2011 NFL Mock Draft: Complete 1st Round Projections With Video Highlights
Now that the first 20 picks of the 2011 NFL Draft are locked into their final order, its time for another mock draft!
Not too much has changed at the top, but some of the middle picks are switching around as teams realize both their true needs and the value of the prospects that they're looking at.
It seems as though Andrew Luck is guaranteed to go at No. 1, but only if he declares.
How about Cam Newton? How high can the Heisman winner rise?
Read on for the answers to that question and more in this special edition of the mock draft that includes videos of all 32 first-round picks.
1. Carolina Panthers (2-14)
Andrew Luck, Quarterback, Stanford
Analysis: This one might as well already be decided. I have yet to hear someone think that the Panthers will select someone other than Andrew Luck first overall if he decides not to return to Stanford.
He's a winner and he's incredibly talented. Jimmy Clausen may be the latter, but he's certainly not the former, as their record indicates. Clausen had an awful season by anyone's standards.
Roger Goodell doesn't even need to wait for the Panthers to tell him whose name to announce.
2. Denver Broncos (4-12)
Nick Fairley, Defensive Tackle, Auburn
Analysis: The Denver Broncos defense was absolutely terrible in 2010.
With both Champ Bailey and Perrish Cox not looking likely to return to the team next season, the Broncos could draft Patrick Peterson as a replacement. Bailey has made it quite clear that he doesn't want to return while Cox is facing legal troubles. However, I feel like this selection would be unlikely because cornerbacks generally aren't taken in the top three picks.
The other option is to help the defensive line with Nick Fairley. The defensive tackle is in the midst of a fantastic season and is virtually impossible to block. He's shot up draft boards and is exactly what the Broncos need.
3. Buffalo Bills (4-12)
Cam Newton, Quarterback, Auburn
Analysis: Tim Tebow continues to look good in the NFL so Cam Newton is going to rise higher and higher on draft boards. The hype will be absolutely ridiculous if he can lead the Auburn Tigers to a victory in the national championship game against Oregon.
Buffalo needs both a quarterback and some star power. Let's face it, Stevie Johnson is not exactly a player that you want to be the face of your franchise.
Newton could be that player.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (4-12)
A.J. Green, Wide Receiver, Georgia
Analysis: The T.Ochocinco show looks like it's going to be airing in a different city in 2011. With Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens on the way out, the Bengals need to find a new standout wide receiver to line up along with Jerome Simpson and Jordan Shipley.
Carson Palmer has actually looked better with the two divas sidelined. The receiver in the draft that could make Palmer look like a star again is A.J. Green.
Despite missing the first four games of the season (and a lot of the fifth), Green still caught 57 passes for 848 yards and nine touchdowns.
He's the most complete, NFL-ready wideout in college football.
5. Arizona Cardinals (5-11)
Patrick Peterson, Cornerback, LSU
Analysis: Arizona fixed its problems at cornerback throughout the year, but Patrick Peterson is too good of a football player to let him slip out of the top five.
The LSU cornerback is one of the best return men in college football and that's not even his main position. Peterson can cover receivers as well as anyone else in the nation.
Even though the Cardinals may want to draft a quarterback instead of dealing with Max Hall, Derek Anderson, John Skelton and whoever else they can pick up off the streets, I can't see Ken Whisenhunt risking his job by letting a rookie quarterback his team.
6. Cleveland Browns (5-11)
Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State
Analysis: With Colt McCoy looking like he could be the franchise quarterback (his six interceptions in the last two games were against the Ravens and the Steelers, both of whom have great defenses and were fighting for playoff positioning) and Peyton Hillis tearing it up from the running back slot, the next step is to find a capable receiver for McCoy.
Justin Blackmon has been the best receiver in the country in 2010, even better than A.J. Green, and has the tools to dominate the NFL as well.
Blackmon had over 100 yards and scored a touchdown every single week that he played this year. I wouldn't be surprised if that continued in 2011.
7. San Francisco 49ers (6-10)
Blaine Gabbert, Quarterback, Missouri
Analysis: The 49ers desperately need a quarterback with a different last name than "Smith." After a season of flip-flopping between Alex and Troy, it's time for a change.
Blaine Gabbert, now that he has declared, is the second-best quarterback in the draft, but he'll be selected after Cam Newton because of the star factor and Newton's potential.
In 2010, Gabbert completed 301 of his 475 passes for 3,186 yards, 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He has work to do, but he definitely has franchise-quarterback potential.
8. Tennessee Titans (6-10)
Marcell Dareus, Defensive Tackle, Alabama
Analysis: The Tennessee Titans are still looking for a way to replace Albert Haynesworth. As bad as he was for Washington this year, remember that he was still a force to be reckoned with in a Titans uniform.
Marcell Dareus will be the best defensive player left at this point in the 2011 NFL Draft and the Titans will pounce.
Dareus underachieved slightly this season, but his talent alone justifies his top-10 draft status.
9. Dallas Cowboys (6-10)
Robert Quinn, Defensive End, North Carolina
Analysis: The Dallas Cowboys had holes littering their defense in 2010. A lot of people may think they need a quarterback, but upgrading the defense should be a bigger priority.
One position that could use some improvement is defensive end. Marcus Spears, Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher will all be free agents, so it's time to draft a new one.
Robert Quinn would provide that improvement.
The junior is always a threat to get to the quarterback and his success will carry over to the professional game.
10. Washington Redskins (6-10)
Da'Quan Bowers, Defensive End, Clemson
Analysis: Not much has gone right for the Washington Redskins in 2010, but the defense has been especially atrocious. They literally have holes everywhere, both on the depth chart and every play they run.
Bowers had an insane 25 tackles for losses this season and added another 15 sacks, forcing two fumbles in the process. His production was a rare bright spot for Clemson and he's elevated his draft stock immensely.
11. Houston Texans (6-10)
Prince Amukamara, Cornerback, Nebraska
Analysis: The Houston Texans pass defense has been historically bad in 2010 and is one of the main reasons that they failed to live up to their preseason expectations.
No man is better suited for the job of fixing that problem than Nebraska's senior cornerback, Prince Amukamara.
Amukamara had a disappointing season in 2010, but he has an incredible amount of talent, enough to ensure that he doesn't slip past the Texans.
12. Minnesota Vikings (6-10)
Ryan Mallett, Quarterback, Arkansas
Analysis: With Brett Favre retiring (I can only assume), I don't think that the Vikings will consider Joe Webb to be the answer at quarterback.
With Mallett still on the board, there's no way that Minnesota can pass on the talented gun-slinger.
The Arkansas quarterback completed 242 of his 364 passes for 3,592 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2010. He has the talent to succeed in the NFL.
Mallett may even have won the Sugar Bowl for his Razorbacks if his receivers had decided to catch the ball.
13. Detroit Lions (6-10)
Ryan Kerrigan, Defensive End, Purdue
Analysis: If Ryan Kerrigan was paired with Ndamukong Suh on the defensive line, the Lions could wreak some serious havoc upon other teams' offensive lines.
Kerrigan could fill one such hole. The Purdue senior is an excellent football player and led the nation with 26 tackles for losses. He also racked up 12 sacks.
He's one of the most talented defensive ends in the country and can also play linebacker.
Defensive end isn't a top priority for the Lions, but if Kerrigan is still available, they can't afford to pass on him.
14. St. Louis Rams (7-9)
Michael Floyd, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame
Analysis: The St. Louis Rams desperately need to provide Sam Bradford with a big-name wide receiver.
Michael Floyd, assuming he falls this far down the board, would fit that need perfectly.
Notre Dame's star wide receiver has caught 79 passes for 1,025 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. Pairing him with the league's top young quarterback would build an incredible core for the Rams to work with for the next few years.
15. Miami Dolphins (7-9)
Mark Ingram, Running Back, Alabama
Analysis: With both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams poised to leave South Beach via free agency during the offseason, running back is going to become the primary need for the Dolphins.
And yes, I know that Chad Henne isn't the long-term option at quarterback.
The former Heisman Trophy winner has had a down year by his standards in 2010, but has still run the ball 146 times for 816 yards and 11 touchdowns.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8)
Cameron Jordan, Defensive End, California
Analysis: Derrick Harvey didn't work out so well when the Jaguars drafted him in 2008 to improve their pass rush from the defensive end slot, so they'll try again here.
On the other hand, Tyson Alualu has been great, so it would make sense to reunite him with his fellow California defensive lineman, Cameron Jordan.
He's made 33 tackles this year, 12.5 of which have gone for losses. Jordan has also brought down opposing quarterbacks 5.5 times and forced three fumbles.
17. New England Patriots: From Oakland Raiders (8-8)
Stephen Paea, Defensive Tackle, Arizona
Analysis: I wouldn't be surprised at all if BIll Belichick and crew traded this pick away, but let's assume that they keep the pick.
New England has been building up a solid young defense for quite some time and one of the few pieces the Patriots are missing is a good defensive tackle.
Stephen Paea, Oregon State's 310-pound defensive tackle, could very well be the help they're looking for.
Paea has only recorded 21 tackles this year, but 11 have gone for losses and he's added an additional seven sacks from the interior portion of the line. Paea has also forced four fumbles, proving himself to be quite the capable defender.
18. San Diego Chargers (9-7)
Von Miller, Linebacker, Texas A&M
Analysis: With Larry English struggling to replace the gaping void that Shawne Merriman left at linebacker, the Chargers will be looking to replace him.
Von Miller is an incredible player and could do great things in San Diego.
So far in 2010, with one game left to be played, the linebacker has recorded 59 tackles, 10 sacks and an interception.
He also won the Butkus Award as the best linebacker in the country. For those of you that are curious, that's a way of saying that he's pretty good at his job.
19. New York Giants (10-6)
Travis Lewis, Linebacker, Oklahoma
Analysis: The Giants could use a defensive improvement and this linebacker could do that for them.
Lewis intercepted three passes, brought down the opposing ball carrier 54 times, recorded 1.5 sacks and broke up three passes in 2010.
That level of production would be much appreciated by the Chargers.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6)
Adrian Clayborn, Defensive End, Iowa
Analysis: Thanks to a lack of production and some character issues, Adrian Clayborn has been falling down the draft boards all year.
Fortunately for him, he won't get past Tampa Bay or else he may fall out of the first round entirely.
The Bucs need another pass-rushing threat to put next to Gerald McCoy, and Clayborn could fill that role. He does, after all, have boatloads of talent.
21. Seattle Seahawks (7-9)
Jake Locker, Quarterback, Washington
Analysis: Poor Jake Locker. He has yet to show that he can throw the ball effectively, so I think he could slip pretty far down the draft boards. I just can't see too many teams willing to take a chance on him.
Tim Tebow was different because of the star power.
I had Locker going to Seattle in my last mock draft and I still do. But unfortunately for the Washington quarterback, Seattle made the playoffs and thus has a much lower pick.
He will get to stay at home and sit behind Matt Hasselbeck for a year while he adjusts to being an NFL quarterback.
22. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)
Julio Jones, Wide Receiver, Alabama
Matt Cassel has been a star for the Kansas City Chiefs this season, despite the fact that his only competent receivers are Jamaal Charles out of the backfield and Dwayne Bowe.
Julio Jones could change that.
Alabama's star wide receiver has caught 75 passes for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns this season. Pairing him with Bowe would build an incredible core for the Chiefs to work with for the next few years.
23. Indianapolis Colts (10-6)
Nate Solder, Offensive Tackle, Colorado
Analysis: The top offensive lineman in the draft will be able to help provide much-needed protection for Peyton Manning.
Somehow Manning has been quite successful despite defensive linemen closing in on him at all times.
Solder has been great at anchoring Colorado's line and should provide Manning much-needed relief next year.
24. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
Mike Pouncey, Offensive Guard, Florida
Analysis: Mike Pouncey's older brother has already made a Pro Bowl in his first season for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now it's the younger brother's turn to be drafted and make a mark in the NFL.
The Eagles have given up a ridiculous 43 sacks this year, but that total will be far less with Pouncey on their line.
Well, Michael Vick will need to get rid of the ball a little sooner as well too.
I'm sure LeSean McCoy will love the extra help in the running game and DeSean Jackson will adore the idea of being able to jog downfield instead of sprinting. Jackson jogging is still fast enough to burn some defensive backs.
25. Green Bay Packers (10-6)
Janoris Jenkins, Cornerback, Florida
Analysis: With Al Harris gone and Charles Woodson aging, the Packers could use a talented, young cornerback to help their secondary.
Janoris Jenkins could be that guy.
Playing for the Florida Gators, Jenkins has been one of the team's few bright spots in 2010. He's picked off three passes, made 43 tackles and even recorded a sack for himself.
26. New Orleans Saints (11-5)
Drake Nevis, Defensive Tackle, LSU
Analysis: The New Orleans Saints don't have many holes on their team at all, but the defensive line is probably the weakest unit of all.
If they're going to improve any area, it should be this one.
Drake Nevis would be the best player available at this point and should be able to easily help out the run defense.
The lineman recorded 30 tackles for LSU this year, 13 of which were for losses. He also recorded six sacks and forced three fumbles.
27. Chicago Bears (11-5)
Derek Sherrod, Offensive Tackle, Mississippi State
Analysis: The Bears' primary need right now is their offensive line. They allow Jay Cutler to be sacked too often and don't do the greatest job blocking for Matt Forte.
If they added a lineman, Cutler may make less mistakes. Well actually, I don't know if that's possible, but he wouldn't be sacked at least.
Sherrod is better at run blocking than pass blocking, but he's going to be able to do both quite competently.
The Mississippi State lineman would be a great addition for the Bears.
28. New York Jets (11-5)
Akeem Ayers, Linebacker, UCLA
Analysis: One of the reasons that the New York Jets defense hasn't been as good this year is because of the lack of pass rush. Playing against Tom Brady twice a year, the Jets need to improve here.
Akeem Ayers could be the man to help that problem.
The UCLA defensive lineman and linebacker has recorded 10 tackles for losses and four sacks on the year.
29. Baltimore Ravens (12-4)
Jonathan Baldwin, Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh
Analysis: The Baltimore Ravens wide receivers are aging quickly. Derrick Mason is 36, T.J. Houshmandzadeh is 33 and Donte Stallworth is 30. It's time to grab a young one.
Although he's relatively unknown across the country, Jonathan Baldwin is one of the nation's best wide receivers.
Baldwin caught 52 passes for 810 yards and five touchdowns in 2010. Not bad for a receiver dealing with bad quarterbacks.
He'd have a much better one in Joe Flacco.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)
Gabe Carimi, Offensive Tackle, Wisconsin
Analysis: The Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line is going to be in trouble after this season. Max Starks had neck surgery, Willie Colon will be a free agent and Flozell Adams is getting up there in age.
The massive offensive lineman from Wisconsin is incredibly talented and powerful. He needs to work on his technique, but has the potential to be a perennial All-Pro.
He couldn't play well enough to help his Badgers beat the Horned Frogs of TCU, but he'll contribute a lot in the NFL.
31. Atlanta Falcons (13-3)
Kyle Rudolph, Tight End, Notre Dame
Analysis: If the Falcons win the Super Bowl, as they very well could, with home-field advantage throughout the NFC portion of the playoffs, Tony Gonzalez will most likely retire on top.
If not, there's still a chance that the All-Pro tight end could call it quits after a long, productive career.
Gonzalez has said that there's a 50/50 chance that he returns.
If he does choose to retire, he would leave a gaping hole in the Falcons offense. No player is better equipped to fill that hole than Kyle Rudolph.
The tight end from Notre Dame has caught 28 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns this season in six games.
32. New England Patriots (14-2)
Ryan Williams, Running Back, Virginia Tech
Analysis: Even though BenJarvus Green-Ellis improved throughout the season and broke 1,000 yards by the time the regular season came to a close, he isn't an elite talent.
With Fred Taylor aging, running back is still a need for the New England Patriots. Danny Woodhead is a great receiver out of the backfield, but he's not an every-down back.
Ryan Williams could become the last part in the New England puzzle. The Virginia Tech running back ran for 477 yards and nine touchdowns this year, but he was limited by injuries throughout.
More indicative of his talent is his freshman season in 2009, when he ran for 1,655 yards and 21 scores.