With a little over six months to go until the 2011 draft, I have decided to make my first mock draft of the season.
It is never too early to start speculating on who teams will take with their picks.
The order of the draft will be based on current record.
Enjoy the picks!
1. Buffalo Bills—Andrew Luck, QB, Sanford
Buffalo is an absolutely dreadful team. Many predicted them to go 0-16 before the season even began. A major problem for the Bills is their lack of consistency at quarterback.
Jake Locker has looked terrible at times, which will boost Andrew Luck into the No. 1 spot. If Buffalo wants a bright future, they will need Luck.
2. Carolina Panthers—A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
If a wide receiver is taken in the top three, he must be extremely talented. It's not very often a wideout is even taken in the top five.
A.J. Green is arguably the best offensive player in this year's draft. He has all the skills to make Carolina a top ten offense within two seasons.
With Jimmy Clausen progressing, Carolina fans should feel as though the future is very bright for them.
3. Detroit Lions—Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
Detroit is awful at stopping the pass, folks. They currently rank 26th against the pass this season. They've been a poor defensive team for years now, though.
Patrick Peterson has a very good shot to be the first defensive player taken in the 2011 draft. He has the chance to be a dominant shutdown corner for the Lions.
4. San Francisco 49ers—Marcell Dareus, DL, Alabama
San Francisco's defense has not stepped up the way many people thought they would. I can personally say that I was definitely not expecting the 49ers to be 0-4 to start off the year.
The 49ers need to start getting more defensive studs. Patrick Willis and Taylor Mays are a big part of the future, but they need defensive line help. Marcell Dareus will be that help they need.
5. Cleveland Browns—Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina
Cleveland hasn't looked terrible this year, but they are still clearly far from being a contender in the AFC.
The Browns' defense needs help. They made a great selection in Joe Haden in the 2010 draft. This time around, Cleveland should look to grab one of the best pass-rushing prospects.
6. New England Patriots–Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
What a terrible trade for the Raiders. But I guess they've made worse moves in the past. Bad trade aside, New England is on the clock.
Although they're mainly known for their spectacular passing game, New England's offense is still missing a few key pieces. Mark Ingram could make the Patriots the most dangerous offense in the AFC.
7. Dallas Cowboys—DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson
First off, the Cowboys will not have a top ten pick in the draft. Secondly, DeAndre McDaniel isn't a top ten talent. This is just how the current situation is going to pan out.
McDaniel is the best safety in a very weak class this year. Dallas would be unstoppable on defense if they could get more consistent safety play.
8. Minnesota Vikings—Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Same case for the Vikings as it is for the Cowboys. Minnesota will not be in the top ten of the draft, obviously.
Jake Locker would be a dream pick for the Vikings, but it won't happen unless he miraculously falls to them. Stranger things have happened though, right?
9. Jacksonville Jaguars–Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
The Jaguars have won two upsets this season that are making them look better than they are. They will fizzle for the rest of the year.
Jacksonville will look to rebuild even further in the offseason. Ryan Mallett will be a great start to that process.
10. Arizona Cardinals—Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
Despite what many say, Adrian Clayborn is an absolute beast. Although his sack stats may not be eye-catching, he's great at both stopping the run and rushing the quarterback.
Arizona hasn't looked awful this year, but they are still weak on both sides of the ball. Adrian Clayborn will make an instant impact on the Cardinals' defense from the get-go.
11. St. Louis Rams—Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
Sam Bradford has looked very impressive at times this season, which is a great sign for Rams fans who have been hoping for a change in their team.
Adding the 6'5" Jonathan Baldwin to the mix could make St. Louis a dangerous team.
12. Tennessee Titans—Travis Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma
The Titans are fairly solid on offense, thanks to Chris Johnson, but their defense could use a little help for next year.
The Titans have Rennie Curran, Will Witherspoon, and Gerald McRath as their starting linebackers. Travis Lewis could be a day one starter for Tennessee next year.
13. Seattle Seahawks—Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Seattle could very well end up winning the NFC West by going 7-9 this season. This just goes to show how pathetic that division has become.
Prince Amukamara could take his talents and awesome last name to Seattle, where he could be a starter from the beginning in the Seahawks' lackluster secondary.
14. Cincinnati Bengals—Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
The Bengals have struggled all season long, which wasn't expected by many coming into the season. Their struggles are due to the fact that they only average 92 yards per game on the ground.
Anthony Castonzo would be a reach at this spot, but the Bengals may have to do it if they want to be able to run the ball well in the future.
15. Philadelphia Eagles—Janoris Jenkins, CB, Florida
Despite a rough start, Philadelphia is still one of the better teams in the NFC to date. Their struggles on defense will hurt them, though.
Janoris Jenkins is quickly climbing up the draft boards, which will lead the Eagles to taking him with their first pick.
16. Denver Broncos—Cameron Heyward, DL, Ohio State
Denver is currently ranking 12th against the run this year, but Ryan McBean is an easily replaceable defensive lineman.
Cameron Heyward has struggled with consistency this year with the Buckeyes, but he should make a big impact in his first or second year with the Broncos.
17. New York Giants—Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
The Giants, despite a 2-2 record, don't have that many needs to fill at this point in time. They could go cornerback, with Aaron Ross often struggling with injury problems.
The only need I can see the Giants focusing on is at defensive tackle. Jurrell Casey is a great talent, but he would be a definite reach with this pick.
18. Miami Dolphins—Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech
There's a strong chance that the Dolphins will lose Ricky Williams or Ronnie Brown, if not both, to free agency this offseason.
Ryan Williams could step in to take the place of one of these two. Although he won't fill a huge need right away, Williams could be a great pick in the long run—no pun intended.
19. Washington Redskins—Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
Devin Thomas has been absolutely dreadful ever since the Redskins selected him in the second round of the 2008 draft.
Washington will look to add young talent on the offensive side of the ball after this season. Julio Jones could very well be a part of that group.
20. San Diego Chargers—Allen Bailey, DL, Miami
I'm surprised to see how well the Chargers have done through the air, since they are without their best offensive lineman and wide receiver.
The Chargers should focus on improving their front seven in the draft in order to continue being a contender in the AFC. Allen Bailey would be a steal with the 20th pick.
21. Indianapolis Colts—Mike Pouncey, G, Florida
Bill Polian and the Indianapolis Colts franchise almost always take an offensive player with their first-round-pick. I see next year being no different.
Mike Pouncey is a tremendous offensive lineman that will provide a big boost in the running game for the Colts.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers–Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
Tampa Bay is off to a surprising start, but they are still lacking serious talent at some positions on both sides of the ball.
Ryan Kerrigan is a great defensive end that would fit in nicely with Gerald McCoy and Brian Price on the line.
23. Chicago Bears—DaQuan Bowers, DE, Clemson
How is Chicago a 3-1 football team? The Bears are extremely overrated, and I do believe they will be exploited over the next few weeks.
The Bears' defensive line, outside of Julius Peppers, is very weak. They must find a book-end to Peppers.
24. New England Patriots—Nick Fairley, DL, Auburm
For the second of New England's two first-rounders, I believe they will focus on improving their less-than-impressive defensive line.
Nick Fairley is the best 3-4 defensive lineman available, and I could definitely see the Patriots swinging in his direction.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers—Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
The only potential thing that could really stop from the Steelers from reaching the Super Bowl is their pass defense. They currently rank 19th in the league against the pass.
Aaron Williams could be a potential steal with this pick for the Steelers. He will fit in nicely with their smashmouth defense.
26. New Orleans Saints—Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina
It's very rare for the Saints to take an outside linebacker in the first round, but I do believe they will lean in that direction this time around.
Bruce Carter is a tremendous athlete that would be an upgrade over Scott Shanle.
27. Houston Texans—Ras-I Dowling, DB, Virginia Tech
Houston has a horrendous secondary. They even allowed Bruce Gradkowski to go over 250 yards against them.
Ras-I Dowling is a very talented defensive back who could play either cornerback or safety for Houston in 2011.
28. Atlanta Falcons—Greg Romeus, DE, Pittsburgh
Jonathan Abraham is nearing the end of his great career, which could potentially be a huge loss for the Falcons defense.
Atlanta needs to find a talented defensive end in the first round. Romeus, despite being one of the best defensive ends, could be a reach.
29. New York Jets—Akeem Ayers, DE/OLB, UCLA
The Jets are a great defensive team, but they lack a strong pass-rusher. If they want to beat the Colts, Patriots, Ravens and Steelers, New York will need to improve their front-seven.
Akeem Ayers is an excellent pass-rusher that would be a huge piece to the Jets defense.
30. Baltimore Ravens—Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU
Jared Gaither can't get his way back on to the field, which will be a major problem going forward for the Ravens.
Joseph Barksdale is one of the best offensive tackles in the 2011 draft. He could allow the Ravens to trade Gaither for picks.
31. Green Bay Packers—Shane Vereen, RB, California
Ryan Grant went down for the year earlier in the season, and Green Bay has not been able to find somebody to fill in for him.
Shane Vereen would be another piece to an already explosive offense in Green Bay.
32. Kansas City Chiefs—Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
They won't win the Super Bowl. Kansas City has looked great this year, but they definitely don't have all the key essentials to win a title.
Michael Floyd would be a steal here for the Chiefs, and I believe they would have to pull the trigger with this pick.
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