2011 NFL Mock Draft: Final Edition: Round 1
This maybe early for a final edition mock draft but there is not going to be much that changes in the next few weeks since most of the pro days are over with.
Sure there will be some visits from prospects with prospective teams, but impressions made in these visits are mere speculation.
I've included trades in this final edition. As always, comments are appreciated.
Pick 1: Cincinnati Bengals (Trade with Carolina): Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
I believe that Carolina might end up drafting Cam Newton overall; however, they might want to give Jimmy Clausen one more year to prove himself. The Panthers also are missing a second-round pick that they traded to New England last year. This is a reason why the Panthers might look to aquire additional picks and try to trade out of the No. 1 spot.
The Bengals will be looking for Carson Palmer's replacement early. The Bengals would ignore possible character concerns and pick for talent. The Bengals probably would not trade the second-round pick but they might trade their Round 3 pick and a second round in 2012.
Pick 2: Denver Broncos: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
The Broncos have nothing on their interior defense. Dareus is considered the best defensive lineman and would give them an run stopping presence through the middle of their defensive line.
Denver are set to have 2009 sack leader Elvis Dumervil back this year and will look to move Robert Ayers back out to defensive end.
The Broncos also recently re-signed Champ Bailey to a four year deal, so they might skip on Patrick Peterson.
Pick 3: Buffalo Bills: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
The Bills could look for a quarterback here; however, Ryan Fitzpatrick played well last year and he deserves one more year to prove himself.
Buffalo could look to improvement their pass rush and add the pass rusher Von Miller at this spot. This would be a best player available pick.
Pick 4: Carolina Panthers (Cincinnati): Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
If the Panthers were to trade with the Bengals, than they are obviously sticking with Jimmy Clausen.
Bowers has fallen in many mock drafts lately, but he is a solid all around 4-3 defensive end who can make a impact in the pass and rush defense.
The Panthers could also go with Fairley, but Bowers is probably the safer pick.
Pick 5: Arizona Cardinals: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
If Gabbert were to fall, then I think the Cardinals pull the trigger to keep Larry Fitzgerald happy.
They would also strongly consider Robert Quinn but if history proves anything a quarterback is more valuable.
Pick 6: Cleveland Browns: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
A.J. Green falling this far means the Browns can add the most talented wide receiver in the draft as a weapon for Colt McCoy.
Improvement to the defensive line can wait.
Pick 7: San Francisco 49ers: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
It's hard to see Patrick Peterson lasting this far in the draft—but if he somehow makes it here, this would be the 49ers pick.
Pick 8: Tennessee Titans: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
The Titan's go with the best player on their board and pick Nick Fairley. Fairley could fill Albert Haynesworth's shoes in Tennessee.
Pick 9: Minnesota Vikings (Trade with Dallas): Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Here's were it starts to become interesting. The Cowboys could select a offensive lineman or a cornerback with this pick.
Prince Amukamara would be a decent choice in this spot; however, I think if they could find a trade partner, i.e. Minnesota, than they might go ahead and make the trade.
Minnesota is looking for a quarterback and they might be worried that the Redskins would draft Locker with the 10th pick. Locker was considered the number one pick coming into the year, but has fallen given his poor senior year performance.
Locker has everything a team looks for in a pro quarterback but was not accurate this last year. Locker is not all to blame for his bad year as his wide receivers were not that great. Nebraska's corners routinely pushed Washington's wide receivers around in their two meetings.
Locker was left with no one to throw to and was forced to run.
Pick 10: Washington Redskins: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
With Gabbert, Locker, and Newton gone the Redskins might also look to trade back to gain additional picks which they lack in the early rounds.
However if they can not make a trade happen then Jones is their guy for the next 10 years.
Pick 11: Houston Texans: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
I think the Texans could go with Robert Quinn since they are changing to a 3-4 defense.
Amukamara lasting this far would be great for a Texans team that requires help in their pass defense.
Pick 12: San Diego Chargers(Trade with Dallas):Robert Quinn, OLB, North Carolina
The Cowboys trade down again after they had acquired this pick from the Vikings. If Quinn makes it this far, then a team might try to trade up for his services.
The Chargers are searching for a pass rusher and they have the draft capital to move up a few spots.
Pick 13: Detroit Lions: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
The Lions need to quite ignoring their offensive line. The Lions have invested a ton of money in Matt Stafford who can't seem to stay healthy.
That is why the Lions need to improve their offensive line. An offensive tackle just makes sense here and Castonzo makes sense here.
Pick 14: St. Louis Rams: Cameron Jordan, DE, California
This is purely a best player available pick. The Rams would love to add a wide receiver here but with Jones and Green gone it is not worth reaching for someone else.
Jordan is solid and would help the Rams defensive line that needs to add some youth.
Pick 15: Miami Dolphins: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
If Ingram is to go anywhere in the first round this makes the most sense. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are free agents.
Brown is often injured. The Dolphins are a running team and Mark Ingram would give them a reliable back for the next 8 years.
Pick 16: Jacksonville Jaguars: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
Aaron Kampman is coming off his second ACL tear in two years.
The Jaguars might look for a defensive lineman who could eventually replace him. Ryan Kerrigan could be that man.
Pick 17: New England Patriots: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
J.J. Watt is similar to Justin Smith of the 49ers.
He's big and does not take a play off. He would be a welcome addition to an aging defensive line.
Pick 18: Dallas Cowboys (Trade with San Diego): Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida
Mike Pouncey believes the Cowboys will pick him.
Well, in this mock draft the Cowboys have traded down twice to a spot where it would make sense selecting him.
Drafting him here means he will likely play left guard or quite possibly right tackle.
Pick 19: New York Giants: Tyron Smith, OT, USC
The Giants go with an offensive tackle to add youth to their aging offensive line.
Pick 20: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
The Bucs keep improving their defensive line by drafting Smith.
Pick 21: Kansas City Chiefs: Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor
The Chiefs pick up Taylor to be their nose tackle in their 3-4 defense.
Pick 22: Indianapolis Colts: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
Peyton Manning's successor is going to have to wait.
Instead the Colts pick up a offensive tackle to protect Peyton.
Pick 23: Philadelphia Eagles: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
The Eagles offensive line surrendered 52 sacks last year.
Philadelphia could use an upgrade along the offensive line. Carimi would fit the bill.
Pick 24: New Orleans Saints: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
The Saints do not have many holes in their roster.
They could add a linebacker or a pass rushing defensive lineman depending on who they have ranked higher on their board—but I have them taking Akeem Ayers here.
Pick 25: Seattle Seahawks: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
The Seahawks could go quarterback here.
However, I think Matt Hasselback will be back for at least one more year so instead the Seahawks go with the best player available.
Pick 26: Baltimore Ravens: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
The Ravens would like to add a pass rusher or cornerback if such a player is the best player on their board.
In this scenario, Smith is, and the Ravens turn in the pick.
Pick 27: Atlanta Falcons: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
The Falcons would love to add a pass rushing defensive end to eventually take John Abraham's place and succeed him.
Enter Adrian Clayborn.
Pick 28: San Francisco 49ers (Trade with New England): Colin Kaepernick, QB, UNR
I would be shocked if the Patriots did not trade this pick. A team looking for a quarterback in the second round could move into the bottom of the first round to select their quarterback of the future.
The 49ers could just be that team. The Patriots and the 49ers have been trade partners in a similar situation before when they drafted Joe Staley number 28th overall in 2007. The 49ers would most likely give the Patriots their Round 2 and one of theirRound 4 picks to move up.
At first I was a little skeptical about taking him this early but maybe the 49ers might see another team taking him before they pick in the second round.
I've watched Kaepernick a few times in person when he played at UNR and there is no doubt that he is as athletically gifted as any quarterback in this draft.
He is probably as athletically gifted as Cam Newton but where Cam has filled out his frame, unless he turns into Jamarcus Russell, it would not hurt Colin if he added about 10 to 15 lbs of muscle.
The problems that I have with Colin are his accuracy and the fact that he did play in the Pistol offense. Harbaugh may believe that he can fix these issues and it looks like Colin would be an excellent protégé. The guy knows how to work and is smart enough to coach up.
Now it wouldn't surprise me if Alex Smith, or another veteran quarterback, is signed to a one year contract to allow whomever the 49ers draft to sit on the bench one year to learn.
Pick 29: Chicago Bears: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
Solder has a great amount of potential and the Bears do need offensive line help.
The Bears could believe that Mike Tice could coach up Solder and turn him into a pro bowl left tackle.
Pick 30: New York Jets: Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh
The Vernon Gholston project is over.
Sheard is a relentless and strong pass rusher whom the Jets would love to have.
He is a best player available pick here.
Pick 31: Pittsburgh Steelers: Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
Aaron Smith is old and has had season ending injuries the last couple of years.
It would be hard to pass up Heyward who fits a need but is also the best player available at this point.
Pick 32: Green Bay Packers: Marvin Austin, DT/DE, North Carolina
Johnny Jolly, defensive lineman, is facing jail time for drug charges and most likely will not be back.
Cullen Jenkins, defensive lineman, is scheduled for free agency and might not be back. This pick is a need pick with the Packers looking for a talented defensive.