We are nearing the end of January and are past the deadline for eligible college players to announce their intentions to enter the 2011 NFL Draft.
The list is an interesting one and includes some sure first round talent as well some guys that may not even get drafted. They do help enhance this draft and make it better than if they had not decided to come out.
So with the list of juniors eligible for the draft complete, let’s take a look at how the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft will shake out now that we know which underclassmen are staying and which ones are coming out for this April’s draft.
The Panthers could go for a defensive player here (especially since they now have defensive minded head coach in Ron Rivera), but for the value they should take a look at getting someone like Green with the first pick.
Green would help them out on offense (but who can get the ball to him?) and give them the dimension at receiver that they currently don’t have.
Last Mock: No Change
Fairley would be too difficult for the Broncos to pass up and so look for them to grab Fairley and add a big-time playmaker and solidify their defensive line.
Last Mock: Patrick Peterson-CB-LSU
The Bills may decide to go a couple different ways here and could go for a quarterback. Bowers would be a great choice for them at this position and could bolster their pass rush.
Last Mock: Nick Fairley-DT-Auburn
The Bengals' pass rush defense has suffered greatly and a good place to start would be to take Quinn here at No. 4.
If the Bengals can improve their pass rush their defense, they will have much more success next season.
Last Mock: Da’Quan Bowers-DE-Clemson
The Cardinals really need help at the quarterback position and Gabbert could be just the right fit for them. He’s better suited than Cam Newton to play the system they use and could be on the field in short order.
Last Mock: Ryan Mallett-QB-Arkansas
The Browns are starting over again with a new head coach, and probably a new philosophy, so why not start up front on the defensive line and get a big-time playmaker there? That’s what the Browns should and probably will do.
Last Mock: Robert Quinn-DE-North Carolina
You can bet that the 49ers are going to try to get a quarterback and Newton is the guy that they should go for.
New head coach Jim Harbaugh should be able to mold him into an even bigger star than he already is. Also, coming into the league should help Newton mature and make this team that much better.
Last Mock: Blaine Gabbert-QB-Missouri
The Titans may look at a quarterback if one is available at this point, but if not, then Peterson would be a nice addition to their roster. A good cover corner is hard to find and Peterson is all that and more.
If the Titans want to improve their defense (and I'm sure they do), they need to get Peterson here.
Last Mock: Marcell Dareus-DT-Alabama
Solidifying their secondary should be the Cowboys' primary concern, so getting a guy like Amukamara here would be a wise move. With the secondary tightened up, they can worry about some of their other concerns later on in the draft and get themselves some additional help.
Last Mock: No Change
The Redskins seem to be in the market for a quarterback this offseason, so look for them to take one in the first round.
Locker is going to need a great offseason in order to be selected this high, but he’s got a lot of promise and could step in and start sooner rather than later.
Last Mock: No Change
Adding one more linebacker to the mix would really help the Texans out on defense and they could take a long look at Miller as being part of their linebacking corps.
He’s a solid and reliable player with a ton of upside and would really help them out.
Last Mock: No Change
Mallet’s stock may be falling a little bit, but the Vikings need a quarterback and should grab Mallett here. He would be a great addition to a team that is in the rebuilding process and he could help them get their offense back on track with his production and capability.
Last Mock: Cameron Newton-QB-Auburn
Imagine having Kyle Vanden Bosch on one side of the line and Smith on the other. With Ndamukong Suh in the center, the Lions' line could be one of the best in the NFL. Adding a defensive end here would pay them dividends almost immediately.
Last Mock: Anthony Costanzo-OT-Boston College
The No. 1 need in St. Louis, hands down, is the wide receiver position, so look for them to get the best one available at this point in the draft.
Jones would be prime here at No. 14 so, if he’s there, the Rams should get him and give quarterback Sam Bradford someone to throw the ball to.
Last Mock: Justin Blackmon-WR-Oklahoma State
The Dolphins' rushing offense has been struggling and will continue to struggle until they get some new talent in there to help them rush the ball.
Ingram would be a nice addition to the offense and could help get it going again.
Last Mock: Akeem Ayers-LB-UCLA
Adding some power to their defensive line is a must, so look for them to grab the best defensive end available at this point in the draft.
Watt, a junior, would be the right fit for their defense and give them a boost in rushing the passer.
Last Mock: No Change
Kerrigan would be the kind of guy that head coach Bill Belichick would really like and would help give the Patriots the additional pass rush that they have lacked in 2010.
If they don’t go for him here, then look for them to add a defensive player at this point in the draft.
Last Mock: Adrian Clayborn-DE-Iowa
The Chargers should try to beef up their offensive line this offseason and Solder could be just the guy that they are looking for.
With an improved offensive line giving quarterback Philip Rivers more time to throw the ball and running back Ryan Matthews more room to run, the Chargers offense should be better in 2011.
Last Mock: Ryan Kerrigan-DE-Purdue
With some improvement needed on both the offensive and defensive line, expect the Giants to go for one of both in the first round. Costonzo is a big-bodied player with enough talent to step in and start right away in New York and could be a big asset on offense.
Last Mock: Allen Bailey-DT/DE-Miami (Fl)
The Bucs have a nice young roster that’s just about ready to get them somewhere (like the playoffs), but they still have a few more needs that, once filled, can help push them to the top.
Outside linebacker is one of those needs and if The Bucs can fill it with someone like Ayers then they will be much better off at the position.
Last Mock: Gabe Carimi-OT-Wisconsin
The Chiefs need to add another pass rusher to their defensive line and Clayborn could be just the guy that they are looking for.
If he can do what he did at the University of Iowa, Clayborn is going to make the team that picks him happy and the Chiefs would love to have two guys that are able to rush the passer.
Last Mock: Aldon Smith-DE-Missouri
The Colts offensive line isn’t getting any younger and it’s time to infuse some youth into this group.
Grabbing a good offensive lineman like Smith would be a good idea and would help the Colts keep their future (on the offensive line) on track.
Last Mock: Derrick Sherrod-OT-Mississippi State
The Eagles offensive line let them down at times last season, so reworking the line is a must.
Carimi will be one of the most sought after offensive tackles in the draft but should be around here when the Eagles make their pick. If he is, they should take him and strengthen that offensive line.
Last Mock: Janoris Jenkins-CB-Florida
The Saints pass rush struggled last season from the start, so adding a big time defensive tackle would be a plus. Jordan had a great year at Cal and is the kind of player that could step in and start right away.
Last Mock: Stephen Paea-DT-Oregon State
The Seahawks need some help in several different areas in the offseason, but adding a strong pass rushing and run-stuffing defensive tackle should be their first priority.
Paea would be the kind of guy that they are looking for and would be able to help out their problematic defensive front line.
Last Mock: Julio Jones-WR-Alabama
The problems that the Ravens have had at the cornerback position are well documented, so if they want to fix those problems, they need to take advantage of some of the talent in this draft.
Harris would make a great addition to the roster and give them an instant boost at the cornerback position.
Last Mock: No Change
It’s time to start thinking about getting someone to replace the aging Tony Gonzalez. Putting them both in the lineup would help give quarterback Matt Ryan some different options to throw the ball to and would help make their passing game that much stronger.
Last Mock: Jared Crick-DE-Nebraska
It’s time for the Patriots to start retooling their offensive line and they can start by taking Sherrod.
Sherrod is a solid young offensive tackle who doesn’t need much to be able to come in and start right away. If they decide not to go this route, then they may look for a defensive end or an offensive guard.
Last Mock: Drake Nevis-DT-LSU
The Packers need to get a better pass rush from their defensive ends and could add someone like Heyward to help them there.
If Heyward can come into the NFL and play as well as he did in college, then he, coupled with outside linebacker Clay Matthews, would make the Packers defense very dangerous. Something scary to think about.
Last Mock: Mark Ingram-RB-Auburn
The Jets defense is tough but it could be tougher with some help on the defensive line.
Bailey is a monster and people really like how he plays, so if he’s added to the Jets' roster they will have some spectacular talent on the line.
Last Mock: Jeremy Beal-DE-Oklahoma
The Bears need to focus on their offensive line in the first round so taking a guy that could play either the guard or the center position (remember that their starting center Olin Kreutz isn’t getting any younger) would be a huge step in the right direction for this team.
Last Mock: Nate Solder-OT-Colorado
The Steelers need to fix some of the problems that they have on the interior of the offensive line, so taking Hudson would be a step in the right direction for the Steelers.
They could definitely use some starting power there as well as some depth.
Last Mock: Mike Pouncey-OG/C-Florida