PDA

View Full Version : AntoinCD Two round mock


AntoinCD
03-16-2011, 06:20 AM
Round 1

1. Carolina Panthers select Da’Quan Bowers, DE Clemson

This pick will determine which way the top of the draft plays out. Ultimately the Panthers and new head coach Ron Riveira could go in any number of directions. The thing you hear every year is “if you don’t have a franchise QB and one becomes available you have to take him”. As Mike Mayock often says, “the franchise QB trumps everything”. However what if the Panthers feel that no QB in this draft is a franchise QB? All of the top QBs available this year have major question marks. Newton has maturity issues, is coming from Gus Malzahn’s spread offense, and had a relatively poor showing in regards to accuracy at the combine. Gabbert is also coming from a spread offense and never really put up the numbers you would expect from a top end QB in college. Locker’s issues have been well documented this year with accuracy problems and Ryan Mallett, despite having a tremendous showing at the combine has major red flags both on and off the field. Can a new head coach risk his career by taking a huge gamble on any of these players with the #1 overall pick? It would be a huge mistake to do so. At this point in his career nobody is going to place Jimmy Clausen in the upper echelon of starting QBs in the NFL, however it is way too early to close the book on his career after only a handful of starts. Had Andrew Luck declared then it would have been acceptable, and even necessary, however Ron Riveira would be better suited going in a different direction in April. So with QB ruled out which direction should the Carolina Panthers go? One line of thinking which would make a lot of sense given that they probably won’t upgrade the QB position is to increase the talent levels around Jimmy Clausen. AJ Green has star potential in the NFL and favourably compares to any drafted WR since Calvin Johnson. With his mixture of elite hands, great route running ability and body control he more than makes up for not having elite speed. It could easily be argued that AJ Green is the top talent in the draft. However it could also be argued that 4 or 5 other players are the top talent in the draft. Green makes a lot of sense here for Carolina but I’m not sure he really is deserving of the #1 overall pick. He is not clearly the best player available and history has shown that elite WRs don’t necessarily improve team’s chances of winning if the QB play is mediocre. Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald were all selected within the top three picks in their respective drafts, yet each of their teams are drafting within the top half of the draft this year. Adding an elite WR to a team with a plethora of holes on defense and below average QB play is like putting an Armani suit on a bum. What the Panthers need is an impact player who can lift the level of play of all those around him. Nick Fairley was a one man wrecking crew last year at Auburn and a disruptive interior force like him is arguably the Panthers’ biggest need. However there are significant worries with him. At 6’3 291lbs he is a little light for what would be expected from an elite DT and he has some legitimate questions about taking plays off, despite what he says to the contrary. The “dirty play” thing won’t put too many teams off in my opinion because having a nasty demeanour for a player in the trenches is looked at in a positive way. But will Carolina be willing to give him a contract with a large amount of guaranteed money if they can’t be sure he will give 100% on every play, and if he took plays off in college how will his massive pay check affect his effort in the pros? I believe there is too much risk with Fairley that the Panthers will feel comfortable taking him at #1. Now the question becomes do they take the next rated DT or look elsewhere? Marcel Dareus came into the season as a predicted top pick and while he had an impressive season, it wasn’t at the level that most expected. A major reason for this was he played through injury for the whole year. While this demonstrates he is willing to play through pain and give his all for the team it also brings injury concerns into his evaluation. Personally I believe that Dareus is the top DT or 5 technique in the draft. While he is not the penetrating force that Fairley is, he is almost unblockable one on one and is the sort of player who could really elevate the play of rising DEs Everette Brown and Greg Hardy. I don’t believe however that the Panthers will take Dareus at #1 overall. DTs seldom are taken in the top 5 of the NFL draft, let alone first overall unless they are a truly special prospect. Even though this is a relatively weak class, there are other players whose positional value will take precedence over Dareus. If you look through previous drafts you will notice a specific trend. Positions that hold more value atop the draft are QB, LT, DE and WR. As I mentioned above, adding elite WR prospects does not guarantee success. The other three positions are franchise building cornerstones. As was discussed though, I doubt the Panthers go after a QB in the first round. At offensive tackle there is terrible value this high. No OT in the draft even profiles as a great pass blocking LT, let alone a potentially elite one. Add this to the fact that the Panthers already have a pretty good set of bookends and this position can also be ruled out. So unless they opt for Patrick Peterson(who could very well be the BPA) and go against previous draft trends, it seems as though they will take a DE at this pick. This year’s DE class really is as good as I can remember. There are athletic freaks built to rush the passer, all round Justin Tuck-type players and dominating 5 techniques. The two players who could be the choice here are Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers and UNC’s Robert Quinn. Quinn is one of the athletic freaks who, despite not playing at all last year weighed in at 265lbs and measured at 6’4. He then displayed outstanding athleticism in the drills at the combine and has drawn comparisons to perennial all pro Demarcus Ware and former Carolina Panther Julius Peppers. He could be exactly what is needed to improve a poor Panthers defense and could be an elite player at an extremely valuable position. However I feel the risk to take him at #1 after him being suspended for his entire junior year is simply too high to justify his selection. Passing on him could be a terrible decision in three years time but for a first year head coach on a team picking first overall you can’t afford to miss on this pick. Da’Quan Bowers doesn’t come into this evaluation without any concerns himself, however of the top prospects in this class, at a position of value; he is probably the safest pick of the lot. Bowers is not the flashy pass rusher that Quinn is, however he has a better all round game and assuming his injured knee checks out I believe he is the favourite to be the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft.


2. Denver Broncos select Marcel Dareus, DT Alabama

So after the experiment of replacing one offensive genius with another offensive genius failed, the Denver Broncos have decided to go after a defensive guy in John Fox to be their head coach. I’m not sure how I feel about this hiring from the Broncos perspective because, while getting rid of McDaniels was necessary as he in two years nearly managed to have a worse hit rate in the draft than Matt Millen, they replaced him with a guy who was the head coach of the team that finished with the worst record in football last year, and it’s not like the Panthers have had superb drafts in recent years. With all that being said, the only way the Broncos can go is up. Under McDaniels’ scheme their offense was better than average, and while I expect their numbers to drop now he’s gone, I don’t believe Fox will see a major need to draft an offensive player at this juncture. I know some ‘experts’ and analysts believe that a team picking this high should target the best available player, however if that player is AJ Green or Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton etc Fox will be making a huge mistake by drafting them. Quite frankly, Denver should target their defensive front seven early and often in this draft. With the return to the 43 defense former first round pick Robert Ayers is finally in the defensive system which suits him best, and while Elvis Dumervil excelled in his OLB role in the 34 he has had experience and success as a down lineman. If both of these players come back fully healthy the Broncos should improve on their poor pass rushing effort from last year. However the main problem they had last year was in stopping the run as they ranked 31st in the league in that category. Their 3 down linemen last year consisted of journeymen and over the hill vets like Jamal Williams and Jarvis Green. Adding a true difference maker at DT to play between their two outside guys would make a world of difference. While the top of this year’s DT class isn’t quite on the same level as it was last year with Suh and McCoy, it is not as far away as a lot of people think. Also similarly to last year it really comes down to preference with the top two players, Fairley and Dareus. Fairley could be that penetrating 3 technique who could wreak havoc on interior offensive linemen and he himself could push close to double digit sacks as a pro. However, I really feel that Dareus is on the rise at the minute after showing very good athleticism and violent hand use at the combine at a very stout 319lbs while Fairley may be slightly falling. While he has most experience playing as a DE in Nick Saban’s defensive scheme he is more than capable of playing multiple positions along the defensive line. His best fit may even come as a NT in a 43 defense where he can command double teams to free up the linebackers in the run game and ensure more one on one blocking on the outside for Dumervil and Ayers. When it comes down to it between Fairley and Dareus, I think Fox will see that Fairley may be the player to have more of an individual impact, however Dareus will make all those around him better.


3. Buffalo Bills select Von Miller, OLB Texas A&M

The Buffalo Bills and new head coach Chan Gailey actually find themselves in a very good situation at this point in the draft. While it is feasible they may have taken either Bowers or Dareus if available, they would more than likely go in a different direction. So those players being off the board doesn’t really hurt them. However the fact that the top rated QBs are still on the board may bring a realistic possibility of a trade with someone looking to get above Cincinnati. If Arizona, San Francisco, Tennessee, Washington or even Minnesota really fall in love with either Gabbert or Newton and are worried about the Bengals, the Bills would be more than willing to trade down and pick up a player they would prefer to select a little lower such as Tyron Smith or JJ Watt etc. However if the Bills stay put they do have a number of options which would really help the franchise. They could elect to take a signal caller and everyone knows that Chan Gailey loves mobile QBs, so Cam Newton is certainly in play at this juncture. While this would still be a major risk, the difference between taking Newton #1 overall and #3 overall is huge. Overall though I believe Gailey will see more value in a player like Colin Kaepernick in the second or third round than Newton in the top 3. Buffalo is the first team in the draft where it would also make sense to just go for BPA, regardless of position. In most ‘experts’ minds; the top two players available will be Patrick Peterson and AJ Green. Neither of these positions is an extremely pressing need however it is starting to get to the point in the draft where the value of these two players will become too good to pass up. At WR, Lee Evans has been this team’s only viable target for years until Stevie Johnson stepped up this year. Rumours are that Evans may not be back with the team so Green would make a lot of sense. However having Lee Evans and Stevie Johnson didn’t bring any success, so why should the Bills front office believe that AJ Green and Stevie Johnson would? Green may well turn out to be an even better player than Evans, however once again the value of a WR to a team with a myriad of needs is not very good. Patrick Peterson comes into this draft as the undoubted top athlete, regardless of position. Despite being the size of some college LBers he ran one of the fastest forties at the combine and along with his excellent ball skills and potential to be a lockdown CB at the next level, it is obvious why so many teams will be salivating over the possibility of drafting him. An added bonus is that he is one of the top special teams players in the draft as well and could really boost that unit. However, after using a high first round pick a few years ago on CB Leodis McKelvin, who is also a top special teams player, I believe the Bills front office will be reluctant to pay top money to another CB. There is then the argument that Peterson could always move inside to safety and be an elite free safety. However the problem with adding another high round draft pick into the secondary is; how much will it really help their pass defense? They quite clearly already have a lot of talent in the defensive backfield. However with little or no help from up front, no secondary could hold up for prolonged periods of time, particularly when they have to face QBs like Tom Brady twice a year. The best value atop the draft after Peterson and Green is in the defensive front seven. It could be argued that this is the Bills biggest need. While they recently cut defensive lineman Marcus Stroud, they did draft a few young players in Troup and Carrington last year who deserve some time to develop. The Bills tried to convert to a 34 defense last year and drafting those players did help, however they really lacked enough front seven players who fit the scheme. One player who can come in and be a huge upgrade over anyone on the roster, regardless of scheme is Von Miller. Miller proved without a doubt, both at the senior bowl and at the combine that any worries of him being too small were completely unfounded and that he was more than comfortable playing in space. While he may struggle at times taking on powerful NFL OTs in the run game, he is just built to rush the passer. Chan Gailey must now know that the Aaron Maybin experiment at OLB has not worked, so he goes out and gets his replacement here.


4. Cincinnati Bengals select Blaine Gabbert, QB Missouri

After having a terrific season in 2009 the Bengals were perhaps the most disappointing team in the NFL last year. The run game which brought them so much success failed to get going at all, the potentially elite defense was abysmal at times, the gamble of pairing one diva WR with another diva WR backfired and QB Carson Palmer regressed even further than in recent years. Going forward the Bengals have a lot of tough decisions to make, including some where their hand may be forced by the players themselves. Will either Terrell Owens or Chad OchoCinco be back in Cincinnati? It is all but certain that at least one will be gone and likely that neither will be back. If this is the case it leaves a huge hole at WR. Many Bengals fans will be screaming for AJ Green at this point and it makes almost too much sense to happen. However I just don’t think this is the direction the Bengals front office will go. Carson Palmer recently demanded a trade from the Bengals or he would retire. While I don’t buy that he would retire, I don’t think the Bengals will be willing to call his bluff on this one. He is still the type of player who could generate worthy compensation in a trade and if I was a guessing man I would believe he will in San Francisco next year. If the Bengals do go into the draft without a starting QB then I fully believe they will pull the trigger on their top rated QB, be it Gabbert or Newton. The current debate between Newton and Gabbert is an interesting one. Since transferring from Florida, Newton has seen nothing but success and was almost always the best player on the field. He made a decision to throw at the combine that could be seen as either brave or misguided. There is enough evidence on his tape to bring up enough concerns in his ability to translate to the pro game. At the combine he had the chance to show his critics what he could do but in ways failed to quell the concerns he had in drills. By electing not to throw, Gabbert was happy that what he did last season was enough for teams to see and he will certainly have an extremely polished pro day. Quite simply at this point the Bengals will need a franchise QB going forward and must decide which one to take. While they are known to take more risks than most teams, I think the risk of taking Cam Newton this high is too much and they go for Blaine Gabbert to be their franchise signal caller.


5. Arizona Cardinals select Patrick Peterson, CB LSU

Arizona Cardinals’ head coach Ken Wisenhunt is probably on the hottest seat of any head coach in the NFL. The calamity that occurred at the QB position this year was nearly enough to justify him being fired already, however it appears he will be given extra time to right the ship. An argument could have been made that if he felt Matt Leinart was a suitable heir to Kurt Warner at QB then it would be ok to go into the season with him as the starter and Derek Anderson as insurance at backup with the two rookies learning behind them. However, he seemed clear to most that Leinart didn’t have what it takes and that makes the situation they went into training camp with unacceptable. As it turned out Leinart was cut before the season which left the erratic Anderson as the starter. Obviously this wasn’t the ideal scenario, especially considering both Skelton and Hall were both long shots to ever develop into anything more than second or third stringers. In an ideal scenario the Cardinals would be able to get their future franchise signal caller here, however Wisenhunt simply doesn’t have the time to take Cam Newton and allow him to sit for over a year to learn a pro offense. His best hope is to get a veteran like Donovan McNabb or Kevin Kolb to come and strengthen the rest of the team through the draft. While the Cardinals do have holes on offense, most notably at QB and along the offensive, it is almost a given they will address their defense with this pick. If Von Miller was available he would probably be the pick because they really need help at rushing the passer from the outside. Both Clark Haggans and Joey Porter have seen better times and the teams top pass rusher was Calais Campbell from the 5 technique spot. With Miller gone they may look at Robert Quinn, however he is probably too risky a pick for the Cardinals coaching staff to take here. For a coach on the hot seat, one thing they can’t do is miss on a first round pick, especially if that pick is in the top 5. Arguably the safest pick in the entire draft is also by most accounts the best player in the draft; Patrick Peterson. Peterson’s athletic ability is unmatched by any player in this class and his ball skills and special teams value make him the most sought after defensive back prospect in recent memory. While CB isn’t exactly a dire need in Arizona, Peterson would certainly help upgrade the pass defense and make an intimidating pairing with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The reason he is also the safest pick in the draft is because if he doesn’t become a great CB he may even be better suited to slide inside to safety where he would pair with Adrian Wilson and give the Cardinals possibly the best safety tandem in the NFL. At a time when Wisenhunt needs to get a guaranteed stud, he strikes it lucky to get the best player in the draft at #5.


6. Cleveland Browns select AJ Green, WR Georgia

Recently, President of football operations Mike Holmgren stated that Colt McCoy was the future of the Cleveland Browns franchise at QB. Going into last year’s draft many analysts predicted McCoy to fail due to his lack of size, arm strength and inability to read pro style defensive schemes. However McCoy gave the Browns one thing they didn’t have under Jake Delholme, Seneca Wallace, Derek Anderson, Charlie Frye etc…he gave them a certain drive and leadership where he willed the team on to be better than they were. Behind a very good offensive line and in conjunction with RB Peyton Hillis, McCoy had the Browns competitive in a lot of games they shouldn’t have been and even pulled off victories over the Patriots and Saints. However they failed to consistently win games. The main problems were the lack of playmakers on the outside and a defensive front seven who could not consistently get pressure and stop the run. Last year the Browns and former head coach Eric Mangini went out to drastically upgrade the defensive backfield. They traded for former Eagles CB Sheldon Brown and drafted Joe Haden and TJ Ward in the first two rounds of the draft. This did improve their defense, however former defensive coordinator Rob Ryan too often had to bring extra players on the blitz as they could not get consistent pressure up front. With the recent departure of Shaun Rodgers and the transition back to the 43, front seven players are needed badly. At this point they could go BPA and take Nick Fairley to be their 3 technique or even take a pass rusher like Robert Quinn or JJ Watt. None of these players would be a bad choice, however if AJ Green falls to Cleveland I believe it would be a slam dunk pick. Mike Holmgren said in a recent press conference that the Browns were in need of a “home run hitter”. AJ Green is the best WR prospect since Calvin Johnson and would be a massive upgrade over any WR on the Browns’ roster. So bad is the situation at WR that even if Green is off the board I think they would slightly reach for Julio Jones. If Holmgren truly believes that Colt McCoy is the future, then he can’t afford to have his best receiving option being TE Ben Watson. Reuniting former team mates AJ Green with Mohamed Massaquoi would finally allow the Browns to have a respectable passing attack along with the power running game they developed last year.


7. San Francisco 49ers select Prince Amukamara, CB Nebraska

New head coach John Harbaugh has come in a stated he will run a version of the West Coast Offense, an offense made famous with this very team by the late, great Bill Walsh. What Harbaugh needs at the QB position for this system is a smart, accurate QB who can make pinpoint throws at the right time to the right player. Unfortunately for Harbaugh none of the top QBs in this year’s class possess the skills for this. Newton has tremendous athletic ability and can really get the ball downfield with a tight spiral on it. However he struggles with accuracy on the short to intermediate routes, as was evident at the combine and his pro day where a number of balls sailed on him, particularly on short out routes. Locker’s accuracy issues have been well documented throughout the season and in offseason all star games and workouts. Even if Ryan Mallett had no major red flags he also wouldn’t be a good fit. Like Newton he has a tremendous arm and can make some ridiculous throws. However, despite being accurate during the combine and his pro day he does have issues with touch passes on shorter throws. The ideal QB for Harbaugh’s system is Christian Ponder from Florida State but the top ten would be a major reach for him. Look for San Francisco to target him at the top of the second or maybe even trade back into the top of the first to get in front of teams like Carolina and Buffalo to get him. So it seems at this point as though the 49ers will look in a different direction. Despite not having great statistical success, the 49ers offense has some really talented pieces to build on. Up front their offensive line is very solid. With high draft picks spent on Joe Staley, Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati they seem set here for years. Frank Gore is still one of the most consistent workhorse RBs in the league and with Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree they have some real talent at the skill positions. However they could really use some help on defense. In using a base 34 defense they have some really solid players up front, arguably the most important level of this system. Patrick Willis is the best MLB in the NFL and leads with a real intensity, however elsewhere in the back seven there are a lot of holes. Expensive free agent acquisition Nate Clements has been nothing more than a solid player and across from him there is not much to write home about. The decision here is between the highly rated CB Prince Amukamara who solidified himself as a top ten pick with a tremendous showing at the combine and a pass rusher to play on the outside. Manny Lawson, despite being tremendously athletic and extremely good in pass coverage offers very little in the way of a pass rush. By selecting a player like Robert Quinn they could upgrade this area which would also help out the secondary. However despite his insane upside, the worries over Quinn’s health and his lack of football last year may deter teams picking him this high. Amukamara may be the best pure CB in the draft and if he had better ball skills may have pushed Patrick Peterson extremely close to being the top rated defensive back available. Despite not registering one INT last year however, Amukamara profiles as a true shutdown type CB in the league, something which would go a long way in helping the 49ers defense for years to come.


8. Tennessee Titans select Nick Fairley, DT Auburn


The Tennessee Titans and new head coach Mike Munchak find themselves in a very intriguing situation with this pick. It is no secret that they need a QB going forward as owner Bud Adams has confirmed that Vince Young won’t be back and neither Kerry Collins nor Rusty Smith are the future at the position. With Cam Newton still on the board it will be very interesting to see if the Titans decide to take him. My line of thinking is they will see too many similarities in Newton’s game to Vince Young’s to be overly comfortable with pulling the trigger on him. I’m not necessarily saying that Newton is comparable to Young; however they are both tremendous athletes who are better runners than throwers at the same point in their careers. I think they may look to bring in someone like Christian Ponder or Ricky Stanzi later in the draft to be their QB. One player who I think could be an outside shot for this pick is Julio Jones. Last year Jeff Fisher brought in Randy Moss in the hopes that he could help take coverage away from the box to free up space for Chris Johnson. While this didn’t necessarily work it was a good plan. What Jones would bring is another big outside target with deep speed to compliment Kenny Britt. However with some major holes elsewhere this would be a luxury pick that they probably couldn’t afford to take. In my opinion to two real choices at this pick are both along the defensive line. Despite drafting Derrick Morgan at #16 last year the Titans could still use an edge rusher and Robert Quinn profiles as an elite pass rusher. Having Quinn at RE with Morgan opposite him and Babin and Jason Jones at DT would give the Titans a tremendous defensive line. However at this point some team has to stop Nick Fairley’s fall in the draft. In many scouts minds Fairley is far and away the best player regardless of position in the draft. Last year he was quite simply the most dominating player in college football and was unblockable against some of the best teams in the NCAA. With a lightning fast first step and great pass rushing moves he profiles as a penetrating 3 technique with the ability to be a double digit sack player from the DT position. The reason he falls is due to concerns over his production for only one year, his propensity for late hits and the fact he was a JUCO player. Rightly or wrongly these players are looked upon as less intelligent with underlying character concerns. However at this point the Titans can’t justify letting him slip any further and will move Jones to LE and place Fairley at 3 technique. This pick is interesting as well because Fairley is compared often to Albert Haynesworth, not only with his play style but also some issues with his character. If Fairley can play like Haynesworth and prove his critics wrong about his character then the Titans will have gotten an absolute steal.


9. Dallas Cowboys select JJ Watt, DE Wisconsin

You have to hand it to the Cowboys who were able to turn their season around after firing Wade Phillips and promoting Jason Garrett to head coach. Phillips came in as a defensive mastermind but was simply unable to get his players motivated to play hard for 60 minutes. Despite being the hot name in coaching circles a few years ago the Garrett hype train cooled down a little as the Cowboys’ offense struggled the last two years. However he has shown that the players want to play for him. Being a head coach in the NFL isn’t necessarily about having the best scheme as Wade Phillips found out, but it is also not only about having good motivational skills, as Mike Singletary found out in San Francisco. However Garret seems to have been able to combine an effective offensive scheme despite injuries to same main players, along with being able to light a fire under his players and it brought some relative success towards the end of the season. When it comes to the draft the Cowboys have a few areas on both sides of the ball which could be upgraded. Their offensive line which was one of the best in the NFL two or three years ago has suddenly become old and injury prone. At CB, Terrence Newman is not close to the same player he once was and Michael Jenkins has been trying out his Antonio Cromartie impression. However in both these areas the value is pretty poor. Tyron Smith could add some real talent at OT and Aaron Williams or Jimmy Smith would do very well behind the Dallas pass rush. However based on pure value the Cowboys almost have to take JJ Watt who a few scouts have declared the best 5 technique prospect they have ever seen. It is either take Watt here or opt to take Robert Quinn based on upside, however due to the fact that Anthony Spencer has not been a bust, Quinn would be way too much of a luxury to take. Igor Olshansky has been ok for the Cowboys but Marcus Spears could definitely stand to be upgraded at the other DE position. Watt also offers scheme flexibility as he has vast experience of playing as a pass rushing DE in a 43 as well.


10. Washington Redskins select Cam Newton, QB Auburn

When head coach Mike Shanahan traded for veteran QB Donovan McNabb from divisional rivals the Philadelphia Eagles, few would have suspected they would be picking in the top ten of the draft so soon let alone considering taking a future franchise QB. While McNabb wasn’t the only fault with the Redskins’ offense last year, he clearly illustrated that he was not the guy to bring this franchise back to the playoffs. Ideally the Redskins would prefer to look for a legitimate outside threat at WR like Julio Jones or even a stud defensive lineman or pass rusher like Robert Quinn or Cameron Jordan for their 34 defense. However of all the teams that have a need for a QB, the Redskins are the one that may fall in love the most with Cam Newton. Clearly Cam Newton is a supremely talented athlete and could be the player to revolutionise the QB position in the NFL as it evolves from having pure pocket passers to more of an athletic spread style. He has the athletic ability to outrun most linebackers and the size to power through defensive backs. He can make all the throws and seems to have a very good work ethic and is a proven winner. However there are major worries that will cause a QB with his talents to drop in the draft. Firstly, he does have accuracy issues that will affect him in the next level. He will also be transitioning from a pure spread offense where he takes all snaps from shotgun to a more pro style offense. Then there are the possible character concerns that may turn some teams off. However, if one head coach is willing to take the gamble on an athletic QB who is extremely good at throwing on the run its Mike Shanahan.


11. Houston Texans select Robert Quinn, OLB UNC

New defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has confirmed he is bringing his successful attacking 34 defense to Houston. This will bring in a lot of question marks to some of their stand out players on this side of the ball. Will MLB Demeco Ryans be able to fit inside in a 34 where he will have to take on more interior linemen on blocks rather than playing in space as he is better suited to? Where does Brian Cushing fit in this system? A lot of teams viewed him as a possible OLB in a 34 while others viewed him as an inside player in this system. Where Cushing lines up will likely determine where the Texans look to strengthen in the draft. Mario Williams has been one of the most dominant DEs in the NFL for the past four years. Recently Wade Phillips stated he will play 5 technique as he is not comfortable standing up and takes a “false step” in pass rushing when he does so. When the defense is changing and the three best players on that defense all have questions over their fit, then there will be major worries in the transition. It is likely the Texans may just simply go for the best available defensive player who can fit in the 34 despite having major worries, especially in the secondary. If Prince Amukamara were to fall to the Texans it would be very tough for them to pass on him, despite the worries in changing the whole front seven. Kareem Jackson was drafted last year but failed to make any sort of impact on the defense and more reinforcements are needed. Adding a lockdown CB or a playmaking safety would go a long way to helping the defense. However as both Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara are off the board and no safety is worth anywhere near this value they need to look elsewhere. In the front seven they could use a dominating nose tackle, another 5 technique to partner Williams, a thumping ILB to play beside Ryans or a pass rushing threat off the edge. As a already mentioned the Texans may just be best served to take the best available defensive player. That would either be Robert Quinn who would project to a pass rushing OLB or Cameron Jordan who would play across from Mario Williams at 5 technique. Based on pure upside the Texans will opt for Robert Quinn who has top 5 talent. Though he does have some major concerns over not playing competitive football in over a year and an underlying health problem, his value at this point starts to become too good to pass up. Having Robert Quinn rushing from the same side as Mario Williams should give Texans’ fans a lot to be optimistic about, and if former draft projects Connor Barwin and Amobi Okoye pan out in the new system then the Texans have the potential to have an extremely good defense…something they have been missing since they entered the league.


12. Minnesota Vikings select Cam Jordan, DE Cal

The Vikings are another team who had an extremely disappointing campaign but managed to turn things around when their previous head coach was fired. Despite what seemed to be an absolutely loaded team, Brad Childress managed to have them playing like undisciplined kids and pulled off what will go down in history as one of the worst personnel moves ever. His decision to trade a third round pick for Randy Moss was seen as a real coup for Childress as Moss would be able to take defenders out of the box for Adrian Peterson and also form a great partnership with Sydney Rice when he returned. However the fact that Randy Moss lasted only three games with the team absolutely killed any chance Childress had of keeping his job. In a situation which almost mirrors that of Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, Leslie Frazier was promoted to head coach despite the fact that the unit he was responsible for was under performing. However he was able to lift the team as a whole when he became head coach. On offense the whole circus act that followed Brett Favre seemed to really throw this team off its stride. With Favre well and truly gone the Vikings can look to the future at this position. I was very tempted to put Jake Locker here for Minnesota as he doesn’t have to carry the team and has the security blanket of Adrian Peterson to hand off to. However despite how well he does in interviews and offseason workouts, Locker has shown he has major problems with accuracy and probably doesn’t warrant a pick this high. Depending on the contract status of Sydney Rice the Vikings may look to bolster their WR corps. Julio Jones would provide a tremendous threat outside and also brings an elite blocking ability, something which is a huge factor for teams with a run first philosophy. Frazier may even look to upgrade the LT position as Bryant McKinnie has been underwhelming the last few years, despite his pro bowl appearances. However the main needs for this team are on the defensive side of the ball and coincidently that is also where the best value in the draft lies. Ideally the Vikings would be able to draft a playmaking safety here because Madieu Williams is quite possibly the worst player I have ever seen in my life. However it is debatable whether any safety is worth a first round pick let alone a pick this high. At LB the Vikings have two complete studs in Chad Greenway and EJ Henderson however Ben Leber could stand to be upgraded. Martez Wilson appears to have built up a bit of steam heading into the draft and could become a mid first round draft pick, however I believe that #12 is definitely too high for him and the Vikings may look for a replacement later in the draft. This leaves defensive line as the area I believe they will address. Draft experts have stated categorically that the strength in this year’s draft is along the defensive line with as many as 12 to 15 players with possible first round grades. They could use a big run stuffing defensive tackle here to replace Pat Williams and play beside Kevin Williams, however unless they reach on a player like Phil Taylor they may decide to look for a DE to play opposite Jared Allen. Ray Edwards had a very good year last year however it is questionable whether he will return and last year’s 4th round draft pick Everson Griffen only made an impact off the field rather than on it. Cam Jordan had a tremendous senior season at Cal and was the most dominant player all week at the Senior Bowl. With the ability to play either 5 technique in a 34 or LE in the 43 he will be in high demand. Jordan is a great player against both the run and the pass and should help solidify the Vikings defensive line for years.


13. Detroit Lions select Tyron Smith, OT USC

It seems as though for years mock drafts have had the Detroit Lions taking a LT high in the draft. However in the last few years they have selected Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh with their top selection, so it’s hard to argue with their decisions. The one time when they should have taken a LT in the first round was when they took Brandon Pettigrew over Michael Oher two years ago. Pettigrew is a very nice player and does add to the offense, and Michael Oher was not a prospect without major question marks either, however unless Pettigrew turns out to be an all pro then this selection wasn’t justified. Supporters of Jeff Backus will point to the stats and say he had a very good year at LT, and this can’t be argued. However he has shown he is not someone who can be relied upon to protect an injury prone QB’s blindside consistently. By sliding Backus into OG and bringing in a franchise LT the entire Lions offensive line should be upgraded and become a much stronger unit. If Stafford can stay healthy with the weapons they are getting on offense, the Lions have the potential to have one of the most explosive offenses in the league. Just simply looking at the Lions from last year it would seem almost certain that this pick should be a defensive player. They have some pieces already in Suh, Cliff Avril, Louis Delmas etc; however as an entire unit the defense is terrible. If Robert Quinn or either Patrick Peterson or Prince Amukamara are available then this would become an interesting decision. However for Detroit that is not the case and the question of need versus value is not as simple in this instance. While Tyron Smith may have separated himself from the pack in terms of OT grades after his impressive measurements at the combine he is likely not the top rated player on the board at this time. With Julio Jones, Aldon Smith, Mark Ingram etc still on the board it may be tempting to go for the BPA, especially Smith who could help transform the Lions’ defensive line into an elite unit. However, as the main rule of the NFL draft is to get a franchise QB if you don’t have one, the second most important thing is to protect him. Matthew Stafford is of no use to Detroit if he is on the sideline next year nursing yet another shoulder injury. Adding Smith to play LT and moving Backus into OG upgrades two positions along the line. If the Lions can go through an entire season with Stafford starting they will score a lot of points while their young defense matures. It has been a long rebuilding process for the Lions, however, slowly but surely they are becoming a competitive team again.


14. St Louis Rams select Julio Jones, WR Alabama

Along with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the St Louis Rams were the most surprising team in the NFL last year. After being bottom feeders in the mediocre NFC West for the last few years they finally broke through to contest for the division. Had they defeated Seattle on the last day of the season they would have won the division and made the playoffs. However, it was maybe a blessing in disguise that they didn’t. While Seattle, a team with many holes, have to wait until the 25th pick overall to make a selection, the Rams are in position to get a possible elite talent at a position of need. In the two years that defensive minded head coach Steve Spagnoulo has been in St Louis the Rams have selected an offensive player in the first round. It is a common myth that defensive coaches will opt for defensive players in the draft. It seems most believe their scheme will still be effective with lesser talent. There is no doubt that the Rams could use an influx of talent on the defensive side. Former #2 overall pick Chris Long is starting to fulfil his potential at one DE spot and former second round pick James Laurinaitis has quickly become a leader for the team. However after those players they don’t have a lot of top level talent to get excited about and a young stud like Aldon Smith, Ryan Kerrigan or Martez Wilson would go a long way to helping them in the long run. However, like many defensive coaches I feel Spags will pass on a defensive player for an offensive player, and at this point it would probably be the correct decision. QB Sam Bradford was drafted #1 overall last year and brought new hope for this franchise. Despite transitioning from a spread offense in college Bradford actually had quite a bit of success in the NFL, all while throwing to below average WRs. If the Rams are serious about improving in the long run they can’t afford to have Bradford’s main targets being players like Danny Amendola. If Julio Jones manages to stay on the board until the 14th pick I fully expect the Rams to run to the podium to hand their card in. Of all the WRs available in this year’s draft Jones probably has the highest upside. Despite playing in a run first offense with a QB who couldn’t properly showcase Jones’ deep speed he still forced teams to double cover him the majority of the time. The one main occasion when an opposing team played mainly single coverage on Julio Jones was LSU with stud CB Patrick Peterson. In this contest, Jones definitely got the better of the man who has been described as the top CB prospect of the decade. After completely blowing up the combine there is no certainty that Jones will be here at this selection, and depending on the top of the draft he could even go as high as 6th overall to Cleveland. However with some concerns over his health after surgery on a broken foot and numerous injuries in college he may fall to the mid teens where the Rams will happily snap him up.


15. Miami Dolphins select Mark Ingram, RB Alabama

After a lot of people had praised the Dolphins in the last two years about being an extremely well coached team who can compete with anyone and not make stupid mistakes they have done just the opposite this season. Be it costly turnovers, penalties, special teams disasters etc they suddenly found ways to lose games they shouldn’t lose. I didn’t help that they were decimated by injuries but teams like Green Bay seemed to do ok with lots of injuries. It seems as though the Dolphins’ have gotten away from the philosophy they had when they brought themselves from a 1-15 team to a playoff team. Behind their big offensive line they would run the ball and if that didn’t work they would run it again. Teams found it very hard to stop the duo of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. However for some reason they are now asking Chad Henne to throw the ball 30 times a game. Towards the end of last year Henne looked as though he was making real progress and could be a franchise calibre QB, however this year he turned the ball over far too many times and it is possible the Dolphins front office may look at someone like Jake Locker to be the future at the position. However they have enough concerns to deal with rather than gambling on a risky QB prospect in the middle of the first round. Defensively they are actually ok. Cameron Wake is rushing the passer very well, their defensive line is more than solid and Vontae Davis is looking like a great young CB. It’s on offense where they are struggling. Getting back to basics should be the number one thing they do in the offseason. Sure Brandon Marshall is a nice toy to have, but this isn’t Jay Cutler in Denver throwing him the ball. He shouldn’t be targeted 15 times a game. Ricky Williams is now well into his 30s and it looks as though injuries have caught up to Ronnie Brown. Mark Ingram didn’t have nearly as good a season this year as he did last, but he was hampered with a knee injury early and Alabama often put the game on Greg McElroy’s shoulders for some reason instead of pounding the ball like they did in 2009. That being said he is just the solid, hard nosed type of RB that the Dolphins need. On a minor point as well, he also has experience in running the wildcat offense.


16. Jacksonville Jaguars select Martez Wilson, LB Illinois

In recent years if there has been one team who has been completely unconventional in terms of their drafting it is the Jacksonville Jaguars. Every year it seems as their board or value chart is completely out with most other teams and so called draft “experts”. Three years ago they moved way up in the draft to select pass rusher Derrick Harvey and made him transition to a 34. In 2009 they select two offensive tackles in the first two rounds and last year they took Tyson Alualu at #10 overall when most had him pegged as a late first rounder. With the exceptions of Derrick Harvey these picks have paid off however it does show that GM Gene Smith will go outside the norm when drafting prospects. With this being the case it is difficult to mock players to the Jaguars, especially when considering they do have a number of holes which need to be filled. David Garrard may have done enough again to save his job however at some stage they need to realise that he is not the future at the QB position. Jake Locker is a guy who fits exactly what the Jags are looking for in both a player and a person however I feel as long as Jack Del Rio is the head coach then Garrard will be the starting QB. At WR if Mike Sims-Walker doesn’t return then the cupboard is extremely bare, however reaching on a player like Torrey Smith seems even out of Gene Smith’s potential. On defense they still struggle to rush the passer and the secondary could use an upgrade throughout. Jimmy Smith I feel will be completely removed from the Jags board and this does seem a little high for Aaron Williams. Of all the pass rushers available a player like Ryan Kerrigan makes the most sense, however I don’t think the Jags will give up just yet on Harvey who if he gets it right can team up with Alualu and Terrence Knighton to provide a formidable defensive front. One player who is extremely intriguing at this point is Martez Wilson. Wilson’s tape doesn’t show him as a first rounder however his measureables are off the charts. He can play both outside and inside in the Jaguars defensive scheme and is very adept at coming off the edge on the blitz which could help free up some of their other pass rushers. Wilson may not be the best player available at this time however his versatility and upside will certainly push him up boards and the Jags are exactly the type of team who could take him aroung the middle of the first round.


17. New England Patriots from Oakland Raiders select Aldon Smith, OLB Missouri

After trading away defensive stalwart Richard Seymour to perennial top ten team in the draft, the Oakland Raiders, many Patriots fans and presumably staff thought this pick would be a lot higher. However after a season in which they finished at .500, this trade is starting to look a lot better from Oakland’s perspective than it did a year ago. Despite having an NFL best 14-2 record in the regular season, the Patriots once again fell at the first hurdle in the playoffs. Against the Jets the receiving corps, who did so well in the regular season, failed to defeat the Jets’ aggressive coverage schemes. While the offense has evolved from when Randy Moss was in Foxboro and a 6’4 deep threat is not essential, adding a big bodied WR would go a long way in helping this team to beat aggressive defenses. Against zone defenses like Chicago etc, the smaller Patriots WRs can find holes in those zones and Tom Brady can pick them apart at ease. However against the aggressive man coverage teams like the Jets these WRs struggle to beat the jam and get open. If Julio Jones was to fall to 17 or Bill Belichick thinks he could get him in a trade I believe this would be an easy pick. Jones is the type of WR who never needs to leave the field on any down, something that Belichick covets. He has the size and speed to beat the jam against man coverage and while his hands aren’t on the same level as AJ Green, he would be a much better for New England. However unless the Patriots can get above the St Louis Rams there is very little chance they will get Julio Jones. Another major issue they had against the Jets was protecting Tom Brady from the interior rush. Logan Mankins is, if not the best, in the top 3-5 offensive linemen in the NFL. With the Patriots franchising him once again it is looking increasingly unlikely he will play another game for New England. This combined with the fact that starting RG Stephen Neal has retired and Nick Kaczur, who was pencilled in to start at LG while Mankins held out last year, may be cut leaves a massive hole at OG. Mike Pouncey seems to be on the rise at the moment, despite not participating in the Senior Bowl or Combine, and is a player the Patriots will take a serious look at here. However, while Pouncey does have ideal size and versatility along the line, it would be quite a reach to take him at this point. Another position that could be looked at early in the draft is DE. Depending on which fan or analyst you hear from this is either a dire need, not a need at all or somewhere in between. Vince Wilfork was simply sensational at times last year at DE, however his best fit for the entire team is at NT. Rookie Brandon Deaderick and second year players Ron Brace and Myron Pryor all had moments where they flashed an ability to be very good players, however they all missed significant time due to injury and suspension in Deaderick’s case. Veteran Gerard Warren was very solid, especially against the run, and Mike Wright showed he can be a top level pass rusher in nickel packages. The recent pick up of Marcus Stroud also adds another player who has had great success in the league to the rotation. Add to all this that the best DE on the roster, Ty Warren, should be returning fully healthy to the line up. The major problem is, outside of Ty Warren none of the other players are sure to be three down players. Adding an elite 5 technique prospect to pair with Warren on the end and have Wilfork in between would be huge for the schematic possibilities here. However, with Fairley, Dareus, Jordan and Watt all off the board it would be considered a bit of a reach for someone like Muhammed Wilkerson, Christian Ballard or Cameron Heyward. With two more picks in the top 33, they can afford to look in other directions than DE and address that later. One position that simply can not be ignored any longer is at OLB. Jermaine Cunningham came in last year and was very good at setting the edge and got some pressure on opposing QBs. However he lacks the ideal explosion to be a consistent double digit sack artist and the combination of Rob Ninkovich, Tully Banta-Cain and Eric Moore opposite him will not frighten any offensive lineman. At this point there are three possibilities of taking an impact OLB. Justin Houston from Georgia has experience as an OLB and looked fluid despite bulking up to 270lbs at the combine. However, despite playing in a 34 in college he may still be best suited to be a 43 DE in the NFL. Ryan Kerrigan is a player who has been compared to ex Patriot OLB Mike Vrabel, and not simply because he is a white pass rusher. His motor and tenacity are unrivalled in this draft and his ability to get after the QB is well documented. A number of OTs from the senior bowl were asked who was the top pass rusher, and almost to a man they stated Kerrigan. While Kerrigan reminds a lot of people of one former great, I believe they will pass on him for another prospect who is garnering comparisons to a former Patriots OLB. Coming in at over 6’4 and 263lbs, Aldon Smith even looks like Willie McGinest with his tremendous wingspan. Watching his game tape from this year, you don’t truly see the explosion Smith has, however that is due to the fact he played through injury the whole year. Fully healthy he may have the highest upside of any pass rusher in the draft, including Robert Quinn. When it comes to drafting OLBs there seems to be a bit of a stigma attached to Belichick’s methods. He doesn’t go for pure pass rushers who test off the charts etc and this is why he passed over Everette Brown, Clay Matthews and Jerry Hughes in previous drafts. However each of those players were considered undersized for most defenses, particularly the Patriots two gap 34 which places an emphasis on size and strength. Most ‘experts’ have stated they don’t believe the Patriots will ever select a pass rusher this high under Belichick, however with the team generally always drafting in the 20s, seldom do 6’4 260lb pass rushers be available for them in the draft. Smith falls for two simple reasons. First, his injury clearly hampered his play last year and his red shirt sophomore film isn’t as impressive as it should have been, and secondly, the depth and top level talent along the defensive line will push some very good prospects down the board. If Aldon Smith is available at 17, I fully expect the Patriots to select him and place him at OLB.


18. San Diego Chargers select Adrian Clayborn, DE Iowa

How the San Diego Chargers missed the playoffs this year is well and truly beyond me. They had statistically one of the best offenses and one of the best defenses in the entire league yet failed to win the relatively mediocre AFC West. Perhaps more astounding is the fact that Norv Turner has not been fired for this. Seldom were the Chargers beaten by the better team this year. They could match any team on any given day in pretty much all areas. However silly turnovers and drastic mistakes are what cost this team. Giving up special teams TDs, missed field goals, silly fumbles, not playing until the final whistle, bad INTs…and this was just against the Patriots. One game is a bad game however this lasted the entire season. Offensively the Chargers can put up a lot of points. Phillip Rivers is a top 5 QB, Antonio Gates is the best TE in the NFL, they have a deep WR corps, Ryan Mathews has a lot of potential and the offensive line is solid. There is probably no offensive player at this point who could come in and make them significantly better. Defensively while they don’t have the big names that the offense does is still very solid. The got very good play from their OLBs last year rushing the passer and the defensive backfield was very underrated. However the one area that could be upgraded is along the defensive line. It was only three or four years ago when the trio of Jamal Williams, Luis Castillo and Igor Olshansky comprised possibly the best defensive line in the NFL. However now they don’t have either the star players or the depth to be much of a factor. Adrian Clayborn entered the year as one of the top rated players and a projected top ten pick. Based on his junior year this was justified however he has definitely had a down year. However while he doesn’t possess the pass rushing skills of someone like Robert Quinn his motor is phenomenal. While playing in a 34 defense may not be his best fit, at least in San Diego the defensive linemen get to attack off the ball rather that simply read and react. A relatively down year plus some concerns over an underlying condition to his arm make Clayborn fall, however the Chargers gladly take him at #18 and plug him in from day one.


19. New York Giants select Gabe Carimi, OT Wisconsin

The New York Giants were extremely inconsistent last year but still had one of the better records in the NFC. On the surface the Giants don’t have a lot of holes on either side of their team. They could use a penetrating defensive tackle but at this point a player like Corey Liuget would be a luxury pick. While Aaron Ross has great ability in their scheme he simply can not stay healthy so a player like Jimmy Smith or Aaron Williams would add some nice depth and insurance at CB. It has seemed for the last few years they could use a big playmaking MLB however none in this draft are worthy of a top 20 selection. Maybe Greg Jones in the second round, but not the first. On offense they seem set at the skill positions and obviously at QB, however along the offensive line they have some real issues. When they won the Superbowl it was their pass rush and offensive line which were the strengths of the team. Obviously they can still rush the passer as well as any team in the league however they have struggled up front recently on offense. Even when they were a top offensive line they were made up of a group of just guys who happened to blend well together and played above themselves. David Diehl was the big name of the group at LT and really he was LG playing OT. At the moment they could use an upgrade at almost any position along the line. A C like Stefan Wisniewski could come in as a future replacement for Shaun O’Hara and can also play OG in a pinch. However I think they will look more toward Carimi who has tremendous ability and size and could be a great fit at either LT or RT and also some at OG. While being a dominant run blocker, Carimi is also extremely underrated as a pass blocker and is just the type of blue collar player the Giants like up front. While this may seem like a slight reach the Giants are one of the only teams who can afford to do it as they are a relatively complete team with few holes.



20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Ryan Kerrigan, DE Purdue

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers surprised a lot of people with their play last year and a lot of credit has to go to head coach Raheem Morris and GM Mark Domenik. The bulk of the Bucs team was made up of rookies and second or third year players yet they were consistently able to not only compete but also win games. QB Josh Freeman played lights out all year and gives Tampa Bay fans a lot to be excited about in the future and rookies LeGarrette Blount and Mike Williams more than exceeded expectations. If Arrelious Benn continues to develop, Kellen Winslow returns to his previous form and a few additions are made to the offensive line they could have a very potent offense. However it is on defense where they need to add more playmakers. Rookie DTs Gerald McCoy and Brian Price have a lot of potential and already improved the play on the interior of the defense. Having two young studs up front should be able to mask the deficiencies of MLB Barrett Ruud who is definitely more comfortable in space. They could also use an upgrade at either OLB position and if Bruce Carter had not torn his ACL he would have garnered a lot of attention at this point. However he is probably more of a third round pick now and the next top player at OLB, Akeem Ayers, really hurt his stock by showing a lack of athleticism at the combine. In the secondary, Aqib Talib is potentially a top young CB and Ronde Barber continues to play at a high level. However at some stage a replacement for him will be needed and either Jimmy Smith or Aaron Williams would be a good fit here. However I feel they may look elsewhere and target a CB in the mid rounds like Rashad Carmichael. The biggest need, not only on their defense, but arguably on their whole team is at DE. When the Buccaneers had a top defense they had along their defensive line a stud DT in Warren Sapp but also a top pass rusher in Simeon Rice. Last year they went out and got their version of Warren Sapp so this year they go for their Simeon Rice. Ryan Kerrigan is not the flashiest DE in the draft and doesn’t have the athleticism of a Robert Quinn or Aldon Smith for example. However he does have a wide array of pass rushing moves, a non-stop motor and a long history of production against big ten tackles including Gabe Carimi etc. After a great year last year and a terrific week of Senior Bowl practices, for some reason it appeared that Kerrigan’s stock was slipping due to concerns over stiffness and a lack of athleticism, however after the combine he has proven he has not only the burst and explosion to be a top pass rusher but also the athleticism to be a mid first round pick.


21. Kansas City Chiefs select Phil Taylor, DT Baylor

The Kansas City Chiefs surprised everyone by wrestling away the AFC West crown from the San Diego Chargers last year. GM Scott Pioli and head coach Todd Haley did a tremendous job of not only turning this franchise around through productive draft classes but also the acquisitions of solid contributors such as Thomas Jones and Mike Vrabel and the trade for franchise QB Matt Cassel. Obviously Pioli new Cassel from his time in New England but I don’t think anyone really knew that he would make the progression he did this year. Having a target like Dwayne Bowe to throw to along with the NFL’s top rushing attack obviously helped him but it is not as though the Chiefs are coming down with talented playmakers on offense like the Patriots were in 2008. If Julio Jones does fall to the early teens I think the Chiefs are one of the teams who would be tempted to trade up for him as there is a big drop off in talent from AJ Green and Julio Jones to the next rated WRs. If they do stay put this pick will almost certainly be a defensive pick. A few recent drafts have brought the Chiefs some tremendous talent in the defensive backfield with Eric Berry and Brandon Flowers being some recent players they have taken. Despite Jimmy Smith offering pretty good value I really feel as though the Chiefs need to address their front seven with this pick and either upgrade the pass rush or get their dominant nose tackle that fits in with Romeo Crennel’s system. Tamba Hali emerged as a top pass rushing OLB last year and is definitely someone to build on for the future however the fact that Mike Vrabel has been playing a lot of snaps is not a good thing. Adding a stud OLB to pair with Hali could help bring the defense on leaps and bounds, however unless they are convinced that Justin Houston can also play in coverage then the value for 34 OLBs at this point is not great. Looking at his history everyone knows that Scott Pioli places a lot of emphasis on the defensive line. With New England, he and Bill Belichick select Richard Seymour, Ty Warren and Vince Wilfork in the first round, then in his first year with Kansas City he select Tyson Jackson 3rd overall to play DE. One thing he always had in New England, and one thing that Crennel has always had in his defense is a big run stuffing NT. Phil Taylor has a lot of question marks surrounding his draft stock, most notably if he is past his off the field concerns which resulted him being kicked out of Penn State, and whether or not he simply played hard last year for his pay check. However if Pioli and co are happy he checks out off the field then he is one of the only players in the draft with the talent and build to man the inside of the Chiefs 3 man line and would vastly upgrade their run defense.


22. Indianapolis Colts select Anthony Castonzo, OT Boston College

Even though at times it seemed as though they were trying to throw their season away the Colts still made the playoffs as AFC South champions. Despite playing his whole career with a few good playmakers at the skill positions and a bunch of scrubs elsewhere, Peyton Manning was able to make this team a success. He made Brandon Stokley the top slot WR in the NFL for years until he left. He is making Pierre Garcon look like a pro bowler. Defensively outside of Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis and Bob Sanders they have never had a ‘star’ and now Sanders is gone too. Yet they consistently had the best record in the NFL and won one Superbowl. However this year it is completely different. Manning has thrown 11 INTs in a three game span, 4 of which have been returned for TDs. And yet despite that they were only blown out in one of the games. Like a lot of teams this year they have been decimated by injuries. All of their RBs have missed portions of the season, Dallas Clark missed time, Austin Collie missed time, Bob Sanders once again missed most of the season. The list goes on. However no amount of injuries to skill position players or defensive players can excuse the disgraceful play of their offensive line. Bill Polian had the audacity to blame the offensive line for the Superbowl loss last year when in fact they weren’t actually that bad. However this year they have no place to hide. Peyton Manning is getting no time at all to throw in the pocket. He is bracing himself for a hit even though a defender may not be near because of the battering he has taken this year. It is a testament to his toughness that he has not missed a game this year. However, it doesn’t matter who is playing QB if he can’t be protected. Anthony Castonzo may not ever turn into an elite LT. He may never even turn into a pro bowl LT. However what the Colts need is someone who can man Peyton Manning’s blindside and give him enough time to make the throw. Castonzo is not as athletically gifted as someone like Nate Solder however he is a much safer pick and right now the Colts can not afford to draft another bust along the offensive line.


23. Philadelphia Eagles select Jimmy Smith, CB Colorado

A lot of credit this year has to go to Andy Reid. During the offseason last year he had to make the decision between three QBs, all with the ability to start for this team. He traded Donovan McNabb to divison rivals the Washington Redskins, named Kevin Kolb his opening day starter and had Michael Vick as the backup. The mark of a good coach is to realise when he has made a mistake and to not be too stubborn to admit that. When Michael Vick came in he added a whole new dimension to the offense. They were so explosive they could beat any team on any given day. However what Andy Reid must be worrying about is the offensive line did not play very well towards the end of the season and this combined with Vick’s style of play has led to him taking a tremendous amount of punishment this year. Normally I would say that Andy Reid would decide to take an offensive lineman with this pick, however it is in Vick’s nature to play a style where he will take more hits then preferable and sometimes you have to take the risk of him suffering more injuries. On defense they have some real problems in their secondary. Three years ago they had probably the top group of CBs in the NFL with Asante Samuel, Sheldon Brown and Lito Sheppard. However after Sheppard left for the Jets and Brown went to Cleveland it left the Eagles short opposite Samuel. This situation has been made even worse by the fact that CB Ellis Hobbs is contemplating retirement after a gruesome neck injury he received this year. Playing in the NFC East against Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith etc on the Giants and Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Roy Williams etc on the Cowboys, one thing the Eagles need to be successful is good CB play. A lot of people believe that Jimmy Smith has top ten ability and has very good size and athleticism. However he has major character concerns and rumour has it that a number of teams have completely removed him from their board. However this late in the first round he starts to offer tremendous value and the Eagles are in dire need of good CB play. Andy Reid will select Jimmy Smith in the hopes that he the leaders in his team will be able to keep his feet on the ground and that the risk will pay off because his upside is huge.


24. New Orleans Saints select Stephen Paea, DT Oregon State

Coming into the 2010 season the New Orleans Saints had high hopes of repeating their Superbowl success. However from the very start of the season they did not seem to be clicking on all cylinders. Drew Brees suffered with accuracy and turnover problems and the offense suffered a litany of injuries, particularly at the RB position. However assuming everyone returns healthy next year then they are set to continue to be the most explosive offense in the league. With one of the most accurate QBs, a tremendous offensive line, a wide array of differing RBs and the deepest WR corps in the league they are looking good going into next year. On defense they have a brilliant defensive system; however they lack the personnel to really be a top defense. In the secondary, despite the demolition job that occurred against the Seahawks in the playoffs, the Saints are actually pretty solid at both CB and Safety. It is in the front seven where their problems are. It seems as though for years people having been saying they needed to upgrade their OLBs and this was before Scott Fujita left in free agency last year. Scott Shanle is really better suited for a back up role at this point, however unless the Saints decide to reach on Akeem Ayers then I doubt they take his replacement here. Along the defensive line, Will Smith is still getting it done from one DE spot but they need to add another playmaker across from him. Justin Houston will be very tempting at this point, especially since the next team who may take him is division rivals the Atlanta Falcons, however I think they will decide to bring in an upgrade at DT beside Sederick Ellis. Since coming into the league Ellis has been a consistent performer for the Saints, even lining up at NT when they go to a 34 alignment. However to fully get the best out of him they need to add a big bodied guy to play the nose beside him. Stephen Paea blew people away at the combine with his record on the bench press, however his play last year also made scouts take notice. He is not in the mould of Nick Fairley as a penetrator in the 43 or Phil Taylor as big bodied NT in the 34. This will limit the amount of teams who need a guy who may only fit as a NT in the 43 in the first, however one team who needs this type of player is New Orleans and the Saints gladly snap him up here.


25. Seattle Seahawks select Jake Locker, QB Washington

When mock drafts first starting coming out last summer, many of them had the Seattle Seahawks selecting Jake Locker in the first round. However they also had the Seahawks picking in the top 5. New head coach Pete Carroll did have his players competing better than they had in previous years, enough to actually win the NFC West and defeat the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the playoffs. However if anything this was the last thing this team needed. In the NFL there are a few ways to look at a previous season and how things turned out. There is an argument that a winning culture leads to more winning in the future. This is certainly valid just as a losing culture breeds losing. Look no further than teams like the Detroit Lions who have been adding top level talent for years but can’t get over the final hurdle into the playoffs. However, in a league filled based on competition and balance, winning with mediocre players will not last. The Seahawks probably need to be selecting in the top half of the draft for a year or two to increase their talent levels before they can make a legitimate run at the Superbowl. However in this case they have actually got lucky. Jake Locker came into this season as the consensus top player and had he declared last year may have battled with Sam Bradford for the #1 overall pick. However he decided to return for his senior season and came under tremendous scrutiny. He always had some concerns about his accuracy but the progress he made in his junior year was enough for some teams to fall in love with him. However this year he actually regressed and his 4-19 performance against Nebraska absolutely killed his stock. For the year Locker played like a mid round developmental prospect, however he has big time tools to work with and he will wow teams in his interviews leading up to the draft. Pete Carroll’s decision to trade a third round pick for Charlie Whitehurst seems to have backfired and he is clearly not the future at QB for Seattle. By bringing in Locker, he can sit behind Matt Hassellbeck for a year or two and then take over when he has had the benefit of NFL coaching and learning the system. Locker may well turn out to be this year’s version of Aaron Rodgers if he finds himself in this situation, however he may also be a huge bust if he is drafted to a team who expect him to come in and start from day one.


26. Baltimore Ravens select Aaron Williams, CB Texas

How does Cam Cameron still have a job as offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens? They have a big powerful offensive line and one of the better RBs in the NFL, yet they still have young QB Joe Flacco throwing the ball 30 times a game? The Ravens have been a successful team pounding the rock and being more physical than the other team. When they brought in Anquan Boldin, Dante Stallworth and TJ Houshmandzadeh a lot of Ravens fans where extremely optimistic about how they should be a lot more balanced offensively. However they have completely changed philosophy and become more of a passing team which hurt their chances in the playoffs. Either way they play though they are set for years on offense. However it is their vaunted defense which is starting to become a worry. Outside of Haloti Ngata and Ed Reed they now have no more consistent game changers. Ray Lewis is a shell of the former great player he was and Terrell Suggs is so inconsistent. He can take over a game like he did at the weekend or he can be anonymous. The major worry for this team though is in the defensive backfield. Just watching the Atlanta game a few weeks ago shows that they have issues, especially at CB. After going up late in the game the Ravens allowed Matt Ryan to march down the field on them. A few years ago that would not have happened. The Ravens also have a number of their CBs who will be free agents at the end of the year and few, if any, will be worth keeping around. This selection boils down to either Aaron Williams or Brandon Harris. At the start of the year Williams was talked about in the same sentence as Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara and while he hasn’t had the same kind of year as those two he has still been a top CB in college football. The reason why it is Williams over Harris for Baltimore is because for a team who runs primarily man coverage Harris may be a liability. Williams is definitely suited to play in man coverage and has the size and bulk to be very good at jamming opposing WRs allowing the Ravens pass rush to reach the QB. While his athleticism may have been called into question at the combine, Williams also plays with very good technique and should help upgrade the Ravens pass defense and help them get back to elite status.


27. Atlanta Falcons select Justin Houston, DE Georgia

The Atlanta Falcons had a tremendous season which was ultimately derailed by eventual Superbowl champions the Green Bay Packers. Matt Ryan solidified his standing as one of the top up and coming QBs in the NFL and his favourite target Roddy White played like the best WR in the league last year. GM Thomas Dmitroff has done as good a job as any GM in the last few years of adding a young nucleus of top talent and the Falcons are built to be a contending team for years. That is not to say they are without their needs. Michael Turner is a consistently good RB who can grind out the tough yards, however adding a dynamic change of pace back could really help out, especially on third downs. Another top WR to pair with White would also help transform the passing game to elite levels. However unless the Falcons gamble on Jon Baldwin or reach on Torrey Smith I don’t think they go in that direction here. Defensively they have some very good young pieces, especially in the back seven. Curtis Lofton and Sean Weatherspoon should be one of the best LB tandems in the league for a number of years and with Dunta Robinson, Brent Grimes and William Moore in the secondary they definitely have some talent there. However up front they could use not only a stud pass rusher but also some valuable depth. Kroy Biermann is a very solid DE against both the run and the pass and veteran John Abraham is still a top pass rusher. However he does not have many years left and bringing in a future replacement to learn behind him for a few years would be ideal here. Justin Houston may be one of the few players who played in a 34 in college but may not be able to play in that scheme in the NFL. He is a very good pass rusher from a two and three point stance however his coverage abilities are extremely raw and his ability to play in space will be questioned by teams who run an odd front. Many scouts believe his best fit at the next level will be at RE in a 43 scheme, especially since he has bulked up to 270lbs. As long as Houston is only given the responsibility of running downhill and getting to the passer he should be an extremely good player in the NFL. If Atlanta can get their DTs healthy and add an outside player like Houston their defense should take the next step and paired with an explosive offense they should in and around the top teams in the league for years to come.


28. New England Patriots select Mike Pouncey, OG Florida

The New England Patriots have the luxury of having two picks in each of the first three rounds in the 2011 NFL draft. Already a team who is known for manipulating the draft through trades, the extra picks along with the current uncertainty of when coaches can have interactions with players may see an increase in trading for future picks. I would be fully surprised if the Patriots made 6 picks in the first 3 rounds and if any pick was likely to be traded for a future pick it would either be this one or their pick atop the second round. However if they do stay put they actually find themselves in a pretty favourable situation here. After selecting the high potential Aldon Smith at pick 17 to play OLB Bill Belichick and co can look more towards value for positions of similar need. After aiding the pass rush it is debatable where the next top need is for New England. Many people would argue that seeing Vince Wilfork play prolonged periods at DE not only proved the need for a stud 5 technique is pretty high but that it also detracted from the defense as a whole. A player like Muhammed Wilkerson is an ideal fit at this position for the Patriots and rumour has it that they may even consider him at 18 depending on how the top of the draft unfolds. Likewise Cameron Heyward is also a tremendous fit. However with the likelihood of Ty Warren coming back fully healthy and the probability of one or both these players, along with other prospects such as Christian Ballard being available at 33 they can afford to go in another direction. The current uncertainty regarding both Matt Light and Nick Kaczur may lead some fans to be clamouring for the highly athletic Nate Solder at this point. It is very close between Solder and Tyron Smith for the OT with the most upside in this class. Solder has the perfect frame for the Pats zone blocking system and along with Sebastian Vollmer could provide a good set of bookends to protect Tom Brady for the rest of his career. However, I would be shocked if Matt Light didn’t return and Kaczur may even be kept as insurance at both OT and OG. I feel if they do search for a long term replacement for Light they would be better served with a player like Orlando Franklin at the end of the second round or Marcus Gilbert in the third. After watching the playoff defeat against the Jets and also at times over the regular season it was clear that the interior of the Patriots offensive line was struggling with the inside rush. Dan Koppen has a great chemistry with Tom Brady and leads the line extremely efficiently. However it is no secret he struggles with larger NTs as was demonstrated against Green Bay when BJ Raji dominated him. Logan Mankins is clearly one of the better offensive linemen in the NFL however his two year long contract dispute may force him out of town leaving a gaping hole at LG. When Mankins sat out the first ten games of last year Dan Connolly filled in admirably and played well at RG when Stephen Neal, who has now retired, went down with a season ending injury. However after him the next guy up would be Ryan Wendell who is definitely more suited for a backup role. If Mankins doesn’t come back then OG becomes a priority. Mike Pouncey definitely has his detractors in the scouting world, a lot who think he is being projected as a first rounder off of his brother Maurkice’s play from last year as a rookie. However no other OG prospect has his blend of power, size, athleticism and leadership and with Dante Scarnecchia being one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL Pouncey could become an impact interior lineman at the next level.


29. Chicago Bears select Nate Solder, OT Colorado

Coming into the season I really thought the Bears would have tremendous struggles on both sides of the ball. I thought Mike Martz’s scheme was all wrong for what was already in place. Cutler seemed like too much of a gunslinger to play in this intricate offense, Greg Olsen made no sense as Martz prefers blocking TEs, the offensive line couldn’t block defensive lines long enough for the routes to develop and none of the WRs in Chicago were even close to the route runners Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce were. I also thought on defense they were going to struggle. Julius Peppers wouldn’t play hard after his contract and Brian Urlacher was finished. However Peppers and the defensive line played extremely well and Urlacher seems to be back to his best. Watching the Bears play you could make arguments that they could go with some secondary help, particularly safety, or getting someone like Jon Baldwin to be the #1 WR in this offense. However watching Jay Cutler face ridiculous amounts of pressure in every game has to be the main worry for Chicago. Realistically the Bears could use help at any position along the line. Arguably the offensive lineman with the highest upside in the draft, Nate Solder finds himself falling a little due to concerns about his ability to anchor and have a strong base. His athleticism is unquestionable and previously being a TE, his footwork is extremely nimble. He also has terrific size with the ability to add more bulk to his frame. However where he struggles is with sometimes over-reaching and having a lack of core strength. He also offers no value as a RT or OG. A few years ago the Bears used a first round pick on Chris Williams who had many similarities with Solder. A very athletic guy who could potentially man the blindside but had issues with being able to anchor against NFL DEs. What Solder has going in his favour is he has not played the position that long and should be open to coaching. He is also a dominant player when he puts it all together and probable top 5 pick Von Miller even described him as the best LT he faced in his career, despite the fact he went up against former #2 overall pick Jason Smith. At this point Solder falls due to concerns over his ability to become an NFL LT however his value here is too good for Chicago to pass up considering their need for a dominating offensive lineman to help protect Jay Cutler.


30. New York Jets select Muhammed Wilkerson, DE/DT Temple

For all the talk the Jets done last year about being Superbowl favourites and for all the talk of Rex Ryan being one of, if not, the best defensive masterminds in the game they have been very disappointing at times. When they were coming back with all those 4th quarter drives and overtime drives to win ball games everyone thought they were resilient, hard to beat. However what people failed to realise is they were against teams picking in the top of half of the draft. The running game hasn’t been anywhere near as good as it was last year and a lot has been put on the arm of Mark Sanchez. Considering the offensive line the Jets have and the weapons to Sanchez’s disposal, then comparing to other young QBs around the league it would be fair to say that Sanchez has struggled mightily. However those struggles are always going to occur when you have a young QB in a big market team with a big mouth coach who makes sure that the Jets had a target painted on them all season by each team. All of this would be ok if Ryan’s defense was playing up to the levels it did last year. The problem with Ryan’s defensive scheme is obvious. He plays a high risk/high reward type of defense. He is willing to send one more guy than the offense can block and expect his secondary to hold up. It is the reason why he declared Darrelle Revis the best defensive player in the NFL. It is the reason why he went out and traded for Antonio Cromartie and drafted Kyle Wilson this year. Last year the blitzes were getting there in team and the secondary was able to cover their guys long enough. Up until the second half of the AFC Championship in 2009 game was this defense unstoppable. Then Peyton Manning was able to dissect the secondary because the Jets rush wasn’t getting there. Not one player in their front seven could be described as a pass rusher who offensive coordinators stay up worrying about. Calvin Pace is definitely a good player but he is not Demarcus Ware. Along the defensive line Shaun Ellis has been a very good player at DE and while Mike DeVito has been more than serviceable, having the chance to add a player of Wilkerson’s potential here will be too good for the Jets to pass up. At 6’5 and 315lbs Wilkerson has terrific size and has extremely good athleticism for this size. What he lacks is better technique and hand usage and a lack of dominant game tape. However if one defensive coach in the NFL should be able to coach a guy with this potential up it will be Rex Ryan and the Jets may have gotten the steal of the first round.


31. Pittsburgh Steelers select Derek Sherrod, OT Miss St

The Steelers entered the 2010 season with a lot of doubters. They played in a tough division with the always strong Baltimore Ravens, the Cincinnati Bengals who were meant to build on their stellar 2009 campaign and the up and coming Cleveland Browns. They were also entering the season with a number of injury worries, their starting QB Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for the first four games of the season and their offensive line was patchwork at best. A slow start in what was meant to be a good division could have killed their chances. However as it turned out the Bengals had a terrible year, the Browns were the same as ever and they slow start they were predicted to have with Roethlisberger out was actually a 3-1 start. This really set them up for a deep run later in the year. While they did overcome some injuries on the defensive side of the ball, notably to standouts Aaron Smith and Troy Polamalu, they still ranked near the top of the league in most categories as normal. Offensively they were better than almost everyone predicted. The much maligned Rashard Mendenhall had a very good year running behind the Pittsburgh offensive line which was solidified by rookie OC Maurkice Pouncey. At WR Hines Ward was solid but Mike Wallace emerged as a true game breaking threat and when Roethlisberger came back they immediately developed a very good chemistry. It is for these reasons that the Steelers won their division and made it all the way to the Superbowl. However in a number of games this year certain weaknesses were badly exploited. The best example is when they played the Patriots at Heinz Field. Tom Brady was in the middle of a tremendous run of not throwing an INT and throwing multiple TDs, however this was meant to stop against the vaunted Pittsburgh defense. However all game they failed to rattle him in the pocket and their coverage schemes were torn apart. While the Steelers probably don’t need a top pick spent on a rush linebacker yet, it wouldn’t hurt to have a ready made replacement for when James Harrison finally retires. At the back end, Polamalu is clearly one of the top players in the league, however the Steelers could certainly use upgrades at the other spots. Brandon Harris wouldn’t necessarily be a great fit in Pittsburgh however at this point he does start to offer pretty good value and Mike Tomlin may feel that he is worth the pick. Rahim Moore is another player who could be an outside shot here for Pittsburgh as they need an upgrade beside Polamalu. Another position they could look to address for the future is at DE. Aaron Smith is one of the top 5 techniques in the league, however he is seldom healthy for a whole season and Brett Keisel isn’t the youngest player around. Former first round pick Ziggy Hood has been solid for Pittsburgh but he hasn’t shown he can be a full time starter yet so someone like Cameron Heyward would make a lot of sense here. Ultimately though, I see the Steelers going back to add reinforcements to the offensive line. Realistically after Maurkice Pouncey, all other positions could be upgraded, especially at OT. Derek Sherrod was a player being touted as the possible top OT in the draft no more than two months ago, however after a relatively poor offseason he has slipped in the rankings. What he offers though is an extremely solid OT who can play on either side of the line and in a pinch could play some OG. While this is not a flashy pick by any means it is exactly the type of pick that the Steelers are likely to make and Sherrod could be an extremely solid contributor for ten years protecting Ben Roethlisberger.


32. Green Bay Packers select Sam Acho, OLB Texas

The Superbowl champion Green Bay Packers close out the first round of the NFL draft. While they were extremely impressive down the stretch and overcame a litany of injuries, they still do have some holes which need to be addressed going into next year and for future success. Despite drafting Bryan Bulaga in the first round last year they could still use upgrades along the offensive line. However that is maybe more of a mid round need which can be had later. At RB Ryan Grant has been serviceable but nobody is going to confuse him for a pro bowl RB in the NFC. If Mark Ingram was available it would be an interesting choice, however I don’t see them taking Mikel Leshoure here. At CB Tramon Williams has really stepped up and is now one of the top CBs in the NFL but Charles Woodson can not possibly have long left, so Jimmy Smith or Aaron Williams would be options if still available, however they are off the board and I don’t feel Brandon Harris is the type of CB they are looking for and rumour has it a lot of teams feel he is more of a mid second round pick. However I think the direction they go is at OLB. Clay Matthews has been a beast since the minute he stepped foot in Green Bay and is now one of the top OLBs in the NFL. However opposite of him there is not a lot to get excited about. In general in the last few years a lot of so-called tweeners have fallen in the draft as the conversion from DE to OLB is a lot harder than most think. However with the amount of teams now running the 34 some players will now inevitably be pushed higher up draft boards than normal. Sam Acho is a player who is hard not to like. He doesn’t have the workout numbers of a player like Brooks Reed but is perfectly suited to play OLB in the 34. He also shown he has the ability to get after the QB last year as well as in the Senior Bowl. While he may be a bit lacklustre in the run game and his coverage abilities need improved on, Acho should offer a terrific pass rushing compliment to Clay Matthews and along with their impressive defensive line they should be close to a top the sack list in the NFL for years.


Round 2

33. New England Patriots from Carolina Panthers select Cameron Heyward, DE Ohio State

34. Buffalo Bills select Kyle Rudolph, TE Notre Dame

35. Cincinnati Bengals select Torrey Smith, WR Maryland

36. Denver Broncos select Brandon Harris, CB Miami

37. Cleveland Browns select Corey Liuget, DT Illinois

38. Arizona Cardinals select Ryan Mallett, QB Arkansas

39. Tennessee Titans select Jonathon Baldwin, WR Pitt

40. Dallas Cowboys select Rahim Moore, S UCLA

41. Washington Redskins select Christian Ballard, DE Iowa

42. Houston Texans select Curtis Brown, CB Texas

43. Minnesota Vikings select Christian Ponder, QB Florida State

44. Detroit Lions select Akeem Ayers, OLB UCLA

45. San Francisco 49ers select Brooks Reed, OLB Arizona

46. Denver Broncos from Miami Dolphins select Mason Foster, OLB Washington

47. St Louis Rams select Drake Nevis, DT LSU

48. Oakland Raiders select Ben Ijalana, OT Villanova

49. Jacksonville Jaguars select Titus Young, WR Boise State

50. San Diego Chargers select Danny Watkins, OG Baylor

51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Clint Boling, OT/G Georgia

52. New York Giants select Mikel Leshoure, RB Illinois

53. Indianapolis Colts select Rodney Hudson, OG/C Florida State

54. Philadelphia Eagles select Marcus Cannon, OG TCU

55. Kansas City Chiefs select Leonard Hankerson, WR Miami

56. New Orleans Saints select Bruce Carter, OLB UNC

57. Seattle Seahawks select Chykie Brown, CB Texas

58. Baltimore Ravens select Allen Bailey, DE Miami

59. Atlanta Falcons select Demarco Murray, RB Oklahoma

60. New England Patriots select Ryan Williams, RB Virginia Tech

61. San Diego Chargers from New York Jets select Colin McCarthy, ILB Miami

62. Chicago Bears select Ras-I Dowling, S Virginia

63. Pittsburgh Steelers select Jarvis Jenkins, DE Clemson

64. Green Bay Packers select Randall Cobb, WR/RB/KR Kentucky

Scotty D
03-16-2011, 06:36 AM
Solid Lion mock. I like Ayers a lot more in the 2nd than at 13. Backus probably wouldn't move to OG though. Rob Sims is locked in at LG and I'm not sure if they would move Backus to RG over Stephen Peterman. I think Tyron Smith would battle for RT (Gosder had microfracture surgery last year and is average overall) and be a swing tackle his rookie year. Backus has one year left on his deal and Smith could take over for him after that.

Nalej
03-16-2011, 06:58 AM
I'ma have nasty dirty sex with this mock

DiG
03-16-2011, 08:21 AM
im not sold that if the skins go qb in the first round that newton is the fit/guy for Shanahan. i wouldnt be upset with the pick becuase i like newton a lot but in terms of likihood of it actually happening, im just not sure i believe that it would. in the second, i dont object to ballard but again guys like ijalana and brooks reed might be more likely.

prock
03-16-2011, 08:26 AM
That is a good Vikings mock, but as you touched on, if (or when) we lose Sid, Julio may be a better pick.

49erNation85
03-16-2011, 08:38 AM
Nicely done for SF.But if Ponder is there I think we got that way in round 2.But nice pick otherwise.

thebow305
03-16-2011, 08:47 AM
Nice Phins pick

Matthew Jones
03-16-2011, 08:50 AM
My god...those are the most epic writeups ever. +rep.

TNPatsFan
03-16-2011, 08:59 AM
Holy analysis Batman. That's a lot of work. Good picks for the Pats. I could see them taking all those guys. I would have said they won't take Ryan Williams, but it's good value at that spot and it is being reported that they have privately worked him out. And while I don't personally like Aldon Smith as an OLB in the first round, I can't rule him out because of his size and skill set.

Razor
03-16-2011, 09:03 AM
I'ma have nasty dirty sex with this mock

http://images.cheezburger.com/completestore/2009/9/24/128983187032073309.jpg

J-Mike88
03-16-2011, 10:00 AM
Great job, nice picks for the Packers, although I like the guys mocks giving as Acho in round 2 instead of 1, but who knows.....

Great write-ups.

xpmar9x
03-16-2011, 10:35 AM
Good Titans 1st round pick. Fairley would be perfect.

Not so happy with the Titans 2nd round pick. Yes, Baldwin is a heck of an athlete but we have much much bigger needs. We already have Britt (who proved he could be an elite WR), two decent vets in Justin Gage and Nate Washington, and young gun Damian Williams who has promise. Ponder would be a much more logical pick.

FlyingElvis
03-16-2011, 12:20 PM
cliff's note? lol

Smith is definitely intriguing for NE. His talent, frame, fit and potential all look very inticing. I just don't know if I can buy BB selecting an underclassman w/less starts and some question marks (injury) over a 4 year guy & leader w/the production of Kerrigan.

ATLDirtyBirds
03-16-2011, 12:27 PM
I'd be really, really happy. Although, as much as I love Murray, I'd probably prefer if we went with Jernigan in round 2.

T-RICH49
03-16-2011, 01:18 PM
LOVE LOVE LOVE KC's draft

K Train
03-16-2011, 01:45 PM
no to sherrod...i just dont like him at all for the steelers. give me harris or heyward there...im not even sure which one id pick but id be so mad if one of them wasnt it.

love me some jarvis jenkins though

Pat Sims 90
03-16-2011, 02:55 PM
I dont see a 1st round QB for the Bengals. AJ Green, Patrick Peterson, or Nick Fairley would seem more likely.

Torrey Smith is fine in the 2nd

jCut
03-16-2011, 06:25 PM
I really like the Denver mock. Great value with each pick.

coordinator0
03-16-2011, 06:32 PM
You explanation of the first pick makes me seriously question your knowledge of the Ravens. It's not all off-point, such as the opening about Cameron, but a lot of it is. We are definitely not set for years on offense, we still need speed and size at receiver. We could possibly need help at G or T as well, depending on what happens with Gaither, and we need a replacement for Birk at C very soon.

We do need pieces on defense, no doubt about that. Lewis can't play forever, and while he's not a liability on the field yet, we still need an ILB next to him as well as a replacement for him.

Suggs wasn't so inconsistent last season. After finally attending training camp for the first time since 2007, he got back into shape and was the beast we remembered him to be. Unfortunately nobody else on the roster can get to the QB, and kindle can't be counted on. We literally have no other pass-rush specialist on the team, nor anybody that can masquerade as one. This was our biggest weakness on defense last season, and passing on Houston in the first is unforgivable.

Our CB issues begin and end with not having a big number 1 corner. Wilson and Carr are definitely worthy of being brought back, they played very well last season and there have been reports we want both of them on the team in the future. Foxworth will be returning as well, and we'll also have Webb. Drafting Aaron Williams doesn't solve our problem here. He's NOT a man-coverage corner, although he does fit the bill physically for what we need. Still doesn't make him a good pick. Harris isn't a good fit either since we're looking to get bigger at the position, although he fits
as a man-coverage corner.

Bailey in the second is alright, the value seems about right and he seems to fit as a guy who can play end in both the 3-4 and 4-3. However, his lack of burst on tape is very alarming and his pass-rushing repertoire is lacking to say the least. I'd prefer to go in a different direction, but he's not bad at that point.

Seasonticketholder
03-16-2011, 06:34 PM
Hate the Saints first round pick, like the second round pick.

Hurricanes25
03-16-2011, 07:33 PM
Wilkerson is a very good pick for the Jets.

Wootylicous
03-16-2011, 08:01 PM
this is so mass

vidae
03-16-2011, 09:47 PM
Perfect KC draft at this point. Taylor + Hank is a slamdunk for us.