2011 NFL Mock Draft: Can Da'Quan Bowers Save The Bengals?
2011 NFL Mock Draft features an abundance of talent on the defensive side of the ball, starting at or near the top with Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers.
The massive defensive end is virtually a lock to be selected in the top five, with several teams needing help up front.
Turning to the secondary, LSU's Patrick Peterson and Nebraska's Prince Amukamara figure to headline the big boards of several NFL teams.
Which physical cornerback will be selected first?
Let's take a look inside this comprehensive 2011 NFL Mock Draft.
No. 32 New England Patriots: Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma
Why He Goes Here: Broyles put up gaudy numbers at OU, catching over 100 passes this season for the Sooners. With great speed and quickness, he is certainly more than merely a product of the system.
Why He Fits: The Patriots believed Brandon Tate could be a deep threat, but that hasn't exactly worked out as planned. Broyles has the speed to get vertical and the courage to go over the middle.
Outlook: Broyles might not have as much upside as some of the other receivers in the draft, but he is ready to play right now.
Let's face it, the Pats can't afford to wait years for Tom Brady's targets to develop.
No. 31 Atlanta Falcons: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Why He Goes Here: Floyd was having a great season in 2009 until a broken collarbone ended his season. Quarterback issues at Notre Dame brought him back to earth in 2010, but his ability to make difficult catches in traffic cannot be ignored.
Why He Fits: The quest to find a compliment to Roddy White continues in Atlanta, where Michael Jenkins has had his moments but has been very inconsistent.
Outlook: Floyd needs to prove he can play against physical coverage, but he could be the No. 2 receiver the Falcons have needed for years.
Imagine how good Matt Ryan would be if he added another weapon.
No. 30 Pittsburgh Steelers: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
Why He Goes Here: Carimi is an absolute beast in the running game, and he has shown the ability to hold his own against some of the best pass-rushers in College Football, including Ryan Kerrigan and Adrian Clayborn.
Why He Fits: The Steelers have needed help along the offensive line for years now, especially at tackle.
Outlook: Carimi isn't the most nimble offensive tackle in the draft, but his ability to run-block should help him see the field early and often for the Steelers.
No. 29 Philadelphia Eagles: Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida
Why He Goes Here: Pouncey is versatile, athletic and one of the best pass-protecting offensive lineman in the draft.
Why He Fits: The Eagles need to figure out who the quarterback will be next season. Even if it isn't Michael Vick, Andy Reid figures to lean heavily on the passing game.
Vick's dynamic scrambling ability makes Philadelphia's offensive line look much better than it actually is.
Outlook: Pouncey figures to occupy one of the two guard spots next season for the Eagles.
After some possible early rough patches, he should be able to have a solid rookie campaign.
No. 28 New Orleans Saints: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
Why He Goes Here: Williams has plenty of experience and some of the best natural cover-skills in the draft.
Why He Fits: The Saints could use additional help in the secondary and along the defensive line.
New Orleans has drafted for defense heavily in recent seasons, and there isn't any reason to alter that trend now.
Outlook: At worst, Williams could be a very adequate nickel defender in his rookie season for the Saints.
At best, he could win a starting job.
No. 27 Baltimore Ravens: Von Miller, DE/LB, Texas A&M
Why He Goes Here: Think of Miller as a Terrell Suggs-type, without the crazy personality. His talents make him an ideal fit for a 3-4 defense.
Why He Fits: The Ravens could go for a cornerback in this spot, but if not, Miller makes a great deal of sense.
Outlook: Like Suggs coming out of Arizona State, Miller has no coverage skills and is a pure pass-rusher.
That could be enough to help him become a star with the Ravens.
No. 26 New York Jets: Cameron Jordan, DE, California
Why He Goes Here: Jordan just keeps rising off draft boards, thanks to his impressive physical tools.
Why He Fits: The Jets could use another pass-rusher on the outside, especially considering Jason Taylor's advanced age.
Outlook: Despite Jordan's flashes of greatness, remember the Pac-10 probably has very few pro prospects along the offensive line.
The physical talent is there, but he might need a year or two of seasoning before having a big impact.
No. 25 New York Giants: Allen Bailey, DE/DT, Miami
Why He Goes Here: Bailey didn't have a great year in terms of production, but he is one of those specimens who could have a great NFL combine.
Why He Fits: The Giants could use another defensive lineman, especially at tackle.
Outlook: Bailey is a bit of a tweener who can play on the outside or inside.
His lack of consistency is a concern, but he could flourish at the NFL level.
No. 24 Chicago Bears: Anthony Costanzo, OT, Boston College
Why He Goes Here: Costanzo could be the tackle the Bears so desperately need.
He held his own against the ACC's best defensive lineman and might even go a bit higher than No. 24.
Why He Fits: The Bears have neglected the offensive line for years now, so it's time for Jerry Angelo to use the first-round pick on a low-risk lineman.
Otherwise, they might have to use the 2012 NFL Draft to select a quarterback...
Outlook: Costanzo probably will begin his career as a right tackle, but he should end up on the right side of the line early in his pro career.
No. 23 Kansas City Chiefs: Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
Why He Goes Here: Baldwin is a big, physical receiver who has great ball skills.
Few receivers in the 2011 draft have more big-play ability than the Pitt star.
Why He Fits: Kansas City has Dwayne Bowe and promising young tight end Tony Moeaki, but that's about it in the passing game.
Baldwin would be an ideal No. 2 receiver for a team like the Chiefs.
Outlook: Baldwin runs fade routes and go routes well, however he lacks a great deal of polish.
If he does become a No. 2 in the NFL, it probably won't be right away.
No. 22 Jacksonville Jaguars: Janoris Jenkins, CB, Florida
Why He Goes Here: Jenkins has great physical ability and would likely be a higher pick if not for the other talented cornerbacks ahead if him.
Why He Fits: Jacksonville has holes all over the defensive side of the ball, including in the secondary.
Outlook: If he ends up playing for the Jaguars, Jenkins will most likely end up starting as a rookie.
No. 21 St. Louis Rams: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Why He Goes Here: Strong, steady and productive, Ingram figures to be available when the Rams roll around in the first round.
Why He Fits: Steven Jackson has been a warrior this season, but St. Louis could use a capable backup running back.
Outlook: In terms of getting value at this spot, Ingram would be a fantastic selection for the Rams.
At best, he develops into a very reliable starter. At worst, he makes an impact in a platoon situation.
No. 20 Green Bay Packers: Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA
Why He Goes Here: At 6-4, 250 pounds, Ayers has great speed and good instincts. He just doesn't have a clear position at the next level.
Why He Fits: Ayers will most likely end up as a rush linebacker in the NFL, which makes him a great fit in the Packers' blitzing 3-4 scheme.
Green Bay needs another linebacker, and Ayers could make an impact immediately.
Outlook: Depending on how he develops, the talented UCLA Bruin could end up being one of the steals of the entire 2011 draft.
No. 19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
Why He Goes Here: Clayborn can be a dominant force when he puts his mind to it. Had he gone pro after his junior season, he might have been a top-15 pick.
Why He Fits: The Bucs could use help in the pass rush and at linebacker, so Clayborn or Akeem Ayers would be a nice fit in this spot.
Outlook: Clayborn has the makings of a solid NFL player, but he must learn to use his hands better and develop a legitimate pass-rush move.
No. 18 Miami Dolphins: Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech
Why He Goes Here: Williams is arguably the most versatile back in college football with tremendous upside.
If he chooses to declare for the 2011 draft, he should find himself as a first-round selection.
Why He Fits: Miami needs a running game, and the combination of Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown hasn't been very effective this season.
Depending on where the Dolphins end up, selecting a young quarterback would be another possibility in the first round.
Outlook: Williams has the chance to be the next great running back in the NFL, especially if he lands in the right situation.
No. 17 Indianapolis Colts: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
Why He Goes Here: Sherrod is as steady as it gets, as far as a reliable offensive lineman in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Why He Fits: Peyton Manning's struggles this season can be attributed to his worst offense line in years.
No matter where Indianapolis ends up in the draft, they likely will snag a lineman in the first round.
Outlook: Sherrod should be a solid starter in the NFL for many years to come.
No. 16 San Diego Chargers: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Why He Goes Here: Blackmon has a chance to finish his sophomore season with 12 games of both one touchdown and at least 100 yards receiving.
It's difficult to argue against that type of production, regardless of the system he plays in at Oklahoma State.
Why He Fits: The Chargers have gotten the job done despite having a patchwork group of receivers this season.
That won't last forever.
With Vincent Jackson poised to move on, Philip Rivers needs another big-play weapon.
Outlook: Blackmon should be able to make an immediate impact, especially if he plays with a All-Pro quarterback like Rivers.
No. 15 Seattle Seahawks: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
Why He Goes Here: Harris has the skills to land somewhere in the first round and likely will be the third corner selected in 2011.
Why He Fits: No team gives up more big plays than the Seahawks, who have been searching for defensive backs for years now.
Outlook: Harris has the potential to be a shutdown corner for many years to come, and he could end up becoming a great steal in the draft.
No. 14 New England Patriots: Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
Why He Goes Here: Paea isn't just a slow defensive tackle who stops the run.
His ability to rush the passer should make him a high first-round pick.
Why He Fits: The Patriots love versatile players, and Paea likely would have the ability to play on both the inside and outside in the NFL.
Outlook: Although he doesn't grab much attention nationally, the Oregon State star has the makings of becoming an impact player in the NFL.
No. 13 Cleveland Browns: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
Why He Goes Here: As far as physical tools go, it doesn't get much better than Newton.
Why He Fits: Do you really think Colt McCoy is the quarterback of the future? Mike Holmgren doesn't seem to.
If Newton is still on the board, Cleveland should take a long look at upgrading the quarterback position.
You have to guess right eventually.
Outlook: Assuming he is able to pick up the intricate NFL offense, Newton probably only needs one year on the sidelines before he will be ready to step in.
Now, if the Browns only had some receivers...
No. 12 Minnesota Vikings: Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Why He Goes Here: After a season with very little production, Locker will need a great combine to stay ahead of Cam Newton in the draft.
Why He Fits: The Vikings need a young quarterback of the future, and Locker isn't considered to be a long-term project.
Outlook: The general opinion on Locker is that he didn't have much help at Washington at any point in his career.
Once he begins playing with NFL-caliber receivers, it shouldn't take long to determine if he can be a reliable starting quarterback in the pros.
No. 11 Houston Texans: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
Why He Goes Here: Kerrigan put up great numbers despite playing on some really bad Purdue defenses.
Why He Fits: The Texans need help across the board, including the defensive line.
Kerrigan is good against the run and would be a capable pass-rusher to compliment Mario Williams.
Outlook: With his high motor, Kerrigan has the makings of being a Jared Allen type of player in the NFL.
He would be a perfect fit with the Texans.
No. 10 Washington Redskins: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
Why He Goes Here: Jones has the size and strength to be a very good receiver at the next level.
Why He Fits: Perhaps more than a quarterback, Washington needs some sort of threat on the outside.
Remember, Washington hasn't exactly had a great track record of drafting solid receivers in the draft.
Outlook: Jones has had some issues with drops and might not have the breakaway speed to be a true star in the NFL.
No. 9 Tennessee Titans: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
Why He Goes Here: Mallett might have the strongest arm of any player in the draft, with great size and improved accuracy to go along with it.
Why He Fits: Boy, do the Titans need a quarterback.
With Kerry Collins getting close to becoming eligible for senior citizen discounts, Tennessee would be wise to address the glaring need in the draft.
Outlook: Mallett's lack of mobility in the pocket is his only true weakness.
If he lands in a stable situation with decent receivers, he could even make an impact as a rookie.
No. 8 San Francisco 49ers: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Why He Goes Here: Green has everything NFL teams look for in a receiver, including the ability to run after the catch.
Depending on how the positioning shakes out, he could go much higher than No. 8.
Why He Fits: Michael Crabtree hasn't panned out yet in San Francisco, so the search for a No. 1 receiver continues.
Outlook: Regardless of where he ends up, Green should become a star in the NFL.
No. 7 Dallas Cowboys: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
Why He Goes Here: Thanks to his suspension, Quinn hasn't played football in a year, but his overall talent will probably ensure him a spot in the top 10.
Why He Fits: Dallas either needs another pass-rusher or a young cornerback.
One way or another, Quinn might end up falling in the Cowboys' lap.
Outlook: Assuming he isn't too rusty after his sabbatical, the stud defensive end should be able to make an immediate impact coming off the edge.
No. 6 Arizona Cardinals: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Why He Goes Here: Amukamara is a lock for the top 10, the only questions are where he will end up and if he will be chosen ahead of Patrick Peterson.
Why He Fits: Among the myriad of problems in the desert, the lack of consistent play from the defensive backs is one of the Cardinals' biggest weaknesses.
Outlook: Amukamara might not turn around Arizona's fate, but he should be steady pro for many years in the NFL.
You have to start somewhere...
No. 5 Buffalo Bills: Marcell Dareus, DE/DT, Alabama
Why He Goes Here: Dareus has the versatility to play either end or tackle, and the ability to do it at a very high level.
Why He Fits: Few teams have a worse pass-rush than the Bills, who need to begin assembling talent on the defensive side of the ball.
Outlook: His production at Alabama could have been better, but he faced constant double-teams with the Tide.
He could thrive in the NFL, assuming he has at least a little talent around him.
No. 4 Detroit Lions: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
Why He Goes Here: Peterson is great in coverage, excellent in the return game and a very willing tackler.
He also boasts ideal size and could even shift to safety if needed in the NFL.
Why He Fits: The Lions' defensive line is solid, but the linebackers and secondary could use a major upgrade.
Outlook: It's been years since the Lions have had anything resembling a shutdown corner.
At last, help could finally be on the way.
No. 3 Denver Broncos: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
Why He Goes Here: Fairley is a game-changer along the defensive line, with the ability to take over games.
Why He Fits: Denver will take all the help it can get along the line, especially at defensive tackle. If Fairley is on the board, this pick would make a great deal of sense.
Outlook: Fairley has the makings of a Pro Bowl defensive tackle for many years to come.
No. 2 Cincinnati Bengals: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
Why He Goes Here: Bowers was completely dominant throughout the last two seasons at Clemson, showing great quickness and strength on a consistent basis.
Why He Fits: Cincinnati needs a dominant defensive player, either up front or in the secondary.
Outlook: By all accounts, Bowers is that rare combination of a high-effort player with fantastic talent.
The Bengals could use a few more players with his type of pedigree.
No. 1 Carolina Panthers: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Why He Goes Here: Luck has the NFL world at his fingertips, thanks to his experience in a pro style offense at Stanford and fantastic physical tools.
Why He Fits: The Panthers will reportedly take Luck if they secure the top pick.
Amazingly, Jimmy Clausen's days as the quarterback of the future might already be over.
Outlook: Assuming the Panthers snag some help at receiver, Luck should have a great NFL career.
The vacant head coaching job would look much more appealing if the No. 1 pick falls in Carolina's lap.
Panthers fans should start hoping for more and more losses.