The 2011 NFL Draft is just a few weeks away, and it’s time to unleash the seven round NFL Mock Draft for 2011, as presented by NFL Soup.
We’ve been hard at work trying to fit players to proper schemes, and figure out where players will be selected by team selection methods and preferences.
We advise you not to attempt to hold your breath while reading each pick as you will be reading for awhile with this in depth analysis of each NFL Draft pick for 2011.
Many of the players have links to scouting reports attached, so feel free to click to find more information on the selection.
When you’re drafting No. 1 overall, nine times out of 10, you need a quarterback. The story is no different here. Jimmy Clausen isn’t the answer, but the second round pick of 2010 will get a chance to start in 2011 while Ron Rivera grooms Blaine Gabbert for a starting role. Gabbert isn’t 100 ready, but he seems like the safest QB in the draft, and it’s hard to ignore improving the quarterback position when your offense struggles to put up 14 points a game.
It’s frustrating when your offense puts up a huge amount of points, but you still can’t find any wins. Denver’s 3-4 defensive struggles continued, and injuries didn’t seem to help. They will make the transition back to the 4-3 defense, and bolster a defensive tackle spot with Marcell Dareus. Denver struggled to get pressure on the QB, and getting Dareus next to Elvis Dumervil will only help their cause.
This pick almost seems too good to be true, and while the Bills could go many different ways with the third selection, it’d make sense to groom their quarterback of the future. With Ryan Fitzpatrick playing well enough to start right now, it would give Newton a chance to sit and learn for at least one season, until he’s ready to take the reigns.
There is much speculation as to who the selection will be at pick four. Cincinnati could reach for a quarterback like Ryan Mallett, or they could simply take the safer pick with A.J. Green. It’s no secret that Chad Ochocinco (Johnson) is aging, and hasn’t been as productive as recent years, and a young stud, possession receiver could do wonders for a young quarterback in the future. Green can make plays all over the field, and is one of the best overall players in the entire draft.
It seems like Von Miller is the consensus fifth overall selection for many other NFL Draft websites, and it’s no different here. Miller’s ability to rush the passer is exceptional, and he’s a very well rounded athlete. He spent time in the 3-4 at Texas A&M already, so his transition to the NFL should be quite pain-free.
One may question the pick of two consecutive cornerbacks in the first round, and even pick six overall. But the when the most talented athlete in the NFL Draft falls into your lap, at a position of need, you snatch him. Eric Wright most likely won’t be back, and was a disappointment, and Sheldon Brown’s calling may be at free safety. A Peterson/Joe Haden combination for many years will be nostalgic of the Hanford Dixon/Frank Minnifield days in the 80′s.
San Francisco’s secondary was quite the disappointment. Nate Clements isn’t the same as he once was, and the team can’t afford to keep getting beat downfield. They gave up 11 plays of over 40 yards, and 48 plays over 20 in 2010, and the addition of Prince Amukamara could fill a huge void for Coach Harbaugh.
Tennessee may not miss Albert Haynesworth’s attitude, but they surely miss his presence. Fairley gives the Titans a pure penetrating under tackle who can get to the quarterback quickly, and cause backfield disruptions. Fairley’s character may be in concern, but his effect on the field can help the Titans to overlook that.
The Cowboys’ need for help on the right side is huge. Tyron Smith played right tackle at USC, and will most likely be groomed to play left tackle eventually. But Smith not only helps as a long term solution, but in the short term as he should be able to come in immediately and make an impact on the right side for Dallas as they try to keep Tony Romo on the field for 16 games in 2011.
Washington just could not seem to get to the quarterback in 2010. It’s not necessarily that their rush linebackers couldn’t get it done, but more so the defensive line’s ineffectiveness to eat blocks. Cam Jordan offers an explosive ability to penetrate and eat up blocks. He’s a jack of all trades, as he can do it all.
The Texans’ transition to the 3-4 under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips means that they’ll need the personnel. The offense doesn’t seem to have a problem scoring, but the defense couldn’t stop my grandmother in 2010. Watt gives them a quick, but strong five technique end to play opposite of Mario Williams, as they attempt to get to the quarterback more often in 2011.
Minnesota needs to add some depth on the defensive line, and Pat Williams can’t play forever. Liuget is a big, strong defensive tackle who can bolster the run game, and pressure the quarterback when needed as well.
Detroit’s injuries to the quarterback position hurt them a bit in 2010, but nothing more than their lack of secondary, especially in the fourth quarter. Jimmy Smith gives the Lions a true cover corner who can help out in run support and bolster the corner position for the next 5-7 years.
During the Christmas holiday, it was rumored that Sam Bradford asked Santa Clause for a legit play maker to throw to. Santa delivers, albeit a few months late. Jones gives the Rams a true downfield receiver who can work the middle of the field and make plays after the catch as well.
While Ingram may not be the fans pick, he seems to be the smartest (and safest) pick for the Dolphins. Miami couldn’t establish a consistent running game in 2010, despite having Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. Ingram is pro ready, and very explosive. He can catch out of the backfield, and is a workhorse who could carry the load for Miami for the next few seasons.
Year in and year out the Jaguars biggest need seems to be at the defensive end position. With an established defensive tackle in big Terrence Knighton, throwing Robert Quinn right next to him would be a monster combination. Quinn is quick and gets upfield in a hurry, causing problems for quarterbacks on a regular basis.
Here comes one of New England’s MANY selections in 2011. While there’s a great chance for a trade up or down, grabbing Justin Houston with pick 17 seems to make the most sense. Houston received some playing time in a 3-4 at Georgia where they mixed up their defenses. He can rush the passer, and does an excellent job of keeping contain.
Since losing Igor Olshansky and Jamal Williams, San Diego’s defensive line play has been inconsistent. What better to improve on that than grabbing Heyward, who is an ideal fit for a five technique defensive end. Heyward is strong at the point of attack, and is a force against the run.
It’s crucial that the Giants upgrade one of the tackle spots in April, and Castonzo is the ideal selection to help keep Eli Manning on his feet. Castonzo’s ability in pass protection is as good as it gets, and he is very intelligent. He’s not the sexy pick, but he’s the smart pick.
Say WHAT?! Da’Quan Bowers falling to pick 20? With the knee problems for Bowers, and his sluggish Pro Day, his stock seems to be falling. Bowers is quite talented, but his health issues are too risky to select in the Top 10, and he’ll make the slide to Tampa Bay where they get excellent value and gain an exceptional pass rusher.
21. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)—Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB, Purdue
Tamba Hali is already making a name for himself, but the Chiefs need youth on the opposite him. Vrabel is an excellent mentor for the athletic and talented pass rusher in Ryan Kerrigan.
The revolving door at left tackle for the Colts has to be fixed. Peyton Manning’s quick release will help Carimi who’s not the most technically sound pass blocker, but has the potential to become elite. Carimi is a punishing run blocking tackle as well.
Philadelphia need some depth on the offensive line, and the tall, powerful Solder could provide an excellent push in the run game, and his improving pass blocking skills make him an option to groom as a left tackle eventually. He could come in and start at right tackle right away.
Clayborn’s versatility to play both defensive end and tackle will make him intriguing for the Saints who need a starting upgrade, as well as depth on the defensive line.
Seattle may look to select a quarterback here, but after watching the secondary (minus Earl Thomas) fail in 2010, it’s hard to ignore improving one of the cornerback positions early.
Baltimore’s defense was great as usual, but they just weren’t themselves this year in the pressure department. They were 27th in the league in getting to the quarterback, and it hurt their secondary at times as they failed to get pressure. Jabaal Sheard is a top notch pass rusher who is very physical, and also very quick off the line. He’s going to rise up draft boards.
While the Atlanta secondary could use some improvement, the lack of a consistent pass rush hurt the defense even more. To grab Aldon Smith at 27 would be a steal. Smith would get to learn under the great John Abraham, and while he’s a bit raw, has the talent to be an All-Pro pass rusher in just a few seasons.
Somehow the Patriots went 14-2 despite having guys like Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis manning the tailback spot. Grabbing the hard nosed, north/south runner in Mikel LeShoure would give them a top notch back who could handle the majority of the load while still getting a guy like Woodhead touches on third downs.
You have to feel somewhat bad for Jay Cutler. The guy can’t seem to get any protection. At the same time, it seems that a paper cut could keep him out of a game at times. All kidding aside, grabbing the pass blocking specialist in Derek Sherrod could be a great acquisition for the Bears who need help keeping Cutler off the ground. With a mean streak, Sherrod could become a mauler, and his pass blocking is already quite fine.
The Jets won’t be keeping Braylon Edwards most likely, and Jerricho Cotchery isn’t really No. 2 wide receiver material. Baldwin is tall, fast receiver who can make plays in the red zone and would compliment the speedy Santonio Holmes very well.
There’s really no explanation needed for this select. Pouncey gets reunited with brother Maurkice at a position in which the Steelers need to desperately upgrade.
Ballard gives the Packers more depth on the defensive line and a potential starter next to B.J. Raji in the future. With Cullen Jenkins hitting free agency, and Johnny Jolly eating space in jail, the five technique becomes a need for the Cheeseheads.
33. New England Patriots (from Carolina)—Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple
The Patriots use their third pick in the 2011 NFL Draft to grab one of the best potential 3-4 defensive ends in the draft. Wilkerson is strong at the point of attack and looks to be the ideal space eater at the next level.
34. Buffalo Bills—Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
The Bills have to love Leodis McKelvin, but they just aren’t getting ideal production from the second corner position. Aaron Williams gives the Bills a lot of help to avoid giving up big plays down field, and he can become quite the play maker himself.
35. Cincinnati Bengals—Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
The Bengals could have themselves quite the draft if Ryan Mallett indeed falls to pick 35. A guy who they were tempted to select with the fourth overall pick falls to their lap in the second round, as they get their future quarterback throwing touchdowns to A.J. Green.
Denver upgrades the interior defensive line in the first round, and now they get a pure pass rusher opposite the oft-injured Elvis Dumervil.
37. Cleveland Browns—Marcus Cannon, OT/OG, TCU
The Browns really need to improve the right side of the offensive line. Injuries to right tackle have hurt, and what better to fix that by bringing in a versatile guard/tackle combination in Marcus Cannon. Cannon is smart, big, and physical, but is athletic for his 350+ pound frame.
38. Arizona Cardinals—Ben Ijalana, OG/OT, Villanova
The Cardinals need help on the offensive line, and if they are going to improve their quarterback play, they will have to keep whichever quarterback they decide to start off of their backs. Ijalana is versatile enough to play guard and tackle and could be groomed to guard their future quarterback’s blindside.
39. Tennessee Titans—Rodney Hudson, OG/C, Florida State
Inexperience at both guard positions, as well as center hurt the Titans in 2010. They need an upgrade anywhere they can find one on the interior line, and Rodney Hudson’s versatility is an ideal fit for them.
40. Dallas Cowboys—Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
The Cowboys need help on the defensive line, and who better to help at the point of attack than the strongest man at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine? Paea could get reps at nose tackle and replace Jay Ratliff as early as 2011.
41. Washington Redskins—Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Perhaps a match made in heaven, with the Redskins struggles with the quarterback position, it’s no doubt they need to find a guy for the future. Locker is a great grooming tool underneath veteran McNabb, who’s made a name for himself as a strong armed scrambler, somewhat like Locker.
42. Houston Texans—Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor
The help on the defensive line doesn’t stop just yet. The Texans grab a steal in Phil Taylor, who some view as a first round selection. Taylor slides unexpectedly, as the Texans find their nose tackle of the future in their newly established 3-4.
43. Minnesota Vikings—Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina
Consistency at the linebacker positions is hard to find, and the Vikings stealing Bruce Carter in the middle of the second round is a great start. Carter is a tackling machine, who also excels in coverage.
44. Detroit Lions—Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
The Lions need for true play makers at the linebacker continues. Ayers is a former defensive end who’s calling could be in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. He plays well in coverage, and may be best playing on the strong side once he learns to shed blocks with ease.
45. San Francisco 49ers—Martez Wilson, LB, Illinois
Martez Wilson’s true position is yet to be determined. He looks to be a potential pass rusher in a 3-4, or he could end up being a potential sledgehammer inside. Regardless, his athleticism and overall potential make him hard to pass up for Jim Harbaugh who could bolster his linebacker corps, especially if Wilson finds a spot next to Patrick Willis.
46. Denver Broncos (from Miami)—Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame
Despite the emergence of a great offense in 2010, the tight end position absolutely has to be upgraded. John Elway knows the importance of tight ends, and he takes a chance on the injury prone Rudolph, who is the best pure pass catching tight end in the draft.
The Rams pass defense hurt them quite a bit in 2010, and what better to help fix that than grabbing a talented cover corner. Davon House is a prospect on the rise, and he could be a late first round selection. He makes his way into the middle of the second, where the Rams get a steal and a potential No. 1 corner.
48. Oakland Raiders—Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia
Oakland needs more depth at corner, and they also need a corner that isn’t afraid to come up and make a tackle. Dowling isn’t the sexy pick, and goes against Al Davis’ workout warrior plan, but he’s the smartest pick here.
49. Jacksonville Jaguars—Rahim Moore, FS, UCLA
Another safety who surprisingly falls is UCLA’s Rahim Moore. Jacksonville’s safety woes continued in 2010. The Reggie Nelson project failed a couple seasons ago, and it’s time to bring on the ball hawk that is Rahim Moore to help keep the offense in front of the Jaguars secondary.
50. San Diego Chargers—DeAndre McDaniel, SS, Clemson
The emergence of Eric Weddle has eliminated free safety from the Chargers “to-do” list. But the strong safety position is still a must upgrade position, and DeAndre McDaniel is the best pick available here, and fills a big need as a play making safety with big hitting potential.
51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Quan Sturdivant, ILB, North Carolina
The Derrick Brooks era has been over for a few seasons and it’s time to find a new tackling machine. Sturdivant is versatile enough to play all three linebacker positions in the Tampa 2 and is a solid coverage linebacker.
52. New York Giants—Drake Nevis, DT, LSU
The Giants draft another second round defensive tackle to help bolster the defensive line. They need to find more consistency on the interior line, and Nevis is a quick, penetrating tackle who can disrupt the backfield, and is excellent value at 52.
53. Indianapolis Colts—Jeron Johnson, CB/S, Boise State
Johnson is an under the radar safety/corner hybrid who’s versatility is what makes him special. He can play both safety positions, and even move to corner. Indianapolis needs to add depth in the secondary, and Johnson makes the most sense here.
54. Philadelphia Eagles—Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina
Many people are having trouble placing Marvin Austin. He has screamed first round talent at some points of his career, but missing the entire 2010 season due to injury hurts a bit. The Eagles grab Austin at 54 as he provides immediate depth.
55. Kansas City Chiefs—Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami (Fl.)
We all know what Dwayne Bowe is capable of now after seeing him explode for several weeks in 2010. But the Chiefs need another play making wide receiver across from him. Hankerson’s speed and ability after the catch compliments Bowe quite well.
56. New Orleans Saints—Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State
New Orleans can’t seem to keep their running backs healthy, and despite Chris Ivory’s solid rookie season, they want a runner with more size and ability. Thomas is big, but has solid speed, and can run well between the tackles and is excellent on third down.
57. Seattle Seahawks—Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State
While most have Christian Ponder as a first round talent, I see him sliding down a bit and falling to the Seahawks who’s West Coast Offense bodes well for a player of Ponder’s talent. He can hit the short/intermediate throws accurately, and is a smart player. A year or two under Matt Hasselbeck could do him wonders in the future.
58. Baltimore Ravens—Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech
Willis McGahee can’t seem to stay healthy, and isn’t consistent. Williams combination of power, speed, and vision makes him an excellent compliment to Ray Rice who slowed down a bit in 2010 as well.
59. Atlanta Falcons—Deunta Williams, FS, North Carolina
After upgrading the pass rush in the first round, the Falcons gamble with Deunta Williams. Williams was a ball hawk with the Tar Heels and when healthy, can dominate. His value at pick 59 is fantastic for a struggling secondary like Atlanta.
60. New England Patriots—Greg Little, WR, North Carolina
At this point it feels like New England has already had 100 draft picks. But they get excellent value in Greg Little who is a tough, physical receiver who plays well over the middle of the field.
61. San Diego Chargers (from New York Jets)—Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin
When Antonio Gates went down, the Chargers seemed to lose a step in the offense. Kendricks not only provides Gates-injury insurance, but can also line up in the slot and create mismatches all over the field with his quickness and excellent hands.
62. Chicago Bears—Titus Young, WR, Boise State
Devin Hester has prove that he’s not a true No. 1 receiver, and while Johnny Knox is improving, the Bears need more weapons for the strong armed Cutler. Young gives the Bears a receiver who can stretch the field, but is also tough enough to make plays over the middle.
The Steelers cornerback depth is quite poor, and they could use a true No. 2 opposite of Ike Taylor who’s not even a legit No. 1 anymore. Burney is a physical corner who could shut down the short/intermediate routes run in the AFC North.
64. Green Bay Packers—Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State
Despite the emergence of James Starks late in the season, the Packers still felt the hit of losing Ryan Grant. Hunter is a true third down back, and compliments Ryan Grant quite well, while also providing insurance.
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