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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

McG's 2011 NFL Mock Draft

1. Carolina Panthers (2-14) – QB Cam Newton, Auburn – After ranking last in almost every offensive category and shuffling through different quarterbacks all season, the Panthers were really hoping that QB Andrew Luck would enter the draft. While the best option may be to give QB Jimmy Clausen another opportunity, I don’t think the Panthers are willing to have another season like there last one. There are a lot of different opinions on Newton, but there is no question that the Heisman winner has the talent to become a special player and is a winner. The question is can he develop into an NFL quarterback and run a pro-style offense.

2. Denver Broncos - CB Patrick Peterson, LSU - John Fox's first job as the

Broncos new head coach, will be to re-vamp the defense. The Broncos allowed the most points, and yards in the NFL last year. The Broncos could use this pick to fill a number of needs, but I think they may just go with the best player available and that is Peterson. At 6-feet, 219-pounds and a 4.34 in the 40, Peterson posses some of the best physical talents in the draft. It will be hard for anyone to pass up on Peterson who could become a shut-down corner or top safety.

3. Buffalo Bills - QB Blain Gabbert, Missouri - The Bills have a track record of drafting risky big name guys (CJ Spiller, Aaron Maybin, John McCargo, J.P. Losman, Willis McGahee). I think this year will be no different. Every season players with physical tools, like Gabbert, shoot up draft boards during their post season workouts. At 6’5” 234 lbs. and a 4.62 in the 40 yard dash, Gabbert impressed scouts with his athleticism and ability can make all the throws. If the Bills are smart they will would try and trade down, because many teams are looking to
land a big name quarterback, and the Bills have a lot of needs.

4. Cincinnati Bengals - WR A.J. Green, Georgia - The biggest concern for the Bengals is obviously the trade demands of starting QB Carson Palmer. It looks like the Bengals, however, are going to stand firm and not trade the star quarterback. Drafting a top receiver may help pursued Palmer back on to the team. Green is probably the best receiver to come out since Calvin Johnson in 2007. Green has great size, speed and route running ability and will probably be a ROY favorite from day one.

5. Arizona Cardinals - OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M - Since switching to the 3-4 defense, the Cardinals have been searching for that dominate pass rushing OLB. They brought in a number of players but have not had great production. The perfect scenario for the Cardinals is to have Miller drop to them at 5. Miller has skyrocketed up draft boards because of his amazing athleticism and ability to get after the quarterback. Over the last two years Miller registered 39 TFL, and 27.5 sacks. He would be the perfect fit in Arizona.

6. Cleveland Browns - DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama - The Browns did not have a wide receiver last year that had over 500 yards receiving or over 3 touchdown catches, so they may be targeting A.J. Green or Julio
Jones with this pick. If Green is not available they will probably try and bring in some help for the defensive line. Dareus is one of the top prospects in this draft because of his great size and athleticism. Dareus' talents may best be summed up by his play in the national championship game.

7. San Francisco 49ers - CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska - Although the 49ers had a terrible record, they probably have the most talented team in the NFC West. I would not be surprised to see new Head Coach Jim Harbaugh come in and make the 49ers a playoff team in his first year. The one position that Coach Harbaugh has to be taking a long look at is cornerback. CB Nate Clements has lost a step, and they need to add a playmaker in the secondary. Amukamara has tons of potential and is a guy that is some what under the radar, he would be a great addition for the 49ers.

8. Tennessee Titans - DT Nick Fairley, Auburn - The Titans have been looking to bolster the middle of their defensive line ever since they lost DT Albert Haynesworth. Fairley was considered the top prospect in the draft
for a long time, but his stock dropped because of concerns about him beingh a one-year-wonder and after weighing in smaller (if 6-foot-4, 291-pounds is small) than most expected. Fairley would be a great fit for the Titans, he knows how to get up field and cause havoc in the backfield.

9. Dallas Cowboys - DE Cameron Jordon, California - The biggest concern for the Cowboys has to be adding talent and depth to the offensive and defensive lines. With Jerry Jones running things you never know what direction they will go in, but drafting Jordan may be the best move. Jordan posses great size and strength and would be a perfect fit for the Cowboys 3-4 scheme. Jordan has been shooting up the boards since his performance at the senior bowl and combine, it would not be surprising to see him end up in the top 10.

10. Washington Redskins - QB Jake Locker, Washington - Its been a long fall for Locker, who most believed would be the first overall pick in the draft had he come out last year. Locker is now considered by many to be a late first -second round pick. With so many teams needing quarterbacks this year, I think a team like the Redskins may reach to get their quarterback. Locker has tons of potential, and I think would be a great quarterback in Mike Shanahan's offense. Locker is a great athlete that throws well on the run, and I think he will develop into the best quarterback in this years class. This would be my surprise pick of the first round.

11. Houston Texans - DE/OLB Robert Quinn, North Carolina - The Texans secondary got torched once again last year even after they spending their 2010 first round pick on CB Kareem Jackson. They may once again target cornerback, but a bigger concern may be bringing in another guy that can get after the quarterback. Quinn is a great athlete, that can put pressure on the quarterback. Even though he sat out all last year, his 19 TFL, and 11 sack season as a sophomore are all some GM's will need to watch.

12. Minnesota Vikings - DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson - The Vikings had a big decision on who to franchise tag this off-season. Instead of paying the ridiculous one year salary to DE Ray Edwards or the injury prone WR Sidney Rice, the Vikings decided to franchise OLB Chad Greenway. This was probably the right move, but leaves Edwards and Rice as possible free agents. If that is the case then Da'Quan Bowers would be a perfect fit. Bowers is the complete defensive end, he can rush the quarterback, stop the run and he has the physical tools to start right away. The knee injury has really hurt his stock, but Bowers is a definite top 5 talent and would look awfully good opposite of DE Jared Allen.

13. Detroit Lions - OT Tyron Smith, USC - It seems like every year people are talking about the Lions finally drafting a franchise left tackle. This may be the year the Lions finally bring a tackle in. The draft does not have an elite tackles like in the previous years, but it has some great guys that are probably being over looked. The Lions will probably have a chance at pick 13 to choose from a number of guys. Smith is a great athlete at tackle who almost looks more like a tight end. He probably has the most upside of the tackles in the draft and could come in and play either right or left tackle for the Lions.

14. St. Louis Rams - WR Julio Jones, Alabama - Rookie QB Sam Bradford had a great first season, but
what made it so impressive was who he did it with. Other than RB Steven Jackson, it is hard for even the most die-hard football fan to name other players on the Rams offense. The Rams really need a go to weapon at receiver. Many people believe the Rams are targeting Alabama standout Julio Jones. At 6'3" 220 lbs. Jones is a big physical playmaker. The one question teams had about him was his top end speed, he answered those questions with a blazing 4.39 in the 40. It will be hard for teams to pass up a reciver with all the physical talents that Jones posses.

15. Miami Dolphins - C/OG Mike Pouncey, Florida - For a team that went 7-9 last year in the talented AFC East, the Dolphins have a lot of questions. They could lose both running backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams and there are concerns with QB, O-line, and safety. The Dolphins could look at a number of guys with this pick, but I think Pouncey may be their best option at 15. Pouncey is a great player in his own right, but he is really benefiting from his twin brother Maurkice's success. Pouncey will be a guy that can come in right away and start with no problems, and even though some may think that it is a reach to draft a guard at 15, a lot of teams wished they did not pass up on Maurkice last year.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars - DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue - The Jaguars never really had anyone that could consistently get after the quarterback last year. They were in the bottom of the league in sacks and the team leader only had 5. There are plenty of defensive lineman to choose from in this years draft, Kerrigan may not be the flashiest, but he is a great all around player. The Jaguars made the mistake of drafting a flashy defensive end, Derrick Harvey, with their 8th pick in 2008 and he has ended up being a bust so they may shy away and go with the safer pick in Kerrigan.

17. New England Patriots (from: OAK) - DE/OLB Aldon Smith - The Patriots, per usual, are stacked with draft picks, this year they have two in each of the first three rounds. With so many picks, look for to possibly move up and get a top pass rusher like Von Miller or even WR AJ Green. If the Patriots stay at 17, they would love to see Aldon Smith fall to them. Smith is exactly the type of player the Patriots are looking for because he is so versitle. He can rush the passer standing up, he can drop back in coverage, put a hand down and rush as a defensive tackle or defensive end. He is a guy that is similar in many ways to former Patriot Willie McGinest.

18. San Diego Chargers - DE J.J. Watts, Wisconsin - It is still hard to fathom how a team that was statistically the best in the NFL on offense and defense did not make the playoffs. It will be tough for the Chargers to get any better in the off-season, and there are not many holes on the roster. One spot they will be looking to add depth is the defensive line. Watts would be a perfect fit as a 3-4 defensive end for the Chargers. At 6-foot-6, 292-pounds, Watts has excellent size and strength and would help make the stout Charger defense even better.

19. New York Giants - OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College - The offensive line was not a real problem last year for the Giants, but it is a position that they need to instill some youth. 4 of the 5 starting offensive lineman are over 30. The Giants have showed they can win as long as they can run the ball and protect QB Eli Manning, so it is never a bad thing to have too many offensive lineman. Castonzo comes from a school known for producing top lineman. He is 4-year starter, that is big, tough, smart player that should have no problem transitioning to the NFL.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- DE Adrian Clayborn - The Bucs have one of the youngest, and most exciting teams in the NFL. They seemingly came out of no where last year and got production from young guys like QB Josh Freeman, WR Mike Williams, and RB LeGarrette Blount. They added a lot of depth to the interior of their defensive line, but they will definitely be targeting defensive ends in this draft. Look for the Bucs, who ranked 2nd to last in getting to the quarterback last year, to possibly move up and nab a top defensive end. If they stay at 20, then Clayborn may be a guy they target. Clayborn is a big, strong, versitile defensive end. He is not a pure pass rusher, but he will make plays because of great instincts and high football IQ.

21. Kansas City Chiefs - OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin - The Chiefs had an unbelievable season last year. They really found a lott of great pieces on both sides of the ball, and as long as QB Matt Cassel continues to play well (after the departure of OC Charlie Weis) they should be a playoff team for many years to come. The one glaring need for the Chiefs for the last couple of years has been offensive lineman. This may finally be the year they bring some guys to help protect their franchise quarterback. Carimi comes from another school known for producing top end offensive lineman. He is a typical Wisconsin lineman, big, strong, blue-collar attitude. He should be an big upgrade on the Chiefs offensive line.

22. Indianapolis Colts -DT Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple - It is hard to evaluate the Colts needs for this year because they are coming off a season that was riddled with injuries. I am going to stick with a position they have need for a very long time, defensive tackle. I have predicted that the Colts would draft a DT in the first round for a long time now. Every year they seem to avoid the defensive tackle position I think this may finally be the year. Wilkerson is shooting up draft boards because teams see the unlimited upside in the 6-foot-4, 315-pound lineman. He is someone that could help the Colts 25th ranked rush defense and help get after the quarterback.

23. Philadelphia Eagles - CB Brandon Harris, Miami - The Eagles may be hurt the most by the lockout. There are many teams in need of a quarterback and would give up a lot of picks to acquire QB Kevin Kolb. If

they stay at spot 23, look for them to draft a CB or offensive/defensive lineman. They place a very high value on the men in the trenches and are not afraid to use high picks on them. Harris is a complete corner, he has great covers skills, and is not afraid to come up and hit. I think he is a very underrated prospect because of his size.

24. New Orleans Saints - RB Mark Ingram, Alabama - The Saints had a very good team last year and probably were talented enough to repeat as champions if they had a dependable running back. The Saints had a slew of injuries and really had to rely on veterans and career back ups. Their offense became very one dimensional and that is one reason you saw Drew Brees throw a career high 22 interceptions, while attempting a career high 448 passes. Ingram is just a good football player. Nothing about him
jumps off the page, but he has great vision, balance, and awareness. He would really help stabilize the Saints offense.

25. Seattle Seahawks - QB Christian Ponder, Florida St. - The Seahawks were in the bottom of the league in almost every statistical category, yet they were still able to defeat the reigning super bowl champions in the playoffs. Their biggest problem has to be consistency, especially from the quarterback position. I think with this pick the Seahawks have to be targeting a quarterback for the future. Ponder would fit well in a west-coast offense, he is accurate, has a quick release and is a good athlete.

26. Baltimore Ravens - CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado - The Ravens may have been the most talented and complete team last year. But they may only go as far as QB Joe Flacco will take them. So with this pick they may try to add some depth on offense. But if Smith is still available I would be surprised if the Ravens do not jump at the opportunity to get him. There are only a few people with Smith's physical skill set that can play cornerback. Smith is 6'2" 211 lbs. and can run in the mid 4.4's. He would be a great fit in Baltimore.

27. Atlanta Falcons - WR Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburgh - WR Roddy White has really emerged as one of the top receivers in the NFL. Unfortunately for the Falcons and QB Matt Ryan, White is really the only playmaker they have at receiver. Baldwin is a guy that has been compared to Randy Moss at times. He is 6'4 1/2" and ran a 4.50 at the combine. He has great ball skills and leaping ability and would present a big target for any quarterback.

28. New England Patriots - OG Danny Watkins, Baylor - You can never be certain about anything that the Patriots will do on draft day, but my guess is that at some point in the first three rounds they will target some offensive linemen. There are a lot of questions marks on their offensive line with both OG Logan Mankins and OT Matt Light possibly becoming free agents. Watkins is a proto-typical Patriot, he is hard working, smart, and plays with a mean steak. The one negative about him is his age, he is 27, but I think most teams are worried about the here and now, rather than if he will be able to produce in ten years.

29. Chicago Bears - DT Corey Liuget, Syracuse - The Bears have not had a first round draft pick since 2008, so look for them to make a splash with this pick. The biggest need may be offensive line, but I think the Bears may look else where. With their franchise defensive tackle Tommie Harris recently being released Liuget may be the move. Liget is another guy that has really jumped up draft boards, he could end up any where from in the top 15 to late second round. He could come in and help fill the void left by Harris.

30. New York Jets - Justin Houston, Georgia - The Jets and Rex Ryan are known for putting pressure on the opposing quarterback. Last year without a true pass rusher that meant a lot of all out blitzes. The biggest need for the Jets in this draft is a guy that can put up sack numbers. Houston really came on strong last year notching 10 sacks and 18.5 TFL. He has the physical tools to produce in the Jets system and could immediately help them out.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers - CB/S Aaron Williams, Texas - The Steelers secondary was really exposed by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl. I think the Steelers will be targeting defensive backs early and often in the draft. With this pick they have to go with the best guy corner or safety available and that is probably Aaron Williams. Williams would be a great fit at corner for the Steelers. He is an aggressive, physical corner that would fit well in their defensive scheme.

32. Green Bay Packers - OT Nate Solder, Colorado - Even if the Packers did not add one player in the off-season they would once again be Super Bowl favorites. The players coming back from injuries alone make the Packers an even scarier team. This is really a luxury pick for the Packers and in typical Ted Thompson fashion they will go after the best player on their board. Solder has a lot of upside at tackle and will probably be gone by this point. If he is still available this would be a great fit for the Packers. Solder is a guy that could eventually become the Packers franchise left tackle.


Jimmy said...

Solid Draft Josephina, except Solder is not gonna fall that far, and I don't see how the Vikings won't draft a Qb considering Joe Webb is their current starter...

Keith McGonigle said...

Haha true... I don't think solder is that great not sure what nfl teams think. I think the vikings are gonna get someone via trade or free agency or mallet or dalton in the second round.

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