2011 NFL Mock Draft: Does Somebody Reach For Locker in the First Round?

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Does Somebody Reach For Locker in the First Round?
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Peterson won't see a Heisman this season, but he should be a top 10 draft pick.

The 2010 NCAA college football season is far from over, but here at NFL Soup, we like to look to the future when it comes to new talent possibly entering the NFL.

Check out our first NFL Mock Draft of the season. Which players have a good bet to hear their named called in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft?

****DISCLAIMER****

There's been a few people disappointed with the comparisons. Let me explain first off that I'm not saying that these players will be as productive or great as their comparisons. I'm simply saying that their skill set resembles these top athletes in many ways. Just because their height and weight don't match, doesn't mean that they don't play in a similar fashion. Example: Obviously DeAndre McDaniel isn't Ed Reed. But his ball-hawking ability and speed, as well as his exceptional zone ability makes him similar in play. Example 2: Tom Brady and Andrew Luck aren't both the same athletically or physically. But Luck is smart, like Brady, and gets the ball out quickly and gets through his progressions well.

Also, please remember that this is NOVEMBER, and that we are at least 5 months away from the NFL Draft. My rankings will most likely not match your rankings. But I'm not going to tell you that you're stupid for thinking that X player could sneak into the first round if you think he's a sleeper because this is NOVEMBER and players move up and down rankings every day.

Enjoy!

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
NFL owners love Mallett's combination of arm strength and accuracy.

1. Buffalo (0-8)- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford**

Despite Ryan Fitzpatrick’s success, he’s in no way a franchise quarterback. The Bills are finding weapons on the offense with guys like Steve Johnson, Lee Evans, C.J. Spiller and eventually tight end Shawn Nelson. Luck has all the tools to be an excellent starting quarterback in the NFL. Comparison- Tom Brady

2. Dallas (1-7)- Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU*

Dallas has a very talented team, but has really struggled in the secondary despite having young talent. Peterson gives them a true, top notch corner who has the natural ability to start right away. Despite a jam at cornerback in Dallas, they’ve yet to find a guy that can really make a consistent impact, and Peterson is the man for them. Comparison- Nmamdi Asomugha

3. Carolina (1-7)- Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina*

Carolina has a lot of problems, but they start with the trenches. The defensive line has been atrocious and can’t seem to generate any pass rush. Quinn shows shades of fellow North Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers. He’s arguably the best pass rushing option in the 2011 NFL Draft. Comparison- DeMarcus Ware

4. San Francisco (2-6)- Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas*

It’s time to give up on the Alex Smith project, if you’re San Francisco. With the weapons they have offensively, they should be a top-scoring team in the league, but Smith can’t seem to get it to his receivers and limit mistakes. Mallett gives them a big arm that can get it down field to Michael Crabtree, Ted Ginn, Josh Morgan, and Vernon Davis, while also being a surprisingly accurate passer. Comparison- Philip Rivers

5. Detroit (2-6)- Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

Detroit is one of the most improved teams in football, and their defensive line is making plays for them. Now they need a dominant corner. The cornerback is one of the most crucial positions in football, and they don’t have a corner that quarterbacks fear to throw to. Amukamara is the most technically sound, NFL-ready corner in the draft, and can cover the most physical of receivers. Comparison- Charles Woodson

6. Denver (2-6)- Marcel Dareus, DE, Alabama

With the newly installed 3-4 defense, Denver is looking for guys that can make a big impact in the run game. Dareus is a monster, often getting double teamed and still getting in the backfield to make a tackle for loss. In a 3-4 defense, it all starts with the defensive line, and it’s crucial to have the personnel to make it succeed. Comparison- Ty Warren

7. Cincinnati (2-5)- Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State

Cincinnati has been disappointing as of late, and a big reason is due to injuries in the secondary. But their defensive line hasn’t helped them either, struggling to pressure the quarterback and stuff the run. Paea is a dominant defensive tackle that can get to the quarterback, and make running backs pay behind the line of scrimmage. Comparison- Glenn Dorsey

8. Arizona (3-5)- Don’ta Hightower, ILB, Alabama*

Arizona’s 3-4 defense just hasn’t been the same since losing Karlos Dansby to the Miami Dolphins in free agency in the off-season. They need a dominant inside linebacker who can make play after play. Despite being a bigger linebacker, he’s surprisingly effective in coverage, but he makes most of his plays in the running game as he’s excellent to read and react. Comparison- Karlos Dansby

9. Minnesota (3-5)- Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina

Minnesota would love to get a cornerback here, but it would also help them a lot to have a quick, great tackling outside linebacker to play next to E.J. Henderson. Carter is an agile line backer who can cover well, and is a sure wrap up tackler. Carter could greatly improve this defense, which is struggling against the run once the runner gets past the defensive line. Comparison- Lance Briggs

10. Cleveland (3-5)- A.J. Green, WR, Georgia*

This pick is a no-brainer for the Browns, who just can’t seem to find a wide receiver that’s reliable. A.J. Green is worthy of a top five pick, but if he slides here, his physical dominance and great speed makes him a must pick for Cleveland who desperately needs a receiver the defenses can respect. Right now, their leading pass catcher is tight end Ben Watson, with running back Peyton Hillis right behind him. With an improving Colt McCoy, the Browns could just be a dominant wide receiver away from having a fearful passing attack. Comparison- Randy Moss

11. San Diego (4-5)- Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa

San Diego is known for their excellent 3-4 defense and ability to get to the quarterback. This year, the defensive line hasn’t performed up to expectations, and they really need a defensive end to replace the underachieving Jacques Cesaire. Clayborn is a big, quick defensive end who takes up space and eats up blockers. Comparison- Luis Castillo

12. Seattle (4-4)- Jake Locker, QB, Washington

This is a risky pick for the Seahawks, but with Hasselbeck aging and struggling with injuries, it’s time to get their franchise quarterback to sit for at least a season behind the exceptional veteran Hasselbeck. Seattle drafted their franchise left tackle last season in Russell Okung, and they need a quarterback to get the ball in the hands of their young receivers. Comparison- Ben Roethlisberger

13. Houston (4-4)- Deunta Williams, S, North Carolina

Another no-brainer for Houston is a pick in the secondary. Despite taking Kareem Jackson in the first round in 2009, they still need a safety that can make plays against the pass. Their secondary is one of the worst in the NFL, and even the worst passing offenses have been able to put up points in the air. They don’t need much help on offense, and their defensive line isn’t terrible against the run, which makes this pick make even more sense. Comparison- Nick Collins

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Thomas is one of the more balanced running backs in the 2011 class.

14. Jacksonville (4-4)- Julio Jones, WR, Alabama*

Jacksonville still has a bit of life left in David Garrard. But he needs consistent weapons. Mike Sims-Walker shows up to play about every two games, and Mike Thomas isn’t a huge threat down field. Julio Jones gives them a big-bodied receiver who can make plays down the field. He doesn’t have the most consistent hands, but he’s an excellent option for Garrard, who has Maurice Jones-Drew to run the ball and open up the passing game. Comparison- Braylon Edwards

15. Miami (4-4)- DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

Like Houston, Miami’s secondary is one of the struggling points on defense. They lack a true dominant safety, and McDaniel is a ball hawk who’s not afraid to come up and make a tackle. McDaniel has excellent awareness and has the hands to get interceptions frequently. The Dolphins aren’t that far away from becoming a playoff contender. Comparison- Ed Reed

16. Washington (4-4)- Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

In Mike Shanahan’s offense, the running back is generally the most important part. With the recent injuries in the last two seasons to Clinton Portis, Washington can’t afford to go into the season with a questionable running game. While Ryan Torain has filled in well, he’s also injury prone and unreliable. Mark Ingram would thrive with a zone blocking scheme, as his greatest quality is his vision and running off his blockers. Comparison- Rashard Mendenhall

17. New England (from Oakland) (5-4)- Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State

New England doesn’t have a lot of flaws, but they do lack a consistent running game. Despite the emergence of Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, they still need a guy who can play every down and make plays all over the field. Thomas is a threat out of the backfield, and in the open field especially, and is one of the best talents at the running back position. A dominant running back would put New England’s offense over the top. Comparison- LaDainian Tomlinson

18. Chicago (5-3)- Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

This is self-explanatory, as Chicago’s pass blocking is absolutely atrocious. We saw this after they gave up nine sacks to the Giants in one half of football, ultimately getting Jay Cutler a concussion. Part of Cutler’s problems has been the fact that he just doesn’t have time to throw, and Castonzo could help with that quite a bit.  Comparison- Marcus McNeill

19. Tampa Bay (5-3)- Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

Tampa Bay has a very young team, and a lot of it is in the offensive line. But Donald Penn isn’t getting it done. Josh Freeman is improving as a quarterback, but he needs more time to throw. Carimi is a solid pass blocker, and an even better run blocker. With LeGarrette Blount looking promising, they can kill two birds with one stone and run to the left side to score some points.  Comparison- Michael Roos

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Jones is a punisher in the middle of the field.

20. Tennessee* (5-3)- Benjamin Ijalana, OG, Villanova

The Titans are desperately in need of interior line help, despite what Chris Johnson’s stats say. They need a bit more help protecting against blitzing line backers up the middle. With a stud guard playing next to Michael Roos, they could bolster the left side of the offensive line. Comparison- Jahri Evans

21. St. Louis* (4-4)- Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia

The Rams are one of the most improved teams in the league, and their defense has surprisingly done well getting to the quarterback. But they lack a solid cornerback to make plays. Dowling could have been a first round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, but elected to stay at Virginia for a year, playing opposite of Chase Minnifield (the next great Virginia corner). Dowling is an excellent cover corner who also excels against the run. Comparison- Quentin Jammer

22. Kansas City* (5-3)- Greg Jones, ILB, Michigan State

This is more of a surprise pick. The Chiefs defense has improved heavily, but still need a few more pieces. They run a 3-4 defense and have Derrick Johnson (who just signed a five year extension) manning one inside linebacker spot. But the addition of Jones would give them another legit linebacker who can play sideline to sideline and shed blocks to stop the run. Jones has been a leader on the Michigan State defense since he was a freshman. Comparison- Brian Urlacher

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
Cameron Heyward is a fantastic option at 3-4 defense end.

23. Philadelphia (5-3)- Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA

The Eagles keep shying away from drafting a play-making linebacker. But this is the year that they grab that missing piece. Philadelphia is one of the worst teams in the league against tight ends, and they can get a guy in Ayers that can cover, wrap up, and even pressure the quarterback on delayed blitzes. Comparion- Shaun Phillips

24. Indianapolis (5-3)- Rahim Moore, S, UCLA*

The Colts are missing Bob Sanders more and more as the games go on. They struggle to get help against the run, and often get beat over the top in the passing game as receivers seem to get behind the safeties with ease. Moore is exceptional against the pass, and despite his lack of size, is a good wrap up tackler. Comparison- Eric Berry

25. New Orleans (6-3)- Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal

Jordan is one of the best penetrators in the nation. He constantly gets in the backfield forcing a tackle for loss, or getting to the quarterback. The Saints haven’t fared well in getting the quarterback despite having Will Smith, and they could use another dominant defensive end to intimidate opposing offenses. Jordan is a guy that could potentially go Top 15 as well. Comparison- Will Smith

26. New York Jets* (6-2)- Mark Barron, S, Alabama*

Barron could sneak into the late first round with a good combine. He’s an athletic strong safety who can punish receivers in the middle of the field, and is excellent in run support. He’s better than average against the pass as well, and with an excellent pass rush, he can cover almost anybody over the top.  Comparison- Roman Harper

27. New England (6-2)- Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State

Another 3-4 defense, the Patriots have struggled against the run on the defensive line. They struggled to stop the run, most notably giving up 184 yards to Peyton Hillis on the ground recently. Cameron Heyward is stout against the run and even has a few pass rush moves to get to the quarterback. Heyward would be an excellent pick to help bring youth to an aging defensive line that features Pro Bowlers Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren. Comparison- Aaron Smith

28. Atlanta* (6-2)- Rashad Carmichael, CB, Virginia Tech

Atlanta really needs help in the secondary. They constantly have to rely on the safeties to help break up plays, often opening up holes in the secondary for better passing offenses to take advantage of. Their defense has improved against the run, and if they can get a guy like Carmichael who’s excellent against the pass, they’ll be much improved going into 2011.  Comparison- Asante Samuel

29. Baltimore* (6-2)- Jabaal Sheard, DE/OLB, Pittsburgh

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Sheard is one of the most underrated pass rushers in the NCAA.

Sheard is my biggest sleeper to rise into the first round. His pass rushing has been dominant and he’s a big athlete who can stop the run as well. He plays well laterally and has an excellent outside move to get to the quarterback. Baltimore needs cornerback help just a bit more, but Ozzie Newsome won’t be able to pass up on this excellent pass rusher. Comparison- Terrell Suggs

30. Green Bay* (6-3)- Rodney Hudson, OG, Florida State

Green Bay is another offensive line that needs help in bolstering the interior line. Their rushing attack is limited, as opposing defensive tackles can penetrate the right side easily. Hudson could play either guard or center at the next level, so his versatility really helps Green Bay become a more balanced offense. Comparison- Ryan Lilja

31. New York Giants* (6-2)- Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn*

The Giants don’t need much help defensively, but they could use a run-stuffing defensive tackle to put next to Barry Cofield. A combination of Cofield and Fairley could ultimately shut down any rushing attack. Fairley is a big, powerful defensive tackle who penetrates even the best offensive lines. He’s one of the NCAA leaders in tackles for loss, and could bolster an already great Giants defense. Comparison- Darnell Dockett

32. Pittsburgh (5-2)- Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State

The Steelers' only problems seems to be the offensive line. They’ve finally got their center in Maurkice Pouncey, and their guard play is slowly improving, but they can’t keep relying on Max Starks to protect Big Ben. With Derek Sherrod, they can improve the pass blocking heavily, and even get a better push in the run game. Sherrod is a top notch left tackle. Comparison- D’Brickashaw Ferguson

NFL Soup will be keeping you in the know for all things 2011 NFL Draft! Including combine reports, Senior Bowl reports, weekly blogs and radio shows, and much more, so check us out! http://nflsoup.com

Be sure to follow us on Twitter at @NFLSoup@NFLSoupTaylor@NFLSoupKeet and @NFLSoup_Kevin.

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