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2011 Senior Bowl: Complete First-Round Mock Draft

Rey JeffersonContributor IJanuary 29, 2011

2011 Senior Bowl: Complete First-Round Mock Draft

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    NFL DRAFTChris Trotman/Getty Images

    With the Senior Bowl, Pro Bowl, and Super Bowl XLV upon us, we can now officially say that 30 out of the 32 teams in the NFL are now focusing all of their attention on the NFL Draft.

    April 28 will be a day to remember for a lot of young men, but for these next 32 players it will be even sweeter, as I predict these 32 names will be called in the first round of this year's NFL Draft.

1. Carolina Panthers: Nick Fairley

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    Nick FairleyRonald Martinez/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’5”/300 lbs
    Position: DE/DT
    School: Auburn
    Class: Junior 

    Why: Everyone knows that if Andrew Luck would have entered the draft that he would undoubtedly have been the first pick. That being said, after his performance in the National Championship game, Fairley has become the hot choice for the No. 1 pick.

    With the loss of Julius Peppers, the Panthers line only totaled 31 sacks, so their D-line can use an upgrade; a defensive beast like Nick Fairley could help increase that number.

2. Denver Broncos: Da'Quan Bowers

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    Da'Quan BowersKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’4”/280 lbs
    Position: DE
    School: Clemson
    Class: Junior 

    Why: Speaking of sacks, Denver finished dead last in the NFL last year with a grand total of 23. Adding a talent like Bowers and getting back Elvis Dumervil would help to enhance that number.

    This pick ultimately depend on the first overall pick by the Panthers. If the Panthers take Fairley, the Broncos will take Bowers; if it’s the other way around, I don’t think the Denver can pass on Fairley

    Remember, new head coach John Fox did select Julius Peppers No. 2 overall when he was in Carolina, so you can almost bank on him taking an athletic defensive end with this pick.

3. Buffalo Bills: Patrick Peterson

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    Patrick PetersonChris Graythen/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’1”/211 lbs
    Position: CB
    School: LSU
    Class: Junior 

    Why: While the Bills don’t absolutely need a corner, they could use an upgrade.

    Peterson is a special talent that doesn't come around very often. He is a tall rangy corner who possesses great footwork while also bringing a physical presence.

    Paterson is the best player available at No. 3 and he could instantly enhance the play-making abilities in Buffalo's secondary.

4. Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green

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    A.J. GreenKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’4”/205 lbs
    Position: WR
    School: Georgia
    Class: Junior 

    Why: With T.O. and the artist formerly know as Ochocinco leaving Cincinnati, Carson Palmer is going to need someone to throw the ball to.

    Green is not only worthy of a top 5 pick, he probably the most highly touted receiver prospect since Randy Moss. The Bengals would be crazy if he they did not select Green with the fourth overall pick. 

5. Arizona Cardinals: Robert Quinn

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    Robert QuinnStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’5”/260 lbs
    Position: DE
    School: North Carolina
    Class: Junior 

    Why: Arizona could select a QB at this position, but I believe that Coach Whisenhunt will go with upgrading his defense first. Also, I can see Arizona picking up a veteran QB like Donovan McNabb via free agency.

    Although he did not play at all his senior year, Quinn is an extremely versatile defensive player whose great combination of speed and power projects him to a solid linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He would fill a huge need for the Cardinals.  

6. Cleveland Browns: Marcell Dareus

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    Marcell DareusKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’3”/295 lbs
    Position: DE/DT
    School: Alabama
    Class: Junior 

    Why: Cleveland should try to move up and grab A.J. Green before the Bengals get their paws on him, but if not, then Dareus is a nice pick at no. 6.

    The Browns will be moving to a 4-3 scheme next year, and Dareus could help man the middle with Shaun Rodgers. Not only can Dareus play defensive end, but he also possesses the size to play as an interior defensive lineman in the NFL. 

7. San Francisco 49ers: Blaine Gabbert

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    Blaine GabbertChristian Petersen/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’5”/240 lbs
    Position: QB
    School: Missouri
    Class: Junior 

    Why: With a new regime in San Francisco as Jim Harbaugh takes over as Coach. This will be a big first major decision for Harbaugh as he will either be taking a new signal-caller or staying with Troy Smith.

    Personally, I believe the 49ers need a new quarterback. Blaine Gabbert is the supposed best of the bunch, so why not take him with this pick?

8. Tennessee Titans: Aldon Smith

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    Aldon SmithJamie Squire/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’5”/260 lbs
    Position: DE/OLB
    School: Missouri
    Class: RS Soph

    Why: With the top QB prospect off the board, I don’t believe that the Titans want to try another QB experiment so they’ll probably try and pick-up a veteran during the off-season.

    With DE Jason Babin set to test free agency, the Titans will need help replacing his 13-sack void. Aldon Smith is a very good pass rusher and player all around.

9. Dallas Cowboys: Prince Amukamara

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    Prince AmukamaraEric Francis/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’1”/205 lbs
    Position: CB
    School: Nebraska
    Class: Senior 

    Why: In a division with a big-play receiver like DeSean Jackson, Dallas needs to take a serious look at Amukamara. He has the ability to be a shut down corner and he also has the ability to help against top receivers.

    Amukamara has NFL-ready size and speed that places him as a top 10 prospect. Also, Patrick Peterson may be the best cornerback prospect, but Amukamara is not far behind. 

10. Washington Redskins: Cam Newton

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    Cam NewtonKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6‘5½”/250 lbs
    Position: QB
    School: Auburn
    Class: Junior 

    Why: Everyone knows how much Washington needs a QB. I believe that Cam Newton will be a very successful quarterback in the NFL, and don’t be surprised to see Newton’s name called at No. 10 or No. 12 to the Vikings.

11. Houston Texans: Von Miller

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    Von MillerChris Graythen/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’3”/240 lbs
    Position: DE/OLB
    School: Texas A&M
    Class: Senior 

    Why: With new defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips expect to see some changes in Houston’s defense.

    Miller would be a tremendous addition to the LB corps (which already has DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing).

    Not only is he athletic enough to be a DE, but he also has the skills to be able to drop back as a LB. 

12. Minnesota Vikings: Jake Locker

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    Jake LockerOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’3”/226 lbs
    Position: QB
    School: Washington
    Class: Senior 

    Why: It’s almost a lock that Minnesota will take a QB with this pick. Locker was once thought to be not only the top QB prospect, but also the top prospect overall. 

13. Detroit Lions: Akeem Ayers

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    Akeem AyersStephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’4”/250 lbs
    Position: OLB
    School: UCLA
    Class: Junior 

    Why: Julian Peterson was informed of his release recently, so the Lions needs to find a replacement, and who better than the linebacker from UCLA? Ayers has the ability to play as an OLB or as a rush defensive end. 

14. St. Louis Rams: Julio Jones

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    Julio JonesKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6‘4”/211 lbs
    Position: WR
    School: Alabama
    Class: Junior 

    Why: This is simple; St. Louis needs to find Sam Bradford another play-maker. Jones is a big wide receiver who would be a great new toy for Bradford to use in the red zone and even as a deep threat.

15. Miami Dolphins: Mark Ingram

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    Mark IngramKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 5’10”/215 lbs
    Position: RB
    School: Alabama
    Class: Junior 

    Why: The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner would help to give the Dolphins some young legs in the backfield. While Ingram is sliding in most mock drafts, I honestly think he’s a steal outside of the top 10.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ryan Kerrigan

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    Ryan KerriganRonald Martinez/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6‘4”/259 lbs
    Position: DE
    School: Purdue
    Class: Senior 

    Why: Kerrigan was one of the top defensive players in the country this year. He had a magnificent senior year as he led the nation with 26 TFL while also getting 12.5 sacks.

    Jacksonville needs players who can put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Jacksonville racked up only three sacks in their final five games last season.

17. New England Patriots: J.J. Watt

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    J.J. WattStephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’5½”/280 lbs
    Position: DE/DT
    School: Wisconsin
    Class: RS Junior 

    Why: This is simple, New England needs to address a glaring weakness in their defense and that’s their pass rush. A defensive lineman like J.J. Watt would definitely help. 

18. San Diego Chargers: Cameron Heyward

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    Cameron HeywardJamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’5”/288 lbs
    Position: DE/DT
    School: Ohio State
    Class: Senior 

    Why: Coming off an unbelievable Sugar Bowl performance, Heyward has slid in mock drafts after his recent elbow surgery. Heyward should be fine for Ohio State’s Pro Day. This is where the defensive lineman will be able to truly show off his top 10 skills.

19. New York Giants: Stephen Paea

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    Stephen PaeaChristian Petersen/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’1”/304 lbs
    Position: DT
    School: Oregon State
    Class: Senior 

    Why: 2010 was a bit of a disappointing season for Paea, but the Giants need to get that defense back to the dominance form that it once was. Giants also need a future left tackle and could select Troy Smith, OT from USC.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Adrian Clayborn

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    Adrian ClaybornChristian Petersen/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’3”/282 lbs
    Position: DE/DT
    School: Iowa
    Class: Senior

    Why:  Although Clayborn has some red flags and character questions, Tampa Bay is in desperate need for an outside pass-rusher to complement last season's solid first-round pick, Gerald McCoy. And Clayborn is a top-10 talent. 

21. Kansas City Chiefs: Justin Houston

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    Justin HoustonKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’3”/260 lbs
    Position: DE/OLB
    School: Georgia
    Class: Junior 

    Why: The Chiefs haven’t had a solid pass-rusher since they lost Jared Allen. Houston really opened up some eyes with 19.5 TFL and 11 sacks as a junior. 

22. Indianapolis Colts: Tyron Smith

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    Tyron SmithJeff Golden/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’5”/291 lbs
    Position: OT
    School: USC
    Class: Junior

    Why: The Colts are beginning to become a little long in the tooth on the offensive-line, so with the No. 22 pick they need to choose the best available O-linemen on the board. If the Giants don’t snag Smith up with the No. 19 pick, then he will not slip pass the Colts.

23. Philadelphia Eagles: Gabe Carimi

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    Gabe CarimiStephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’7”/315 lbs
    Position: OT
    School: Wisconsin
    Class: Senior 

    Why: Vick took a decent o-line and turn them into a great one by the big play he was able to make with his arm and his legs. Nonetheless, Vick struggled when teams started to test that mediocre Eagles offensive line, so an upgrade is needed to help protect him.

24. New Orleans Saints: Derek Sherrod

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    Derek SherrodKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’5”/303 lbs
    Position: OT
    School: Mississippi State
    Class: Senior

    Why: Sherrod, with great size and strength, would be a nice addition to help protect Drew Brees.

25. Seattle Seahawks: Ryan Mallett

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    Ryan MallettMatthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’7”/238 lbs
    Position: QB
    School: Arkansas
    Class: Junior 

    Why: Under Head Coach Pete Carroll and Matt Hasselbeck’s tutelage, Mallett can fine-tune his skills and become a very good quarterback at the next level. 

26. Baltimore Ravens: Brandon Harris

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    Brandon HarrisKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 5’11”/195 lbs
    Position: CB
    School: Miami
    Class: Junior 

    Why: A tremendous athletic corner who could help Ed Reed and the secondary crew wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks.

27. Atlanta Falcons: Nate Solder

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    Nate SolderDoug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’8”/300 lbs
    Position: OT
    School: Colorado
    Class: Senior

    Why: An extremely well versed o-lineman who could help protect Matt Ryan’s next year and throughout his future.

28. New England Patriots: Mikel Leshoure

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    Mikel LeshoureJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’0”/227 lbs
    Position: RB
    School: Illinois
    Class: Junior

    Why: While the Patriots don’t absolutely need to take a running back, I feel that with so many early picks in this year’s draft, the Patriots could make even more deals/trades. Some have Leshoure over Alabama’s Mark Ingram, because of his versatility.

    But, even if they do draft Leshoure and keep him, it definitely wouldn't hurt to have him, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and Danny Woodhead. 

29. Chicago Bears: Benjamin Ijalana

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    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’3½”/317 lbs
    Position: OT
    School: Villanova
    Class: Senior 

    Why: Selecting Ijalana would help insure Jay Cutler that they are out to protect him and the ailing knee. Also the fact reminds that Chicago needs to add to their dismal o-line.

30. New York Jets: Drake Nevis

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’0½”/289 lbs
    Position: DT
    School: LSU
    Class: Senior 

    Why: If the Jets lose Shaun Ellis to free agency, they will need to find a viable replacement.

31. Green Bay Packers: Corey Liuget

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    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’3”/300 lbs
    Position: DT
    School: Illinois
    Class: Junior 

    Why: Cullen Jenkins is a free agent, and if the Packers lose him then a defensive end will be a need.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Pouncey

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    Mike PounceyKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Bio:

    Ht/Wt: 6’4”/313 lbs
    Position: C/G
    School: Florida
    Class: Senior 

    Why: Steelers left tackle Max Starks is coming off neck surgery, right tackle Willie Colon is a free agent in March, and Flozell Adams turns 36 this summer.

    There's also a void at the right guard spot, which a winner like Pouncey can step right in and fill.

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