2011 NFL Mock Draft: Which Quarterbacks Make It Into Round One?
Now that the NFL season is over, it is finally time to really start looking towards the 2011 NFL Draft.
Between now and April, each prospect is going to be evaluated, and will have every aspect of their game scrutinized.
There is the NFL Scouting combine, as well as each of the prospects’ Pro-Days in which each team will decide who is right for their franchise.
We are still a long way off from the big weekend however here is my first round mock draft.
1. Carolina Panthers
Da’Quan Bowers DE
With no quarterback worthy of the number one overall pick, the Panthers will go defense with Bowers.
The Panthers only had one guy over 4 sacks on the season and ranked 23rd against the run.
Bowers fits perfectly in the spot vacated by Julius Peppers, and has great athleticism and versatility, along with being one of the best pass rushers in the draft.
2. Denver Broncos
Patrick Peterson CB
The Broncos need a lot of help on the defensive side of the ball and could go with DT Nick Fairly here as well since they ranked 31st in rushing in 2010.
They are probably going to lose Champ Bailey to free agency and even if they do not, he is not getting any younger.
Peterson is athletic enough to play any position in the secondary as well as contributing to the return game.
3. Buffalo Bills
Nick Fairley DT
The Bills played pretty well at times last season on offense and picking A.J. Green would continue to improve that side of the ball.
That being said, the Bills ranked 32nd against the run, allowing almost 170 yards on the ground per game in 2010.
Fairly had a monster year in college last season and will be able to plug up some of the open rushing lanes.
4. Cincinnati Bengals
A.J. Green WR
The Cincinnati Bengals were one of the most disappointing teams last season and could undergo a ton of changes this offseason.
Marvin Lewis is back, however Carson Palmer wants out, Terrell Owens and Cedric Benson are free agents, and they will probably get rid of Chad Ochocinco.
Even though A.J. Green does not have blazing speed, he is by far the best receiver in the draft with great hands and improved route running.
5. Arizona Cardinals
Von Miller OLB
The Cardinals biggest need is quarterback however I am convinced that they are going to sign a veteran in free agency.
This will allow them to upgrade a defense ranked 29th overall and which did not have a guy get more than 6 sacks.
Von Miller is the best overall linebacker in this draft and has the explosiveness to get to the quarterback, along with the versatility to drop into coverage.
6. Cleveland Browns
Cameron Jordan DE
The Browns looked to have taken a few steps forward in 2010 and they could opt to give Colt McCoy a new weapon in Julio Jones here.
Cleveland is going to change from a 3-4 to a 4-3 and they need to improve their 27th ranked run defense.
Jordan had a great Senior Bowl and is a perfect fit for a 4-3 end along with being versatile enough to play the end in a 3-4.
7. San Francisco 49ers
Prince Amukamara CB
The 49ers have some good pieces on the offensive side of the ball with Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, etc., and I think they won’t go quarterback until round 2 or 3.
With only 15 interceptions on the season, the 49ers defense ranked 24th against the pass in 2010 with their leading interceptor being a tie between three guys with 3.
Amukamara has the size you want in a corner, good speed, and great cover skills along with being a factor in the run game.
8. Tennessee Titans
Blaine Gabbert QB
After the Titans trade/release Vince Young, the only quarterback that will be on the roster will be Rusty Smith.
With Andrew Luck going back to school, there could really be a million different orders of which quarterbacks will go where.
Gabbert seems to have all of the physical tools needed to be a franchise quarterback and with a good showing at the combine and his Pro day, he should be the first quarterback chosen.
9. Dallas Cowboys
Marcell Dareus DT
After losing starting quarterback Tony Romo in week 7 and starting the season 1-7, the Cowboys finished strong with a 5-3 record.
They could really use an offensive tackle to help protect Tony Romo, however I just think it is too high for any offensive lineman at this point.
Dareus is a great value pick here and will fit into any scheme the Cowboys run and help to improve that 23rd ranked defense.
10. Washington Redskins
Jake Locker QB
The Mike Shanahan dictatorship continues in Washington and in the end I think he will continue to try and keep proving that it is his team and will draft Jake Locker.
Even though his stock has dropped significantly all season, it has been rumored that the Redskins like Locker.
Locker has the potential to develop with a good arm and mobility although he has been very inconsistent with his accuracy.
11. Houston Texans
Robert Quinn DE
With Wade Phillips bringing the 3-4 to the Texans, there are going to be some changes on the defensive side of the ball.
The Texans had the worst pass defense in the league and would benefit greatly from adding a pass rusher.
Quinn was suspended for the entire season and yet is still regarded as one of the best pass rushers in the draft and has the athletic ability of a 3-4 rush outside linebacker.
12. Minnesota Vikings
Tyron Smith OT
The Vikings lured Brett Favre out of retirement for one more magical year and instead they saw his streak of consecutive games end, and a 6-10 season.
Favre is gone and it looks to me like the Vikings are going to end up with Vince Young so they won’t be going quarterback in the first round.
I am a bigger fan of Nate Solder however Tyron Smith has been flying up boards and could become the top tackle in the draft with his showings at the combine and Pro day.
13. Detroit Lions
Nate Solder OT
When you look back, the Lions were not really that bad last season, and finished the year with a 4 game win streak.
The problem has been keeping Matthew Stafford healthy and drafting Nate Solder would be a good step in that direction.
Solder could be the top tackle taken in this draft, and can play on either side on his way to being a future mainstay at left tackle for years for the Lions.
14. St. Luis Rams
Jimmy Smith CB
The Rams were one of the surprise teams in the NFL last season, led by offensive rookie of the year, Sam Bradford.
Most have the Rams going with a receiver here however they will be getting back both Mark Clayton and Donnie Avery from injury.
Offensive line is a strong possibility here, although I think they will elect to keep improving their defense with Smith, who has become the third rated corner in the draft.
15. Miami Dolphins
Cam Newton QB
This might be a surprise to some, although Chad Henne did not look good last season and Newton could sit behind him for at least a season while he develops.
In the mean time the Dolphins could come up with a package in his rookie year like with what the Broncos did with Tim Tebow.
Newton is maybe the best athlete in the draft and his quarterback skills are severely underrated, although like I said, he would need to develop and fine tune his game.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars
Julio Jones WR
After taking Tyson Alualu, who turned out to be a good player, with the 10th overall pick last year, no one really knows who the Jaguars are going to select.
I could see them going defensive again with someone like Adrian Clayborn, or maybe going offensive with Mark Ingram to get some insurance for Maurice Jones-Drew.
The best option in my opinion would be Jones, the 2nd rated receiver in the draft, who is a physical threat.
17. New England Patriots (From Oakland Raiders)
Ryan Kerrigan DE
The Patriots leading sack guy last season was Mike Wright with 5.5 and the defense as a whole was ranked 30th against the pass.
Kerrigan is the type of versatile player that the Patriots love to draft and he brings with him a relentless, non-stop motor.
He led the nation in tackles for loss and will help the Patriots as a stout run stuffer and has the potential to be a prolific pass rusher.
18. San Diego Chargers
Akeem Ayers OLB
The Chargers were one of the biggest enigmas of the NFL last season by which they had the number one ranked offense and defense and still missed the playoffs.
That being said, the Chargers could use help at every level of their defense and especially in their pass rush.
Larry English has not really panned out to this point and Akeem Ayers has the versatility to drop into coverage as well as rush the passer.
19. New York Giants
Mark Ingram RB
Ahmad Bradshaw is a free agent and the Giants will probably cut Brandon Jacobs since he is due to earn over 4 million for the next two years.
Even if the Giants resign Bradshaw, who has had a fumbling problem and is coming off ankle surgery, they are going to want to split up some of his carries this season.
Ingram is the only running back worth a first round pick in my opinion and brings good vision and speed as well as being able to help out in the passing game.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Adrian Clayborn DE
The Buccaneers bolstered their defensive line by drafting defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price in last year’s draft.
Now they could look to solidify that defensive line by improving the end position with Adrian Clayborn.
Clayborn was at one point considered a top ten pick in the draft and is a solid pass rusher along with being good against the run.
21. Kansas City Chiefs
Mike Pouncey C/G
The Chiefs have a lot of good young pieces on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
They could go with a rush outside linebacker here, but guard Brian Waters is not getting any younger, and it never hurts a team to get better on the offensive line.
Mike, like his brother Maurkice, brings versatility in his ability to play both guard and center, although he is probably better suited for guard early in his career.
22. Indianapolis Colts
Anthony Castonzo OT
I really would not be surprised if the Colts took a receiver in this spot given that Reggie Wayne is getting older, Anthony Gonzalez is always hurt, and Pierre Garcon is inconsistent.
I think the better option would be to keep Peyton Manning upright by upgrading their offensive line.
Castonzo’s strength is his smarts and his pass blocking, which is a great fit for the Colts, and could step in at either left or right tackle.
23. Philadelphia Eagles
Gabe Carimi OT
The Eagles have just franchised starting quarterback Michael Vick and are going to attempt to sign him to a long term deal.
Vick was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year after having a great season however missed three weeks due to injury in the middle of the season.
Carimi could step in day one at right tackle or move inside to guard and will add extra protection to keep Michael Vick on the field.
24. New Orleans Saints
J.J. Watt DE
The Saints need to improve their rush defense and need someone opposite Will Smith on the defensive line.
Watt might not be here by the time draft day gets here, and the Saints could go with a pass rusher in Justin Houston or Aldon Smith.
If Watt is here he would be the perfect fit in the Saints defensive scheme, and would bring a relentless motor and versatility.
25. Seattle Seahawks
Corey Liuget DT
The Seahawks could go for a quarterback in this spot however I really think they are going to wait for one and give the starting job to Charlie Whitehurst.
They won the NFC West, due to a terrible division, however they also had the 27th ranked pass defense and 21st ranked rush defense.
Liuget is actually rated higher than this and is a great value pick here for the Seahawks who need to improve on the defensive side of the ball.
26. Baltimore Ravens
Aaron Williams CB
The Ravens’ most pressing needs in my opinion would be to get a speed receiver and help in the secondary.
They could also look to add a pass rusher opposite Terrell Suggs, although that could hinge on the health of last year’s second round pick, Sergio Kindle.
Williams has good size and speed and will help improve the Ravens 21st ranked pass defense, along with contributing on special teams.
27. Atlanta Falcons
Aldon Smith DE
Even though the Falcons finished the season at 13-3, the best record in the NFC, they have some holes to fill on both sides of the ball.
They could use another receiver opposite Roddy White, secondary help, and another pass rusher besides John Abraham.
Smith is projected as one of the best pass rushers in the draft and is a steal at this point in the first round.
28. New England Patriots
Benjamin Ijalana OT
Even though the Patriots just franchised starting guard Logan Mankins, they still need to upgrade the offensive line.
The Patriots are going to trade one of their two picks, but Matt Light and Stephen Neal are both getting up there in age.
Ijalana is not as high on some boards however he has great potential and would provide depth for the Patriots.
29. Chicago Bears
Torry Smith WR
The Bears leading receiver in 2010 only had 51 receptions, and they did not have anyone go over 1000 yards.
Devin Hester did not even have 500 yards receiving and the rest of their receivers look more like they would be better suited as 2nd and 3rd guys.
Torry Smith has the potential to be the number one receiver the Bears need with great speed to go down field and good size to go over the middle.
30. New York Jets
Phil Taylor DT
I think this pick really hinges on what the Jets do in free agency as they could possibly lose wide receivers Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, and Brad Smith in free agency.
I don’t think they will lose all three but losing two is a strong possibility, and could prompt the Jets to take a receiver here like a Randall Cobb, Titus Young, or Leonard Hankerson.
Kris Jenkins seems to be hurt every year, and Taylor is a perfect fit for that nose position in the 3-4 defense.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers
Derrick Sherrod OT
I have been getting the feeling that the Steelers are going to trade out of this spot into the second round and take the top interior lineman available.
If they stay at this spot however, I see them getting a guy in Sherrod who could step in day one at right tackle and possibly develop into a good left tackle.
This would give the Steelers better depth on the offensive line, meaning they can better protect Ben Roethlisberger and open up more holes for Rashard Mendenhall.
32. Green Bay Packers
Muhammad Wilkerson DE
The Packers look pretty solid on the offensive side of the ball so this pick will probably be put to improving the defense.
Tramon Williams has really developed at corner and they got good contributions from Sam Shields and Jarrett Bush, yet I can still see them going corner with this pick.
They might lose Cullen Jenkins to free agency though and Wilkerson brings the versatility to be able to play in all of the Packers different defensive looks.