2011 NFL Mock Draft: A Pre-Combine Projection Of First Two Rounds

In our latest 2011 NFL Mock Draft, we project the first two rounds ahead of the NFL combine, which will surely shake up teams' big boards headed into April.

The NFL Scouting Combine begins in just under two weeks. In anticipation of what might be the penultimate NFL event of the 2011 calendar year, our latest 2011 NFL Mock Draft will expand to two rounds - not just to double the discussion, but to double the amount of prospects we're covering.

ROUND ONE

1. Carolina Panthers: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn. The most disruptive defender available this year would be a perfect centerpiece as Ron Rivera re-builds Carolina's defense.

2. Denver Broncos: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama. As Denver transitions back to the 4-3 defense, Dareus would team with Elvis Dumervil to give the Broncos two building blocks along their defensive line.

3. Buffalo Bills: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU. Don't sleep on Cam Newton here, but Peterson is the type of playmaker that fills a Bills need and helps a defense at all levels of the field.

4. Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia. As the Carson Palmer situation heats up, it still makes sense for the Bengals to take not just the best player available, but one that Palmer would enjoy playing with.

5. Arizona Cardinals: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn. Ken Whisenhunt is a smart guy; if he likes the potential of John Skelton and Max Hall, then there's no way he doesn't love Newton.

6. Cleveland Browns: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson. Dick Jauron has a job ahead of him moving the Browns back to the 4-3; Bowers would be a great way to start.

7. San Francisco 49ers: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M. Pass rusher isn't necessarily San Francisco's biggest need, but Miller is a difference-maker and a leader; Jim Harbaugh would love him.

8. Tennessee Titans: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina. The Titans need a quarterback; a safer projection at this point might be Quinn, who would add talent to Tennessee's defense.

9. Dallas Cowboys: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska. In desperate need of a talent upgrade in their defensive backfield, Amukamara might be an instant starter at cornerback in Big D.

10. Washington Redskins: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama. It's still not a lock that the Redskins will take a quarterback here; should they take another route, an offensive skill talent upgrade makes a ton of sense.

11. Houston Texans: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri. Wade Phillips is moving the Texans to a 3-4 defense, and his priority is upgrading his front seven with as much talent as possible. Smith has it in spades.

12. Minnesota Vikings: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri. Minnesota's desperation for a quarterback seems higher than other teams', and this is a good value spot for Gabbert.

13. Detroit Lions: Cameron Jordan, DE, California. There isn't a cornerback or linebacker with enough value to take this early, but Jordan would look great lining up with Ndamukong Suh.

14. St. Louis Rams: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue. Chris Long finally showed signs of life in 2010, but he needs a bookend. Kerrigan's motor would make him an excellent complement.

15. Miami Dolphins: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama. Ingram continues to fly under the radar because of his position, but he ranks among the most sure-fire prospects available this year.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jake Locker, QB, Washington. GM Gene Smith doesn't care about perceived value; Locker has the experience, intangibles and talent that the Jaguars covet.

17. New England Patriots: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin. Bill Belichick began his defensive youth movement last year; he can continue that process in 2011 armed with six picks in the first three rounds.

18. San Diego Chargers: Tyron Smith, OT, USC. As the draft inches closer, Smith is slowly trickling up boards. He has the talent to start at right tackle immediately for the Chargers, sufficient weight or not.

19. New York Giants: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA. The Giants perpetually replenish their defensive line via the draft, but it's about time they concentrated on adding some linebackers.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa. There may not be a team with a bigger specific positional need than Tampa Bay's need for a talented defensive end.

21. Kansas City Chiefs: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College. Todd Haley is fine-tuning his offense, and that starts up front, where the Chiefs could use a long-term answer at right tackle.

22. Indianapolis Colts: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado. There's little question that Solder is the most talented lineman available this year; his lack of physicality would be masked in Indy's pass-first offense.

23. Philadelphia Eagles: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami (FL). Asante Samuel is fine at one corner position, but Philly's slipping defense could use a major upgrade across from him.

24. New Orleans Saints: Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State. Paea represents a significant talent upgrade over Remi Ayodele, but his surgically torn meniscus bears monitoring.

25. Seattle Seahawks: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado. Despite its surprising playoff run, the Seahawks are still sufficiently lacking in overall talent that they can get away with taking the best player here.

26. Baltimore Ravens: Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State. This isn't a huge need area for Baltimore, but Heyward might be too talented - and too perfect a fit - for the Ravens to pass.

27. Atlanta Falcons: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin. Poised to lose Tyson Clabo (a free agent) at right tackle, Carimi has the grit and smarts that the Falcons would covet in Clabo's replacement.

28. New England Patriots: Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia. After adding Watt at No. 17, the Patriots would be getting a nice pass rushing complement to team with Jermaine Cunningham in Houston.

29. Chicago Bears: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State. It's not exactly a secret that the Bears need to upgrade their offensive line; Sherrod would be capable of starting at left tackle immediately.

30. New York Jets: Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame. New England's offensive success will make the two-TE offense trendy. Rudolph and Dustin Keller would do wonders for Mark Sanchez's development.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas. After watching William Gay get lit up in Super Bowl XLV, the Steelers would do well to replenish their depth at cornerback.

32. Green Bay Packers: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois. Though he's not a classic body type fit for the 3-4, Liuget has the disruption skills and athleticism to excel in Dom Capers' scheme at end.

ROUND TWO

33. New England Patriots: Jon Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh. New England did just fine without an elite receiver in 2010 - that's putting mildly - but that doesn't mean they'd ignore one if he slipped to them.

34. Buffalo Bills: Christian Ballard, DT, Iowa. The Bills will continue to build their 3-4 defense, and Ballard would slide into an end rotation featuring 2010 third-round pick Alex Carrington quite nicely.

35. Cincinnati Bengals: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas. Even if they take Green to placate Palmer, it would still behoove the Bengals to hedge their bets in case Palmer follows through on threats to retire.

36. Denver Broncos: Allen Bailey, DE, Miami (FL). The Broncos would have to find a position for Bailey, but his unusual athleticism and power would make him hard to pass here.

37. Cleveland Browns: Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland. If the Browns are content to build around Colt McCoy, they need to get him better talent to work with.

38. Arizona Cardinals: Brooks Reed, DE, Arizona. When an aging Joey Porter still represents your team's best option as a pass rusher, it's time to try to change that up.

39. Tennessee Titans: Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State. Ponder is still under the radar a bit. Arm strength is his only question mark; everything else about him screams eventual starter.

40. Dallas Cowboys: Rahim Moore, FS, UCLA. Dallas is hurting at safety, too, and this is a nice value spot for Moore, the highest-upside safety available this year.

41. Washington Redskins: Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida. Washington's offensive line is far from perfect, and Pouncey has the athleticism required to thrive in Mike Shanahan's system.

42. Houston Texans: Drake Nevis, DT, LSU. This is another case of a player being a poor body type fit for the 3-4, but Nevis is a super-disruptive player that would thrive in Phillips' one-gap system.

43. Minnesota Vikings: Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor. Watkins' stock is soaring after a strong week at the Senior Bowl, and the Vikings need a long-term replacement for Steve Hutchinson.

44. Detroit Lions: Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina. Knee surgery shouldn't cause Carter to slide much further than this, as he is the most talented linebacker available this year.

45. San Francisco 49ers: Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia. Whether Dowling is playing cornerback or safety in the pros, he'd fill a need for the 49ers, who lack coverage talent in their secondary.

46. Denver Broncos: Brandon Burton, CB, Utah. Cornerback talent is necessary with Champ Bailey hitting free agency. Burton is just coming into his own as a player.

47. St. Louis Rams: Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami (FL). The Rams still have deep threats Mark Clayton and Donnie Avery returning; Hankerson is a high-upside complement.

48. Oakland Raiders: Marcus Cannon, OT, TCU. He's a giant man with outstanding athleticism. Al Davis will love him. He also has immense potential as an NFL guard.

49. Jacksonville Jaguars: Stefen Wisniewski, C, Penn State. Brad Meester is getting up there, and until he's ready to call it quits, Wisniewski can chip in and play guard.

50. San Diego Chargers: Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple. Jacques Cesaire is aging at defensive end, and this underclassman from Temple is a high-upside replacement.

51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Clint Boling, OT, Georgia. After a surprisingly strong week at the Senior Bowl, Boling is a legitimate second-round talent that could compete to start at RT right away for the Bucs.

52. New York Giants: Ben Ijalana, OT, Villanova. The consensus top small-school product available could play tackle for the Giants, or could eventually replace Rich Seubert at guard.

53. Indianapolis Colts: Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina. No, this isn't your typical Indy character fit, but the need and the talent converge to make this one of the best value picks in this scenario.

54. Philadelphia Eagles: Orlando Franklin, OT, Miami (FL). The Eagles need to address their depth along their offensive front, and Franklin has the talent to emerge as a quality starter on either side.

55. Kansas City Chiefs: Titus Young, WR, Boise State. The Chiefs have a lot of speed at running back, but not enough at receiver. Young is lithe, but also a potential superstar.

56. New Orleans Saints: Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois. Leshoure is talented enough to get picked much higher than this, and would solve a lot of problems in the Saints' muddled backfield.

57. Seattle Seahawks: Rodney Hudson, OG, Florida State. NFL scouts are concerned about Hudson's playing weight, but he's too talented to last much further than this point in the second round.

58. Baltimore Ravens: Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy. Baltimore needs youth and speed at receiver, and Jernigan provides both - with a side dish of upside.

59. Atlanta Falcons: Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin. The Falcons need a long-term replacement for Tony Gonzalez. Kendricks isn't the same type of player, but he'll be an excellent receiving threat.

60. New England Patriots: Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois. The versatile Wilson could play inside next to Jerod Mayo, but also has the length and athleticism to play outside if need be.

61. San Diego Chargers: Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor. Taylor could be selected much higher than this, but would be a great value pick along the Chargers' re-tooled, youthful defensive line.

62. Chicago Bears: Jurrell Casey, DT, USC. Defensive tackle is a bit of a question mark for the Bears, who may be on the verge of moving forward without Tommie Harris.

63. Pittsburgh Steelers: DeMarcus Love, OT, Arkansas. The Steelers should improve along the offensive line with guys returning off the injured list, but depth remains a concern. Love can play guard, too.

64. Green Bay Packers: Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville. Charles Woodson will turn 35 next season, and although Tramon Williams and Sam Shields emerged, depth remains an issue at cornerback.

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