The 2011 NFL draft is right around the corner and we're being inundated with mock drafts predicting where each player will go in the draft. We decided to take a bit of a different route on the mock drafts this time around.
As some of you may know, SB Nation has partnered with Valvoline on a program that allows fans to predict the first round of the NFL draft. The winner will receiver two custom jerseys and a pair of tickets to your team's 2011 home opener (assuming we, you know, actually have a home opener with the lockout). You can read more about it here.
We collected some data on the votes to this point so here's a look at each of the top vote-getters for picks 1-10.
1. Carolina Panthers - Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert: Right off the bat we have a surprise. Gabbert has nearly doubled Auburn QB Cam Newton in votes despite most 2011 NFL mock drafts picking someone other than Gabbert for the top spot. I'd say, right now, if the Panthers draft a quarterback, it'd be Newton.
Oddest pick: Notre Dame TE Kyle Rudolph (Wait, really?)
2. Denver Broncos - Alabama DT Marcell Dareus: He's the run away winner for the second spot with more than double the votes of LSU CB Patrick Peterson. Many expect the Broncos to go with a defensive lineman and Dareus is considered by many to be the top one available so this makes sense.
Oddest pick: Wisconsin TE Lance Kendricks (Huh?)
3. Buffalo Bills - Auburn QB Cam Newton: I'd argue the Bills are more likely to go with the second and third place vote-getters here -- CB Patrick Peterson or LB Von Miller. That said, Bills head coach Chan Gailey has done some impressive work with quarterbacks before so don't be surprised if this is the pick (if Newton even gets this far).
Oddest pick: Miami WR Leonard Hankerson (He's a late first round talent)
4. Cincinnati Bengals - Georgia WR A.J. Green: Yup. It's hard to argue this one. The Bengals may lose WR Chad Ochocinco in the offseason and Green is the top receiver on the board. I could also see the Bengals going with a quarterback if Newton or Gabbert fell to them.
Oddest pick: Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett (This is the highest I've seen Mallett go in any draft)
5. Arizona Cardinals - Texas A&M LB Von Miller: Our voters firmly believe this is the pick as Miller has out-paced the second vote-getter -- CB Patrick Peterson -- by nearly six times. If a quarterback isn't here, put this one in the bank.
Oddest pick: Washington QB Jake Locker (This seems a little high for Locker)
6. Cleveland Browns - Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers: This is a very tight race with Bowers garnering only nine more votes than WR A.J. Green. Bowers' knee issues may actually cause him to fall out of the top 10 altogether. The Browns, at the sixth pick, can't take a risk on someone and Bowers is a risk.
Oddest pick: UNC DE Robert Quinn (This isn't really an odd pick but it seems a little high)
7. San Francisco 49ers - Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara: This makes a whole lot of sense assuming CB Patrick Peterson is gone. Amukamara to the 49ers is a popular pick and, in my opinion, a safe pick. I like it. Amukamara has more votes than Peterson at this spot only because most expect Peterson to go earlier in the draft.
Oddest pick: Georgia WR A.J. Green (They already have WR Michael Crabtree, although this wouldn't be a bad pick by any means)
8. Tennessee Titans - Auburn DT Nick Fairley: This makes some sense, too, even if Fairley has been getting knocked lately. There are reportedly some character concerns and he's a one-year wonder at this point. The Titans, though, have had success with big defensive tackles with character concerns (lookin' at you, Albert Haynesworth).
Oddest pick: Auburn QB Cam Newton (It's hard to see him dropping this far)
9. Dallas Cowboys - Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara: He's the leading vote-getter here, as he was in the seventh spot so he's going twice. The Cowboys will absolutely look long and hard at Amukamara if he's there, and they'll also look at offensive tackle. USC OT Tyron Smith is second in this spot and I'd put my money on him over Amukamara.
Oddest pick: Cal DE Cameron Jordan (This may be a little early for him)
10. Washington Redskins - Alabama WR Julio Jones: I have to admit I'm a huge Julio Jones fan so I love this pick. If they give QB Donovan McNabb another shot (which seems unlikely) then Jones would help out immediately. The next on this list is WR A.J. Green, though he'll likely be gone by this point.
Oddest pick: Auburn QB Cam Newton (Tony Romo on line one...)