2011 NFL Draft: Each First-Round Pick Broken Down into Three Selections

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
2011 NFL Draft: Each First-Round Pick Broken Down into Three Selections
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Is Cam Newtons overall ability enough to warrant a #1 overall selection?

With the 2011 NFL Draft just a few weeks away, us draftnik’s are starting to get a much better idea of where players are going to be selected between April 28th and April 30th.

2011 is an odd year. Many things are different with no free agency prior to the NFL Draft, so teams may feel more obligated to draft positions of need, rather than sticking with the Best Player Available method.

However, all in all, the draft shouldn’t be much different than previous years. Expect to see quite a few trades, mostly pick for picks with some exchanging of 2012 draft picks as well.

It’s almost guaranteed that New England will trade down and stockpile some more 2012 picks thanks to a heavy load this season, and with so much depth in some big-time positions for 2011, there will be trade partners.

So let’s take a look at the top three players available for each team that I can see them discussing when their selection is up the night of the 28th.

1. Carolina Panthers (2-14)

Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

Marcell Dareus, DE/DT, Alabama

It almost seems too obvious that Carolina should pick a quarterback after the Matt Moore meltdown in 2010. It’s somewhat clear that Jimmy Clausen most likely isn’t the answer, but perhaps he can get some playing time while grooming either Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert. While many analysts feel that Newton is the favorite, I have Gabbert as the pick here, with Marcell Dareus and Newton getting some serious consideration.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Gabbert very well could find himself handing the ball off to Jonathan Stewart in the near future.

2. Denver Broncos (4-12)

Marcell Dareus, DE/DT, Alabama

Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M

This is somewhat of a no brainer for a team who couldn’t stop a fly in 2010. Marcell Dareus almost seems like a lock for this selection, but Patrick Peterson also makes sense as he could start opposite Champ Bailey until Champ is ready to move to FS in a couple seasons. Don’t sleep on Von Miller as he could rotate as a DE and an OLB in the reestablished 4-3 Bronco defense.

3. Buffalo Bills (4-12)

Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M

Buffalo seems very likely to grab their future at quarterback. The situation is ideal: Start Ryan Fitzpatrick for a season or two while grooming Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert. But Von Miller is starting to be a popular selection. Buffalo’s pass rush was quite suspect in 2010, and while they like their young talent at OLB, it’s still quite raw. If Marcell Dareus somehow falls past Denver, he’ll be the pick, but I’m almost certain he will be unavailable.

4. Cincinnati Bengals (4-12)

A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

At this point, I believe Gabbert and Newton will be off the board. If either is available, they are quite possibly the selection. But for the sake of this article, A.J. Green seems like the best fit. I’m not sure the Bengals are ready to invest yet another top pick into a corner despite the injuries to Jon Joseph in 2010. Nick Fairley could be the sleeper for them as he could help that pass rush get back to the top with a healthy rotation of Antwan Odom, Robert Geathers and Carlos Dunlap on the ends.

5. Arizona Cardinals (5-11)

 Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M

Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

Von Miller seems like the likeliest of selections for the Cardinals who could use more stability at the ROLB position. Miller’s natural pass rushing ability will make an immediate impact. Patrick Peterson is also a sleeper selection if available due to inconsistency at cornerback, but having Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie may hinder that with OLB being such a big need and having great value with the Miller selection.

6. Cleveland Browns (5-11)

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Von Miller could find himself somewhat close to home in Arizona.

Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

Despite Joe Haden’s stellar rookie season, it’d be hard for the Browns to pass up on Patrick Peterson if he’s sitting at six. They have Sheldon Brown who’s best position at this point would be free safety, while moving T.J. Ward to the strong side. If A.J. Green is available at six, he’s likely the pick with the need for a true No. 1 wide receiver, and don’t sleep on Alabama’s speedy, physical Julio Jones.

7. San Francisco 49ers (6-10)

Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

Cameron Jordan, DE, California

If the Patrick Peterson free fall goes down to No. 7, you can count San Fran in for the selection of him. However, they’ll likely be out of the sweepstakes and stick with Prince Amukamara or even Cal’s versatile defensive end/tackle Cameron Jordan who could make a huge impact opposite Justin Smith.

8. Tennessee Titans (6-10)  

Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

Cameron Jordan, DE, California

Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

The obvious choice here is Fairley after he makes his fall to the No. 8 pick. The defensive line for Tennessee has produced a lot of talent…. For other teams. It’s time that the Titans get a stud back on the interior defense. Cameron Jordan’s versatility will be quite appealing also, and don’t count out Prince Amukamara.

9. Dallas Cowboys (6-10)

Tyron Smith, OT, USC

Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

Cameron Jordan, DE, California

The Cowboys struggles on the right side of the line may force them to take perhaps the most talented tackle in the draft in Tyron Smith. They could start him immediately on the right side, only to groom him to get ready to protect the blindside for the next eight to 10 years.

10. Washington Redskins (6-10)

Cameron Jordan, DE, California

 Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

Washington needs help on the defensive line with that new 3-4 defense. Cameron Jordan is an excellent fit, as is J.J. Watt from Wisconsin who seems to have that Aaron Smith vibe to him. But if Julio Jones makes it to the 10th selection, he very well could land in D.C. to compliment the speedy, productive Santana Moss.

Jeff Golden/Getty Images
Tyron Smith could find himself with Jason Garrett as his head coach.

11. Houston Texans (6-10) 

J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

 Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

While Antonio Smith and Mario Williams seem set at DE for the Texans, I have to doubt Smith’s ability as a five technique defensive end. Drafting J.J. Watt would not only give them a starter, but also allow them more depth in Wade Phillips' new 3-4 defense. Julio Jones could be a sleeper selection to play opposite of superstar Andre Johnson, and you can’t count out Prince Amukamara with that poor secondary play in 2010.

12. Minnesota Vikings (6-10)

Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois

Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB, Purdue

Grooming a new stud DT to replace Pat Williams soon seems to be an excellent option for the Vikings, which is why Liuget fits so well. Jimmy Smith’s physical press coverage presence could also be an excellent fit for a team that has to face Aaron Rodgers twice a year. Don’t sleep on Ryan Kerrigan whose game translates a lot like current Viking Ray Edwards.

13. Detroit Lions (6-10)

Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

Tyron Smith, OT, USC

Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

Improving the secondary has to be the priority for Detroit. They need help at each linebacker position, but there are none that warrant a selection at 13. Grabbing Jimmy Smith could give them a future No. 1 corner and help Louis Delmas in the secondary. Despite Jeff Backus’ career year, a selection of Tyron Smith could be a big boost to the offensive line to help keep those quarterbacks on their feet. Mark Ingram is the dark horse, and is an unlikely selection, but also a runner that would compliment Jahvid Best perfectly.

14. St. Louis Rams (7-9)

 Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina

Sam Bradford needs a legit No. 1 option to throw to, and if Julio Jones makes it to pick 14, he’s gone. But in case he doesn’t, the Rams have to solidify one corner spot with Jimmy Smith, or improve the pass rush with a guy like Robert Quinn or even Aldon Smith or Ryan Kerrigan.

15. Miami Dolphins (7-9)

Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Mark Ingrams ability to run the ball is too good to keep him out of the Top 20.

Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas*

Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

Mark Ingram seems to be the consensus selection, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ryan Mallett’s name called as well. Ingram would be an instant fit with Ronnie Brown, but Mallett could be the quarterback of the future with a solid receiving corps developing in Miami. Jimmy Smith could be a sleeper selection, although he’ll likely be off the board.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8)

Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina

Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB, Purdue

Brandon Harris, CB, Miami (Fl.)

The Jaguars have been searching for some sort of pass rush for a long time. Robert Quinn could fill that void almost immediately, and the same goes for Kerrigan. Brandon Harris could be the selection as well if Jacksonville feels the need to grab themselves a corner rather than a pass rusher.

17. New England Patriots (from Oakland) (14-2)

Justin Houston, DE/OLB, Georgia

J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina

There are many different options for the Patriots at pick 17. J.J. Watt could solidify a five technique spot for them for years, or they could go with the project OLB in Justin Houston whose pass rushing ability is quite filled out. Robert Quinn could also be the selection if they prefer his overall athleticism to Houston.

18. San Diego Chargers (9-7)

Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State

J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

Adrian Clayborn, DE/DT, Iowa

If you can’t tell, the story seems to be bolstering the defensive line for the Chargers. Cameron Heyward makes the most sense, but if Watt falls this far, you can write him in as the selection. Adrian Clayborn could sneak back into Top 20 talk if the Chargers like his game more so than Heyward, but Heyward’s run-stuffing ability seems to be the perfect fit.

19. New York Giants (10-6)

Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

J.J. Watt, DE/DT, Wisconsin

Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

Bolstering an offensive tackle position should be one of the priorities in Jacksonville. Grabbing the intelligent Castonzo or Carimi seem like ideal fits, but the Giants love drafting interior defensive lineman and Watt could be a perfect fit. Don’t count out Drake Nevis as well.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Watt is likely to be a hot commodity come April 28th.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6)

Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB, Purdue

Nate Solder, OT, Colorado

The Buccaneers drafted their stud defensive tackle in 2010, and it’s time to get a supreme pass rusher next to him. Bowers’ knee injuries make him fall a bit, but the Bucs can’t resist the reward potential at pick 20. Nate Solder from Colorado could be an excellent fit as well to help create bookend tackles, as he’ll likely be able to fill either tackle spot.

21. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)

Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB, Purdue

Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor

Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

The Chiefs would love to get an outside linebacker to groom under Mike Vrabel across from Tamba Hali. But Phil Taylor’s physical nose tackle presence could be very hard to pass on with pick 21. Anthony Castonzo is a dark horse to select as well if they want to keep Matt Cassell on his feet a bit more.

22. Indianapolis Colts (10-6)

Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State

The Colts' left tackle woes continue. Despite drafting Duane Brown in 2010, they still select Carimi or whomever their highest-ranked tackle is, in order to secure the left tackle spot for the next few years as Peyton Manning tries to win another title.

23.  Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)

Nate Solder, OT, Colorado

Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA*

Rumor has it that the Eagles could be looking at filling the outside linebacker void. However, their draft tendency of selecting linebackers in the first round doesn’t seem to favor that motion. Grabbing a tackle, preferably one with versatility to play both spots would be ideal for the Eagles.

24.  New Orleans Saints (11-5)

Adrian Clayborn, DE/DT, Iowa

Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri

Mikel LeShoure, RB, Illinois

Help on the defensive front is a must for the Saints. Adrian Clayborn’s versatility to play DE and DT makes the Saints very intrigued, but with Aldon Smith available, it’s hard not to have the urge to take the talented pass rusher. LeShoure is a dark horse considering the Saints' injury issues with running backs.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Ryan Kerrigans natural pass rushing ability makes him a sexy first round seleciton.

25.  Seattle Seahawks (7-9)

Brandon Harris, CB, Miami (Fl.)

Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri

Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State

Grabbing Brandon Harris to secure a cornerback spot seems like the most logical choice. But the Seahawks could reach for Christian Ponder to groom behind Matt Hasselbeck for a season. Aldon Smith’s pass rush ability teamed up with the run-stuffing interior line for the Seahawks could severely help the pass defense as well.

26.  Baltimore Ravens (12-4)

Jabaal Sheard, DE/OLB, Pittsburgh

Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri

Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh

There’s something about Jabaal Sheard that just screams “Ravens”. Even with Sergio Kindle and Paul Kruger, I think the Ravens would be hard pressed to pass on Sheard or Aldon Smith. Jon Baldwin complimenting Anquan Boldin would be the sexy pick, as Derrick Mason’s age is limiting his ability to stay consistent.

27.  Atlanta Falcons (13-3)

Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri

Brandon Harris, CB, Miami (Fl.)

Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh

The Falcons need to generate more pass rush. Aldon Smith potentially falling to the end of the first round would be a dream come true for the Falcons. Brandon Harris is a sleeper selection despite the Falcons having more than serviceable starters, especially with the emergence of Brent Grimes. A stud wide receiver opposite Roddy White would also be an excellent pick, which could very well be Jon Baldwin.

28.  New England Patriots (14-2)

Mikel LeShoure, RB, Illinois

Muhammad Wilkerson, DE/DT, Temple

Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida

The Patriots will continue to build depth with future starters at either RB, G or DE. Wilkerson seems like the best pick for them at pick 28, but if they grab a DE like Watt or Heyward at 17, then Mikel LeShoure could be the sexy pick to give them more consistency at RB. Mike Pouncey replacing Logan Mankins could be a big-time selection for the Patriots as well.

29.  Chicago Bears (11-5)

Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Atlanta could be Aldon Smiths new home come April.

Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida

Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

The Bears need to give Jay Cutler more time, and what better to do that than to grab a future left tackle stud. Gabe Carimi is the ideal choice, but he’s likely off the board. Derek Sherrod’s balanced blocking abilities are ideal for the Bears in that case, and Mike Pouncey’s versatility could really help them on the interior line.

30.  New York Jets (11-5)

Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh

Brooks Reed, DE/OLB, Arizona

Muhammad Wilkerson, DE/DT, Temple*

With Braylon Edwards' return most unlikely, grabbing a true No. 2 wide receiver seems like a priority. However, the Jets need a nose tackle and help at defensive end. A more consistent pass rusher with potential like Brooks Reed could be a sleeper selection, and if Phil Taylor is available, he could also be tough to pass up on.

31.  Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)

Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida

Aaron Williams, CB, Texas*

Brooks Reed, DE/OLB, Arizona

If Mike Pouncey is available with pick 31, he’s gone. I think that’s obvious with the Steelers' inability to stay healthy up front. But don’t count out Aaron Williams' ability to help them shore up one corner position after their secondary was embarrassed by Aaron Rodgers' quick release in the Super Bowl. Brooks Reed is a sleeper as we all know how much the Steelers love to draft linebackers, albeit generally a bit later.

32.  Green Bay Packers (10-6)

Muhammad Wilkerson, DE/DT, Temple*

Brooks Reed, DE/OLB, Arizona

Ben Ijalana, T/G, Villanova

If Muhammad Wilkerson or Christian Ballard is available, then the Packers will be jumping for joy. Wilkerson’s ability to step in at the five technique in replace of Cullen Jenkins could be huge for Green Bay. Brooks Reed playing opposite of Clay Matthews is quite sexy, but having two dominant pass rushers can’t solve all of their (few) problems defensively. Grabbing Ben Ijalana or another versatile offensive lineman could also be in the cards with all of the injuries lately to the offensive line.

Load More Stories
NFL

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.