2011 NFL Mock Draft: Mocking the Complete First Round with Teams' Needs 2.0
As we sit only two weeks away from the 2011 NFL Draft, mock drafts are pouring out everywhere—including mine.
I have stated several times before, I am not an expert, but I consider myself an expert fan—a fan with strong insight and great knowledge of the NFL.
In this mock, I will point out each team's biggest needs, along with analysis of each and every pick of the first round—just an updated version of my previous mock draft.
I hope you all enjoy, be sure to give me some feedback!
1. Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton, QB (Auburn)
Team Needs: DT, QB, OLB, CB, DE
Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is not the best player available, but he's the flashiest player in the 2011 draft class.
The Carolina Panthers need to add some life to their organization, and to do that, they'll draft Newton.
Newton is not the best player in the draft,—possibly not the best quarterback in the draft—but there's a certain buzz surrounding Carolina that they will select him first overall.
2. Denver Broncos: Marcell Dareus, DT (Alabama)
Team Needs: DT, CB, LB, TE, DE
Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is by far the most NFL-ready prospect in the 2011 draft class.
The Denver Broncos desperately need to address their very weak defensive line, and Dareus is the perfect fit. If Carolina decides to go in any direction that's not Dareus, Denver will be very pleased to snag him right away.
3. Buffalo Bills: Von Miller, OLB (Texas A&M)
Team Needs: QB, OT, DE, OLB, TE
Under Chan Gailey, The Buffalo Bills had a very rough transition last season switching from the 4-3 to Gailey's 3-4 defense.
Buffalo was one of the worst teams in football last season when it came to getting pressure on the quarterback. By adding Miller, he will bring a much-needed explosive force, setting the edge in the Bills' 3-4 defense.
4. Cincinnati Bengals: Blaine Gabbert, QB (Missouri)
Team Needs: QB, WR, RB, OT, DT
Quarterback Carson Palmer has made it clear he wants out of Cincinnati, so the Bengals need to make a move.
With Cam Newton already off the board, the Bengals will settle for Blaine Gabbert—which isn't such a bad consolation prize.
If either Newton or Gabbert are available when the Bengals are on the clock, they will feel inclined to select one.
5. Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Peterson, CB (LSU)
Team Needs: QB, OLB, TE, CB, OL
The Arizona Cardinals allowed a pitiful 27.1 points per game last season and need to fix that.
With Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie starting as the left cornerback, LSU's Patrick Peterson would fit nicely as the Cardinals' right cornerback.
Arizona needs a quarterback (badly), but with Gabbert and Newton already gone, they'll have to acquire one going a different route.
6. Cleveland Browns: Robert Quinn, DE (North Carolina)
Team Needs: WR, CB, DE, DT, OL
No matter how attractive wide receiver A.J. Green is, the Cleveland Browns desperately need a defensive end.
The Browns literally have no starting defensive ends as they transition to a 4-3 defense with the departure of Rob Ryan's 3-4 defensive system.
Youngster quarterback Colt McCoy doesn't have any legitimate wide receivers as of right now, but the Browns will address that moving forward because Quinn is too much to pass up on their biggest need.
7. San Francisco 49ers: A.J. Green, WR (Georgia)
Team Needs: QB, WR, OLB, CB, DT
Many of you might be surprised that A.J. Green has slipped past the Cleveland Browns, but it's a very strong possibility.
If Green is sitting there on the board as the best player available, the 49ers will grab him right away.
Add Green to an already talented receiving group with Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis, and Jim Harbaugh has a nice corps moving forward—all he needs is a quarterback (Andrew Luck in 2012?).
8. Tennessee Titans: Nick Fairley, DT (Auburn)
Team Needs: QB, DT, ILB, G, CB
Auburn's Nick Fairley is arguably the most talented pass rusher in this draft class, and he certainly has a lot of upside.
Last draft, the Titans went out and selected defensive end Derrick Morgan, and Fairley would be a nice addition alongside him.
9. Dallas Cowboys: Prince Amukamara, CB (Nebraska)
Team Needs: CB, OT, ILB, DE
Despite common belief, the Dallas Cowboys will not be selecting USC's Tyron Smith if Prince Amukamara is available.
The Cowboys need help in the secondary, and Amukamara is the second-best choice to Patrick Peterson.
Many scouts, including myself, are comparing Amukamara to the New York Jets' Darrelle Revis.
10. Washington Redskins: Julio Jones, WR (Alabama)
Team Needs: NT, QB, WR, OLB, T, G
I really don't see Washington staying at this pick. I have a gut feeling Mike Shanahan is going to package this pick up for a couple of second and third round selections.
If the Redskins do stay here at 10th overall though, Julio Jones is quite the pick.
The Redskins don't have a top-of-the-league wide receiver, and Jones could fill their need.
11. Houston Texans: J.J. Watt, DE (Wisconsin)
Team Needs: OLB, DE, CB, S, NT
The Houston Texans recently hired Wade Phillips to be their new defensive coordinator, which means he will be installing his 3-4 defensive system.
Wisconsin's J.J. Watt is considered to be one of the top 3-4 defensive ends in the draft. He has a lot of upside and will excel in the 3-4 defense.
12. Minnesota Vikings: Tyron Smith, OT (USC)
Team Needs: QB, FS, OT, DT
Quarterback is obviously the main issue in Minnesota, but you have to keep that quarterback healthy and protected with a solid offensive line—something the Vikings struggled with last season.
USC's Tyron Smith seems like a smart decision here by the Vikings; he's got a lot of upside and continues to get stronger and stronger.
13: Detroit Lions: Anthony Castonzo, OT (Boston College)
Team Needs: OT, LB, CB
It certainly would have been nice for the Lions if they could have landed Prince Amukamara, but offensive tackle is definitely a major concern as well.
Boston College's Anthony Castonzo is one of the elite offensive tackles in the draft and has the ability to play left tackle. This would be a smart decision by Detroit.
14. St. Louis Rams: Corey Liuget, DT (Illinois)
Team Needs: WR, OLB, DT, RB, OL
With no first-round quality wide receivers available, the St. Louis Rams will settle with defensive tackle Corey Liuget.
I strongly believe though that if Liuget is the best available for the Rams at this point, they will trade out of this pick.
15. Miami Dolphins: Mike Pouncey, OG/C (Florida)
Team Needs: QB, OG, RB, FS, ILB
The common buzz coming out of Miami is that the Dolphins will be selecting Alabama's Mark Ingram—I'm not buying it.
No one ever said the Dolphins weren't re-signing Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams, and Miami also needs help at other positions, not just the minor issue of running back.
Florida's Mike Pouncey would be a nice selection by the Dolphins at this point, as he's the best player available to fit their needs.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ryan Kerrigan, DE (Purdue)
Team Needs: DE, FS, OLB, QB, WR
Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan is definitely the best bet right now for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jags definitely have other bigger holes to fill, but Kerrigan offers the most value at this point.
17. New England Patriots: Da'Quan Bowers, DE (Clemson)
Team Needs: DE, OLB, OL, WR, RB
Could this be the replacement of former New England Patriots' defensive end Richard Seymour?
Multiple experts have been predicting the sudden drop of Da'Quan Bowers due to the concern regarding his knee.
If Bowers' knee appears to be fine, Bill Belichick will grab him right away.
The Patriots are loaded with nine draft picks, and six of those are in the top 92. It's time for the Patriots to start taking some chances.
18. San Diego Chargers: Cameron Jordan, DE (California)
Team Needs: DE, LB, WR, OL
The San Diego Chargers' front office would be ecstatic if Cameron Jordan is available at this point.
Jordan would fill the Chargers' major need at defensive end, and he'd be a nice piece to build around moving forward.
19. New York Giants: Gabe Carimi, OL (Wisconsin)
Team Needs: DE, LB, WR, OL
The New York Giants' offensive line was exposed last year due to injury, and they'll need to address it moving forward.
As of right now, Gabe Carimi is the best available, and he'd likely go to the Giants unless they trade back a few picks.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Aldon Smith, DE (Missouri)
Team Needs: DE, LB, OL
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers still have some work to do on their defensive front-seven.
Missouri's Aldon Smith brings the most value here, and he'd be a nice asset next to Gerald McCoy and Brian Price.
21. Kansas City Chiefs: Nate Solder, OT (Colorado)
Team Needs: NT, WR, OT, LB
The Kansas City Chiefs definitely need help at wide receiver and nose tackle, but none are worth a first-round selection.
One minor need the Chiefs need to address is their offensive line, and Colorado's Nate Solder appears to be the safe pick for Kansas City.
22. Indianapolis Colts: Derek Sherrod, OT (Mississippi State)
Team Needs: DT, DB, OL
The biggest concern for the Indianapolis Colts needs to be keeping Peyton Manning healthy.
The Colts' offensive line has been struggling over the past few seasons, and they're very lucky Manning hasn't gotten hurt. Derek Sherrod is the best lineman available at this point, and he'd be a nice asset to Indianapolis' offensive line.
23. Philadelphia Eagles: Jimmy Smith, CB (Colorado)
Team Needs: OLB, OG, DB
With no players available that address Philadelphia's major needs, they might feel inclined to trade away this pick.
However, they've been desperate to find a cornerback to start opposite Asante Samuel, and Colorado's Jimmy Smith has top-10 quality talent. He's got some character issues, but Andy Reid should keep him in check.
24. New Orleans Saints: Mark Ingram, RB (Alabama)
Team Needs: DE, OL, LB, RB, DB
The fall of running back Mark Ingram will stop here with the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints struggled to find a consistent running back last season, and Ingram is the best available. The only concern with Ingram is his knees, but if he's healthy, he'll be a stud running back.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Jake Locker, QB (Washington)
Team Needs: OL, QB, WR, LB, CB
This is a no-brainer—if Washington's Jake Locker is available, the Seattle Seahawks will take him, no matter what.
Locker is exactly what Pete Carroll is looking for since he faced him multiple times during his tenure as head coach at USC.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Cameron Heyward, DE (Ohio State)
Team Needs: DE, WR, OT, CB, FS
This would be a perfect scenario for the Baltimore Ravens.
Their biggest need is defensive end, and the best player available is Ohio State's Cameron Heyward.
Heyward's stock is on the rise, and he is a well-rounded defensive end.
27. Atlanta Falcons: Muhammad Wilkerson, DL (Temple)
Team Needs: DT, OLB, WR, OT
Temple's Muhammad Wilkerson is set up to be a nice "diamond in the rough" selection in this year's draft.
The Atlanta Falcons need help on their defensive line, and I'm convinced Thomas Dimitroff is moving the Falcons into the right direction.
28. New England Patriots: Akeem Ayers, OLB (UCLA)
Team Needs: DE, OLB, OL, WR, RB
The New England Patriots have lacked an every-down outside linebacker for the past couple seasons, ever since the days of Willie McGinest and Mike Vrabel.
UCLA's Akeem Ayers is the most athletic and well-rounded outside linebacker in this draft. The only thing Ayers is missing is over-powering strength—you can't teach athleticism, but you can always add muscle.
29. Chicago Bears: Phil Taylor, DT (Baylor)
Team Needs: OT, WR, DT, C
The best player available at this point that fits Chicago's needs is Baylor defensive tackle Phil Taylor.
Taylor is a massive object to put in the middle of your defensive line. He is an anchor and demands double-teams nearly every play.
30. New York Jets: Adrian Clayborn, DE (Iowa)
Team Needs: DE, OLB, NT, WR, OT
Despite major character issues, Adrian Clayborn would be a great asset to Rex Ryan's defense.
Clayborn has a lot of potential and is naturally gifted; if it weren't for those character issues, he'd be drafted much earlier.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jonathan Baldwin, WR (Pittsburgh)
Team Needs: OT, CB, NT, WR, TE
I wouldn't be surprised if the Steelers trade out of this pick, as many of the players available don't necessarily fit their needs.
But Pittsburgh could stay local by selecting tall wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin out of Pitt.
32. Green Bay Packers: Danny Watkins, OG (Baylor)
Team Needs: DE, OG, WR, RB, LB
The Green Bay Packers are the most complete team in the NFL, and they only need to add depth at various positions, one being offensive guard.
Baylor's Danny Watkins is the best available, and he will add some much-needed size and depth to the Packers' offensive guard position.