2011 NFL Draft: Robert Quinn, Andrew Luck on Top of Early Board So Far

Benjamin C. Klein@@BenjaminCKleinCorrespondent IJanuary 14, 2017

The NFL Draft has become one of the biggest sporting events in this country, and not a single athletic thing happens the entire day. The coverage is year-round, and it's never too early too look ahead.  

This is my first preseason big board for the 2011 NFL Draft. This big board will only show the top 32 players as I see it right now.

Each player listed includes a link to their scouting report, which position(s) I believe they would fit best in the pros, what type of scheme they are best suited for, and a sentence or two justifying their position. 


1.       Robert Quinn, Junior, University of North Carolina

Position: Defensive End or Outside Linebacker  Defensive Scheme: Unlimited

Perhaps the most talented end since Mario Williams, but his health must check out.


2.       Andrew Luck, Sophomore*, Stanford

NFL Position: Quarterback  Offensive Scheme: Unlimited           

Might have the quickest throwing motion since Dan Marino—has noticeable but easily correctable flaws.


3.      Patrick Peterson, Junior, LSU

Position: Cornerback  Defensive Scheme: Unlimited           

You would think a team of NFL general managers created him in a science lab. He has a chance to become the highest drafted cornerback of all time.


4.      A.J. Green, Junior, Georgia

Position: Wide Receiver  Offensive Scheme: Downfield Attack

He has the potential to become a scheme busting offensive dynamo. He can be the type of threat that keeps defensive coordinators up at night.


5.      Jake Locker, Senior, Washington

Position: Quarterback  Offensive Scheme: Unlimited           

Makes the impossible look easy, and the possible look hard. Going back for his senior season was a smart move.


6.      Marcel Dareus, Junior, Alabama

Position: Defensive End or Defensive Tackle  Defensive Scheme: Unlimited

He has endless positional and schematic versatility but still lacks experience as a starter, which is the only reason he is not ranked higher. 


7.      Adrian Clayborn, Senior, Iowa

Position: Defensive End or Outside Linebacker  Defensive Scheme: Unlimited

Has a chance to be a double-digit sack threat every year. He does have character concerns that must be addressed.


8.      Stephen Paea, Senior, Oregon St.

Position: Defensive Tackle or Left End  Defensive Scheme: Attacking 4:3

I predict a dominant future in the NFL, health willing, for this young man, who moves on the field as if he were created in a video game.


9.      Jonathan Baldwin, Junior, Pittsburgh

Position: Wide Receiver  Offensive Scheme: Norv Turner style downfield attack

Has a chance to be an elite deep threat even though he does not have the best burst off the line.


10.    Marvin Austin, Senior, North Carolina

Position: Defensive Tackle  Defensive Scheme: 4:3

Yes, consistency and motor have to get better. But when Austin is on his game, he is impossible to block.


11.     Anthony Castonzo, Senior, Boston College

Position: Left Tackle  Offensive Scheme: Mike Shanahan style zone blocking          

His ceiling might be that of an occasional Pro Bowler. But for a left tackle, that is good enough to be ranked this high.


12.     Julio Jones, Junior, Alabama

Position: Wide Receiver  Offensive Scheme: West Coast

Jones is very similar in body and style to a young Brandon Marshall, minus the off-field insanity.


13.     Ryan Williams, Sophomore*, Virginia Tech

Position: Running Back  Offensive Scheme: Mike Shanahan style one cut

He would have a chance to be a 1000-yard back in the pro level, even if he was in a running back committee.


14.     Da’Quan Bowers, Junior, Clemson

Position: Defensive End  Defensive Scheme: Unlimited

His coaches at Clemson are doing a poor job developing Bowers. Once he gets pro coaching, I think he will explode.


15.    Mark Barron, Junior, Alabama

Position: Strong Safety  Defensive Scheme: Unlimited

Barron is the rare strong safety who is as effective in center field on passing downs as defending the run as the eighth man in the box.


16.     Aaron Williams, Junior, Texas

Position: Cornerback  Defensive Scheme: Unlimited

He is a physical cornerback who can truck ball carriers in the running game and shut down receivers in the passing game.


17.     Akeem Ayers, Senior, UCLA

Position: Any Linebacker Position  Defensive Scheme: Unlimited

Teams that need a 3-4 linebacker will love this kid. While his tackling must improve, he is a big play, turnover-creating machine.


18.     Michael Floyd, Junior, Notre Dame

Position: Wide Receiver  Offensive Scheme: Unlimited

Should be higher based on talent, but his durability and lack of muscle definition are a tad concerning.


19.     Greg Romeus, Senior*, Pittsburgh

Position: Defensive End  Defensive Scheme: 4:3

If he improves his game, his stock can go up, but if he plateaus this year at Pit, I will suspect he has reached his peak as a player and devalue him.  


20.     Ryan Mallett, Junior*, Arkansas

Position: Quarterback  Offensive Scheme: Downfield Attack

Freak talent, but I am getting worried that he has a sense of entitlement. Being a great NFL quarterback is about more than just the arm strength.  


21.   Nate Solder, Senior, Colorado

Position: Left Tackle  Offensive Scheme: Zone Blocking

He has very nice feet for such a tall guy, but he needs to add functional weight, especially to his buttocks and thighs.  


22.     Jurrell Casey, Junior, USC

Position: Defensive Tackle  Defensive Scheme: Kiffin style Cover-2

Body looks sloppy but it's not; he’s just not a naturally cut guy. And he moves much smoother than you would think.


23.     Prince Amukamara. Senior, Nebraska

Position: Cornerback  Defensive Scheme: Bump and run

Might not have an elite ceiling, but he is still talented enough to make a few Pro Bowls.


24.     Gabe Carimi, Senior, Wisconsin

Position: Offensive Tackle  Offensive Scheme: Smash Mouth

For such a good athlete, his hips do not wow me. They are good, but they might only be good enough for a right tackle.


25.     Ras-I Dowling, Senior, Virginia

Position: Cornerback  Defensive Scheme: Vikings Cover-2 type

Was better than teammate Chris Cook, who was drafted in the second round of this past draft.


26.     Matt Reynolds, Junior, BYU

Position: Offensive Tackle  Offensive Scheme: Andy Reid type West Coast

I don’t like it when prospects walk away from football for an extended period of time during their primary growth period, I don’t care the reason. 


27.    Bruce Carter, Senior, North Carolina

Position: Weakside Linebacker  Defensive Scheme: 4-3

Carter is the rare weakside linebacker who has sideline to sideline ability in the run game while almost functioning as a third safety in the passing game.


28.   Mike Pouncey, Senior, Florida

Position: Center  Offensive Scheme: Smash Mouth

This is assuming he makes a smooth transition to the center position, which is no sure thing.


29.     Kyle Randolph, Junior, Notre Dame

Position: Tight End  Offensive Scheme: West Coast

Classic three down inline tight end. Not a game breaker, but he will be a quarterback’s best friend on third down.


30.     Cameron Heyward, Senior, Ohio State

Position: Defensive End  Defensive Scheme: Unlimited

This low ranking is due to the emphasis I place on pass rushing. Heyward will never be a year-in, year-out double-digit sack threat. A great run defender.


31.     Mark Ingram, Junior, Alabama

Position: Running Back  Offensive Scheme: Smash mouth

The lack of elite athleticism and the amount of wear on his tires keeps him from being ranked higher. Better off as a workhorse, not in a committee.


32.     Dont’a Hightower, Junior, Alabama

Position: Inside Linebacker  Defensive Scheme: Unlimited

Him being ranked this high is due to the respect I have for his game and athleticism. His stock can’t rise though until his long-term health is verified.  

Denotes Red-shirt*

-Click on any players name for a link the player’s scouting report that I have written for NFLdraftbible.com.