2011 NFL Mock Draft: Buffalo Bills on Fast Track for the Top Pick

Matt Wells@@matt_wells16Correspondent IOctober 14, 2010

2011 NFL Mock Draft: Buffalo Bills on Fast Track for the Top Pick

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    Week 5 of the NFL Season is in the books, and parity continues to rule supreme. The Jets are looking like the team they said they'd be, the Packers' injury report is becoming  a full-fledged novel, Brett Favre seems to be showing his age, the defending champs are looking off, and Sam Bradford has already led the Rams to twice as many wins as they had last year.

    While this is way too early for a Mock Draft, we're at the point in the season where most fans know where there team is at, and some of them don't like what they're seeing. They're looking toward brighter horizons and the players that will lead them there.

    This draft order is based on the most recent Vegas odds for winning the Super Bowl. Yes, I know, the last four teams are all from the AFC and therefore makes this order impossible, but just roll with it.

Buffalo Bills: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

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    Vegas Payout on a $100.00 bet: 100,000

    Buffalo needs help everywhere. They could go anywhere and improve the team, unless they blow this pick on another running back. But it has to be a quarterback. Just look at the success rookies have had in the recent past: Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez, and now, Sam Bradford.

    The decision here comes down to which quality Chan Gailey values more: Ryan Mallett's arm strength or Andrew Luck's mobility. Gailey will most likely choose the latter if the redshirt sophmore Luck declares.

Carolina Panthers: AJ Green, WR, Georgia

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    Vegas Payout: $100,000

    The Panthers are last in the league in completion percentage, but Jimmy Clausen needs more time. Adding a top talent in Green not only gives Carolina an extremely skilled receiver for Clausen to throw to, but opens things up for Steve Smith.

    With Green and Smith, opposing defenses will need to start respecting the pass, opening up the box for DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. If the running game has holes to run through, it will take the pressure off Clausen and give him more time.

    Needless to say, this pick needs to happen.

Cleveland Browns: Marcell Dareus, DE/DT, Alabama

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    Vegas Payout: $50,000

    I would go with a pass rusher in this spot, but 3-4 OLBs are so hard to project at the next level that it's not worth the risk taking one this early (See: Vernon Gholston).

    On the other hand, taking a beast of a defensive lineman that will be a stud in the run defense and disrupt the pocket in pass defense is a no-brainer.

Detroit Lions: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

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    Vegas Payout: $30,000

    It's starting to come together. This will be a playoff team in three years. The Lions need to spend this draft on the defense and offensive line. With no top-tier OTs in this draft, the pick here is the best cornerback prospect in a long time. Peterson has the skills to be the next Revis, and the Lions jump at that thought here.

New England Patriots (from Oakland): Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa

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    Oakland's Vegas Payout: $20,000

    Warning: every single 2011 Mock Draft you will ever read will make some sort of comment regarding the stupidity of the Richard Seymour trade that gave this pick to the Pats. A lot of Mocks will have Mark Ingram going to the Pats, but if they're picking this high, Ingram would be a stretch. AJ Green would've been the pick to replace Moss if he was available.

    Jon Baldwin could go here thinking along those lines, but I'm not sure he's a top five player. Instead, expect Bill Belichick to go with the BPA on defense. Clayborn is a beast that will be able to rush the passer from the interior.

St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh

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    Vegas Payout: $20,000

    If St. Louis keeps up with this winning thing, they might actually end up winning the hapless NFC West. However, with Mark Clayton out for the season now, expect to see some struggles from this Rams offense the rest of the season before turning to this freak of a receiver in the 2011 draft. This pick could be defense, but you don't draft a franchise QB and then don't give him anyone to throw to. Bradford needs a legit No.1 receiver.

San Fransisco 49ers: Cameron Heyward, DE/DT, Ohio State

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    Vegas Payout: $15,000

    I would go with Ryan Mallett here, but I'm not sold on Alex Smith keeping up his poor play throughout the season. Besides, you can't go wrong with the defensive line, and Heyward is the BPA.

Seattle Seahawks: Jake Locker, QB, Washington

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    Vagas Payout: $10,000

    Hometown hero Jake Locker is almost too obvious here. He's the most athletic quarterback in this draft class, and while his performance this season hasn't been great, his potential is undeniable, and you can bet Pete Carroll will jump at the chance to attempt to tap into it.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina

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    Vegas Payout: $8,000

    The Buccaneers beefed up their offensive line last year by spending their first two picks on defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price. Now they need an edge rusher, and Robert Quinn is the best in the game. I considered a WR, but the Bucs have two promising rookies in Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams, so they may give those two more time to develop.

Denver Broncos: Allen Bailey, DE/DT, Miami (FL)

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    Vegas Payout: $6,500

    Denver is 31st in the league with only five sacks this year. Granted, they're missing reigning sack champion Elvis Dumervil, but they also need to generate pressure from the inside and collapse the pocket. Bailey will excel at that at the next level, as he's huge at 6'3", 300+, but is incredibly athletic for his size.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas

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    Vegas Payout: $6,500

    The Jaguars need a quarterback. David Garrard had one good season that earned him a lucridous extension, and he's been mediocre at best ever since. Jack Del Rio will most likely be gone after this season, and the new head coach will want to take his own franchise QB. Mallett gives them a big armed quarterback that can stretch the field and keep the safeties from creeping into the box to stop Maurice Jones-Drew.

Arizona Cardinals: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

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    Vegas Payout: $6,500

    I'd love to go QB here, but the big three are off the board, and I don't like Christian Ponder enough to put him this high. Regardless, I think that Max Hall deserves his shot at trying to lead that team.

    The Cardinals could go with a OLB here, but I don't think there are any players worth the risk. So they go with the second best corner in the draft, Prince Amukamara, who is more like 1B to Patrick Peterson's 1A. Amukamara gives them one of the top corner duos in the league with playmaker Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Cincinnati Bengals: Greg Romeus, DE, Pittsburgh

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    Vegas Payout: $6,000

    The Bengals have one of the top corner duos in the league in Leon Hall and Jonathan Joesph, but rank 14th against the pass this year. Why is that? They've only racked up six sacks on the year. That needs to change. Romeus is an extremely gifted player that has yet to put it all together on the football field, but here's betting the Bengals are willing to take a chance on him.

Miami Dolphins: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

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    Vegas Payout: $5,000

    Both Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown are free agents at the end of the year. Williams is old and Brown is injury-prone, so the Dolphins will likely be looking at a runner in 2011, and there's no better pick than sophmore Heisman winner Mark Ingram. He's a tough, powerful runner with good vision that fits what Miami likes to do on offense.

Houston Texans: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas

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    Vegas Payout: $4,000

    Just when we thought Houston was ready to break through and take control of the AFC South...we once again realize they have no pass defense. Kareem Jackson last year was a good start, but Houston needs to keep going with that, and Aaron Williams from Texas is next in a line of a very talented crop of corners available in this year's draft. Adding Williams would give the Texans a solid corner due for years to come.

Kansas City Chiefs: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

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    Vegas Payout: $4,000

    The Chiefs' defense is legit. They proved that in the Indianapolis game. Its the offense that needs work. Ideally, Todd Haley gets a replacement for the underwhelming Matt Cassel, but as I said with the Cardinals, I don't see another quarterback that merits a top-16 pick. The running game is solid, but they need another weapon across from Dewayne Bowe. Floyd is a playmaking WR who was averaging 27+ yards per catch last year before he broke his collarbone.

Tennessee Titans: Janoris Jenkins, CB, Florida

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    Vegas Payout: $3,000

    The Titans are 27th in the league against the pass while leading the league with 22 sacks. If that doesn't scream cornerback, I don't know what does. Being the fourth cornerback taken might make it seem like Jenkins is a stretch, but he has met expectations as Joe Haden's successor, and Tennessee needs a CB in the worst way, playing in a division with Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub

Chicago Bears: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

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    Vegas Payout: $2,500

    The Bears need help on both lines, but after Cutler took 10 sacks against the Giants last Sunday, it's glaringly evident which needs more work. Carimi has been the Badgers' starter at LT since Joe Thomas, starting 36 games going into this season. Carimi would give Chicago a solid set of bookend OTs along with Chris Williams.

Philidelphia Eagles: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

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    Vegas Payout: $2,500

    Philadelphia quarterbacks have been sacked the second most times of any other team in the NFL. When you've started the uber-mobile Mike Vick, that's a huge problem. Castonzo is a huge OT at 6'7" that has the athleticism needed to play LT at the next level. He was the first true freshman to start on Boston College's offensive line since 1998.

Washington Redskins: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

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    Vegas Payout: $2,500

    One of the most commented things during the Redskins/Packers game was that the only reliable playmakers the Redskins had in the passing game were Santana Moss and Chris Cooley. With Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly not progressing the way they've hoped, they need to draft another WR. Julio Jones may be the most physically gifted WR in the class and immediately gives Donovan McNabb a legit home run threat.

Dallas Cowboys: DeAndre McDaniel, FS, Clemson

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    Vegas Payout: $2,500

    Dallas ranks 12th in the NFL at defending the pass, but has intercepted only two passes through five games. Alan Ball, the new starter at FS, hasn't been bad, but is still underwhelming. McDaniel is an incredibly gifted player who intercepted eight passes last year and is in solid in run support.

Minnesota Vikings: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami

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    Vegas Payout: $2,500

    In a division with Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and Matthew Stafford, one can never have enough cornerbacks. With Antoine Winfield getting up there in years, the Vikings may need to go corner with their first pick again after going with Chris Cook last year. I thought about going quarterback as Favre is starting to show his age, and if he retires, I think Christian Ponder could be the pick. But if not, Brad Childress won't do anything that could possibly offend his starlet.

New York Giants: Travis Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma

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    Vegas Payout: $2,000

    This is a BPA pick, as the Giants have no real glaring needs that have become evident thusfar in the season. The pass defense is tops in the league with the addition of Antrel Rolle and the return of Kenny Philips, and the rush defense is top 10 so far. Lewis is an athletic playmaker drops this far only because 43 OLBs aren't usually taken in the top 20.

San Diego Chargers: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State

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    Vegas Payout: $1,600

    The Chargers have allowed 11 sacks thusfar: not awful, but still bad enough to be T20 in the NFL. Getting Marcus McNeil back is a big boost, but his greatest asset is his run-blocking, which won't help the sack numbers. Ideally one of the Big Four WRs will drop here, and they could reach for LSU's Terrence Tolliver or Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles, but for now, an OT is the pick.

New Orleans Saints: Greg Jones, LB, Michigan State

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    Vegas Payout: $1,400

    This year, it's been the Saints' offense, not the defense, that has been the downfall so far, but it's still hard to see any glaring holes that need to be addressed. The biggest hole is OLB, where they could use an upgrade over Scott Shanle. Jones plays MLB for Michigan State, but has the versatility to play OLB.

    Putting him next to Jonathan Vilma will give the Saints two sideline-to-sideline players that will increase the defense's speed immensely and will also give defensive coordinator Greg Williams another excellent blitzer to work into his complex blitz schemes.

    Seems like a match made in heaven.

New England Patriots: Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech

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    Vegas Payout: $1,200

    If the Patriots don't take Ingram with their first pick, they'll most certaintly be satisfied with the consolation prize. Ryan Williams is a do-it-all runner that will fit well into the Patriots offense, providing more balance and opening things up more for Brady and the passing game. I have some reserves about putting him here, because his lack of production thus far, combined with his injury, may leave him wanting another year at Virginia Tech (he's only a redshirt sophmore) to regain his draft stock.

Green Bay Packers: Shane Vereen, HB, Cal

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    Vegas Payout: $1,000

    The Packers could go any number of ways with this pick. They could go for a pass rusher like Von Miller, or if any of the top corners are available, they could go that route, but the defense has actually been very solid so far this season.

    That leaves the always-safe choice of an offensive tackle, but unless James Starks is this year's version of Ryan Grant v2007, the Packers need another running back. This is a two-back league, and while Grant will be back next season, the Pack need a change-of-pace back that is a threat out of the backfield.

    Noel Devine could be the pick here, but he needs to run a sub 4.3 at the combine to keep teams from getting scared off by his size.

Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame

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    Vegas Payout: $1,000

    Tony Gonzalez won't play forever. Rudolph is the BPA. Seems like a good fit. Ryan needs more weapons, and taking Rudolph will allow him to learn from Gonzalez before he calls it quits in the future and allow the Falcons to run two TE sets next year, which improves the running game.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia

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    Vegas Payout: $950

    Pittsburgh cornerbacks struggled with interceptions last year. Ike Taylor is 30 years old. Bryant McFadden is 28. While they aren't exactly old, they aren't young either. Dowling is a big (6'2", 210), physical corner that fits the Steeler smashmouth style defense.

Indianapolis Colts: Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina

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    Vegas Payout: $900

    The Colts could go any number of ways with this pick. If the run defense doesn't improve, they'll likely go with a DT like Jurrell Casey from USC, Nick Fairley from Auburn or Jerrell Powe from Ole Miss. Instead, I have them going with the BPA pick here, Bruce Carter, the monster linebacker from USC. He'll improve the speed of the defense and improve their run defense immediately.

New York Jets: Von Miller, DE/OLB, Texas A&M

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    Vegas Payout: $700

    Again, BPA here. Miller led the NCAA in sacks last year and was an All-American. He'll bring versatility that will fit into Rex Ryan's exotic blitz schemes very well. The Jets need a stud rusher across from Calvin Pace anyway.

Baltimore Ravens: Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU

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    Vegas Payout: $700

    Jared Gaither has back problems. Those can really derail a career, so the Ravens could be looking at a RT in the draft. Barksdale fits that description perfectly, as he's perhaps the best lineman in the draft, but is strictly a RT. Corner could be the pick if any of the top guys fall.