2011 NFL Mock Draft 4.0: The Pre-Combine Edition

Bryan DietzlerSenior Analyst IFebruary 15, 2011

2011 NFL Mock Draft 4.0: The Pre-Combine Edition

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    TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 28:  Quarterback Blaine Gabbert #11 of the Missouri Tigers drops back to pass during the Insight Bowl against the Iowa Hawkeyes  at Sun Devil Stadium on December 28, 2010 in Tempe, Arizona.  The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers 27-24.  (P
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    We are now into the month of February and getting ready for the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine.  There is still a lot happening in regards to where players are going to go in the NFL Draft, what scouts think of these players and where they will end up going in the upcoming draft.  As we begin to get a better understanding of team needs, the picture becomes much clearer.

    So without further delay, here is my pre-combine edition and my fourth mock draft of the season.

1. Carolina Panthers (2-14)-Nick Fairley-DT-Auburn

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Nick Fairley #90 of the Auburn Tigers reacts during their Tostitos BCS National Championship Game against the Oregon Ducks at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images


    It’s hard to believe that the Panthers would pass up the best defensive lineman in the draft especially with their new head coach (Ron Rivera) coming in with a defensive background.  Fairley would help shore things up in the front of the defense and allow them to do more with their defensive ends and linebackers.

    Last Mock: No Change

2. Denver Broncos-(4-12)-Da’Quan Bowers-DE-Clemson

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    AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 18:  Michael Dyer #5 of the Auburn Tigers against Da'Quan Bowers #93 of the Clemson Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Broncos may try to trade out of this spot and move down acquiring some picks but if they choose to stay at number two then Bowers would be the right choice for them here.  He’s the best pure pass rusher in the draft and coupled with a healthy Elvis Dumervil the Bronco’s pass rush could be dangerous.

    Last Mock: No Change

3. Buffalo Bills (4-12)-A.J. Green-WR-Georgia

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    AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 13:  A.J. Green #8 of the Georgia Bulldogs against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The other player that the Bills might be interested in here is LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson here but for the value Green would be a good choice.  While Buffalo could use a quarterback to develop, they can find someone in the later rounds of the draft and can instead go for someone that can help them out at the wide receiver position.  Green is the beat wide receiver in the draft and would make a nice fit in Buffalo.

    Last Mock: No Change

4. Cincinnati Bengal (4-12)-Marcell Dareus-DT-Alabama

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 02:  Marcell Dareus #57 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Florida Gators at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 2, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    If Green is gone by the time the Bengals make their pick here at number four then they should look at solidifying their defensive line by adding Dareus here.  With Dareus they should be able to get some pressure on opposing quarterbacks as well as stop the opponents running game effectively.

    Last Mock: No Change

5. Arizona Cardinals (5-11)-Blaine Gabbert

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    TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 28:  Quarterback Blaine Gabbert #11 of the Missouri Tigers celebrates after scoring a 7 yard rushing touchdown against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the third quarter of the Insight Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium on December 28, 2010 in Tempe,
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    QB-Missouri-The Cardinals need to get a quarterback at all costs and should go for one in the first round.  Gabbert should grade out to be the best quarterback in the 2011 NFL Draft and with that the Cardinals should be able to get him at number five.  If they can add a veteran quarterback as well they should be set for a while at that position.

    Last Mock: No Change

6. Cleveland Browns (5-11)-Patrick Peterson-CB-LSU

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    BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 13:  Patrick Peterson #7 of the Louisiana State University Tigers runs through the defense of the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks at Tiger Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.   The Tigers defeated the
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    It would be hard for the Browns, or any team for that matter, to pass up Peterson if he is available here.  The Browns can use help in many areas but a shut down cornerback would be impossible to not take as he would be a big part of making their defense much better in the long run.

    Last Mock: Robert Quinn-DE-North Carolina

7. San Francisco 49ers (6-10)-Prince Amukamara-CB-Nebraska

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    LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 30: Cornerback Prince Amukamara #21 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers breaks up a pass intended for wide receiver T.J. Moe #28 of the Missouri Tigers during first half action of their game at Memorial Stadium on October 30, 2010 in Lincoln
    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    San Francisco might look for a quarterback at this point in the draft but they can also use some help for their secondary so taking Amukamara here would be a wise decision.  Granted, there are several holes on this team that need to be filled but making the secondary better should be one of the top priorities for this team.

    Last Mock: Jake Locker-QB-Washington

8. Tennessee Titans (6-10)-Von Miller-LB-Texas A&M

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    ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 07:  Jordan Jefferson #9 of the Louisiana State University Tigers throws under pressure from Von Miller #40 of the Texas A&M Aggies during the AT&T Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium on January 7, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by C
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    The Titans will start over with a new head coach and should look at upgrading their defense with this pick.  Perhaps they may draft a defensive tackle but for the value here the Titans should look at selecting the best linebacker in the draft in Miller.  Miller would help give them some stability in the linebacking corps and make it much better.

    Last Mock: Stephen Paea-DT-Oregon State

9. Dallas Cowboys (6-10)-Cameron Jordan-DE/DT-Cal

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    MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 29:Defensive lineman Cameron Jordan #97 of the North Team during  the Under Armour Senior Bowl on January 29, 2011 at Ladd-Pebbles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images for Under Armour)
    Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    Dallas may be interested in an offensive lineman here but value would dictate that the Cowboys should take a shot at a defensive lineman here and Jordan could be just the guy that they are looking for.  He can play both the defensive end and defensive tackle which would work very well in the Cowboy’s defensive scheme.

    Last Mock: Patrick Peterson-CB-LSU

10. Washington Redskins (6-10)-Cameron Newton-QB-Auburn

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    SAN DIEGO, CA - FEBRUARY 10: 2010 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Cam Newton of Auburn throws the ball during his workout routine for the media at Cathedral High School's sports stadium on February 10, 2011 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kent Horn
    Kent Horner/Getty Images

    The Redskins aren’t happy with their quarterback situation so you can bet that they are going to look for a quarterback early in the draft.  Heisman winner Cam Newton may be just the kind of guy that they like and may already covet heading into this draft.  Don’t be surprised if the Redskins take Newton and make him their quarterback of the future.

    Last Mock:No Change

11. Houston Texans (6-10)-Aldon Smith-DE/OLB-Missouri

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    COLUMBIA, MO - OCTOBER 23: Aldon Smith #85 of the Missouri Tigers in action against the Oklahoma Sooners at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Columbia, Missouri.  The Tigers beat the Sooners 36-27.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Image
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Either a defensive end or a linebacker would be a wise pick for the Texans so why not get a player that could play both positions?  Adding Smith, who can rush the passer and play the run could be a good idea here and allow them to have a guy that can be flexible at the linebacker position.

    Last Mock: Prince Amukamara-CB-Nebraska

12. Minnesota Vikings (6-10)-Jake Locker-QB-Washington

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    SEATTLE - OCTOBER 30:  Quarterback Jake Locker #10 of the Washington Huskies scrambles against the Stanford Cardinal on October 30, 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. Stanford won 41-0. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    The Vikings are in big need of a quarterback so look for them to try to get one early in the 2011 NFL Draft.  Locker may not be one of the hottest quarterbacks right now (heading into the draft) but he could be the most complete and perhaps the most ready quarterback in the draft this year.

    Last Mock: Ryan Mallett-QB-Arkansas

13. Detroit Lions (6-10)-Brandon Harris-CB-Miami

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    MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 9: Jermaine Thomas #38 of the Florida State Seminoles eludes the tackle of Brandon Harris #1 of the Miami Hurricanes to score a touchdown on October 9, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
    Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

    The Lions had problems keeping opponents from tearing up their secondary last season and they need help at the cornerback position.  Adding a guy like Harris would definitely be a step in the right direction for their defense and the team as a whole overall.

    Last Mock: Von Miller-LB-Texas A&M

14. St. Louis Rams (7-9)-Julio Jones-WR-Alabama

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    ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 01: Julio Jones #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide stiffarms Chris Rucker #29 of  the Michigan State Spartans during the Capitol One Bowl at the Florida Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Im
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Wide receiver is the most needy position on this team so grabbing Jones would be a good idea at this point in the draft.  Giving quarterback Sam Bradford a nice weapon at the receiver position would go a long way to help making their offense successful and much more productive.

    Last Mock: No Change

15. Miami Dolphins (7-9)-Mark Ingram-RB-Alabama

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    ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 01: Mark Ingram #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide scores a touchdown during the Capitol One Bowl against the Michigan State Spartans at the Florida Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Image
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    The Dolphins could look for a quarterback here as well if they don’t feel that current quarterback Chad Henne has what it takes to be their quarterback of the future.  If they don’t they should add a running back and Ingram, would be a solid addition to the team and help their offense out immensely.

    Last Mock: No Change

16. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8)-Ryan Kerrigan-DE-Purdue

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    WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - SEPTEMBER 20:  Quarterback Dan LeFevour #13 of the Central Michigan Chippewas is tackled by Ryan Kerrigan #94 of the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium on September 20, 2008 in West Lafayette, Indiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Jaguars pass rush has suffered the past couple of seasons and its time that they started to take care of that key defensive problem.  Kerrigan was a bit of a surprise coming out of Purdue but he’s going to be one of the most sought after defensive ends in the draft so if he’s there at number 16 then the Jaguars should snap him up.

    Last Mock: Aldon Smith-DE/OLB-Missouri

17. New England Patriots (from Oakland) (8-8)-Nate Solder-OT-Colorado

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    BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 04:  Brian Orakpo #98 of the Texas Longhorns rushes against Nate Solder #78 the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on October 4, 2008 in Boulder, Colorado. Texas defeated Colorado 38-14.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    The Patriots have two picks in the first round and could grab one of the best offensive linemen in the draft with their first pick.  There are some depth issues (to go along with some free agency issues) on the offensive line so adding an offensive lineman should be paramount here.

    Last Mock: Ryan Kerrigan-DE-Purdue

18. San Diego Chargers (9-7)-Cameron Heyward-DT/DE-Ohio State

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    COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 13:  Cameron Heyward #97 of the Ohio State Buckeyes chases after quarterback Matt McGloin #11 of the Penn State Nittany Lions at Ohio Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    The loss of linebacker Shawne Merriman still stings but they can take away some of that sting by getting a guy that can be flexible enough to play both inside and outside on the defensive line.  Heyward has his critics but the Chargers would do well by brining Heyward on board to help them out on defense.

    Last Mock: Cameron Jordan-DT/DT-California

19. New York Giants (10-6)-Tyron Smith-OT-USC

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 26:   Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans throws a pass as Tyron Smith #70 blocks Jesse Feagin #98 of  the Washington State Cougars during the second quarter of the college football game at the Los Angeles Memorial C
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    The Giants offensive line has suffered from age and lack of depth so it’s time that they go out and get an offensive lineman in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.  A guy like Smith wouldn’t be a bad addition to their offensive line and could help add increased protection for quarterback Eli Manning as well as some improvement in the running game.

    Last Mock: Nate Solder-OT-Colorado

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6)-J.J. Watt-DE-Wisconsin

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    PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the TCU Horned Frogs rushes with the ball as J.J. Watt #99 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs after him in the first quarter of the 97th Rose Bowl game on January 1, 2011 in Pasadena, California.  (Pho
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The Bucs helped solidify the interior of their defensive line by taking Gerald McCoy last year and they can improve their outside pass rush this year by adding a defensive end like Watt.  Watt is an intense player who plays the game well and can get to the quarterback.  He would be just what the Bucs need to help them get to the quarterback.

    Last Mock: No Change

21. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)-Justin Houston-DE/OLB-Georgia

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    ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 27:  Justin Houston #42 of the Georgia Bulldogs sacks quarterback Tevin Washington #13 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Sanford Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    After a great season with the Bulldogs Houston has decided to come out a year early and should make any NFL team that selects him happy.  The Chiefs need his kind of help on defense and could use him to help rush the passer and help take some of the pressure off of their secondary.  Houston could be the guy that helps them do that.

    Last Mock: Akeem Ayers-LB-UCLA

22. Indianapolis Colts (10-6)-Mike Pouncey-G/C-Florida

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    MIAMI - JANUARY 08: Mike Pouncey #55 of the Florida Gators reacts after a play against the Oklahoma Sooners in the FedEx BCS National Championship Game at Dolphin Stadium on January 8, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)
    Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

    The Colts are going to need to upgrade their offensive line this offseason and Florida’s Pouncey would be a good player to start with.  He can play both the guard and the center position which would work out well for the Colts and he’s the kind of player that would work very well in their system.

    Last Mock: Tyron Smith-OT-USC

23. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)-Gabe Carimi-OT-Wisconsin

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    COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 10:  Offensive lineman Gabe Carimi #68 of the Wisconsin Badgers blocks against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on October 10, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    The Eagles offensive line struggled to protect quarterback Michael Vick and allow holes to open up in the running game so the Eagles need to look at grabbing an offensive tackle in this draft.  Carimi may end up going higher by the time it’s all said but if he’s there the Eagles need to take him and improve their offense.

    Last Mock: Derek Sherrod-OT-Mississippi State

24. New Orleans Saints (11-5)-Robert Quinn-DT-North Carolina

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    EAST HARTFORD, CT - SEPTEMBER 12:  Cody Endres #12 of the Connecticut Huskies passes under pressure from Robert Quinn #42 of the North Carolinia Tar Heels pressures on September 12, 2009 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. The Tar Heels def
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Quinn may not end up going this low but the problems that he had in college may be enough to make him drop to the latter part of the first round.  The Saints need help on defense and could use help at both the defensive tackle and defensive end position and if the work on the interior first then Quinn could be their guy.

    Last Mock: Cameron Heyward-DT/DE-Ohio State

25. Seattle Seahawks (7-9)-Ryan Mallett-QB-Arkansas

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Quarterback Ryan Mallett #15 of the Arkansas Razorbacks looks to pass against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Matthew
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    The Seahawks didn’t find their quarterback of the future when they signed Charlie Whitehurst so they might make a run at a quarterback in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.  It’s not out of the question to think that Mallet may be there when they make their pick at number 25.  Could he be the quarterback of the future in Seattle?

    Last Mock: Brandon Harris-CB-Miami

26. Baltimore Ravens (12-4)-Akeem Ayers-DE/OLB-UCLA

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    PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Linebacker Akeem Ayers #10 of the UCLA Bruins in the game with the Houston Cougars at the Rose Bowl on September 18, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  UCLA won 31-13.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    If there is a cornerback available here that’s worthy of being selected here then you could expect the Ravens to go that route but if there isn’t they could add another pass rusher since they have really just one effective pass rusher on the team (Terrell Suggs).  Ayers could be the guy that helps the Ravens pass rush and gives them someone else to stand strong on defense with Suggs and Ray Lewis.

    Last Mock: Aaron Williams-CB-Texas

27. Atlanta Falcons (13-3)-Corey Liuget-DE/OLB-Illinois

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    The Falcons need another pass rusher on defense and at this point in the draft Liuget would be the best choice for them.  He can play the end position and also drop back into coverage which is needed from time to time in their defense so taking him would be a good idea for Atlanta.

    Last Mock: Gabe Carimi-OT-Wisconsin

28. New England Patriots (14-2)-Mikel Leshoure-RB-Illinois

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    CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 20: Mikel Leshoure #5 of the Illinois Fighting Illini runs past Bryce McNaul #51 of the Northwestern Wildcats on his way to a 339 yard rushing performance during a game played at Wrigley Field on November 20, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois.
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Patriots lack that true number one running back and it’s time that they got the true number one guy.  If Ingram is here he could be a choice but it’s likely he will be gone before this so they should take a look at Leshoure and try to consider if he will be able to handle the load for the Patriots offense in the future.

    Last Mock: Mike Pouncey-G/C-Florida

29. New York Jets (11-5)-Stephen Paea-DT-Oregon State

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    EUGENE, OR - DECEMBER 03:  Running back LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks rushes with the ball past tackle Stephen Paea #54 of the Oregon State Beavers at Autzen Stadium on December 3, 2009 in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)
    Tom Hauck/Getty Images

    Paea has suffered an injury which may drop him in the draft but he’s healthy enough (in terms of being able to recover from the injury) to be able to contribute to a team and make a difference at some point very early in his career.  The Jets are going to need the help on the line and Paea may be just what they need.

    Last Mock: Allen Bailey-DT-Miami

30. Chicago Bears (11-5)- Derek Sherrod-OT-Mississippi State

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 15:  J.C. Brignone #70 and Derek Sherrod #79of the Mississippi State Bulldogs get ready on the line of scrimmage during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 15, 2008 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    If the Bears were smart (and fans hope that they are) the Bears will tend to their needs on the offensive line right away and should look at taking the best offensive lineman available when they make their pick.  Sherrod should be considered the best offensive tackle available at this point although if Boston College’s Anthony Costonzo does a good job this offseason he could go to Chicago here.

    Last Mock: Anthony Costonzo-OT-Boston College

31. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)-Anthony Costonzo-OT-Boston College

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    The Steelers problems on their offensive line were well documented so they will go out and look for some help during the draft this year.  Costonzo hasn’t had a good start to his offseason but should be able to pick things up and show the Steelers that he would be worth taking here at number 31.

    Last Mock: Stephen Wisniewski-G/C-Penn State

32. Green Bay Packers (10-6) Titus Young-WR-Boise State

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    LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 22:  Titus Young #1 of the Boise State Broncos is tripped up by Brian Blechen #2 of the Utah Utes during the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas at Sam Boyd Stadium December 22, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Some people may scoff at the idea that the Packers may go for a wide receiver but with Donald Driver getting older and much more injury prone it’s possible that they could look for someone to start replacing him.  Imagine quarterback Aaron Rodgers having another good target to throw the ball too?  The Packers offense would be even more difficult to stop.

    Last Mock: Adrian Clayborn-DE-Iowa

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