Big boards are a nice idea.
It's helpful, of course, to visit any NFL draft-related website and scroll through some experts' power rankings of each position to better inform your own mock draft.
It's nice that major sports networks employ individuals whose sole purpose, it seems, is to discriminate between the best and second-best quarterback in any given draft class. It's wonderful that writers take the time to sort through every single prospect and rank them accordingly.
In the end, though, it's just an exercise. A valiant attempt. A fool's errand.
Because in the end, every draft week is full of surprises.
Don't expect the 2011 NFL draft to be any different. Surprises await, perhaps more so in this draft class than in years prior.
The 2011 NFL draft features one of the deeper quarterback classes in recent memory—but how deep is it, really? The trenches have been argued to be the strongest positions in the class, but how many impact offensive and defensive linemen will come from this class? And conversely, if safety and tight end are argued to be among the draft's weaker positions, will any impact players emerge at these positions?
It's still too early to tell, even if the 2011 NFL draft begins in just four days: Thursday, April 28 at 8 p.m. ET.
But what's the harm in attempting to guess?
Here's a 2011 NFL mock draft sure to surprise many. And potentially upset a few.
2011 NFL Mock Draft (most recent updates)
- Carolina - Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
- Denver - Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
- Buffalo - Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
- Cincinnati - A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
- Arizona - Von Miller, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
- Cleveland - Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
- San Francisco - Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
- Tennessee - Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
- Dallas - Tyron Smith, OT, USC
- Washington - J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
- Houston - Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
- Minnesota - Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina
- Detroit - Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
- St. Louis - Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri
- Miami - Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
- Jacksonville - Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
- New England - Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida
- San Diego - Cameron Jordan, DE/OLB, California
- New York Giants - Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
- Tampa Bay - Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
- Kansas City - Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
- Indianapolis - Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
- Philadelphia - Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
- New Orleans - Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
- Seattle - Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
- Baltimore - Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple
- Atlanta - Justin Houston, DE/OLB, Georgia
- New England - Cameron Heyward, DE/OLB, Ohio State
- Chicago - Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
- New York Jets - Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
- Pittsburgh - Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
- Green Bay - Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona