By Will Robinson

 

Last year for my mock draft, I totally copped out and did it in two parts, a week apart, four weeks away from the draft. Not only did it make stuff more outdated, it just sucked in general. I really didn’t do that poorly, but some picks that I had projected weren’t the best (if you care to look at it, here are the two links: Part 1, Part 2. Don’t worry about the odd formatting – some of it was from the blog transfer to the new site). Needless to say I didn’t know what the f-ck I was doing. You could make that argument now.

 

Anyways, the draft is two days away, and I am as excited as ever! I love the NFL Draft and will probably love it more now that Josh McDaniels is nowhere near the Broncos’ war room. I watched the first three rounds last year and caught the last four when I was around. Now that I figured out a better process, and I am in a far less demanding school at the moment, I cranked this bad boy out mostly today. Here it is, my probably terrible 2011 NFL Mock Draft!

1. Carolina Panthers – QB Cam Newton, Auburn

      • The Panthers don’t necessarily need a quarterback, but with a new head coach taking the reins in Charlotte, Ron Rivera may just want to start fresh. I think the verdict is still out on Jimmy Clausen, if only because he had nobody to throw to last year and he had no one, save Jordan Gross, to protect him. I don’t think Newton will be the best quarterback out of this draft, but he has ridiculous upside. Note: I TOTALLY declared to Dylan in January that Newton would be the first pick. Stupidly, I only told him, and I doubt he will ever publicly confirm that because he doesn’t want me to gloat more than I already do.

 

2. Denver Broncos – DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama

      • If for some reason Newton does not go #1 overall, the 10 minutes waiting on Denver’s pick will surely be the longest of my life. Denver certainly has more dire needs than filling quarterback, especially on defense, and Dareus would be a perfect fit. He can play anywhere on the line, and with Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers presumably moving to defensive end in the switch to 4-3, and after they cut Jamal Williams, there is a glaring hole in the middle of the defensive line. I could see them go Miller here, as Dumervil and Ayers leaving linebacker is a loss, but Jason Hunter and Mario Haggan are extremely better than anyone Denver currently has at DT (Ronald Fields? Louis Leonard?).

 

3. Buffalo Bills – OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M

      • I’m pretty sure if Newton were still available at three, head coach Chan Gailey would pull a Tobias Fünke. But he should be gone. I think current starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is good enough to make the Bills go for anything but a signal caller here. Miller is one of the best athletes in this draft, and is one of the more proven commodities. Aaron Maybin has not produced at all, and they need a pass rush. Bad.

 

4. Cincinnati Bengals – WR A.J. Green, Georgia

      • Carson Palmer has expressed distaste in staying in Cincy, and this could prompt the Bengals to go quarterback if they feel Palmer is lost. But, I think they will get the most explosive receiver in the draft. Palmer looked noticeable better when he didn’t have Ochocinco in one ear and Terrell Owens in the other asking for targets, but they still lacked a big-play guy. I don’t think Owens will be back, and Ocho is likely on his way out, too. They’ll need a big-play guy here.

 

5. Arizona Cardinals – QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri

      • Even though Larry Fitzgerald has already expressed he wants the Cards to pick up a veteran quarterback instead of a rookie, if the Cardinals think Gabbert is a franchise quarterback, they have to take him. He certainly cannot be worse than John Skelton or Max Hall, and even the guy who takes his sh-t serious: Derek Anderson.

 

6. Cleveland Browns – WR Julio Jones, Alabama

      • The Browns trust Colt McCoy can be a good starting quarterback for them, so their first move is to get them a target. Jones could be the best receiver in this draft, because I think much has been overblown that “he isn’t the down the field threat Green is.” I think that’s complete bull, and ESPN researched K.C. Joyner even did research to debunk that thought (ESPN Insider required, sorry). Jones is also much more proficient in the short and mid-range routes than Green is, and should have success in his pairing with McCoy.

 

7. San Francisco 49ers – CB Patrick Peterson, LSU

      • The Nate Clements signing has not turned out as well as the Niners have hoped (if you can, look up “highlights” of the Week 1 game last year of SF vs. Seattle. Clements was dominated). Peterson is far away the best corner prospect in this draft, an elite athlete, and arguably the best prospect in the draft. San Francisco could reach for a quarterback here or try to drop back in the draft, but if they stay here and Peterson falls, they will be extremely happy.

 

Nick Fairley LSU v Auburn Mr4c8glhC9Bl8. Tennessee Titans – DT Nick Fairley, Auburn

      • A few months ago, Nick Fairley was crowned as a top-two pick. What happened? Character concerns have apparently disenchanted a particular number of teams from Fairley, but I don’t see it. A DT should have a bit of a mean streak, and Fairley has one. He has also been very clutch in big games, but a main issue is that he only performed for one whole season. The Titans need someone to fill the shoes of Albert Haynesworth’s departure, and Fairley could have the talent to do so.

 

9. Dallas Cowboys – OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College

      • Anyone who saw the Cowboys last year realized 1) Dez Bryant could be a stud if he stays on the field and B) Alex Barron is a scrub. For a team with talented position players, the offensive line for Dallas is not very good. I think Castonzo is the best tackle prospect in the draft, but Tyron Smith could be picked here. Mike Pouncey somehow thinks he could go here, but 9 is too early for an interior lineman. Dallas could use a corner, and could look Amukamara’s way, and I think either Prince or Castonzo would be a solid pick.

 

10. Washington Redskins – QB Jake Locker, Washington

      • This is one of my big surprises of the round, I think. At the beginning of the year, Jake Locker was called the #1 overall pick in this draft. Then what happened? His senior year was not declared a success by draftniks. Sure, his accuracy numbers are low, but you have to look beyond the numbers sometime. Yahoo! Sports’ Mike Silver had an interesting article Dave Razzano, a former scout, who is in love with Locker and cites the offense was not constructed to be conducive to Locker’s statistically proliferation. He moves well out of the pocket completes a very high percentage. If Mike Shanahan wants a quarterback he prefers, a guy who can move well out of the pocket (see Elway, Cutler, Plummer), I think Locker is the pick right here. If his son and offensive coordinator Kyle goes after his prototypical guy (Matt Schaub type), they could find someone later in the draft. But not much could be picked here that would hurt the Redskins. They need help almost everywhere.

 

11. Houston Texans – OLB/DE Robert Quinn, UNC

      • What do you remember from the Texans’ season last year, besides being very disappointing? I’d argue this and this. Ouch. Not a very good season! They could pick Amukamara here, but I think they will need someone else that can rush the passer with Mario Williams in the new 3-4 they will be running. Quinn didn’t play last year, but has impressed with his workouts.

 

12. Minnesota Vikings – DE J.J. Watt, Wisconsin

      • Another team that disappointed last year and was ridden with ineptitude at every level. I could write an article about how poorly the team was run last year with Chilly in charge, but I have better things to do. Like gouge my eyes out. They could use another defensive lineman on the roster as the Williamses start aging and if Ray Edwards doesn’t produce, so why not pick the Midwest guy?

 

13. Detroit Lions – CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska

      • Man oh man, if the Lions had Matthew Stafford for more than, you know, THREE GAMES LAST YEAR, they would have been .500. EASILY. They were robbed on that damn Calvin Johnson play in Week 1, a healthy kicker away from making the Week 9 game against the Jets more difficult to lose (remember THIS?), a stupid two point attempt after time expired to tie Buffalo to send it to overtime in Week 10, and outlasted by Chicago in Week 11. If you try to tell me that Stafford could not have accounted for two more wins last year, then you’re on crack. Amukamara is an ideal fit with the Lions, who need some help in the secondary. Yes, I realize they have former Bronco Alphonso Smith. Case in point.

 

14. St. Louis Rams – DE Cameron Jordan, California

      • The Rams were a definite surprise last year, coming a win away from making the playoffs. Sam Bradford showed everything that warranted his number one pick and anointment as St. Louis savior. If a receiver fell this far, St. Louis would surely jump at the chance to get one. But if not, they could use another rusher to complement Chris Long, who began to show signs of why he was the 2nd pick in 2008. Plus, Steve Spagnuolo loves his defensive linemen, and Jordan has been a riser in the draft as of recently.

 

15. Miami Dolphins – OG Mike Pouncey, Florida

      • The Dolphins may believe that Chad Henne is not their long-term solution at quarterback, and could select someone year, but I think they will give him another year. Excluding Jake Long, their line is not particularly strong. The brother of standout rookie center Maurkice Pouncey was moved to center last year at Florida and had issues snapping the ball, but he was playing out of his natural position. He is the best interior lineman in the draft.

 

16. Jacksonville Jaguars – DE/OLB Aldon Smith, Missouri

      • Jacksonville shocked people as they picked Tyson Alualu 10th overall last year, but Alualu backed up the pick with his production. They do need some help setting the edge, and Aldon Smith is the next to continue the run of defensive linemen off the board. Derrick Harvey has not panned out at all, and another pass rusher to pair with Aaron Kampman would help the Jaguars’ pass rush.

 

17. New England Patriots – DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue

      • The Patriots were the class of the regular season in 2010, but they could not get it done in the post-season. One main reason? The pass rush. The Patriots could not get to the opposing passer for the life of Tully Banta-Cain. This pick makes sense to me and the Patriots. Kerrigan is a four-year player who has produced since his sophomore year; he is a known quantity. He is the all-time Big Ten leader in forced fumbles, racked up double-digit sacks his last two years, and was first team All-American.

 

18. San Diego Chargers – DT/DE Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple

      • The Chargers were ranked first in total offense and defense… and were 9-7? If anyone can tell me that yards are a telling stat after that, then you should go die. Just kidding. Maybe. Anyways, while they had no shortage of hitting the passer, they could use some help in the trenches for their 3-4. Wilkerson would be a solid fit in their defense to eat up some space.

 

19. New York Giants –OT Tyron Smith, USC

      • I’ve seen Tyron Smith go a lot higher, but after reading some information on him, I decided to drop him a bit. Mainly because Castonzo is seen as a better prospect by some, and there wasn’t a team that had a pressing tackle concern over any other position to me. The Giants could use another body up front to help protect Eli, as some of the players on the offensive line are aging.

 

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DE Da’Quan Bowers, ClemsonDaQuan-Bowers

      • Like Fairley, Bowers was declared a top-two pick, but after concerns with the long-term viability of his knee, he has slipped. A lot. If Tampa Bay got Bowers, their defense would look pretty nasty. They could have a corner concern if they decided to cut ties with the troubled Aqib Talib, but they could use a replacement for Tim Crowder or Stylez G. White. The Bucs could be nasty next year if Bowers can remain healthy with their strong youth another year into their development.

 

21. Kansas City Chiefs – DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa

      • Clayborn has great talent, but the issue is that when he was born, he had Erb’s Palsy, which caused some permanent weakness in his right arm; this hasn’t halted his production in college. Outside of Tamba Hali, the Chiefs don’t have any good rushers, as with much of the other teams making a run on rushers. Clayborn out of the top-20 will be a good value in my opinion, and could keep on slipping into the early second round.

 

22. Indianapolis Colts – OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin

      • Peyton Manning is better than ever, but he is getting a bit old and needs protection from angry defensive linemen more than ever. This last season when Manning looked a little “off,” it was because his line could not pick up blitzes. Manning rarely hit the ground with the ball, but he was hurried a lot when I watched him in his poor performances. Carimi is the top tackle available at 22 and would hopefully help immediately. What they DON’T want is another Tony Ugoh. Right, Nick?

 

jimmysmith-i123. Philadelphia Eagles – CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado

      • If Jimmy Smith didn’t have “character concerns,” I’m sure he would go higher than 23 I have here. Or maybe I am a complete idiot and he goes a lot higher than this; let’s not rule out either scenario! Greg Cosell called Jimmy Smith the top corner in this draft skill-wise, and would be a very good fit for an Eagles team with one standout corner in Asante Samuel, and a good nickel back in Ellis Hobbs, but all are midgets little people compared to the 6’2” Smith. If he’s on the board and the Eagles pass him, the Ravens would surely SWOOP him up.

 

 

24. New Orleans Saints – DT Corey Liuget, Illinois

      • Remember the time where the defending Super Bowl champs had a first round playoff game at the only sub-.500 team in playoff history, and many people said they would win, and they LOST? Good times. They Saints were completely dominated while on defense and apparently forgot how to tackle on this legendary effort by Marshawn Lynch. Liuget would bring a nice player to pair with Sedrick Ellis. I don’t know how to say this guy’s name, but I will be saying it as “legit” until I am specifically corrected. Who’s with me?

 

25. Seattle Seahawks – QB Andy Dalton, TCU

      • This is my other bold prediction of the draft, because clearly I have absolutely no inside information. With no clear number one prospect at quarterback in this particular draft, Dalton is one of the more interesting prospects. For one, he is a proud representative of my people (gingers). Also, he brought the TCU program into relevance for the first time since LaDainian Tomlinson left. He is the second winningest quarterback in FBS history, behind Colt McCoy. He doesn’t have an amazing arm, but he would fit a West Coast offense team perfectly. If Seattle feels they can get by with Charlie Whitehurst (aka Clipboard Jesus), re-sign Matt Hasselbeck (aka Old and Washed Up), or acquire a veteran at quarterback, then they could go offensive line here.

 

26. Baltimore Ravens – DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio St.

      • The Ravens would have really liked Jimmy Smith to fall here, but it just didn’t happen. Instead, they get the big, mean player from Columbus. Baltimore tends to avoid busts and they properly develop the talent they select. The thought of Heyward, one of the most intriguing defensive ends last year, going to a team with a strongly established defensive system, is scary. Especially to those who are fans of teams in the AFC North (Dylan). If they don’t go d-line here, they could go o-line or trade down.

 

27. Atlanta Falcons – OT Nate Solder, Colorado

      • I think this pick and the previous one are fairly interchangeable, but I have the Ravens passing on Solder for the Falcons to select. The Falcons were the top team in the NFC during the regular season, but were abused by Clay Matthews and the Packers in the divisional round, allowing five sacks. This is the best tackle available, and I think a wise choice for Atlanta. A defensive end to play opposite John Abraham is a legitimate option here.

 

mark-ingram28. New England Patriots – RB Mark Ingram, Alabama

      • New England has gone without a franchise-type back for a few years since Corey Dillon. Granted, they were fine last year, but a great back can be a nice commodity for a team that passes as much as they do. Ingram can play all three downs. I think the former Heisman winner would fit into “The Patriot Way,” as he even had to share time with Trent Richardson last year.

 

29. Chicago Bears – OG Danny Watkins, Baylor

      • Watkins may not go here, but if the Bears do not pick an offensive lineman high in this draft, they may be sending signs they want Jay Cutler to die on the gridiron (which I have no reservations about). Watkins is the second interior offensive lineman off the board here, and would be a nice addition to help bolster the weak Bears’ line. Fun fact: He was the 4th overall pick in the CFL draft last year… so he’s got to be pretty good, right? Right?

 

30. New York Jets – OLB Akeem Ayers, UCLA

      • Even though the Jets had much success in pissing quarterbacks off, they rarely did it with four to five rushers: They needed big blitzes. Ayers is a versatile player who they could fit in in any number of ways Rex Ryan can think of. It was pretty obvious that Ryan, and not much of anybody, likes Vernon Gholston, so this could be their mea culpa on THAT pick. While Ayers doesn’t jump off the page with the workout numbers, Ayers has to be a better pick.

 

31. Pittsburgh Steelers – CB Brandon Harris, Miami

      • The Steelers have had great drafts by not drafting outright for need, but the best player available. The time has run out, and they FINALLY will draft arguably their biggest need: cornerback. They could use another offensive lineman, after their very last one was starting at the Super Bowl last year, but corner is a very big concern. Harris is a nice pick up here, and Miami athletes still carry some weight. Look at James Shields, who was undrafted from Miami. He’s doing pretty well. If the Steelers like him here, then this will be a great contribution to the team.

 

32. Green Bay Packers – DE/OLB Brooks Reed, Arizona

      • The Super Bowl champions go with another rusher here to go with Clay Matthews. I still remember a conversation I had with Evan at the beginning of the year that went something like this.

 

Evan: “The Packers to win it all? NICE. They don’t have a pass rush though.”

Me: “Uuuu… Clay Matthews?”

Evan: “One person does not equal a pass rush.”

 

      • It worked out fine for last year, but Evan was right. With more than one pass rush threat available, it could have made the defense even more dangerous. They didn’t need it, but they may for next year. If any of the preceding defensive linemen slip down, they could pick up someone who could play Cullen Jenkins’ position, as he is beginning to age.

 

Well, that’s it. Thirty two picks later, and my mock draft is complete. This won’t matter by Thursday at about 9 p.m., but it was fun to do. Please check in Thursday at about 4:45 p.m. PDT for my live NFL Draft Diary! Now excuse me while I go look for news on this bizarre lockout/not lockout that’s currently going on.

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