NFL Draft 2011 Mock Draft: Hot-Air Players Start To Deflate

Pete WilliamsCorrespondent IMarch 14, 2011

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 07:  Defensive lineman Marcell Dareus #57 of the Alabama Crimson Tide speaks during a press conference after winning the Citi BCS National Championship game over the Texas Longhorns at the Rose Bowl on January 7, 2010 in Pasadena, California. The Crimson Tide defeated the Longhorns 37-21.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The hype from the Combine has now settled and as the pro days start to unravel, we get more nuanced evaluations of the talent.

With all the mocks coming out, I of course had to publish my mock 2.0. I still think the QBs are getting way too much hype in the top 10, as both Gabbert and Newton have big question marks surrounding them.

1. WR - A.J. Green to the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers defense held their own in 2010 and they tendered just about the whole defense. Neither Clausen nor Gabbert has the trust of the Panthers coaching staff according to, and I think we will see a veteran stop gap QB in Carolina. For this reason, the Panthers will turn their attention to the offense and A. J. Green, whom Charley Casserley described as the safest pick in the draft.  A.J Green will immediately be a Top 10 receiver in the NFL when the 2011 season starts. With Steve Smith on the other side, and that good running game, we are going to see a whole new Panthers offense.

2. DT/DE - Marcell Dareus to the Denver Broncos. The Broncos have a gaping hole at DT and Marcell Dareus is the perfect player to plug this hole. Dareus' versatility will give the Broncos a lot of options showing offenses different looks and creating pass rush from multiple positions. The pick has changed from Patrick Peterson and the Broncos could still elect to go with this unique player and look to cover the DT spot in the second round where there will be a lot of depth.

3. CB/S/KR Patrick Peterson to the Buffalo Bills. The Bills are rebuilding and with Marcell Dareus off the board the Bills go with the safest pick in the draft in Patrick Peterson. They figure they can get a great 3-4 DE in the top of the 2nd round.

4. QB - Blaine Gabbert to the Cincinnati Bengals. Carson Palmer is done in Cincinnati and the Bengals pick Blaine Gabbert, around whom they will build their west coast offense. He will have some young receivers to grow with and an experienced offense to support him. Bowers, with injuries, and Fairley, with intangibles, just have too many question marks with Gabbert on the board. 

5. OLB - Von Miller to the Arizona Cardinals. It's either Von Miller or Prince Amukamara. Either way, they can't go wrong, but Von Miller fits the biggest need and is, without question, the best 3-4 outside linebacker available.

6. DT - Nick Fairley to the Cleveland Browns. This could also be Robert Quinn, but the Browns can't resist getting that playmaker in the middle. They'll rework a 4-3 defense and build from the inside out.

7. CB - Prince Amukamara to the San Francisco 49ers. Yeah, Robert Quinn is also a nice bet here, but Amukamara is a shutdown corner that fills a big need.

8. WR - Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans. When the Titans didn't have a passing game, the offense fell apart. Julio Jones and Kenny Britt will make defenses think of something other than CJ2K.

9. OT - Tyron Smith to the Dallas Cowboys. With the two top CBs gone the Cowboys address the BPA within their needs and OT is a position they have to cover with a solid pick. According to the Cowboys have Tyron Smith in their sights, but in my mind Anthony Costanzo should be in the race as well. But look for the Cowboys to trade down.  

10. QB - Jake Locker to the Washington Redskins. Mike Shanahan has loved Locker for a long time. The Redskins need a leader on and off the field, and Locker demonstrated at the combine that accuracy is an issue he can deal with.

11. DE / OLB - Robert Quinn to the Houston Texans. Robert Quinn adds 3-4 OLB pass rush to the Texans' leaky defense in rebuilding mode.

12. DE - DaQuan Bowers to the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings need a QB, but when DaQuan Bowers drops to them this is a steal—if Bowers checks out medically.

13. OT - Anthony Costanzo to the Detroit Lions. The Lions need to protect Matt Stafford. Anthony Costanzo's versatility will be utilized to the fullest until he settles in at LT.

14. DE - Cameron Jordan to the St. Louis Rams. Solid D-line bookend pick for the foundation the Rams are building. J. J. Watt could be a strong contender here.

15. OLB Ryan Kerrigan Miami Dolphins. Even though the Dolphins owner would love the flashy pick of Cam Newton, Ryan Kerrigan is just too good and too safe a pick to pass on; Sporano gets his way and the Dolphins get a solid investment in the future.

16. QB - Cam Newton to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars have to start to think about drafting a QB to replace Gerrard. Cam Newton will not have to play straight away but can develop his skills in a pro style offense. He will be a great fit for the Jaguars and the strong running game build around MJD.

17. J. J. Watt to the New England Patriots. J.J. Watt has been going to New England in many mocks and he seems like a perfect fit. However he is shooting up many boards as he isn't seen as a strictly 3-4 DE anymore.

18. OLB/DE Aldon Smith to the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers need a pass rush opposite Shaun Phillips. Aldon Smith had a great combine and has tons of undeveloped talent.

19. OT/OG - Gabe Carimi to the New York Giants. Gabe Carimi has a lot of versatility that the Giants can make good use of in the running game and in pass protection.

20. DE - Christian Ballard to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Christian Ballard can play multiple positions and is a consistent performer—Raheem Morris is going to love the versatility—Ballard will free up space for Gerald McCoy on the inside.

21. OG/C Mike Pouncey to the Kansa City Chiefs. The Chiefs needs to find a younger solution at center. Mike Pouncey can play both guard and center and the Chiefs will look to get the same out of Mike as the Steelers got out of Maurkice. Stefen Wisniewski could also be the pick here.

22. DT Corey Liuget to the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts can't give up that many rushing yards again. Liuget is a three down defensive tackle that can do it all.

23. CB Brandon Harris to the Philadelphia Eagles. Brandon Harris is the "can do it all" CB, he fills one of the Eagles biggest off-season needs at RCB.

24. RB Mark Ingram to the New Orleans Saints. When Mark Ingram falls to the Saints, they can't resist having a potential top notch running game.

25. DT Muhammad Wilkerson to the Seattle Seahawks. Pete Carroll builds the line with the Wilkerson monument.

26. CB - Jimmy Smith to the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens need to get younger in the secondary and Jimmy Smith is a tough press corner who will learn to be humble under the tutelage of Ed Reed.

27. OT - Dereck Sherrod to the Atlanta Falcons. Versatile O-lineman that can start at RT and has the potential to be the future LT of the Falcons.

28. OT - Nate Solder to the New England Patriots. Three year starter at LT and team captain, allowing only five sacks. Solder has tons of potential that Belichick will know to develop. He can start right away.

29. OG / C Stefen Wisniewski to the Chicago Bears. The Bears and Mike Tice are going to love Wisniewski in the center of the O-line. 

30. DE Cameron Hayward to the New York Jets. Rex Ryan is going to love Hayward's versatility and his ability to drop back and cover—a perfect fit for Ryan's multi-look defenses.

31. OG Justin Pinkston to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Justin Pinkston played LT but is probably better suited at guard. The Steelers will know how to develop this kid to the best of his abilities. I think CB could be looked at and Aaron Williams could be a nice fit at CB/S.

32. OLB/DE Justin Houston to the Green Bay Packers. Justin Houston is a physical freak to deploy opposite Clay Matthews. If he pans out the Packers will have a monster pass rush in 2011 and onward.