2011 NFL Draft: First Round Mock Draft V2.0
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1. Carolina Panthers - QB Cam Newton, Auburn
Newton won at the Junior College level and at the Division I level. Though not a finished product, the Panthers take Cam and hope that in a year or two he makes Carolina winners too.
2. Denver Broncos - DT Marcel Dareus, Alabama
The return of DE/OLB Elvis Dumervill will boost the pass rush. New head coach John Fox has an appreciation for strong D-line play thanks to his years in Carolina with DE Julius Peppers and DT Kris Jenkins. Fox tries to recreate that in Denver.
3. Buffalo Bills - OLB Von Miller, Texas A
OLB Aaron Maybin has given Buffalo practically nothing in two years. The Bills try again to find the pass rush threat their defense lacks.
4. Cincinnati Bengals - DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina
Cincy will call QB Carson Palmer’s “Trade me or I’ll retire” bluff and grab a bookend to play opposite last year’s impressive rookie DE Carlos Dunlap.
5. Arizona Cardinals - QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
‘Zona plans to acquire a veteran passer once a collective bargaining agreement is in place. But it’s not a sure bet that that veteran will be a long-term solution. Gabbert will wait his turn before getting a shot.
6. Cleveland Browns - WR A.J. Green, Georgia
The Browns will go as far as QB Colt McCoy will take them. With back-to-back wins last year over New Orleans and New England, Colt is on his way. With an elite receiver to throw to, McCoy and Cleveland can go far quickly.
7. San Francisco 49ers - CB Patrick Peterson, LSU
The secondary, with an aging Nate Clements, is in dire need of a playmaker. Peterson could become the best player out of this draft and is rated the top prospect in the minds of some talent evaluators.
8. Tennessee Titans - DT Nick Fairley, Auburn
The team that took Albert Haynesworth again takes a chance on a supremely talented DT. Tennessee had a lot of success at getting the most out of D-linemen. The coaches could do the same for Fairley.
9. Dallas Cowboys - CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
The secondary had been a strength for the Cowboys, but CB Mike Jenkins hasn’t lived up to his potential and time might be catching up to CB Terence Newman.
10. Washington Redskins - DE/DT J.J. Watt, Wisconsin
The defense, in a word, was horrible. The Skins need help at almost every position. Watt will fit in seamlessly to Mike Shanahan’s 3-4.
11. Houston Texans - DE Cameron Jordan, California
New defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will convert the defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4 front. Jordan’s athleticism will have the Texans trying him at end and as an OLB to see how Jordan best helps the team.
12. Minnesota Vikings - DT Corey Liuget, Illinois
The Vikes prepare for life without the “Williams Twins.” Pat will turn 39 in October while Kevin turns 31 in August. There’s also concern about a possible suspension for violating the league’s banned substance policy.
13. Detroit Lions - OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College
If the Lions’ coaches don’t want another QB Matthew Stafford season curtailed by injury, Detroit must secure the pocket. Boston College has a solid reputation for producing offensive linemen, and Castonzo could be the next great Eagle in the pros.
14. St. Louis Rams - WR Julio Jones, Alabama
QB Sam Bradford impressed the Rams by making his receivers better as a rookie. St. Louis rewards Sam with a wideout that can make Bradford better. Jones, with a healthy Donnie Avery, would make the Rams offense dangerous.
15. Miami Dolphins - RB Mikel Leshoure, Illinois
RBs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are free agents; at least one won’t be back, if not both. Leshoure’s stock is up because he has prototype size and doesn’t have a knee concern like Mark Ingram.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars - DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
The list of disappointments keeps growing: Derrick Harvery, Quentin Groves, Aaron Kampman. Jacksonville doesn’t want to blow it again. Even with Bowers available, his knee injury scares the Jags enough that they go with Kerrigan.
17. New England Patriots - DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa
Injuries sapped the Pats’ depth along the D-line by the end of the season. They had to sign DE Eric Moore midseason. The Pats will be better prepared the next time three D-linemen go on injured reserve.
18. San Diego Chargers - DE/OLB Aldon Smith, Missouri
OLB Larry English hasn’t developed into the Shawn Merriman replacement the Bolts had hoped for. Antwan Applewhite had his shot as well but couldn't wrestle the starting job away. Aldon is next in line, with the opportunity to mirror Shawn Phillips.
19. New York Giants - OG/C Mike Pouncey, Florida
This team looks loaded but needs a little insurance in the middle of their formidable offensive line. Both Shawn O’Hara and Rich Seubert are recuperating from offseason surgery. Pouncey can backup at three spots and become a starter down the road.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DE Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson
The Bucs catch a falling star. Bowers was considered a top-10 pick until issues about his surgically repaired knee caused his stock to plummet. The team had only 27 sacks last year and takes the chance that Bowers will be productive a pass rusher.
21. Kansas City Chiefs - OT Tyron Smith, USC
In the Chiefs last two games, QB Matt Cassel completed 39 percent of his passes, passed for 185 yards total and was sacked eight times. KC should do what they can to keep the pass rush away from Cassel.
22. Indianapolis Colts - OT Nate Solder, Colorado
Just because QB Peyton Manning was sacked only 16 times, it doesn’t mean he wasn’t under pressure. The Colts also want to be more physical to improve the 29th-ranked run offense.
23. Philadelphia Eagles - OG Danny Watkins, Baylor
Watkins played hockey as a youth growing up in Canada. He was a goon, on the ice to rough up opponents. He still has that nasty attitude, will play to the whistle and give the extra shot when he has the chance. The Eagles will love that.
24. New Orleans Saints - OLB Justin Houston, Georgia
In their championship season, the Saints had 35 sacks and were third in turnover ratio with a plus-11. That dropped to 26 sacks and a 23rd-ranked minus-six turnover ratio. Having a player that can consistently pressure the quarterback will help reverse the trend.
25. Seattle Seahawks - QB Jake Locker, Washington
Head coach Pete Carroll became familiar with what Locker can do when Carroll coached at USC and Locker played for the Huskies. Carroll invests in Locker’s potential.
26. Baltimore Ravens - OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin
The Ravens offense is approaching elite level, but the offensive line is holding the them back. The unit allowed 40 sacks last year, tied for ninth most in the league. QB Joe Flacco continues to improve and will be better with Carimi as a protector.
27. Atlanta Falcons - OLB Akeem Ayers, UCLA
The Falcons want to improve the pass rush (31 sacks last year) and need to fill an OLB position as three from last year’s roster are free agents. Ayers has the versatility to help in coverage and be an effective blitzer.
28. New England Patriots - RB Mark Ingram, Alabama
Needing to replace three aging, veteran free agent ball carriers, the Pats nab the former Heisman Trophy winner to split carries with BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
29. Chicago Bears - OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State
Instead of defending QB Jay Cutler's toughness, the Bears decide to defend their franchise passer by grabbing a blindside protector. Cutler absorbed 52 of Chicago’s 56 sacks allowed last year.
30. New York Jets - DE/DT Muhammed Wilkerson, Temple
Wilkerson really improved his stock during the evaluation period. DE Shawn Ellis continues to produce, but the 12-year veteran is entering the twilight of his career. It would be wise to find his successor.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers - CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado
Time and time again, great passing offenses have carved up the Steelers secondary. It would be worth Pittsburgh’s time to find an improvement over incumbent CBs Bryant McFadden and Ike Taylor.
32. Green Bay Packers - DE Cameron Hayward, Ohio State
Long time Packer DE Cullen Jenkins is a free agent and might not be back with the team next season. Hayward can help immediately as a run defender and adds depth to a young and active D-line.
Oakland’s first selection is 48th overall in the second round. They need to address a run defense that finished 29th in the league. No one expects CB Nnamdi Asomugha, a free agent, to re-sign, so a replacement is necessary. And it’s still unknown if the Raiders will stick with their lot at QB or draft a franchise passer.
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