams. You don't have free agency so, depending on how the lockout goes, the draft may be your only chance to snag a quarterback.

Quarterback isn't like other positions where you can plug a player in and hope the others around him make up for his lack of talent. You can't fake a good quarterback like you could an offensive or defensive lineman. 

That's why the Dolphins may be in a bit of trouble if they're trying to find a quarterback replacement. They're too far down the draft order to select one of the top two quarterbacks -- QB Cam Newton or QB Blaine Gabbert -- and it's very possible QB Jake Locker, considered the third quarterback on the boar, will be gone.

So where will the Dolphins go? Do they reach for a quarterback like QB Ryan Mallett or QB Christian Ponder? Or do they wait and hope free agency hits allowing them to snag another quarterback on the open market? Or do they stick with who they have in house for another year?

The Dolphins are among several teams in a tough spot with their quarterback situation and the NFL lockout. How they approach the draft will go a long way to determining their future success. 

For you Dolphins fans out there, keep an eye on The Phinsider this week to see if any more quarterback rumors start popping up. 


NFL Draft 2011: Many Sons Of Football Fathers Available, Patrick Peterson Works Out For Niners

A roundup of NFL Draft 2011 news and rumors.

The Kansas City Star's Randy Covitz hits on an interesting trend in the 2011 NFL Draft class: many sons of NFL players are available. Specifically, he notes that Mark Ingram, Cameron Jordan, and Cameron Heyward, all potential first-rounders, come from excellent bloodlines.

Mark Ingram's father, Mark Sr., spent 10 years in the NFL, winning a Super Bowl with the 1990 New York Giants; Heyward's father, the late Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, was a rugged running back for five teams during an 11-year career; Jordan's father, Steve, was a six-time Pro Bowl tight end for the Minnesota Vikings; and Matthews' dad, Clay, spent 19 years as a linebacker for Cleveland and Atlanta.

Obviously, NFL players begetting NFL players isn't exactly a new trend — hello, Manning brothers — but if you are the sort of person who remembers Mark Ingram Sr. or Ironhead Heyward, their kids getting drafted might be a reason to feel old.

Niners Nation notes that the 49ers reportedly brought in Patrick Peterson for a private workout on Saturday. That's good for Niners Nation, which shrugs off size concerns about Peterson and brings up the name of Ronnie Lott in an effort to remind fans that top-10 defensive backs have panned out for San Francisco before.


NFL Draft 2011: Carolina Panthers And The Cam Newton Decision

The No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft comes with plenty of options and could set a team up for long-term success or cripple a franchise just the same. With the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers sit in the driver's seat, and have the chance to draft an immediate impact player, giving the franchise a quick shot in the arm. As the draft draws closer, all signs are pointing to the Panthers snapping up Cam Newton, regarded as an impact playmaker at the quarterback spot -- the most important position in the NFL.

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco took a look at the Panthers wants and needs in an effort to form a conclusion about what Carolina may do on April 28. But it came down to a simple question: Quarterback or defensive tackle. The answer, it turned out, was just as simple.

But like I said last year before the draft: When was the last time you came away from a Super Bowl and said that team won because of the great defensive tackle play?

It's a quarterback league. If the Panthers think Newton can be a franchise passer, they need to take him.

It's a risk, but one the Panthers may have to take. With the city expecting Newton at this point, anything less may cause widespread mutiny in Carolina.

For the latest news and rumors, stay with our 2011 NFL Draft StoryStream. For more on the Panthers and the decisions they face, head over to Cat Scratch Reader.


NFL Draft 2011: Cincinnati Bengals Searching For A Quarterback

With Carson Palmer on the outs with the Cincinnati front office, the Bengals are in desperate need of a quarterback. As the draft approaches, the Bengals are evaluating which quarterbacks may be available when their name is called, either in the first- or second-round. But Cincinnati is stuck in a tough spot with the No. 4 pick, showing no interest in Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton, the top-two quarterbacks in the draft.

It leaves Cincinnati with a tough decision to make: Reach for one of the top quarterbacks in the draft or wait until the second round and hope Andy Dalton or Christian Ponder are around. With the premium placed on the position, Dalton and Ponder are both seeing their stocks rise, and may end up in the first round by the time the draft rolls around on April 28.

SB Nation's Bengals blog, Cincy Jungle, is worried about how the Bengals may react and wonders if the team will do something it later regrets.

However, we have to wonder how the Bengals will react. If there's a growing wide-spread belief that Dalton and Ponder are gone in the first round -- and Schefter isn't the first to promote this -- then it could force the Bengals hand (aka, overreacting) by selecting a quarterback like Missouri's Blaine Gabbert or Auburn's Cam Newton, in the first round.

As the draft draws closer, we'll see plenty of bluffing, maneuvering and false signals of interest sent out by every team with a first round pick. Formulating a plan and putting together a big board is only part of the equation for NFL teams and the moves made or, more accurately, not made can determine a team's drafting success.

Stay with our 2011 NFL Draft StoryStream for the latest news and rumors ahead of the first round of the draft. For more on the Bengals, head over to Cincy Jungle.


NFL Draft 2011: First Round Receivers After A.J. Green, Julio Jones

In addition to covering the NFL side of things at SB Nation I also run our Kansas City Chiefs blog, Arrowhead Pride. Because of that, I've been keeping an eye on the receivers that might be available in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft. The Chiefs have WR Dwayne Bowe and...that's about it. WR Dexter McCluster may be moving to more of a running back role and he didn't have much of an impact in Kansas City at receiver. 

The Chiefs are drafting 21st which means WR Julio Jones and WR A.J. Green will be gone by the time they pick. So who is the third receiver? And is the first round too high for him?

A few names pop out to me. 

First, there's Miami WR Leonard Hankerson. He put up one of the best receiving seasons in Hurricanes history last year and, considering some of the talent that's come out of there, that's an impressive season. But is No. 21 too high for him? Is he a first rounder? I'm not so sure that he is as he still has some flaws in his game.

Second, there's Maryland WR Torrey Smith. He had 12 touchdowns and over 1,000 yards receiving last year including a 224-yard performance in his final game. I like Smith but I'm not sure I'd be ready to pick him at No. 21.

Third, there's Pittsburgh WR Jonathan Baldwin. He has huge potential and I love his size but the production hasn't been there consistently and there are some other questions about him. I don't think he's a first rounder.

So there are a few options on a third first round receiver but I'd predict right now that only two total receivers wil go in the first round. 


NFL Draft Rumors: Who's Looking To Get Back Into Round One?

Because of the NFL lockout there can't be any players involved in trades in the 2011 NFL draft but there can be future picks traded. So we are expecting some trades in the draft -- we're just not sure how many. Undoubtedly, there will be some teams at the top of the second round looking to get back into round one to secure the player they want.

And when teams are talking about trading back into the first round, a lot of times the target is a quarterback. This year there are several bottom-of-the-first-round quarterbacks that will be available including Ryan Mallett, Christian Ponder, Colin Kaepernick and Andy Dalton.

SB Nation's Mocking The Draft has a story up suggesting trading back into round one may not be the best idea. So on that note I wanted to look at the 2011 NFL draft order and figure out who will be looking to get back into round one to snag a quarterback. Here are a few possibilities:

Buffalo Bills: Their quarterback situation is pretty interesting because, on the one hand, you have Ryan Fitzpatrick who at times looked solid in 2010. But as far as a long-term answer at quarterback? I'm not sure he's the guy. The Bills could select a quarterback with the third overall pick but if they don't, they could be among the teams looking to snag a quarterback at the end of round one. I think they're in good position to select a developmental quarterback -- which is what most of the bottom-of-the-first-round quarterbacks are  -- because Fitzpatrick can handle the load in 2011.

Cincinnati Bengals: They're apparently big fans of Dalton and it's possible he's gaining enough buzz to be a first round pick, although most see him as a second rounder. If Dalton is there and a team like the Seahawks still need a quarterback then I could see Cincinnati trying to get back into the first round. 

Tennessee TitansPeter King's mock draft has the Titans trading back into the first round and selecting Ponder so that's something to remember. I don't think King has any hard information that the Titans are planning on doing that but he didn't come up with that out of thin air. The Titans quarterback situation is like the Bengals -- pretty bleak. 


NFL Draft 2011: Panthers, Broncos Haven't Received Trade Offers

With the NFL lockout, players can not be traded in the 2011 NFL draft -- only picks (and future picks) can be traded. So that's lead to two schools of thoughts on how trades will go down next week. 

Some feel there will be more trades because GMs will be itching to make some sort of move and may not have free agency to improve the roster so there's more of a desperate feeling to get the player you need during the draft. Others predict there will be less trades because you have less pieces to trade.

For the top two picks in the NFL draft, there have been no trade offers. The Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos have both said they haven't received any trade offers. Contrast that to Bill Belichick who says the New England Patriots have had a lot of calls around the 28th and 33rd picks

Maybe Panthers GM Marty Hurney and Broncos VP John Elway aren't being truthful and they're simply enticing someone (anyone!) to call them and make a trade offer. Both teams probably wouldn't mind trading down because of the bounty you'd receive in return. 

It's also possible that simply no one wants the top two picks in the draft. With the money you would commit to them, it's not worth it, especially in a year where there's no clear-cut No. 1 player. 


NFL Draft 2011: Chicago Bears Remain A Threat To Trade Down, As Always

The Chicago Bears have traded away two first round draft picks, along with two second-rounders, in the past two NFL drafts. Could they go and do such a thing again? To hear general manager Jerry Angelo tell it, don't rule it out:

I know the question will come up: Will you trade up, will you trade down? We're always going to be flexible. We always have. Trading down is easier to do and if there's enough players on the board when it's our pick [and] it makes sense, then it's something we would consider very seriously.    

Chicago is set to pick No. 29 in this year's first round and No. 62 in the second. You'll note those picks are near the ends of their respective rounds, so trades down out of those spots would likely mean exiting a round. In SB Nation's most recent 2011 NFL mock draft, Brian Galliford has the Bears taking OT Derek Sherrod and DT Drake Nevis.

For more Bears, join Windy City Gridiron and SB Nation Chicago. For more NFL Draft, join Mocking The Draft.


NFL Draft Rumors: Patriots Draft Picks Will Get Some Attention

The New England Patriots hold three of the top 33 picks in the 2011 NFL draft which means we can expect some day one trades. The Patriots under Bill Belichick are traditionally the most active trading team on draft day so keep an eye on the 17th, 28th and 33rd picks in the draft.

Despite their 14 wins last season, the Patriots are in an excellent position in this draft. In fact, Mike Lombardi of predicts it will be the 28th and 33rd pick that draws the most attention on the trade market.

My second prediction is that the New England Patriots will have many teams vying for their first pick in the second round (No. 33 overall), but their most coveted pick will be the 28th pick overall. In fact, there will be so many teams that want to acquire that 28th overall pick that the value of the pick will far exceed the old chart value. The 28th pick will be the auction pick, because many teams won't want to leave Radio City on Thursday night without the player it deems the key to its draft.

Two things to remember.

First, teams CAN trade picks and future picks in this draft. Trading of players is not allowed due to the lockout but draft picks are tradable assets.

Second, the 33rd pick is the first pick of the second day with the new format implemented last year. This means that anybody who wishes to get the top remaining player on day two will probably need to call the Patriots. I would argue that the 33rd pick will be the most coveted but obviously Lombardi disagrees. 

However it shakes out, the Patriots are sitting in an enviable position.


2011 NFL Draft: Mike Mayock Says Jake Locker To Redskins Makes Sense

The 2011 NFL draft is exactly one week away and we're still trying to nail down where the quarterbacks will go. Most feel confident that QB Cam Newton and QB Blaine Gabbert will go in the top five of the draft. After that, though, the quarterbacks are a mystery.

QB Jake Locker as been mocked as high as No. 8 to the Tennessee Titans and as low as the beginning of the second round so figuring out where he will go is a key to this draft.

If it were up to NFL Network's Mike Mayock, Locker would be headed to the Washington Redskins.

"Locker likes getting out on the edge and he's mostly accurate off play-action rolling out right or left," Mayock said in a teleconference with reporters Wednesday. "That's what Mike Shanahan's scheme is. It's a lot of play-action. It's a quarterback making a decision on half the field. ... If he has a chance to play early and play effectively, I think that's the kind of system he's set up for."

Mayock recently said that, if Locker had some out last year, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan would have thought long and hard about selecting him with the fourth overall pick. Logically speaking, that would mean he's in play with the Redskins 10th overall pick.

The other chatter around Locker has him going to the Minnesota Vikings with the 12th pick -- assuming the Redskins don't take him which, according to Mayock, isn't a very good assumption.

Check out SB Nation's Hogs Haven for four reasons drafting a quarterback would not be the right move for the Redskins. 


NFL Draft 2011: Bengals Working Out Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton This Week

The Cincinnati Bengals are in a very unique position entering the 2011 NFL draft. They have a former No. 1 overall pick on the team -- QB Carson Palmer -- but he has threatened to retire if the team doesn't release or trade him. Most NFL folks think he's serious about that but the Bengals reportedly aren't yet convinced.

If Palmer is serious about it though the Bengals will need to select a signal-caller in the NFL draft next week. It's possible they'll be looking at QB Blaine Gabbert with the fourth overall pick. If they don't go that route, then guys like QB Christian Ponder and QB Andy Dalton will come into play in the second round.

With some last minute preparation, the Bengals will be working out both Ponder and Dalton this week. NFL teams can't bring players in for visits anymore -- the deadline was Wednesday night -- so they'll travel to Texas to work them out.

Ponder is gaining some buzz as a possible late first round pick so it's possible he's not around when the Bengals pick in the second round. Meanwhile Cincy has been connected to Dalton often and he's expected to draw serious interest from them. (Of course, the interest in Dalton is all based on whether the Bengals are afraid of his red hair or not.)

The Bengals have been doing their due diligence on quarterbacks -- both at the top of the first round and the second round. The Palmer situation is a fluid one although it's looking like he simply won't play for the Bengals this year.


2011 NFL Draft: Da'Quan Bowers Holds Out Hope To Be No. 1 Pick

Throughout the 2010-11 college football season there were more than a few folks predicting Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers would be the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft. Pass rushers are at a premium in the league right now and Bowers has demonstrated he has the potential to be one of the best.

But once the college football season ended, and the pre-draft process started, the buzz on Bowers has worn off. That's due mostly to reports that he has some sort of long-term knee injury. For his part, Bowers says the reports about his knee haven't been entirely accurate.

"All the speculations about my knee and the surgery are all wrong. The NFL teams and the doctors know what's going on, so that's all that really matters at this point."

He also said that, despite the lack of buzz surrounding his name right now, he says it's still a goal to be the top overall pick next Thursday.

"Definitely. I want to go as the No. 1 draft pick. That's the prized possession being that first name called."

A lot of 2011 NFL mock drafts, including SB Nation's latest, has Bowers slipping out of the top 10. 


NFL Draft 2011: Ryan Mallett's Agent Disputes 'Night On The Town' Report

Among the quarterbacks in the 2011 NFL Draft, Ryan Mallett would probably be the first you'd pick if asked to name the one most likely to miss a team meeting due to carousin'. So it didn't come as a surprise when a report broke Wednesday that Mallett had skipped a meeting with the Carolina Panthers after being spotted prowling Charlotte late the night before.

However! It will also not surprise you that Mallett's agent is denying the report, saying his client was "in his hotel room by about 10 o'clock" and that "I know for sure" he wasn't out late. The Arkansas giant was not just sick, but "really, really sick," according to his agent.

Character concerns are becoming a routine thing with Mallett, leading one to wonder what the modern NFL team would've made of Joe Namath. 

For more Hogs, visit Arkansas Expats. For more NFL Draft, join Mocking The Draft.


NFL Draft Rumors: Christian Ponder Gaining Buzz As First Rounder

The 2011 NFL draft is slightly over one week away and we still haven't the slightest idea how many quarterbacks will go in the first round. It could be as few as two and as many as six, although it will likely be somewhere in between.

One of those quarterbacks trying to sneak into the first round is FSU QB Christian Ponder. He's been sent a number of places in various 2011 NFL mock drafts ranging from the first round to the end of the second round. SB Nation's latest 2011 NFL mock draft has Ponder going to the San Francisco 49ers in the second round.

Peter King of reports that, as of now, Ponder is the "hot guy" at the bottom of the first round of the draft. King had the Tennessee Titans trading into the second round to select Ponder. The Titans probably need to come out of this draft with a quarterback and barring a reach with the eighth overall pick, the second round is probably their best bet. It would appear that, of the guys available, Ponder would be a popular choice.

Only eight more days until we can find out if Ponder can make the jump into the first round.


NFL Draft 2011: Why Do Broncos Continue To Look At Quarterbacks?

This week the Broncos hosted quarterbacks Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert, according to the Denver Post.

At least one of those players will be available on April 28 when the Broncos make the second pick in the 2011 NFL draft. Newton is consistently being mocked to the Carolina Panthers with the first overall pick and Gabbert isn't expected to escape the top five. 

The Broncos have QB Kyle Orton, whose contract is expiring. In February the Broncos said he was their starter at the moment, although things can change. They also spent a first round pick in the 2010 NFL draft on QB Tim Tebow.

So with one potential starter, and a first round pick, why are the Broncos looking at quarterbacks?

It's possible that the Broncos are trying to make other think they could take a quarterback. This would be the best move if they were looking to trade back. By making others think they could select a quarterback, the Broncos may receive more offers from teams hoping to jump up to the second spot and secure Newton or Gabbert, whoever is available. Elway has made it known that the Broncos are open to trading back. 

Or it's also possible new VP John Elway wants a fresh start at quarterback and Newton or Gabbert would represent that. 

It's all a puzzle we're trying to solve right now. 


2011 NFL Draft: Ryan Mallett Reportedly Cancels Panthers Meeting

One of the most interesting players entering the 2011 NFL draft is former Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett. Physically, he's one of the top quarterback prospects and a first round pick. However, off-the-field concerns have knocked his draft stock down (at least in the media's eyes).

A report by Brad Biggs of National Football Post adds to those off-the-field concerns. Biggs reports Mallett was a no-show for a meeting earlier this month with the Carolina Panthers, who hold the top pick in the draft. 

Mallett met team officials for dinner April 8, the day he arrived in town, but meetings the next day at Bank of America Stadium were cancelled after Mallett called and said he was sick, multiple sources told the National Football Post.

The report also states Mallett was "seen out on the town late" the night before but we don't know if those two events are connected. As far as we know, he really could have been sick. That said, even if you were sick, canceling a meeting with a team doesn't look good. Maybe the excuse was legitimate but, to outsiders, it adds to the concerns some people have about him.

We'll see what comes of this. There are two sides to every story. 

[Update: There are two sides to every story. Here is Mallet's side of the story.]


NFL Draft 2011: Is QB Colin Kaepernick A First Round Pick?

Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick was one of the players invited to the 2011 NFL draft at Radio City Music Hall but has declined the invite, according to reports. The fact that he was invited at all is what I'm interested in.

Generally, the NFL invites the top prospects  to the NFL draft in New York -- those who will be drafted in the first round, or perhaps early second round. Apparently, teams told the league that he was rated high enough that he merited consideration as a first round pick.

If that's the case, we very well could be on our way to five or more quarterbacks in the first round of the draft.

QB Cam Newton and QB Blaine Gabbert are guaranteed first rounders. QB Jake Locker is a likely first rounder and QB Andy Dalton was mocked to the Dolphins with the 15th overall pick in Peter King's mock draft so I'd say he has a good idea he's a first rounder. From there, you could also throw in QB Christian Ponder in the first round. I haven't even mentioned QB Ryan Mallett yet. 

So if Kaepernick is a first round pick (which still appears unlikely), we could see at least five first round quarterbacks for thefirst time since 1999. 


NFL Draft 2011 News: Denver Broncos Coach John Fox Talks Up Von Miller's Skills

Last week, SB Nation’s Brian Galliford mentioned in his weekly NFL mock draft that Texas A&M Aggies LB Von Miller’s chances of being picked No. 2 overall by the Denver Broncos have been getting a lot of hype lately. Well, count Broncos coach John Fox among those adding to the buzz.

While talking about Miller to the Denver Post, Fox said:

In this league, you have to rush the passer. (Quarterbacks are) too good just to let them stand there and look over your defense. He has the skill set to play this game, no doubt.

That No. 2 pick could be the best opportunity in the draft, since Denver doesn’t appear to be interested in picking a quarterback. In some ways, the field is even more wide open for them than it is for Carolina at No. 1.

For more on the Broncos, join Mile High Report and SB Nation Denver. For more NFLDraft, visit Mocking The Draft. And for more Aggies, join I Am The 12th Man.


NFL Draft Rumors: Redskins Looking To Trade Up Or Down?

We've mentioned a few times around here that April is called Liars' Month because of all the misinformation flowing. The rumors surrounding the 2011 NFL draft are no different and the Washington Redskins are a good example.

Last week John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reported that the Redskins were "trying like crazy" to move up in the draft in order to select one of the top quarterbacks available. That made some sense because the Redskins aren't expected to keep QB Donovan McNabb next season.

But then this week Pete Prisco of reports that the Redskins are actually looking to trade back in the draft. Prisco says Washington is eyeing QB Christian Ponder or QB Andy Dalton.

Two respected reporters with two completely opposite reports. This is a good example of the type of information flowing these days. Sometimes a team will make their interest in trading up known so that they can find a trade partner. Other times a team will make their interest in trading back known so that they can tell the other 31 teams that their pick is for sale.

The point here is that it's difficult to separate fact from fiction, especially the week leading up to the NFL draft. 

For more on the Redskins draft day plans, check out SB Nation DC and Hogs Haven


2011 NFL Draft: Seattle Seahawks Looking To Trade Back

The 2011 NFL draft is a little different than other years because of the lockout which means teams can't trade players during the draft. They can, though, trade picks (and future picks). So there will be some trading but perhaps not as much as usual.

One of the teams looking to trade back is the Seattle Seahawks. GM John Schneider told reporters at a pre-draft press conference that they would prefer to move back.

"Personally, I'd like to move back," he said. "I have confidence in our ability in those middle rounds to do some good stuff."

That's likely because the Seahawks don't have a third round pick. They could potentially move back even just a few spots and pick up a third round pick. 

That said, is trading back the best option for them? Plenty of folks believe they're looking for a quarterback and if there's someone there -- let's say QB Jake Locker -- would they still be looking to trade back? It's hard to believe anything at this time of year so figuring out what Schneider says, and what he may really mean, is a difficult task.

The Seahawks best chance of moving back may be a quarterback falling to them and another team sitting in the second round looking to move up and snag him.

For more on the Seahawks draft plans, check out Field Gulls


NFL Draft 2011: News And Rumors Before Round One Kicks Off

The 2011 NFL draft is less than two weeks away. The first round will be held on Thursday, April 28 in primetime as will the second and third round on Friday, April 29. That next Saturday, April 30, the fourth through seventh rounds will be conducted ending the draft.

Leading up to to next Thursday there will be a boatload of draft rumors. That's usually what we see in the week or so before the NFL draft as some important information is leaked and some teams intentionally leak misinformation to help their cause. For example, a team could leak out negative information on a particular player in the hopes that others pass on him and he drops to that team. Or, teams could leak out information indicating they really like one player and possibly get another team to beat and reach on that player.

By this point, teams have done their evaluations and a lot of what you hear by now is misinformation being spread. The draft is a strategic game and NFL teams are paranoid about their true draft plans getting out.

For more on the 2011 NFL draft, check out the SB Nation draft page. 

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