2011 NFL Mock Draft 4.0: A.J. Green at One, Newton Slides, Bowers Is Falling
1. WR—A.J. Green to the Carolina Panthers: I'm still not sold on the Carolina Panthers picking a Cam Newton with the first pick of the draft. I think we will see a veteran stop gap QB in Carolina.
The Panthers will look at the pick that gives them the biggest impact on their performance and is a safe pick. For these reasons, the Panthers will turn their attention to A. J. Green, whom Charley Casserley described as the safest pick in the draft.
A.J Green will immediately be a top 10 receiver in the NFL when the 2011 season starts. With decent QB play, A.J. Green paring up with Steve Smith, Shockey as the safety valve and that good running game, we are going to see a whole new Panthers offense in 2011.
On Cam Newton—they cannot be serious about taking him at no one. I just watched him on Grudens QB Camp. To me he sounds like a guy who will love the flash and glamour, but I just don't see a guy that can/will emerge himself fully into the responsibility and hard work of being an NFL QB (But I hope I'm wrong).
2. CB/S/KR—Patrick Peterson to the Denver Broncos: Patrick Peterson is a once in a decade player, that together with Champ Bailey will lock down the corners for the Broncos in 2011.
In due time Peterson will assume Baileys role as the leader of the secondary. My pick has changed back to Peterson from Marcell Dareus, because I think the depth at DT in the second and third round is deeper than it is at CB.
Therefore the Broncos will get more overall value by picking Peterson at two and addressing the D-line in the second and third round.
3. DT/DE—Marcel Dareus to the Buffalo Bills: The Buffalo Bills will have the luxury of choosing between the two best players at their biggest positions of need. Marcel Dareus or Von Miller, either way they can't go wrong.
I'm going with building from the inside out and is giving the Bills the Warren Sapp like Marcel Dareus. Teams won't run over the Bills easily from 2011.
4. DE/OLB Von Miller to the Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals are in need of a new QB as Carson Palmer seems done. With both Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert available it could be tempting for the Bengals to select either one.
I think Jay Gruden has his eyes set on the better value QB picks for his WCO in Andy Dalton and Christian Ponder. However if they can't trade down, they will feel very at peace selecting Von Miller to upgrade their pass rush.
The Bengals will be having a great pass rush duo in Dunlap and Von Miller moving forward.
Trade alert: The Bengals will shop this pick for teams wanting to trade up for Von Miller, Gabbert or Newton.
5. QB - Blaine Gabbert to the Arizona Cardinals: Although the Cardinals have been very vocal about wanting a veteran QB like Kevin Kolb or Mark Bulger, it could be a smoke screen for their real intentions of drafting Blaine Gabbert.
According to Drafttek.com the Cardinals has done extensive work on Gabbert and brought the owners to his pro-day. I think Gabbert makes a lot of sense with the Cardinals.
Trade alert: If both Peterson and Von Miller is off the board, I wouldn't be surprised if the Cardinals traded down
6. WR - Julio Jones to the Cleveland Browns: In a perfect world for the Browns, Bowers wouldn't have been injured and Fairley wouldn't have any character concerns. With this pick,
I think the Browns will look at Nick Fairley, Robert Quinn, Prince Amukamara and Julio Jones. In my mind Jones get the nod because he is a perfect fit for the WCO: he is big, tough, fast, great after the catch and is a tough blocker down field.
He is just what Colt McCoy need and with Jones on board, the Browns offense instantaneously look pretty darn good.
The Browns will be able to focus the rest of the draft and free agency on defense—oh yes and a right tackle.
Trade alert: The Browns could shop this pick for teams with interest in Newton, Jones or Amukamara.
7. CB—Prince Amukamara to the San Francisco 49ers: I don't think Cam Newton is a fit for Harbaughs WCO and there isn't a 3-4 OLB pass rusher left, worthy of the seventh pick. P
rince Amukamara is a top ten talent and fills an immediate need for a shut down corner in the 49'ers defense.
Trade alert: I think the 49'ers will be tempted to trade up for Blaine Gabbert. Switching first round picks with the Bengals and giving up a third and fourth rounder could do the trick.
8. DT - Nick Fairley to the Tennessee Titans: The new defensive line coach Tracy Rocker coached Fairley at Auburn. DT is a big need with the Titans and if Fairleys off field issues are over blown, Fairley could be a great value pick.
If Fairley doesn't go here, he could drop like a rock. Cam Newton was a close call here, but again after watching him at Grudens QB camp he just cant go this high to a team that needs to start him right away and the Titans do not want a VY repeat.
If the Titans go QB here Jake Locker has all the intangibles that VY didn't. I think Locker would be great in the Titans run first offense. He would thrive in the play action, has cannon for an arm and excellent accuracy when he is scrambling outside the pocket.
9. DE - Cameron Jordan to the Dallas Cowboys: Tyron Smith is being pencilled in as the Cowboys pick in a lot of mock drafts. I just can't believe that the Cowboys, and not least Jerry Jones, will spend the ninth pick on a right tackle, a position with multiple talents in the second and third rounds.
The top corners are gone though and there isn't a safety that is a value pick at this point. However DE is also a position of need with Marcus Spears a free agent. Both Cameron Jordan and J.J. Watt would be great picks here.
Cameron Jordan's stock is on the rise, he has the pedigree and seems like a can't miss pick.
Trade alert: Look for the Cowboys to trade down to get their RT at a better value pick and to get an extra pick to address their miserable secondary. Teams could be trading up for Locker or Robert Quinn.
10. QB—Jake Locker to the Washington Redskins: Mike Shanahan has loved Locker for a long time. The Redskins need a leader on and off the field, and Locker demonstrated at the combine and his pro day that accuracy is an issue he can deal with.
The Redskins re-sign Grossman and Locker will be the starter by the end of the season. If Shanahan believes Locker can be the franchise QB, he has to take him here. Locker might not last past the Vikings, the Dolphins, the Jaguars and especially the Seahawks.
If Locker isn't the guy, Shanahan will take a hard look at Robert Quinn to play opposite Brian Orakpo.
Trade alert: The Redskins need all the picks they can get and if they could get their QB later and an extra pick that would make a lot of sense. Teams could be trading up for Locker or Robert Quinn.
11. DE/OLB — Robert Quinn to the Houston Texans: The Texans need a 3-4 OLB pass rusher for their new defense. They get lucky when Robert Quinn falls to them at number eleven. J.J. Watt would also be a great pick for the 3-4 front. They can get a great value corner in the second round and address safety in the third/fourth round.
12. DT—Corey Liuget to the Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings need a QB, but Cam Newton isn't a safe pick and, in my mind, doesn't fit their offense. The Williams wall is aging and crumbling, Corey Liuget solidifies the the defensive line. He is a great three down player with a high motor, he is young and can play the position for 10-15 years.
13. OT—Tyron Smith to the Detroit Lions: The Lions need to protect Matt Stafford. Tyron Smith could start at either tackle position and Stafford is going to love a much improved offensive line.
Smith is young, he can learn from Jeff Backus, the Lions get good value and addresses the future. Neither corner nor linebacker gives them enough value at this point, however both Akeem Ayers and Jimmy Smith has huge potential and can't be ruled out.
14. DE J.J. Watt to the St. Louis Rams: With J.J. Watt available the Rams can't resist his versatility as they could play him at both DE and DT in the 4-3.
Although Watt is projected as a better fit as a 3-4 DE, I think he has all the tools to be the jack of all trades on the Rams D-line.
I think surprise picks here could be Mark Ingram, to complement and take some load off Steven Jackson, or Akeem Ayers to play OLB, the biggest position of need for the Rams.
Trade alert: However you can't rule out the Rams trading down either, as there might teams willing to jump ahead of the Dolphins for Cam Newton or the pass rush duo of Ryan Kerrigan and Aldon Smith.
15. QB - Cam Newton to the Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins are hungry for a star quality QB to lead the team to greatness. They have a lot of great pieces in place and if Cam Newton is there they can't pass on him.
Newton wouldn't even have to start right away, Chad Henne could start and do his outmost to sell him self to another team, when Newton takes over.
16. DE/OLB—Ryan Kerrigan to the Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars needs to find themselves a DE to provide some kind of a pass rush. Ryan Kerrigan plays with a relentless motor, he is a smart kid and a hard worker, that would fit very nicely alongside Tyson Alualu.
I think a dark horse here would be for the Jaguars to select Colin Kaepernick, who has unlimited potential and is gaining momentum on many boards. They can't count on Kaepernick being available in the second round, but they can still get them selves a great pass rusher in the middle of the second round.
17. OG/C—Mike Pouncey to the New England Patriots: The Patriots need to add youth and talent to the o-line. Pouncey can start at guard and take over at center in a year or two. Bill Belichick still has the Urban Meyer connection and he knows exactly what he is getting in Pouncey.
18. OLB/DE—Aldon Smith to the San Diego Chargers: The Chargers need a pass rush opposite Shaun Phillips. Aldon Smith had a great combine and has tons of undeveloped talent. Smith is great physical talent, he could be gone, but is a great value pick at 18.
19. OT—Anthony Costanzo to the New York Giants: Anthony Costanzo can play both tackle and guard, but will end up manning one of the tackle positions for years in New York. I think that Mark Ingram is also a very good possibility here, Eli Manning needs both protection and a better running game to improve from 2010.
20. RB—Mark Ingram to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers would undoubtedly have loved a top DE with this pick.
But with Cadillac Williams probably on his way out of Tampa, the Bucs need a can do it all back like Ingram to complement sledge hammer Blount—a thunder and lightning duo. Marshall Faulk thinks Ingram is the next Emmit Smith, thats a good enough endorsement for me.
Da'Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn could also be the picks here.
Trade alert: But I would also look for the Bucs to trade down with one of the QB needy teams and get great value later.
21. OLB - Akeem Ayers to the Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs need a pass rusher opposite Tamba Hali and with Ayers, the Chiefs will have a super talented pair of pass rushers for the future.
On the D-line Phil Taylor could be the option at NT, but has questions marks around him.
Trade alert: Look for the Chiefs to trade down and get better value at their positions of need. Again a QB needy team that would like to trade up ahead of the Seattle Seahawks.
22. OT - Nate Solder to the Indianapolis Colts: I have the Colt picking either a LT or a run stopper DT. But the Colts need to protect Manning and they can get a god DT later and/or in free agency. Nate Solder has tons of potential, especially in pass protection and will at least be the starter midway through the season.
23. CB—Jimmy Smith to the Philadelphia Eagles: Jimmy Smith is a big physical press corner, that the Eagles doesn't have on their roster. Talent wise he might be up there with Amukamara as a cover corner, but he has questions about his off field issues. If the Eagles can find the right mentor for him, he could be a steal at 23.
24. DE—DaQuan Bowers to the New Orleans Saints: When Bowers falls to the Saints, they think they are getting a steal. If Bowers lives up to his potential and his knee holds up, they are. They need to be patient and not play Bowers before he is top fit and his knee is 100 percent ready.
25. QB—Christian Ponder to the Seattle Seahawks: With Matt Hasselbeck on his way out of Seattle, Pete Carroll brings Christian Ponder in to be the future franchise QB in Seattle. Ponder has the skills and intelligence to push Whitehurst in 2011, and will take over in 2012. Ponder is a perfect fit for the WCO and I won't be surprised, if Ponder ends up as the most successful QB of the class of 2011.
26. WR—Torrey Smith to the Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens needs to give Flacco a receiver, that can stretch the field opposite Anquan Boldin. Torrey Smith not only has all the physical tools, he is smart.
He is also a young man who knows about taking responsibility and making it in spite of his background, in other words, he fits the Ray Lewis culture in Baltimore. But the Ravens could go in multiple directions here, to get the best player available or maybe even trade down.
D-line Cameron Hayward, corners Brandon Harris or Aaron Williams, safety Raheem Moore or OLB Brooks Reed could also be interesting options.
27. OT—Gabe Carimi to the Atlanta Falcons: Versatile o-lineman and team captain, that can start at RT if Clabo doesn't come back. Carimi has the potential to be the future LT of the Falcons and offers great value here. He has all the intangibles to be a future leader on the O-line.
28. DE—Cameron Hayward to the New England Patriots: Addressing the O-line with the 17th pick, the Patriots are turning to the D-line with the 28th pick. Cameron Hayward has everything Belichick could ask for in a D-lineman.
He is versatile, he is smart, a hard worker, well liked and a team captain. Hayward might not be a sack artist, but he does everything well and has a motor that keeps running on every down, in every game. With this pick the Patriots could also go RB, WR, OLB or CB, if they find their man available at good value.
Trade alert: The Patriots have received multiple offers for this pick and there is a good chance, that QB needy teams could move up for Dalton, Kapernick or Mallet with this pick.
29. OT—Derek Sherod to the Chicago Bears: Jay Cutler are going to love Derek Sherods pass block abilities and experience. Mike Tice are going to love Derek Sherods intelligence, as it will allow him to mould and refine Sherod, while playing him as a starter from day one. The Bears could also take a long hard look at DT, with both Muhammad Wilkerson and Marvin Austin still on the board.
30. NT - Phil Taylor to the New York Jets: Rex Ryan needs a big body in the center of the D-line. Phil Taylor fits the bill perfectly and Ryan won't shy away from a little off field issues. Ryan wants a beast in the middle and Taylor has all the right tools to be just that. However if Akeem Ayers drops this far, he could also be in the mix.
31. DT/DE - Muhammad Wilkerson to the Pittsburgh Steelers: With Muhammad Wilkerson on the board, it will be hard for the Steelers to pass him up. They need to address an aging D-line and at this point, Wilkerson seems like a better value pick, than any of the O-linemen and CBs still available.
However I think that CB/S Aaron Williams could be a nice fit for the Steelers secondary as a big, fast, tough press corner, that can also stick his nose in the run game and blitz packages.
32. OLB/DE—Brooks Reed to the Green Bay Packers: Brooks Reed is a smart, high motor player, that the Packers can develop into a pass rushing threat opposite Clay Matthews. If he pans out, the Packers will have a monster pass rush in 2011 and onward. However the Packers also have a need on the D-line and Marvin Austin could be intriguing—Reed gets the nod because of his unquestionable intangibles.
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