2011 NFL Mock Draft

2011 NFL DraftFinal: Updated 7 April 2011 (Version 4.0)

By Bryan Dietzler

The Start of the Final Few Days before the Draft

The 2011 NFL Draft is just one month away now and the mock drafts are becoming a little bit more solid and a lot clearer.  The lack of a collective bargaining agreement has made free agency a non-factor and this has made the 2011 NFL Draft very important for teams trying to rebuild and reload for next season.  Expect this draft to be one of the best researched and best conducted drafts in NFL history.

As we come down towards the draft, let’s take a look at how some players have moved up and down draft boards across the NFL and get an idea of who your favorite team might draft this April.

1.  Carolina Panthers (2-14)-Blaine Gabbert-QB-Missouri-The Panthers are looking at quarterbacks now as we approach the draft and for the value as well as the ability, it would be a good idea if the Panthers went for Gabbert here at number one.  There are too many unknowns with Newton and with that Gabbert may be the best option for them here at number one.  If they don’t go quarterback then expect them to pick up Alabama’s Marcell Dareus.

Last Mock: Marcel Dareus-DT-Alabama

2.  Denver Broncos (4-12)-Marcel Dareus-DT-Alabama-It would be hard for the Broncos to pass up the best defensive tackle in the draft and starting from the line and working their way out (on defense) would be a great way for them to start their rebuilding process.  Dareus can help take some of the heat off of the secondary and make their pass defense much better.

Last Mock: Da’Quan Bowers-DE-Clemson

3.  Buffalo Bills (4-12)-Patrick Peterson-CB-LSU-Some say that Peterson could and will be the safest pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.  It’s clear that Peterson has all of the tools needed to become a valuable member of any team that drafts him and if the Bills are able or willing to get him then not only will they improve their secondary and their defense but get one of the best players in the draft this year.

Last Mock: No Change

4.  Cincinnati Bengals (4-12)-Cameron Newton-QB-Auburn-What if Carson Palmer really does retire?  What would the Bengals do?  They are interested in Newton and could decide to take him if Palmer does retire or if he gets traded.  Newton would probably have to step in and start right away if Palmer leaves so his readiness to play could be a big deciding factor into whether or not the Bengals would take him.

Last Mock: A.J. Green-WR-Georgia

5.  Arizona Cardinals (5-11)-Von Miller-QB-Texas A&M-Quarterback is the biggest need for the Cardinals right now is at quarterback but they may not be willing to roll the dice with a rookie just yet.  Miller, hands down the best linebacker in this draft, would give them two dimensions on defense as he can stop the run and rush the passer.  He would be hard to pass up here at number five.

Last Mock: Blaine Gabbert-QB-Missouri

6.  Cleveland Browns (5-11)-Nick Fairley-DT-Auburn-Going to a 3-4 defense requires having a stout nose tackle and Fairley could be just what the Browns need to make that defense work.  Fairley is a great player with the kind of football temperament that’s going to make a difference on the defense and make them much better than they have been during the past few seasons.

Last Mock: No Change

7.  San Francisco 49ers (6-10)-Da’Quan Bowers-DE-Clemson-The 49ers will probably miss out on a quarterback at this stage in the first round so what they need to do next is go after a pass rusher that can make a difference for them on defense.  Bowers might slip a little because of some concerns with his knee but he won’t make it past San Francisco here at number seven.

Last Mock: Cameron Newton-QB-Auburn

8.  Tennessee Titans (6-10)-Robert Quinn-DE-UNC-The Titans will probably miss out on Bowers which will force them to take a look at Quinn, a guy that has been out of football for a year but still represents some of the best talent at the defensive end position in this year’s draft.  The Titans need the help and Quinn can be just the right type of talent that they need.

Last Mock: Von Miller-LB-Texas A&M

9.  Dallas Cowboys (6-10)-Prince Amukamara-CB-Nebraska-The Cowboys need help on the offensive line and at cornerback and at this stage of the draft you could bet that someone like Amukamara would be of great interest to owner Jerry Jones and would most likely be drafted by the Cowboys at this stage in the draft.

Last Mock: Robert Quinn-DE-UNC

10.  Washington Redskins (6-10)-A.J. Green-WR-Georgia-If Green lasts this long then you could expect Washington to grab Green here at number ten.  Granted, their quarterback situation is still in a state of flux and adding a wide receiver may not be as big of a benefit as perhaps bringing in someone from another position would but you can bet that in order to help jump start their offense they will want to have a guy like Green in their lineup.

Last Mock: Jake Locker-QB-Washington

11.  Houston Texans (6-10)-Cameron Jordan-DE-Cal-The Texans could use some help at the cornerback position but they will probably miss out on Amukamara and it wouldn’t be a wise move to draft guys like Brandon Harris or Jimmy Williams with the 11th pick in the draft.  So, the best option for the Texans at this time is Jordan.  Jordan can help give them a much improved pass rush and give their defense a big boost.

Last Mock: Prince Amukamara-CB-Nebraska

12.  Minnesota Vikings (6-10)-Jake Locker-QB-Washington-The Vikings don’t have a quarterback to speak of heading into the 2011 season and it looks like Locker may be the kind of guy that they look for in order to help rescue their quarterback position and become their quarterback of the future.

Last Mock: Cameron Jordan-DE/DT-California

13.  Detroit Lions (6-10)-Tyron Smith-OT-USC-If a guy like Amukamara is around when the Lions make their pick here at number 13 then they will certainly try to get him because they need all of the help in their secondary that they can get.  But, with that not being likely, their next best move is to get an offensive lineman that will help them protect often injured quarterback Matthew Stafford.  Without a healthy Stafford in the lineup, it’s going to be hard for the Lions to win so upgrading his protection is a must.

Last Mock: No Change

14.  St. Louis Rams (7-9)-Julio Jones-WR-Alabama-If Jones makes it to the Rams you can bet anything that they will take Jones and help improve a pass catching group that needs a lot of help.  Jones is going to be one of the better receivers in the NFL in time and would give quarterback Sam Bradford a solid target to throw the ball to.

Last Mock: No Change

15.  Miami Dolphins (7-9)-Mark Ingram-RB-Alabama-Ingram is a favorite pick of many people doing mock drafts and it would make sense for them to grab Ingram and help make their running offense better.  Ingram is clearly the best running back in the draft and quite possibly the only first round talent available.  He would be an excellent fit in Miami.
Last Mock: No Change

16.  Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8)-Aldon Smith-DE/OLB-Missouri-Jacksonville needs some help with their pass rush so they will be in the market for a pass rusher that can be a difference maker and help make their defense better.  Smith is a guy that may fly under the radar a little bit and should be there when Jacksonville makes its pick.

Last Mock: No Change

17.  New England Patriots (from Oakland Raiders 8-8)-J.J. Watt-DE-Wisconsin-The Patriots are talking about trading one of their first round picks (the have a second one later on in the first round) and while it isn’t known which one they will trade at this stage in the draft it would be a good idea of the Patriots were able to get a defensive end like Watt.  Watt is someone that could the Patriots could have start right away and could make an impact on their defense immediately.

Last Mock: No Change

18.  San Diego Chargers (9-7)-Ryan Kerrigan-DE-Purdue-The Chargers should look towards improving their defense first in this year’s draft and with that, getting a good defensive end would go a long ways towards helping improve that defense.  Kerrigan has some questions but overall, he’s a good prospect and one that the Chargers should be interested in to help them improve their defense and perform much better rushing the passer.

Last Mock: No Change

19.  New  York Giants (10-6)-Nate Solder-OT-Colorado-It’s time that the Giants started to figure out what they are going to do to fix their defensive line and at this point in the draft New York should be able to find someone that can help them improve themselves in that area.  Solder is going to be a solid player in this league and could really help improve the Giants offense.

Last Mock: No Change

20.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6)-Adrian Clayborn-DE-Iowa-The Bucs got their defensive tackle last year and now need to add a defensive end that can rush the passer well and keep the run contained (keep it from going to the outside).  Clayborn has had some minor problems with his health and dropped off a little bit in 2010 (when compared to 2009) but at this stage in the draft this would be a good place for him to go and the Bucs are a team that would benefit from his services and could use him to rush the passer.

Last Mock: No Change

21.  Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)-Phil Taylor-DT-Baylor-Baylor’s draft stock is climbing with each passing week and the Chiefs would be wise in taking a look at this player.  He’s a guy that can help them shore up the middle of that defense, a defense which really let them down in the playoffs last season.  A strong presence in the middle of that line will help them keep opponents from running the ball often and keep them off balance with a much stronger pass rush.

Last Mock: No Change

22.  Indianapolis Colts (10-6)-Stephen Paea-DT-Oregon State-Indianapolis could go a couple different ways here and select and offensive linemen but Paea is the ideal fit for the Colts and their defense.  He’s got the size and strength that the Colts would like to see in an interior defensive lineman so the Colts may end up coveting him in this draft.

Last Mock: Anthony Castonzo-OT-Boston College

23.  Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)-Anthony Castonzo-OT-Boston College-The Eagles need to get some help on the offensive line and should be able to find some good help at this point in the 2011 NFL Draft.  Castonzo may end up going higher than this pick but if he’s there when the Eagles make their pick they need to get him and make their offense much better for the 2011 season and beyond.

Last Mock: Gabe Carimi-OT-Wisconsin

24.  New Orleans Saints (11-5)-Justin Houston-OLB-Georgia-The Saints need a guy that can not only rush the passer but contain the rush as well and Houston may be just the guy that they want doing that on defense.  Houston can get to the quarterback as well as keep the run contained on the outside and the Saints need that desperately.

Last Mock: No Change

25.  Seattle Seahawks (7-9)-Ryan Mallett-QB-Arkansas-Building for the future is something that the Seahawks need to be concentrating on and knowing that Charlie Whitehurst isn’t going to be the long-term answer for them at the quarterback position Mallett would be a good option for them here.  He could learn and grow over the next year or two and become a solid starter in the future.

Last Mock: No Change

26.  Baltimore Ravens (12-4)-Cameron Heyward-OLB/DE-Ohio State-With Terrell Suggs being the only solid pass rusher on the team right now the Ravens could use someone that can help improve the defense in that area as well as help their defense remain one of the best in league.  Heyward would be a nice upgrade and would help make their pass rush much better.

Last Mock: Jimmy Smith-CB-Colorado

27.  Atlanta Falcons (13-3)-Torrey Smith-WR-Maryland-Taking some of the pressure of both quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Roddy White would be something that the coaching staff and upper management needs to consider in this year’s draft.  Smith will be there when they make their pick at number 27 and could be a decent addition to their offense.

Last Mock: Cameron Heyward-OLB/DE-Ohio State

28.  New England Patriots (14-2)-Mike Pouncey-C/G-Florida-The Patriots can work on their offensive line now that they have taken care of their needs on the defensive line (with their first pick in this round).  Mike Pouncey would be a huge addition to this team and his ability to play both center and guard would be a big benefit.

Last Mock: No Change

29.  Chicago Bears (11-5)-Gabe Carimi-OT-Wisconsin-The Bears need help on the offensive line desperately and their options at this point in the draft should be good.  Carimi would be a nice fit in Chicago and would be able to come in and start right away which is exactly what the Bears need.

Last Mock: Derek Sherrod-OT-Mississippi State

30.  New York Jets (11-5)-Muhammad Wilkerson-DE/DT-Temple-The Jets will want to add something to their defensive line and getting a guy like Wilkerson may be just what they need to improve their defense.  Wilkerson may be a small school prospect but he has the potential to become a big time star in the league.

Last Mock: Corey Liuget-DT-Illinois

31.  Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)-Derek Sherrod-OT-Mississippi State-We all saw what can happen when your offensive line suffers some serious injuries (like with what happened to the Steelers right before their Super Bowl appearance) and we all know that Pittsburgh could use some depth on their offensive line.  Sherrod could provide that depth and be a starter in short order.

Last Mock: Benjamin Ijalana-OT/OG-Villanova

32.  Green Bay Packers (10-6)-Akeem Ayers-LB-UCLA-Green Bay could go a couple different routes with this pick and perhaps try to add a wide receiver or a running back here but their need to help take some of the pressure off of Clay Matthews is greater and if they can get a good outside linebacker to help him out then that’s the route that they need to go.  Imagine their defense with someone like Ayers playing opposite Matthews. It would be even better than it was in 2010.

Last Mock: No Change

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