Nole’s Mock Draft
By Shane Ford
Here’s my first mock of 2011. It will change at least two more times between now and draft day. I put no trades in here, although I fully believe there will be many. Enjoy!
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1. Carolina – Patrick Peterson | CB | LSU | 6’1” | 212
When the season ended everyone in Carolina was looking forward to the draft because it looked they won the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. Of course Luck ran out and decided to stay another year at Stanford. Many people think Fairley or Bowers would be the logical pick, but both players scare me because they only had one year of top production. Peterson is being compared to Deion Sanders, and could post a sub 4.3 at the combine. If the Panthers can’t trade the pick they may go with the BPA and rumor is Peterson is at the top of that board.
2. Denver – Robert Quinn | DE | North Carolina | 6’5” | 270
Denver will be moving back to a 4-3 defense. Denver ranked dead last in the NFL in defense and in QB sacks. The defensive line might be the biggest need for the Broncos. Fox is a defensive guy and will build the line back up. There is concern about off the field issues but Quinn is arguably the best player in the draft.
3. Buffalo – Nick Fairley | DT/DE | Auburn | 6’4” | 298
Fairley scares me a bit with only showing one year of production in college, but there is no doubt the talent is there. Buffalo ranked last in the NFL against the run in 2010 and Fairley can play DT or DE.
4. Cincinnati – AJ Green | WR | Georgia | 6’4” | 212
The Ocho/Owens experiment is over at least one if not both will be gone. Drafting Green may be a ploy to convince Palmer to stay, but ploy or not Green is worth the pick. He can be compared to Johnson and Fitzgerald and those comparisons would be accurate.
5. Arizona – Von Miller | DE/OLB | Texas A&M | 6’3” | 237
Porter is more than likely gone, not that he provided much help in 2010 anyway, but the Cardinals need a pas rusher and Miller might be the best pure pass rusher in the draft. There is some concern about his size, but I think he could add 10-15 pounds and not loose too much speed.
6. Cleveland – Da’Quan Bowers | DE | Clemson | 6’4” | 275
The Browns will be transitioning back to a 4-3 defense and Bowers would be plugged into RDE from day one and give them a pass rusher opposite of Roth on the left side. Bowers has freakish ability, but consistency has been his issue throughout his days at Clemson.
7. San Francisco – Prince Amukamara | CB | Nebraska | 6’0” | 205
I wouldn’t be shocked to see San Fran trade this pick for Kolb but for this draft I won’t add any trades. The Niners pass defense was in the bottom 10 last year and Clements is getting long in the tooth and they will need an upgrade over Spencer. Amukamara has all the tools to be a shutdown corner at the next level.
8. Tennessee – Blaine Gabbert | QB | Missouri | 6’5” | 235
Who is going to be the QB in Tennessee? Collins may have to be the guy for another year assuming Vince Young is jettisoned and Gabbert can sit behind him for a year and get plays in throughout the season.
9. Dallas – Nate Solder | OT | Colorado | 6’8” | 314
Dallas must improve the offensive line. Solder is big and very good technique. His long arms and good footwork will help him protect the blind side. He’ll probably start out on the right side, but should be able to move to the left by year two ate the latest.
10. Washington – Tyron Smith | OT | USC | 6’5” | 307
Washington could go several directions and none of them would be wrong. The must address the offensive line and Smith reminds many of Ryan Clady who Shanahan selected a few years ago in Denver.
11. Houston – Aldon Smith | DE/OLB | Missouri | 6’4” | 258
With Phillips coming in to run the defense the Texans will be switching to a 3-4 defense. Smith will be the guy that can come in and give edge pressure. Smith has great athleticism but did miss some games in 2010 that could draw a red flag.
12. Minnesota – Cam Newton | QB | Auburn | 6’5” | 250
Newton wants to be an Icon; well Minnesota is one of the teams rumored to be in the LA sweepstakes so he could get his chance. Newton has a lot of upside and Fraizer is a strong enough personality to keep him in check. Newton wont solve the Vikings QB issues in 2011, but I expect them to go out and make a play for McNabb as soon as the CBA is resolved.
13. Detroit – Jimmy Smith | CB | Colorado | 6’2” | 205
Detroit could look to boost the offensive line, but they must continue to build the defense. Smith is gaining momentum for a middle first round pick and would be able to step in right away.
14. St Louis – Julio Jones | WR | Alabama | 6’4” | 212
The Rams need to get more playmakers around Bradford. Jones is a bit inconsistent but he should fit well with Bradford and McDaniel’s offense. He gets a lot of YAC yards which will help move the chains.
15. Miami – Mike Pouncey | OG | Florida | 6’3” | 323
I think Miami will do everything in their power to move out of this pick, but if they are forced to pick I think Pouncey is the best option at this point. It’s being rumored that incognito will not be back and Pouncey could step in day one alongside Long and boost the offensive line. Many have Ingram here and I could see that, but I am not a fan of drafting a RB in round one, they are too easy to find in later rounds.
16. Jacksonville – Cameron Jordan | DE | California | 6’4” | 287
17. New England – Akeem Ayers | DE/OLB | UCLA | 6’4” | 255
18. San Diego – Ryan Kerrigan | DE/OLB | Purdue | 6’4” | 255
19. NY Giants – Anthony Castonzo | OT | Boston College | 6’7” | 305
20. Tampa Bay – Mark Ingram | RB | Alabama | 5’10” | 215
21. Kansas City – Danny Watkins | OG | Baylor | 6’4” | 312
22. Indianapolis – Derek Sherrod | OT | Mississippi State | 6’6” | 312
23. Philadelphia – Brandon Harris | CB | Miami | 5’11” | 195
24. New Orleans – JJ Watt | DE | Wisconsin | 6’6” | 292
25. Seattle – Corey Liuget | DT | Illinois | 6’3” | 300
26. Baltimore – Cameron Heyward | DE/OLB | Ohio State | 6’5” | 288
27. Atlanta – Justin Houston | OLB | Georgia | 6’3” | 258
28. New England – Mikel Leshoure | RB | Illinois | 6’0” | 230
29. Chicago – Jon Baldwin | WR | Pittsburgh | 6’5” | 230
30. NY Jets – Phil Taylor | DT | Baylor | 6’4” | 337
31. Pittsburgh – Gabe Carimi | OL | Wisconsin | 6’7” | 315
32. Green Bay – Aaron Williams | CB | Texas | 6’1” | 195