The 2011 NFL Draft is not until April, but it is never too early to predict what is going to happen and who is going to get drafted. Every fan wants to know which player their team will draft and if they agree with it.
A few NFL teams seem to be out of the playoff race already, and fans are ready for the future of their teams.
A few prospects look like they are locked as a top five pick, but things can definitely change in the six months before the draft. I am going to predict every first-round pick for the draft order, if the season ended now, even though the standings will be changed by the end of the season.
Nate Solder is one of the best offensive tackle in the country, and the Jets need to take anyone they can to help out the quarterback of the future Mark Sanchez. The Jets could also use help improving their already solid running game. Solder has great size (6'8", 302 lbs.) and would be a great help to the Jets O-line.
Devine is an absolute burner; he runs a 4.34 40-yard dash. The Pats need a RB and I believe they should take one with their second pick in the first round. Devine is small at 5'8", 180 pounds and is certainly not an inside back, but if he gets any running room outside he can use his burst of speed and make the big play.
I do not think that the Steelers are going to look very far for their first-round pick. The Pittsburgh offensive tackle, Jason Pinkston, is a tremendous athlete with great mobility and footwork. The Steelers could use a solid tackle to protect Roethlisberger who is one of the most sacked quarterbacks in the NFL.
Jared Crick is only a junior for Nebraska this year, but if he decided to pass up on his senior season and go to the NFL, there is a great defensive tackle out there. If Crick were to fall to the Giants, I believe it would be a steal. Crick has great quickness and is developing better pass-rush skills. Crick could be following in the footsteps of his former teammate at Nebraska, DT Ndamukong Suh.
The Philadelphia Eagles are in desperate need of a lineman if Kevin Kolb is their quarterback of the future. The Eagles line has been horrible for the last two years, and they could use help at guard. If Pouncey, a junior, decides to enter the Draft, then he could be a big pickup for the Eagles. He is a great run blocker and a decent enough pass blocker to be a good guard in the NFL.
The Atlanta Falcons are going to have to take a step back and pick a second-round quality player in the first. If A.J. Green and/or Julio Jones enter the Draft, they will most likely be gone by pick 27. So the Falcons need a good WR for Matt Ryan, and Ronald Johnson is pretty decent. Johnson has decent speed and is a deep threat. Johnson could also make an impact as a kick returner for the Falcons.
The Texans already have an explosive offense and could use a little help on the defensive side of the ball. Ras-I Dowling could be a shutdown corner for them, he has great size for a cornerback at 6'2," 200 pounds. He can jump routes and stuff wide receivers at the line of scrimmage. If the Texans got Dowling at pick 26, they should feel pretty fortunate.
Cameron Jordan is a great defensive end and would be a great fit in Chicago. The Bears could use another DE to help put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Jordan has long arms and them to keep blockers away from him. He is active with his hands and possesses a great swim move to get past opposing lineman. Even though the Bears will most likely have a higher draft pick than No.25 by the end of the season, Jordan would be a decent pick for No. 25.
I have the Ravens taking OT Anthony Castonzo from BC. Castonzo is a first-round pick talent that will help the Ravens have a younger offense. Castonzo will help the Ravens pound with great running game consisting of Ray Rice and Willis Mcgahee. Castonzo also could be a force to give quarterback Joe Flacco time to throw. Castonzo is a good pick for the Ravens because of his youth and versatility as a blocker.
Travis Lewis is an outstanding OLB and would make an immediate impact on the Saints defense. Lewis is only a junior, so it is not certain if he will declare for the draft or not. If Lewis were to drop to the Saints, I would consider it a bargain because of his incredible athleticism. If Lewis were to have a good NFL Combine, he could potentially be a Top 10 pick, and I do not think the Saints would get him at that point.
Deunta Williams is a first-round talent, but he has had some trouble off the field receiving improper benefits and was suspended four games earlier this season. With all of that aside, Williams is a great safety. He has great hands and speed being a former receiver, so anything he gets his hands on is a possible interception. Williams also has great instincts covering receivers and would be a great add for the Colts.
Aaron Williams is one of the best cornerbacks in the country and would be a great fit in Tennessee who could use another quality CB besides Cortlan Finnegan. Williams has good cornerback size (6'1") and has top of the line speed. Williams is a junior, but the Titans should be hoping that he declares for the draft, and they better hope that he stays around long enough for them to pick him.
The Arizona Cardinals are desperate for a quarterback, and if Ryan Mallet is still around by the time they pick, they better take him. Mallet who possesses great arm strength and good accuracy would be a great fit in Arizona. If the Cardinals could find a good quarterback to throw to Larry Fitzgerald, they would be in great shape. Mallet will be a good NFL quarterback whatever team he goes to, but Cardinals fans better hope it's Arizona.
I find it hard to believe that the Seahawks will finish the season with the 19th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. My guess is they would have a higher pick and get a great player such as Robert Quinn, but I will go with DaQuan Bowers for the purpose of this mock draft. Bowers has a great burst of speed with good upper body strength. Bowers would be a good fit for Seattle with all of the pressure he can put on opposing quarterbacks on a play-by-play basis.
The Kansas City Chiefs could use a big wide receiver for quarterback Matt Cassel to throw to. Jonathan Baldwin is the big wide receiver. At 6'5", Baldwin is a mismatch for almost all cornerbacks, and he possesses great strength to fend them off. With the combination of size and strength for Baldwin, he would be a great fit into the Chiefs offense and a quality target for Matt Cassel.
If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were to pick Jack Crawford, he would be a significant help to their defensive line. Crawford is a great DE for Penn St and is a great pass rusher. He is very athletic and could potentially reach a very high sack total. There have been comparisons to Trent Cole of the Eagles. If the Bucs were to pick Crawford, they would benefit from his burst of speed off the line of scrimmage and the time he spends in the opponents backfield.
Prince Amukamara would be a tough pass up for the Dolphins at pick 16 who don't really have a great secondary. Prince Amukamara is one of the best athletes in the 2011 NFL Draft. Amukamara will be an instant playmaker in the NFL and will be one of the most exciting rookies in the NFL. If the Dolphins take Amukamara, it will give their defense a little extra spark.
Julio Jones is one of the best wide receivers in the country and will make an instant impact in the NFL. Jones is a great deep threat with his speed, size and strength, and he could become one of Sam Bradford's favorite targets in a hurry. On top of his big play capability, Jones is also a good route runner, and he possesses excellent hands. The Rams should feel like they have some of the best skill players in the league if they were able to pick Jones.
The Washington Redskins have plenty of "has been" running backs, but none of them are young and good. DeMarco Murray is young, and he is very good. Murray is an explosive back that can potentially take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Murray is also a great receiving running back which would fit into a Donovan Mcnabb offense where they can implement a screen pass into a big part of their offense.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are in desperate need of big time defensive players, and I don't know if Curtis Brown will be a big time defensive player in the NFL, but he is certainly a start. Brown has fantastic athleticism and extreme toughness making him a great tackler. He has incredible speed and good size to stay with even the best receivers and being a shut-down corner. The Jaguars need a player like Brown to lead the defense for the future.
Janoris Jenkins is a top quality cornerback and would be an impact player on the Packers defense. Jenkins is only a junior, but he will be drafted early with his size and strength that enables him to stay with defenders. Jenkins has top end speed and can make quick breaks that allows him to jump routes and intercept more passes. The Packers could use a player like Jenkins to make a big play in a big time situation.
The Cincinnati Bengals could potentially become a more versatile defense with the pick of Allen Bailey. Bailey has the rare athleticism to play at a defensive end position in a 3-4 defense and a defensive tackle position in a 4-3 defense. Bailey can switch formations around keep the opposing offense on their toes. If the Bengals were to pick Allen Bailey, it would be the best choice the organization has made in the last 10 years.
Jake Locker came into the season as the projected No. 1 overall draft pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Locker has not performed up to expectation going into this season and has slipped a bit on my mock draft. Locker has prototypical size for his position and possesses great athleticism. Locker has above average arm strength allowing him to make all of the throws, and he has great mechanics which will ease the transition to the NFL. If Locker does slip to the 10th pick, I have to see the Vikings picking him with Brett Favre declining.
With the first, first-round pick for the Patriots in the draft, I see them taking a defensive lineman. Adrian Clayborn is a great defensive end from Iowa that possesses good size of 6'3", 283 lbs. Clayborn has great speed and is good at keeping the offensive lineman's hands off of him. Clayborn is big enough that every once in a while, the Patriots could switch their 3-4 to a 4-3 and put Clayborn at defensive tackle. With the loss of Richard Seymour, the New England Patriots could once again have a strong defensive front with the pick of Clayborn.
Robert Quinn is going to be the next great pass rusher out of North Carolina since Julius Peppers, and the Chargers could use him. The Chargers have been struggling this year and could use a spark on defense. Quinn definitely could make a spark with his incredible burst off the line of scrimmage and is sometimes subjected to double teams. So whether Quinn is getting in the backfield and getting sacks for the Chargers, or if he is taking up two players, he will be a big help if the Chargers were to take him.
The Denver Broncos could use a great player to clog up the holes on their defensive line and Stephen Paea is a player that can definitely do that. Paea has a quick first step off the snap and is good at getting leverage on his blocker. He can play at the tackle position in a 4-3 defense and even has the speed to play any position in a 3-4 defense. Paea is a player that can cause double teams and free up a defender when he is not already in the backfield himself.
This pick here is a bit of a stretch in two different ways. Ryan Kerrigan would have to perform great this season and at the combine to get drafted this high which i think is a possibility. The other stretch is that the Cowboys will not finish with the sixth pick in the draft. If somehow the Cowboys had this pick at season's end, Kerrigan would be a good pick with his nice blend of speed, burst and power.
The Detroit Lions are definitely a work in progress but at least seem to be heading in the right direction. The defense could use some help and that is why Patrick Peterson is the right choice for the Lions. Patrick Peterson may be the best player in college football this year between his defensive back skills and his kick/punt returning skills. He has been compared to a New York Jets cornerback, and that is a good compliment for a CB. He has excellent speed and good size to stay with any wide receiver in the NFL. He held A.J. Green to only four catches and Julio Jones to only three. Peterson has a very high football IQ, and his field awareness allows him to react quickly on balls in the air. Peterson could make a very quick impact in the NFL next year and be a superstar on the Lions
The Cleveland Browns need a big-time player and that could be running back Mark Ingram. Ingram works well in a two-man backfield and Peyton HIllis and Mark Ingram could potentially be the best one-two punch in the NFL. Ingram, last year's Heisman winner, is still only a junior and could possibly stay in college for another year. But I do not think that will be the case, since he will earn his degree at the end of this year and does not really need to move his draft stock up. Ingram has decent speed to break open a big play, but he is more of a balanced back that runs downhill and is a tough man to wrap up. Ingram has an ideal frame for a downhill back, and he is also great in space to make a big play. If the Browns were to take a bit of a risk and draft Ingram this high at No.4, he could potentially be a great player immediately and in the future.
Marcel Dareus got himself in some trouble off the field earlier this season by attending a party hosted by an agent. Dareus has as much talent as anyone on the field. Learning from defensive mastermind Nick Saban, Dareus should have a very smooth transition to the NFL. Dareus is a defensive end in a 3-4 defense and could even play defensive tackle in a 4-3 with his big size of 306 pounds. Dareus is a big boy at 306 lbs, but he also has great size, speed and strength. Dareus would be a great help to the Browns who need to build up a good, young defense up front on the line. Dareus can make opposing teams change their offensive scheme with his versatility by setting up a 3-4 or 4-3 defense against them.
The Carolina Panthers need help at wide receiver for Matt Moore or possibly even Jimmy Clausen in the the future. A.J. Green is probably the best receiver in the country, and he is a special player that could make an immediate impact in the NFL. Green has great size at 6'4", and he definitely uses that size to his advantage. Green is always above his defender allowing his quarterback to throw the ball up in the air and he will go and get it. Green has top-quality speed, and with that complementing his size, it only enhances his big play ability. Green is by far the biggest deep threat in college football right now and will be one of the biggest deep threats when he is in the NFL. Green is used to playing in a pro-style offense at Georgia and will make a smooth transition to the NFL and be an impact player for the Panthers in his rookie season.
Andrew Luck. The Buffalo Bills need a quarterback and Andrew Luck is the best one in the draft. While Luck may not be the best player in the draft, he will be the most valuable to the Bills of all the players in the draft. With the Bills at 0-5, it looks like they have a good chance to get the first pick in the Draft. Even if the Bills were to fall to the second pick, they could still get a great player in A.J. Green. Bills fans should be excited to get a player like Luck who could make an immediate impact in his rookie season.
Andrew Luck may be the highest rated draft prospect ever that is only a redshirt sophomore. If Luck is the projected top pick by the end of a season, he should declare for the draft. Luck has been compared to Peyton Manning, arguably one of the five best quarterbacks of all-time. Luck has the prototype NFL quarterback body standing at 6'4", weighing 234 pounds. Scouts are impressed by his poise and pocket presence, which is very impressive for a redshirt sophomore.
Luck has great throwing strength and great arm accuracy. He can make quick and smart decisions with his great footwork and very smooth, simple and quick throwing motion. Luck has good mobility for a guy of his size and is a very good thrower on the run. He will be expected to make big plays out of the pocket in the NFL just as he does at Stanford. With an almost flawless game, Luck will be very tough to pass on the Bill's draft board between his skill and the need of a quarterback to lead the team.