With the 2011 Scouting Combine quickly approaching it tells me that it is time that I knocked out my first mock of the draft season.
Carolina Panthers (2-14) – Robert Quinn DE UNC – This is a hard pick to make due to many factors not the least of them being the fact that I do not know if the Panthers are going to go 4-3 or 3-4. I had thought of Georgia’s AJ Green but i didn’t believe that this is a good match Jimmy Claussen doesn’t really have the arm to get AJ Green down field. With no CBA in place I think the old adage rings true here that we will see a DE, LT, or QB in spot one and since there isn’t any top prospects at LT or QB, DE would be the where I would start looking. Quinn vs Bowers was a hard debate for me but I feel the consistency of Quinn plus the added draw of a local prospect brings me to my answer.
Denver (4-12) – Patrick Peterson CB LSU – The move back to the 4-3 brings alot of questions to Denver DE and OLB positions in particular but lets not forget that Cox got abused last season. Enter Peterson one of the better prospects at the CB position in a while. Place him across of a newly resigned Champ Bailey and moving Cox to the nickle will bring real strides to the secondary of the Broncos. Not to mention that the DE class is rather deep so this only helps the position of a top CB prospect in Peterson.
Buffalo (4-12) – Nick Fairley DT/DE Auburn – The Buffalo bills have many problems that need to be addressed including the Defensive Line. With the trade for Merriman they can wait for another pass rusher it is a risk but one worth making to get their hands on a player of Fairley’s caliber. He should move to DE in the 3-4 and can add to the pass rush as well as the run stopping game. As for QB I don’t think they are in any hurry to unload Fitzpatrick who did well for them although I can’t help but think Cam can be an option here but so could Vince Young and he will be cheaper.
Cincinnati (4-12) – AJ Green WR Georgia – This pick has way too many factors to be real accurate with this pick if Carson isn’t traded and he retires. This pick goes to either trading for or drafting a QB although i don’t believe any of the prospects are really worthy of the high pick. So they have to woo Carson back with a sexy new WR who is the best WR to come out since Calvin Johnson. We may just see Chad Johnson er Ocho er Johnson in another uniform come the season’s start and the Bengals will move on with AJ Green Simpson and Shipley along with Gresham.
Arizona (5-11) – Von Miller OLB Texas A&M – A high end pass rusher will go a long way to helping that D. Once again there isn’t a QB or LT worthy of the pick. Von has looked damn good in senior bowl practices at the LB position which is why he is the pick here.
Cleveland (5-11) – Da’Quan Bowers DE Clemson – It looks like the Browns are going to move back to the 4-3 D. The Browns D outside of a few bright spots is devoid of talent Bowers is going to blow up at the combine and had a great senior season. The Browns are really going to have to generate a pass rush to take it to the next level.
San Francisco (6-10) – Blaine Gabbert – Coach Jim Harbaugh would love to mold a raw prospect like Gabbert. Gabbert has all the physical tools you could ask for in a top signal caller but his ability to translate into the pro style offense will make or break Gabbert’s and Harbaugh’s career.
Tennessee (6-10) – Marcell Dareus DT Alabama – Since Albert Haynesworth had left Tennessee for a big paycheck there has been a hole in the middle of the Titan D. But it doesn’t matter at this point of Dareus is available at this spot the coach and the QB is irrelevant.
Dallas (6-10) – Prince Amukamara CB Nebraska – Terrence Newman is old although I think Orlando Scandric could take the position if Prince is and PP is taken by this spot but Amukamara is not only BPA but fills a pending need and with no safety available of good value I’m sure Prince will be more than an adequate consolation.
Washington (6-10) – Jake Locker QB Washington – Reach specially after the ho hum work he did at the senior bowl but much like the guy who followed him in Denver Shanny has a huge Ego and with Mcnabb likely out of Washington the need for a signal caller is a huge need. Call me crazy but Locker gives me a Jay Cutler type vibe that Shanahan might be able to work with.
Houston (6-10) – Cameron Jordan DE Cal – With his great week at the senior bowl he has shot up the draft boards a DE for the conversion to the 3-4 wouldn’t be the end of the world and to be honest he is the best player available.
Minnesota (6-10) – Cam Newton QB Auburn – Joe Webb did ok in Favre’s absence and none of the coaches has ever had any real faith in Tavaris Jackson and with the run at the QB position I can see the Vikings taking Newton to make sure they are able to get a QB.
Detroit (6-10) – Nate Solder LT Colorado – A lot of people are looking at the defensive end of the football for Detroit’s first round pick. But Jeff Backus is getting up there and Goz is looking more and more like a bust every week. Lets not forget that the #1 overall pick QB was injured twice last season which suggests at least to me that an OT needs an upgrade Solder is a former TE much like Justin Smith a few years ago.
St. Louis (7-9) – Julio Jones – The Draft Gods smile on Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams once again for having Jones fall right into their lap. Bradford did well in his rookie season without a true #1 wideout. Jones is good enough to allow the Rams to take the rams to the next level in a year or so.
Miami (7-9) – Mark Ingram RB Alabama – This is a tough pick but I don’t see too much difference between Mallett and Chad Henne I’m unsure if they go Ingram here either the Phins are an interesting team this late in the draft because they can go anywhere.
Jacksonville (8-8) – Jon Baldwin WR Pittsburgh – The Jags desperately need another WR on the other side of Mike Sims-Walker whom was also the talk of rumors of getting shipped during the season as well. Baldwin has true #1 potential but can also fill the role of a possession receiver role for them as well.
New England – from Oakland (8-8) – Ryan Kerrigan OLB Purdue – The Patriots need to add to the pass rush the lack of a pass rush was a major factor in the difficulties in the pass defense Kerrigan fits a patriot profile to a T. San Diego (9-7) – Adrian Clayborn DE Iowa – Clayborn has the size and speed to play the DE in the 3-4 and is a major need for the Chargers
New York Giants (10-6) – Martez Wilson LB Illinois – I’ve been mocking a LB for the Giants for years but they never take one high. I hope this year is different Martez Wilson is a mad man who is always near the ball. He has real football smarts and great speed and coverage skills. Knowing the giants they will probably take a D-Lineman but I really hope they take Wilson instead.
Tampa Bay (10-6) – Aldon Smith DE Mizzu – The Tampa Bay Bucs made great strides in the interior D-Line with McCoy and Price now it is time to hit up the D-Ends and really kick this thing into high gear. Smith is a very good pass rusher who does better with his hand in the ground. In most schemes his size may have been a prohibitive factor but not so much in this one. Great value and a position of need no brainer here.
Kansas City* (10-6)- Gabe Carimi RT Wisconsin – The Chiefs still could use a RT to do work across from Albert. He is also versatile enough that he can kick inside to guard if need be considering OG is an aging position with Brian Waters hitting 34 years old next season.
Indianapolis* (10-6) – Christian Ballard DT Iowa – Ballard did a great job in the Senior bowl practices displaying some good hand fighting he is also big enough to stop the run as well as he has an ability to get after the QB that the colts just love.
Philadelphia* (10-6) – Anthony Castonzo OT BC – Boston College is known as an Offensive Lineman factory Castonzo is no different and lets not forget that Andy Reid does love to draft O-Line early.
New Orleans* (11-5) – Akeem Ayers OLB UCLA – The lasting image of the playoff game in New Orleans is the huge run by Lynch and Saints falling all over the place missing tackles. That is the LBs job to make that tackle Ayers is a very good value at this point he is decent at shedding blockers and can make the tackle.
Seattle* (7-9) – Brandon Harris CB Da U – I really like Marcus Trufant but outside of him and Earl Thomas the secondary is pitiful and the secondary is the second most unit that is judged on its weakest link Harris is not only a good fit and a good player but is also best player available.
Baltimore* (12-4) – Aaron Williams CB Texas – I could easily see Ozzie Newsome trading up for Harris like 5 picks ago but the secondary needs help and with Ed Reed’s retirement likely to come in the next year or so they need to shore up the secondary.
Atlanta* (13-3) – Titus Young WR Boise State – the Falcons are looking for a #2 to play across from Roddy white Titus Young looked good at the senior bowl and I think fits that role better than a Jon Baldwin.
New England* (14-2) J.J. Watt DE Wisconsin – They did draft Cunningham at the DE Position last season and Ty Warren is a great DE as well but will he be back next season?
Chicago* (11-5) – Tyron Smith LT USC – Bear fans are extremely happy to see Tyron Smith fall to them at this point highest upside of all the LTs in this draft and might even be good enough to start right away anyway.
New York Jets* (11-5) – Cameron Heyward DE Ohio St. – There are a bunch of places that can be taken by the Jets mostly on the defensive side of the football they are going to have to pick and choose which members of this FA class for the Jets can be released. Harris is franchised so he is a jet for the next season but Shaun Ellis made the most money of the potential free agents in 2009 – 2010 and in a draft that is very strong in the 3-4 DE category so he could be expendable making Heyward a good pick at this point.
Pittsburgh* (12-4) – Mike Pouncy OG/C – The Steelers need more help on that O-Line. With his brother out durring the super bowl really was a major factor in the loss to the packers. Mike can play both guard and center and likely the best player in this draft at either position.
Green Bay* (10-6) – Jimmy Smith CB Colarado – Charles Woodson is getting up there in age and can’t stay the DPOY he was forever and much props to Shields for the great job he did but I think he should stay the NB and Jimmy Smith has a better shot of covering a #1 or #2.