2011 NFL Mock Draft: How High Will Kellen Moore Go?
While we're heading towards the end of the college football season and beginning to look at where our teams will end up in the bowl picture, there's also never a wrong time to put out how we think the NFL draft will go.
So, with that being said, I wanted to think a little bit out of the box on this. I know there are others who will put better players in front of where I have a lot of the ones you'll see on this list, but it's never a lock that it will end up going that way.
We all know there have been surprises in just about every NFL draft we've been through. There have been players that have been taken we never saw coming and first round picks ending up sitting in the waiting area through most of the second around. Which makes those of us watching feel that same very uncomfortable, awkward, feeling.
With that in mind, here is the 2011 NFL mock draft done only the way a guy like me could do it. Keep an open mind and have some fun. I always do.
32. New York Giants: Brandon Burton, CB, Utah
How He Can Rise: One interception, one forced fumble, and 34 tackles through nine games. Burton will need to step up his game if he's going to make the first round.
31. New York Jets: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
How He Can Rise: Continue to show the ability to stay healthy as he started every game he's played in going in this season (41 games). NFL teams love a guy who can stay on the field.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida
How He Can Rise: Pouncey has to help the Gators get better in the red zone. In three trips against Mississippi State, the Gators scored just seven points in three trips.
29. Atlanta Falcons: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
How He Can Rise: Floyd needs to find a way to stay healthy, apparently something that's been a problem for him this year.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU
How He Can Move Up: Baltimore needs an offensive tackle especially with Jared Gaither still dealing with a back injury. The Ravens don't want him to move up any further.
27. New Orleans Saints: Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina
How He Can Rise: The Tar Heels are in a bad way especially losing players to NCAA violations, however, they keep coming up with wins. There are going to be teams looking for a solid linebacker earlier than this pick. As long as Carter can stick out and make big plays, he'll be a higher pick than where I have him.
26. New England Patriots: Derrek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
How He Can Rise: Mississippi State has two big games coming up against Alabama and Arkansas. A good a time as any to keep both defenses from running amok on his quarterback.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia
How He Can Rise: Georgia's pass defense is giving up almost 200 yards per game and is already giving up over 100 yards per game on the ground (106.4). Houston needs to be a bigger force to stand out.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pitt
How He Can Rise: Coming off a 1,000-yard receiving season in 2009, he might fall well short of that this season sitting only at 546 yards and four touchdowns. Although, he may move up thanks to his size, standing at 6'5."
23. Green Bay Packers: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
How He Can Rise: Thirty-seven tackles, eight and a half for a loss, I would say Miller is doing just fine to move up if he keeps up those numbers for the final few games of the season.
22. Kansas City Chiefs: Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia
How Can He Rise: There has been talk that Dowling has Darrelle Revis type potential. There aren't a lot of teams that would pass up a player with that kind of tag.
21. Tennessee Titans: Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal
How He Can Rise: I think Jordan did just fine for himself with 12 tackles, four for a loss, and almost two fulls sacks plus a few more that could have gone that way against Washington State. Not sure he could do much more than that to get noticed.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech
How He Can Rise: Virginia Tech is in the middle of a seven game win streak and Ryan Williams is one of the reasons why. There are plenty of teams that will need a running back and Tampa Bay will be one of those.
19. Chicago Bears: DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma
How He Can Rise: DeMarco Murray really doesn't need a reason to be moved up, he has "Sooners" written across his chest so he'll get noticed. What didn't hurt was 251 all-purpose yards against Texas A&M didn't hurt.
18. Houston Texas: Akeem Ayers, CB, UCLA
How He Can Rise: UCLA's tough year isn't doing him any favors, but Ayers was already known as one of the best cornerbacks in the country before this season started. There will be teams looking his way.
17. Miami Dolphins: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
How He Can Rise: The Texas defense has been torched more than once, giving up 32.3 points per game over their last three. All losses to Iowa State, Baylor, and Kansas State.
Williams needs to stand above the other corners on his defensive unit, but he does have 30 total tackles and three forced fumbles to his credit.
16. Seattle Seahawks: Janoris Jenkins, CB, Florida
How He Can Rise: This isn't the Florida team of old but they're starting to look it. Jenkins is going to look good to NFL teams as he can not only play the defensive side of the ball but can provide speed with kick and punt returns.
15. Oakland Raiders: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
How Can He Rise: Mark Ingram has not had the Heisman year he had last season but he still provides a solid running back or fullback for an NFL team. He may not be a top 10 pick but that's what some teams behind those picks are hoping for.
14. Cleveland Browns: Jake Locker, QB, Washington
How Can He Rise: At this point, he'll be lucky to be picked in the first round especially after his last performance. But there are teams that are looking for a young backup quarterback to groom and they'll look at Locker.
13. Washington Redskins: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
How Can He Rise: The Washington Redskins will hope he doesn't. He's a producer from the defensive line and, at some point, they'll want to rid themselves of Albert Haynesworth and his albatross contract.
12. St. Louis Rams: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
How Can He Rise: Can you imagine Sam Bradford and Julio Jones as battery mates, of sorts? The Rams would love to have him.
11. Jacksonville Jaguars: Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State
How Can He Rise: He's a quarterback that can get it done not only with his arm but also with his legs, having scored four touchdowns on the ground. It's not a lot, but he can get it done.
10. San Diego Chargers: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
How He Can Rise: With the Chargers looking pathetic on special teams, they could use all the help they could get, especially from Brandon Harris.
9. Minnesota Vikings: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
How He Can Rise: Depending on what happens with head coach Brad Childress, who Percy Harvin apparently had to be separated from, the Vikings could need another threat at wide receiver.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Nick Fairley, DE, Auburn
How Can He Rise: Simple. Win the national championship and look good doing it. Seriously though, Auburn is the second best team in the country but their defense is not. That being said, being called the defensive version of Cam Newton has to be a high honor for him.
7. Detroit Lions: Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
How Can He Rise: This is the shocking pick that I wanted to throw in here. I might be the only one that believes that Moore can be a good NFL quarterback, but the Lions will need someone behind starter Mathew Stafford.
6. San Francisco 49ers: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
How Can He Rise: There are going to be teams that will look for a guy like this and will need to improve their defensive line. Even the 49ers could use a guy like this, though they could use a legitimate quarterback as well.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
How Can He Rise: The Bengals will be looking to improve in more ways than just on defense. I don't know if Da'Quan Bowers could do better than where he is right now.
4. Denver Broncos: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
How Can He Rise: Ryan Mallet is going to be picked before a lot of people think he will. He's a talented quarterback and could have big potential if he's trained just right. Though Denver may not be at this pick, or pick a quarterback since they already have Tim Tebow, there will be someone that will be after him.
3. Carolina Panthers: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
How Can He Rise: What does Carolina not need at this moment? He's the top cornerback on the list and he's a guy that's going to be gone fairly soon.
2. Dallas Cowboys: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
How Can He Rise: He's the best defensive end on the board and the Dallas Cowboys could use a dominate guy like this every Sunday. Their offense isn't horrible, but they need more pressure on the opposing quarterback.
1. Buffalo Bills: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
How Can He Rise: Andrew Luck is the best player on the board and the top quarterback available. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a good player but he's not the future for the Buffalo Bills. They need a guy who can lead and not to another winless season.