NFL Mock Draft 2011 (final)

1. Carolina Panthers - Marcel Dareus - Alabama - DT - After weighing the pros and cons of QB Cam Newton and QB Blaine Gabbert to be the Panthers franchise QB, Ron Rivera and staff pass and follow the route of the Lions from the 2010 NFL Draft, who took DT Ndamakong Suh no.1 overall, and take DT Marcel Dareus. He immediately upgrades the run defense and will eventually attract double teams. He will give the defense someone who can push the pocket and pressure the QB up the middle allowing everyone else around him to make plays.

2. Denver Broncos - Patrick Peterson - LSU - CB - Denver selects the best all-around player in the draft. It's no secret the Broncos need upgrades on the defensive line but can wait until the second round or possibly trade back up into the bottom of the first round to get defensive line help. Peterson paired with the aging veteran All-Pro Champ Bailey will give the defense more opportunities to pressure the other teams QB. Peterson will also boost the return game.


3. Buffalo Bills - Von Miller - Texas A&M - OLB - The Bills need plenty of help in their 3-4 defense front seven. They acquired OLB Shawne Merriman from San Diego late last year. He got injured and never showed if he could regain his All-Pro form and help accumulate sacks for the defense. As a security blanket the Bills draft the best pass rushing OLB prospect in the draft, Von Miller. If Merriman does regain his superb play of the past this will make for a nice 1-2 punch. Remember the saying "pressure bursts pipes" you can never have to many pass rushers on a team.


4. Cincinnati Bengals - Blaine Gabbert - Missouri - QB - Carson Palmer has said since the end of the season he wants to be traded and if not he was going to retire. The Bengals ownership says they want trade him. So if Palmer stays to his word they will need a new signal caller. Blaine Gabbert has all of the physical traits to step in and be the new franchise QB for the Bengals. He comes from a spread offense and will have to learn quickly how to operate from under center.


5. Arizona Cardinals - Robert Quinn - North Carolina - DE - Arizona plays a 3-4 defense and the two things you need for the defense to be effective is a nose tackle and pass rushing outside linebackers. Well, they drafted DT Dan Williams in the first round in the 2010 NFL draft to play the nose tackle spot. In 2011 they draft their future star pass rusher, Quinn. QB is also a priority here, but will probably wait until the new CBA deal is reached and try to make a deal for a free agent QB.


6. Cleveland Browns - A.J. Green - Georgia - WR - Mike Holmgren wants the team to transition back to the 4-3 defense. They will need to add some talent to that front four if that is the case. But if they are going to stick with QB Colt McCoy they need to surround him with as much talent as possible. A.J. Green will give them a legit no.1 WR who can score from anywhere on the field. DE Da'Quan Bowers is an option here as well as DT Nick Fairley.

7. San Francisco 49ers- Prince Amukamara - Nebraska - CB - The 49ers have needed three things the last couple of years: a pass rushing OLB, cover corner, and a QB. If they can find all three in the draft, by trade, or free agency(when the CBA deal is done) they will definitely end their playoff drought. Cam Newton is a bigger, faster, more athletic version of Alex Smith and like Smith comes from a spread offense attack out of college. They should definitely pass on that. This is way too high for Jake Locker or Ryan Mallet. Von Miller and Robert Quinn are already gone so the next thing on the list is a cornerback. Prince would be a great fit and would replace the aging veteran Nate Clements who seems to have lost a step.

8. Tennessee Titans - Nick Fairley - Auburn - DT - Fairley gives the Titans something they have been missing since DT Albert Haynesworth left via free agency, a player who can dominate and be disruptive at the line of scrimmage and stuff the running game. They also need another edge rusher and DE Da'Quan Bowers could be an option.

 
9. Dallas Cowboys - Anthony Castonzo - Boston College - OT - Jerry Jones needs to upgrade the offensive and defensive lines. Some also say they need to make cornerback help a priority, I disagree. A ball hawking safety is more of a need and they should seriously take a look at drafting one in the second round. Tony Romo will be coming back next year after suffering a broken collarbone. So the smart move would be to draft someone to protect him. Leonard Davis and Marc Columbo didn't play up to the contracts they were being paid. Castonzo is probably the best tackle in the 2011 draft and will give them 8-10 years of service. He would be effective at the left or right tackle position.


10. Washington Redskins - Julio Jones - Alabama - WR - Washington will more than likely move on from the Donovan McNabb experiment and acquire another QB. It want be with this pick though. Julio Jones size, speed, athleticism will remind coach Shannahan of past great receivers he had in Denver, Rod Smith and Ed McCaffrey. Even though they need to improve other areas he is to talented to pass on.


11. Houston Texans - Akeem Ayers - UCLA - OLB - Houston hired Wade Phillips to run the defense and will switch to the 3-4 defense. They need to overhaul the front seven by adding a true nose tackle and a pass rushing OLB. Houston also needs help at cornerback and safety. Well, with pass rushers Von Miller and Robert Quinn already gone and the two best corners off the board in Peterson and Amukamara the Texans should select the next best OLB in Ayers. Akeem paired with Brian Cushing coming off the edges, a healthy Mario Williams, and Demeco Ryans back holding down the MLB spot would give Wade Phillips a lot of nice options.

12. Minnesota Vikings - Cameron Jordan - California - DE - The Vikings need a QB to replace again retired Brett Farve. Backup QB Tavaris Jackson will be a free agent and probably want be resigned. Cam Newton is a huge possibility here. The Vikings need help across the defensive line with Pat Williams contemplating retiring soon, Kevin Williams expected to serve a 4 game suspension for using performance enhancing drugs, and Ray Edwards becoming a free agent. Grabbing Cameron Jordan would help replace Edwards. This is too high for a defensive tackle to be selected.

13. Detroit Lions - Tyron Smith - Southern Cal - OT - Matthew Stafford has been injured on three different occasions in his first two years as the Lions starting QB. Detroit has passed on taking a Left Tackle in the draft the last two drafts. OT Jeff Backus will be turning 34 years old next season, the Lions need to find someone very soon to protect Stafford's blind side. Tyron Smith could step in day one and give the Lions 8-10 years of no worries and keep Stafford right.


14. St. Louis Rams - Da'Quan Bowers - Clemson - DE - Bowers slid down the board right into the lap of the Rams because of questions and concerns about a knee injury. They were wishing that WR Julio Jones fell to them, but was taken earlier. A healthy Bowers along with Chris Long would give them two capable bookends at the defensive end position.

15. Miami Dolphins - Mike Pouncey - Florida - G - The consensus pick here for the Dolphins has been RB Mark Ingram (Alabama). It is true that both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams will both be free agents once the new CBA deal is reached and Miami may need a new starting running back. Actually, the more pressing need is an interior lineman. The Dolphins never could get a consistent push in between the tackles to have any success at the power running game that they feature. Pouncey is very versatile and can play the guard or center position. He has quick feet and is athletic enough to be a very effective pulling guard plus he can block well out in space. Pouncey next to Jake Long would be ideal for Miami's running game.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars - Cam Newton - Auburn - QB - QB David Garrard needs to go to a team where he can be appreciated. The Jaguars are not totally committed to him and will be looking to upgrade. Cam Newton fell where i thought he should in the mid first. He is a great athlete and very talented, but i am one who would be cautious about taking a college spread offense QB to high.

17. New England Patriots (from Oakland Raiders) - Gabe Carimi - Wisconsin - OT - Tackle Matt Light will become a free agent once the new CBA is done. He is on the down side of the age 30 and the Patriots need to find his replacement soon. Gabe Carimi gives the Patriots options because of his versatility to play the left or right tackle spot. Tom Brady will be one who is glad to have the help on the offensive line.

18. San Diego Chargers - J.J. Watt - Wisconsin - DE - The Chargers need some versatility along the defensive line. J.J. Watt gives them exactly that with his ability to be effective against the run or the pass. Chargers may look at trading up to get a WR with Malcom Floyd a free agent and the ongoing situation with Vincent Jackson.

19. New York Giants - Mark Ingram - Alabama - RB - The Giants may part ways with RB Brandon Jacobs since he and the coaching staff sometimes don't seem to see eye to eye. Mark Ingram's power game would be the perfect compliment to Ahmad Bradshaw's speed.

 
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Aldon Smith - Missouri - DE - The Bucs who implore a cover 2 defensive scheme, which requires the defensive ends to be quick, athletic, fast, and relentless, needs to rewind back to past glory days when they had Simeon Rice wreaking havoc on QB's. Aldon Smith reminds me a lot of Rice who also was athletic with exceptional speed, had length, wingspan, and plays best going downhill.

21. Kansas City Chiefs - Leonard Hankerson - Miami (Fla.) - WR - The Chiefs need a wide receiver opposite of Dwayne Bowe. Head coach Todd Haley, who use to be offensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals, had two star receivers in Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Hankerson's stock has soared after having a great showing at the 2011 Senior Bowl and recording a great 40 time at the NFL Combine. Bowe will attract the double teams giving Hankerson a lot of one on one matchups to take advantage of. Look for him to be in the race for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

22. Indianapolis Colts - Nate Solder - Colorado - OT - The Colts need help in a lot of different areas like DT, S, LB, and backup QB. The most glaring need is the OL where age is starting to take its toll. Solder has all of the intangibles at 6'9" and 319lbs long arms and nimble feet. Needs time to develop and get stronger.

23. Philadelphia Eagles - Jimmy Smith - Colorado - CB - Philadelphia allowed 31 td passes in 2010. CB Asante Samuel was the bright spot in the secondary intercepting seven passes, but after him there is a considerable drop off in talent. Jimmy Smith would give them a tough physical man to man cover corner who would be ideal in the blitz heavy scheme used by the Eagles. They also need offensive line help. If Nate Solder falls Eagles should take a look at him.

24. New Orleans Saints - Adrian Clayborn - Iowa - DE - New Orleans defense let them down in the playoff loss to the Seahawks. DE Will Smith holds down one end of the defensive line but there is a need for someone to provide pressure from the other side. The defense relied too much on getting pressure by blitzing LB's and DB's. Clayborn shows power at the point of attack. Can dominate at times but needs more pass rush moves.

25. Seattle Seahawks - Christian Ponder - Florida State - QB - Some experts had Ponder as a second to third round prospect during the college football season. Since that time Ponder had a great outing at the 2011 Senior Bowl and wowed the scouts with a great performance at the 2011 NFL scouting combine. He has great poise, intelligence, decent arm strength, and is the most pro ready QB in the class of 2011. Compares favorably to a young Drew Brees. The Seahawks takes Ponder and lets him be groomed by the veteran Matt Hasselback.

26. Baltimore Ravens - Brandon Harris - Miami - CB - GM Ozzie Newsome seems to really like great prospects who come from "THE U" like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Tavares Gooden, and Duane Starks years back. Well the Ravens need cornerback help, with Chris Carr and Josh Wilson too be free agents and Dominique Foxworth coming back from a knee injury. Brandon Harris fits the book and is good at man to man coverage.

27. Atlanta Falcons - Ryan Kerrigan - Purdue - DE - John Abraham is the only threat at putting pressure on the opposing QB's for Atlanta and has reached his peak. Falcons need to draft someone too get mentored by Abraham before his play starts to decline. Kerrigan has that non-stop motor and relentlessness that reminds many of Abraham. Also needs a speed WR opposite Roddy White and a bigger physical corner.

28. New England Patriots - Justin Houston - Georgia - DE/OLB - New England took care of the offensive line with their earlier pick and now they focus on the defensive front seven. In 2010, the Patriots finished 30th in pass defense mostly because of a lack of a pass rush. Houston is well built for the Rush OLB position and had 11 sacks in 2010.

29. Chicago Bears - Derrick Sherrod - Miss. St OT - QB Jay Cutler took a beating by fans and the media for not finishing the playoff game against the Packers. It's amazing he even made it to that game considering the offensive line couldn't protect him much of the season. Drafting Sherrod would be a start at keeping Cutler standing upright.

30. New York Jets - Cameron Hayward - Ohio State - DE - The Jets need to overhaul the defensive line immediately. Shaun Ellis is nearing retirement status and NT Kris Jenkins was released. Heyward is versatile, strong, and hard to move off the ball. He is an effective pass rusher when moved inside. NT Phil Taylor is also an option.

 
31. Pittsburgh Steelers - Phil Taylor - Baylor - NT - It is time for the Steelers to find the successor of NT Casey Hampton. Taylor has ideal size for the nose tackle position and moves well for a big guy. Good strength and plays best in a small area. He needs time to learn better techniques and the position.


32. Green Bay Packers - Allen Bailey - Miami, (Fla.) - DE - DE Cullen Jenkins will be a free agent and DE Johnny Jolly has had some off the field issues. Drafting a DE has moved higher up the need list for the Packers. Bailey is highly athletic and has great measurables. He is a better pass rusher from the inside than coming off the edge. Green Bay has a great coaching staff in place and can mold Bailey to be an outstanding pro.

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