2011 NFL Mock Draft: All 32 First Round Selections With Video Highlight Reels
Sure, it might be a little early for all this, but tell that to Mel Kiper and Todd McShay.
The truth is, many of the players I've chosen to be selected in the first round are relatively easy picks. The hard part is matching them with each teams needs.
With defensive forces Nick Fairly and D'Quan Bowers leading the discussion this year, let's get to know the other big names who might be headliners for your favorite team for years to come.
First Pick, Carolina Panthers Select Nick Fairley (DT, Auburn Tigers)
If you witnessed the BCS National Championship, you saw the budding NFL potential that is Nick Fairley. If you've been under a rock, you might want to check out his highlight video.
Fairley has the speed and quickness to become a premiere pass rusher, even when he's not healthy. He's showed resilience in his young age, and looks to mimic that of a young Julius Peppers, something Carolina would love to have back on their side.
Fairley arguably has the most potential of anyone in the draft in 2011.
Second Pick, Denver Broncos Select Da'Quan Bowers (DT, Clemson)
Bowers and Fairley are two of the best DL's we've seen in the 2010/'11 season. They both posses the ability to blow up a play and solidify a line.
Denver had some big problems on defense last year especially against the run. Bowers can shore up the line, and allow for Denver to quickly move towards stability on the defensive front.
In the video, Bowers pounces on one of the best option quarterbacks in College Football, a sure fire clue that his acceleration is on point for chasing down the likes of AFC West quarterbacks.
As a Raider fan at heart, this pick scares me.
Third Pick, Buffalo Bills Select Von Miller (OLB Texas A&M)
Von Miller is a solid selection in Buffalo. I think Buffalo fans may have hoped that Bowers or Fairley could drop, but overall, this isn't a bad guy to settle with. The 2010 Butkus award winner, Miller looks to ride his magical 2010 campaign into the NFL.
Kiper brought up the notion that Cam Newton could land in the third spot, but I happen to like what Fitzpatrick brings to the table. With several early draft selections, the Bills can take a gander at QB's later in the drafting process.
For now, Von Miller can solidify his place as head-knocker within the BIlls linebacking core.
Fourth Pick, Cincinnati Bengals Select A.J Green (WR, Georgia)
Is it possible that the Bengals will lose their quarterback and one of their top recievers? If so, which one would you like to replace with the talent given?
I believe A.J Green is the type of player who has to be taken at No. 4 overall, simply because of his skill set. The Bengals can certainly use a receiver of his caliber after the lack-luster performance of Chad Johnson.
I battled myself with this pick because of the need to replace Carson Palmer, and settled with A.J because of his packaged NFL potential.
If it's not A.J, I like Blaine Gabbert ending up on the Bengals.
Fifth Pick, The Arizona Cardinals Select Blaine Gabbert (QB Missouri)
Gabbert has been heralded as the best QB in the draft, and rightly so. The Panthers could certainly use him at first overall, but with the powerhouse class that is 2011's DL crew, he falls all the way to No. 5.
I don't think Cardinals fans are too mad about this one.
I wonder if Derek Anderson is laughing now.
Sixth Pick, The Cleveland Browns Select Julio Jones (WR Alabama)
The first surprise of my 2011 mock draft, Julio Jones climbs the ranks to join the Browns.
One of the most impressive receivers I've seen all year, I don't get why analysts have him outside of the top 10. In my opinion, Green and Jones might be the two guys from this years drafts who receive the most fame and fortune.
McCoy looked shaky at times, but still had solid wins over the Patriots and Saints. If he is the guy in 2011, Julio Jones would make like a lot easier if he can continue to run routes like he has been.
And yes, I know the video is against SJSU, but you can't deny that one handed catch.
Seventh Pick, San Francisco 49ers Select Patrick Peterson (CB, LSU)
There's no way around it. If the Niners can get Peterson at No. 7, their defense officially has turned the corner.
A return specialist as well as a lock down corner, Peterson has the ability to give the 49ers front line added time to reach the quarterback, which could lead to more of an emergence of Patrick Willis. That seems like it's unfathomable, but entirely possible.
Patrick Peterson might be the best corner in the draft since Charles Woodson as far as displaying the total package: Special Teams, lock down coverage, and playmaking ability.
I know of many fans in SF that agree with this pick whole-heartily.
Eighth Pick, The Tennessee Titans Select Marcell Dareus (DL Alabama)
Hold on Titan fans, I know y'all need a quarterback. With Gabbert off the board, and Cam Newton the next in line, I don't think that Tennessee will gamble on a player who resembles Vince Young. It's just my opinion obviously, but I can see the Titans picking up Andy Dalton, Ryan Mallet, or another player on day two of the NFL Draft.
With that being said, Marcell Dareus is no pick to shake a stick at. He's versatile, he's proven, and can wreck shop for young offensive lineman across the league.
His big value comes in the form of being able to fit in any scheme.
Ninth Pick, Dallas Cowboys Select J.J. Watt (DE Wisconsin)
Watt is a monster, and with the Cowboys defense shaping up for their 3-4 next season, J.J. Watt could be a driving force.
The Cowboys will have to address their need for a cornerback later in the draft.
Tenth Pick, Washington Redskins Select Cam Newton (QB Auburn)
Who knows what's in store for McNabb. With all that drama aside, Cam Newton could find a perfect long-term home in the nations capitol.
Newton, who some have rising up into the top five possibly landing in Buffalo, is a sure fire 10th overall pick. He could, and most likely will be the biggest draft day steal once his NFL Career hits mid-stride.
Newton has some of the most raw physical traits of the draft class, and the idea that he isn't a good pocket passer? I'd have to respectably disagree.
The bigger question for the Redskins is Donovan McNabb, and where he's headed.
If he stays, it changes things drastically.
I'll stick to my guns and say Newton either gets his chance in DC, or gets a couple of years being mentored by one of the leagues most celebrated veteran.
11th Pick, Houston Texans Select Prince Amukamara (CB Nebraska)
Heralded as arguably the best all around cornerback in this years draft, Prince looks to bring his skill set to Houston, a place that could really use a lock-down corner.
If Amukamara goes earlier in the draft to say, the Browns, look for the Texans to obtain Julio Jones, setting up a really scary receiver core.
As far as team needs, I feel as if Prince solidifies one major concern heading into next season.
12th Pick, Minnesota Vikings Select Robert Quinn (DE North Carolina)
After a year-long suspension put him on the shelve for 2010, Robert Quinn will realize the true impact on Draft Day.
A potential top five pick, Quinn will fall out of the top 10.
Not all are losers in this situation however. The Vikings will receive a talented young man with a chip on his shoulder, two traits that are not bad in a young pick.
I'm very anxious to see how Quinn can bounce back from his dramatic college career.
13th Pick, Detroit Lions Select Jimmy Smith (CB Colorado)
An unsung hero, Jimmy Smith made his name in the Senior Bowl this season. Many quarterbacks were just afraid to toss his side the ball making it hard for him to get into the spotlight, a lot like how Nnamdi Asomugha is treated.
As Kiper states, and actually I agree with him on his placement of Jimmy Smith, this kid is a late riser.
If you haven't heard of him, check out his highlight video.
14th Pick, The St. Louis Rams Select Nate Solder (OT Colorado)
Back-to-back Buffaloes seems unlikely, but that's how I see it playing out. I suspect that the Rams major target is Julio Jones, however I feel as if Julio Jones will impress even more teams during the work-out combine.
If the Rams don't trade up to snag Julio Jones, or he doesn't drop to No.14, look for the Rams to address the offensive-line, and stitch up protection issues for Sam Bradford and the Rams, who were one game out of the playoffs.
Solder stands at 6-foot-8, and is a physical specimen. He could be a starter for years to come but will take some time to mature in the NFL.
15th Pick, Miami Dolphins Select Mark Ingram (RB Alabama)
On almost every board I've seen thus far, Ingram seems to be the perfect fit in Miami.
His running style is conducive for any wildcat look, and he certainly has the ability to shoulder the load. Mark Ingram is proven, and his running style is low to the ground, something that has been effective throughout NFL history.
16th Pick, The Jacksonville Jaguars Select Adrian Clayborne (DE Iowa)
Clayborne was initially my defensive playmaker of the year in early 2010, but with the plight of Fairley and Bowers, Clayborne assumes the position down near the end of the first round.
It was a toss up between Clayborne and Quinn for the 12th spot in Minnesota, but I feel as if Quinn fits better in Minnesota.
The Jaguars will have a force in AC, and I know I'm looking forward to it.
17th Pick, New England Patriots Select Cameron Jordan (DE Cal)
Cameron Jordan is one of those Patriots ideal draft picks. He's a quick blitzing end, and can be versatile in a Patriots scheme.
It's a little ironic that New England might take a player from the surrounding Oakland area with Oakland's draft pick.
18th Pick, San Diego Chargers Select Ryan Kerrigan (DE Purdue)
Kerrigan is a lumbering DE out of Purdue, and can pack a punch.
San Diego could use some rushing presence next season, and with offensive needs that can be tackled later in the draft, this is a safe pick for San Diego.
19th Pick, New York Giants Select Tyron Smith (OL USC)
Some serious protection is what Smith offers in this years draft.
Eli Manning could use some of that at this point in his career. Tyron Smith is also underrated as far as blocking for the run is concerned, as with his football coaching taking place at an NFL ready program, USC, Tyron Smith is prepared for the big leagues.
20th Pick, Tampa Bay Bucs Select Aldon Smith (DE, OLB Missouri)
Another versatile guy, Aldon Smith would be a perfect fit in Tampa.
Because he's a junior and skipped out on his Senior year, it's probable that this will be a steal. Mel Kiper made reference to the fact that if he had chosen to stay, he might be a top 10 kind of selection.
Stay tuned for the young Aldon Smith, because once he grows into his own skin, he will be a force, more so then he already is.
21st Pick, Kansas City Chiefs Select Akeem Ayers (OLB UCLA)
Ayers is crazy athletic. He will give the Chiefs a much needed OLB, and will allow for more packages, as Ayers is excellent at rushing the passer and dropping back into coverage.
Ayers will look to give KC yet another big name defensive playmaker, and again, as a fan of the AFC West, there is some serious potential headed our way in the form of big-play defensive forces.
This would be an amazing selection for the Chiefs.
22nd Pick, Indianapolis Colts Select Anthony Castonzo (OT Boston Coll.)
With the face of the franchise lining up for every snap, no other team stresses the importance of an O-line presence like the Colts.
Castonzo is a beast, and can certainly be a pillar in Indy if he can pick up the crazy play formations constantly switching at the line.
I like this pick for the Colts, and Castonzo could certainly make it a worth while draft pick for the next several years.
23rd Pick, Philadelphia Eagles Select Gabe Carimi (OT Wisconsin)
Gabe Carimi is another solid lineman pick. He ranks in the top five available, and will be a great fit in Philly.
The Eagles want to set up a legit future for their speedy backs, and with where the Eagles are at in the talent department, taking a lineman with the first round pick is not going to be looked down upon.
It will be interesting to see if Carimi can make a quicker impact then Castonzo, a player taken directly before him.
24th Pick, New Orleans Saints Select Corey Liuget (DE Illinois)
Luiget is a monster, and it can be considered a mild surprise that I have him falling down near the end of the first round. His highlight videos are solid, and he knows how to play against some of the toughest talent in college football, as Illinois' defense showed all of us over and over again (except for the Michigan game).
The Saints can use anyone on the front line, offense or defense. Luiget is a solid pass rusher, and will give the Saints a little more freedom in how many guys they decide to send on blitzes if Corey can add pressure.
25th Pick, Seattle Seahawks Select Jake Locker (QB Washington)
Jake Locker has quick feet, knowledge of a pro style offense, and all the tools necessary to become an every day starter in the NFL.
Picked by many as perhaps the best quarterback leading into the 2010 College Football season, Locker didn't live up to the intense hype. Hampered by injuries, Washington had a mediocre season with him at the helm, albeit he did lead the way to an exciting win over USC.
Locker will be in the ideal situation, not just because he'd only be moving down the street to play his games, but because Matt Hasselbeck is a perfect mentor for his remaining years.
Locker could be the guy Seattle hand the torch.
26th Pick, Baltimore Ravens Select Randall Cobb (WR Kentucky)
This speedy wide-out is just what the doctor ordered in Baltimore. With the addition of Boldin, many NFL fans thought that the Ravens would be contending in the AFC Championship. I happen to beleive that Joe Flacco gets a little too much credit, and being better then he is.
It's not a knock on him, he's a fine quarterback. Just not as good as he's portrayed sometimes.
Unleashing a guy like Cobb in Baltimore would give Flacco another reason to air it out, and could possibly open things up underneath for Bolding and Heap.
Cobb was electrifying to watch this season, and I really hope he continues to impress.
27th Pick, Atlanta Falcons Select Muhammad Wilkerson (DE Temple)
Similar to Marcel Dareus, Wilkerson can get to the quarterback. The Falcons are pretty stacked on defense, however any team could use the presence of a big-play DE.
Atlanta gave up over 40 in their post-season debut this season raising the stakes on how they choose to approach the 2011 NFL Draft. I, for one, think Atlanta will stick to defensive needs as a theme this offseason.
28th Pick, New England Patriots Select Rahim Moore (S UCLA)
The Patriots aren't in the business of drafting safety's as early as this, but in this case it's the best talent available.
The secondary option would be to draft a a speedy reciever like Torrey Smith out of Maryland, or go after a pass-rusher, Cameron Heyward from Ohio State.
All three would be viable options, however I believe they stick with the California draft picks and take the hard-hitting and sure-handed Rahim Moore.
29th Pick, Chicago Bears Select Ben Ijalana (OT Villanova)
I think the Bears have to take a lineman early in this draft after all the press they received for getting banged up in the pocket. I'm not sure of the stats, but I've heard that Cutler was hit more then any other QB last season, which seems likely.
With the addition of Ijalana, the Bears can address talent issues later in the draft. Cutler would be thrilled to get this guy in front of him.
30th Pick, New York Jets Select Cameron Heyward (DE Ohio State)
i think this is a no-brainer for the Jets. Reports indicated that Rex Ryan wanted to go after a pass-rusher, and this would be the guy to take at pick No.30.
Heyward terrorized players throughout his career, and has the frame to build on his size and strength,
Overall, he's a good fit in NY.
31st Pick, Pittsburgh Steelers Select Mike Pouncey (C/G Florida)
This would be a great story from draft day: Two siblings reunite on the same team, and possibly right next to each other.
Mike Pouncey can play both guard and center, and if the Steelers can groom him like they seem to do with all of their lineman, he will be part of a very intriguing line in Pitt.
He is hands down the best center in the draft, but because it's so heavily weighted on the defensive side, Pouncey will likely fall to Pittsburgh at 31, or even down into the second round.
32nd Pick, Green Bay Packers Select Justin Houston (OLB Georgia)
Justin Houston isn't the pick Green Bay needs. What he is will be a Dom Capers agility option.
The Packers are good on defense, that's pretty much known. Adding a guy like Justin Houston provides the Pack with another no-name option around the league who possesses the ability to strike around the edge and flatten a quarterback, all because they won't focus on him.
I like this selection for Green Bay at No. 32.