2011 NFL Mock Draft: Why Julio Jones Is Not the Top WR on the Board
Since the Super Bowl ended, if you are like me, you have looked at hundreds of mock drafts.
Like every year, most all of them turned out to be a complete waste of time. I mean, who could have predicted Jimmy Clausen to fall out of the first round?
With that in mind, if you feel like wasting another 10 minutes of your life, take a look at my 2011 NFL Mock Draft. Enjoy...
Pick 1, Seattle Seahawks—Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Could there be a better fit for Locker? He was raised in Washington, and currently plays his college ball at the University of Washington.
In addition, Locker's college coach, Steve Sarkisian, coached with current Seahawks coach Pete Carroll at USC.
Do you think Locker is ready to be the hometown savior?
Pick 2, Buffalo Bills—Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
It will be around December when the Bills realize that neither Trent Edwards nor Ryan Fitzpatrick is the answer.
Do you think Luck will enjoy going from sunny California to cold and snowy Buffalo?
On a separate note, it looks like Jim Harbaugh is developing quite the program in Palo Alto. Toby Gerhart was a second round selection, and Luck shouldn't fall out of the top five.
Pick 3, Detroit Lions—Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
The Lions drafted Jahvid Best in the first round of the 2010 draft. With Carimi, they will have someone to block for him.
Carimi is developing into every bit the player he took over for a few seasons back, Joe Thomas, and could anchor the Lions offensive line for the next ten seasons.
Pick 4, Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU
The Buccaneers got their defensive game-changer in Gerald McCoy, and now they need the less sexy selection, the franchise offensive lineman.
Whether Barksdale could be the player to pull the Bucs out from the depths of mediocrity is uncertain, but he is undoubtedly a physical specimen, and should be the next in a long line of LSU players to enjoy a successful NFL career.
Pick 5, Oakland Raiders—Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Here's what’s going to happen: Current running back Darren McFadden is going to have a down season, which will mostly be the result of a poor offensive line and an incompetent QB in Jason Campbell. Al Davis will then jump the gun and make yet another bad decision when he drafts a new running back.
On the positive side, Ingram is a bruising back with an attitude that would fit in perfectly with the black and silver.
Pick 6, St. Louis Rams—A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
The Rams got their quarterback. Now, they need to get him some weapons.
Green is tall, has good hands, and has the most upside of any wide receiver in this draft. He would be a nice compliment to their 2010 fourth round pick, Mardy Gilyard.
One more solid draft and the Rams will be competing for the division.
Pick 7, Chicago Bears—Marcel Dareus, DE, Alabama
The vaunted Bears defense from a few years back appears to be no more.
They have lost such players as Tank Johnson and Alex Brown and from the defensive back spot, Nathan Vashar and Mike Brown.
Drafting the tremendously skilled Dareus would go a long way in helping the Bears get to where they want to go. It would also help if Jay Cutler stopped throwing it to the other team.
Pick 8, Cleveland Browns—Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
This pick would make Colt McCoy one happy Brown, wouldn't it?
The Browns will need to hide their pride and draft two wide receivers in the top 10 in the last six seasons.
Jones should fit right in with the physical AFC North, and as long as he catches the ball and acts as if he wants to be there, he will be everything that Braylon Edwards wasn't.
Pick 9, Arizona Cardinals—Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
Raise your hand if you think the Matt Leinart experience is going to be looked back on as positive. (I’m waiting....anyone at all?)
The real questions are: Did Mallett make the right choice by going back to school? Didn't he see what happened to Sam Bradford? And, has he heard about the possible rookie scale?
On a brighter note, 2011 appears to be a more talented quarterback class then 2010. Three should go in the top 10, with another potential first rounder in Case Keenum.
Pick 10, Denver Broncos—Allen Bailey, DE/DT, Miami
In the 2010 draft, the Broncos focused on the offensive side of the ball, drafting Demaryius Thomas, Tim Tebow, Zane Beadles and J.D. Walton.
At the 2011 draft, they need to sure up their defense. Last season, Denver was No. 26 in the NFL against the run. Bailey and all of his 290 pounds would do a great job of clogging up the middle. He would also help to free Elvis Dumervil, who amassed 17 sacks.
Pick 11, Jacksonville Jaguars—Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia
In ’09, the Jags finished No. 27 in pass defense and No. 23 in total defense. In the 2010 draft, they focused on their front seven, drafting Tyson Alualu, D’Anthony Smith, and Larry Hart.
It would make sense that in 2011 they would attempt to strengthen their defensive backfield. A player like Ras-I Dowling would do just that.
Dowling decided to return to school for his senior season to work on his tackling and reaction time. If he continues to improve, he may not be around at No. 11.
Pick 12, Kansas City Chiefs—Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
Taking Peterson at the No. 12 spot would be a steal. He is as complete a defensive back as any currently in school.
The Chiefs were ranked No. 22 in pass defense and No. 14 in interceptions. This seems like a good fit, doesn't it?
Pick 13, Washington Redskins—Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
For the next few seasons, McNabb should fill the role of QB nicely. However, the Skins will need to find someone for him to throw to. The Redskins recently lost Randle El to the Steelers and Santana Moss is on the wrong side of 30 years old.
This 6'5" super athletic Pitt Panther should be everything the Skins need, and more. I mean, if he can make Bill Stull look good, imagine what he can do for McNabb.
Pick 14, Cincinnati Bengals—Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
With the career of Antwan Odom still up in the air, the Bengals could be thin on the defensive line. As a whole, their defense finished sixteenth in total sacks last season, with 34.
As far as Cameron? Any son of Ironhead Heyward can play on my team and you if you put him opposite of Carlos Dunlap, it could make for a pretty dangerous tandem.
Pick 15, Atlanta Falcons—Greg Romeus, DE, Pittsburgh
Let me rattle off some stats for you.
Last season the Falcons defense was ranked No. 28 against the pass and No. 26 in sacks.
In college, last season, Greg Romeous had eight sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss, and was named co-Big East Defensive Player of the Year.
Need I say more?
Pick 16, Tennessee Titans—Stefan Wisniewski, C, Penn State
The only thing people want to talk about is how much longer Brett Favre can play. Well, how about Kevin Mawae? He is entering his eighteenth NFL season and is about to turn 40.
Wisniewski, who is similar in stature to Mawae, at 6’3”, 295, would benefit greatly from a season or two under the tutelage of the wily vet.
At the end of the day, he should be able to rest easy knowing that Chris Johnson could make me look good at center.
Pick 17, Carolina Panthers—Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame
Ridding themselves of Jake Delhomme and drafting new franchise quarterback Jimmy Clausen indicated to me that the Panthers are starting to get it.
To help Clausen make the transition to the NFL, the Panthers need to find him a dependable tight end. One who can not only catch, but also block (think Heath Miller or Jason Witten).
In Kyle Rudolph, that is exactly what the Panthers would be getting. It’s merely icing on the cake that the two played together at Notre Dame.
Pick 18, Miami Dolphins—Evan Royster, RB, Penn State
The logic behind this pick is straightforward. Ronnie Brown is coming off of an injury and Ricky Williams is the biggest wildcard in the NFL.
Royster isn’t the fastest back, but has a tough and physical style of play that would fit right in with the Dolphins offensive attack.
Pick 19, New York Giants—Anthony Costanzo, OT, Boston College
David Diehl, Rich Seubert, Kareem McKenzie, Shuan O’Hara, and Chris Snee are all either approaching the age of 30 or are already at least 30 years of age.
It’s time for the New York Giants to find some young bucks to protect their franchise, Eli Manning. Who better than then 6’7”, 295 pound behemoth from Boston College?
Pick 20, San Francisco 49ers—Bruce Carter. OLB, North Carolina
The 49ers did a great job of beefing up their offensive line in the 2010 draft. Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati should be able to play right away. Those picks should certainly help the San Fran rushing attack, which ranked twenty-sixth a season ago. Now, they need to turn their attention to defense.
Last season, the 49ers were ranked No. 21 against the pass. Bruce Carter, who entered UNC as a safety, would fit very well into a defense that’s concerned with defending the pass. The only question is whether he is tough enough to play Mike Singletary football.
Pick 21, Baltimore Ravens—Quan Sturdivant, ILB, North Carolina
Ray Lewis can't play forever, can he? And who better to show Sturdivant the ropes then one of the greatest of all time?
As he currently plays on a very talented North Carolina defense, Sturdivant is someone you will hear much about this coming season. This is a defense that's projected to have multiple players go in the first round.
Pick 22, New England Patriots—DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma
A solid running game would go a long way in helping Tom Brady return to his old form.
Murray is not only a threat on the ground, but can also catch out of the backfield. This past season, he caught 41 balls for 522 yards.
Pick 23, Houston Texans—Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
In ’09, the Texans had the first ranked passing attack. Why not let the good times roll?
Floyd’s athleticism and ability to run after the catch will be very welcomed in the high powered Texans offense. In addition, with Floyd, Johnson will see fewer double teams.
Pick 24, Green Bay Packers—Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
This pick is easy to comprehend. The Packers, along with the Jets, are a team on the rise, but need to get more youthful and deeper. Al Harris and Charles Woodson have already logged 13 seasons, and are over 30 years of age.
Prince had an excellent junior season, with five interceptions. Personally, I would draft him if only for the nickname possibilities.
Pick 25, Philadelphia Eagles—Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
If Philadelphia wants to remain an elite defense, they will need to spruce up their front seven.
Lewis comes from an excellent system at North Carolina under Butch Davis, and appears to have the skills to be an impact player in the NFL. This past season, he had 19 tackles for losses and 11 sacks.
Pick 26, Pittsburgh Steelers—Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina
Currently, the Steelers have four very capable defensive linemen. Three of them, Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel, and Aaron Smith are over the age of 30.
Wouldn't Marvin Austin would look excellent lining up next to 2009 first rounder Ziggy Hood for the next ten seasons.
Pick 27, San Diego Chargers—Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
The Chargers are soft. We were all thinking it, I said it. How do they resolve this issue? Draft some hard core, no nonsense players. They should start with Von Miller, who led the nation in sacks.
Pick 28, Dallas Cowboys—Rodney Hudson, OG, Florida State
Hudson would be a great fit for the Cowboys. He will be the most complete guard on the board and will be filling a spot where the ‘Boys are beginning to age. Gurode, Davis, and Colombo have their best years behind them.
Pick 29, New York Jets—Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
The Jets are one team with very few weaknesses. However, one area where they could improve is the defensive line. Shaun Ellis is aging, the health of Kris Jenkins is always in question, and it’s safe to say that Vernon Gholston is not going to be anything special.
Clayborn should be able to plug any holes in the Jets defensive line. He is coming off of a breakout junior season where he had 11 sacks.
Pick 30, Minnesota Vikings—Case Keenum, QB, Houston
Sometime in the following decade, Brett Favre will retire…maybe. Why not assume it will be after the ’10 season?
Once he does in fact retire, who are Vikings fans going to hang their hopes on? Tavaris Jackson?
Keenum, in his three seasons at Houston, has completed over 68 percent of his passes. He has great pocket presence and is nimble on his feet. An additional year of school should be all Keenum needs to ready himself for the NFL
Pick 31, Indianapolis Colts—Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska
If the Colts want to continue making Super Bowl runs, they need to beef up their interior. Crick has more then enough skill to line up alongside Freeney and Mathis, but will need to add some weight to his 285 pound frame.
Pick 32, New Orleans Saints—Deunta Williams, FS, North Carolina
It’s quite obvious that this team needs no help on the offensive side of the ball.
Defensively? The Super Bowl champs have yet to sign Darren Sharper, and even if they do, he’s approaching 35 years of age. Williams and 2010 first round pick, Patrick Robinson, will make a formidable duo in New Orleans for the next decade.
Williams appears to be the total package. He is quick on his feet, physical, and at 6’3”, can match up with most any player.