Well, the dust has finally settled on the 2011 NFL Combine in Indianapolis, leaving College prospects with just their Pro-Day to impress scouts. With some players overachieving and some underachieving, many draft boards have been altered with some rising above expectations and some falling due to poor results. So, without further ado, I present a round-by-round NFL Mock Draft.
Please feel free to slate my picks and comment on how much of an idiot I am for the following picks.
First Pick—Carolina Panthers—Cam Newton—Quarterback—Auburn Boom, right off the bat with a surprise pick. Every fresh start with a new head coach needs a new franchise quarterback. Newton might not be the best now, but he has the biggest upside.
Second Pick—Denver Broncos—Da’Quan Bowers—Defensive End—Clemson The lack of a defence last year really hindered any progress they could make. The mouth-watering prospect of Bowers and Dumervil across each other is too hard to resist for new coach John Fox
Third Pick—Buffalo Bills—Marcell Dareus—Defensive End—Alabama The reason Dareus goes ahead of Fairley? Scheme. Dareus is perfect for the Bills as a DE, whilst Fairley is not considered big enough for that role.
Fourth Pick—Cincinnati Bengals—A.J. Green—Wide Receiver—Georgia The departure of Batman and Robin leave this WR corp very thin, giving whoever is quarterback next year few targets to aim for. A.J is a target man automatically upgrades it.
Fifth Pick—Arizona Cardinals—Von Miller—Outside Linebacker—Texas A&M Arizona is in need of an edge rusher. Miller might be the most complete player in this years draft. Quarterback could be an option here also.
Sixth Pick—Cleveland Browns—Julio Jones—Wide Receiver—Alabama Surprise pick here. They finished 29th in passing offence and their leading Wide Receiver had 40 catches last year. They need Jones to stretch the field against the likes of Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Also, just look at his combine results...with a broken foot.
Seventh Pick—San Francisco 49ers—Patrick Peterson—Cornerback—LSU Nate Clements is old and isn't the same player anymore. Peterson adds some needed young blood and speed to the 49ers secondary
Eigth Pick—Tennessee Titans—Nick Fairley—Defensive Tackle—Auburn The Titans are finally able to fill the void Albert Haynesworth left. Fairley falls this far due to only having one season of productivity. NFL teams would rather see three quality years than risk it a potential one-year wonder. Don’t get me wrong, I think Fairley will be a good player, but it's concerning how he only had one productive year at Auburn
Ninth Pick—Dallas Cowboys—Prince Amukamara—Cornerback—Nebraska Dallas finally gets the lock-down corner they have after for a long time. Now, if Romo can stay healthy, a playoff berth may be in sight for Big D.
10th Pick—Washington Redskins—Blaine Gabbert—Quarterback—Missouri Shanahan has worked with and developed some great Quarterbacks in his coaching career. Gabbert could be his next project, who will be groomed behind Rex Grossman
11th Pick—Houston Texans—Robert Quinn—Defensive End—North Carolina Any defensive pick is a good pick for the Texans. Robert Quinn can play as the 3-4 edge rusher in Wade Phillips' new scheme
12th Pick–Minnesota Vikings—Jake Locker—Quarterback—Washington Maybe a wee bit too high, but Locker is better than both quarterbacks on the Vikings' roster last year, being Jackson and Webb...
13th Pick—Detroit Lions—Nate Solder—Offensive Tackle—Colorado Though Jeff Backus had a good year last year, he is 33-years-old. Solder is the man who can protect Stafford from Peppers, Matthews and Jared Allen twice a year
14th Pick—St. Louis Rams—Cameron Jordan—Defensive End—California With no wide receiver worthy of the 14th Pick, the Rams take the best player available in Jordan, who can do the job rushing the passer opposite Chris Long
15th Pick—Miami Dolphins—Mark Ingram—Running Back—Alabama With both Brown and Williams scheduled to be free agents, Miami needs a running back. Mark Ingram is a running back and the best one in the draft. Any Questions?
16th Pick—Jacksonville Jaguars—Ryan Kerrigan—Defensive End—Purdue The Jags finished dead last in the league in sacks last year, so it is clear where this picks needs to go. Kerrigan has a great motor with a variety of moves to get to the Quarterback
17th Pick—New England Patriots (from Oakland Raiders)—Akeem Ayers Outside linebacker—UCLA—This pick will most likely be traded by the Pats. However, if they don't, Ayers is a great selection and the Patriots take advantage of his disappointing combine
18th Pick—San Diego Chargers—Stephen Paea—Defensive Tackle—Oregon State Another surprise pick. Paea is a beast who demonstrated his strength at the combine. With Ayers snatched one spot ahead of them, the Chargers turn to another need, defensive line. Paea is a Tonga native, which is all you need to know about his physical build.
19th Pick—New York Giants–Tyron Smith—Offensive Tackle—USC The Giants' offensive line is ageing and has many injury prone players. Smith is versatile, agile and can protect Eli for years to come.
20th Pick—Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Adrian Clayborn—Defensive End—Iowa Another team who desperately need to upgrade their pass rush. Clayborn can slot right in next to McCoy and Price, which could be a defensive force for many years
21st Pick—Kansas City Chiefs—Aldon Smith—Outside Linebacker—Missouri Kansas City needs a player to rush opposite Tamba Hali and get pressure on the quarterback. Aldon Smith can fill that 3-4 outside linebacker role nicely.
22nd Pick—Indianapolis Colts—Anthony Castonzo—Offensive Tackle—Boston College A simple case of picking the best offensive lineman available for the Colts. Peyton isn't getting any younger, and the offensive line needs to create more holes for the running back.
23rd Pick—Philadelphia Eagles—Gabe Carimi—Offensive Tackle—Wisconsin Again, another case of best offensive lineman available. This pick could be spent on a cornerback, but Vick took a beating once teams found out how to get to him.
24th Pick—New Orleans Saints—J.J Watt—Defensive End—Wisconsin The Saints need to upgrade their defensive line, and this pick could easily be Corey Liuget. However, Watt is bargain at number 24. He is a player you can slot in from day 1 and can play defensive end in the 3-4 or 4-3
25th Pick—Seattle Seahawks—Corey Liuget—Defensive Tackle—Illinois Many suggest that this pick will be a quarterback. However, Matt Hasselbeck still has at least another year in him, and who can forget Clipboard Jesus... Though their run defence wasn't horrendous, it still needs improving—hence Corey Liuget.
26th Pick—Baltimore Ravens—Brandon Harris—Cornerback—Miami(FL) Another Miami defensive player for the Ravens, Harris gives them a legit cornerback opposite Webb. Expect Harris to start from day one and help the Ravens challenge for the AFC North.
27th Pick—Atlanta Falcons—Justin Houston—Outside Linebacker—Georgia Justin Houston is a local guy from Georgia who will step right in and replace Mike Peterson—giving the Falcons a young, frightening linebacker corp.
28th Pick—New England Patriots—Mike Pouncey—Offensive Guard—Florida With Mike Neal reportedly due to retire, there is a hole at guard for the Patriots. And with Belichick's affection for Florida players developed under Urban Meyer, this pick makes a lot of sense.
29th Pick—Chicago Bears—Derek Sherrod—Offensive Tackle—Mississippi State Any time a team gives up the most amount of sacks in a season, you better spend your first pick on an offensive lineman. Sherrod might not be the best tackle in the draft, but he is better than anything the Bears currently have.
30th Pick—New York Jets—Phil Taylor—Defensive Tackle—Baylor Kris Jenkins will not be returning which leaves a (literally) big hole for the Jets. Taylor is very big man at 6'4", 340 lbs. and will clog up many holes
31st Pick—Pittsburgh Steelers—Jimmy Smith—Cornerback—Colorado Mike Pouncey to the Steelers is too fairytale to happen, and with Pouncey going to New England, the Steelers turn to their second biggest need - cornerback. Smith is a lock-down corner in every sense, only giving up 1 Touchdown all year and was thrown at a mere 20 times
32nd Pick—Green Bay Packers—Cameron Heyward—Defensive End—Ohio State Cullen Jenkins is due to become a free agent. The Packers have the luxury of having few needs in the draft, so they take Heyward, who can compete with Mike Neal for a starting spot.
33rd Pick—New England Patriots (from Carolina Panthers)—Mikel LeShoure—Running Back—Illinois A lot of comparisons to Rashard Mendenhall, which should be a good sign. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was given a second round tender so there is a chance he could be gone. Even if he doesn't go, the Patriots could do with another back to carry the load, as Danny Woodhead is more of a novelty back
34th Pick—Buffalo Bills—Benjamin Ijalana—Offensive Tackle—Villanova The Bills' offensive line did a better than expected job of keeping Ryan Fitzpatrick on his feet last year, but that doesn't mean they don't have to improve it. Ijalana can play at tackle or guard, though he will likely slot in at Tackle.
35th Pick—Cincinnati Bengals—Ryan Mallet—Quarterback—Arkansas And this will be the man throwing A.J. Green the ball. Whilst Carson Palmer is acting like a child, the Bengals find the man to replace him. The Bengals are just the right team for Mallet as, recently, they have given chances to players with off field issues, such as Cedric Benson and Tank Johnson
36th Pick—Denver Broncos—Aaron Williams—Cornerback—Texas The eventual replacement for Champ Bailey and could even replace Andre Goodman, who himself is 32. Williams will be able to play nickel which he had played at Texas and learn under a future Hall of Famer until it is time to step into the starting role
37th Pick—Cleveland Browns—Muhammad Wilkerson—Defensive Tackle—Temple The Browns released Shaun Rogers recently, so they need to upgrade their defensive line. Wilkerson is very athletic for someone of his size, and can help rejuvenate the Browns defence
38th Pick—Arizona Cardinals—Colin Kaepernick—Quarterback—Nevada A surprise pick? Maybe. But the Cardinals need a quarterback. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Cardinals traded up for Ryan Mallet or Jake Locker if they fell deep enough. However, Kaepernick is arguably the best Quarterback available and is a dual threat. I do believe that the Cardinals should look to trade for a quarterback, maybe a Donovan McNabb, then work Kaepernick in slowly.
39th Pick—Tennessee Titans—Christian Ponder—Quarterback—Florida State The Titans couldn’t pass up on Fairley in the first round, meaning they still need a quarterback. Ponder has a second round grade and is considered one of the most complete quarterbacks going into the draft. But don’t be expecting anything spectacular from him
40th Pick—Dallas Cowboys—Marcus Cannon—Offensive Tackle—TCU Dallas need to find another way to protect Tony Romo. Marcus Cannon did a very good job of protecting Andy Dalton last year at TCU, and didn’t give up a sack in 2009, and could easily slot in at left or right tackle.
41st Pick—Washington Redskins—Torrey Smith—Wide Receiver—Maryland Shanahan needs to find a weapon for Blaine Gabbert. Torrey Smith is a receiver who could go in the first round and will be able to replace an aging Santana Moss and can step in from day one
42nd Pick—Houston Texans—Rahim Moore—Safety—UCLA The Texans defence couldn't stop a nosebleed last year and their pass defence was atrocious. Rahim Moore is the best of a bad class of safeties, but that doesn't mean he won’t be able to help improve the new look Texans defence
43rd Pick—Minnesota Vikings—Marvin Austin—Defensive Tackle—North Carolina Another North Carolina player who’s draft stock fell as a result of the year long suspension. Pat Williams is 39. Thirty-Nine! Some young blood is added to the Vikings defensive line
44th Pick—Detroit Lions—Ras-I Dowling—Cornerback—Virginia Very much a boom or bust prospect. If Dowling can stay healthy, he can be a 10-year starter for the Lions. However, staying healthy is very key. He has struggled with injuries during his time at Virginia, but when he was on the field, he was a first round talent.
45th Pick—San Francisco 49ers—Brooks Reed—Outside Linebacker—Arizona With no quarterback left who is worth a second round pick, the Niners upgrade their pass rush. Brooks reed ran the first ten yards of his 40 in 1.54 seconds, which was faster than players like A.J. Green, Von Miller and even Dontay Moch. He finished with a 4.65 time over the full distance. Reed has been compared to Clay Matthews as the both have the agility and explosion. If he can be half the player Matthews is, the 49ers will get a nugget in the second.
46th Pick—Denver Broncos (from Miami Dolphins)—Ryan Williams—Running Back—Virginia Tech The Broncos could do with another running back alongside Knowshon Moreno who can be a change-of-pace back. Ryan Williams can do just that, and is a threat to take it all to the house on every play.
47th Pick—St. Louis Rams—Jon Baldwin—Wide Receiver—Pittsburgh The Rams get the receiver they desperately need. A quick look through the current receiving corp shows no number one wide receiver. Baldwin can be a big target man for Sam Bradford and could be an excellent player in the new pass-happy Josh McDaniels-offence
48th Pick—Oakland Raiders—Brandon Burton—Cornerback—Utah With Nnamdi Asomugha potentially leaving this off season, the Raiders need to find a replacement. Burton is a safe pick who can work from day one. At 6', he has the long arms to re-route receivers and the height to break up a jump ball, something which will be very handy against the potential match ups against Dwayne Bowe and Vincent Jackson twice a year
49th Pick—Jacksonville Jaguars—DeAndre McMichael—Safety—Clemson The Jags' attempt and failure at signing Bob Sanders shows they want a strong safety. McMichael may be gone by the next time they pick, so they reach a little bit for that desired safety
50th Pick—San Diego Chargers—Leonard Hankerson—Wide Receiver—Miami Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd contracts are both up this year, so San Diego takes a replacement for whoever they don't keep. Though Hankerson doesn't have the same height as Floyd or Jackson, he has speed and a nose for the end-zone
51st Pick—Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Bruce Carter—Outside Linebacker—North Carolina The young Bucs continue their additions to the defence. Though injuries set in last year, there was still a glaring need for an outside linebacker. Carter can also emerge over time as a leader for this young, developing team.
52nd Pick—New York Giants—Martez Wilson—Inside Linebacker—Illinois The Giants get a steal with Wilson, who put up impressive numbers at Illinois. A neck injury is a cause for concern for NFL Teams, but Wilson has the talent of a first round pick, so the G-Men jump on him.
53rd Pick—Indianapolis Colts—Kenrick Ellis - Defensive Tackle - Hampton The Colts gave up the ninth -most rushing yards last year and gave up the 10th-most points last year. Just to put that in perspective, the other five AFC play-off teams all finished in the top-10 of least points allowed.
54th Pick—Philadelphia Eagles—Davon House—Cornerback—New Mexico State The Eagles passed up on Brandon Harris and Jimmy Smith in the first round to solidify their offensive line. Now they turn to their defence, mainly their secondary. Davon House comes from a college which gave up 40+ points seven times last year, but that is no reflection on House’s ability.
55th Pick—Kansas City Chiefs—Randall Cobb—Wide Receiver—Kentucky The Chiefs lack another target man outside of Dwayne Bowe. Randall Cobb is the opposite of Bowe. Cobb is less of a target man and more of a speedy receiver. He will compliment Bowe very well.
56th Pick – New Orleans Saints – Drake Nevis – Defensive Tackle – LSU – The Saints continue to revamp their defensive line with a local lad from LSU. Nevis is great against the run and will go all day long. Though they just added Shaun Rogers, he is getting old and lets be honest, it wouldn't be a surprise if he got a suspension some time in the season.
57th Pick—Seattle Seahawks—Stefen Wisniewski—Offensive Center Wisniewski is an old-fashioned line up and block lineman. You won’t get anything fancy with him, but you also won't get anything spectacular. He needs to bulk up to play Guard, but could easily be starter by day one with Chris Spencer heading for Free Agency.
58th Pick—Baltimore Ravens—Titus Young—Wide Receiver—Boise State The Ravens lacked speed at wide receiver last year, and Coach Harbaugh has recently stated he is not sure whether T.J Whosyourmomma or Donte Stallworth Will be back this year. Young has been compared to DeSean Jackson. Not a bad comparison.
59th Pick—Atlanta Falcons—Kyle Rudolph—Tight End—Notre Dame Tony Gonzalez can still walk the walk, but for how long? Rudolph is the best tight end in the draft and for the Falcons to get him for a late second round pick is a steal. Rudolph isn't just a receiving tight end. He doesn't might doing the dirty work in the run game as well.
60th Pick—New England Patriots—Dontay Moch—Outside Linebacker—Nevada Bill Belichick gets a toy for his defence. Moch can run as fast as most defensive backs, but heavier and stronger. Don't expect Moch to be a three-down linebacker, but more of a situational pass rusher, to bring that extra speed off the edge.
61st Pick—San Diego Chargers (from New York Jets)—Christian Ballard—Defensive End—Iowa The Chargers get three starters with their first three picks in the draft. Ballard is a typical 3-4 defensive end. He may need to bulk up to match the strength of the NFL offensive lines, but he has a good burst and finds a way to the ball
62nd Pick—Chicago Bears—Curtis Brown—Cornerback—Texas Despite needing help on both lines, there is still a glaring need in the Bears' secondary. And for the first time in a while, it isn't at safety. Tim Jennings isn't big enough to hold down the job and would be more suited to nickel back. Though Texas didn't produce this year, Brown has the size and speed to help this Bears defensive get back to the play-offs
63rd Pick—Pittsburgh Steelers—Orlando Franklin—Offensive Guard—Miami The Steelers need to upgrade their offensive line having passed on it in the first round. Orlando Franklin can play guard or tackle; however, there are concerns as to whether he is quick enough to play tackle. So the Steelers find themselves with another young interior lineman for the future.
64th Pick—Green Bay Packers—Danny Watkins—Offensive Guard—Baylor Danny Watkins didn't play football until 2007. Since then, he has transformed himself into a player with great upside and great potential. However, one major downside to Watkins is his age. He will start his NFL career at 26, which is a fair few years older than most other rookies.
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