2011 NFL Mock Draft: Randy Moss, UNC Suspensions and Trade Deadline
This week has had a lot of drama. Legendary receiver returns to his original team, early NFC West favorites still winless, and Brett Favre is still throwing game-ending interceptions on what could be game-winning drives. There have been changes to stock value and positional needs, so let's see how the draft will be effected:
1. Buffallo Bills—QB Andrew Luck, Stanford—Suprisingly, Ryan Fitzpatrick has played rather well since replacing Trent Edwards, however there is not much he can do at this point to prevent the Bills from drafting Luck. The Bills get a franchise player who they have long needed at the quarterback position.
2. Carolina Panthers—WR AJ Green, Georgia—Jimmy Clausen has been just awful so far. Luckily he is a rookie on a team in a semi-rebuilding phase. There have been rumors that long time No.1 receiver, Steve Smith, could be out through trade. Regardless if he stays or goes, with a rookie QB and a talent like Green available, the Panthers will take Green to help build some weapons around Clausen.
3. Cleveland Browns—DT Marcell Dareus, 'Bama—The Browns are still a bad team, however they may be moving in the right direction. The defense has not been all bad, but by adding Dareus, the Browns could become an elite defense in the NFL. The Browns could take Washington's Jake Locker here, but they just used a 3rd-round pick on Colt McCoy, so they will look to bolster the defense.
4. Detroit Lions—CB Patrick Peterson, LSU—Despite starting 1-5, the Lions have shown signs that they may finally have made the moves to not be the punchline of the NFL as they had been the last five years. The Lions need to upgrade their offensive line to protect their quarterbacks, however no tackles or guards are worth a pick this high, so the Lions will address their second need with one of the best cornerback prospects of recent years.
5. New England Patriots (from Oakland)—DE Allen Bailey, The U—The Patriots have a few looks here. They could look pass-rusher after never filling Richard Seymour's spot, draft a running back after trading Laurence Maroney, or look to replace Randy Moss and draft a receiver. Mark Ingram could be an option, but with AJ Green off the board there are no receivers worth taking this high, so the Pats will take Bailey to improve a young defense that lacks a dominate pass-rusher.
6. San Francisco 49ers—CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska—Depending on how the rough start to the season goes from here, the 49ers could find themselves in a tough position next April. Alex Smith could be replaced by Jake Locker with this pick, however if things don't pick up with Smith, I believe the Niners will look to trade for either Philadelphia's Kevin Kolb or Michael Vick and perhaps draft FSU's Christian Ponder in the second round. So the pick will be a corner to replace an aging Nate Clements in a struggling backfield.
7. Dallas Cowboys—OT Anthony Castonzo, BC—This was a hard pick because the Cowboys' major needs (other than a new head coach) don't have any top 10 value. An offensive tackle and a safety are the main weaknesses to Dallas, so perhaps trading back could be an option here. If not, Castonzo is the best player from these two positions, so he will be the pick.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars—QB Jake Locker, Washington—David Garrard went down last night, and Trent Edwards was awful. Before suffering a concussion, Garrard once again had an inconsistent follow-up to a great game in Week 5. If Locker slips this low, the Jags have to pull the trigger and get their quarterback of the future.
9. San Diego Chargers—DE/OLB Akeem Ayers, UCLA—This selection could be looked at as a stretch, but with Merriman's release, Ayers could step in and fill the Bolt's need for a play-maker on defense. Ayers' stock has been rising all season, and I expect the Chargers to look at Ayers or Oklahoma's Travis Lewis.
10. Seattle Seahawks—DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa—The Seahawks have been very inconsistent thus far this season. The defense hasn't been bad, but there is a lot of room to improve. Taking Clayborn will breathe life into the pass-rush, and the Seahawks' D could become elite. Again, a quarterback is an option, since Matt Hasselback hasn't been great, but I do not think Mallett will be the pick here, and instead Seattle takes a pass-rusher.
11. Denver Broncos—DT Stephen Paea, Oregon State—Jamal Williams hasn't been bad so far, but it has been known since his signing that he is not the long-term option at defensive tackle for Denver. Paea could be the long-term solution, and could be the face of the future of the Bronco's defense.
12. St. Louis Rams—DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina—Quinn will not play for the remainder of this season. which is why his stock will fall out of the top 10. Originally a top five talent, the issues at UNC could really hurt his status on draft day. The Rams may look receiver here, but Pitt's Johnathon Baldwin is not as good an option as Quinn, who will replace James Hall across Chris Long on the defensive line.
13. Cincinnati Bengals—LB Travis Lewis, Oklahoma—The Bengals are out to a slow start due to a tough schedule. There are not a whole lot of needs, so the Bengals will take the best player on the board. Lewis could join the linebacker core of Keith Rivers and Rey Maualuga, which could grow to be one of the best in the league.
14. Tampa Bay Buccanears—RB Mark Ingram, 'Bama—The Bucs are starting to come together as Josh Freeman continues to progress. Tampa Bay has only registered 4 sacks this season, which could lead them to draft a pass-rusher, however if Ingram is still on the board he will be the pick. Ingram will take over for Cadillac Williams, and with Freeman and Ingram, the Bucs' offense could become elite.
15. Minnesota Vikings—QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas—The Vikings will need to replace Brett Favre (finally) after this season. After the desperation for Favre to return, Minnesota does not appear content with Tarvaris Jackson as their quarterback, so they will draft Mallett. The Vikings offense will still have all the talent minus Favre after this season, so they should still have success even with a rookie quarterback.
16. Miami Dolphins—CB Brandon Harris, The U—Jason Allen has been relatively productive thus far, but the trend of having two or more solid corners is growing around the league. Vontae Davis and Harris could be the next pair of dominant corners, similar to Jonathon Joseph and Leon Hall in Cincinnati. Virginia Tech's Ryan Williams is an option, but lack of production this year has hurt his value.
17. Washington Redskins—WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame—A lack of weapons has been an issue for Donovan McNabb this season, and Floyd is a pretty good pick here for a team who will be desperate for a receiver of the future. A defensive lineman is an option because Albert Haynesworth could be traded or cut in the offseason, but if not, Floyd will be the pick here.
18. Kansas City Chiefs—WR Jonathon Baldwin, Pitt—Matt Cassell and Dwayne Bowe had a very good game Sunday, but the Chiefs still need a possession receiver to play with Bowe who drops a lot of catches, but can make plays. Baldwin won't make as many big plays, but won't drop nearly as many passes. Coach Todd Haley will have two great receivers like he had in Arizona to help finish off this young offense.
19. Green Bay Packers—RB Ryan Williams, VT—Injuries may end the once-favorited Packers' chances at even making the postseason. Falling to 3-3, the Packers may have to wait one more year to get to the big game, and with Ryan Grant out with injury, Williams may be brought in as the future of Green Bay's run game.
20. Tennessee Titans—OLB Bruce Carter, North Carolina—The Titans look to be on the verge of playoff form, but a tough division may hold them back one more year. The defense is having a lot of success in the pass rush, and Bruce Carter will be brought in to help anchor the defense and take over for Will Witherspoon.
21. Arizona Cardinals—OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M—Miller's stock has decreased due to a lack of production thus far this season. Joey Porter has been almost nonexistent on Arizona, and Miller will be brought in to be the pass-rushing linebacker Porter has not been for the Cards.
22. Philadelphia Eagles—CB Janoris Jenkins, Florida—Ellis Hobbs has been solid at the number-two corner spot since arriving in Philly, but with Asante Samuel aging, there will be a need for a future cornerback, and there are a lot of talented corners in this year's draft. Jenkins will be the successful cornerback for the Eagles that they have not been able to produce over the years.
23. New England Patriots—CB Ras-I Dowling, Virginia—The Patriots drafted Devin McCourty in the first round last year, and may use another first rounder this year to establish more depth in the backfield. Alabama's Julio Jones is an option, but Deion Branch picked up in New England where he left off, so perhaps the Patriots will not draft a receiver in the first round.
24. Chicago Bears—OT Joseph Barksdale, LSU—The Bears line has been brutal this year, and after the trade deadline passed, and Chicago didn't make a move, the Bears will have to look to the draft to protect Jay Cutler.
25. Houston Texans—DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson—The Texans have been desperate to add pass-rushers all season. Bowers and Mario Williams could be as successful as another pair of defensive ends in the AFC South. In a division that thrives on offensive play makers, you can never have too many defensive linemen.
26. New Orleans Saints—DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue—The Saints defense has not been as productive this year as last year, and Alex Brown will need to be replaced after this season. Kerrigan could be a great pass-rusher across Will Smith, and the two could dominate opposing quarterbacks in the future.
27. Indianapolis Colts—DT Nick Fairely, Auburn—The Colts have two incredible pass-rushers in Dwight Freeney and Robeth Mathis. Defensive tackle has been a liability for the Colts this year, and Fairley could be brought in to make one of the greatest defensive lines in the history of the league.
28. New York Jets - OLB Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma—The Jets defense is already elite, but adding Beal could really put them over the edge as one of the best defenses the league has ever seen. Beal has emerged as one of the better linebackers in the class, and the Jets will have the need after Jason Taylor retires in the near future.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers—CB Aaron Williams, Texas—The Steelers defense is also playing at a very high level, similar to the Jets, but one thing the Steelers D lacks is Darrelle Revis. Ike Taylor has been solid, but an elite corner could be the last piece the Steelers need to get to the Super Bowl again.
30. Atlanta Falcons—WR Julio Jones, 'Bama—Matt Ryan and Roddy White are almost an elite combination. Malcom Jenkins' return was a big one, but for the Falcons' offense to become elite they will need a big playmaker like Jones. Consistency is an issue, but White is a very consistent receiver that Jones will play across.
31. New York Giants—DT Jurrell Casey, USC—The Giants' defensive line has stepped up, and is back to Super Bowl form. They have an overwhelming amount of ends, but a tackle could be needed. Casey could also make the Giants defense elite like Pittsburgh and the other New York team.
32. Baltimore Ravens—OT Derek Sherrod, Miss. St.—Jared Gaither has been the focus of trade rumors since last season. He has suffered a back injury, and it is unknown if he will return to his form before the injury. Sherrod would be nice to step in and take over if Gaither is traded or unable to recover to starting form.
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