For my latest 2011 mock draft, click here
We’re three weeks into the CFB season and I’m still finding it hard to judge the 2011 draft. When I wrote my first 2009 mock draft I had Ndamukong Suh, Sam Bradford and Gerald McCoy in the top five. Dez Bryant, Russell Okung and Derrick Morgan all featured early with the likes of Eric Berry, Trent Williams, C.J. Spiller and Joe Haden all amongst the top-20 from day one. Even a young playmaker featured going by the name of Earl Thomas.
There are plenty of ‘big names’ that could be high picks next year, but placing them is nearly impossible at this stage. A cluster of suspensions have clouded some prospects’ stock, whilst also robbing us of the opportunity to watch them in action. Inconsistent play hasn’t helped either and a lot of the top prospects haven’t set the world on fire to start the 2010 CFB season.
If Buffalo select first overall, surely they’ll take a quarterback? How could they avoid the position? Would they seriously risk missing out on a guy like Christian Ponder at the top of round two to go in a different direction at #1? I can’t see it. In this projection I have Andrew Luck (again) at the #1 spot. I’m not convinced by the Stanford QB and I’m a little worried we’re looking at another Joey Harrington or Brady Quinn – a solid game manager who can’t translate into the pro’s. Nevertheless, some people rate him much higher than I do. He’s less risk/reward than a Locker or Mallett, but I do think he’ll need a supporting cast to be successful at the next level. We’ll see how his year continues, but a big season for Stanford probably helps his stock (as it will Mallett’s especially if he beats Alabama on Saturday).
I also wanted to use a mock to throw some names out at cornerback to keep an eye on. It’s potentially a deep class of prospects at that position and somewhere the Seahawks may target next April. Also, compiling this projection again emphasised (to me at least) the lack of top-end quality. A.J. Green has the potential to be an elite receiver, but there’s a lot of questions about the others in the top ten. There doesn’t appear to be a big difference between guys like Akeem Ayers (UCLA), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue) and Rodney Hudson (Florida State) and the prospects taken a lot earlier. There’s a fair chance none of those three will even be first round picks.