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Way too early 2011 NFL Mock draft

February 17, 2011
I started to do a post on the impending labor issues the NFL is facing, but I got depressed and did a mock draft instead. Of course, this will change after next week’s scouting combine. Let’s me know what you think of your teams pick! I will revist the labor post soon.
1 – CAR: Bowers, Da’Quan – DE – Clemson
Carolina needs a lot, but I think they look defense with the first pick as no QB is worthy of the top spot. Bowers is the best pass rusher in the draft, and I think enough questions about Fairley arise to keep him out of the top spot.
2 – DEN: Fairley, Nick – DT – Auburn
Denver’s defense is flat out awful. They desperately need an upgrade in their front 7. While I believe Peterson is the best player on the board, Fairley fills a bigger need.
3 – BUF: Newton, Cam – QB – Auburn
The best player available is probably Peterson, but I don’t think the Bills go there. I think by the time it’s all said and done Cam Newton goes here. It reminds me a lot of the Vince Young draft scenario. Newton has all the physical tools. If his background checks out, I think he comes of the board here. He can sit behind Fitzpatrick for this year.
4 – CIN: Green, A.J. – WR – Georgia
I think the Bengals have to chose between Peterson, who they could play at FS if they retain Jonathan Joseph or CB if they do not, and Green. I think Green is the best WR to come out since Calvin Johnson. He allows the Bengals to move on from Chad Johnson and gives the Bengals a potent group of young pass catchers along with Gresham, Shipley, Simpson, and Caldwell
5 – ARI: Miller, Von – OLB – Texas A
The QB position is a mess in ‘zona, but I really think to keep Fitzgerald happy they go the free agent route. They have to choose between Peterson and Von Miller. Both are excellent athletes that make immediate impact. Miller was by many accounts the best player at the Senior Bowl. Shows great pass rush skills with the ability to cover in man-to-man as well as zone schemes.
6 – CLE: Dareus, Marcell – DT – Alabama
With Dareus on the board this is a hard choice for the Browns. They could go with Julio Jones, but he may not be the pure speed guy they need. 3/4 DE are at a premium and the Browns can’t pass on Dareus who can rush the passer and be stout against the run.
7 – SF: Peterson, Patrick – CB – LSU
Peterson is probably on of the three best players overall in the draft and is a steal here. Every team from #2 down had to at least think about picking him.
8 – TEN: Amukamara, Prince – CB – Nebraska
The Titans obviously need a QB, but I think they wait to se who is available in the 2nd or 3rd round. Amukamara is a great corner who is good value at this spot.
9 – DAL: Jordan, Cameron – DE – California
The Cowboys need a new DE in their 3/4 with the probable departure of Marcus Spears. Jordan had a great senior bowl and can impact right away for them.
10 – WAS: Gabbert, Blaine – QB – Missouri
Gabbert comes of the board to the Shanahans. He has a high football IQ and a great release.
11 – HOU: Smith, Aldon – DE – Missouri
The Texans need as many play making defenders as they can find. Secondary help would be preferred, but no prospect in the secondary is worth this pick. Smith is a college DE who projects well at SLB. He has pass rush ability and can go sideline to sideline.
12 – MIN: Solder, Nate – OT – Colorado
The Vikes need a QB, but they don’t reach for players normally. Solder went to the senior bowl and left as the highest rated OT in the draft. The Vikes need to get their running game going again.
13 – DET: Quinn, Robert – DE – North Carolina
The Lions really need a CB, but there is not one worthy of this pick. Quinn represents good value in this pick as well as adding another pass rusher to this DL group.
14 – STL: Jones, Julio – WR – Alabama
The Rams desperately need a true #1 and can’t make this selection quickly enough. While he may lack elite top end speed, he has everything else you want in a #1 WR.
15 – MIA: Ingram, Mark – RB – Alabama
Another pick that takes the team no time to turn in. They add the best back in the draft as Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams most likely move on.
16 – JAX: Clayborn, Adrian – DE – Iowa
The Jaguars have been trying to upgrade their pass rush for years. Clayborn is a beast that can rush the passer as well as stand up against the run. Shows great leadership skills as well.
17 – NE: Ayers, Akeem – OLB – UCLA
The Patriots can go a lot of different directions here. I think they go with Ayers and upgrade their rush from the outside.
18 – SD: Heyward, Cameron – DE – Ohio State
San Diego gets a chance to draft a player perfect for their 3/4. He provides good pass rush as a 3/4 end and is stout enough to hold up versus the run.
19 – NYG: Smith, Tyron – OT – USC
The G-Men look to upgrade the offensive line. They have to decide between the 2nd best tackle in the draft or the best guard.  Smith is an athletic OT that some say may go higher once the evaluation process is complete.
20 – TB: Kerrigan, Ryan – DE – Purdue
After doing well in getting some young skill position talent in the last couple drafts, the Bucs look to upgrade the defense. Kerrigan is a high motor guy who is at his best with his hand on the ground rushing the QB.
21 – KC: Carimi, Gabe – OT – Wisconsin
The Chiefs won last year on the strength of their ground game, and they need to make sure that continues. Carimi is a devastating run blocker and is more than adequate in pass protection.
22 – IND: Castonzo, Anthony – OT – Boston College
The Colts need and influx of talent on the offensive line. Castonzo is the best O lineman on the board.
23 – PHI: Sherrod, Derek – OT – Mississippi St.
The Eagles O line needs upgrades in talent. Sherrod is a strong young OT that help solidify their line.
24 – NO: Watt, J.J. – DE – Wisconsin
Watt falls into the laps of the Saints. He is a mammoth end that still rushes the passer very well and is stout against the run.  Bookends nicely with Will Smith.
25 – SEA: Pouncey, Mike – OG – Florida
The Hawks face a difficult choice here. Do they draft a QB since Whitehurst appears not be the heir apparent to Hasslebeck? I think most are coming to the realization that Mallett and Lockear are not 1st round QB’s. OG and OT are their next biggest needs. Pouncey is a nice fit for them.
26 – BAL: Harris, Brandon – CB – Miami
The Ravens have got to find some capable corners to hold up in their heavy pressure scheme. Harris is a nice value here for the Ravens
27 – ATL: Houston, Justin – DE – Georgia
Houston is a local product and a popular pick for ATL. He is an explosive athlete that can play LB and DE and can eventually replace Abraham when he retires.
28 – NE: LeShoure, Mikel – RB – Illinois
With Mankins franchised and Ayers secured with their earlier first round pick, the Pats can focus on either a RB, OT, or possibly a WR. I think LeShoure is the best player available at those positions.
29 – CHI: Wisniewski, Stefen – C – Penn State
Its no secret that although they did get better as the season went along, the Bears O line needs upgrades in talent. After the run on OT in picks in picks 19-23, they have to look interior lineman. Wizniewski is the best pure center in the draft. Provides insurance if Kruetz does not return and can play some guard if Kruetz stays another year or two. Jonathan Baldwin at WR is a possibility, but is not really a Mike Martz type WR.
30 – NYJ: Paea, Stephen – DT – Oregon St.
The Jets are said to be focusing on resigning Holmes and Edwards, so I think they look defense. Paea offers versatility on the D line. He can play both NT and DE in their 3/4 front. WR Baldwin could go here if the lose Edwards.
31 – PIT: Williams, Aaron – CB – Texas
It is no secret that the Steelers need help at OT, but all that are left would be a major reach here and Pittsburg doesn’t do that. I think their next biggest need is CB and Williams is a nice fit for them.
32 – GB: Wilkerson, Muhammad – DT – Temple
The Packers could face losing two DE’s to free agency and need to add some depth there. Wilkerson is a small school 3/4 end prospect who is climbing boards. Shows good athleticism and pass rush ability.

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One Comment
  1. Graham permalink

    As probably the only Panthers fan you know, I felt the need to comment on the possibility of Bowers being selected with the #1 overall pick in the upcoming draft. This is the first time since 2008 that the Panthers are entering the draft with a first round pick. In 2008 they traded their 2009 first round pick to get back into the first round and select tackle Jeff Otah at 19, after drafting Jonathan Stewart at 13. In 2009, they traded their 2010 pick to San Francisco in order to select DE Everret Brown in the anticipation of the departue of Julius Peppers. As you said in your post, the Panthers have a lot of needs, but I am not so sure that DE in one of them. Brown has performed well in his young career and has shown moments of brillance. Both Tyler Brayton and Charles Johnson have been worthy of starting spots, while neither is dominant. The Panthers also drafted a DE in 2008 from North Carolina named Hilee Taylor, who has been plagued by injuries but shows some upside (I may be biased on that assesment.) The more glaring hole on the defensive line is at DT. The Panthers never recovered from the loss of Kris Jenkins and Ma’ake Kemoueatu, and that position is desperately in need of a large, dominant player.

    From a business standpoint the Panthers front office did what they thought they had to in order to not lose a ton of money if a new collective bargaining agreement was not met. This resulted in a terrible product on the field. The Panthers were the youngest team in the NFL, as well as being decimated with injuries. That being said, general manager Marty Hurney has a pretty solid track record drafting in the first couple of rounds. Since 2001, he has selected 8 players in the first round, four of which have combined for 13 Pro Bowl selections, one Defensive Rookie of the Year, and one led the league in TDs (D. Williams, 2008-09.) I think that the Panthers would be better served to trade down and acquire more picks to add depth to a young team. With no clear cut #1 pick in this years draft and the uncertainty surrounding the CBA, that price tag may be extremely high for most teams. Hurney tends to go more with the “sure thing” with his early picks, or he gets rid of them.

    While the 2010-11 season was a tough pill to swallow for all Panthers fans, there were some young players that showed some promise. Notice that I have not mentioned Clausen’s name until now. I do not think that Clausen is the answer at QB going forward. He’s too much like Delhomme. Everyone knows how that story ended. With a beefed up defensive line, some depth on the offensive line, and a true possesion reciever opposite of Steve Smith, I think the Panthers will be in decent shape. With a new coaching staff prepared to take control, I don’t expect much from the upcoming season…if there is one.

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