2011 Big Board Last Updated: April 24th, 2011
These are the top overall players in the draft according to their potential of becoming starters/Pro Bowl/All-Pro players on the next level, not based on where they will be drafted. That’s what my mock draft will be for.
1. CB Patrick Peterson ~ LSU – Supreme athleticism, size, speed, instincts. Big-time threat in the return game as well. The sky is the limit with this kid.
2. WR A.J. Green ~ Georgia – Phenomenal hands, smooth route running, explosive out of his breaks, Larry Fitzgerald like body control – best offensive player in the draft.
3. LB Von Miller ~ Texas A&M – Explosive/relentless edge rusher, 3-4/4-3 versatility, extremely productive college player, underrated athlete.
4. DT Marcell Dareus ~ Alabama – Most consistent defensive tackle, uses hands very well, impressive quickness for his size, able to anchor the line and be extremely disruptive. I think he will be very good, but not as quick as Suh was last year.
5. DE Da’Quan Bowers ~ Clemson – One year wonder? Big body, stout against the run, very skilled with his hands. Ideal left end in the 4-3. Huge arms/legs, love his motor and on-field awareness. Chronic knee issues or temporary? Classic boom or bust prospect.
6. DE Robert Quinn ~ North Carolina – Had a great junior season but was suspended all of last season. As athletic as any player at his position, had a good, not great combine but made up for it by running a sub 4.6 at his pro day. Ability to find the edge and dip the shoulder is amazing, could be a 10 year starter/perennial pro bowler. A lock for the top 10.
7. WR Julio Jones ~ Alabama – More raw athleticism then A.J. Green, not as refined in route running, but a much better blocker. Reminds me a little of Andre Johnson. Very tough and plays through injuries.
8. DT Nick Fairley ~ Auburn – One year wonder? Needs to really work on the next level and not be content with one good college season. Has reputation for taking cheap shots. Dominant last season, always in the backfield, incredibly quick feet/hands, lower body not nearly as stout as Dareus.
9. CB Prince Amukamara ~ Nebraska – Very similar to Patrick Peterson in all aspects, not quite the athlete Peterson is but very technically sound, has the makings of a 10-12 year veteran.
10. CB Jimmy Smith ~ Colorado – Technique is superb in press-man, very physical, and very big (6-2 205). Character concerns from college, some of which suggest he may get a big head once he gets a contract. If he can avoid this assumption, have humility, and get lost in his playbook/filmroom, this guy can be special. Flew under the radar in college because quarterbacks didn’t test him.
11. QB Cam Newton ~ Auburn – One of the most physically gifted quarterbacks in NCAA history. Underrated accuracy, big-time arm, needs to work on when to take some off of his passes and really needs to shore up his footwork. A true gamer, pressure doesn’t seem to phase him.
12. RB Mark Ingram ~ Alabama – Had a great combine, ran a sub 4.6. Great inside runner, very hard nosed/old school style runner. A beast once he reaches the second level, questions about his durability.
13. DE Cameron Jordan ~ California – Showed that his athleticism was very underrated at the combine, equally proficient against the run as he is against the pass, has as much versatility as any defensive lineman in this draft.
14. DE J.J. Watt ~ Wisconsin – has the makings of Steelers DE Aaron Smith. Big, powerful, underrated burst off the edge. Could be a top 20 pick.
15. OT Gabe Carimi ~ Wisconsin – Quintessential Badger lineman; technically sound, powerful in-line blocker, violent hands. Love that he can play left or right tackle, some see that as a negative or that he can’t handle the left side, I completely disagree.
16. OT Anthony Castonzo ~ Boston College – Four year starter, lunch pail kind of guy who is better in the running game, love his potential on the right side. Could be a crafty left tackle in the pros.
17. DE Ryan Kerrigan ~ Purdue – Very underrated pass rusher, outstanding career at Purdue, Big Ten record 14 forced fumbles. In the mold of Aaron Kampman.
18. DE Adrian Clayborn ~ Iowa – A mammoth on the football field, very powerful, physical, and intimidating player. Non-stop motor, could be a 3-4 end or 4-3 end with equal effectiveness.
19. DE Aldon Smith ~ Missouri – Reminds people of Jason Pierre-Paul from last year’s draft. Extremely long and muscular, explosive on film, big-time potential, didn’t have enough time to prove himself in college.
20. QB Blaine Gabbert ~ Missouri – Production should have been higher in such a prolific system. I haven’t seen all his tape either. Has very good mobility, strong arm, and is very accurate. Could wind up being best quarterback of the class or a career backup, too much of a chance for the top 10 but will surely go in the top 10.
21. OG/C Mike Pouncey ~ Florida – More of a mauler then his brother, needs to work on his technique, I like him much better as a guard then center.
22. DT Cory Liuget ~ Illinois – 6’2″ 298, extremely disruptive player who made more plays then given credit for in college. Not as flashy as Nick Fairley, but more fundamentally sound. Classic 3 technique who fits in a 4-3 or 3-4 as an end.
23. OT Tyron Smith ~ USC – Haven’t seen a ton of tape on him but reminds me too much of Bruce Campbell, extremely athletic and longest arms out of the lineman. Giant ceiling, far away from fulfilling it.
24. DE Cameron Hayward ~ Ohio State – NFL pedigree, motor is always running, stout against the run, won’t be double digit sack guy but could be a Ty Warren type of 3-4 end.
25. TE Kyle Rudolph ~ Notre Dame – Rudolph is a guy who remind many scouts of former Virginia tight end Heath Miller. He has underrated athleticism, very good hands, and is a very good blocker as well. Can do it all, didn’t workout at combine but solidified his late-first/early-second round grade at his pro day.
26. QB Ryan Mallett ~ Arkansas – Howitzer attached to his right shoulder, outstanding deep ball thrower and has baby soft touch or can throw darts all over the field. Mobility is a concern but pocket presence isn’t, needs a great offensive line in front of him. Character concerns are what hurts him most. The right situation for him could mean a star studded career, the wrong one and could be a bust.
27. LB Akeem Ayers ~ UCLA – Disappointing combine but better pro day, film makes up for it in my eyes; he is faster with pads on. Lined up all over the place in college, sheds blocks very well.
28. OT Nate Solder ~ Colorado – More potential then any other tackle, great size (6-8 315) and can afford to gain another 10-15 pounds. Really athletic but just as raw. Needs work on his technique and countering the inside pass rush moves he will surely see on the next level.
29. QB Jake Locker ~ Washington – Elway type of arm/athleticism. Never reached expectations on college level, can really run and gun the football. Love his toughness, questionable at reading defenses and will need to put in tons of film work. With quarterbacks, the situation (coaching,offensive line, run game, offensive system) is huge for certain guys. Locker needs to fall into the right place to be successful on the NFL level. Needs to polish up his mechanics, footwork, and decision making. Really like his potential.
30. QB Andy Dalton ~ TCU – Poised, accurate, smart, slightly undersized, big-time heart/leadership abilities. 2nd all-time in Division I history in wins, a candidate to be the understudy of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees. Seems like the perfect guy to groom behind those guys.
31. LB Justin Houston ~ Georgia – 270 pounds as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Showed he is a liability in coverage, reminds people of Vernon Gholston (one of the biggest busts ever). He is very explosive off the line and can really wrap around the edge with power and speed. Tough to block, situational pass rusher on the next level.
32. RB Ryan Williams ~ Virginia Tech – All-around tailback who runs extremely hard for his size 5’10″ 212. Idolizes Walter Payton and molds his game after him. Love how good he is at finishing runs, good leg-drive, underrated quickness.
33. DT/DE Muhammad Wilkerson ~ Temple – Standout at Temple who moves well down the line, visual player who recognizes things quickly, versatile, in the mold of Trevor Pryce.
34. OG Danny Watkins ~ Baylor – Love this guy’s makeup – former hockey player/firefighter/left tackle who will kick inside in the NFL. Very violent hands/aggressive player who will play hard every down. Mature character and 26 years old. Has all the tools you look for in a starting guard in the pros.
35. OT Derek Sherrod ~ Mississippi State – Guard/tackle combo lineman who will make his money from superior technique, see him as being solid but not spectacular. His work ethic could keep him around for a very long time in the league.
36. RB Mikel Leshoure ~ Illinois – 6’1″ 227, downhill runner with the speed to find the corner. Underrated breakaway speed, lack of elite quickness. Very good receiver, productive player who will benefit most from being part of a RB combo.
37. CB Brandon Moore ~ Miami – Very confident player who isn’t afraid of anybody; will provide run support without hesitation. Coverage ability matches his run support and ball skills are elite. The top corners in this class all are abnormally big/fast, so Moore is being overlooked. Could be a late-round steal (think Baltimore).
38. LB Brooks Reed ~ Arizona – Poor man’s Clay Matthews, same trait of intangibles, has the ability to develop into a special pass rusher. Didn’t see enough of his film to have a strong opinion but what I have seen has shown me he can have an impact on this level, especially in the 3-4.
39. CB/S Aaron Williams ~ Texas – Reacts quickly to the ball, 6’0″ 204, very aggressive, looks like a safety would be a better fit for him, love his versatility and ability to match up with the bigger receivers in the NFL. Would fit perfectly in the cover 2 defense at corner.
40. NT Phil Taylor ~ Baylor – 6’4″ 335, agile & quick = dynamic prospect. Especially at a position that is becoming more and more valuable with the amount of 3-4 defenses. Can plug a hole and penetrate with the best of them. Two serious questions with this guy – his off the field behavior (kicked out of Penn State for fighting) and a bone in his foot possibly causing him chronic pain. If his foot clears on a team’s board, he’s a legitimate late first rounder. A man with his size/movement ability/strength is hard to come by.