2011 NFL Mock Draft: Who Takes a Chance on Cam Newton in Round One?
One of my favorite parts of the NFL is the draft and seeing how teams try to improve their rosters.
There are always surprises on draft day and always a team that everyone gets on for taking a risk on someone or drafting a guy too high.
Players stocks will rise and fall about a million times before April and anyone and everyone will have an opinion on who should be drafted when and where.
I for one cannot wait for the real thing, however I guess we all can settle for my own mock draft.
1. Carolina Panthers
A.J. Green WR
The Carolina Panthers are probably going to make a coaching change this offseason so most would probably have them taking a quarterback with the number one overall pick.
I believe Jimmy Clausen will be given some time to develop and A.J. Green would be a great weapon alongside Steve Smith and their two great running backs.
I can see the Panthers going defense as well with this pick, however I don’t think they will pass up a talent like A.J. Green.
2. Cincinnati Bengals
Da’Quan Bowers DE
Marvin Lewis might finally lose his job after a horrible season in Cincinnati in which the Bengals thought they could win the division.
Carson Palmer has been abysmal even with being surrounded by weapons so many are calling for the Bengals to take a quarterback with their first pick, however I believe they will take Bowers to continue building their defense.
Bowers rare skill set allows him to fit into any defensive system and the Bengals need that dominant presence on the defensive line.
3. Buffalo Bills
Andrew Luck QB
I honestly do not think the Bills should draft a quarterback with their first round pick because I think Ryan Fitzpatrick has done a pretty good job for them this season.
That being said I don’t think the Bills pass up the opportunity to draft a franchise quarterback in Luck, who would looks to be the most complete quarterback in the draft.
Luck would instantly bring a new hope and excitement to a franchise that hasn’t had much to get excited about in a while and he’ll be a pretty good player too.
4. Detroit Lions
Patrick Peterson CB
Detroit definitely needs help on the offensive line to protect Matthew Stafford, however there aren’t any lineman that are worth a top five pick so I think they go best available player.
The Lions have immensely improved their defensive with additions such as Ndamukong Suh, Louis Delmas, Amari Spievey, and others.
Patrick Peterson is a ball hawk and as close to a shut down corner as there is in the draft and would immediately upgrade the Lions secondary and return game.
5. Denver Broncos
Marcell Dareus DT
With Josh McDaniels being fired you can actually try to predict what they will do with their pick in the draft.
The Broncos desperately need a force on the defensive line and Dareus can play that 3-4 defensive end.
Dareus has great quickness coming out of his stance and will bring a disruptive pass rush to the Broncos defensive line.
6. San Francisco 49ers
Prince Amukamara CB
I think the 49ers are actually pretty set on offense with Gore, Crabtree, Davis and Troy Smith at quarterback.
I like Mike Singletary as a coach and if he keeps his job I see him improving his defense with the pick with Amukamara here.
Amukamara is just the type of corner who is a blanket on receivers and is not afraid to come up and be active against the run.
7. Arizona Cardinals
Robert Quinn DE
Robert Quinn is just one of the North Carolina wild cards in this draft and could go higher than this, and could go much lower also.
The Cardinals have not had much of a pass rush this season and Quinn is one of the most physically gifted pass rushers in the draft.
Quinn has the athleticism to drop into coverage and could be the replacement for Karlos Dansby that the Cardinals have been looking for.
8. Seattle Seahawks
Stephen Paea DT
Seattle has been a pretty average team this season with a few quality wins against the Bears and Chargers and yet has been beat by over 10 points in all six of their losses.
Both their offense and defense have been pretty bad this year, ranking dead last in rushing and 30th and 22nd in passing and rush defense respectively.
Paea has great quickness and a great motor for a defensive lineman and will immediately improve the Seahawks run defense.
9. Cleveland Browns
Adrian Clayborn DE
I know most everyone will have the Browns taking the best available wide receiver with this pick, however at this point there are no receivers who are rated this high and I don’t think Mike Holmgren will reach for anyone.
He will take the best available player on the board and Clayborn will continue to improve an already much improved Cleveland defense.
Clayborn is good against both the run and the pass and can play that 3-4 end in the Browns system.
10. Washington Redskins
Ryan Mallett QB
This is another team I really don’t see needing a quarterback however Mike Shanahan just has a problem with Donovan McNabb.
At this point I see the Redskins cutting McNabb if they cannot find a trade partner and Shanahan will start to groom Ryan Mallett, who has gone past Jake Locker for that number two quarterback spot.
Mallett has the big arm that Shanahan likes and the fact that he has been running a pro system at Arkansas gives him a good chance to start week one for the Redskins.
11. Minnesota Vikings
Jake Locker QB
All signs point to this pick being made by the Vikings since Brett Favre looks like he will finally be going away after this season.
No one seems to believe that Tavaris Jackson is the answer for the Vikings so the no brainer pick would be for them to pick up the best available quarterback.
Locker has seen his stock drop due to some bad play this year however he does have a strong arm and I don’t see the Vikings passing him up at this spot in the draft.
12. Houston Texans
Janoris Jenkins CB
I know the Texans just used a first round pick last year in Kareem Jackson and he looks to have a good future, however the Texans are still 31st in pass defense this season.
Matching Jackson with a good cover corner in Jenkins could go a long way in finally getting all of these defensive pieces they’ve drafted to come together.
Jenkins is one of the best cover corners in the draft and is willing to come up and help in run support as well.
13. Miami Dolphins
Mark Ingram RB
The Dolphins are going to lose one or both Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown this offseason and will be in need of a new starting running back.
Even if they keep either of those two backs, they both have slowed down considerably and the Dolphins could use another playmaker on offense.
Ingram is clearly the best running back in this draft and looks to have the ability to be an every down back in the NFL.
14. Tennessee Titans
Von Miller LB
The Vince Young saga continues in Tennessee so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them draft a quarterback later in the draft however with their first pick I see them going defense.
The Titans have been middle of the pack as far as defense this year and even though Stephen Tulloch hasn’t done that bad, they don’t really have any studs at linebacker.
Von Miller would fit perfectly as a linebacker in the Titans 4-3 scheme and brings great speed and pass rushing ability to the position.
15. Dallas Cowboys
Nate Solder OT
The Cowboys have been one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL this season even before they lost Tony Romo in week seven.
They have been playing better under new coach Jason Garrett on both sides of the ball however if Jerry Jones wants to keep Romo healthy, they need to upgrade the offensive line.
Solder has the best shot at bolstering his stock with his workouts and becoming the first offensive lineman off the board and will bring solid run and pass blocking to the Cowboys.
16. New England Patriots (from Oakland Raiders)
Allen Bailey DE
The Patriots are last in the league in pass defense so some might think that a cornerback would be the pick here.
New England actually has a few good young corners on the roster and I think Belichick will take the best available defensive player with this pick.
Bailey has the versatility that the Patriots look for and could be the replacement for Richard Seymour on the defensive line.
17. San Diego Chargers
Akeem Ayers OLB
The Chargers are in the middle of their yearly routine of being terrible in the first half of the season and then turning it on in the second half.
Shaun Phillips is having a nice season with 10 sacks, however former first round pick, Larry English, has not done much so far in his career.
Ayers is a perfect fit for a 3-4 linebacker with good speed and is able to cover as well as rush the passer.
18. Chicago Bears
Anthony Castonzo OT
Offensive line and wide receiver are both huge needs for the Chicago Bears and I don’t think they can pass up a player like Castonzo here.
The Bears offensive line has been terrible which was exemplified in week four this season when they gave up 10 sacks to the Giants and caused quarterback Jay Cutler to sustain a concussion.
Castonzo needs to bulk up however has the footwork to be a left tackle in the NFL and the Bears need anyone to help out their porous offensive line.
19. New York Giants
Derek Sherrod OT
Cornerback could also be the pick here for the Giants however I think they will take the opportunity to upgrade their offensive line.
The Giants offensive line has been hit with injuries this season and adding depth is never a bad idea.
Sherrod is athletic enough to play either tackle or guard in the NFL and the Giants could use that kind of versatility.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars
Cam Newton QB
Someone is going to take a chance on Cam Newton in the first round and as of right now, I can see the Jaguars being that team.
David Garrard is not the future at quarterback for the Jaguars and other than Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville doesn’t have many playmakers on the team.
Newton can sit behind Garrard for a year and learn the quarterback position while helping the Jaguars with his running and receiving abilities.
21. St. Louis Rams
Nick Fairley DT
Fairley has been rising up draft boards and his might actually be lower than where most people would have him going.
Many would have the Rams selecting a receiver here however I think they will wait till later since they will be getting both Mark Clayton and Donnie Avery back next season.
There are few guys that fit that 4-3 defensive tackle as perfectly as Fairley and the Rams could use that inside presence.
22. Kansas City Chiefs
Ryan Kerrigan DE
Under Scott Pioli as General Manager the Chiefs have been stockpiling good coaches and good young players.
There has been debate on whether or not Kerrigan would be able to stand up and play that 3-4 linebacker or if he was an end.
Mike Vrabel is getting older and I believe Kerrigan is athletic enough to make the transition and will bring a great motor and great pass rushing ability to the Chiefs.
23. Tampa Buccaneers
Aaron Williams CB
The Buccaneers improved their defensive line in last year’s draft and with Ronde Barber getting older it is time to draft his replacement.
Williams is a good coverage corner with good ball skills and could sit behind Ronde for a season while he learns the defense and contributes on special teams.
With Aqib Talib on one side and the defensive lineman starting to get it together, Williams would be just another piece to a already young and improving defense.
24. Indianapolis Colts
Gabe Carimi OT
Indianapolis been decimated by injuries this season and Peyton Manning hasn’t been able to carry the team like in the past.
The Colts could always use defensive help and specifically at defensive tackle, however I think their first priority should be protecting Peyton Manning.
Carimi is one of the best tackle prospects in the draft and is the best offensive lineman available for a team which sorely needs to be upgraded.
25. New York Jets
Julio Jones WR
The Jets have three receivers set to be free agents at the end of the year in Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, and Brad Smith.
They can’t expect to sign all three back and they need to keep surrounding Mark Sanchez with outside weapons.
Jones is a big receiver who has shown a greater ability to cause separation with his routes and has been unstoppable at times this season.
26. Green Bay Packers
Brandon Harris CB
Offensive line is also a need however with Charles Woodson getting older and with the cutting of Al Harris, the Packers need to get younger in the secondary.
Although they just signed Tramon Williams to a new deal, the Packers could use someone to groom to take over for Charles Woodson.
Harris’ stock has risen this season due to his play and is a good cover guy who is willing to come up and help in run support.
27. New Orleans Saints
Jeremy Beal OLB
The Saints have been feeling the loss of Scott Fujita to their defense all season long and the only guy they really have is Jonathan Vilma.
New Orleans’ defense has added a lot of good young pieces to this defense and need to keep improving to keep up with their high powered offense.
Beal will bring an immediate upgrade to their pass rush and has the athletic ability to be an all over the field type of linebacker.
28. Baltimore Ravens
Brandon Burton CB
The Baltimore Ravens are one of the best teams in the league at scouting and drafting players and they never seem to reach for a guy.
They are big proponents of taking the best available player and I think Burton is the best available defensive back left on the board.
Burton has been rising steadily up draft boards and the Ravens need any help they can get at the cornerback position.
29. Philadelphia Eagles
Bruce Carter OLB
The Philadelphia Eagles need help on both the defensive side of the ball and on the offensive line and I think Andy Reid takes advantage of a sliding Bruce Carter.
I believe that all of the North Carolina players are going to slide and some more than others meaning some teams could be getting great value later in the draft.
Carter can play sideline to sideline and will step in day one for the Eagles and immediately upgrade their linebacking core.
30. New England Patriots
Mike Pouncey C/G
The Patriots always have more picks than anyone in the draft every year and with their second first round pick I have them upgrading their offensive line.
Mike Pouncey may not be as good as his brother Maurkice with the Steelers, however he can play center or guard and I believe has just had a tough year playing center.
New England needs to protect Tom Brady and could be losing Logan Mankins in the offseason so Pouncey’s versatility on the line is exactly what they need.
31. Atlanta Falcons
Kyle Rudolph TE
The Atlanta Falcons have one of the greatest tight ends to play the game in Tony Gonzalez on the roster.
The only problem is that Gonzalez is on his last legs and the Falcons don’t have anyone to replace his production.
Rudolph is the best tight end in the draft with great hands and runs good routes and will only get better by learning under Tony Gonzalez.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers
Demarcus Love OT
The Steelers offensive line woes have been well documented all year with losing both starting tackles for the season among other injuries along the line.
Willie Colon is a free agent after this year and Max Starks neck injury could linger for the rest of his career so I believe the Steelers need a tackle here.
Demarcus Love could come in and start day one at right tackle in my opinion and the Steelers continue to rebuild their offensive line.