2011 NFL Mock Draft Last Updated: April 27th, 2011
My Big Board and Top 5 are both based soley off of my personal assessment of the players. This Mock Draft is based on several factors; the team’s draft history/style, management/coaches, team needs, as well as my assessment on the individual player and what I would personally do if I had the final say. Follow me on Twitter for updates.
1. Carolina (2-14) – QB Cam Newton ~ Auburn – Agent: Bus Cook – You know what they say, “New regimes means new quarterbacks.” Head Coach Ron Rivera and General Manager Marty Hurney both have been reported to really be enamored with the Heisman Trophy winner. This is a very risky move in my opinion, yet I can see where the Panthers would be coming from if they made this pick. Newton has everything you can ever want on paper (the size, athleticism, speed, college production), but that isn’t what is concerning about him. Being able to handle the responsibility of a franchise on his shoulders, with millions of dollars, and very few people he can trust around him is my biggest concern. Newton was in trouble once at Florida for stealing a laptop and then lieing about it, as well as allegedly cheating on tests. At Auburn we all know about his father being accused of basically pimping his son out to whichever University threw the most money at him. Which if it was actually true, it’s awfully hard to imagine Newton not knowing about any of it. At the end of the day, I see Carolina leaving the past in the past and selecting Newton #1 overall. This pick should be spent on more of a sure thing (Dareus, Peterson, Green) or traded down. I get the feeling both Newton and Blaine Gabbert are not worthy of the top 10 picks but will undoubtably go within the top 10.
2. Denver (4-12) – DT Marcell Dareus ~ Alabama - Agent: Todd France - Vice President John Elway and Head Coach John Fox have both said their goal of getting younger on defense is their main objective. Denver recently cut their two starting defensive tackles, Jamal Williams & Justin Bannan, leaving them with virtually nothing at the position. Dareus has the ability to come in and start right away as a 3 technique in the newly installed 4-3 defense. Picking Dareus here would fill the teams biggest need, provide excellent value, and make the transition from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense much easier. One thing you can bank on with this pick is it being a defensive player to come in and improve the 2010′s 32nd ranked unit.
3. Buffalo (4-12) – LB Von Miller ~ Texas A&M – Agent: Athletes First - The Buffalo Bills switched from the 4-3 to the 3-4 defense last year without the proper personnel to do so. The Bills need to get pressure on the quarterback, period. They have QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is just 28. He was extremely productive last season and can be the team’s starter for another 2-4 years. I would feel very comfortable drafting a quarterback later in this draft or even waiting until the future. Miller addresses their biggest need; defense. The Bills ranked 27th last season in sacks with only 27. For rush linebacker in their 3-4 defense they have Aaron Maybin (who appears to be one of the biggest draft busts of all-time) & Chris Kelsay, who is nothing more then an average 4-3 defensive end. Miller fits the biggest need on the defense, especially with Dareus gone. Miller won the Butkus award as the nation’s top linebacker and has showed he is supremely athletic (running a 4.49 at his pro day), as well as productive (registering 28 sacks the last two seasons).
4. Cincinnati (4-12) – QB Blaine Gabbert ~ Missouri – Agent: Creative Artists Agency – The Bengals have been in off-season turmoil due to the fact that their franchise quarterback wants out and has demanded he get his wish, or he is retiring. With the implementation of a new Offensive Coordinator in Jay Gruden, it is time to find the signal-caller of the future. While WR A.J. Green is much more of a finished product, a receiver’s value pales in comparison with a quarterback’s; especially in today’s game. Gabbert has the tools and ability to fit perfectly into this west coast style scheme for the Bengals. WR Chad Ochocinco still has a decent shot at returning, plus I like the fact that they have young talent at receiver (Andre Caldwell, Jerome Simpson, Jordan Shipley) and a legitimate tight end (Jermaine Gresham) to act as a security blanket for the rookie.
5. Arizona (5-11) – CB Patrick Peterson ~ LSU – Agent: Patrick Lawlor – Arizona has the pick of the litter here with the two best overall players available for their choosing: CB Patrick Peterson and WR A.J. Green. While pairing Green with all-world WR Larry Fitzgerald is enticing and could bring them right back to where they were while WR Anquan Boldin was there, a player of Peterson’s magnitute at a more premier position should win out. The Cardinals do have a very good corner on their roster in CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, although he can be inconsistent. This pick gives them two top flight, ultra-talented corners who would allow this team to go after a veteran quarterback once free agency begins. It also will allow them to find a much-needed pass rusher later in the draft. Peterson is too special to pass up here.
6. Cleveland (5-11) – WR A.J. Green ~ Georgia - Agent: Creative Artists Agency - Current Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi played with Green in college and knows what he can do on the football field. Green would come in from dot 1 and make an immediate impact to a paper thin receiving core. Cleveland has two young receivers in Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie, yet neither compare to the talent A.J. Green possesses. This pick would give new Head Coach Pat Shurmur’s offense a great addition, as well as a superstar in the making at receiver. This pick simply fills too big of a need, and holds too much value to not happen if Green were available. Keep an eye on Da’Quan Bowers here as well, if the Browns brass sticks with what they’ve seen on tape and if they love him (which I’m sure a few teams do).
7. San Francisco (6-10) – DE Robert Quinn ~ North Carolina – Agent: Carl Carey - The 49ers hired Greg Manusky as their defensive coordinator who comes over from the Chargers where he was linebackers coach. San Diego stockpiled pass rushers and he will want to do the same in the Bay Area. As of now the team has average pass rushers at best, with LB Manny Lawson being their top option. The key to this pick is the fact that Lawson is an unrestricted free agent. Quinn is arguably the most gifted pass rusher in the entire draft (along with Von Miller) and projects as a dominant pro. If the 49ers can look past the fact that Quinn missed all of last season due to a suspension, don’t expect a potential sack artist of this level to fall past them. Keep an eye on CB Prince Amukamara here or the first trade of the draft.
8. Tennessee (6-10) – DT Nick Fairley ~ Auburn - Agent: Brian Overstreet - The Titans would be in a great position here to add one of the top talents in this draft. Prince Amukamara or Julio Jones could go here, but I think at the end of the day, with the Titans style of play on defense, Fairley will be too good to pass up. In the beginning of the draft process this year, Fairley was said to be a potential top 2 pick. After time, character concerns have plagued the former Auburn Tiger. Tracy Rocker was Fairley’s mentor and coach at Auburn and is now the Defensive Line Coach in Tennessee. This would be the best possible landing spot for Fairley and he knows it. I have questions about his ability to hold up against the run and the fact that he had only one successful college season in his life. At the end of the day, his talent & potential merits top 10 consideration and the Titans may be the one team who can get his potential to rise to the surface on the next level.
9. Dallas (6-10) – OT Tyron Smith ~ USC - Agent: Lock, Metz, and Malinovic - The Cowboys biggest need is along their offensive line. Although drafting Smith here would be a considerable reach, the former USC Trojan has immense potential and could start on the right side before switching over to the left. I think J.J. Watt or Cameron Jordan are strong possibilities here as well. If Bill Polian’s draft strategy of “We’re assuming all of our unrestricted free agents will not be back” carries through the rest of the league, then this pick makes even more sense. If there is no CBA reached before the draft the Cowboys have several offensive lineman hitting free agency, including the team’s best tackle (Doug Free). Marc Colombo on the other side is a servicable player but the team is in desperate need of an upgrade. Smith has the flair, potential, size, and measurables that Dallas so highly covets. This guy would look good with a star on his helmet in 2011.
10. Washington (6-10) – WR Julio Jones ~ Alabama - Agent: SportsTrust Advisors - Jones is the absolute best player available, although DE J.J. Watt or Cameron Jordan are huge possibilities here as well. Jones has great size (6’3” 220 pounds), very good speed (4.38), a tremendous blocker, and is a warrior who battles through injuries. He also is very polished in his route running and would give the Redskins some much needed youth at the position. Starting receiver Santana Moss is past his prime, so there needs to be an upgrade here. The team likes WR Anthony Armstrong a lot, but they lack a true number one go-to guy and Julio Jones embodies everything that type of player is.
11. Houston (6-10) - DE/OLB Aldon Smith ~ Missouri- Agent: - Creative Artists Agency – The 30th ranked defense from 2010 will be switching schemes (from a 4-3 to a 3-4) and lack a prototypical 3-4 pass rush specialist. Smith is an extremely intriguing prospect because of his lightning fast hands, daddy long legs he has for arms (35 3/8 inches), quick lateral movement, and an intense desire to hit the quarterback. His run defending has a lot of room for improvement, but this can be worked on by getting stronger and more technically sound. He is very young, and many say if he stayed another year at Missouri he would’ve been a top 10 pick in 2012. Newly hired Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips (previously the Head Coach of the Cowboys) would love to have his own version of DeMarcus Ware in cross-town rival Houston.
12. Minnesota (6-10) – CB Prince Amukamara ~ Nebraska – Agent: Todd France – I have had QB Jake Locker going here for a while now, but hear me out first. With the 43rd overall pick the Vikings can surely have one of the top 6 quarterbacks in this draft, presumably – Andy Dalton, Christian Ponder, or Colin Kaepernick. If they absolutely love Locker they could trade up at the end of the 1st and get him. (Unless Mike Shanahan pulls a fast one and snags him at 10). With these being distict possibilities, Amukamara is simply the best player available, period. The team has aging/decling CB Antoine Windfield and the often injured/inconsistent Cedric Griffin. This is a team that is not in a rebuilding phase, so taking the player who can help them immediately would be a wise decision. It also helps that Head Coach Leslie Frazier is a former defensive backs coach who would love to mold this kid into a shutdown corner.
13. Detroit (6-10) – OT Anthony Castonzo ~ Boston College – Agent: Creative Artists Agency – The team knows it, the fans know it, I know it, and QB Matthew Stafford knows it; protecting their 41.7+ million dollar investment (that’s just in guaranteed money) is the team’s #1 priority this off-season. LT Jeff Backus could possibly fill-in for one more year while Castonzo plays the right side, althought he would start for my team at left from day one. Protecting the team’s only real hope at breaking out of the basement of the NFL is much more of a requirement then adding depth to the defensive line. Castonzo is a stout tackle who is equally skilled vs the run and pass. This pick is a no-brainer in my mind.
14. St. Louis (7-9) – DE Da’Quan Bowers ~ Clemson - Agent: BTI Sports Advisors - After the college football season people were talking about Bowers going #1 overall. This would be a gigantic drop for the nation’s leading sack artist from 2010, but has a high chance of happening. Bowers knee injury has teams majorly concerned. Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo is a defensive guy who cannot get enough of a pass rush. He built a defensive line empire in New York with the Giants, with depth all over the place. In St. Louis they are far from having this, and Bowers has potential to give them two bookends (the other being Chris Long). Right now, DE James Hall is the other starter who had a phenomenal year in 2010 with 10.5 sacks, but he is 34 years old. Defensive tackle is a bigger need for the Rams, but none of the guys available carries the value that Bowers does at 14. By selecting the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, the defensive line would all of a sudden have depth, and the chance of being truely special at getting after the quarterback.
15. Miami (7-9) – OG/C Mike Pouncey ~ Florida – Agent: Lagardere Unlimited – The Dolphins want to be a 60-40 running football team. They can’t do that without the big men up front to control the line of scrimmage. Pouncey has tremendous versatility, with the ability to come in at center or either guard position. The Dolphins also could go with the commonly mocked RB Mark Ingram here or even reach for a quarterback (Ryan Mallett?) but the wise move in my opinion would be to go with Pouncey. The possibility of him coming in alongside LT Jake Long and being anything close to his brother Maurkice could propel this offense to places they couldn’t imagine a year ago.
16. Jacksonville (8-8) – DE Ryan Kerrigan ~ Purdue – Agent: Athletes First - Jacksonville has soon to be 32 year old Aaron Kampman as their top pass rusher, who is also coming off a torn ligament in his knee this up coming season. Aside from him is a major hole, so defensive end is a huge need for the Jaguars. Kerrigan is one of the safest picks in this draft and holds tremendous value this late. He was one of the most productive players in Purdue history, and is the best out of this defensive end class at stripping the football once he reaches the quarterback Another factor that makes this position the likely choice for Jacksonville; their defense ranked 28th overall and 30th in sacks last year. Kerrigan can immediately help in both departments and Head Coach Jack Del Rio needs all the help he can get this year; time is running out for the former USC Trojan alum.
17. New England – from Oakland (8-8) – DE J.J. Watt ~ Wisconsin – Agent: Creative Artists Agency - This pick seems to be a no-brainer if Watt were to fall this far. At 6’6” 292 pounds, Watt will remind the Patriots of a guy they are all too familiar with – Steelers DE Aaron Smith. Watt is able to fit right in on New England’s 3-4 base defense and he will provide an instant influx of youth and versatility to an aging defensive line. The Patriots have more draft picks then any team in the NFL this year, grabbing Watt first will set them up for a potentially fantastic draft class.
18. San Diego (9-7) – DE Cameron Jordan ~ Cal - Agent: Octagon - San Diego simply needs another defensive lineman for their 3-4 defense. Aside from Luis Castillo, the team has Jacques Cesaire, who is an unrestricted free agent and on the wrong side of 30. Jordan is 6’4″ 287 pounds and has the ability to get to the quarterback and take on the double team. He even has shown flashes of handling dropping into coverage, so you can see the tremendous possibilities he brings to a defense’s arsenal. This pick would solidify the Chargers front seven and allow them to address the rest of their team needs from here on out. San Diego would be wise to take a safe pick such as Jordan, but don’t be surprised if GM A.J. Smith takes a bigger risk, such as CB Jimmy Smith.
19. New York Giants (10-6) - RB Mark Ingram ~ Alabama – Agent: Lagardere Unlimited – The Giants can afford to take the best player available at this point and Ingram is exactly that. Ingram’s father played for the Giants at the height of his career as well. His bruising, between the tackle style suits the rugged NFC East to a tee. The team’s top two runningbacks are both free agents. RB Brandon Jacobs has had major attitude issues, while RB Ahmad Bradshaw has had injury and fumble issues while in New York. The former Heisman Trophy & National Champion brings the pedigree, style of play, and attitude as a runner that the Big Blue covets.
20. Tampa Bay (10-6) - DE Adrian Clayborn ~ Iowa – Agent: The Institutes for Athletes – Tampa Bay is lacking an edge pass rusher as bad as anything on their young defense. Last year they drafted two defensive tackles with their first two picks, this year they will be addressing the end spot early. Clayborn has questions about his Erb’s Palsy disease, which ironically has created zero problems for him since childhood. He has gained a reputation as a technician who gets by with superior effort and intangibles. He has overcome adversity throughout his young life and has been doubted a lot leading up to the draft. This sounds to me like the exact recipe for the kind of player Head Coach Raheem Morris loves.
21. Kansas City (10-6) – OT Gabe Carimi ~ Wisconsin – Agent: Premier Sports – Carimi is a classic Badger lineman; techniqually sound, mean, big (6’6″ 323), and very physical. He is also versatile and could come in from day one as a right tackle, solidifying a glaring hole on the Kansas City offense. Carimi fits the mold of a Scott Pioli type of player and is my favorite tackle in the draft. Keep an eye on NT Phil Taylor and LB Akeem Ayers here as well.
22. Indianapolis (10-6) – OT Nate Solder ~ Colorado – Agent: Athletes First – General Manager Bill Polian has built winning teams for decades and rarely makes a bad decision in the draft. Last season he passed on in-state product OT Rodger Saffold from Indiana and he went on to be one of the top rookie performers in the NFL last season for the Rams. Having also failed on a previous highly selected tackle (Tony Ugoh), you know Polian wants revenge in the worst way. Solder has the best size/athleticism combo of any tackle in this draft but is very raw. The team could ease him into things by putting him on the right or start him as Peyton Manning’s blindside protector from day one. There’s no way Polian can whiff on offensive tackle three times, is there?
23. Philadelphia (10-6) – CB Jimmy Smith ~ Colorado - Agent: Drew Rosenhaus - The Eagles desperately need someone to cover the opposite side of CB Asante Samuel. Smith is a great press man corner which would compliment Samuel’s zone brilliance very nicely. Smith is 6’2″ 200+ pounds and can matchup physically with anybody. His character concerns are legitimate, but his talent makes up for it, especially this far down in the first round. The potential of having two pro bowl caliber corners on the field does a lot for a defense, just ask the Super Bowl Champions.
24. New Orleans (11-5) - DT Cory Liuget ~ Illinois – Agent: Impact Sports - The Saints have one very good defensive end in Will Smith; he’s been suspended for a banned substance before in his career, is going to be 30 by the start of 2011, and has also been arrested before. On the other side Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams has gotten a pass rush by committee the last couple seasons. At defensive tackle the team has multiple free agents, including their #1 guy Anthony Hargrove. The line has more holes then swiss cheese and they need to fill one of them early in this draft. Liuget holds too much value at this point to be passed up.
25. Seattle (7-9) – QB Ryan Mallett ~ Arkansas – Agent: J.R. Carroll – Seattle couldn’t reach an agreement with veteran QB Matt Hasselbeck before the season ended and will most likely let the soon-to-be 36 year old walk. Mallett is a risk in a lot of ways, some of which are way overblown. His character concerns especially. It also is worth noting that Head Coach Pete Carroll is a risk taker who will do his homework on Mallett. Mallett has been one of the most productive college quarterbacks in the nation over the last few seasons and has incredible size and arm strength. Mel Kiper has said Mallett’s arm strength is in the top 5 over the last 30 years. Greg Cosell said on twitter that Mallett has the best NFL skill set in the draft. Not only does he have a cannon, he has tremendous touch on his passes. He will need a good offensive line to create a pocket for him to throw out of. His presence inside the pocket is also elite, but he cannot get away from much pressure very well. Seattle has his blindside protector already in place which they can build off of. Mallett could go as high as #15 to Miami as well.
26. Baltimore (12-4) - DE Cameron Heyward ~ Ohio State – Agent: SportsTrust Advisors - The Ravens need another starter along their 3-4 defensive line, especially with the rapid decline of Cory Redding last season. Heyward fits into what Baltimore is all about – extremely tough, hardworking, and a non-stop motor. Heyward can come in and start right away and start; bringing tons of versatility and NFL pedigree as well. GM Ozzie Newsome is one of, if not the best in the business. Newsome will not let Heyward’s ability and potential slip by, especially at such a big need.
27. Atlanta (13-3) - TE Kyle Rudolph ~ Notre Dame – Agent: Athletes First - The Falcons have the aging Tony Gonzalez who has considered retiring before deciding to return for one more run at it. The Falcons run two tight end sets as much as any team in the NFL, so Rudolph would be a stellar #2 for a year before stepping in the following season as QB Matt Ryan’s new security blanket. Rudolph had a great pro day; measuring in at 6’6″ 258, 19 reps of 225, 34.5 inch vertical, and running a solid 4.75. He is the real deal and has the intangibles that GM Thomas Dimitroff covets. Simply a very solid pick for a very solid drafting football team.
28. New England (14-2) - OL Danny Watkins ~ Baylor – Agent: Lock, Metz, Malinovic – The Patriots will have their eyes open early in this draft for Logan Makins replacement, or another player just like him. Watkins is one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2011 NFL Draft. He grew up in Canada playing hockey his whole life and was a firefighter before ever playing a down of football. He started at Baylor the last two years at tackle but projects best as a guard at the next level. He has great balance, violent hands, is able to anchor really well, and finishes blocks. Watkins is the type of player teams like because he doesn’t have many bad habits and is very coachable. He is 26 years old which can scare some teams, but he has only been playing football for two years. Sounds like a Bill Belichick player if I’ve ever heard of one.
29. Chicago (11-5) - DT Phil Taylor ~ Baylor ~ Baylor – Agent: All-Pro Sports – There aren’t many teams who will feel comfortable enough with Taylor, due to him being kicked out of Penn State for being involved in an on-campus brawl. The Bears are one team who are not afraid of bringing anybody in, as long as they have the talent to back it up. Taylor is a mammoth of a man at 6’3″ 334 pounds, who could come in and give them the vital centerpiece that this defense needs after letting Tommie Harris go this past off-season. I love the idea of Taylor being under the wing of one of the game’s greatest teachers – Rod Marinelli.
30. New York Jets (11-5) - DE Muhammad Wilkerson ~ Temple – Agent: Chad Wiestling – The Jets are one team who are not afraid of bringing anybody in, as long as they have the talent to back it up. Wilkerson is a small-school guy who is very versatile and productive at 6’4″ 315 pounds. Current NT Kris Jenkins tore his ACL once again last year and will be 32 during the 2011 season. Wilkerson is a lot like a young Trevor Pryce; who is currently on the roster. Drafting Wilkerson adds much needed depth and would ensure the Jets defense remains among the very best in the NFL for years to come.
31. Pittsburgh (12-4) – OT Derek Sherrod ~ Mississippi State – Agent: Bus Cook – The Steelers would love to add a starter at right tackle and part ways with the very old Flozell Adams. Sherrod is a versatile guy as well which the Steelers love in their lineman. He can come in from day one and solidify the team’s offensive tackle position, giving them bookend tackles (the other being Max Starks).
32. Green Bay (10-6) – LB Akeem Ayers ~ UCLA – Agent: Chuck Price – The former UCLA Bruin was simply one of the best all-around linebackers in the nation last season. He can play the run and pass with equal effectiveness and he possesses a very under rating pass rush arsenal. I love his size (6’3″ 254) and willingness to take on blocks. He has a high football IQ that you see when you watch him play. His workouts without pads on weren’t breathtaking, but that won’t matter as much as everyone says it will. Especially not for one of the very best in the business (GM Ted Thompson) at recognizing talent in overlooked places.
1. New England – from Carolina (2-14) – LB Brooks Reed ~ Arizona – Agent: Priority Sports – New England would love to have a guy who many scouts compare to Clay Matthews. If you remember, last season the Patriots passed on drafting Matthews, so this could be their revenge on the rest of the NFL. Reed plays with an outstanding motor, he possesses all the intangibles you look for, and has big-time explosion off the line. These are qualities that define a New England Patriot football player, so this pick just makes a lot of sense.
2. Buffalo (4-12) – QB Jake Locker ~ Washington – Agent: Athletes First – The Bills Head Coach Chan Gailey loves working with mobile quarterbacks and if Locker slipped this far they would jump all over him. Locker has a big-time arm, escapability that Gailey loves, and the intangibles to succeed in Buffalo. Plus he is used to playing in the cold. This would be a tremendous draft for the Bills if they could come away with Von Miller & Jake Locker with their first two picks.
3. Cincinnati (4-12) – CB/S Aaron Williams ~ Texas – Agent: Creative Artists Agency – The Bengals could go a number of ways at this point, although I’m not sure anybody presents as much value as Williams does. The team has a legitimate unrestricted free agent that they could easily lose this off-season in CB Jonathan Joseph. Selecting Williams here gives them a potential replacement for Joseph, or even a starting safety from day one, which is maybe the weakest position on the entire Bengals team.
4. Denver (4-12) – DT Stephen Paea ~ Oregon State – Agent: Athletes First - I have the Broncos selecting DT Marcell Dareus with the #2 overall pick and Paea would solidify the interior of their line. All of a sudden the team’s weakest link would be replenished and set for years to come. Paea is extremely athletic for a guy his size (6’1” 303). Paea is as strong as an ox (setting the combine record with 49 reps of 225) and is nearly impossible to move out of his position. Paea could possibly elevate the Broncos defense to another level.
5. Cleveland (5-11) – DT Marvin Austin ~ North Carolina – Agent: Maximum Sports - Cleveland is moving over to the 4-3 defense and they desperately need an achor in the middle of their line. Austin is a guy who has extremely impressive measurables (6’2” 309, 38 reps of 225 and a 4.80 40 yard dash). He also has made great strides in rebuilding his character during this off-season, with brilliant performances in all the events he has been involved in so far (Shrine Game, Combine, Pro Day).
6. Arizona (5-11) – LB Justin Houston ~ Georgia – Agent: Lagardere Unlimited – A guy who otherwise has been clean throughout his college career shouldn’t experience a gigantic drop in his draft status from one failed drug test. WR Percy Harvin failed his combine drug test and still went high, I expect Houston’s immense potential to weigh out here as well. The Cardinals desperately need to replace LB Clark Haggans & Joey Porter. Houston is 6’3″ 270 pounds and comes around the edge with scary speed. He could make a defense a whole lot better very quickly. Playing such a high value position in the 3-4 makes him too valuable, especially at this point in the draft.
7. Tennessee (6-10) – QB Andy Dalton ~ TCU – Agent: Select Sports Group – Dalton is a guy who teams have absolutely fallen in love with. In Tennessee, with a new regime, they are in desperate need of a leader the team can rally around. Only QB Colt McCoy has won more football games in Division I history then Andy Dalton has at TCU. Dalton would be the polar opposite personality of Vince Young, which is probably exactly what this franchise needs.
8. Dallas (6-10) – S Rahim Moore ~ UCLA - Agent: Impact Sports - Dallas has been dreadful at the safety position for years and will be seeking a ballhawk in this draft. Moore had 11 interceptions the last two years at UCLA and could finally give the Cowboys a reliable guy at safety. Moore also holds tremendous value at #40 overall.
9. Washington (6-10) – QB Colin Kaepernick ~ Nevada – Agent: XAM Sports - Kaepernick is big (6’5″ 233) with an even bigger arm, and last year he became the only quarterback in Division 1 history to pass for over 10,000 yards and rush for over 4,000 in a college career. Head Coach Mike Shanahan could envision Kaepernick as being a blend of Jake Plummer and Jay Cutler – two players who fit his offense perfectly. Kaepernick could reap the benefits of going to this system, and this may be the best possible landing spot for the NCAA record setting QB from Nevada.
10. Houston (6-10) – CB Brandon Harris ~ Miami - Agent: Infinite Sports Concepts – Harris is a guy who could sneak into the bottom of the first round. He had the best combine out of all the corners, especially in the drills. Harris plays with a big-time swagger and is fearless in run support. Houston had the 32nd ranked pass defense in the NFL last season and would be elated to fill such a huge need with excellent value in Harris.
11. Minnesota (6-10) – QB Christian Ponder ~ Florida State – Agent: SportsTrust Advisors – If the Vikings pass on QB Jake Locker early, then they will surely look for QB Brett Favre’s replacement with this pick. Of course a trade up for a quarterback is a distinct possibility as well, I won’t predict trades in this mock (shooting into the dark). Ponder is a very accurate quarterback who makes smart decisions. He also has great intangibles and has been called a leader by everyone who knows him.
12. Detroit (6-10) – DE Jabaal Sheard ~ Pittsburgh - Agent: Rosenhaus Sports - The Lions hit the lottery last year on drafting Ndamukong Suh and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch is solid but getting older. Sheard is a guy who had great post-season workouts, and would fit a big need for the Lions. This is about where many people expect Sheard to go come draft day.
13. San Francisco (6-10) – DE Allen Bailey ~ Miami - Agent: Terry Watson – Bailey is basically an athletic freak, he is 6’3” 285 pounds, ran a 4.76 at the combine, benched 225 27 times, and posted a 36.5 inch vertical. He also has 34 inch long arms, which he uses very well to keep offensive lineman off of him. He had so much hype at the “U” that it was nearly impossible for him to live up to it since teams focused so much of their attention on him. The 49ers need to upgrade their three man front badly, Bailey is an ideal fit for the 5 technique.
14. Denver – from Miami (7-9) – RB Mikel LeShoure ~ Illinois – Agent: Blueprint Sports Group – Denver needs a compliment to RB Knowshon Moreno (especially since he can’t seem to stay healthy), Leshoure ran a 4.56 at the combine and posted a 38 inch vertical. He has the ability to get to the edge and once he gets to the second level, it’s like a bowling ball hitting pins. In Head Coach John Fox’s offense, a power runningback is a must have, so Leshoure (6’0″ 227) makes the most sense here.
15. St. Louis (7-9) – WR Torrey Smith ~ Maryland – Agent: Drew Rosenhaus – The Rams would love to be able to draft Julio Jones at #14 but I don’t see that being a possibility unless they trade up to take him. Assuming they don’t and address a need along their defensive line, Smith could very easily be the pick here. The Maryland product has very good measurables (6’1″ 204, 4.43 40, 41 inch vertical) and does not drink or smoke. He is a high-character guy who will give future Pro Bowler Sam Bradford a much needed weapon to add to his arsenal.
16. Oakland (8-8) - LB Bruce Carter ~ North Carolina – Agent: Champion Pro Consulting – The Raiders went linebacker with their first pick last year and I see them doing the same again this year if Carter were to fall this far. At UNC, Carter was tabbed as one of the athletic freaks of the team and for good reason, this guy has sideline to sideline speed and at 6’2″ 240, the size/speed combo that Owner Al Davis loves in his linebackers. Carter can come in and have a starting position from day one because of the hole at outside linebacker. This would be one more piece to plug into one of the more underrated defenses in the league.
17. Jacksonville (8-8) - WR Leonard Hankerson ~ Miami – Agent: Lagardere Unlimited – Jacksonville let their #1 receiver Mike Simms-Wallace go via free agency this off-season and they were already a weak receiving core. Hankerson is a legitimate red-zone threat and was one of the most productive receivers in Miami’s rich history. He could come in and give this offense a much needed presence to keep some pressure off the team’s best player – RB Maurice Jones-Drew.
18. San Diego (9-7) – WR Greg Little ~ North Carolina – Agent: Octagon - The Chargers have WR Vincent Jackson who isn’t guaranteed to be coming back, as well as other free agents at the position. Little is rising up draft boards with superior athleticism and strength, as well as some of the best hands in the draft. Don’t be surprised if GM A.J. Smith found a replacement for Vincent Jackson here and bid him farewell.
19. Tampa Bay (10-6) – CB Ras-I Dowling ~ Virginia – Agent: Sunny Shah – Ras-I Dowling is a special athlete at corner; he’s 6’1” 198, ran a 4.40 at the combine, and he is an extremely competitive player. The Bucs have Aqib Talib who is a supremely talented guy but simply can’t stay out of trouble and his chances could be running out (how haven’t they already?). CB Ronde Barber is close to being a senior citizen so the team needs to add depth and a likely starter sooner rather then later.
20. New York Giants (10-6) – LB Martez Wilson ~ Illinois – Agent: Professional Sports Planning – This could allow the Giants to not re-sign Chase Blackburn (who is an average starter at best) and go with the big (6’4” 250) fast (4.44) and athletic (36 inch vertical) Wilson. This kid could sneak into the bottom of the first based off his combine alone, but his tape isn’t as tantalizing. This is a perfect landing spot for him, giving the Giants great value, while filling a need as well.
21. Indianapolis (10-6) - CB Curtis Brown ~ Texas – Agent: Allegiant Athletic Agency - The Colts still need another corner to come in and play nickel. Brown was under the radar all season long but was very underrated at Texas and has great size. He could come in and give the team competition at a vital position. This pick allows them to improve their chances on competing against the tremendous passing games sprouting across the NFL.
22. Philadelphia (10-6) – OT Jah Reid ~ Central Florida - Agent: Derrick Fox Inc. – At 6’7″ 327 pounds, Reid has a massive body and the tenacity needed to succeed at this level. The Eagles need somebody to come in and compete with Winston Justice and potentially replace him. Reid is still a raw prospect and could sit on the bench for a year while developing. Andy Reid loves big, nasty offensive lineman and his staff could mold him into a solid starter.
23. Kansas City (10-6) – WR Jonathan Baldwin ~ Pittsburgh – Agent: Priority Sports - The Chiefs desperately need another playmaker across from Dwayne Bowe. Baldwin is a guy that I’m sure a couple teams have fell in love with and he could be a guy who goes much higher or much lower then people expect. With a stellar performance at the combine, running a 4.50 at 6’4” 228 pounds, he has the makings of a true #1 receiver.
24. New Orleans (11-5) – LB Mason Foster ~ Washington – Agent: Caric Sports – When you talk about poor linebacking core’s in the NFL, it doesn’t get much worse then what is in the Big Easy. Aside from LB Jonathan Vilma, this team desperately needs an upgrade. LB Scott Shanle is serviceable, but Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams is tired of “serviceable” at this position. Foster is one of the best run defending backers in this class and was a leader at Washington. He would come in from day one and provide youth & a much needed upgrade to this aggressive defense.
25. Seattle (7-9) – C/G Stefen Wisniewski ~ Penn State – Agent: Eastern Athletic Services – The Seahawks need to replace C Chris Spencer, who can’t stay healthy. Current OL Max Unger is a guy I scouted at the 2009 Senior Bowl and was a much better guard then center in my opinion. Wisniewski is a better suited center, so this pick fills a need for the Seahawks and gives them a pro ready lineman from the get go.
26. Baltimore (12-4) – OT Joseph Barksdale ~ LSU – Agent: Sunny Shah – General Manger Ozzie Newsome is one of the very best at what he does. He drafts guys based off of their tape, not letting their measurables carry too much weight. Barksdale has the size (6’5” 325) to match up in the supremely physical AFC North and the technique to start sooner rather than later on the next level. He is very sound against the run and pass and can play either tackle position. With current Ravens OT Jared Gaither’s health in question, this is more of a luxury pick that would solidify the Ravens offensive line.
27. Atlanta (13-3) – WR Randall Cobb ~ Kentucky – Agent: SportsTrust Advisors - Atlanta is letting WR Brian Finneran go, WR Harry Douglas has only been hurt & underachieved lately, and WR Michael Jenkins is painfully inconsistent. Opposing teams will begin to double team & rotate coverage more and more towards WR Roddy White’s side, making the offense more predictable. Before this happens, Atlanta has a chance to add a weapon opposite White’s side. Cobb is a dynamic playmaker who can turn on the burners and fly, make people miss, and go the distance anytime he touches the ball. His style of play would add another dimension to this offense and possibly elevate them to new heights next season. GM Thomas Dimitroff knows how to find the diamond in the rough prospects, Cobb is exactly that.
28. New England (14-2) – RB Ryan Williams ~ Virginia Tech – Agent: Malik Shareef – When you are as successful of a team as the Patriots are, come draft day, you are able to draft for value a little more then the average team who would have to address needs first. I love how hard Williams runs, his underrated hands, and willingness to block. Getting a guy like Williams here is a pure steal. New England always likes to have a stable of tailbacks and with Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris, and Kevin Faulk all unrestricted free agents this guy would be an upgrade over all of them.
29. San Diego – from New York Jets (11-5) – LB Quan Sturdivant ~ North Carolina – Agent: Athletes First – The Chargers three middle linebackers (Kevin Burnett, Stephen Cooper, and Brandon Siler) are all free agents. San Diego will most likely re-sign one of them if not two. Sturdivant was a big-time playmaker at North Carolina and is a very intruiging prospect. He is 6’1” 241, and plays a hard-nose, downhill style football; a perfect pedigree for the 3-4 ILB position.
30. Chicago (11-5) - OG/OT Ben Ijalana ~ Villanova – Agent: Eastern Athletic Services – Offensive Line Coach Mike Tice wants a player to mold into a guy who can protect QB Jay Cutler for the future. Ijalana was a star at Villanova and offers tons of versatility. Ijalana would be a great addition to a struggling Bears offensive line who needs help at both guard and tackle.
31. Pittsburgh (12-4) – OL Will Rackley ~ Lehigh - Agent: SportsStars - Pittsburgh needs a versatile offensive lineman to add to the mix. Last season injuries once again desimated their offensive line and they need to add depth in this draft. Rackley can play multiple positions and has garnered tons of interest from teams at his pro day.
32. Green Bay (10-6) - WR Titus Young ~ Boise State – Agent: Pro Sports Planning - The Packers will be looking for Donald Driver’s replacement. Young is a burner who can bring a dimension to this offense that they simply don’t have (elite speed). This is a prime example of the rich getting richer and gaining pure value at the end of the 2nd round.