2011 NFL Mock Draft: 10 Draft Picks the Experts Got Wrong
To be called an "expert" at something is quite an honor. I happen to consider myself an "expert" burger maker. I have this family recipe, but I'm getting off the point. An "expert" is one that people seek advice for in a specific field. If I wanted to learn about physics, I would study Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking.
When you want advice on the NFL draft, two names come to mind—Mel Kiper and Todd McShay of ESPN. It is possible that they know more about the NFL draft than any other person on the planet earth and no one would question their status as an "expert."
Unfortunately, being an "expert" doesn't mean you are always correct. It is very possible for an "expert" to be wrong, and this is certainly true for Mr. Kiper and Mr. McShay. In fact, here is a look at 10 picks that Mel and Todd got wrong.
Todd McShay: Cleveland Browns Draft Robert Quinn with the 6th Pick
The right draft pick: Julio Jones, WR
Robert Quinn is an extremely talented player with a large amount of upside. He has the potential to be the best defensive player in the draft. He has a rare combination of quickness and strength. However, he hasn't played football in over a year and there are questions concerning his character.
Julio Jones is going to be a star in the NFL and there is no question about it. He is a big and physical receiver who knows how to make plays after the catch. He is competitive and mentally tough. I mean seriously, the man participated in the combine with a fractured foot. He has all the tools you want in an elite receiver and it won't be long until Jones is considered elite.
The Browns have needs on both sides of the football, but if Jones is available at the sixth pick, there is no way the Browns could turn down a sure fire player.
Todd McShay: Houston Texans Draft Muhammad Wilkerson with the 11th Pick
The right draft pick: Cameron Jordan, DE
Muhammad Wilkerson has been climbing up recent draft boards. There might be no other player in the draft with as much potential as Wilkerson. He is still a very raw player, but he has the physical size and tools to become a dominate defensive end. It will take some time for his potential to catch up on the field. One area of concern is the lack of competition he has faced during college.
Cameron Jordan is one of the more versatile defensive ends in the draft. Teams could use him as an end or as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He is quick and athletic and has a great work ethic. He was consistent during his entire college career and had a good showing at the Senior Bowl.
Wilkerson will certainly go in the first round, but the 11th pick is a little too high for such a raw player. Jordan has proved that he can produce against the top teams college has to offer, but it is his versatility that could be so beneficial to Houston.
Mel Kiper: Detroit Lions Draft Prince Amukamara with the 13th Pick
The right draft pick: Jimmy Smith, CB
There is no way that a talent like Prince Amukamara is dropping outside the top 10. He has been compared to Darrelle Revis with his cover skills. He isn't the best play making cornerback in the draft, but he has all the skills to be an elite cornerback in the league for a long time. He has all the size, speed, and instincts you could ever want in a cornerback. I don't see him dropping past the seventh pick.
Jimmy Smith has all the potential in the world, but character concerns could possibly keep him from being a top pick. He is an extremely physical cornerback who has good speed and athleticism to match. He has to learn to play with more consistency, and if he ever does, he could be very good for a very long time.
The Lions will most likely take a cornerback with this pick, and although it would be ideal for Amukamara to drop this far, I just don't see it happening. The Lions will have to settle for Jimmy Smith and hope that he figures out any off-field issues he might have.
Mel Kiper: Miami Dolphins Draft Mark Ingram with the 15th Pick
The right draft pick: Jake Locker, QB
The running back class in this year's draft doesn't have the elite runners that we have seen in recent drafts. The only running back who looks like he will go in the first round is Mark Ingram. Ingram has proven that he can be the featured back with his stellar play at Alabama. He is a powerful runner and a headache to take down in the secondary. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield, which makes him the most complete back in the draft.
Jake Locker has been slowly climbing back up draft boards and has crept back into the first round in many mock drafts. He had a quality outing at his Pro Day which has made many team forget about his unimpressive senior season. Locker has a big arm, but does struggle with accuracy. Behind Cam Newton, Locker might be the most athletic quarterback. Locker can also be the leader of an offense.
The "Chad Henne Project" seems to be over in Miami and with the right instruction, Locker could be a steal at the 15th pick. Teaming up with Brandon Marshall would instantly improve Locker's accuracy issues.
Todd McShay: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Draft Da'Quan Bowers with the 20th Pick
The right draft pick: Ryan Kerrigan, DE
Da'Quan Bowers knee is certainly still an issue and there are two ways that the draft will play out for Bowers. One way is that teams are going to feel the knee isn't an issue and Bowers will be long gone before the 20th pick. The other way is that teams are going to feel the knee is a major issue and Bowers will drop way past the 20th pick. Bowers has the tools to become a very good pass rusher in the NFL. He has a good first step to get after the quarterback and is a powerful hitter also.
Kerrigan had a very productive career at Purdue that should translate into a productive professional career. He has a great intensity when on the field and he doesn't take any plays off. He isn't the most athletic prospect at defensive end, but he uses his size and strength well. Teams know exactly what they are getting with Kerrigan, which is a great player.
I don't see Bowers being available at this spot, as there are plenty of teams that would take the risk on Bowers knee ahead of Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers do need a pass rusher and Kerrigan will be able to produce from the start of the season.
Mel Kiper: Kansas City Chiefs Draft Akeem Ayers with the 21st Pick
The right draft pick: Nate Solder, OL
Akeem Ayers has the potential to become a great play making linebacker in the NFL. He has good speed which allows him to close quickly on the runner. He is also one of the better linebackers in the draft in coverage. He has the athletic ability to become a decent pass rusher off the edge and will most likely fit best in a 3-4 defensive scheme. Teams were disappointed in his combine performance, which might make Ayers slip into the second round.
Nate Solder has excellent size for an offensive tackle and he is still growing. He is a very raw lineman due to the fact that he is a converted tight end, but he has shown improvement in each of his seasons in college. He is one of the most athletic tackles in the draft. He has the mental toughness to continue to strive to improve his game. Most teams would consider him a project player that could pay off huge in the future.
The Chiefs already have an elite pass rusher in Tamba Hali. Mike Vrabel is the team leader on defense and I just don't see Kansas City using a first round pick on an outside linebacker when they have needs on their offensive line.
Mel Kiper: Seattle Seahawks Draft Jake Locker with the 25th Pick
The right draft pick: Andy Dalton, QB
The main reason I don't like this pick is because I think Locker will already be gone by the 25th pick in the first round. I also don't think he is a good fit for Seattle. If Seattle is looking for a quarterback, they will need a quarterback who can keep drives going and complete passes. Locker's accuracy is a major issue at this point. He does, however, have all the other tools you want in a starting quarterback, including arm strength, mobility, and leadership. He will eventually be a starter in the NFL.
Andy Dalton improved his play each season at TCU and has all the intangibles that a team desires in a starting quarterback. He lacks elite arm strength, but he has good accuracy and might be the most accurate quarterback in the draft while on the move. His greatest asset to a team will be his leadership and desire to win.
I don't see Locker available at this pick, but Dalton may even be a better fit for Seattle than Locker anyways. Dalton might not be a better quarterback than Locker in the future, but right now he would be a better player for Seattle.
Mel Kiper: New England Patriots Draft Justin Houston with the 28th Pick
The right draft pick: Mark Ingram, RB
Justin Houston has phenomenal athletic ability and had one of the best combine workouts this year. He showed great strength and power. He is an explosive player who is always looking to make the big hit. He had an inconsistent college career at Georgia, but could really excel in a 3-4 defense with quality coaching.
The Patriots, over the past few seasons, have gone with a committee backfield. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was a very pleasant surprise for New England last season, gaining over 1,000 yards on the ground. However, Mark Ingram appears to have what it takes to be a feature back in the NFL and would be an instant upgrade over Green-Ellis. He would give New England a possible franchise running back for the foreseeable future.
Even though running back isn't an issue for New England, if Mark Ingram is available with the 28th pick, the Patriots won't pass on him.
Todd McShay: Chicago Bears Draft Marvin Austin with the 29th Pick
The right draft pick: Derek Sherrod, OL
No other player in this year's draft has had their stock affected due to character concerns as much as Marvin Austin. Had Austin not been suspended for the entire 2010 season at UNC, he very well could have been a top 10 pick in this year's draft. He is quick and powerful and can play against the run and get after the quarterback. He has tremendous upside, but teams are weary of his work ethic and off-field issues.
There are still questions concerning what position Derek Sherrod will play on the offensive line in the NFL, but that versatility works to his advantage. He has a wide base and is good in both the run and pass game. He has good footwork for a player his size. He will definitely need to learn to be more aggressive in the NFL if he wants to succeed.
Marvin Austin has too many questions concerning his maturity and character. Chicago could also really use some help on the offensive line and Sherrod could step in at either tackle or guard from day one.
Todd McShay: Pittsburgh Steelers Draft Danny Watkins with the 31st Pick
The right draft pick: Brandon Harris, CB
Danny Watkins played the majority of his college career at left tackle, but appears to be better suited to play guard in the NFL. He is possibly the strongest lineman in the draft and won't be pushed around in the NFL. He is a mature player who will do whatever it takes to win. He is still raw with room to improve and could eventually become a Pro Bowl caliber guard.
Brandon Harris might be a little undersized at cornerback, but that hasn't stopped him from being one of the better cover corners in college last year. He has good instincts and the confidence to take on any receiver. He isn't the most physical cornerback in the draft, but he is physical enough to not get beat in bump-and-run coverage.
The Steelers Super Bowl performance showed they need depth in the secondary. It was a toss up between Harris and Aaron Williams, but Harris appears to be the better natural cornerback. Harris could lock down a starting position instantly.