The 2011 draft is fast approaching, so it’s time for my final mock draft. I’ve entered the projection into ‘The Huddle Report’s’ mock draft contest this year, so it’ll be interesting to see how it measures up. I’ve always tried to make the mock’s a little different and look more at possibilities rather than towing the line, so there are a few surprises in this final mock. More on that in a moment.
First of all I’d like to thank everyone who has visited the blog, whether you’ve been here from day one in 2008 or maybe just discovered us over the last few days. I cannot stress enough how much I appreciate your time, feedback and involvement.
Tomorrow I will open a live chat on the blog from 4:30pm PST and this will take place throughout the first round. I hope you will visit and take part, it’s a way to get everyone discussing the picks and I’ll offer a thought on each selection as it comes in. Leading up to the live chat I’ll have a new podcast on the blog and will also have all the last minute coverage before Carolina is officially on the clock.
Today is your last opportunity to win a copy of Paul Allen’s new book ‘Idea Man’. All you need to do is email me a mock draft to email@example.com and the five most accurate projections will win a book. For more information, click here.
So, what about that mock draft?
After the fold there’s an extended thought on each pick.
#1 Carolina – Cam Newton: Newton’s the man and it’s not even in doubt.
#2 Denver – Marcell Dareus: There’s talk about Von Miller and Patrick Peterson, but I think it’s a lot of smoke screening in a desperate attempt to move down. I expect the Broncos to make a fairly safe, solid pick and that will ultimately be Marcell Dareus.
#3 Buffalo - Cameron Jordan: They would love Dareus, but if Denver takes him at #2 they’re forced to look elsewhere. Cameron Jordan is my way of swinging for the fences, and why not? If they settled on Dareus a few weeks ago thinking Denver may take Da’Quan Bowers, then Jordan becomes a logical backup. They play the same position and Jordan is extremely talented. Nobody projected C.J. Spiller last year, so why not make the bold projection here?
#4 Cincinnati - Blaine Gabbert: Another interesting one because they need the quarterback (Gabbert) but may consider AJ Green or even Nick Fairley. Either way, the Carson Palmer era is over in Cincinnati and it may soon be starting in Seattle.
#5 Arizona – Von Miller: If I’m picking between Patrick Peterson and Von Miller, I’d take Peterson. You could toss a coin on this one.
#6 Cleveland – AJ Green: An obvious choice if Green is on the board, but they may also look at the 4-3 defensive lineman remaining.
#7 San Francisco – Patrick Peterson: A possible landing spot for Cameron Jordan if he doesn’t go at #3. This is the lowest point Patrick Peterson can fall.
#8 Tennessee – Nick Fairley: Another wildcard that could go in many different directions. Quarterback and cornerback are their biggest needs, but the coaching staff are familiar with Nick Fairley. They were the only team to place a waiver tender on Randy Moss, so you can’t rule out Julio Jones, particularly after Kenny Britt’s off-field problems.
#9 Dallas – Tyron Smith: It’ll be an offensive tackle or a defensive lineman, unless they move up for a shot at Peterson.
#10 Washington – Jake Locker: Simple put, if they’re still at #10 and Locker’s on the board – there’s your next Redskins quarterback.
#11 Houston – Aldon Smith: A lot gets said about the Texans’ secondary, but not enough about a one-dimensional pass rush. Mario Williams needs some help.
#12 Minnesota - Robert Quinn: Offensive line, cornerback, defensive line, quarterback, wide receiver – all needs that could be filled here. There are so many options – Castonzo, Amukamara, Smith, Mallett, Quinn, Liuget, Jones…
#13 Detroit – Prince Amukamara: The smart money says cornerback, but finding a left tackle or a linebacker is close behind in the need category.
#14 St. Louis – Julio Jones: People assume receiver if Julio Jones is here, but don’t sleep on Corey Liuget or even a move down to target Mike Pouncey.
#15 Miami – Ryan Malett: For me, it’s an obvious decision to draft a quarterback.
#16 Jacksonville – Another team who’s tough to read after Tyson Alualu went 10th overall last year. Do they play it safe (Ryan Kerrigan), take a risk on talent (Jimmy Smith) or even invest in a quarterback?
#17 New England - Da’Quan Bowrs: Bowers falls here and that knee isn’t a complete lost cause, rest assured that Bill Belichick is going take his chance on the guy playing to his elite potential.
#18 San Diego – JJ Watt: They’d like to take a defensive lineman here and it’s a good place to target one here.
#19 New York Giants – Jimmy Smith: Offensive line is an option, so is Mark Ingram. They can feel confident taking the BPA and there’s some great options here.
#20 Tampa Bay – Mike Pouncey: Unless they are totally sold on a defensive end, I can see offensive line as a priority particularly if Pouncey’s available.
#21 Kansas City – Anthony Castonzo: Scott Pioli only takes leaders who will buy in and work hard.
#22 Indianapolis – Corey Liuget: They have a quirkiness in the draft and you can spot ‘Colts’ players all over the board. Defensive or offensive line here you’d think.
#23 Philadelphia – James Carpenter: I’m a huge fan of this guy, he stood out during the season blocking for Ingram, McElroy and co. Why not?
#24 New Orleans – Jabaal Sheard: Pass rushers, linebackers, offensive lineman – this appears to be the direction for New Orleans. Like Carpenter before, I’m a big time Jabaal Sheard fan.
#25 Seattle – Colin Kaepernick: They will review any offers to trade down and judge what’s left on the board. I know they like Colin Kaepernick and he could easily be the pick, even if they stay put. It completely depends on who’s around, but if the Pouncey’s and Smith’s aren’t there – Kaepernick becomes a very real possibility. Don’t sleep on Mark Ingram, because one high profile coaching member has been fighting his corner.
#26 Baltimore – Gabe Carimi: I think they’d love a shot at Jimmy Smith and could even move up for him. If he’s not here, then offensive line looks a safe suggestion.
#27 Atlanta – Adrian Clayborn: Pass rusher required for that defense, but who?
#28 New England – Muhammed Wilkerson: I wonder if they’d take Mark Ingram? That defensive line needs some more beef, even after adding Bowers earlier.
#29 New York Jets – Brookes Reed: Rex Ryan loves pass rushers and cornerbacks. I’d guess he also likes pass rushers with long hair.
#30 Chicago – Nate Solder: Offensive lineman or defensive tackle.
#31 Pittsburgh – Mark Ingram: Time and time again they take the best player on their board. They won’t be put off Ingram if he’s graded well clear of the rest, even if they have Mendenhall.
#32 Green Bay – Derek Sherrod: Offensive line seems like a good best, but a defensive lineman or pass rusher is also possible.