2011 NFL Draft Porspect Nick Fairley
NFL Mock Drafts most of the time are straight forward, but the actual draft never is, so I thought it was time to shake the order up with some very possible trades. I've been conservative with the number of trades so far, only because I want to base them off of some evidence.
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1. Carolina Panthers - Cam Newton, QB, Auburn - The Panthers are looking to play run first, defensive football under Ron Rivera. Newton knows how to manage a team to victory, doing whatever it takes to move the chains.
2. Denver Broncos - Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU - Most believe Denver will select Dareus because of his high floor and Warren Sapp-like ability, but the team has been eying Peterson hard, too. He will learn from one of the best corners to ever play and will allow John Fox to get crafty with his schemes.
3. Buffalo Bills - Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri - It's time for the Bills to draft a QB. Gabbert isn't Newton on the ground but his mobility is upper echelon for the position, which Chan Gailey likes. Buddy Nix has told everyone he plans on drafting a QB and I don't think that means he wants to pick from the scrap-heap.
Will the Bengals draft a player with red flags?
4. Cincinnati Bengals - Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn - Nobody is talking about how perfect Fairley is for the Bengals considering their acquisition history, so there may be surprise on draft day. The team has said they aren't going to let the media's character concerns impact their big board, which is based on play.
5. Arizona Cardinals - Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M - If he's on the board here, he's off the board.
6. Cleveland Browns - A.J. Green, WR, Georgia - Most draft evaluators have Green as the top offensive prospect in the draft. He isn't the overall athlete Calvin Johnson was coming out, but his polish sets him apart from his peers.
7. San Francisco 49ers - Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama - In the new regime's first draft they need to add the best players they can to the roster. Dareus being on the board makes that easy.
8. Tennessee Titans - Jake Locker, QB, Washington - There is a lot of talk about QB records being set this draft. Seven QBs have had "first round" associated with their name. I think Locker is a second round talent at best but that he will go much earlier.
Will the Rams trade-up to get Julio Jones?
9. St. Louis Rams (from Dallas) - Julio Jones, WR, Alabama - The Rams were one game away from making the playoffs, and that was with Orlando Jones at WR and a deaf guy at TE. It doesn't look like Julio Jones will make it past 10, which is why the Rams need to move to nine and get a legit No. one.
10. Washington Redskins - Tyron Smith, OT, USC - Smith might be Trent Williams' long lost brother, and he will make a great bookend with him for the Skins for the next 10 years. Which side you play is becoming vastly overrated these days. You need to be stout on both sides to win.
11. Houston Texans - Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska - It may be perfect if Amukamara fell to Detroit, but isn't Houston just as perfect?
12. Minnesota Vikings - Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas - The Vikings want to start a rookie QB next year. Although everyone wants to slam Mallett for some poor choices, he is NFL-ready and the Vikings offense would make for about the easiest transition possible.
13. Detroit Lions - Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina - There is a lot to like about Quinn, but the fact is he hasn't played in a year, and even after working out for the combine for a year he wasn't a Hall of Famer. In the long run this could be the move that puts the Lions back in the playoffs though.
14. Dallas Cowboys (from St. Louis) - Mike Pouncey, G/C, Florida - Was the tweet some ploy? For now I'm going to believe it. If Dallas were to trade down any lower than 15 I don't think they can get Pouncey.
15. Miami Dolphins - J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin - With Pouncey off they board the Dolphins would like to trade down, but if players are out of the equation that becomes a lot tougher. Watt isn't a bad player to be stuck with though.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars - Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue - We all know Kerrigan has motor, but he is a much better athlete than originally given credit for at the start of the draft process. He is the type of player the Jags have been building with on D.
17. New England Patriots - Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College - Mike Mayock feels Castonzo is the best tackle in the draft, which you almost never see on the board at 17. Easy pick for the Pats and their aging line.
18. San Diego Chargers - Cameron Jordan, DE, California - Jordan had one of the best Senior Bowls along side Von Miller, but the reason Miller is in the top 10 and Jordan may fall to the 20s is sacks. I really like him but the positional value of a 3-4 DE/DT is low.
19. New York Giants - Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado - Giants love size on D and Smith is one of the biggest corners you will find. He can cover too, which will give the talented NY line opportunities to get to the QB.
20. Tampa Bay Bucs - Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson - Once considered the top prospect by experts, Bowers is free-falling because of a bum knee. The Bucs are in a position to roll the dice like they did with Mike Williams in last year's draft.
21. Kansas City Chiefs - Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa - KC fans may not be too happy if the team spends another first round pick on a 3-4 DE/DT, but it doesn't mean Pioli will avoid the pick.
22. Indianapolis Colts - Nate Solder, OT, Colorado - It seems almost too easy to be able to pair Solder with the Colts this late in the first round, but it's starting to come together. The two met on Thursday.
23. Philadelphia Eagles - Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin - Bryana Bulaga was the Packers' pick at No. 23 last year. Drafting this year's Big 10 Lineman of the Year may bring Philly the same brotherly love.
24. New Orleans Saints - Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA - Front seven seems like the ideal selection for NO. There is DL talent on the board because this draft is so thick, but the way the Saints blitz their backers Ayers would be a great asset.
25. Seattle Seahawks - Aaron Williams, CB, Texas - I'm betting on a bit of a Texas pipeline pick here, but there is no question the Hawks secondary could use a dynamic playmaker like Williams to play along side Earl Thomas.
26. Baltimore Ravens - Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State - After drafting Michael Oher, the Ravens looked like they were set at tackle for a decade. Things have changed in a hurry and Sherrod will help the team solidify their weakest link on offense.
27. Atlanta Falcons - Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri - I am low on Smith, which is why I have him in a minor slip to the bottom of the first. The Falcons need guys who can play the QB though, and Smith's length and burst make him a pain on third down.
Will Aldon Smith be a bust?
28. San Diego Chargers (from New England) - Jon Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh - The Pats love to get picks and they love to trade picks to get more. The Chargers need to sure up their receivers for Phillip Rivers, and Baldwin is their prototype receiver.
29. Chicago Bears - Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois - The Bears know they can get a quality DT at the end of the first, which makes it easier to part ways with Tommy Harris.
30. Cincinnati Bengals (from New York) - Andy Dalton, QB, TCU - The Jets spending ability is very limited with all of their big name free-agents, so they would love to move out of the first round. The Bengals have an obvious bead on Dalton, which is why they will need to move back into the first if they want to get the quietly sought after QB.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers - Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia - I had thought the Steelers might be eying Miami's Harris here but after Dowling's Pro Day, he seems like the front-runner to help Pitt's secondary.
32. Green Bay Packers - Brooks Reed, DE, Arizona - I am torn between Martez Wilson and Reed here. While Wilson would give the team a backer who can play inside or outside on their scheme, I think they would side with Reed. He contrasts CM3, because he was a down end in college and has more experience getting to the QB and a better motor than Wilson.