2011 NFL Mock Draft v3.1: The Cam Newton Effect
Posted 04-01-2011 at 02:19 PM by Buckeye
I had previously written a mock draft following the NFL Combine. Pro Days are going on right now across the country. But in the meantime, I am getting ready to update this draft and since the only major shift is putting Cam Newton at 3 to the Bills rather than having him drop to 12 that it changes things. But after 12, the mock pretty much stays the same given that team needs are probably not going to change with the players locked out and no free agency is happening. I made a few substitutions here and there, but nothing big. So instead of calling this mock v4.0, I instead call it v3.1 as most of the comments are just copied from v3.0. I see this update as more of a "What if" scenario rather than seeing the Bills actually taking the biggest enigma in the draft.
1. Carolina Panthers - QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
Despite taking Jimmy Clausen last year, the Panthers are convinced that he is not their future, so a new QB is on the top of the team's wish list. While the best players in this draft are the defensive linemen, a new coach might want a new leader to hand the keys off to. So here, a QB is projected here. Right now, Gabbert is emerging as being more ready to play than Cam Newton.
2. Denver Broncos - DT Marcel Dareus, Alabama
The Broncos will be changing back to a 4-3 defense with the hiring of John Fox as their new head coach. Since they have Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayres at the ends that going inside would be the more logical choice. With that, Dareus has passed Fairley after an impressive combine along with the size issue Fairley has.
3. Buffalo Bills - QB Cam Newton, Auburn
Now things get interesting with the Bills having big needs at QB and pass rusher. But the Bills have been known to defy logic with their recent picks which opens the possibility for Patrick Peterson to be taken despite the fact that other positions are in far worse shape. But with Cam Newton, he brings all the athleticism and potential that needs to be developed. The Bills have Ryan Fitzpatrick playing decently enough that Cam can develop behind him. So this would be a great match.
4. Cincinnati Bengals - WR A.J. Green, Georgia
Carson Palmer wants out, T.O. and Ocho Cinco are likely out the door, and with that the Bengals offense is a mess. While wideouts in the early going are usually a high risk, Green is one of the best to come out of college in a while.
5. Arizona Cardinals - LB Von Miller, Texas A&M
If Ken Whisenhunt has his way, he will opt to upgrade his pass rush. While QB is a bigger need, the Cards look to be unwilling to pull the trigger on Gabbert or Newton. With that, the OLB is highly valued by Whisenhunt's defense and Miller has been phenomenal.
6. Cleveland Browns - DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson
The Browns are shifting back to a 4-3 defense this year, and with that, the Browns are need of defensive linemen. Bowers is a 4-3 guy who will help the transition.
7. San Francisco 49ers - CB Patrick Peterson, LSU
QB is the biggest need, but neither Gabbert nor Cam Newton are good fits in Jim Harbaugh's offense and furthermore, both might be gone making this debate irrelevant. The 49ers have a huge need in the secondary with Nate Clements getting old and the rest of the cornerbacks being more suited to play nickel. In filling this big need, the 49ers get one of the best cornerbacks to come out of college in a long time and is someone who could go #1 despite the position, though that is not likely to be the case. Should Peterson be taken, Prince Amukamara is the pick.
8. Tennessee Titans - DT Nick Fairley, Auburn
Fairley was penciled in as the top pick, but has been passed by Marcel Darius after coming in to be too small. The Titans will get a playmaker who has been terrorizing offenses last year.
9. Dallas Cowboys - CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
If Prince is still here, the Cowboys will take him in a heartbeat. But there is always the possibility of a trade and the Rams would certainly be intrigued with trading for this pick to nab Julio Jones. The Cowboys have big needs at CB, T, and DE and Prince fills in a big need with Terrence Newman getting old.
10. Washington Redskins - WR Julio Jones, Alabama
While QB issues are huge in DC, no QB will deliver with the wideouts that the Redskins have, especially if Santana Moss leaves as a free agent. After putting up a fast time at the combine that Junes has solidified his status.
11. Houston Texans - DE J.J. Watt, Wisconsin
With the Texans moving to a 3-4 defense that they need an athletic pass rusher as an OLB. Watt is a perfect player for the DE position in a 3-4 defense.
12. Minnesota Vikings - DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina
While the Vikings have a huge need for a QB, this is much too soon for Jake Locker or Ryan Mallett. So instead, the Vikings would be wise to shore up their defensive line with the Williams Brothers getting old and Ray Edwards becoming a free agent.
13. Detroit Lions - T Tyron Smith, USC
If the Lions are going to have any chance of competing, they need to keep Matthew Stafford on the field. With that, their biggest need is on the offensive line and Smith's impressive combine performance has earned him the top-rated offensive tackle spot.
14. St. Louis Rams - DE Aldon Smith, Missouri
If the Rams do not get Julio Jones here, then their next biggest need is a pass rusher. While Smith has the skills, he had a mediocre combine.
15. Miami Dolphins - RB Mark Ingram, Alabama
Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are almost certainly on their way out, so the Dolphins need to bring in a RB. Ingram is a special talent at the position.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars - DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
The Jaguars need to continue upgrading their dismal front seven and Kerrigan is the type of player that fits in with Jack Del Rio.
17. New England Patriots - DE Cameron Jordan, California
With two first round picks, the Patriots will be looking to upgrade their team at DE, OLB, T, and RB. Of those positions, Jordan is the best value here as he put on a show at the combine and is the prototypical Bill Belichick player.
18. San Diego Chargers - DT Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple
The Chargers have a huge need at DE and Wilkerson's stock is fast-rising. He will fit in as a 3-4 DE, but will need some time to develop his skills. This is probably a big reach since he is considered to go in the low 20's range, but he has the upside that the Chargers would like.
19. New York Giants - T Anthony Castonzo, Boston College
The Giants running game was ineffective down the stretch last season and a juge reason is that the offensive line failed to open up any holes. Knowing the type of players that Tom Coughlin likes points towards Castonzo to being the pick.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa
While the Bucs improved their defense last year, their defensive line still needs to get better, especially at stopping the run.
21. Kansas City Chiefs - LB Brooks Reed, Arizona
The Chiefs continue to revamp their defense as it needs an OLB to put up big sack numbers. Reed has been a fast rising prospect and would be a nice fit in their 3-4 defense.
22. Indianapolis Colts - T Nate Solder, Colorado
The Colts had a big need on the offensive line last year and failed to address it. So this lingering problem gets addressed here as he is a great pass blocker, which works well with the offense that Peyton Manning likes to run.
23. Philadelphia Eagles - T Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin
Here is another team with problems on their offensive line. Carimi is another great prospect that will help the Eagles protect Michael Vick or Kevin Kolb.
24. New Orleans Saints - DE Justin Houston, Georgia
The Saints are in need of pass rushers and Houston represents tremendous value for the Saints at this spot.
25. Seattle Seahawks - QB Jake Locker, Washington
Matt Hasselbeck is a free agent who is likely on his last legs. Locker was poised to be a top 5 pick entering the season, but has since had a disaster of a senior season where his accuracy problems spiraled out of control. Since he is a local player that he warrants consdierable attention to Pete Carroll.
26. Baltimore Ravens - CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado
The Ravens ignored the CB position in last year's draft. Smith has lots of character concerns, but the Ravens have taken chances of these types of players. He fits in well with Ray Lewis and the mentality of their defense.
27. Atlanta Falcons - WR Torrey Smith, Maryland
The Falcons need wideouts pretty badly with Roddy White being their only productive player and the rest not doing so well. Smith provides the Falcons with a deep threat to take the coverage away from White.
28. New England Patriots - G Mike Pouncey, Florida
The Pats would fill another big need in a great way since Pouncey brings exactly what the Pats need on their offensive line.
29. Chicago Bears - T Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State
The Bears had trouble protecting Jay Cutler last year with all those sacks he took. Sherrod is the best remaning tackle on the board.
30. New York Jets - NT Phil Taylor, Baylor
The Jets just cut the injury-prone Kris Jenkins and now the Jets need to fill in the void at nose tackle left by his departure. Taylor is the best big guy on defense in this year's draft.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers - CB Aaron Williams, Texas
The Steelers would love to get Mike Pouncey, but his stock is rising to the point that the Steelers will have to trade up if they want him to upgrade their porous offensive line. With that said, the Steelers may have gotten to the Super Bowl, but their cornerbacks were problematic. Williams is more of type of guy that the Steelers prefer than Brandon Harris.
32. Green Bay Packers - DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio State
Without many glaring needs, the Packers are is a great position to take the BPA. Heyward fits in as a 3-4 DE with the Packers and they are preparing to lose Cullen Jenkins in free agency.