Apr 17 2011
With the NFL Draft just a little over a week away, I will FINALLY unvail my ONE AND ONLY Mock Draft. Now with me being such a fatty, and devote half of my life to football, College or NFL, I usually kill these stupid things.
I had 23/32 picks correct last year…so I don’t know how to put this but……
Okay, I’ve stalled long enough, LESS GET IT!
*With the FIRST pick in the 2011 NFL DRAFT, the Carolina Panthers Select:…………………….*
1. Carolina Panthers (2-14) - QB Cam Newton
Carolina is in desperate need of an identity, and someone to put asses in seats. Now Patrick Peterson and Von Miller maybe the two best prospects in this draft, but they aren’t selling tickets. Newton has a chance to be a great QB, he has all the physical features you look for in a pro quarterback, but his attitude and ability to adapt to the speed of the NFL leads scouts and other NFL personnel to question him. That being said, I don’t see anyway Carolina passes on him for the sole reason of having to create a spark with the number one overall pick.
2. Denver Broncos (4-12) - DT Marcell Dareus
Denver finished dead last in the NFL with just 23 sacks. Of course losing Elvis Dumervil for the season before the year started had a huge impact, but Denver will still needs another pass-rusher up front. The Broncos hired John Fox as their new head coach this winter and Fox has been a top defensive coach dating back to his days with NY Giants and Panthers. Fox indicated that he wants to upgrade the defensive tackle position, as indicated by the release by Justin Bannan and Jamal Williams. Dareus is a can’t miss DL prospect and will be the Broncos pick here.
3. Buffalo Bills (4-12) - CB Patrick Peterson
Peterson, in my opinion is the best player in this entire draft. The Bills have many holes on their team, so cornerback may not be the smartest choice, but Peterson maybe the best cornerback since Darrelle Revis in 2007. If Cam Newton were available, he would have been the Bills pick, but I don’t see Carolina passing on him. There isn’t much more to say other then Patrick Peterson is the BEST PLAYER IN THIS DRAFT.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (4-12) - WR A.J Green
The Bengals hired Jay Gruden as their offensive coordinator in the offseason so this will be a offensive pick here. With Carson Palmer trying his best to get out of Cincy, the Bengals need to do whatever they can to keep him, so adding an absolute stud like Green wont hurt. Even if Palmer does get shipped out, it will be hard to complain about a pick of Green. Green is an elite receiving prospect compared to Larry Fitzgerald, so he and the Bengals seem like a perfect fit. And don’t pay attention to his low Wonderlic score (10). Roddy White notched a 4 on his Wonderlic, and I don’t think the Falcons regret drafting him.
5. Arizona Cardinals (5-11) - QB Blaine Gabbert
This pick is interesting because I can see the Cardinals adding a veteran quarterback when free agency/trades are available (McNabb, Bulger, Palmer), BUT Gabbert maybe the best quarterback in the draft. He isn’t the flashiest, which is why Newton will go ahead of him, but many scouts ( including myself ☺) LOVE this guy. Gabbert played in a spread offense at Missouri, but ran a pro-style attack in high school. All the analysts on ESPN are gushing over Gabbert. Mike Mayock (who I think is the best at breaking down tape, and the best scout out) has him as his No. 1 quarterback. Trent Dilfer referred to Gabbert as “special.” Charles Davis called Gabbert a mix between Joe Flacco and Sam Bradford. That is too high of praise to pass up. This maybe a HUGE pick for the Cardinals down the line.
6. Cleveland Browns (5-11) - LB Von Miller
If Von Miller is around at 6, the pick will be in before our wonderful Commish can finish the “Cleveland Browns are on the clock” sentence, it will be Miller. Millers’s a monstrous pass-rusher who ran a 4.46 40 and notched a 37-inch vertical at the Combine. Miller also is fantastic in coverage, even Fatboy Warren Sapp noted that same thing ”You’re either born with that, or you’re not, he was.” Like I said prior, Miller and Peterson are the top two players in the draft.
7. San Francisco 49ers (6-10) - CB Prince Amukamara
The Niners will be pissed that Peterson is off the clock, but they have to expect it. Amukamara is one of the more physical Cornerbacks to come out of the draft in a long time, but the questions about Amukamara heading into the NFL combine were about his speed. Luckily for him, he put an end to that by running a 4.38 40-yard-dash. This is the earliest I see him being drafted, and with the Niners desperate for corner help, he should be the pick.
8. Tennessee Titans (6-10) - DT Nick Fairley
You’d be hard pressed to find a more dominant interior defensive player in all of college football last year than Nick Fairley. The Auburn defensive tackle lined up against some very talented offensive lines in the SEC and was able to consistently make his presence felt. The problem is, Fairley only showed this kind of dominance in one year. Fairley thought to be a top-5 pick after the College Season ended, but his lack of hustle, and questionable character caused him to slip a bit. The 8th pick overall aint to bad though.
9. Dallas Cowboys (6-10) - OT Tyron Smith
Smith has been climbing up draft boards since the combine and his pro day. As USC defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said, “Ty is just too good to stay in school, and he hasn’t even reached his full potential.” He is a bit raw, but with the Cowboys offensive line in disarray, Smith could be just the stud their looking for. I have him ranked very high, not only as the top offensive line prospect, but top OFFENSIVE prospect in the draft.
10. Washington Redskins (6-10) DE Da’Quan Bowers
Interesting pick, not only the player, but the team who take him. The Redskins are never shy to create story-lines (Fat Albert Haynesworth) Bowers’ fall from the top of the draft over a knee injury, and failing to attend a few meetings and workouts he had scheduled, caused him to fall to 10, when he as a top 3 pick a few weeks back. He did lead the nation in sacks last year and could be a pro bowler if in the right situation.
11. Houston Texans (6-10) - WR Julio Jones
Adding an elite WR like Jones to a receiver corp of Andre Johnson, and Kevin Walter could be DANGEROUS for opposing teams, add in a RB like Arian Foster, and a quarterback like Matt Shaub, this offense should have no problem being a top 5 offense in football. Sure they have a lot of holes on defense, mainly in their secondary, but with DeMeco Ryans coming back off an injury, and another full year of Brian Cushing, they can afford to take the best player available here.
12. Minnesota Vikings (6-10) - QB Jake Locker
- This pick is interesting because of the high profiled name Locker has been anointed with since last season. Locker was the sure fired number one pick in last years NFL’s Draft, but he decided to stay in school one more year, and had a bad season. Word is Minnesota ADORES Locker, and actually invasions him as the next BRETT FAVRE! Locker possesses tremendous athletic talent, but his accuracy is atrocious. His decision-making is terrible. His mechanics need work. And his football IQ is pretty low. So, I guess, be careful Minnesota.
13. Detroit Lions (6-10) - DE Robert Quinn
Finally the Lions aren’t in the top 5 and in position to draft a WR. Quinn is a stud pass rusher,and shined at North Carolina’s Pro Day. There’s no way the Lions can pass on him at 13, he just offers too much upside as a dynamic pass-rusher. Him and Suh on the same line, YIKES.
14. St. Louis Rams (7-9) - RB Mark Ingram
Ingram will be the first running back taken off the board regardless, what’s left to be seen is who will take him. If he gets back the Rams here at 14 he may sit for a while. The Rams have made it clear that they want a change of pace back and someone who can spell Steven Jackson, and with the two top wide receivers off the board, Ingram makes great sense. Hampered by a knee injury in 2010, and his struggle catching passes out of the backfield, his stock has dropped a little since his outstanding 2009 Heisman campaign, but not enough. He’s still going to be a great pro. Huge value for the Rams at 14.
15. Miami Dolphins (7-9) - DB Brandon Harris
Harris put the last doubters to rest about that stigma at the NFL combine. He may be fast, but Harris is also a great football player. His movement and instincts shown at the NFL combine were superb. Harris has surpassed Jimmy Smith, and ended up being the third cornerback off the board behind just Patrick Patterson and Prince Amukamara. Miami may have found themselves a steal here. A QB like Ryan Mallett, and Christian Ponder could be the pick here, but with the pressure on head coach Tony Sparano to win now, and a group of veteran QB’s available, this is the more logical pick.
CONTINUE READING >>>>
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8) - J.J Watt
Watt has great size and a frame that can add more weight and muscle, which is good at the next level. He has great awareness and while being a solid pass rusher, he can also fill up running lanes. He’s not especially skilled at disengaging in blocks, he just plays so tough and fast so he will get after it, the game naturally comes to him. The Jaguars took a hit with the Floppiness of former first round pick Derrick Harvey, and the injury to Aaron Kampman, so adding a guy like Watt can help solidify an up-and coming defense.
17. New England Patriots (from Oakland 8-8) - OT Anthony Castonzo
We all know the Patriots LOVE to trade all over the draft, whether it’s suckering a team at the top of the second round to annually take their late first rounder, and give them their first round pick in the following draft, or trading just to trade. Whatever it is, it works out. This is the Raiders pick here and one where I think the Pats will stand pat and take the next best lineman on the board. Anthony Castonzo has started every game in his four year career at Boston College, and the Patriots dig stuff like that. Scouts wanted to see Castonzo bulk up some more and fill into his 6-7 frame, but he looked fine leading up to the Senior Bowl. At the Senior Bowl, Castonzo spent some practice time at the guard spot, but it became quite clear that he is a tackle at the next level, but the ability to play all spots on the line makes him that much more valuable to New England.
18. San Diego Chargers (9-7) - DE Ryan Kerrigan
Kerrigan is a relentless pass rusher with very few glaring weaknesses. He has a great frame, long arms and good lateral movement. He can bull rush to collapse the pocket and also has an arsenal of smooth moves to get after the quarterback. He may need to add some bulk to fit into San Diego’s 4-3 scheme, but a guy who is this relentless getting after the quarterback cant be passed over.
19. New York Giants (10-6) - OG Mike Pouncey
Normally the Giants would look to add some more depth to that amazing defensive line they have, but this year they wont be forced too. They’ll be ecstatic that a guy like Mike Pouncey falls into their laps at 19. The Giants are well known for drafting guys out of college who have had their full share of experience, starting in multiple seasons, but with Castonzo off the board, Pouncey is a no brainer to an aging offensive line. They could also look to add a linebacker, but with the next best guy on the board being a border-line first rounder, Pouncey is the right pick.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6) - DB Aaron Williams
This could be a reach for Tampa here, but Williams has a knack for the big play, and with Aqib Talib not likely to return to Tampa because of his off field problems, a guy like Jimmy Smith with all his off field issues wouldn’t be the best option. Tampa will love his ability to make big plays, but Williams is also a very good athlete who can cover just about anybody. Williams also could play any of the safety position’s that makes him that much more valuable. I can see his name gain some steam as the draft approaches.
21. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)- OT Gabe Carimi
Kansas City burst onto the scene last season and nailed their first round pick in Eric Berry, but this year theyll look to build up their offensive line. Gabe Carimi has great size, and is just plain and simply a tenacious blocker. He plays with a lot of toughness and possesses enough strength. Carimi plays to the whistle and really excels in run-blocking. His ability to excel at left tackle causes him to drop a bit, but that could be worked out, I’d pencil him in at right tackle in his first few seasons, and watch him dominate.
22. Indianapolis Colts (10-6) - OL Danny Watkins
The Colts are another team who loves to draft experienced guys so Danny Watkins makes tons of sense. Watkins is 26 years young, and is said to be well beyond his years in terms of “football maturity.” Much like Phil Taylor, Watkins teammate at Baylor, Danny is a hot commodity heading into the draft. Watkins has shown that he has all the athleticism and strength needed to be a superb offensive guard in the NFL, so he could come in day one at help protect Peyton Manning.
23. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) - DB Jimmy Smith
Andy Reid has never been one to pass up on a superb athlete because of his character issues (see Mike Vick) so Jimmy Smith makes a ton of sense. Philly’s depleted secondary was one of the bigger factors in them getting an early round knockout in the post season last year. Smith left little doubt that he has the pure skills to be a first round selection, but sitting out game situations during the Senior Bowl has soured some on him, to add to the off-field problems. But a guy who runs as well as he does, and is so freakishly athletic at 6’2 doesn’t come around much. If Reid can keep Smith’s head on straight, they may have the steal of the draft in.
24. New Orleans Saints (11-5) - RB Mikel Leshoure
Leshoure is a tough runner with fast feet and a tremendous burst. He hits top speed very quickly and for his height, he is a powerful runner who can break through tackles. This running back draft class does not have many backs who could potentially carry a big workload, but Leshoure is one of them. He’ll need to work on his pass protection, and ability to catch passes out of the back field to become a star, but he is going to be a helluva runner in the NFL. He is compared to former Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall.
25. Seattle Seahawks (7-9) - QB Ryan Mallett
The Seahawks have to be pissed to see Jake Locker go so early to Minnesota, thanks to head coach Pete Carroll familiarity with Locker, Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian (Carroll’s former Offensive-Cordinator) and the Pac 10, but with the Seahawks needing a franchise quarterback, the best pick here is Ryan Mallett. Mallett has been in the spotlight for a number of reasons, but his physical ability to play quarterback wasn’t really the question (fantastic size, 6’6, and a laser for an arm), its his lack of experience in a pro-style offense, and his awful footwork. Mallett took 95% of his snaps at Arkansas out of the shotgun (normally doesn’t transfer to the next level) due to the speed of the game, and he often times is flat-footed and just tries to strong-arm the ball. Receivers will not be as open in the NFL as they were at Arkansas, and that alone could lead to costly errors, but if he can work on taking snaps under center, and be taught proper footwork, he can develop into a very good NFL quarterback.
26. Baltimore Ravens (12-4) - LB Cam Heyward
Heyward’s ability to play every position in the front-7 makes him insanely valuable to Baltimore. Given his size (6’5 288), he has a good athletic frame. He is fast, has good balance and does a good job controlling his body. The problems with Heyward stems from what appears to be a very inconsistent motor. If he doesn’t get a good first step, he can be thrown off and become one-dimensional and even invisible on certain plays. He will simply lunge forward, push and not really attack with any awareness of where he is going or reading the play. Which is why he may remind a few people to a former Ohio State star, and NFL bust, Vernon Gholston. With all that, and his elbow injury which caused him some time in the Sugar Bowl, and all of the pre-draft workouts, Heyward fell down the board this hard. With proper coaching, and a good situation, he could be a top-10 player, which is why Baltimore will grab him and run like the cops are chasing.
27. Atlanta Falcons (13-3) - WR Torrey Smith
There is no question that the Falcons will look to add another option in their passing attack. With Tony Gonzalez contemplating retirement, and guys like Harry Douglass, Michael Jenkins, and Brian Finnernan not getting the job done, a wide reciever makes all the sense in the world to line up opposite their stud wideout Roddy White. Now if Tony-G hangs on for another year the pick will be Torrey, but if they get word prior to the draft that he’s done, watch out for Notre Dame’s TE Kyle Rudolph. At 6’1, he is a superb athlete who has blazing speed and can run a sub 4.3 40, that will make him very valuable to an indoor team like Atlanta.
28. New England Patriots (14-2) - DT Phil Taylor
This is the pick I can see the Patriots trying to deal, but for the sake of my sanity, and all of yours, I’ll say they stand pat and try and build within the trenches. Baylor DT Phil Taylor has been a late riser, and at 6’4 340, Taylor is just the meat the Pats will be looking for to play next to Vince Wilfork. His mobility for a player his size has some scouts drooling, not to mention how quick and strong he is at the point of attack. New England could be looking at a steal here, if they decide to stay at this pick and select Taylor.
29. Chicago Bears (11-5) - DT Muhammed Wilkerson
Another small school, late riser. Wilkerson is on of the nations best defensive tackles that no one knows about. The 6’4 315 pound Wilkerson could play the three-tecnique in a 4-3 or a five-tecnique in a 3-4. He is a very underrated prospect with an extremely intriguing blend of athleticism, size and movement skills. Put his on the same front as Julius Peppers and watch him do the dirty work.
30. New York Jets (11-5)– DE Cameron Jordan
Now here is another spot that could be moved, the Jets love to move up and down the board in order to get the guy they want. Rex Ryan and his defensive coordinator Mike Pettine LOVE Cameron Jordan. It is uncertain whether or not he will be on the board come 30, but the new Jets regime has never been shy of getting their guy. I have the Jets taking Jordan here for no other reason then this is the guy Rex wants, and the team normally does all it can do get their guy, so they may need to wheel and deal here. Jordan has played in a 3-4 at California, and also multiple positions as well as some 4-3 looks which is mandatory for a Rex Ryan defense because of his multiple fronts. He will stop the run and disrupt the passing game, but he is not the “elite” pass rusher some Jet fans maybe looking for. He is a high motor guy, can play all over, get off his block, has very violent and active hands, and has a very low bust potential. If the Jets decide to go the traditional pass rusher route, they have their eyes on Justin Houston of Georgia, and Jabaal Sheard of Pittsburgh.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) - OL Derek Sherrod
The Pittsburgh Steelers may have had the worst offensive line of any team to ever make the Super Bowl, so I can almost GUARANTEE they will look to improve that situation early, and often in this draft. Sherrod hasn’t had the easiest of times protecting his quarterback’s blind side in college, so you can almost slide him into the right tackle position in Pitt right away. Derek is very fundamentally sound, and he has great agility for a man of his size (6’5 305), a transition to left tackle may very well be in his future, but for now, he should be a good right tackle for many years.
32. Green Bay Packers (10-6) – DL Brooks Reed
The Packers don’t have many glaring holes as you may expect from the team who just won the Super Bowl, but adding another pass rusher never hurts. If you look quick, Reed looks like Clay Matthews with the golden locks, but the scary thing is, Reed may turn out to be Clay’s body double. Reed isn’t great against the run, and struggles to get separation, but is relentless in pursuit, and combined with his burst, and insane upper body strength, he can reek havoc on the opposing quarterback. The Packers linebacker’s hair (Clay Matthews, AJ Hawk, and Brooks Reed) could compare with Hugh Hefner’s Girl’s Next Door, Only instead of annoying the life out of you, they will beat it out of you.
The NFL Draft starts Thursday, April 28, at 8 p.m. ET and continues with Rounds. 2-3: Friday, April 29, at 6 p.m. ET, and ends with Rounds. 4-7: on Saturday, April 30, at 12 ET.
This all goes down at the Radio City Music Hall, in New York City, and can be seen on ESPN, or NFL Network (ESPN’s coverage is better) so grab some beers, turn on that grill, and unofficially kick off the Football season.
If you want to come to the Spano house for the Draft, drop a comment in there bro’s and gal’s, thats where the magic happens……. I mean on the grill of course. ”LESS GET IT“
Oh and one more thing, if you get more picks right then me, I will buy you a steak dinner, so drop your mocks in the comment box. Nice Rhyme huh?