We are entering the final stretch leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft, and that means that the mock drafts will be wrapping up soon.
In the latest update to my three-round mock draft there have been some significant changes that cause a chain reaction down the line. Below you will find some of the changes in the first round. The entire three rounds can be viewed HERE.
5. Arizona | Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
The perfect scenario for the Cardinals would be for Von Miller to fall here, then they may not have to juggle the QB question so much. In the last update I had them pass on Gabbert and go with best available in Patrick Peterson.
The general feeling is that because Larry Fitzgerald is not wanting a rookie QB, the Cardinals won’t go that way. Unless the Cards land Kevin Kolb, which is not guaranteed, whoever they land is likely not the long-term franchise QB option.
Gabbert can be the pick here and if they do land a McNabb or Marc Bulger, Gabbert doesn’t have the pressure of starting right away.
7. San Francisco | Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
The Niners are one of the teams that need to make a new start at QB. Word on the web is that they are reaching out saying that they want Alex Smith back.
That is a good strategy considering David Carr is the only QB on the roster right now. Gabbert fell here in the last update.
The way things look right now is that depending on which way the Cardinals go, either Gabbert or Patrick Peterson fall here. Peterson fills a need and is looked at by many as the top prospect, so he would be welcomed as much as Gabbert.
12. Minnesota | Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
In all of the mocks I have done up until this point, the Vikings have went with a QB or offensive/ defensive line. A couple of years ago I had a weird feeling about Percy Harvin to the Vikings and that worked out well.
I’m getting a similar feeling if Julio Jones is available here. The Vikings don’t have a lot of glaring needs aside from QB, for which they are in a tough spot.
Sidney Rice is a free agent. While he may be back, matching him, Harvin, and Jones for whoever comes in at QB would make them even more dangerous.
If Jake Locker were to be available they would have to consider him as well since they don’t have a third-rounder to maneuver.
If they could trade back, they could get in on the start of the second-tier wave; if not, they will have to hope one is still there in Round 2.
17. New England (From Oakland) | Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri
The annual Patriots bonus pick. The Patriots can basically do what they want with this pick and still be able to address needs with the five other picks they have in the first three rounds.
Last year there was a lot of mocking, including by myself, of Brandon Graham to the Pats to give them a beast pass rusher.
Getting it out of the way right away here, we look at Aldon Smith. Other possibilities include a falling Mark Ingram, Cameron Jordan and J.J. Watt.
24. New Orleans | Cameron Jordan, DE, California
The Saints have needs on defense. Somehow with the way the cards have fallen with this update, Jordan has fallen. They have tended to go best available recently, and this would fit that while the Saints make his talent fit them.
He is mostly looked at as a 3-4 DE in this class and his fate lies strongly in what the Chargers and Patriots do. The Saints are in the perfect position for a team to trade ahead of the Seahawks, who want a QB.
32. Green Bay | Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona
The Packers are not in a whole lot of hurting and could be one of the best young teams for years to come. Value usually outweighs need.
Brooks Reed could very well be one of those players who shoots up to the mid-first round on draft day.
At this time, he lends some support on the outside with a pass rush. Imagine Reed and Clay Matthews hunting your QB down!