2011 NFL Mock Draft: My Top 10 Picks of the Draft

Jonathan MaurerCorrespondent IIApril 28, 2011

2011 NFL Mock Draft: My Top 10 Picks of the Draft

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Cameron Newton #2 of the Auburn Tigers looks on as an official runs past during their game against the Oregon Ducks during the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glen
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    This is the day most of us have been waiting for: the 2011 NFL draft.  Players will be picked and I am here to predict those picks. 

    I am not Mel Kiper or Todd McShay, but I do like to think I have a very high football IQ.

    Let's get started with the No. 1 pick, shall we?

With the 1st Overall Pick the Carolina Panthers Select...

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Cameron Newton #2 of the Auburn Tigers tosses the ball after being sacked by the Oregon Ducks during the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Cam Newton, quarterback out of Auburn University. 

    I hate the fact that the Panthers will be choosing another quarterback after one year with their second-round pick. 

    Yes, Jimmy Clausen struggled, but what rookie thrown into the worst situation possible doesn't?

    I think the Carolina Panthers are mistakenly convinced that Clausen is not the answer and will draft Newton.  

    If Newton was drafted later in the first round to a team that will give him the time to develop instead of throwing him into the fire early, then Newton would be a great pick.  But the fact is that Newton will be the first player selected and put on a team that desperately needs receiver and O-line help.    

    I think that the Panthers will fall in love with Newton's upside and take him.

Trade Alert: The Denver Broncos Have Traded Their Pick to the Cleveland Browns

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    CLEVELAND - DECEMBER 26:  Quarterback Colt McCoy #12 of the Cleveland Browns looks for a receiver against the Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    BOOM! I know nobody saw that coming! 

    I predict that the first trade of the night will be the Broncos swapping picks with Browns.

With the 2nd Overall Pick the Cleveland Browns Select...

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    AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 13:  A.J. Green #8 of the Georgia Bulldogs against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    A.J. Green, wide receiver out of the University of Georgia. 

    You got to admit, this makes a lot sense for the Browns. Green has the physique of Calvin Johnson, the hands of Brandon Marshall and the speed of Randy Moss

    He is the best wideout in the draft and that is arguably the biggest need for the Browns.

    Colt McCoy stepped in last season and played well, but he only had one real target and that was his tight end, Benjamin Watson.  

    They could settle for Julio Jones, but I think the durability issues are going to scare them too much, and Green might go to the Bengals if they wait too long.  

With the 3rd Overall Pick the Bills Select...

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Nick Fairley #90 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates the Tigers 22-19 victory against the Oregon Ducks during the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Nick Fairley, defensive tackle out of Auburn University.

    There is no question that the Bills need help on the defensive end of the ball. From what I've seen from the Buffalo Bills so far, I think it will be a tough choice between Marcell Dareus and Fairley and I think that they will take the one they think has the most potential. 

    The problem people might have with Fairley is questions of his work ethic; if he can fix that, then this would be a great pick.

With the 4th Overall Pick the Cincinatti Bengals Select...

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Julio Jones #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after a long reception against the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Julio Jones, out of the University of Alabama.  

    The Bengals are trying to get younger at the wide receiver position and since Green is gone, the Bengals would have to go with Julio Jones.

    I am worried about the durability of Jones.  But if he stays healthy, he can be ridiculously good. He sort of reminds me of Larry Fitzgerald, and for some of you who don't know, Larry Fitzgerald is a pretty good wide receiver.  

    If the Bengals aren't scared of arrest records, I seriously doubt that the Bengals would be scared of a injury histories.

With the 5th Overall Pick the Arizona Cardinals Select...

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    TEMPE, AZ - NOVEMBER 7:  Tyron Smith #70 of the USC Trojans stretches before the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils on November 7, 2009 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona.  USC won 14-9.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)
    Jeff Golden/Getty Images

    Tyron Smith, offensive tackle out of the University of Southern California. 

    It would make sense to draft Blaine Gabbert, but drafting an offensive tackle isn't such a bad idea for the Cardinals. 

    From what I've seen, they are going to need some extra protection for whoever plays quarterback and believe it or not, I think it makes more sense to get somebody to protect your quarterback than to get your quarterback.

With the 6th Overall Pick the Denver Broncos Select...

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 13: Defensive lineman Marcell Dareus #57 of the Alabama Crimson Tide watches play against the Mississippi State Bulldogs November 13, 2010 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Marcell Dareus, defensive tackle out of the University of Alabama. 

    OK, I'll just say that I am not 100 percent sure that these guys will be picked this way and in this order, but if the Broncos are able to get Dareus with this pick, then John Elway should temporarily get the label as a draft expert. 

    The Broncos need some major help on the defensive line and Dareus would be a perfect fit for the Broncos.  Dareus has a high motor and he can probably contribute right away.

With the 7th Overall Pick the San Francisco 49ers Select...

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    BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 13:  Patrick Peterson #7 of the Louisiana State University Tigers runs back an interception against the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks at Tiger Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty I
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Patrick Peterson, defensive back out of LSU. 

    Peterson might just be the best overall athlete in the NFL draft.  He has hands of a Pro Bowl wideout and can immediately be one of the best kickoff returners in the NFL. 

    He has drawn many comparisons to Deion Sanders (who was also a 49er) and if you look at the tape, you might agree. 

    The 49ers will need a lockdown corner, and Peterson is that and more.

Trade Alert: The Tennessee Titans Trade Their Pick to the New England Patriots

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    FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 16:  Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots stands on the field during their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa
    Elsa/Getty Images

    You had to figure that Belichick was going to do something with his draft picks.

    I think that he will package his two first-round picks and trade into the top 10.

With the 8th Overall Pick the New England Patriots Select...

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    TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 28:  Quarterback Blaine Gabbert #11 of the Missouri Tigers drops back to pass during the Insight Bowl against the Iowa Hawkeyes  at Sun Devil Stadium on December 28, 2010 in Tempe, Arizona.  The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers 27-24.  (P
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Blaine Gabbert, quarterback out of the University of Missouri. 

    The Patriots are going to have to prepare for Tom Brady sometime or another; might as well do it now. Gabbert is smart, mobile, has a way better arm than some give him credit for and he is accurate.

    Does Gabbert need some work? Yes, but what rookie doesn't? 

    With Belichick as his coach and Tom Brady as his mentor, this might be a great pick for the Patriots, and I mean all-time great.

With the 9th Overall Pick the Dallas Cowboys Select...

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    LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 26: Prince Amukamara #21 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers misses a chance at an interception from Scotty McKnight #21 of the Colorado Buffaloes during the second half of their game at Memorial Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Lincoln, Neb
    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    Prince Amukamara, defensive back out of the University of Nebraska. 

    The Cowboys are going to be looking for some help in the defensive backfield and Amukamara could be a good fit for the Cowboys. 

    To say Amukamara was a product of the system and talent around him is ridiculous; you can say the same thing about everybody in the draft and currently playing in the NFL.

    To succeed in the NFL, you need to be in the right system and have the right amount of talent around you.

With the 10th Overall Pick in the Draft the Washington Redskins Select...

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    TUCSON, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Quarterback Jake Locker #10 of the Washington Huskies drops back to pass during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Huskies 4
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Jake Locker, quarterback out of the University of Washington.

    Jake Locker would have been the No. 1 pick in the draft last year, but he stayed in school and dropped nine spots. 

    I wouldn't know what to make of this pick.  If the Redskins do the smart thing and sit him for a year or two, then this would be a great pick.  But if they throw him into the fire, he could be a bust. 

    Jake Locker is a Mike Shanahan-like quarterback and if Shanahan's history of quarterbacks (not named Donovan McNabb) prove anything, then Jake Locker will be an excellent quarterback.