The 2011 NFL Draft is just a week away.
It almost seems surreal to acknowledge that fact. Since Aaron Rodgers hoisted the Lombardi trophy back in February, NFL fans have been inundated with inaction. There haven't been any major contracts to discuss, nor any juicy trade rumors or marquee free agent signings. There hasn't been much word from players, much to see from offseason workouts or, really, much to imagine in terms of your favorite team's 2011 roster. The only action has been litigation, and the only soundbites have been from parties politicking on both sides of the collective bargaining agreement stalemate.
Thankfully, though, we have the draft. A tangible topic we can actually debate and discuss and, much as we hate to admit it, set our alarms for (at least on Saturday.) Something substantive, something that actually merits roster discussion and all that unfounded optimism we'll come to regret three years down the line when that seventh-round pick is struggling to find a spot in the Arena League.
Personally, I'm thrilled. I can't wait to hunker down in front of the flat screen and brace myself for that telltale ring that announces the revelation of a draft pick. The NFL Draft is one of my favorite events of the season. It gets fans together and talking after a long offseason of attempting to forget their team's shortfalls in the year past. It fuels arguments that can't possibly be won or lost until three or four years down the road, when a player is no longer a rookie. It allows fans of even the NFL's worst teams to discover hope, to think to themselves hey, now maybe, just maybe, we've got a shot.
So, as I look forward to next week, here's a look at my first round mock draft, complete with video where appropriate. Feel free to agree, disagree or just offer a random haiku in the comments section. Entirely up to you.
First Round Picks (updated)
- Panthers - Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
- Broncos - Marcel Dareus, DT, Alabama
- Bills - Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
- Bengals - A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
- Cardinals - Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
- Browns - Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
- 49ers - Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
- Titans - Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
- Cowboys - Tyron Smith, OT, USC
- Redskins - J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
- Texans - Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
- Vikings - Nick Fairley - DT, Auburn
- Lions - Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
- Rams - Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri
- Dolphins - Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
- Jaguars - Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
- Patriots - Cameron Jordan, DE, California
- Chargers - Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple
- Giants - Mike Pouncey, C/G, Florida
- Buccaneers - Justin Houston, DE, Georgia
- Chiefs - Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
- Colts - Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
- Eagles - Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
- Saints - Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
- Seahawks - Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
- Ravens - Aaron Williams, CB/S, Texas
- Falcons - Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
- Patriots - Randall Cobb, WR/KR/PR, Kentucky
- Bears - Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
- Jets - Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
- Steelers - Brandon Harris, CB, Miami-FL
- Packers - Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State