2011 NFL Mock Draft: Draft-Week Predictions Full of Surprises

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Draft-Week Predictions Full of Surprises
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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)

  1. Carolina - Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
  2. Denver - Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
  3. Buffalo - Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
  4. Cincinnati - A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
  5. Arizona - Von Miller, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
  6. Cleveland - Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
  7. San Francisco - Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
  8. Tennessee - Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
  9. Dallas - Tyron Smith, OT, USC
  10. Washington - J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
  11. Houston - Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
  12. Minnesota - Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina
  13. Detroit - Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
  14. St. Louis - Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri
  15. Miami - Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
  16. Jacksonville - Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
  17. New England - Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida
  18. San Diego - Cameron Jordan, DE/OLB, California
  19. New York Giants - Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
  20. Tampa Bay - Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
  21. Kansas City - Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
  22. Indianapolis - Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
  23. Philadelphia - Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
  24. New Orleans - Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
  25. Seattle - Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
  26. Baltimore - Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple
  27. Atlanta - Justin Houston, DE/OLB, Georgia
  28. New England - Cameron Heyward, DE/OLB, Ohio State
  29. Chicago - Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
  30. New York Jets - Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
  31. Pittsburgh - Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
  32. Green Bay - Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona 
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