As the 2011 NFL Draft approaches, some fans like to do mock drafts. I am one of those fans.
Unlike the past three years, I will be unable to do a full mock due to other obligations. I did quite well in those, so I suspect I will do horribly in this abbreviated mock.
We all know trades are part of drafts, but I will not theorize there and pretend the teams will draft in order.
So let's get to it and start ripping apart my decisions.
A gamble, but it could pan out with Newton putting the franchise on his back for the next decade.
It seems it has been forever since the Broncos were stout in the middle of their defense. Dareus changes that here.
He should fill the void the recently departed Marcus Stroud left.
Carson Palmer might get dealt this draft, but the Bengals cannot allow themselves to be held hostage by the malcontent. Even if he stays, his weak arm could find itself benched by 2012.
The Big Red gets their speed rusher off the edge.
Cleveland gets both a big and a big play receiver with one pick.
Nate Clements gets to mentor this kid while forming a very nice CB tandem in 2011.
He drops because of knee concerns, but this kid could be a Pro Bowler for many years if he stays healthy.
Tony Romo gets his left tackle to protect the blindside.
Washington needs bodies on defense. Quinn can bookend Brian Orakpo as a demonic pass rushing force off the edge for years.
Houston needs defensive backs like a fish needs water. Amukamara starts right away.
The huge Watt makes the loss of Ray Edwards OK. He also keeps Minnesota's fine run defense stout.
He has good speed and is a force against the pass. Line him next to 2010 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Ndamukong Suh and enjoy.
Jones has a ton of ability if he can stay healthy. Getting Sam Bradford more guys to play catch with is a big need.
It is very possible the Fins grab guard Pouncey here. With their running back situation a mess right now, Ingram has a chance to be the guy.
Kerrigan is good to have in the locker room. An overachiever, much like their head coach was when he played.
Jordan has the skill set you want from a DE in the 3-4. An immediate upgrade over everyone on that roster at this position, with the possible exception of Ty Warren, and should start pretty quickly.
General manager A.J. Smith likes linebackers who can get to the quarterback, something they haven't had in a few years. Larry English has been a disappointment, so now Houston gets a shot to fill the void.
The Giants offensive line needs bodies right now. Castonzo is ready to play right away, and do not be shocked if he beats out one of the veterans in camp.
Ronde Barber has a year or two left in him. Until then, he can mentor a guy who often gets compared to Nnamdi Asomugha. Smith has that ability to lock down any receiver, and he has excellent size to be physical.
The Chiefs get their nose tackle so the defense can keep moving forward.
Carimi is experienced and ready to go. Something the Colts need for their aging quarterback who is getting set to get an enormous contract.
The Eagles need blockers and Pouncey could man a guard spot for the next decade for them
Defensive coordinator Greg Williams loves pressure off the edge, something the current Saints OLB's don't give much of. Ayers fills that need and probably will start immediately.
Pete Carroll gets a huge QB with a rocket arm. He might have Matt Hasselbeck back for one year as the kid learns, but Mallett has the ability to be a franchise player.
Gonzo is as good as gonezo. This is his last year, as it was apparent the 2010 the Hall of Famer has little left. Rudolph is excellent in the passing attack and with get to learn under an all-time great for a season.
With Logan Mankins as good as gone, replacements are needed. Don't be shocked if Pouncey is snagged with their first pick, because Bill Belichick is a fan of Florida University players.
He fills a big hole in the middle of the Bears defense, made a little bigger by the recent departure of Tommy Harris. Lovie Smith will enjoy coaching this hard-working gym rat up.
Casey Hampton is in his twilight years, so an infusion of youth is needed.
He gets to learn from Charles Woodson this season, but Woodson is 34-years-old and nearing his end.
New England could use another back and this kid is a hard worker who would be perfect in their rotation.
Chan Gailey gets his quarterback to develop, but Locker might need to sit and learn a season or two.
Best safety in the draft and fills a big Bengals need.
They got Dareus, now they can put the athletic Wilkerson next to him and have a pair of DT's who could play the next decade together. Wilkerson can also play defensive end if needed.
Now that Shaun Rogers is gone, Heyward can step in and start the next decade. A strong kid who most know is Ironhead Heyward's son.
Arizona needs a quarterback, so they will hope Ponder is ready to push for a starting job right away.
Solder needs some work, but his athleticism had some think of him as first-round talent. He fills a need here.
An All-American who drops over a mediocre senior season statistically. His fills a huge need for Dallas, whose current defensive ends besides Olshansky, are questionable NFL talents.
With Santana Moss possibly on his way out, Smith add much needed depth to a wide receiver corp looking for players. Even if Moss returns, he fills a big need and offers a huge upgrade as a third receiver.
All Houston should do this year is draft defenders. Austin is another big body for their trenches, though some feel he could be special down the road.
His questionable work ethic drops him, but many think he has first-round talent. Minnesota needs blockers, so he fills a need.
As good as Jahvid Best was last year, it is apparent he needs help. Leshoure will be the Mr. Inside to his Mr. Outside.
With free agency, the Niners are very thin on the defensive line. Casey is a hard-worker who should help right away.
Thomas is a brute between the tackles and is excellent in pass protection. He has quick feet and bursts off the snap hard. While not a home run hitter, he has very good speed for his size and has the ability to be a bell cow for the franchise that selects him.
He can play all over the defensive line, and the Rams need bodies in the trenches.
With Robert Gallery apparently gone, getting a guard is needed. This kid has some right tackle ability, but most feel he will be an excellent guard at the next level.
Attended the same college as Raiders Hall of Famer Howie Long.
A solid linebacker who will add depth at the least, but could find himself starting right away.
Some think he will be a very good SLB, while others think he has potential to be excellent in the middle. The G-Men need a MLB, so Wilson could fill a very big need.
He is stout against the run, a type of player the Colts do not have too many of right now.
Seemed destined for the first round until he got injured during his senior year. He makes all the plays and could start sooner than expected.
Reed is a pass-rushing type who the Chiefs hope will replace Mike Vrabel one day.
Ballard is a solid player with some versatility. Depth at defensive end is a need that he can fill.
Seattle hopes the mammoth Cannon will be able to man right tackle and bookend Russell Okung for many seasons ahead.
With receivers like T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Donte Stallworth being free agents, Doss has the ability to press veteran Derrick Mason for a starting job. At the very least, he adds quality depth.
San Diego needs depth on the defensive trenches. Jenkins is a run stuffer who can be rotated in to give guys like Luis Castillo a rest.
Getting more corners is needed. He might earn a starting job as a rookie.
Gilbert has the makings of being a solid right tackle. A big need for Pittsburgh.
Not only is James Jones a free agent, but Donald Driver is nearing retirement. Hankerson will be another big target for Aaron Rogers to have fun with.