The seniors had their time in the spotlight this past week, culminating with the Senior Bowl on Saturday, January 29.
Players such as Christian Ponder, Cameron Jordan, Leonard Hankerson and Von Miller did not disappoint and helped their draft increase their draft stock.
Others such as Jake Locker may have hindered their stock, but not as much as some might expect.
Still, I’m starting to warm up to the fact that this could actually be a deep quarterback class.
How will that affect this post Senior Bowl mock draft as opposed to my previous mock draft?
While many, including myself, used to have all four of the top quarterbacks—Auburn’s Heisman winner Cam Newton, Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert, Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett and Washington’s Jake Locker—being taken in the first round, how has the Senior Bowl altered the first round? Which quarterbacks will fall out of the first round as teams gear up to improve in other areas with the position loaded with talent?
As we look back on the Senior Bowl and look ahead to the Combine, which players could your favorite teams be drafting in the first two rounds?
Also don’t forget to compare this mock to the last and post your opinions below!
New head coach Ron Rivera knows defense wins championships. Fairley is a ferocious defensive lineman with a mean streak and non-stop motor. Fairley has great intensity and a mean streak. I’m not concerned about that hindering him at the next level; I think it will help push himself and his teammates.
The Broncos are the favorites to retain free agent veteran cornerback Champ Bailey. Although the team needs to begin to look towards the future of the secondary and life without Bailey sooner than later, defensive line is the way to go here. The safest pick to help the line is Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers, who looks to be the surest thing at defensive end in this class.
The Bills continue to build one of the most explosive young offenses in the league.
Green will join wide receiver Steve Johnson to create a dynamic pass catching duo, which will also send Lee Evans to the slot, where he could potentially thrive.
These receivers will open things for sophomore running back and 2010 first-round draft pick C.J. Spiller, who had a disappointing rookie campaign.
Green is a can’t-miss offensive talent in this year’s draft class.
The Bills have too many holes on defense, yet are so very close to having a great young offense. Buffalo takes care of that while they aim to put butts in the seats for now.
The Bengals actually have a good defense, it just underachieved in 2010 during the tumultuous and disappointing season.
The Bengals could very well take Patrick Peterson here, but cornerback Johnathan Joseph stated that he actually wishes to remain in Cincinnati. He and Leon Hall make up one of the better cornerback tandems in the league. The defensive line up front needs to create more pressure.
With everything that has happened in Cincinnati, the Bengals need a safe pick and continue building their defense, which Dareus allows them to do.
The Cardinals land a steal here with the No. 5 overall pick. Ken Whisenhunt adds to an impressive secondary that already has three very good playmakers in Adrian Wilson, Kerry Rhodes and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Peterson will step in in 2011 and help create one of the most dominant secondary units in the entire league.
The first "surprise" of the mock but really shouldn’t shock many. Von Miller was the best player at the Senior Bowl and looks to be as sure of a thing as any other player in this year’s draft class. The Browns had a surprisingly good 2010, and Von Miller is the type of leader this defense needs to continue improving in a tough AFC North division.
Jim Harbaugh could draft a quarterback with this pick, but I think they could very well look to bring in a veteran for 2011, as the 49ers are very close to winning the NFC West with ease behind Frank Gore and Patrick Willis. The 49ers need a great cornerback in the secondary, and Amukamara will be that man for years to come.
The Titans are looking to trade quarterback Vince Young. They also just parted ways with Jeff Fisher. The new head coach has yet to be determined, but with the tough offenses in the AFC South, defense is the way to go with the pick instead of putting a stamp on the quarterback of the future just yet.
Robert Quinn has a ton of potential and could be one of the most talented players in the draft. He will bolster an already solid defensive line.
Smith has freak-like potential. On this defense, Smith could be a force in the NFL, as offenses still have to account for DeMarcus Ware, who is easily one of the best pass rushers in the game. With attention diverted elsewhere, Smith could be a major playmaker for Jerry Jones’ Dallas Cowboys.
Next to Von Miller, Cameron Jordan was the most impressive and dominating player at the Senior Bowl. He greatly raised his draft stock and opened the eyes of many scouts.
Owner Dan Snyder and head coach Mike Shanahan have no desire to sit around and wait for a quarterback.
This team needs defensive help immediately.
Shanahan seems to trust veteran Rex Grossman with his offense and will look to bring him back for 2011, allowing Washington to pass on one of the quarterbacks in the first round as they would only sit on the bench next year.
Where to even begin with the Houston Texans defense? Even the defensive line could use help despite having “Super” Mario Williams on the end. The secondary was abysmal.
The linebacking core needs help, especially after DeMeco Ryans suffered a devastating season-ending injury early in 2010.
Von Miller would have been the ideal pick for Wade Phillips’ defense, but his stock is rapidly rising and did not come close to falling. Ayers is a safe pick, as he can play linebacker at any position in any defensive scheme.
Tarvaris Jackson is not the answer. I wouldn’t rule the Vikings out of taking a chance on somebody like Vince Young or Donovan McNabb in the offseason, but for now, the Vikings are the first team to draft a quarterback.
Blaine Gabbert “falls” to the Vikings as teams look elsewhere for the quarterback position. The Vikings have a championship-caliber team but need a smart and efficient quarterback to lead the way. They’ll try their luck with Gabbert.
It would be great for the Lions to continue building their rapidly improving defense led by Ndamukong Suh, but the Lions need to find a way to keep Matthew Stafford from getting rocked again in 2011. The Lions have a ton of potential with Stafford behind center, as evident by his four touchdown performance against Washington.
Nate Solder was dominant at the Senior Bowl and emerged as the top offensive lineman in the class. It’s a safe pick for the Lions if they decide to stay at No. 13.
Sam Bradford displayed remarkable accuracy and poise in his rookie season. The Rams desperately need to provide him with a playmaker if they want to take over the division.
Jones is the second-best option behind A.J. Green. With Mark Clayton expected to return to stretch the field once again, Jones will find some room to work with on quick routes, which is just fine for Sam Bradford and his accurate arm.
Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are not expected to return. Mark Ingram is the best running back in this year’s draft class and is the workhorse back the Dolphins desperately need to run behind their big, powerful offensive line.
Chad Henne is expected to compete for the starting job, so I expect them to pass on a quarterback here. Ingram is the safe pick for a run-first, smash-mouth team.
The Jacksonville Jaguars surprised many people in 2010; they are on the cusp of an AFC South division title and seem to have somewhat figured out the rest of the division.
The Jaguars have a solid and efficient offense. Veteran quarterback Garrard still fits the makeup of the team for now.
Ryan Kerrigan is a safe pick to help bolster the defensive line, which is the primary need for the Jags in the AFC South.
New England must account for the amount of injuries that happen to its defensive line each season. Watt could be a potential steal at No. 17 and will fit in just fine in New England. He has the non-stop motor Bill Belichick is looking for, and Belichick will be able to coach Watt into dominance.
The Chargers defense played well last season but should not neglect to continue providing pieces to keep that momentum in 2011. Adrian Clayborn is a solid prospect who will help the already solid pass rush of the Chargers.
Clayborn is a fantastic pick for the Chargers, who will look to continue boasting the best defense in the AFC West.
New York needs help on the offensive line, as the once-solid unit is aging fast. Castonzo projects as one of the top offensive lineman in this year’s draft class and will be a welcomed addition to protect the Giants’ offensive investments.
The Buccaneers suffered injuries late in the season, but this defense is starting to really come together. With the offense set for the next decade with Josh Freeman, LeGarrette Blount and Mike Williams, Tampa Bay needs to focus on defense.
Adrian Clayborn and Gerald McCoy would have been an excellent duo, but the Bucs “settle” with Cameron Heyward. Heyward projects to be a solid player despite undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Kansas City has a great young defense, mainly the secondary. It still needs more pressure up front.
Although I think the offensive line could use insurance and they definitely need another wider receiver opposite Dwayne Bowe, I think the Chiefs would like to continue building their young defensive core to stop AFC West offensive threats like Philip Rivers and Darren McFadden.
Peyton Manning was hit more this season than in several years past combined. The Colts suffered so many injuries this season but need to make sure Manning stays upright.
Carimi is one of the premier offensive linemen in the draft and will be warmly welcomed by Peyton Manning.
The Eagles have one of the most explosive offenses in the game with Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek. They could use an upgrade on the offensive line, but with Michael Vick most likely behind center again, it’s not a pressing first-round need with his ability to extend plays.
Building a stronger defense is the way to go. The Eagles need help in the secondary, and Brandon Harris will represent an immediate upgrade.
After the demoralizing Wild Card performance against the Seattle Seahawks, the Saints might as well go defense with every single pick in this year’s draft. Most importantly, find players who can tackle, after Marshawn Lynch made the Saints look foolish on his game-clinching 67-yard touchdown run.
With division foes Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman emerging as top quarterbacks in the game, a cornerback is the way to go here in the first round. Smith is a fantastic player and can tackle.
Although I do not expect veteran Matt Hasselbeck to remain with the Seahawks, Seattle extended “Clipboard Jesus” this offseason, and I think we may see a USC reunion with Pete Carroll and Matt Leinart.
That means Seattle is passing on both Ryan Mallett and Jake Locker as Pete Carroll hopes to win the NFC West again in 2011. The Seahawks drafted Earl Thomas last season and will pair him with the best safety option in this year’s draft to give them one of the best young safety combinations in the entire league.
The Ravens secondary was torched throughout the season. It’s actually surprising Dwayne Bowe didn’t have a bigger game in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. The Ravens have a great core on offense and defense, but they are in desperate need of a quality corner.
Aaron Williams will step in immediately as a rookie.
The Falcons had a fantastic season. It just so happened they went up against the hottest team in this year’s postseason led by one of the top quarterbacks in the league.
The young defense was solid all year, bending but not breaking. I’ve been inclined to give them a defensive player in every mock draft thus far and have been quite harsh on the unit overall. I’m going to switch it up and give the unit a break.
The Falcons give Matt Ryan a much-needed third option after Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez in Torrey Smith. Smith is not my third-ranked wide receiver, but I think he’s the better fit for the Falcons over Miami’s Leonard Hankerson.
The Patriots should continue upgrading their defensive line as the rest of the unit is set for the next decade. Belichick is believes he can find an offensive lineman later in the draft, so defensive defense is the way to go; however, he loves versatile players, and Houston is the type of player Belichick can do a lot of things with.
The Bears have needs at several positions, but after seeing quarterback Jay Cutler take so many hits this year, offensive line is clearly the biggest need in Mike Martz’s offense.
Sherrod projects as one of the best offensive linemen in this year’s class.
The Jets have a fantastic defense, but in order for Rex Ryan to maintain his relentless blitzing, he needs quality defensive linemen. Kris Jenkins can’t stay healthy, and the Jets need to more pressure up front from the tackle position.
Liuget is emerging as a top defensive tackle and would be a solid pick for the Jets.
The Packers found their running back of the future in rookie James Starks, so I’m crossing running back off the list. I’m almost inclined with the emergence of cornerbacks Tramon Williams and rookie Sam Shields to give the Packers another cornerback here to allow Charles Woodson to move to safety to create one of the most dominant secondary units in the NFL.
Yet with the amount of hits Aaron Rodgers has taken this season, I’m giving Green Bay the potential of a great offensive lineman in Tyron Smith.
The Steelers seem to suffer injuries on the offensive line each year. They need to limit the hits quarterback Ben Roethlisberger takes each season as he gets older. Steelers nation and twin brother Maurkice Pouncey get their wish as Mike is on his way to Pittsburgh in 2011.
The Patriots continue to build their defensive line to account for the string of injuries they seem to suffer each season. They already addressed the defensive end position and now will address their interior needs with Stephen Paea.
Paea had a disappointing Senior Bowl. Bill Belichick doesn’t care.
J.J. Watt, Wisconsin DL
Justin Houston, Georgia LB
How could the Bills pass on one of the top young quarterbacks?
First and foremost, there’s depth at the position.
Second, I really think they’re sold for now on Ryan Fitzpatrick after his surprisingly solid 23-touchdown, 15-interception 2010 campaign.
The Bills need playmakers on defense.
Paul Posluszny and Wilson would create a dynamic linebacker tandem. The Bills still have other pressing needs on the defensive line, but Wilson will make a great addition to this unit.
A.J. Green, Georgia WR
The Bengals need to start rebuilding the offense. Carson Palmer would rather retire than play for the Bengals. Chad Johnson wants out. Cedric Benson was just a quick fix at running back in 2009 but wasn’t the real answer they were looking for.
The Bengals have so many pressing needs on offense, but quarterback is the most pressing.
They were able to bolster the defense in the first round and waiting paid off.
Instead of overpaying for a quarterback with the No. 4 overall pick, they get the strong-armed Ryan Mallett to stand tall behind a good offensive line.
Marcell Dareus, Alabama DL
The Broncos need to upgrade their secondary. Brandon Burton is the next best option with cornerbacks dominating late in the first round. The Broncos have a great core now on defense with Bowers, Burton and Elvis Dumervil working with veterans Champ Bailey, Brian Dawkins and Jamal Williams.
Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson DE
The Browns desperately need a playmaker on offense besides Peyton Hillis, who most likely will not duplicate his breakout 2010 season. Hankerson is one of the highest-rated wide receivers in the draft class and my third-ranked receiver at this point after an impressive Senior Bowl.
Von Miller, Texas A&M DL
I still think Ken Whisenhunt wants to see what Max Hall and John Skelton can do in their second seasons. Even though I’m almost inclined to give them a quarterback here, they could still wait on an Andy Dalton or Christian Ponder in the third or maybe fourth rounds.
The Cardinals need help on both offensive and defensive line. After landing a steal with Peterson at No. 5 overall, Whisenhunt lands another in North Carolina’s Marvin Austin.
Patrick Peterson, LSU CB
Tennessee passed on Gabbert in the first round. After passing on Vince Young overall, they pass on Cam Newton’s similar style. Jake Locker’s stock dropped a bit after the Senior Bowl, which is just fine for Tennessee. Locker was a top prospect last year and worth every bit of the “chance” in the second round.
Robert Quinn, North Carolina DE
After seeing Tony Romo get decimated by the New York Giants, they may want to look into upgrading the offensive line. Ijalana is a fringe first-round pick and is a great selection here for the Cowboys, who could use some depth anyway.
Aldon Smith, Missouri DE
LeShoure is a fantastic pick for the Redskins, who really need to upgrade the running back position. Neither Ryan Torain nor Keiland Williams is the answer for the Redskins. LeShoure will be the workhorse the Redskins haven’t had since Portis’ decline a few seasons ago.
Shanahan decides not to pull the trigger on Auburn’s Heisman-winning QB Cam Newton and passes on Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams for LeShoure.
Cameron Jordan, California DE
Brown is one of the better corners in this draft, but on the Texans, he’ll probably already be the best. That’s how terrible the Texans secondary is. They put out one of the worst secondary units week after week in the NFL.
Brown is a must need pick right here. Texans made a great pick with Ayers in the first round. Clearly, anybody in the secondary would be a good pick after 2010.
Akeem Ayers, UCLA LB
The Vikings drafted Blaine Gabbert to be their future quarterback and already have a good offensive line. Still, it will be reassuring when they draft one of the most versatile offensive linemen in the class.
Wisniewski is a fantastic prospect and will a staple on the line for years.
Blaine Gabbert, Missouri QB
Detroit needs help in the secondary and could even use another end, but linebacker Bruce Carter will immediately bolster the linebacking unit. Ndamukong Suh and Carter would be the faces of the Lions defense in 2011.
Carter is a solid pick here.
Nate Solder, Colorado OT
The 49ers need an explosive force up front, and Muhammad Wilkerson will be able to improve the defensive line. Patrick Willis, arguably the best defender in the NFL, will benefit even more from an improved line in front of him.
Jim Harbaugh passes on Cam Newton here with other quarterbacks remaining later to be selected.
Prince Amukamara, Nebraska CB
Denver continues their overhaul on defense and selects Bailey out of Miami. Allen Bailey had an extremely disappointing Senior Bowl but is still worth taking a look at despite looking “ordinary." Bailey has the physical tools, though, and should help repair his stock at the Combine.
Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson DE
Brandon Burton, Utah CB
The Rams get a steal here, as Ballard could very well go late in the first round or early second as people have wavering opinions on the defensive lineman.
St. Louis needs to get younger up front. Ballard has beastly talent and should excel in the NFL. He'll make a nice tandem with former first-round pick Chris Long.
Julio Jones, Alabama WR
The Raiders need to protect their offensive investments in Darren McFadden and Jason Campbell. The Raiders quarterbacks were repeatedly roughed up, which never allowed Campbell or Bruce Gradkowski to get into a rhythm.
The Raiders have a chance to have a solid offense once again, but they need to make sure the offensive line remains strong. The Raiders have a chance to take the AFC West if they can draft well again.
I had Jacksonville taking Newton in my previous mock in the first round yet passing on him this time around. Luckily for Jacksonville, the Heisman winner with immense potential falls all the way to them in the middle of the second round.
David Garrard is a fine player for Newton to learn from in the NFL as he tries to limit the amount of risks he takes through the air and on the ground.
Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue DL
The Chargers have one of the top defenses in the league, but with more safety help, they could boast a Super Bowl-caliber defense. Deunta Williams will step in and present an upgrade at the position.
North Carolina continues its run of success in the 2011 draft with yet another pick in the first two rounds.
Adrian Clayborn, Iowa DL
The Buccaneers are very close to dominating the NFC South. They have the offense, but the defense is still missing a few pieces. The secondary already has two great corners, but the safety position could use an upgrade. Robert Sands will be all over the field with a great supporting cast around him.
Cameron Heyward, Ohio St. DL
The Giants have an amazing defensive line and a good secondary but are missing the necessary linebackers to complete its great defense. Sturdivant could turn into a leader on this defense and will be an excellent piece to plug in in 2011.
Anthony Castonzo, Boston College OL
The Colts desperately need more playmakers on defense. Gary Brackett is declining. Greg Jones will step in and make an immediate impact, and a much needed one, in 2011.
Jones has been ridiculed a bit for being undersized, but I’m a firm believer in Jones’ abilities. The Colts defense is usually undersized to begin with, so I guess he’s a prime fit, no?
Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin OL
The Eagles need playmakers in the secondary. They started to fill that need, and they now complete it in the second round.
Carter provides an upgrade in the secondary as the Eagles close in on a championship. Carter and Harris will be able to start immediately, so things are looking up after a tough Wild Card exit in this year's playoffs.
Brandon Harris, Miami CB
The Chiefs are putting together a fantastic team. The offense is just about set, but they need another playmaker opposite Dwayne Bowe.
Baldwin is that man, and his addition will open up things even more for the electric Dexter McCluster in the slot. That’s the key move in drafting another wide receiver for the Chiefs: to get McCluster the ball in open space.
Drake Nevis, LSU DT
The Saints defense got burned against the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card round, so upgrading the defense is a must. The Saints do have a good defensive line; they just need more playmakers in the linebacker unit beside Jonathan Vilma.
Kelvin Sheppard will step in immediately to help out. Why? Because he can tackle!
Jimmy Smith, Colorado CB
The Seahawks need to upgrade their defense big-time. They started by securing one of the best safeties in this draft to give them one of the best young safety duos in the league. Casey will be able to create pressure up front.
Oh, Carroll selects a USC guy…
Rahim Moore, UCLA S
The Ravens continue adding much-needed depth and playmakers to their secondary unit. The Ravens are so close to winning a Super Bowl. While they could use another playmaking wide receiver, now is not the time to search.
They must bolster the secondary for 2011. They also need to look towards the future without Ed Reed sooner than later.
Aaron Williams, Texas CB
Tony Gonzalez is expected to be back next season, meaning the Falcons can wait to draft a tight end. Notre Dame’s Kyle Rudolph is a popular pick, but with another year with Gonzalez, who is still a top tight end, there’s no reason to rush into selecting a potential replacement.
A safer bet is to take an offensive lineman as insurance for a potential injury.
Torrey Smith, Maryland WR
The Patriots reluctantly draft an offensive lineman since Belichick generally feels he can find one later in the draft. Hairston is a good prospect, though, and the Patriots will most likely be without Logan Mankins in 2011.
Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue DL
Justin Houston, Georgia LB
Stephen Paea, Oregon St. DT
The Bears rely on their linebackers on defense. Foster is a solid player who will fit in well for Chicago. He will be able to learn from two of the best in Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs.
Derek Sherrod, Mississippi St. OT
Antonio Gates is now getting injured each season after taking a ton of wear and tear on his body throughout his career. The Chargers look for a potential replacement in this draft.
They are able to select the top-ranked tight end in this year’s class out of Notre Dame in Kyle Rudolph.
Adrian Clayborn, Iowa DL
Deunta Williams, North Carolina S
Like his brother Clay of the Green Bay Packers, Casey Matthews has a non-stop motor and will make for a great professional linebacker. Just for kicks, it’d be nice to see the two long-haired linebackers on the same team together.
Tyron Smith, USC OL
The Steelers somehow make due with their cornerbacks. They need help, though, at the position. At this point in the draft, Shareece Wright is one of the top corners left.
Mike Pouncey, Florida OL