Way earlier than necessary 2011 NFL mock draft
Welcome to my first 2011 NFL mock draft. In all actuality, this is probably the third one I’ve done so far this season so I could have some hope for the Redskins future, but this is the first one I’ve published. There will be more, so check back after important draft related dates for updates (i.e. after the Super Bowl, combine, pro days, etc.)
This mock is also all about what I think the teams should do, not what mistakes the teams will make or what any other expert thinks will happen. For better or worse, all of the picks are strictly from my brain. And for the sake of having fun, I’m going through until the Redskins pick in the second round as well.
Here are some answers to some of the things I know someone will post in the comments. Yes, I know doing mock drafts is absolutely pointless, especially this far out. I understand it is a sickness, but I like to have some sort of hope for the future (even though we tend to trade away our draft picks.) It’s something I’ve been doing for a few years and it’s a lot of fun to speculate.
I’d also love to know what you guys think will happen – who will go No. 1 with Andrew Luck staying at Stanford? Who will the Redskins pick? Who do you WANT the Redskins to pick? Chat it up Redskins Nation.
1. Carolina Panthers – A.J. Green, WR – Georgia
Without Andrew Luck on the board, the best thing the Panthers can do is increase the talent around the young QB they do have following a season in which they averaged just 12 points per game.
2. Denver Broncos – Da’Quan Bowers, DE – Clemson
Bowers has the ability to fit into any defense. He’s the rare player that is able to combine elite athletic ability with an excellent knowledge and feel for the game.
3. Buffalo Bills – Cam Newton, QB – Auburn
I don’t believe that Newton is the best quarterback in the draft right now, but he is the most dynamic and could be the best overall in five years. He will need to sit for 2-3 years before starting to clean up his skills, but that will just give the Bills an opportunity to build around him with other high draft picks.
4. Cincinnati Bengals – Nick Fairley, DT – Auburn
Not a need pick, but the best overall player on the board at this time. It worries me that Fairley has only been able to dominate for one season so far, but he reminds me of Glenn Dorsey.
5. Arizona Cardinals – Ryan Mallett, QB – Arkansas
The Cardinals must draft or trade for a quarterback to keep Larry Fitzgerald happy, after he's hinted at requesting a trade if the QB situation doesn’t change. Mallett still needs to improve his maturity and decision making but has proven to be very coachable, improving greatly over the past three years.
6. Cleveland Browns – Julio Jones, WR – Alabama
Mike Holmgren seems like he wants to get more offensive. Much like the Panthers, the best thing he could do is to put dynamic talent around his young QB. Jones is the complete package as a WR and can break the big play along with the best of them.
7. San Francisco 49ers – Patrick Peterson, CB – LSU
The 49ers desperately need a quarterback to pair with their young playmakers, but Peterson is too good to pass up. He is a complete corner that can lock down in man coverage as well as step up and tackle in the run game. Plus, after hiring Harbaugh, could he be hoping for a little (Andrew) luck to get the number one pick next year to draft a QB?
8. Tennessee Titans – Blaine Gabbert, QB – Missouri
Jeff Fisher will be eager to put an emphatic end to the Vince Young era, so it’s likely the Titans go with a quarterback early on. I think Locker is a better QB than Gabbert, but I’d be surprised if he didn’t go with the pocket QB.
9. Dallas Cowboys – Gabe Carimi, OT – Wisconsin
Carimi is an excellent run blocker and a pretty good pass blocker. He will help Dallas be more physical on offense, which seemed to change their fortunes late in the season.
10. Washington Redskins – Robert Quinn, OLB – North Carolina
I’d be surprised if come draft day this pick isn’t Locker, but Quinn would be my pick. He missed last season after being suspended for receiving illegal benefits, but is a freak athletically in the mold of Brian Orakpo. If you put a guy that’s like Brian Orakpo across from a guy that is Brian Orakpo, that’s scary for opposing teams.
11. Houston Texans – Marcell Dareus, NT – Alabama
If the Texans switch to a 3-4 defense under Wade Phillips, they will need a space-eater in the middle. Dareus isn’t a traditional NT that pushes 400 pounds, but is more in the mold of Jay Ratliff of the Cowboys. Phillips seems to know how to use undersized NT’s.
12. Minnesota Vikings – Jake Locker, QB – Washington
The Vikings have little to no choice but to acquire a quarterback this offseason, whether by trade or through the draft. Early in his career, Locker was tabbed as the “West Coast Tebow,” which just about sums it up. He has better mechanics than Tebow at this point in his career, but still hasn’t really broken out as a passer.
13. Detroit Lions – Nate Solder, OT – Colorado
I’m not sold on Solder, but after seeing their franchise quarterback not be able to finish the season for the second consecutive year due to injury, it’s time to do a little more to protect their investment.
14. St. Louis Rams – Justin Blackmon, WR – Oklahoma State
Bradford desperately needs a playmaker to grow with, and Blackmon is just that. He can run all of the routes and has great hands. He's been on par with Green and Jones this season, but has only been able to put up this kind of production for one season thus far.
15. Miami Dolphins – Mark Ingram, RB – Alabama
A team that prides itself on smash-mouth football was only 21st in the NFL last season at running the football. With Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown breaking down, Ingram will be able to provide a breath of fresh air in South Beach.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars – Prince Amukamara, CB – Nebraska
A top10 pick in any other draft, but this one is stacked with supreme talent. It will be a blessing for the Jags if Amukamara falls this far though, because he has elite corner written all over him. His speed isn’t among the best, but his fundamentals more than make up for it and he is very physical.
17. New England Patriots (from OAK) – Von Miller, OLB – Texas A&M
Miller is a converted defensive end who has taken well to the linebacker position. The Pats could use an explosive pass rusher off the edge. And with all due respect to Rob Ninkovich, when your starting outside linebacker’s name is Ninkovich, it’s time for an upgrade.
18. San Diego Chargers – Cameron Heyward, DE – Ohio State
Heyward was absolutely dominating against Arkansas, and the way he will shine at the combine will only further elevate his draft stock.
19. New York Giants – Ryan Williams, RB – Virginia Tech
With the Giants likely losing Brandon Jacobs, and possibly an injury-plagued Ahmad Bradshaw, they will need another running back. Williams had a stunning freshman season, and shared time between two other running backs last year. His overall skill set easily rivals Ingram’s though.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Adrian Clayborn, DE – Iowa
Had a down season after a dominant junior season, but Clayborn is a low risk, high reward pick. The Bucs could use a young guy coming off the edge to pair with Gerald McCoy.
21. Kansas City Chiefs – Ryan Kerrigan, OLB – Purdue
Pair Kerrigan up with the player with the second most sacks in the NFL (Tamba Hali) and they can be a dangerous duo.
22. Indianapolis Colts – Drake Nevis, DT – LSU
Nevis fits into the Colts mold of quick guys along the defensive line, but also brings the nastiness that they lack along the front four to stack up against the run.
23. Philadelphia Eagles – Tyron Smith, OT – USC
It’s time to replace Winston Justice on the right side, and Smith is a physical specimen as an offensive lineman. He's still raw, but is the athletic lineman they will be looking for to pair up with Vick.
24. New Orleans Saints – Daniel Thomas, RB – Kansas State
The top defensive back is also a big possibility here, but I’d be surprised if the Saints weren’t sick and tired of relying on undrafted free agents to carry their running game. Thomas is a huge running back that can run with the best of them. Very underrated.
25. *Seattle Seahawks – Allen Bailey, DE – Miami (FL)
I had Janoris Jenkins here, but he just announced he's staying at Florida. Bailey still needs some development, but has a set of very good raw tools and the Seahawks could use some young talent at defensive end.
26. *Green Bay Packers – Mike Pouncey, C – Florida
Pouncey could be the most talented overall offensive lineman in the draft and can play all three interior spots. If you give Rodgers even more time to throw, it could be downright scary for the league. Pouncey could easily go before this pick though.
27. *New York Jets – Rodney Hudson, OG – Florida State
Rex Ryan is clearly frustrated with the play of the interior of his offensive line considering they haven’t been nearly as effective running the ball the second half of the season. Hudson is a guy that can step in and start immediately.
28. *Baltimore Ravens – Brandon Harris, CB – Miami (FL)
Continuing with the Ravens tradition of drafting defensive players from the “U”, Harris is a little raw, but is a playmaking defensive back for a defense in need of them. Will fit right in in Baltimore.
29. *Chicago Bears – Anthony Costanzo, OT – Boston College
Even though their protection improved as the season went on, the Bears still clearly need an upgrade along their offensive line. Costanzo should be able to step in and play immediately.
30. *Pittsburgh Steelers – Derek Sherrod, OT – Mississippi State
The Steelers need to put an end to the rotation of old, injury plagued offensive tackles. Sherrod may not be ready immediately but he will be soon and would provide nice depth when Pittsburgh's tackles inevitably get injured.
31. *Atlanta Falcons – Torrey Smith, WR – Maryland
The Falcons could really use another playmaker on offense to take the heat off of Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez. Smith is far from a complete WR yet, but he's explosive enough to do produce early on in his career. If Gonzalez retires though, Kyle Rudolph would likely be the pick.
32. *New England Patriots – Jonathan Baldwin, WR – Pittsburgh
While the Pats receivers are more than capable of handling the load, Baldwin could take some of the pressure off as a big WR in the red zone. Baldwin is ultra-talented, but has struggled at Pitt and reminds me of James Hardy. I suspect the Pats would be able to get the most out of him, but in the end, do we really expect Belichik to do anything other than trade this pick for more draft picks?
33. Carolina Panthers – Kyle Rudolph, TE – Notre Dame
34. Buffalo Bills – Ras-I Dowling, CB – Virginia
35. Cincinnati Bengals – Rahim Moore, S – UCLA
36. Denver Broncos – Marvin Austin, DT – North Carolina
37. Cleveland Browns – Jeremy Beal, OLB – Oklahoma
38. Arizona Cardinals – Bruce Carter, ILB – North Carolina
39. Tennessee Titans – J.J. Watt, DE – Wisconsin
40. Dallas Cowboys – Dont’a Hightower, ILB – Alabama
41. Washington Redskins – Greg Little, WR – North Carolina
Another WR to look at is Michael Floyd, but he reminds me too much of Malcolm Kelly. I’d also love to go offensive or defensive line here, but I just don’t see any available at this point that fit the Redskins scheme.
Now, a few disclaimers. Obviously, in no way, shape or form am I an expert. I’m just a college kid who loves the NFL Draft. I’m also doing this before the deadline date for underclassmen to declare for the draft, which is still about a week away. But for the most part, everyone I’ve listed has either already declared, or I’d be shocked if they didn’t. If they end up not coming out, I apologize. A lot of these picks will also change by way of free agency and trades whenever the NFL decides to get its act together and get a new Collective Bargaining Agreement done.
Also, I’m not predicting what will happen in the playoffs, just seeding based upon record, etc., for the rest of the playoffs. For the record though, I have the Falcons taking it all.
So let’s hear what you think Redskins Nation...
| January 10, 2011; 4:57 PM ET
Categories: Redskins, Rick Nelligan | Tags: Redskins, Rick Nelligan
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