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Thursday, January 20, 2011

2011 Early Declaration NFL Mock Draft





Now that we know who is eligible to be drafted, it only makes sense to do a new mock draft.  With Andrew Luck going back to school the top of the draft gets a serious shake up which you'll see reflected here.
There are a lot of OT, DE, and CB prospects in this draft who have yet to separate themselves from one another.  It's going to be interesting to watch who leaps who over the next three months in all star games, the combine, and pro days.
Please take a look at the scenario that I've created with DraftDebacled.com below and let me know what you think.  I'm always interested to hear what fans of a particular team think their team is going to do on draft day.  Just put your thoughts in the comments!

ROUND 1

1.


Patrick Peterson   from LSU 
The Panthers will take Peterson because he is a truly elite talent.  The complexity a lockdown Cornerback affords a defense is something that their new DC, Sean McDermott, will love when they start using his blitz packages that he ran with the Eagles. A shutdown CB helps in 2 areas of the field, first by stopping a team's top WR and second because he makes the QB hold on to the ball too long and then the pass rush can get to him. Peterson is being talked about like he is one of the best in a long time.  


Fairley and Bowers will certainly get consideration here but it's much easier to find highly talented DTs and DEs later in the draft than it is to find once in a generation CBs.  

2.


Nick Fairley   from Auburn 
People say that Fairley is a one hit wonder and he takes plays off so that will hurt his stock.  I'm not buying it.  Fairley was dominant in every game that I saw him play and he even played multiple positions along the D Line.  That versatility is going to be huge for him on draft day and compel the Broncos to take him 2nd overall.  He'll pair nicely with Dumervil and be flexible enough to move to either the NT or DE spots depending on what front they are using.  

3.


A.J. Green   from Georgia 
Buffalo could go with a D Line guy here or even take their top QB prospect.  But unless they love one of those guys I think they give Fitzpatrick another year because he did look pretty capable this past season.  The problem was that he didn't have good options or time to get them the ball.  Buffalo's biggest need is help along the O Line but they'd be foolish to take one here when they can get someone of similar quality at the top of the 2nd Round.  They should take Green with this pick and let him complete their WR group along with Lee Evans and Stevie Johnson.


I think they would really like Nick Fairley for his ability to stuff the run and to get after the QB.  Bowers might be good against the run but it's his pass rush skills that people like.  

4.


DaQuan Bowers   from Clemson 
Carson Palmer has one more year left to prove himself before he is out.  Which works perfectly because Marvin Lewis just signed up for another year.  If Marvin had signed for a few years or they went and got a new coach this pick would be Blaine Gabbert.  They are in win now mode and you don't take a QB you'd have to groom when you are trying to turn things around immediately.  


Unfortunately they would have loved to take Green but in this setup he is gone.  They do run a 4-3 which is perfectly suited to Bowers and placing him opposite Dunlap would be a great move.  If they can get Michael Johnson going that would be a very formidable group of DE's.

5.


Prince Amukamara   CB from Nebraska
The Cardinals really need to find someone to play CB opposite DRC and Amukamura is an elite prospect.  The two of them will immediately help out their defense by giving their pass rush time to reach the QB which will force teams to become one dimensional by just running.  




6.


Julio Jones   from Alabama 
It might be impossible for the Browns to have worse receiving options.  This could be a little high for Jones but he will step in and be the #1 WR for Colt McCoy right away.  He has the speed, the size, and play-making ability to be a very good WR in the NFL as long as he continues to improve his hands this is a good pick for Cleveland.

7.


Blaine Gabbert   from Missouri 
New Head Coach Harbough is familiar with good QBs and has a knack for developing talent.  Gabbert has the ability to be a great QB in the NFL and Harbough would be a great coach to bring it out of him.  Hopefully they don't make the same mistake of so many top QBs before him and put him in there too soon.  Fortunately the 49ers revamped their OLine last year so he should be relatively protected when they do put him in.  He'll also have good targets in Morgan, Crabtree, Davis, and Gore.

8.


Marcell Dareus   from Alabama 
The Titans really wanted to get Albert Haynesworth back this year when all his shenanigans probably reduced his open market value but the Titans weren't able to pull off a deal.  They'll have an opportunity to land another play-making force on the D Line here with Dareus.  He didn' t have the kind of year most people thought he would, but he is still an incredible talent worthy of a Top 10 pick.


Lots of people have Cam Newton going here but I don't know if I can see Fischer going for another young "mobile" Quarterback with off-field concerns after the nasty split with Vince Young.  Yes they are different but they might not be different enough for Fischer.  I could see him going for an established veteran guy like McNabb and taking a younger prospect later in the draft.

9.



Nate Solder   OT from Colorado 
The 9th pick is probably a little too high for an offensive lineman but barring a trade down, the Cowboys really need to upgrade their Tackles and Solder seems like a great fit.  Dallas has always gone after the BIG guys and Solder is just that at a solid 6'9."  He has to refine his pass blocking but he is enough of an athlete to be able to step in and start right away.  

10.



Cam Newton   from Auburn 
The Redskins will be taking a QB high in this draft especially after their failed experiment to sign McNabb last year.  Right now I think that QB is going to be Cam Newton.  Snyder loves "star" players and they don't get any bigger than Newton.  He has a lot of work to do before he becomes NFL ready but Shanahan has been successful turning strong armed athletes into very good QBs with Elway and Cutler on his resume.

11.



Von Miller   OLB from Texas A&M 
Von Miller is the perfect OLB for the league's newest 3-4 defense.  He is athletic enough to drop into coverage, strong enough to stuff the run, and fast enough to get to the QB.  Miller will be a tremendous asset to the Texans as they figure out how to move around their existing 4-3 guys.

12.



Tyron Smith   OT from USC
While the Vikings really need help at the QB position I'm not sure if Mallett or Locker deserve to go this high.  To be honest I'm of the philosophy that a team needs to have some semblance of an Offensive Line before picking and paying a highly drafted QB.  Rather than the other way around which results in the QB getting injured and losing his mojo when he gets sacked 80 times in his first season.
In order to get something going along their offensive front, not only for the benefit of their future QB, but also to help Adrian Petersen, the Vikings take one of the top OTs available.  In this scenario it's Tyron Smith who is probably going to solidify himself as #1 or #2 OTs in this draft.  

13.



Brandon Harris   from Miami (Fla.) 
The Lions have done a fantastic job rebuilding this team through the draft lately but there are definitely still some holes to fill.  Although Cornerback is one of the most difficult positions to project into the NFL, the Lions really need some help there.  If Harris is able to separate himself as the 3rd best CB after Peterson and Amukamura watch for the Lions to take him.  
If they opt to take another position I could easily see them going DE or OT here depending on who is available.  All three positions have somewhat of a logjam right now and hopefully over the next three months we see these prospects at CB, DE, and OT start to separate themselves.

14.



Robert Quinn   from North Carolina
Robert Quinn is an interesting prospect because he missed this entire season due to improper contact with an agent last offseason when he was widely considered to be a candidate for the top pick in the draft.  Quinn's size, speed, and athleticism will be very compelling to teams higher up but I think he goes somewhere in the mid first round due to some lingering though mild character concerns.  
This is all clearly a benefit to the Rams.  Despite missing last year, he is still an extremely talented prospect who will be able to play in a number of positions for the Rams and allow Spagnulo to get creative with his blitzes.  The Rams would love to take a WR too but there just isn't one good enough to take at this point especially with Quinn still on the board.

15.



Mark Ingram   RB from Alabama 
This might be the most commonly mocked pick right now.  Just about everyone I've seen or spoken with has Ingram to the Dolphins and it's just because it makes so much sense.  Ingram is definitely the top RB in this class with only LeShoure coming anywhere close and the Dolphins definitely need to overhaul that position which had been a strong suit for them.  Both Brown and Williams are getting older and their contracts are up.

16.



Ryan Kerrigan   DE from Purdue 
Kerrigan could finally be that pass rushing DE that the Jaguars have been trying to draft for the past decade.  He is a hard working, high motor beast.  Kerrigan isn't as big or athletic as some of the other 1st round DEs, but he has good pass moves and he never stops.  That kind of energy will pair fantastically with last year's top pick DT Alualu.

17.
  
Cameron Heyward  DE from Ohio State
This pick is going to be a DE.  I give the nod to Heyward instead of Jordan or Watt because of his continued dominant play and versatility.  Heyward is also more athletic than the other two.  The Pats need help at the Defensive End position and the Offensive Tackle position.  Fortunately they have 900 picks in the first three rounds this year and 3 picks in the top 33 overall.  I'm pretty sure they'll be able to fill whatever holes they have with this year's bounty.

18.



Jonathan Baldwin  WR from Pittsburgh 
Could there be a better candidate for the next Charger WR?  The Chargers entire WR group is on the verge or free agency right now.  Based on the all the injuries and holdouts last year it's clear that the Chargers need to add another WR anyway and Baldwin absolutely fits their mold of big and fast.  
The Chargers could also go DE/OLB here.  They have been trying to find Merriman's lost production for the past few seasons and haven't been able to do so.  I bet they hold out hope for English to turn it on this year and go for WR in the 1st round though.

19.




Akeem Ayers   OLB from UCLA 
Akeem Ayers is a very fast and very productive Linebacker.  After losing a starter at Linebacker in each of the last 2 seasons they have been patching things together but Ayers could come in and be a play-maker right away.  
The Giants are probably also going to consider an OT here so it really depends who is available but I think Ayers is a much better prospect at OLB than any of the available Lineman are at their respective positions.  They may even consider going with Pouncey here due to his ability to play any interior line position.

20.



Aldon Smith   DE from Missouri
Aldon Smith is a 3-4 OLB or a 4-3 DE.  He is 6'5" and 260 pounds.  The Bucs likely take him here as a pass rush specialist and get him to bulk up a bit to be better against the run.  However it's his explosiveness and length that have people excited about this guy.  He is very athletic for a big guy and an extra 20 lbs might just make him an even better pass rusher.
The Bucs could also consider going O Line here but pass on some guys in order to take a special player in Smith.

21.

Derek Sherrod   OT from Mississippi State
The Chiefs had a tremendous draft last year which means they can focus on the most glaring needs and for Kansas City, that's the Offensive Line.  Poor Matt Cassel was under pressure all season long and if he had to do anything more than just toss the ball up to Bowe they were in trouble.  The should take Derek Sherrod and move Brandon Albert back to Guard or slide him over to the Right Tackle position.  Sherrod will help give Cassel more time and help Charles get a few more yards before he has to start bouncing off of guys.

22.





Mike Pouncey   OG from Florida 
The Colts finally get the help along the offensive front that they've needed.  Pouncey can essentially apprentice at Guard next to the aging star Jeff Saturday until he is ready to retire.  If Pouncey is anything like his brother, this is going to be a great pickup for the Colts.  
They will also consider Defensive Tackle here, but when you are about to hand the richest contract in the history of football to Peyton Manning you want to make sure that he stays upright.  They will take the best offensive lineman here and that's Pouncey.

23.



Jimmy Smith   CB from Colorado 
Jimmy Smith is a Cornerback with a great combination of length, athleticism, and speed.  If he were a bit stronger and attacked the run like Amukamura was he would be going much higher.  The Eagles really need help opposite Samuel, this need was showcased last season when Kenny Britt burned the Eagles for 3 TDs.  Smith is the kind of CB that won't be laying anyone out in the run game but he can definitely hang with the size/speed freak WRs like Britt.
The Eagles will also be considering O Line help here and if any of those top DEs fall here because teams are looking for 3-4 help, I wouldn't be surprise if the Eagles think about another 1st round DE.

24.



Mikel LeShoure   RB from Illinois 
LeShoure really put on a show this year and it's no surprise that he declared early.  LeShoure has great vision, power, and agility with good speed and hands.  After the Saints woes at RB last year I can definitely see them targeting a top RB in this draft.  Bush might get a new deal because the Saints are paying him $11 million next year and Pierre had a pretty big falling out with the team.  Rookie Chris Ivory was very good this year but I still think they'll pull the trigger on another great RB.

25.
Ryan Mallett   QB from Arkansas 
Seattle might be rethinking it's QB future after seeing how good Matt Hasselbeck played in the playoffs this season.  However, just because they spent a 3rd round pick on Charlie Whitehurst last year doesn't mean they won't look for QB here.  Hasselbeck does have another few years left in him so this could be a great place for a developmental QB prospect like Mallett to end up.  Mallett obviously has all the physical tools but he needs to be trained how to play QB in the NFL and by going later in the 1st round he should have some time to develop behind a veteran QB.  
The Seahawks need real help in a few places and they could look for a more immediate need like the Offensive Line, DT, or DE.

26. Cameron Jordan   DE from California 
Cameron Jordan will be a great fit in Baltimore as a tough, versatile, high effort DE.  He can play just about any position in the line except for NT and can stuff the run just as well as he can get after the passer.  Jordan doesn't have elite athleticism but he does have solid technique.  
Baltimore will probably also be looking to add a CB along with depth at O Line and WR.

27.



Kyle Rudolph   TE from Notre Dame 
After watching Atlanta get eliminated from the playoffs this year Tony Gonzalez looked like a very tired man.  He's discussed retirement before and I think he has at best one year left.  In order to get a jump on finding their next Tight End I think the Falcons will go after the best prospect in this year's draft, Kyle Rudolph.  Rudolph is more of a pass catcher right now but he is not a bad blocker either.  If he gets to learn behind Gonzalez for any time at all it would be very beneficial for Rudolph.
The Falcons are also going to pick up some help at Safety in this draft but I think they'll wait until the 2nd round to do that when they'll get more value for their pick.

28.
J.J. Watt   DE from Wisconsin
Watt is listed as a DE but can also play DT if need be and from what I've seen, he can even bump out into zone coverage at times.  His size, athleticism, and versatility make him a great pick for the Patriots here.  They'll be able to really continue their defensive youth movement by taking Watt and Heyward with their 2 first round picks.  Both are smart, versatile, and played at a high level in college which is just what the Patriots like to draft.

29.

Gabe Carimi   OT from Wisconsin 
The Bears surrendered the most sacks of any NFL franchise this season and while some of the blame is Cutler, I think a lot of that has to condemn the offensive line.  Carimi would be a great pickup for the Bears.  He can start immediately at Right Tackle and eventually move over to Left Tackle.  This will free them up to move their talent to where it works best.  If Offensive Line Coach, Mike Tice sticks around for another year, this could become a very good group.

30.



Anthony Castonzo   OT from Boston College
For two teams that made it this far in the Playoffs it's surprising that both of them so desperately need help along their offensive front.  Fortunately for both, there are a lot of OTs in this class who should be on the board through the end of the first round.  The Steelers pick up Anthony Castonzo here.  Castonzo has a all the size, agility, and skill to be a tremendous Offensive Tackle in the NFL.  He doesn't have all the strength right now but I'm sure with some time dedicated to being an OT rather than a college student athlete he can put the muscle needed to excel at the next level.  Big Ben is going to be very happy about this pick.


31.
Stephen Paea   DT from Oregon State

Paea probably won't last this long but if he did, the Jets wouldn't waste any time making this selection.  They have lost their starting Nose Tackle Kris Jenkins to season ending knee injuries the last 2 years so they'll be looking to solidify that position and what do you know, the best NT in the draft falls right into their lap.  Paea is stronger than he is fast, but he gets off the ball quickly and never stops pursuing the ball.  He'll be able to disrupt offenses straight up the middle while the Jet's edge rusher funnel all the action back to him.

32.



Adrian Clayborn   DE from Iowa

Clayborn along with Raji and Matthews will be a very potent pass attack in Green Bay.  The Packers have a great defense in place now but teams are always looking for pass rushers.  Clayborn is very quick for his size and was able to give Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi a hard time when they played by getting around him on a pure speed rush.  Clayborn didn't look as dominant as teams thought he would this season so he slips to the end of the first round here but he is a very good player and will love the tenacity of the Packer defense.
You can find this Mock Draft along with many others at WalterFootball.com and DCProSportsReport.com


Don't forget to "like" SKOHRboard's Facebook page and follow @SKOHR on Twitter! You can easily do both in the gadgets to the right of the page. Thanks!


20 comments:

Jim Mut said...

Great job, love the Seahawk pick, hopefully he falls

crazy pills said...

The Bills defensive line has been so awful for so long it's hard to wrap my mind around the idea they would use the #3 overall pick to take Green who - while an amazing talent - plays the ONLY position where the Bills actually have playoff team-caliber players under contract. That said, that's exactly what they did with the Spiller pick last year, and early indications are that we are open to taking Green at 3. I guess we are just really determined to be #25 against the run and get our asses kicked by the Patriots and Jets for another 10 years.

SKOHR said...

Haha, sorry Crazy Pills. If they can't get Fairley they are better off taking Green there then at the top of the 2nd, DTs like Drake Nevis and Cory Liuget should be there and while they aren't Fairley they are very good. In my mind Green and Nevis are better than whoever else they would take.

Justin! said...

Nice job, Skohr. With a name like "crazy pills" I wasn't surprised he just said that the Bills have playoff-caliber WRs on roster, but Green would be a great fit there. Still, I'd think that the Bills will be chomping at the bit to get a QB.

Greg said...

Excellent work, Skohr. Eagles' secondary definitely needs a lot of work. I'd love them to get a DE that can rush the passer opposite Trent Cole if no CB is there. OL is a need also since they couldn't find a solid rotation this year.

Dr. Vincent Herberger said...

"It might be impossible for the Browns to have worse receiving options"
That was delightful

Do you think Rudolph is the top tight end in the draft? We in Badger Country think highly of Lance Kendricks, and that would make three Badgers in a row if you switched them up. Trust me, I'm a doctor

SKOHR said...

Dr. Herberger,
At this point Kendricks is a step below Rudolph but could very well be the 2nd TE off the board. Rudolph has a solid blocking ability right now and still plays like a WR when asked to catch the ball. Kendricks and DJ Williams are probably in that 2nd group of TEs and both of those guys lack that top end speed and blocking ability that Rudolph has.

But fear not Badgernation, Kendricks is a very good TE who could definitely be picked in the 2nd round. Plus let's not forget about your other 1st round prospects Carmimi and Watt. Now if only we could do something about that John Clay...

crazy pills said...

Justin!,

The Bills have two WRs capable of 1000 yard seasons (Lee Evans and Steve Johnson), Roscoe Parrish as a solid 3rd WR when healthy, and a couple promising rookies who at the very least have found some success in Gailey's system (David Nelson and Donald Jones). I think that group is decent enough provided the other pieces are in place, which of course they aren't right now.

They were last against the run this year. Their d-line and LB corps are both among the very worst in the league, and they are going nowhere until that is fixed. Picking Green at #3 would be like buying a Porsche when you can't afford your water bill.

Justin! said...

Good points, crazy pills, and I like the analogy. I was just giving you a hard time about the WRs - Lee Evans gets no love from me after years of getting burned by him in fantasy football - but I agree that the Bills certainly have other needs that they need to address, starting with the defensive line unless of course one of these QBs seems like a slam-dunk.

Dr. Vincent Herberger said...

Skohr,

Thank you for your rebuttal. I suppose that makes sense about Kendricks. Who knows, perhaps the same team that takes Carmimi or Watt will take Kendricks. Then they can take Clay in the 3rd and the steal of the draft, Nick Toon, in the 4th. Badgers all the way down!

The Doctor

Anonymous said...

Can't agree with his mock and others that project Cam Newton going to the Redskins. The fundamental problem with McNabb is that he struggles with throwing complex timing routes, which are the foundation of the Shanahans' offense. There is no way that Newton is an improvement over McNabb in this. The idea that Snyder will force the pick based on Newton's star power is mistaken. This pick could go to a QB, but if Gabbert is gone, they'll look for Pat Devlin in Rd2.

Anonymous said...

The Lions GM Mayhew has clearly stated he won't reach for anyone in the first round. Do you really think that Brandon Harris is worth the 13th pick? Especially with Robert Quinn going the pick after them, who could move to OLB and has a great amount of potential. Their policy of best player available has worked out well so far, it's going to depend on who they have as the most talented guy available, but I don't think Harris is it.

Anonymous said...

QB Jerrod Johnson of Texas A&M is a Cam Newton clone, but with the high character that Newton lacks. A slow recovery from shoulder surgery prevented him from playing well (and got him benched), but he was the pre-season Big12 POY pick and will be available cheap later in the draft. Any team thinking Newton could pick up Johnson as a comparable pro project with a big upside, without risking a high pick.

Anonymous said...

You really think Jake Locker will fall to round 2? He's a much better prospect than people give him credit for, and he's definitely a better player than Mallet could ever dream of being (despite Mallet's giant ego).

Anonymous said...

Sorry for commenting on this late but like they say better late than.... love the work Tom but no way in hell Carolina takes a CB #1 esp one that isn't a true shut down corner, he is more of an athlete than anything else. and why would a team that is in true rebuilding mode draft a position that sexy, it all starts in the trenches Tom.

As for the Bills taking Green. Remember crazy bills this is a team that drafted a RB at 9 when they already had 2 good ones.

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