2011 NFL Mock Draft: Could Playoff Scenarios Change Up the Draft Order?

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Could Playoff Scenarios Change Up the Draft Order?
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

I've kept saying it since I did my first draft: This will keep changing.

This latest draft will include even more changes due to the latest changes among teams marching into the playoffs.

After Monday night's game, does anyone still think Atlanta stands so far above Philadelphia and New Orleans? With its loss to Arizona, will Dallas now climb a few spots higher and be positioned for a higher pick? What happens now if the New York Giants miss the playoffs?

There's plenty to consider, but here are some other thoughts as we get closer to the playoffs: Watch and see if some potential first round picks decide to stay for their senior years due to an impending lockout. Pay attention, too, to the quarterback rankings and players like Blaine Gabbert (Missouri), Ricky Stanzi (Iowa) and Pat Devlin (Delaware), who could each move up many draft boards.

I do have to give credit to you wannabe Mel Kipers out there who put me on blast for my last draft, when I had St. Louis taking A.J. Green with the 21st pick in the first round. They threw every imaginable stat and prognosticator's pick at me, but let me continue the discussion: When you examine different positions, you'll often find coaches who may notice similar strengths but be impressed for different reasons with a player.

Since we're talking wide receivers, you could find some who prefer Julio Jones more because of his size (6'4"), or Justin Blackmon for his ability on special teams. Some may also like that Notre Dame's Michael Floyd still averaged 12.5 yards per catch despite his team's quarterback issues this year. Don't get caught up in rankings, and remember that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

On to predictions for the first round.

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