Is everyone as excited as I am that the draft is finally only days away?
There have been countless mock drafts put out and everyone has their own opinion about how the 2011 NFL Draft is going to play out.
What makes this draft more interesting is no one knows how teams are going to draft due to the labor situation.
I am working on an entire NFL seven round mock draft and here is the first round of that draft without trades.
Cam Newton, QB
Personally I think Patrick Peterson is the best player in the draft and should be the first overall pick, or even Marcell Dareus, but the Panthers are probably going to go with Newton.
Coming off a national championship, Cam Newton is one of the most athletic players in the entire draft and is the ultimate boom or bust prospect.
Marcell Dareus, DT
The Denver Broncos were 31st against the run last season and will be transitioning from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense.
Marcell Dareus has been talked about as maybe surpassing Cam Newton for the number one overall pick and is a perfect fit for the Broncos system.
Dareus would bring a dominant inside presence to the Broncos defensive line along with the team getting Elvis Dumervill back from his season ending injury.
Von Miller, LB
The Buffalo Bills were the only team worse than the Denver Broncos at stopping the run and got virtually no pressure on the quarterback.
Von Miller is the perfect 3-4 outside linebacker and would immediately upgrade the Bills pass rush.
The Bills missed on their 2009 first round pick, Aaron Maybin, but Von Miller is the real deal and will be the pick if he is there.
Blaine Gabbert, QB
The Cincinnati Bengals are just a mess of a team and yet Marvin Lewis was still brought back as head coach.
The Bengals owner is so smart that he passed on a first round pick for Chad Ochocinco last season and now again refuses to trade disgruntled quarterback Carson Palmer this season.
The team has nothing at quarterback behind Carson Palmer and it’s reported that the offensive coordinator really likes both top quarterbacks in this draft.
Robert Quinn, DE
The Cardinals could move up to get Blaine Gabbart. However, if he is not available, they desperately need an upgrade at pass rusher.
Even though Robert Quinn did not play last season, he is still one of the best pass rushers and athletes in this draft.
If Quinn had been able to play last season he would have been in consideration for the No. 1 overall pick this year and will be a disruptive force in the NFL.
A.J. Green, WR
The Cleveland Browns sit in perfect position because their most pressing need is wide receiver and the number one receiver just fell to them.
I would not be surprised to see the Browns pass up A.J. Green and take Patrick Peterson but receiver is a huge need for the team.
A.J. Green may not have blazing speed, but he has everything else in the size, the hands and the route running to be a top receiver in the league.
Patrick Peterson, CB
Even though the 49ers lost out on the top two quarterbacks and the top two pass rushers in the draft they get a great consolation prize.
Patrick Peterson is the top player in this draft and should be the number one overall pick in my opinion.
He has the skill set to be a shut down corner in the NFL and could be a great return guy early in his career.
Nick Fairly, DT
Some think Nick Fairly is a carbon-copy of Albert Haynesworth on both the talent side and attitude side.
That comparison could be unfair to Fairly, as he should be given a chance to become his own player in the league.
The Titans are another team that needs a quarterback early in this draft but they also need a ton of defensive help and Fairly fits into their system.
Tyron Smith, OT
The Cowboys are in a pretty good position in the draft whether they want to stay put or trade down to get more picks.
They could elect to grab the second best corner in Prince Amukamara to help their secondary, yet I think they take a guy to protect Tony Romo.
Tyron Smith has seen his stock take a hit lately but I think the Cowboys take him based on his potential to be a top left tackle in the league.
Jake Locker, QB
The Mike Shanahan dictatorship continues in Washington and Shanahan kicks Donovan McNabb out of the building himself.
Although I would not put it past Shanahan to really believe he could get something out of Rex Grossman, I think he really likes Jake Locker.
Locker has a cannon arm and good mobility but had some accuracy issues this season which has dropped his stock a bit.
Aldon Smith, DE
The Houston Texans offense looks ready to take that next step and become a contender in the AFC South, but the defense has been terrible.
The defense ranked dead last season against the pass and they basically have no one next to Mario Williams to rush the passer.
The team is going to a 3-4 and before Aldon Smith was injured he was one of the most explosive pass rushers in college football.
Corey Liuget, DT
The Vikings could move up and take Jake Locker but they really need to upgrade the defensive side of the ball.
Both Pat Williams and Ray Edwards are probably going to leave in free agency and Jared Allen and Kevin Williams are getting old.
Corey Liuget’s stock has sky rocketed recently and is a high motor guy who would fit right into the Vikings defensive scheme and contribute immediately.
Prince Amukamara, CB
If Prince Amukamara is not here, the Lions could actually take another defensive lineman in the first round just because of value.
As it stands, I have Amukamara left here and he would come in and help a Lions’ team that has been steadily improving.
Amukamara can play in any defensive system, has shut down corner abilities and would step in day one for the Lions.
Julio Jones, WR
I actually don’t think this pick is as set in stone as most people do and receiver is not the Rams’ biggest need to me.
With both Mark Clayton and Donnie Avery coming back from injury I would not be surprised to see the Rams take a defensive player here.
They would be getting a great talent in Julio Jones though and most have him going somewhere in the top 10.
Mark Ingram, RB
Even though this is the popular pick for the Dolphins, I thought for a while that they would go offensive line here.
In the end, the pick is just too perfect of a fit for the Dolphins, who will probably lose either Ricky Williams, Ronnie Brown or both to free agency.
Mark Ingram has been the consensus number one running back in the draft and brings an all-around game to the Dolphins offense.
Ryan Kerrigan, DE
This is another pick that I thought was one of the hardest and easiest to make in this first round since the Jaguars have said they love Kerrigan.
When a pick seems too easy or perfect I tend to believe that the team will surprise and go in a different direction.
Like the Dolphins however, I think the Jaguars will take the guy they apparently covet and get a relentless pass rusher in Ryan Kerrigan.
Mike Pouncey, C/G
Now I know the Patriots have about three million picks in the draft and will most likely trade about one million times.
Somehow I think they are going to end up with Mike Pouncey to help out an offensive line that saw Logan Mankins hold out most of last year and Stephen Neal retire.
Pouncey’s stock soared up boards due to the success of his brother Maurkice with the Steelers, although Mike is pretty good himself and the Patriots have shown definite interest.
J.J. Watt, DE
Although the San Diego Chargers technically had the number one offense and the number one defense in the NFL last season, they still have many holes.
Larry English has not been able to replace Shawn Merriman in terms of pass rushing production and Vincent Jackson held out most of last season.
They could reach here for Akeem Ayers or Justin Houston but I think the team will go with J.J. Watt who fits as a 3-4 defensive end.
Gabe Carimi OT
The Giants love taking defensive players in the first round but I think they really need to upgrade on the offensive line and protect Eli Manning.
Although Manning is at fault for most of his 25 interceptions, he was under pressure for most of the season and also the Giants vaunted rushing attack was not as potent in 2010.
Gabe Carimi is a mauler and would step in day one at right tackle for the Giants and help the rushing game get back on track.
Cameron Jordan, DE
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in a great position as they do not have any huge needs other than maybe at defensive end.
I could see them going in a number of different directions though like corner, offensive line, or even running back if Mark Ingram falls.
They get a guy in Cameron Jordan who is one of my favorite prospects in the draft and will be able to improve a Buccaneers defense and team that is ready to take another step forward.
Nate Solder, OT
I really think the Chiefs are going to take a good hard look at Phil Taylor at this pick because their defense desperately needs a good nose tackle.
If Taylor’s injury and off the field problems scare the Chiefs away I think Scott Pioli will elect to take an offensive lineman.
Upgrading the offensive line is never a bad answer and Nate Solder was once considered the top line prospect in the draft.
Muhammad Wilkerson, DT
You would like to think the Colts would use this pick on the offensive line to protect Peyton Manning.
There is still a guy in Anthony Castonzo who could come in and help the Colts line but this is a franchise that hasn’t taken an offensive lineman in the first round since 1997.
Muhammad Wilkerson is a development guy like Jerry Hughes from last year and could become a top 4-3 defensive tackle for the Colts.
Anthony Castonzo, OT
Although there is a big chance that the Eagles take Jimmy Smith with this pick I ultimately went with the offensive tackle Castonzo.
The interior line is more of a need but I think the Eagles opt to take the best available guy at the position so that they can better protect Mike Vick.
With the Eagles probably trading Kevin Kolb they will need to make sure Mike Vick plays the entire season and Castonzo could play right away if needed.
Da’Quan Bowers, DE
The New Orleans Saints get the biggest steal in the draft to this point in my opinion while addressing a top need as well.
Da’Quan Bowers was once thought of as a top prospect in this draft until concerns about his knee have caused him to slide.
The fact is that Bowers is a tremendous pass rusher when healthy and the Saints got little production from their defensive ends last season.
Derrick Sherrod, OT
The Seattle Seahawks took a step in the right direction last season by taking Russell Okung and Earl Thomas in the first round.
They could use some defensive help but I think they choose to continue to rebuild that offensive line with Derrick Sherrod.
Sherrod could start day one at right tackle for the Seahawks and would help improve the league’s second worst rushing attack.
Jimmy Smith, CB
Jimmy Smith’s stock took a hit during the offseason due to character concerns. However, some teams have him as being a better prospect than even Prince Amukamara.
The Baltimore Ravens defense looks to finally be showing its age and the Ravens ranked 21st in the NFL in pass defense in 2010.
Smith is a big physical corner with a great skill set and I think the Ravens will actually like his attitude.
Adrian Clayborn, DE
This could be a spot for the tight end Kyle Rudolph, who has been rising up boards, but I think the Falcons decide to go defense.
Adrian Clayborn was once considered a possible top 10 pick before concerns arose about a condition he was born with.
Clayborn has dealt with his condition his whole life and became a first round talent with it so I think he will be fine in his NFL career.
Justin Houston, DE
Again who knows how many trades the Patriots make in this draft. However, I they somehow keep both first round picks as they are in a great position to upgrade their team.
They selected an offensive lineman with their first pick earlier and would then use this pick on the defensive side of the ball.
Justin Houston is one of those hybrid type players and would help the Patriots find some kind of pass rush.
Danny Watkins, G
There are no more offensive tackles with a first round grade left in the draft so the Bears take the next best interior lineman.
If there was a receiver worth a first round pick on the board he would be in serious consideration for this pick but the Bears need to protect Jay Cutler.
Even though Cutler brought all the criticism on himself by not playing the rest of the NFC Championship game, the offensive line should really be blamed for getting him hit all the time and Watkins will help rectify that situation.
Brooks Reed, DE
The Jets are in position to just take the best available defensive player who is still left on their board at this spot.
Phil Taylor is the popular pick given the departure of Kris Jenkins and Cameron Heyward could be the pick as well to upgrade the defensive line.
In the end I see Rex Ryan taking a guy to rush the quarterback in pass rusher Brooks Reed, who has been compared to the Packers Clay Matthews.
Aaron Williams, CB
The Steelers sit in an interesting position given that there are no more first round offensive lineman left on the board.
The team could go with Cameron Heyward who would fit perfectly as a 3-4 end in their scheme or even Akeem Ayers who might just be the best player available at this spot.
Aaron Williams would be able to develop into a number one corner for the Steelers while being able to convert to safety later in his career.
Akeem Ayers, LB
This is another spot that could see defensive end Cameron Heyward go in especially since the Packers will probably lose Cullen Jenkins to free agency.
There are no offensive linemen worth this pick and I could also see the Packers taking Brandon Harris since Charles Woodson is getting older.
Akeem Ayers is the best true linebacker left in the draft and has the ability to rush the passer or drop into coverage.