2011 NFL Mock Draft v4.0: Latest from Pro Days
Posted 04-08-2011 at 04:30 PM by Buckeye
Pro days have been going on around the nation as scouts come to the college campuses of each of the players to see how they perform in a familiar environment and from these workouts, more changes in draft stocks come from these. The biggest changes are that now, the Panthers appear to really like Cam Newton and that Da'Quan Bowers is seeing his stock fall like the #1 seeds in the recently completed Big Dance. With that, it's time for a new mock draft and this time, it's v4.0 since the previous mock had only minor tweaks after changing one pick. This one has a bigger overhaul with the aforementioned changes. With more insider information from the reliable Adam Schefter that is much different since I posted my last mock that it is time to post an updated mock.
1. Carolina Panthers - QB Cam Newton, Auburn
There is a reason why nobody wanted Jimmy Clausen when he fell to the Panthers in the second round, and the Panthers learned the hard way last season. To make things right, the Panthers are thinking QB with the top pick despite having lots of other needs elsewhere. According to Schefter, the Panthers are in love with Newton. Between him and Blaine Gabbert, Gabbert is the safer choice being more ready to play, but Newton has all the physical tools. However, there is the character concern and the fact that he needs to learn how to play in a pro-style offense.
2. Denver Broncos - DT Marcel Dareus, Alabama
The Broncos had absolutely no pass rush last year as Elvis Dumervil was lost for the year and Robert Ayres struggled as a 3-4 OLB. Dareus has cemented his spot as the top defensive lineman after Da'Quan Bowers had a terrible workout and a hurt knee. The Broncos are transitioning back to a 4-3 defense with John Fox as the new head coach and Dareus is the guy they need to help out that pass rush that had the fewest sacks in the NFL last season. Patrick Peterson is another possibility with Champ Bailey getting old and that he is rated as the best player in the draft. But better pass rush will help improve secondary play.
3. Buffalo Bills - LB Von Miller, Texas A&M
The Bills have needs just about everywhere except for RB. Their biggest needs are at QB, OL and for a 3-4 defense, DE and OLB. Based on value, Miller would make the most sense here as he has rocketed up the board with phenominal performances in the Senior Bowl and combine. The Bills could take a QB like Blaine Gabbert to develop behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, but the value on defense is too much to pass up.
4. Cincinnati Bengals - WR A.J. Green, Georgia
Carson Palmer wants out and will likely not be playing for the team next season, and chances are that Ocho Cinco and T.O. are not returning. So with that, the Bengals have lots of holes to fill on their offense. If any QB, whether it be Palmer or someone else, is going to have any chance to succeed, he will need some go-to guys. Green is one of the best WR prospects to come out of college in a long time.
5. Arizona Cardinals - QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
I had been mocking Von Miller here as he is exactly the type of guy Ken Whisenhunt likes. If Miller is available here, the Cardinals will pounce on it. But here, he is off the board and while Patrick Peterson is another possibility, the Cardinals need to solidify the QB position. With no guarantees that they can trade for a veteran QB, Gabbert represents the next best option.
6. Cleveland Browns - DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina
The Browns have huge needs needs at WR and DE. Julio Jones is an option if Green is taken since he has almost closed the gap between him and Green. But with the Browns going back to the 4-3 defense, they need front-seven personnel. Quinn can play in either defense as a 4-3 DE or a 3-4 OLB. Despite sitting out last year, he appears to have picked up where he left off in his workouts and is ready to tear it up.
7. San Francisco 49ers - CB Patrick Peterson, LSU
With both Gabbert and Newton off the board and Peterson still on the board in this case that this is a no-brainer. Even if the QBs were still on the board, the 49ers probably will pass on them since neither have the attributes to run Jim Harbaugh's West Coast Offense. In the meantime, the value at the position is too great to pass up and CB is another huge need with Nate Clements getting old and due a huge salary that the 49ers are not going to pay.
8. Tennessee Titans - DT Nick Fairley, Auburn
As another team needing a QB, the value just is not there with this selection. Instead, the Titans go with pass rush as it is another area of great need. Last year, the Titans addressed the DE position and now, they need to add rushers from the interior. Fairley was once seen as the best player in the draft, but would be an absolute steal here for the Titans.
9. Dallas Cowboys - T Tyron Smith, USC
From the latest reports, the Cowboys are really in love with Smith and are not really interested in Prince Amukamara. Protecting Tony Romo was a big problem last year that resulted in a season-ending injury for him, and the tackle play was definitely problematic. Smith has been rising up the charts with his impressive showing at the combine. The Cowboys could also trade down or go with a CB or DE with this pick.
10. Washington Redskins - WR Julio Jones, Alabama
While the Redskins are in dire need of a QB with Donovan McNabb on his way out in another of Dan Snyder's signature idiotic decisions, like the 49ers and Titans above, no QB is worth the pick. However, it is equally important that whoever is appointed as the QB of the future that he has targets to throw to, which is not the case with the Redskins. Jones has solidified his position here after a great combine and with Santana Moss a free agent that the Redskins need more help for their QB.
11. Houston Texans - DT J.J. Watt, Wisconsin
With the Texans converting to a 3-4 defesne that they need the proper front-seven personnel. Watt is a perfect fit for a 3-4 defense and while secondary is also a concern, a better pass rush is more important, and even more so when changing defensive schemes.
12. Minnesota Vikings - DE Aldon Smith, Missouri
The Vikings are another QB-needy team, but taking one here would be a huge reach. So they address another need area at DE with Ray Edwards set to become a free agent. Smith is all about potential as he has tons of it, and should fit right in with the rest of the front seven.
13. Detroit Lions - CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
If Prince falls this far, the Lions get a huge steal and he fills in a big need on the defensive side of the ball. Their biggest need is on the offensive line since Matthew Stafford got beat up last year. But the value Amukamara brings is just too great to pass up to help out Ndomakong Suh and company rush passers, not to mention the need at CB is not too far behind their need to protect Stafford.
14. St. Louis Rams - DT Corey Liuget, Illinois
The Rams would love to take Julio Jones here to provide a go-to guy for Sam Bradford. But Jones is seeing his stock rise out of reach of the Rams and no other wideouts are worth taking at this slot. So the Rams address another need on the defensive line. The latest is that the Rams are highly interested in Liuget.
15. Miami Dolphins - RB Mark Ingram, Alabama
This pick has stayed the same from the start. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are both expected to take their talents out of South Beach if and when free agency happens, leaving the Dolphins with an empty backfield. Ingram is the only RB worthy of a first round pick.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars - DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
The Jaguars have their choice of quality DE's here, and Kerrigan represents the best fit here as their GM Gene Smith prefers to go with the safer pick rather than one with the most potential. Kerrigan is far more established at this stage.
17. New England Patriots - DE Cameron Jordan, California
Knowing Bill Belichick and the Pats, they are probably going to wheel and deal around with their selections. If they keep this pick, look for them to upgrade at DE. Jordan is the type of player that Belichick really likes.
18. San Diego Chargers - DT Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple
The Chargers have a big need at DE with Jacques Cesaire aging and a free agent to be. A.J. Smith likes to take guys with huge upside and Wilkerson is that type of player who can come in and dominate the 3-4 DE position. Wilkerson was dominant at Temple and would have been going higher if he had stayed for another year. But he is a perfect fit for the Chargers that need to get younger up front.
19. New York Giants - T Anthony Castonzo, Boston College
The Giants are getting old on the offensive line and it showed last year as the line had trouble opening up holes for the running game to take off. He is a hard worker that fits in with Tom Coughlin's coaching style, making him a better fit than most other offensive line prospects.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson
The Bucs improved their defense last year, but are still in need of an improvement for their run defense. Bowers was, at one point, in contention for the first pick overall. After a injured knee and a poor showing at his pro day, his stock has been falling hard. He is a sack artist that will go well with Gerald McCoy.
21. Kansas City Chiefs - LB Akeem Ayres, UCLA
Ayres fell out of the first round in my last mock after a poor showing at the combine, but has since bounced back in his pro day. He is a type of player in the Mike Vrabel mode that can rush, cover, and stop the run, a guy Scott Pioli likes to fill in a huge need at the OLB position.
22. Indianapolis Colts - T Nate Solder, Colorado
The Colts offensive line needs to get better if Peyton Manning is to continue to put up his great numbers and if the running game is going to get off the ground. Solder is a steal here as he was, at one point, the best tackle prospect.
23. Philadelphia Eagles - T Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin
The Eagles are another franchise in need of improvements up front. The offense can't continue to rely on Michael Vick's athleticism to bail them out. Carimi can come in to start at right tackle before eventually moving over to the left side.
24. New Orleans Saints - DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa
The Saints need to improve their front seven as their pass rush was mostly anemic last year. Clayborn can step right in and play so that the Saints do not have to continue to rely on blitzing to get real pressure on the passer.
25. Seattle Seahawks - QB Jake Locker, Washington
Locker will feel right at home here as he stays in the same city he played his college ball. Provided that the Seahawks re-sign Matt Hasselbeck, this is an ideal situation for Locker as he develops behind Hasselbeck before becoming his eventual successor. Locker had accuracy issues last year that is required for the West Coast Offense, but having the luxury of sitting and learning should help him out.
26. Baltimore Ravens - CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado
The Ravens have a huge need at CB as many players at the position are free agents. So with this pick they go with Jimmy Smith, who has lots of talent, but with character issues. Under Ray Lewis' leadership, he has a great chance of straightening those concerns out.
27. Atlanta Falcons - DE Brooks Reed, Arizona
The Falcons have their biggest need at WR as Roddy White is their only reliable guy. But no wideouts are really worth of the selection. Instead, the Falcons take this fast-rising player who will help out their defense.
28. New England Patriots - G Mike Pouncey, Florida
The Pats addressed their weakness at DE with Jordan, and now, the Pats see a lot of value in Pouncey being the brother of Maurkice Pouncey, who had a phenomenal rookie season for the Steelers. There is no guarantee that Logan Mankins will be with the team for the long term. But they can use an upgrade over Dan Connoly. With three picks of the first 33, the Pats are always poised to move around.
29. Chicago Bears - T Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State
The Bears were so bad at protecting Jay Cutler and the injury during the NFC championship game that resulted in Caleb Haney having to enter the game was just the breaking point. With all the sacks Cutler had been taking that it is very important to upgrade their protection for him.
30. New York Jets - NT Phil Taylor, Baylor
The Jets just released the oft-injured Kris Jenkins and are in need of a NT for their 3-4 defense. They need a long-term solution at the position if the defense is going to continue to be productive as it has been.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers - CB Aaron Williams, Texas
The Steelers were able to reach the Super Bowl with the cornerbacks they had thanks to their relentless pass rush and the presence of a long-haired Samoan warrior at the safety spot. But with Ike Taylor becoming a free agent and Bryant McFadden not performing up to snuff that an improvement at the position would be the best course of action. Williams is more of a Dick LeBeau-type player than Brandon Harris.
32. Green Bay Packers - DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio State
Without many glaring needs, the Packers have the luxury of taking the best player available. They could always use a defensive end to help out Clay Matthews. With Johnny Jolly suspended due to his recent run-in with the law and Cullen Jenkins set to be a free agent that getting a guy like Heyward to be a 3-4 DE would be a huge steal.