Is it too early to talk about the draft? Of course it is but guess what? It’s a bye week and that means that anything goes. So here is a very early speculative look at the 2011 NFL draft’s first round. This draft is provided by Onole of Phinphanatic.com.
2011 Mock Draft v1.2
1. Buffalo – Andrew Luck | QB | Stanford | 6’4” | 235
Ryan Fitzpatrick is showing some good things but he will not be the QB of the future. Andrew Luck looks to be the real deal and Buffalo can’t afford to pass him up. They must also address the offensive line later in the draft and should be able to do that in the following rounds.
2. Dallas – Patrick Peterson | CB | LSU | 6’1” | 222
Where to start? Phillips is gone and no telling who will be the coach but they wont be able to hide the fact that Terrance Newman will be 33 next year. They could use offensive line help, but I don’t think there is top five talent in this draft.
3. Carolina – AJ Green | WR | Georgia | 6’4” | 208
Carolina needs to pick a QB and stick with him. After that they need to upgrade the receivers. Lafell and Gettis my end up being ok and Smith is on the backside of his career. Green is a special talent in the mold of Calvin Johnson, pair him up with a young QB and watch the chemistry grow.
4. San Francisco – Jake Locker | QB | Washington | 6’3” | 230
Locker has struggled at times, but he has the skills to be a top level QB in the NFL. Alex Smith is not the answer and Troy Smith isn’t as well. Chances are Singletary could be gone next year and not as much pressure on a new HC to win right away. Locker could sit back and learn for a bit.
5. Denver – Marcell Dareus | DE/DT | Alabama | 6’3” | 305
McDaniel is on the hot seat, and no matter if it’s him or someone else in Denver the Broncos must improve against the run. Dareus is very versatile and can play inside in a 4-3 and outside in a 3-4. He is very stout against the run and can get penetration as well.
6. Cincinnati – Ryan Mallet | QB | Arkansas | 6’7” | 238
The Bengals really need offensive line help, but there just isn’t anyone worth this pick. Palmer is 30 and doesn’t seem to be the same QB he was before his injury. Mallet could follow the same path as Palmer and sit back a year and learn the NFL game.
7. Cleveland – Robert Quinn | DE/OLB | North Carolina | 6’5” | 256
Cleveland is quietly putting a competitive team together, but they must improve on the defense and put pressure on the QB. In my opinion Quinn is the best player in this draft. He could still be the top pick, but since he was suspended for the year there will be character concerns. Cleveland will jump all over Quinn in this spot.
8. Detroit – Prince Amukamara | CB | Nebraska | 6’1” | 200
Detroit has some good things going on offense, and need to address the offensive line, but there isn’t anyone worth a top 10 pick. Amukamara will help improve the defense and give Detroit a solid #1 CB.
9. Minnesota – Brandon Harris | CB | Miami | 5’11” | 195
Not telling what is going on in Minnesota but Winfield turns is 34 and not getting any younger. Harris is a Winfield clone. He is very strong in run support and very physical on the outside. He would be a good fit in the Vikings defense.
10. San Diego – Johnathan Baldwin | WR | Pittsburgh | 6’5” | 225
Larry Fitzgerald part deux. The Chargers need a go to WR and Jackson will probably be gone next year. They could also go defense here, but Baldwim may be too much of a talent to pass up here.
11. Arizona – Ryan Kerrigan | DE/OLB | Purdue | 6’4” | 263
The two biggest needs for the Cardinals are QB and a pass rushing LB. There are a couple of QB’s that might be a bit of a reach here, but if one of the top three fall to them they would jump. Kerrigan would give them a young kid that can get after the QB and has the non-stop motor coaches love.
12. New England – Mark Ingram | RB | Alabama | 5’10” | 215
The rich get richer. With two picks in round one the Patriots can hit a home run by taking Ingram here. Ingram would give them the one thing the offense misses in a dominating ball control type of back who can take it all the way if he gets a seam. The defensive backfield needs help, and New England could always trade back, but Ingram might be too much to pass up.
13. Jacksonville – Da’Quan Bowers | DE | Clemson | 6’4” | 280
The Jaguars still have not been able to find someone to get a consistent pass rush. Bowers is having a breakout year and might finally give Jacksonville a pass rushing threat.
14. St Louis – Michael Floyd | WR | ND | 6’3” | 220
The Irish may be struggling some, but Floyd isn’t. Bradford looks to be the real deal. St Louis can now get him a big young target to develop a chemistry that could bring back the “Greatest Show on Turf.”
15. Washington – Christian Ponder | QB | FSU | 6’3” | 218
Shanahan did not give McNabb a sound backing after pulling him from the game this past weekend. Ponder is a very athletic QB that has been up and down this season. He is smart and has all the tools. Shanahan will be able to mold Ponder into the QB he wants to run his offense.
16. Miami – Deunta Williams | FS | North Carolina | 6’1” | 205
Chris Clemons is not the answer at FS for Miami. Williams’s suspension is over and he will be very active over the remainder of the season for the Heels. Williams is the top safety in the draft and many think Miami should have taken Thomas in the last draft, and they should not pass on Williams in the next one.
17. Chicago – Anthony Costanzo | OT | Boston College | 6’7” | 295
Chicago needs to keep Cutler on his feet. Part of that is Martz and part of that is the offensive line. Costanzo is the best of a weak class in this draft, but he is a solid first round pick that should help Chicago’s line to improve.
18. Philadelphia – Ras-I Dowling | CB | Virginia | 6’2” | 200
The Eagles need to improve the secondary. Patterson and Hobbs are not the answer opposite Samuels. Dowling is big and physical. He has been hurt most of the year, but has made his presence felt since back in the line up for the Cavilers.
19. Seattle – Aaron Williams | CB | Texas | 6’1” | 190
It looks like Seattle hit a home run with one Texas DB in this years draft, and they will hope to hit another in the 2011 draft. Kennard Cox is not the answer as the opposite corner from Trufant.
20. Tennessee – Travis Lewis | OLB | Oklahoma | 6’2” | 235
Tennessee has one of the best rosters in the NFL. If there is a need its in the linebacker groups. Lewis is the best of a pretty decent group and should step in and make a big impact right away.
21. Green Bay – Ryan Williams | RB | Virginia Tech | 5’10” | 205
With Grant being hurt the Pack just can’t get anyone to fill his shoes. Williams is a perfect fit for the system in Green Bay and will split time with a healthy Grant until he eventually takes most of the snaps.
22. New Orleans – Adrian Clayborn | DE | Iowa | 6’3” | 282
Clayborn is a top ten talent, but had some off the field issues and just hasn’t been able to get to the QB this year. Will Smith will turn 30 and Alex Brown is not the answer opposite him. Clayborn is stout against the run and can get to the QB.
23. Indianapolis – Allen Bailey | DL | Miami | 6’4” | 288
Bailey can give the Colts an anchor against the run inside. He doesn’t get to the QB that much, but with Freeney and Mathis do that enough. Colts could go offensive line or linebacker, but Bailey is too much of a talent to pass up.
24. Houston – Julio Jones | WR | Alabama | 6’4” | 210
The Texans need a WR opposite Johnson. Jones is inconsistent but has the ability to be a top WR. Pair him up with Johnson and the Texans may finally have to offense to keep up with Indy.
25. Pittsburgh – Joseph Barksdale | OT | LSU | 6’5” | 315
Pittsburgh might be the best team in the NFL despite an average offensive line. This year they drafted Pouncey and next year they address the offensive line again. Barksdale needs to get stronger, but he has the technique and footwork you want to see in a left tackle.
26. Baltimore – Derek Sherrod | OT | Mississippi State | 6’6” | 305
The Rvens still need a bookend to go along with Oher. Sherrod will give the Ravens those bookends to protect Flacco for years. Sherrod is also very strong and will help open running lanes for Rice.
27. Tampa Bay – Bruce Carter | OLB | North Carolina | 6’3” | 230
The Bucs would be thrilled if Carter were sitting here for them. Greg Hayes is starting to come into his own, and Quincy Black is a nice player, but Bruce Carter has star potential. Carter is just too much talent for Tamp to pass up.
28. Kansas City – Von Miller | DE/OLB | Texas A&M | 6’2” | 240
Vrabel is getting no younger. Miller would be able to learn a lot from him for a year while getting playing time. Miller is a very good athlete and don’t let his down numbers fool you because he has been battling an injury most of the year.
29. Atlanta – Jeremy Beal | DE | Oklahoma | 6’3” | 261
Abraham isn’t getting any younger and Beal likes to play on the offenses side of the ball. Atlanta could look at CB or WR, but improving the pass rush should help the secondary.
30. NY Jets – Akeem Ayers | DE/OLB | UCLA | 6’4” | 252
How many more years can Taylor have and Pace can’t seem to stay on the field. The Jet’s have a strong team, but must blitz to get pressure on the QB. Ayers is well round and can rush the passer or drop into coverage. He would give Ryan another weapon for and already strong defense.
31. NY Giants – Nick Farley | DT | Auburn | 6’4” | 296
The Giants love to rotate the defensive line and want players that can get after the QB. Farley is stout against the run, but may be even better at penetration. The Giants have a loaded roster and the addition of Farley makes possibly the best defensive line in football that much better.
32. New England – Cameron Heyward | DE/OLB | 6’4” | 288
The Patriots have to address the defensive side of the ball and no matter if they go in the front seven or in the backfield defense is this pick. Heyward might be the best 3-4 end in the draft, but his inconsistency will cause him to fall. Belichick is a great coach and should be able to get the best out of him.