NFL Draft 2011: First Round Mock With Some Surprises
Panthers- QB Blaine Gabbert: With questions surrounding his maturity and how his style will translate to the NFL, the Panthers take the safe pick and go with the more traditional QB in Blaine Gabbert.
Broncos- DT Marcel Dareus: With help needed on their defensive line, Dareus is simply too tempting to pass up.
Bills-CB Patrick Peterson: There hasn't been much in the way of Peterson going to the Bills, but as possibly the best player in the draft, they don't pass him up at No. 3.
Bengals- QB Cam Newton: Possible maturity issues; has been in past trouble, but has a lot of talent. Exactly the player the Bengals like to try and make work. With Carson Palmer unlikely to suit up for the Bengals again, they are happy to have Newton fall to them.
Cardinals WR AJ Green: Not a popular choice by draft "experts", but Larry Fitzgerald is this team's franchise player, and he plays best when he has another threat beside him. Also look for a trade for Kevin Kolb once the new CBA takes effect. They need a QB, and Fitzgerald would like to catch passes from Kolb.
Browns-DE Robert Quinn: Unexpected by many pundits, this choice becomes one between Von Miller and Robert Quinn. Due to the Browns need at DE they take Quinn, knowing he can fit into their 4-3 line and get to the passer.
Who will be the first QB picked in the 2011 NFL Draft?
49ers-LB Von Miller: Maybe unexpected, but Von Miller falls right into their laps. Easily the best player on the board, the 49ers take him to solidify their LB unit.
Titans-DT Nick Fairley: Plays with the same mean streak Albert Haynesworth did, the very guy they are looking to replace. Unfortunately, he may have the same work ethic and character concerns, but they believe they can handle those. Unless one of the top two QBs fall they don't think twice.
Cowboys-OT Tyron Smith: Not really the Cowboys style to go for the "unsexy" pick. But they know it is necessary if they don't want to see Tony Romo go down again.
Redskins-WR Julio Jones: They need and want a WR, so they are happy to land Jones here. He is probably not only the best player on the board, but fills one of their biggest needs.
Texans-DE Cameron Jordan: Looking for help on their defensive line, they grab a versatile and well rounded player in Jordan to shore up their defense.
Vikings- DE Da'Quan Bowers: Concerns about his knee drop him out of the top 10, and the Vikings see potential gold. With an aging defensive line they gladly take Bowers here.
Lions-CB Prince Amakamura: In need of secondary help, the Lions certainly don't expect to be in position to grab such a talented DB. They even think about trading up for him at some point. They stay put, however, and with luck, get a guy they would love to add to their team.
Rams-DL JJ Watt: They would have loved to get Julio Jones or Amakumara here, but with both off the board, they settle for a solid player in JJ Watt, who should help them get to the QB more often.
Miami-RB Mark Ingram: It is common knowledge that both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are free agents, making this a logical selection. They also desperately need a QB, but this is way too high to take the third best one in the draft. They avoid the temptation for a huge reach and pick Ingram here.
Jaguars- DE Aldon Smith: With defensive end being their top need, they wont pass on one here. Though they don't think David Garrad is their quarterback of the future, they don't think this is the right spot to find their guy. Instead, they stick to their needs and take Smith.
Patriots- DE Ryan Kerrigan- The Patriots could use help at defensive end, and Kerrigan is the type of player Bill Bellichick would love to coach. Motivated and hardworking, look for him not only to go to the Patriots here, but to have plenty of success if he does.
Chargers-WR Jon Baldwin: Over halway through last season and without his starting receiver for most of the year, Phillip Rivers was still on record pace. With neither Vincent Jackson or Malcomb Floyd guaranteed back, a new WR is a must. Baldwin would give Rivers the deep threat he needs to thrive.
Giants-LB Akeem Ayers: Although they have bigger needs, particularly on the offensive line, the Giants have historically prided themselves on being a defensive team. With needs at linebacker, look for them to take one over one of the tackles here, even if it means a slight reach.
Bucaneers-DE Adrian Clayborn: They have emphasized their defensive line in recent depth and may be tempted to put the finishing touches on here. Though they could be tempted to grab a running back or a new weapon for quarterback Josh Freeman, they figure they can fill those needs later on in the draft.
Chiefs-OT Anthony Castanzo: QB? Check. RB? Check. WR? Check. How can the Chiefs make a developing offense more effective? By getting a top tier offensive lineman to give Matt Cassel more time to get the ball to his playmakers.
Colts-OT Gabe Carimi: In need of a tackle, the value is too good to pass up. Some question whether Carimi can play on the left side in the pros, but which side of Peyton Manning he is protecting wont matter much, as he is a safe bet to do it well.
Eagles-C Mike Pouncey: The last two centers first of the board at the position (including Mike's brother Maurkice and the Browns' Alex Mack) have each made Pro Bowls by their second year. Not expected by many to fall this far, the Eagles see the recent success as well as Pouncey's value. This has a nice back story as well, as both brothers would end up in Pennsylvania.
Saints-DT Phil Taylor: The Saints could use help on the inside of their defensive line, and they will have options here. Corey Liuget does not have the size they want, but at 6'3" 334, Taylor certainly does. He does, however, have injury concerns, so they may pass and take Muhammed Wilkerson instead.
How many QBs will be taken in round 1?
Seahawks-OT Nate Solder: The Seahawks are in a unique and unenviable position. Despite having the needs you would expect to see on a losing team, they won the NFC West and have a much lower draft pick to work with because of it. With this pick they stay safe and attempt to bolster their offensive line, in order to protect the QB the hope to snag in round two (Jake Locker?). By going OT, QB they hope to set the future of their offense for years to come.
Ravens- WR Torrey Smith: With one glance at the Ravens roster, they appear to be set at Wide Reciever with Derek Mason, Anquan Boldin, Donte' Stallworth, T.J. Houshmanzada, yet none of these players are under 30 years old. GM Ozzie Newsome seems to prepare for the future when he knows his stars are aging, expect no different this draft.
Falcons- TE Kyle Rudolph: While Tony Gonzales is a future Hall of Famer, his best days are behind him. Add to the the fact that he will be a free agent, and you can see why the Falcons are tempted to take Rudolph here. Despite other needs, particularly on defense, they figure they want Matt Ryan to have the best weapons at his disposal.
Patriots-RB Ryan Williams: While Danny Woodhead provided excitement for the Patriots towards the end of 2010, he cannot be considered a legitimate feature back in the NFL. With two first round picks, and little depth at the position, the Patriots will be strongly tempted to take Williams here.
Bears-OT Derek Sherrod: With the way the Bears offensive line played in 2010, it is almost a miracle that Jay Cutler was able to lead them to the playoffs. Of course, he got injured there, so they obviously still have problems. Sherrod is probably the best lineman left on the board, and if they plan on making a Super Bowl run, he is the smart choice.
Jets- WR Titus Young: With both Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes pending free agents (not to mention their drop problems and character concerns), the Jets need a WR who can step in a stretch the field. Young did this while at Boise State, hauling in long ball from quarterback Kellen Moore. Watch his last second catch against Nevada for all you need to know.
Steelers-CB Aaron Williams: A mild surprise here with Jimmy Smith still on the board, the Steelers decide to skip the character concerns and instead take a cornerback scouts think is more of their type.
Packers-OG Danny Watkins: Despite his age (26) and playing an "unsexy" position, this is exactly the type of pick Super Bowl champions make and is in part the reason they often stay near the top of the league. With Guard being potentially the Packers biggest problem spot, they plug Watkins in and don't miss a beat.
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