2011 NFL Mock Draft: Full First Round Mock-Up

Dan AngeContributor IIMarch 4, 2011

2011 NFL Mock Draft: Full First Round Mock-Up

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    As we NFL fans sit and wait for the rich players and the even richer owners to come to an agreement so there’s a 2011 season, we look forward to next month’s draft. Whether there is a new collective bargaining agreement or not, the draft will take place.

    What to do until then? It’s mock draft time!

    One rule: No trades. Although it’s very likely to happen, it’s nearly impossible to predict which teams are thinking of trading. It all depends on what the teams in front of them do.

1. Carolina Panthers

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    Da’Quan Bowers

    Position: DE

    School: Clemson

    Defense wins championships, right? Well, even if you don’t agree, the Panthers hired Ron Rivera as their new head coach. You don’t get more defensive-minded than Ron Rivera. After nine NFL seasons as a linebacker, he’s spent the past 14 seasons coaching on the defensive side of the ball.

    The Panthers also miss the defensive intensity that they had with Julius Peppers. Peppers spent his first season away from Carolina last year, playing with the Chicago Bears.

    Da’Quan Bowers seems to be a sure thing on the defensive line. Many would argue Nick Fairley should be ahead of Bowers. Fairley’s work ethic and character may hinder his draft stock.

2. Denver Broncos

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    Marcell Dareus

    Position: DE

    School: Alabama

    Calling last year’s Denver Broncos defense awful would probably be putting it nicely. However, they were in the midst of the Josh McDaniels switch from 4-3 to 3-4.

    New head coach John Fox has stated that the Broncos will be going back to the 4-3. That means Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers will move back to defensive end.

    The addition of the 319-pound Marcell Dareus would fit perfectly in the interior of the line. He has the strength and athleticism to get to the passer and the size to stop the run.

    If not Dareus, then Von Miller could be snatched up to help the weak linebacking corp of the Broncos.

3. Buffalo Bills

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    Patrick Peterson

    Position: CB

    School: LSU

    Buffalo ranked dead last in run defense in 2010. While cornerback may not be the top priority for the Bills, it is definitely on the list. Von Miller is worthy of the pick, but they may have their hopes up on Shawne Merriman.

    Peterson has been referred to by many as the most athletic player in the entire draft. He may just be too good a player to pass up.

    The Bills’ secondary is in major disarray. Safeties Donte Whitner and George Wilson are free agents, along with cornerback Drayton Florence and Ashton Youboty. The existing corners have some major concerns. Leodis McKelvin is coming off a flat 2010 and veteran Terrence McGee has battled injuries in recent seasons.

4. Cincinnati Bengals

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    A.J. Green

    Position: WR

    School: Georgia

    Will he stay or will he go? Carson Palmer, that is.

    The Bengals don’t seemed too concerned about Palmer. However, many reports have Chad “Johnsosinco” (I think he’s Johnson again) not resigning with the Bengals. Therefore, they will need to find a new target for Palmer or whoever is calling the plays.

    A.J. Green is the highest rated wide receiver and has tremendous speed. The main drawback to Green is his size. At only 6’4” he could be a little too short to be a true No. 1 receiver, but with the athleticism he brings, he’ll be an instant weapon for the Bengals offense.

5. Arizona Cardinals

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    Blaine Gabbert

    Position: QB

    School: Missouri

    The Arizona Cardinals' quarterback situation is abysmal. Right now, it’s between Max Hall, John Skelton and Derek Anderson. I can’t imagine there is any Cardinals fan that says “[Hall/Skelton/Anderson] is taking us back to the Super Bowl.”

    Some believe the Cardinals may go after a veteran like Donovan McNabb. However, once the clock strikes midnight on Friday night, they won’t be able to talk to McNabb.

6. Cleveland Browns

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    Julio Jones

    Position: WR

    School: Alabama

    Colt McCoy had a tremendous showing as a rookie a year ago. Unfortunately, the Browns only have two offensive weapons: Speedy wide receiver Josh Cribbs and breakout running back Peyton Hillis.

    Julio Jones, if not taken already by the Bengals, would be a perfect fit for this young Browns offense. Jones has the size and speed to quickly be a No. 1 on any team.

7. San Francisco 49ers

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    Von Miller

    Position: OLB

    School: Texas A&M

    Between the Senior Bowl and the NFL combine, Von Miller has impressed many scouts and coaches. He has remarkable skills and athleticism that is very enticing. He could easily be taken before seven, but based on primary team needs, I’m giving him to the 49ers.

    Can you imagine? Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes (if they resign him) on the inside, with Von Miller on the outside. They’ll build the foundation to their defense so they can try to compete for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes this time next season.

8. Tennessee Titans

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    Nick Fairley

    Position: DT

    School: Auburn

    The Titans have been missing the kind of production Albert Haynesworth had a couple seasons ago. They could really benefit from having a dominant big man up front.

    The concern over Fairley’s work ethic and character will count against his draft stock, especially only having one really good year; as opposed to a solid collegiate career.

    Tennessee may look to a quarterback, but I just can’t see them going with Cam Newton. They already have a Vince Young—they don’t need another one.

9. Dallas Cowboys

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    Nate Solder

    Position: OT

    School: Colorado

    This one was a bit tough for me to put down and for only one reason: The Cowboys haven’t selected an offensive lineman in the first round since 1981 (Howard Richards). Of the five regular starters on the O-line last year, four of them were 32 years old (Kyle Kosier, Andre Gurode, Leonard Davis and Marc Colombo). Left tackle Doug Free is 26.

    This is also a unit that allowed 31 sacks. While 31 isn’t terrible, one of them caused a season-ending injury to star quarterback Tony Romo in Week 6.

10. Washington Redskins

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Cam Newton

    Position: QB

    School: Auburn

    The real question is: Who is going to be the Week 1 starting quarterback for the Redskins? Right now, they have Donovan McNabb, who head coach Mike Shanahan doesn’t like, and John Beck (yawn). Rex Grossman is currently a free agent. Do they really want him back?

    Enter Cam Newton. We all know Newton has the size and arm to be quarterback. Since he’s a rookie, Shanahan will be able to coach him the way he wants to.

11. Houston Texans

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    Robert Quinn

    Position: DE

    School: North Carolina

    Robert Quinn is a true mystery, as he didn’t play in 2010 due to a suspension. This year’s class is heavy in defensive talent, so Quinn may have to wait a little bit before hearing his name called.

    The Texans hired Wade Phillips to be their new defensive coordinator. Despite his lack of success in Dallas, he’s been a successful defensive coordinator in the past.

    The Texans are switching to the 3-4 this year, giving Mario Williams more sack opportunities. Quinn could be a great complement to Williams on the other side.

12. Minnesota Vikings

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    Ryan Mallett

    Position: QB

    School: Arkansas

    The Vikings seem to be into southern gunslinger quarterbacks. Ryan Mallett is just that (just no phone pics). While Mallett needs to work on his accuracy, he has arguably the strongest arm of all the quarterbacks in the draft this year.

    The Vikings are currently with Joe Webb and Tarvaris Jackson is currently a free agent. The Vikings already have some weapons in Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin (when healthy), as well as a stellar defense. Mallett would give them a signal caller to work with in the future.

13. Detroit Lions

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    Anthony Castonzo

    Position: OT

    School: Boston College

    The Lions have a good nucleus of talent. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson have the potential to be a great duo for a long time. Jahvid Best had a disappointing rookie season but will look to break out in 2011.

    The Lions could use some help up front. They signed tackle and long-time Colt Tony Ugoh before last season. Ugoh is 27 and Jeff Backus on the other side will be 34 in September. They could use a young, powerful lineman like Castonzo. He has good quickness and mobility and could do the Lions good.

14. St. Louis Rams

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    Torrey Smith

    Position: WR

    School: Maryland

    Trade? Don’t be surprised to see the St. Louis Rams try to trade up to nab Julio Jones or A.J. Green. Their receivers were decimated last year and rookie quarterback Sam Bradford still won Offensive Rookie of the Year.

    If they are content on staying put, they could take Torrey Smith. Mark Clayton and Danny Amendola were both injured early on in 2010. Clayton is an unrestricted free agent and Amendola is an exclusive-rights free agent.

15. Miami Dolphins

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    Mark Ingram

    Position: RB

    School: Alabama

    There’s a good possibility that the Dolphins go for a quarterback here, but there may not be one worth drafting this soon. They need a lot of help at running back. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are both free agents.

    Mark Ingram is the highest running back prospect. He has great instincts and can be a great passing threat out of the backfield. Plus, as a running back, he should be able to contribute right away.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Akeem Ayers

    Position: OLB

    School: UCLA

    This pick is a little tricky. The Jaguars are struggling as a franchise. Having lived in Central Florida last year, there were many empty seats when watching their home games on TV. It would be easy for them to pick a flashy playmaker. However, Akeem Ayers makes the most sense.

    Ayers has great speed and athleticism off the end and could help the Jags defense right away—and boy could they use it. Jacksonville finished the season 28th in overall defense, 28th in passing defense and 22nd in rushing defense.

17. New England Patriots (from Oakland)

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    J.J. Watt

    Position: DE

    School: Wisconsin

    It doesn’t really seem fair that after finishing the season in the playoffs, the Patriots get a pick this soon in the draft. Regardless, they need some help on defense. New England was only 11th against the run, but was 30th against the pass and 25th overall.

    The Patriots just signed Marcus Stroud for that position. As a Bills fan, I can tell you, he is not a 3-4 end—he’s a 4-3 tackle. J.J. Watt could provide a spark from the end position. (As a side note, I’ve lost respect for Stroud after signing with the Patriots).

18. San Diego Chargers

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    Adrian Clayborn

    Position: DE

    School: Iowa

    Clayborn is a versatile player, capable of being an end in either a 3-4 or 4-3, and even able to play some tackle. With Jacques Cesaire becoming a free agent, he’d make a formidable running mate with Luis Castillo and a major upgrade over Vaughn Martin, who has five tackles in two seasons.

19. New York Giants

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    Prince Amukamara

    Position: CB

    School: Nebraska

    It’s kind of a mystery how the Giants weren’t able to get into the playoffs with the roster they have—there aren’t too many holes. The Giants defense was pretty good. They ranked only eighth against the run, ninth against the pass and seventh overall. Still, they may end up bulking up the secondary and linebackers this spring.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Cameron Jordan

    Position: DE

    School: California

    The review on Cameron Jordan highlights his strength against the run. He does a good job getting off blocks and finding the ball carrier while maintaining gap integrity. These are all fantastic signs for a team who ranked 28th against the run last season, giving up 131.7 yards per game.

21. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Mike Pouncey

    Position: OG

    School: Florida

    The Chiefs’ interior offensive line is aging. Their center from last year, Casey Wiegmann, is currently a free agent and will be 38 in July. It’s highly unlikely he’ll be back.

    Mike Pouncey has the versatility and ability to play guard or center. Based on the success of his brother Maurkice in Pittsburgh this season, Mike could do very well, very fast in the NFL.

22. Indianapolis Colts

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    Tyron Smith

    Position: OT

    School: USC

    The Colts' starting left tackle from last year is now a free agent. Tyron Smith has tremendous skills and the technique needed to be a solid blind side defender.

    Peyton Manning threw 17 interceptions last year and often seemed uncomfortable in the pocket. A reliable left tackle could be just what he needs to ease his mind.

23. Philadelphia Eagles

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    Gabe Carimi

    Position: OT

    School: Wisconsin

    Last season, the Eagles' offensive line gave up 49 sacks, bad enough for fourth worst in the league, which made it all the more interesting how Jason Peters got elected to his fourth straight Pro Bowl. Peters is a bit overrated to begin with, but it doesn’t make too much sense to reward a guy from a squad that bad to an all-star game.

    Regardless, the Eagles could use an upgrade on the offensive line. Gabe Carimi has gained a lot of praise from NFL scouts. NFL.com states that Carimi “is a ‘bad man’ who looks to punish defensive ends.”

24. New Orleans Saints

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    Justin Houston

    Position: OLB

    School: Georgia

    The New Orleans Saints have a laundry list of free agents to work with. The outside linebackers left on their roster are Jonathan Casillas, who has 20 career tackles, and Ezra Butler, who has spent the past three years bouncing between the NFL and UFL.

25. Seattle Seahawks

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    Jake Locker

    Position: QB

    School: Washington

    Long-time Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is currently a free agent and reports have said that he and the team are far apart from an agreement. Head coach Pete Carroll has stated that he wants Hasselbeck back in Seattle, but you have to wonder how much they’re willing to pay the 35-year-old.

    Jake Locker is the hometown kid. He grew up two hours from Seattle and is coming out of the University of Washington. He’s garnered a lot of praise from scouts and coaches and is projected as the third best quarterback in the draft.


26. Baltimore Ravens

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    Jon Baldwin

    Position: WR

    School: Pittsburgh

    The Ravens need a major youth movement at the wide receiver position. Four of the six receivers they had last season were 30 or older. Donte Stallworth and Anquan Boldin are both 30, T.J. Houshmandzadeh is 33 and Derrick Mason is 37.

    Jon Baldwin has great speed and hands and could easily be developed into a featured receiver on the Ravens. Quarterback Joe Flacco is only 25 and running back Ray Rice is only 23. If Baltimore can get themselves a breakout receiver, they could develop into a major trio in the NFL.

27. Atlanta Falcons

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    Jimmy Smith

    Position: CB

    School: Colorado

    The Falcons finished the regular season 22nd in the league defending the pass. Brent Grimes just finished his fourth season with Atlanta and was tied for the team lead with five interceptions. This, after leading the team last year with six. Grimes is scheduled to be a restricted free agent.

    Dunta Robinson, on the other side, wasn’t quite as productive. He had only one interception, which isn’t far from the norm for him as he’s had no more than two each year since his sophomore season in 2005.

28. New England Patriots

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    Danny Watkins

    Position: OG

    School: Baylor

    Last year’s starting guard Logan Mankins was given the franchise tag after only playing nine games last season due to a contract dispute. Stephen Neal, who spent his entire career with the Patriots, retired this week.

    The Patriots have a need for a new big man up front. Enter Danny Watkins. Watkins would be a great fit for the Patriots. He has great balance and strength to be a starter in the NFL.

29. Chicago Bears

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    Orlando Franklin

    Position: OT

    School: Miami (FL)

    There may not be a strong enough word to describe how bad the Chicago Bears’ offensive line was in 2010. They gave up 56 sacks, which was enough for worst in the league. That stat is amazing considering the Bears had six-time Pro Bowler Olin Kreutz. Kreutz is a free agent this offseason, meaning the Bears will definitely need to retool.

30. New York Jets

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    Ryan Kerrigan

    Position: DE

    School: Purdue

    Ryan Kerrigan could fit with the Jets in a number of ways. He has the size to be a defensive end. With Shaun Ellis and Trevor Pryce becoming free agents, he could step in and contribute right away. Kerrigan also has the ability to transition to outside linebacker in the Jets’ 3-4 defense.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Derek Sherrod

    Position: OT

    School: Mississippi State

    Offensive line is a legitimate concern for the Steelers. They have high hopes for Maurkice Pouncey, who had a tremendous rookie season in 2010. However, at the tackle position, it gets a little shaky.

    Starting right tackle Flozell Adams just finished his 13th season and will be 36 in May. On the left side, Jonathan Scott is a free agent, leaving Max Starks.

32. Green Bay Packers

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    Christian Ballard

    Position: DE

    School: Iowa

    How do you make a great team better? That’s a good question. It’s truly remarkable what the Packers were able to accomplish last season, given the length of their injured list. Big names like Ryan Grant, Jermichael Finley and Nick Barnett all missed significant time, including the playoffs.

    Ballard, at 283 pounds, has the size and speed to be a force off the end. The Packers stud end Cullen Jenkins is a free agent and Ryan Pickett, who was opposite him, only had 24 tackles and a sack last season.

Recap

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    Pick

    Team

    Player

    Pos

    School

    1

    CAR

    DaQuan Bowers

    DE

    Clemson

    2

    DEN

    Marcell Dareus

    DT

    Alabama

    3

    BUF

    Patrick Peterson

    CB

    LSU

    4

    CIN

    A.J. Green

    WR

    Georgia

    5

    ARI

    Blaine Gabbert

    QB

    Missouri

    6

    CLE

    Julio Jones

    WR

    Alabama

    7

    SF

    Von Miller

    OLB

    Texas A&M

    8

    TEN

    Nick Fairley

    DT

    Auburn

    9

    DAL

    Nate Solder

    OT

    Colorado

    10

    WAS

    Cameron Newton

    QB

    Auburn

    11

    HOU

    Robert Quinn

    DE

    North Carolina

    12

    MIN

    Ryan Mallett

    QB

    Arkansas

    13

    DET

    Anthony Castonzo

    OT

    Boston College

    14

    STL

    Torrey Smith

    WR

    Maryland

    15

    MIA

    Mark Ingram

    RB

    Alabama

    16

    JAX

    Akeem Ayers

    OLB

    UCLA

    17

    NE

    J.J. Watt

    DE

    Wisconsin

    18

    SD

    Adrian Clayborn

    DE

    Iowa

    19

    NYG

    Prince Amukamara

    CB

    Nebraska

    20

    TB

    Cameron Jordan

    DE

    California

    21

    KC

    Mike Pouncey

    OG

    Florida

    22

    IND

    Tyron Smith

    OT

    USC

    23

    PHI

    Gabe Camiri

    OT

    Wisconsin

    24

    NO

    Justin Houston

    OLB

    Georgia

    25

    SEA

    Jake Locker

    QB

    Washington

    26

    BAL

    Jon Baldwin

    WR

    Pittsburgh

    27

    ATL

    Jimmy Smith

    CB

    Colorado

    28

    NE

    Danny Watkins

    OG

    Baylor

    29

    CHI

    Orlando Franklin

    OT

    Miami (FL)

    30

    NYJ

    Ryan Kerrigan

    DE

    Purdue

    31

    PIT

    Derek Sherrod

    OT

    Mississippi State

    32

    GB

    Christian Ballard

    DE

    Iowa

Want to Read More?

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    Be sure to check out:

    NFL Draft 2011: Cam Newton and the 7 Most Intriguing Storylines

     

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