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Spring Fling: Mocking The 2011 NFL Draft (Picks 1-32)

Jackson MitchellContributor IOctober 7, 2016

Spring Fling: Mocking The 2011 NFL Draft (Picks 1-32)

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    Well, draft season is now in full swing.

    With the combine and pre-draft workouts next up on the docket, it's time for me to post my first mock draft installment.

    I'm Jack Mitchell, and my website, The Mitchell Draft Company," is an up-and-coming draft website that I would encourage you to check out for my two-round mock draft, 2011 and 2012 big boards and individual prospect analysis from quarterbacks to safeties. Without further ado, here's the commish!

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

1st Overall Pick (CAR): Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

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    The Panthers really had their eye fixed on Andrew Luck for this pick. His unceremonious return to Stanford has put Carolina in the position of possibly having back-to-back first round picks, as the quarterback situation for the Panthers is laughable and that’s putting it nicely. Jimmy Clausen never once looked like a franchise quarterback last season, and he just doesn’t seem to have the drive and strong work-ethic to thrive in the NFL. Matt Moore was very disappointing after his strong finish to 2009 and coaches had high hopes for his future.

    The Panthers will most likely test the free-agent market for a quarterback and move to fill a defensive need, such as the defensive line.

    New head coach Ron Rivera was the defensive coordinator for San Diego prior to his hiring by Carolina and he certainly knows that they key to shutting down the run game is a strong line, which the Panthers lack.

    As a team, they finished 23rd in the league in rushing yards allowed,and Nick Hayden and Derek Landri are okay, but can improve. Nick Fairley is a dominant, disruptive tackle who had a fantastic 2010 campaign, in which he consistently schooled opponents at the highest level of college competition. The winner of the 2010 Rotary Lombardi award, Fairley is a very safe pick who is pro-ready, similar to Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy last year.

    He is a fantastic prospect who deserves a long look from Carolina.

    Other Options:

    DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson

    WR A.J. Green, Georgia

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

2nd Overall Pick (DEN): Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Broncos need help in a lot of places on defense, and with an aging front line and a secondary on the decline, John Elway can go one of two ways with this pick.

    The first way would be to take LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, the best corner in the NCAA last season, who would add an instant spark to the secondary and replace Champ Bailey if he decides to move on in free agency.

    The second way would be to take dominant Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, who enjoyed a fantastic 2010 season in which he lead the NCAA in sacks.He fits a huge need for Denver, who will need some pieces to add to their new 4-3 scheme that new head coach John Fox has brought to town.

    Fox saw something in a little player by the name of Peppers, whom he drafted with the second overall pick in 2002 and look where his career has gone.

    Bowers could contribute immediately to the Broncos and their lackluster pass-rush and add a dangerous element to a defensive line that looked old and tired last season.

    Other Options:

    CB Patrick Peterson, LSU

    DT Nick Fairley, Auburn

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

3rd Overall Pick (BUF): Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

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    If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the Bills and their draft habits, it is definitely their knack for taking the guy you least expect them to take. Last year it was C.J. Spiller, a home run hitting running back with explosive speed, but at the same time a guy who filled none of their most pressing needs.

    Offensive tackle, outside linebacker and a laundry list of other positions were talked about, but in the end, the Bills caved and took the strongest offensive threat on the board.

    If Buffalo was dumb enough to take C.J. Spiller with the 9th overall pick, I’ll bet they’ll be dumb enough to take Cam Newton with the 3rd overall pick in the 2011 draft.

    Personally, I like Ryan Fitzpatrick. I have nothing against him and I think he went above and beyond what everyone expected of him last year as the full-time starter. However, having the option of taking one of the most dominant players to ever play college football may prove to be too much for Chan Gailey and Co.

    There’s no doubting Cam Newton’s vast talents, but he is far from being a starting quarterback in the NFL, as his decision making abilities, football IQ and character are all suspect.

    The fact of the matter is, though, the Bills have already voiced praise for Newton and they may be the highest picking team to show interest in him come April.

    Other Options:

    OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M

    DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

4th Overall Pick (CIN): A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

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    With Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens possibly both on the way out, the Bengals won’t be left with much proven talent at wide receiver.

    Andre Caldwell had three good games to wrap up the season, but he has been an afterthought after being drafted in 2008.

    Jerome Simpson had back-to-back 100+ yard games in Weeks 16 and 17, and the team has always spoken very highly of him.

    Jordan Shipley was a very pleasant surprise this season as well, but Cincinnati just needs that stud No. 1 receiver to jump-start their weak offense.

    A.J. Green, similar to Patrick Peterson, is a rare prospect who comes and demands attention. He is being mentioned in the same breath as past top picks like Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald and he is a sure thing for the top five in the 2011 draft.

    Green is widely considered to be the best wide receiver to enter the draft in the past few years and he fills a huge need for the Bengals, who’s roster will be a mess next season.

    Other Options:

    CB Patrick Peterson, LSU

    DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

5th Overall Pick (ARI): Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M

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    The Cardinals scored what they thought was a above-average pass-rusher when they snagged Joey Porter in free agency last offseason, but the team ended the season with one of the weakest pass-rushing units in the league.

    The outside linebackers were sub-par at best, and the combo of Porter, Paris Lenon, and Clark Haggans was painful to watch. All three players are on the wrong side of thirty, and their future careers are bleak.

    If Von Miller makes it past the Bills at 3rd overall, I wouldn’t expect the Cardinals to pass on him. Miller’s stock is currently on fire, and his Senior Bowl performance is a main reason why.

    He showed tremendous playmaking ability, a high motor, as well as the ability to drop into coverage, one of the original big question marks with his game. He showed that he is a complete linebacker, as we already know he is a tremendous pass-rusher.

    Miller fills one of Arizona’s biggest needs and I think Blaine Gabbert is the only other player who deserves a look by the Cardinals in this year’s draft.

    Other Options:

    QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri

    CB Patrick Peterson, LSU

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

6th Overall Pick (CLE): Robert Quinn, DE/LB, North Carolina

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    The core of the Browns defense is crumbling.

    Cleveland’s defensive ends are both pretty terrible, with Keyon Coleman on the left and Brian Schaefering on the right.

    With the Browns ushering a new era under head coach Pat Shurmur and defensive coordinator Dick Jauron, look for a lot of changes to be made across the board. Jauron is a proponent of the 4-3 defense, so I think the Browns will look for the best player that fits that scheme, which in this case would be North Carolina’s Robert Quinn.

    In light of the recent release of linebackers Eric Barton and David Bowens, linebacker has been thrust to the forefront of the Browns’ list of needs.

    Also, a defensive end that fits the 4-3 scheme will be needed, and Quinn fits the bill for both duties.

    Despite being out of football for a year, Robert Quinn is a dominant defensive force when he’s on, and I think a solid combine showing will solidify him as a top ten pick.

    He would start immediately in Cleveland, as well as give them an elite pass-rusher off the edge.

    Other Options:

    DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama

    WR A.J. Green, Georgia

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

7th Overall Pick (SF): Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

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    San Francisco has very little to write home about at corner apart from Nate Clements, who has been disappointing for a couple of seasons now. Clements is 31 years old and if his career ended today, the 49ers would be in trouble in the secondary.

    Patrick Peterson presents a prospect who has NFL size and a pro-ready skill set, and he is widely considered to be one of the best corner prospects to come along for some time. Peterson would start immediately for San Fran and he would supplant Clements when his career with the 49ers ends, as well as add a punt and kick return element.

    Defense is more a priority for the 49ers, but don’t count out new head coach Jim Harbaugh taking a long look at Blaine Gabbert or one of the other quarterback prospects.

    If they can’t land one of the free agent quarterbacks, then Gabbert is the pick here, but otherwise, look for the 49ers to improve their defense.

    Other Options:

    QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri

    DE/LB Robert Quinn, North Carolina

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

8th Overall Pick (TEN): Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

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    The Titans need for a new franchise quarterback is becoming more and more of an issue, and it looks like they might be headed towards solving that problem with his pick.

    Vince Young is out, and Kerry Collins isn’t an NFL starter anymore, which leaves Tennessee with basically nothing at the position.

    New head coaches usually like to find their “own guy” at quarterback, and I think Mike Munchak might want to start off his new era with the Titans with a bang and select his franchise quarterback of the future.

    There are a lot of questions with Blaine Gabbert, namely his lack of pro-style experience and questionable decision making ability. However, he can make all the NFL throws, he completes a high percentage of his passes, and he has prototypical size and bulk for the position.

    He is definitely not as pro-ready as Sam Bradford or Matthew Stafford were coming out of college, but with a season or two of development, most people believe he can develop into a solid starter in the NFL.

    Other Options:

    DE/LB Aldon Smith, Missouri

    QB Cam Newton, Auburn

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

9th Overall Pick (DAL): Cameron Jordan, DE, California

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    The Cowboys have a lot of needs on defense, with the two marquee positions being defensive back and defensive end.

    There has been a lot of speculation and argument surrounding Prince Amukamara, with the main concern being that he may not have enough speed to remain at corner at the next level.

    Some argue that switching him to free safety may fit his skill set better and allow him to become a better professional, but that isn’t something I’m about to agree or disagree with. I have Amukamara as a corner in my rankings, and I don’t plan on changing that any time soon.

    However, the Cowboys need a sure thing, not a guy who is going to bounce around to different positions and be a science experiment. I think Cameron Jordan is as close as any team can get to a sure thing in this draft, with experience in a 3-4 and intriguing NFL bloodlines under his belt.

    Dallas may be on the hunt for a replacement for pedestrian right end Igor Olshansky, and I think Jordan would make a lot of sense.

    Other Options:

    CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska

    OT Nate Solder, Colorado

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

10th Overall Pick (WAS): Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama

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    Few positive things can be said about the Washington Redskins.

    They have a quarterback dilemma, running back issues, and an underachieving defense.

    The quarterback problem is by far the most pressing, as Donovan McNabb isn’t coming back and Rex Grossman is, well, gross. If neither Blaine Gabbert nor Cam Newton make a dive to 10th overall, then I fully expect the defensive line to become the main focus. Albert Haynesworth is a great player, but I think the gap between him and the Redskins franchise has grown to a irreversible distance, and its becoming less and less likely that we’ll see him in a Redskins uniform ever again.

    Also, Kedric Golston and Adam Carriker don’t really get the job done at the two defensive end spots.

    Marcell Dareus is a top five talent, but there aren’t a great deal of teams in the top ten who really require his services.

    He makes a lot of sense for Washington, as he is the ideal 3-4 defensive end, as well as a guy who played in a pro-style defense under Nick Saban at Alabama. 

    Other Options:

    QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri

    DE/LB Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

11th Overall Pick (HOU): Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

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    The Texans defense is basically 85 percent of what has them picking just outside the top ten this year.

    The secondary was atrocious, the linebackers were awful, and the defensive line routinely underperformed.

    Help is needed everywhere, especially at corner, but with Peterson out of reach, Houston would most likely look to Prince Amukamara. I know the Texans just spent last year’s first round pick on Kareem Jackson, but he is still developing and Glover Quin and Jason Allen won’t get the job done.

    Amukamara and Jackson would create one of the better young corner tandems in the NFL and they would help to chip away at the Texans’ 32nd overall pass defense ranking.

    And let’s face it, when you play Peyton Manning twice a year, you can’t afford to have a terrible secondary.

    Other Options:

    CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado

    DE/LB Aldon Smith, Missouri

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

12th Overall Pick (MIN): Nate Solder, OT, Colorado

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    If Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton are both off the board, the Vikings won’t be going with a quarterback here.

    This is however one of the more likely trade-up scenarios, but if they do stay put, I’d expect Minnesota to try and strengthen their offensive line.

    Current left tackle Bryant McKinnie is 31 years old, and I’m not sure that right tackle Phil Loadholt can shift over and replace him effectively. The Vikings have virtually nothing at tackle outside of McKinnie and Loadholt, so at the very least they could draft a guy who could come in for depth purposes and develop into a starter down the road.

    Nate Solder is the top tackle in the draft, and he has the size and athletic ability that are crucial to success in the NFL. Solder performed very well at the Senior Bowl, and he held his own against some of the best senior defenders in the country.

    I think Solder’s range is somewhere between picks 10-15, and he makes a great deal of sense for Minnesota, as he is good enough to take over at right tackle as a rookie.

    Other Options:

    QB Cam Newton, Auburn

    QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

13th Overall Pick (DET): Tyron Smith, OT, USC

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    The Lions have been passing on offensive tackles in the draft for a few years now. They remain adamant that Jeff Backus is an elite left tackle, going to far as to say he deserves Pro Bowl recognition.

    However, Matthew Stafford has seemingly been on his back more that throwing the ball since his tenure in Detroit began, missing sixteen games in his two NFL seasons due to injury. Stafford’s development and continued progression are crucial to the overall success of the Lions, so they cannot afford to let his career waste away because of injury.

    Protection is a key word for Detroit this offseason, and the great Jeff Backus is 33 years old and fading fast. Jason Fox, a 2010 fourth-round pick, is the backup left tackle and may or may not be ready to step into a starting role.

    Minicamps, OTAs, and training camp will reveal the answer, but gambling on a raw second year player is not the right move to make.

    Tyron Smith is a superbly athletic tackle with excellent technique and speed and he is leaving behind a career filled with promise at USC.

    A full season from Stafford would really get the Lions to that next level, and Tyron Smith could aid in that endeavor.

    Other Options:

    DE/LB Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue

    CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

14th Overall Pick (STL): Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

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    Basically all the talk about the Rams’ draft plans involve a wide receiver, or generally just finding a weapon for the up and coming Sam Bradford. J

    ulio Jones could go as high as the top ten, but his game is somewhat raw and he had issues with concentration and dropped passes at Alabama. There is no doubting his talent and raw potential, but teams picking higher in the first round may pass on him because he isn’t really a safe pick who will contribute immediately.

    St. Louis had some problems with injuries in their receiving corps this season, losing Donnie Avery and Mark Clayton to knee injuries early on in the year. Rookie free agent Denario Alexander stepped into the role and performed admirably, but it remains to be seen if he can handle being that go-to-guy in the offense.

    In any event, the Rams’ playoff game against the Seahawks exposed the general inefficiency of their offense, and finding a young talent that can grow along side Sam Bradford will be key for the Rams this offseason.

    Other Options:

    DE/LB Aldon Smith, Missouri

    OLB Akeem Ayers, UCLA

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

15th Overall Pick (MIA): Jake Locker, QB, Washington

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    The Dolphins may find themselves in a tight spot with this pick in the middle of the first round.

    This is a little too kind for Mark Ingram, as I think his place is between picks 25-32. The Dolphins badly need a running back, as they face losing perhaps both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams this offseason. However, this would be a very high reach for Ingram as I said before, and I think quarterback is nearly as important in terms of need.

    Chad Henne had a very disappointing year, and he is just so inefficient and has no idea how to move an offense down the field.

    Jake Locker had, by most accounts, a bad week at the Senior Bowl. So bad, in fact, that ESPN’s Todd McShay has said that he might fall as far as round three come April. Everyone knew about Locker’s inconsistency and accuracy problems, but the Senior Bowl really exposed them, all while he was under the microscope of most every NFL personnel, scout and GM.

    Despite his issues, I’m banking on some desperate team reaching for him, and I think if the Dolphins don’t trade down, either Cam Newton or Jake Locker are very real possibilities here.

    Other Options:

    RB Mark Ingram, Alabama

    DT Corey Liuget, Illinois

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

16th Overall Pick (JAX): Aldon Smith, DE/LB, Missouri

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    The Tyson Alualu pick left a lot of people puzzled, but the Jaguars are the ones laughing now. He and Terrence Knighton are quickly becoming one of the best young tackle tandems in the league, as they proved this year with their mutual success.

    However problems still remain at defensive end and outside linebacker, where Jacksonville has been lacking for some time now.

    Aaron Kampman was brought in from Green Bay prior to the season, in hopes that he would resume his dominance as a 4-3 end after struggling at linebacker in Packers’ new 3-4.But the injury bug bit him early on, by way of a torn-ACL which ended his season and possibly his career.

    Derrick Harvey may never reach his first round potential, and he has been labeled a bust by the majority of people.

    Mid-round picks Larry Hart and Austen Lane are raw, and not really ready to contribute.

    Aldon Smith is a freakish athlete with tons of upside and raw ability, and he flashes prime-time pass-rushing skills. He has an outstanding motor and an uncanny ability to get into the backfield.

    He could become the edge-rushing threat the Jaguars have tried to get but have lacked for some time now.

    Other Options:

    DE/LB Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue

    CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

17th Overall Pick (NE): Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA

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    After the outstanding season the Patriots had, it was beyond disappointing to see them go down in such embarrassing fashion against the Jets.

    New England’s 3-4 defense was missing some integral parts this season, with defensive ends Mike Wright and Ty Warren both on the IR. This forced younger players and free agents to fill the gap in their stead, with rookies like Brandon Deaderick, Kade Weston, and Darryl Richard.

    Also, some free agents like Landon Cohen, Kyle Love, and Marlon Favorite were also called into duty.

    I think that either the defensive line or the linebacking corps will be upgraded here and I think that UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers is a great value pick here and he offers a prospect with fantastic skills and size. Ayers fits perfectly as a rush linebacker in the 3-4 defense, and with his 6’4” frame, he would be a great young pass-rushing threat next to Jermaine Cunningham.

    The Patriots didn’t touch Mark Sanchez once in their playoff game, which cannot and will not be allowed to happen the next time they meet.

    Other Options:

    DE Cameron Jordan, California

    OG/C Mike Pouncey, Florida

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

18th Overall Pick (SD): J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

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    San Diego’s 3-4 lacked some of it’s usual punch this season, in part because of the departure of Shawne Merriman as well as the struggles of Larry English.

    Defensive end Jacques Cesaire is a free agent this offseason, fellow starter Luis Castillo had a unproductive year, and combined they totaled just four sacks. Cesaire is 30 years old and his best seasons are behind him, so the Chargers may be looking for a long term solution at defensive end, either in free agency or through the draft.

    J.J. Watt is a guy I really like, and I think he is a sure thing to go somewhere in the middle of the first round. The 6’6”, 290-pound defensive end from Wisconsin fits very well in the 3-4 system, and he has a lot of athleticism and strength to offer San Diego. He had a great year for the Badgers in 2010, racking up 7 sacks and 21 TFLs as a mere junior.

    There’s no question that Watt is a first-round talent and he could go to a number of different teams all over the first round.

    Other Options:

    DT/DE Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple

    OT Tyron Smith, USC

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

19th Overall Pick (NYG): Mike Pouncey, OG/C, Florida

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    The Giants have a lot of needs on defense, but I think that if the offensive line is in need of help, it takes precedence over all other positions.

    New York has had a stellar offensive line for the better part of the decade, routinely sending two or three lineman to the Pro Bowl each season.

    But age, the great equalizer, is taking hold and David Diehl is 30 years old and starting to get beaten by lesser defenders. 2009 second-round pick Will Beatty was and possibly still is lined up to replace Diehl when he retires, but he has looked less than impressive in his few games played.

    Mike Pouncey, the twin brother of Steelers Pro Bowler Maurkice Pouncey, is basically a copy of his brother both in looks and skill. He is the best interior line prospect in this draft and he’s versatile enough to play either center or guard.

    The Giants have a lot to worry about on the offensive line, and securing Pouncey would ease the minds of their fans, because you’re basically getting a sure-fire starter who can step in right away.

    Other Options:

    OLB Akeem Ayers, UCLA

    DT Corey Liuget, Illinois

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

20th Overall Pick (TB): Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    I really love the direction that Raheem Morris is leading the Buccaneers in.

    The name of the game in Tampa Bay is youth, with a young quarterback, a young running back, a stable of young wide receivers, and a talented defense.

    The Bucs 4-3 scheme enjoyed menial success in 2010, with rookie Gerald McCoy leading the attack. Fellow rookie Brian Price, a 2010 second round pick, never really saw the field due to injury, but he will surely make an impact in 2011.

    However, defensive end is another matter all together. Tampa has a pair of sub-par starters in Tim Crowder and Stylez G. White, who combined for just 7.5 sacks this past season. White is a 31-year-old free agent who may not return to Tampa and their upstart youth movement, creating even more need at the position.

    Ryan Kerrigan would be the best available 4-3 end, and he would be a steal at 20th overall in this defense-heavy draft.

    Kerrigan would add that missing piece to the Bucs defense, and he is very solid both against the run and as an edge-rusher.

    Other Options:

    CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado

    OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

21st Overall Pick (KC): Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia

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    There’s been a lot of speculation as to what direction the Chiefs might go with this pick.

    Their best pass-rushing weapon this season was Tamba Hali, who is a free agent this offseason. However, I fully expect that Hali is one of Scott Pioli’s number one priorities, as Kansas City can’t afford to let him leave after the season he had.

    The Chiefs switched to the 3-4 defense two seasons ago, and this season the hopes they had finally came to fruition. KC went 10-6 and earned a playoff berth, but were mauled by the Ravens in the first round.

    Apart from Hali, the Chiefs have nothing in terms of pass-rush, and it is holding back their defense as well as putting more pressure on other, more under-developed position groups. Getting another elite prospect to pressure quarterbacks would take the Chiefs’ defense to that next level they have been trying to get to for so long, and I think Justin Houston is just the guy for that job.

    Houston rocketed up draft boards a season in which he racked up 18.5 TFLs and ten sacks, as well as 44 total QB pressures.

    He would make Kansas City one of the more dangerous defenses in the NFL.

    Other Options:

    OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin

    DT Phil Taylor, Baylor

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

22nd Overall Pick (IND): Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

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    I have always wondered how the Colts can enjoy such consistent success season after season with Charlie Johnson as the left tackle.

    He doesn’t look the part of a franchise pass-protector, and I personally don’t think he offers the skill that Peyton Manning deserves to have protecting his blind side.

    Apart from Johnson, right tackle Ryan Diem is 31 years old, so finding a future replacement for him may also become a priority.

    In this somewhat weak offensive line class, finding a bookend tackle in the bottom of the first round should be easy for those playoff teams in need of help up front, and Anthony Castonzo offers tremendous value for the Colts here. Coming off an impressive Senior Bowl week, Castonzo’s stock is as strong as ever, but he may fall because many of the teams in the top and middle of the first round don’t really need offensive tackles.

    The Boston College product is a very smart and technically sound lineman who can start immediately in the NFL and he makes a lot of sense for the notoriously stingy Colts.

    Other Options:

    DT Corey Liuget, Illinois

    DT/DE Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

23rd Overall Pick (PHI): Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

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    The Eagles have a Pro Bowl player in left tackle Jason Peters, but outside of him the tackles are pretty awful.

    In Philadelphia’s playoff game against Green Bay, the Packers had a field day on tackles Winston Justice and King Dunlap, the latter of whom was benched just for flat out playing terrible. Packers outside linebackers Erik Walden and Clay Mathews were on Michael Vick all day, who was sacked three times.

    I think that just about any one off the street could replace Winston Justice at right tackle, and I think the Eagles should move to strengthen their line by taking the best lineman available, which in this case would be Wisconsin’s Gabe Carimi.

    Thanks again to this weak offensive line class, one of the top five tackles could fall to Philly at 23rd overall, and Carimi would fit perfectly at right tackle. Carimi just mauled the competition at the Senior Bowl, both in practice and in the game, and he has that mean streak and blue-collar mentality that Andy Reid seems to love.

    Similar to Castonzo, Carimi’s game is already very polished and refined, and he comes from a strong offensive line factory in Wisconsin, so he too could conceivably hop into the starting rotation as a rookie.

    Other Options:

    OG/C Mike Pouncey, Florida

    CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

24th Overall Pick (NO): Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa

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    New Orleans has already come out and said that they’re going to take the best front-seven defender available, so in this case Adrian Clayborn is the pick.

    Defensive end Alex Brown was picked up in free agency prior to the season, but he didn’t really add the dimension the Saints had hoped he would, and he only had two sacks on the year. Also, defensive tackle Remi Ayodele didn’t have the greatest of seasons, and they need some more overall depth at tackle as well.

    The Saints may find themselves in a tough position here, because there is a strong chance that all of the natural 4-3 defensive ends may be taken by this point in the first round. This could be a likely trade-up scenario, but in my opinion Clayborn wouldn’t be a bad option either.

    He’s built like a traditional 4-3 end, and at 6’4” and 285 pounds, he has a frame similar to Alex Brown. Clayborn has a tremendous motor and he possesses a lot of athletic ability for his size.

    He offers a player who may need some work, but he is a natural fit for the defense, and I think the Saints could surely carve out a niche for a player of his caliber.

    Other Options:

    DT/DE Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple

    OLB Justin Houston, Georgia

    Here's a link to my website: www.themitchfootball.com

25th Overall Pick (SEA): Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

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    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    The Seahawks were definitely the story of the 2010 offseason, as they rode their cinderella story all the way to Chicago, when the clock swiftly stuck midnight on the tundra of Soldier Field.

    The quarterback situation is worrisome, but perhaps more so is the defense, which is still not up to par with other playoff contenders. I’m sure most coaches will tell you that a good defense is the key to postseason success, and I think the pick here is either a quarterback, or a defensive player.

    In this scenario, the only quarterback available is Ryan Mallett, who has really fallen out of the picture in terms of first round consideration.

    However, Jimmy Smith from Colorado offers a true upgrade to a weak secondary which finished 27th in the NFL last season.

    Starters Marcus Trufant and Kelly Jennings weren’t great. Trufant is 30 years old, and Jennings is a free agent, and behind them the depth isn’t strong enough to take over in their stead.

    However, Smith’s stock is on fire and he probably won’t last this long.

    Other Options:

    QB Jake Locker, Washington

    DT Corey Liuget, Illinois

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26th Overall Pick (BAL): Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois

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    I think the Ravens are one of the more complete teams in the league right now, with very few needs on either side of the ball.

    On offense, all I can think of would be a speedy, deep-threat type receiver who can stretch the field and open up some of the play calling. On defense, perhaps the only thing is some more depth on the defensive line.

    Corey Redding had a pretty solid year occupying the left defensive end spot in Baltimore’s 3-4, but he is 30 years old and not really much more than a hired gun at this point in his career.

    Corey Liuget from Illinois played mostly tackle in his college career, but his build is very similar to Redding’s and he is ideal for a 3-4 defensive end spot. Liuget has emerged as the clear No. 3 defensive tackle in the draft, but he still may be a dark horse by the time April rolls around.

    I would also expect the Ravens to take a long look at Titus Young here as well, as he has been compared to DeSean Jackson by multiple draft sources.

    Other Options:

    WR Titus Young, Boise State

    CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado

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27th Overall Pick (ATL): Titus Young, WR, Boise State

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    For the Falcons, its a blessing and a curse to have Roddy White as your No. 1receiver.

    And yes, in almost every case the blessing far outweighs the curse, but in reality Roddy White is the only good wide receiver Atlanta has, which allows their opponents to key on him and try to limit Matt Ryan’s options. Michael Jenkins isn’t the complement Roddy White needs opposite him, and Atlanta really just needs a guy who can stretch the field and open up plays for White, Tony Gonzalez, and Michael Turner.

    Titus Young had by most accounts one of the best Senior Bowl weeks of all, and he has risen from a mid-round pick to a guy who is a near lock for a late first-early second round selection. He has a pretty frail frame, but he is just a pure speedster with game-breaking ability, and he has the versatility to return kicks and punts as well.

    I may be too high on him, but I think its possible you’ll hear his name called in the first round.

    Other Options:

    DE/DT Cameron Heyward, Ohio State

    CB Brandon Harris, Miami

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28th Overall Pick (NE): Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    When the Patriots are making all those trades during the season, a draft pick here and a veteran player there, you start to wonder, “What’s it all for?”

    Well, this 2011 draft is a prime example of what the Patriots do.

    Two first, two second, and two third round picks are at the disposal of Bill Belichick, and now we all see the hand they’re playing with.

    New England’s two biggest needs are the offensive and defensive lines, and in this mock I have Cam Jordan solving the defensive line problem. However, offensive lineman are in short supply with this pick, with Mike Pouncey being the only real option.

    However, Mark Ingram falling this far isn’t far outside the realm of possibility, and if they Patriots are presented with the option of taking the top running back of the class, they might just snap him up. New England has always been a defense first team, and I’m not convinced they would go with a skill position player this high, but Ingram offers a safety blanket if BenJarvus Green-Ellis doesn’t pan out next season.

    People seem to have forgotten how talented Ingram is and quite frankly, the Pats would be making out like bandits with a guy of his caliber at 28th overall.

    Other Options:

    DE/DT Cameron Heyward, Ohio State

    WR Torrey Smith, Maryland 

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29th Overall Pick (CHI): Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor

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    The Bears offensive line has been the laughing stock of the league for some time now, with mess after mess and sack after sack, season after season.

    Chicago’s front five allowed 60 sacks last season, the type of number that starts to make you sore sitting in their living room chair, let alone if you’re Jay Cutler.

    The Bears took Chris Williams in the first round in 2008, hoping that after free agent signee Orlando Pace left town, he would take over the reigns as the franchise left tackle. But he became what every failed offensive tackle becomes: a guard.

    However, Williams has thrived since moving inside, but Frank Omiyale isn’t getting the job done. In this scenario, Anthony Castonzo and Gabe Carimi are both off the board, so there isn’t a tackle worth taking here.

    However, Baylor offensive guard Danny Watkins is really moving up the board and he has a good shot at going in the bottom of the first round. Watkins had an impressive Senior Bowl which acted as a sort of coming out party, and he showed great blocking prowess as well as a lot of strength and tenacity.

    He’ll develop into a starting guard in the NFL.

    Other Options:

    DE Christian Ballard, Iowa

    WR Torrey Smith, Maryland

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30th Overall Pick (NYJ): Muhammad Wilkerson, DT/DE, Temple

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    The Jets needs are, believe it or not, predominantly on the defensive side of the ball, with the defensive ends and pass-rush under the microscope this offseason.

    Jason Taylor may have gotten the closest he’ll ever get to a Super Bowl this season and I really don’t see him being effective next season.

    However, pressure has to be generated from somewhere.

    The Jets sack leader and starting left defensive end Shaun Ellis had a total of just six sacks, and at age 33, he may not be long for New York.

    With the elite pass-rushing outside linebackers off the board, Muhammad Wilkerson is the best overall defensive prospect.

    Wilkerson is a big hybrid defensive tackle/end who looks like he was built to play in a 3-4 defense. He has the athleticism to be an elite edge rusher, and he is very disruptive in the backfield.

    In any event, I think the Jets are taking the best rush linebacker or 3-4 end with this pick, so when you think of New York think defense.

    Other Options:

    OLB Justin Houston, Georgia

    DE Christian Ballard, Iowa

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31st Overall Pick (PIT): Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor

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    First of all, congratulations to the Steelers and all you Steeler fans out there on reaching the Super Bowl.

    Now, let’s get down to brass tacks on the upcoming draft, now that the season is officially over.

    I am hesitant to make a guess as to how much longer Casey Hampton will be effective stuffing in the middle, but at age 33, it can’t be more than two seasons. He has been a cornerstone of the daunting Pittsburgh defense for years, but replacing a franchise nose tackle is no easy feat.

    If you watched any of the Senior Bowl, you surely saw Phil Taylor and thought, “Wow.”

    The 335-pounder from Baylor has the ideal build for the 3-4, and he has incredible power and bull rush moves off the snap. He just eats up gaps and can manhandle small centers and interior linemen.

    Mike Tomlin knows he can’t afford to let age slow down his defensive attack, so I would expect Casey Hampton’s replacement to be found this offseason, whether via the draft or through free agency.

    Other Options:

    OG/C Mike Pouncey, Florida

    FS Rahim Moore, UCLA

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32nd Overall Pick (GB): Cameron Heyward, DE/DT, Ohio State

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    To all you Packer fans, congratulations on your outstanding Super Bowl win.

    However, the time has come to discuss the draft, and for guys like me the season has just begun.

    The Packers are pretty stacked across the board, and its scary to think that they won the Super Bowl with such a banged up group. Jermichael Finley, Nick Barnett, and Ryan Grant will all be up and running next season, so its hard to isolate one need for a team that is doing so well.

    However, the free agency of Cullen Jenkins is troublesome, and Ryan Pickett is 31 years old. I know that Green Bay has a few young players from the last couple of drafts, such as Mike Neal, C.J. Wilson, and Jarius Wynn, but I don’t see any of them coming close to covering for the possible loss of Cullen Jenkins, or the eventual loss of Ryan Pickett.

    I think Cameron Heyward will just barely stick into the first round, but I still wouldn’t be surprised if he slipped into the first few picks of the second round.

    He is a big, versatile lineman who saved himself with an outstanding Sugar Bowl performance, and he fits very well in the Packers system.

    Other Options:

    OT Benjamin Ijalana, Villanova

    CB Brandon Harris, Miami

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