Jake's 2011 NFL Mock Draft
1. Carolina Panthers - Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
I still have a hard time deciding who I want to land in the number one spot, with so many choices you can pick from, however, for now I'm gonna go with the player that has huge potential and is an athletic freak in Cam Newton. While he may not be the safest pick, he comes with great upside and with a new regime in Carolina, Newton could be exactly what new head coach Ron Rivera needs to get this team back on track. Newton's combine wasn't stellar with lots of over throws and missed receivers, his pro day was much more efficient and that may be what Cam needed to solidify himself as the number one overall pick. It doesn't hurt that the team also took him out to dinner.
2. Denver Broncos - Marcell Dareus, DT/DE, Alabama
I still think Fox could end up taking Bowers at this spot, the way Dareus performed at the combine really opened up a lot of eyes. With the switch to a 4-3 defense, Elvis Dumervil will look to shore up that defensive end spot and the most glaring need is the inside of that line. Dareus has a lot of athleticism and can plug up the hole in a hurry.
3. Buffalo Bills - Von Miller, OLB/DE, Texas A&M
With Ryan Fitzpatrick coming off a decent year, I look for the Bills to make the right decision and take a player with huge upside and an impact player on defense. Von Miller is an outstanding athlete and would be a nice addition as a pass rushing linebacker in the Bills 3-4 scheme. He has quickness at the snap of the ball and can shed blockers quickly with his different techniques he possesses. Von Miller has the potential to be a Pro Bowl caliber player right off the bat.
4. Cincinnati Bengals - A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Surprise pick here…NOT! This is a clear cut win-win for the Bengals and for Carson Palmer in general. With this pick hopefully Palmer will come down from his high horse and be a little more happy that there’s a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. Green is a standout player, the next Calvin Johnson comes to mind. With aging receivers that run their mouth more than they catch balls, Green would be a bright spot for this talented but head case of a team.
5. Arizona Cardinals - Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
With no sure answer at quarterback, the Cardinals are in need of some new arms to throw to Fitzgerald. With no new CBA in place, the chances of trading for a quarterback already in the league are slim to none. I think the Cardinals act accordingly and look to shore up the most important position on the field and take Gabbert, who could possibly be the best quarterback in this years draft class.
6. Cleveland Browns - Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
Bowers is a physical specimen that can't be overlooked. The Browns need front seven help badly and with a switch to a 4-3 defense, adding Bowers to one of the end positions would help to make immediate pass rushing help from a team that lacked it last year. Bowers is one of the top prospects in this draft and could easily go a lot higher, but at this time, Cleveland ends up with a gem for years to come.
7. San Francisco 49ers - Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
With out a doubt Peterson is the best corner of this draft. He has the ability to become a great player right off the bat and become that shut down corner like Darrelle Revis or Nnamdi Asomugha. Peterson could easily go much higher than number 7 but the Niners get a gift from the football gods and land one of the top prospects at number 7 in this years draft.
8. Tennessee Titans - Nick Fairley, DT/DE, Auburn
With the recent emergence of Marcell Dareus, I really thought Fairley was the number one pick. Since my last mock I've had some more time to study up on other prospects and watch the combine and some pro days, and I have to say, while Fairley's stock may have dropped a little, he is still a beast to be reckoned with. He has all the physical skills to play anywhere on the defensive line and is a good pick up for the Titans defense.
9. Dallas Cowboys - Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Amukamara is an excellent secondary prospect. I can see him either playing at corner or safety at the next level, and the Cowboys would make a lot of sense for Amukamara to land. The Cowboys have needs at offensive line and defensive line, but the secondary I think should come first for them. With no real answers at Corner or Safety, Amukamara is a safe pick.
10. Washington Redskins - Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
The Redskins just miss out on one of the top two quarterbacks, so with a miserable receiving core, Julio Jones makes a world of sense to be picked at this spot. Jones performed outstanding at the combine, on a broken foot no less, and even out shined A.J. Green. Jone's possesses great speed and great hands, and will be a load to handle at the next level.
11. Houston Texans - J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
J.J. Watt's stock continues to rise and a lot of mocks I've seen had him going as high as 6th. While I don't think he will go that high, Watt is a great end prospect with a high motor that always goes. I think he can play in a 4-3 or a 3-4 and with Wade Phillips the new Defensive coordinator I could see them looking to the defensive side of the ball to add to the already talented core of players they have there now.
12. Minnesota Vikings - Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina
Sitting out a year certainly did not help Quinn's draft stock, but with his physical skills, he is a sure lock for the top part of the draft. The Vikings could use some help bolstering an aging defensive front line and while they need a quarterback, I don't think they will reach at this pick for players like Locker or Mallett.
13. Detroit Lions - Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
It's no surprise that Matthew Stafford is injury prone, so picking up a great tackle in this years draft should be priority number 1. The Lions don't have too many assets on the offensive line, and adding Solder, it gives them a viable run and pass blocking machine. The Lions could also look on the defensive side of the ball with this pick, possibly selecting Akeem Ayers or a corner.
14. St. Louis Rams - Aldon Smith, OLB/DE, Missouri
The Rams came off a very good first year under Sam Bradford. Wide Receiver is the biggest need for this team, but with both Jones and Green off the board at this time, I look for them to upgrade the defensive line and add quality football players. Aldon Smith brings a good skill set. He's a bit raw still but with good coaching, he could be a force to reckon with.
15. Miami Dolphins - Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
One thing is for sure, the Dolphins have a huge hole at running back with Williams and possibly Brown both leaving. Ingram is a very explosive back with good strength and field vision. He has a good first step and when he gets out to the secondary, he's a load to take down. Ingram would help this Dolphins team greatly.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars - Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois
Here is one of my surprise picks of the draft. Head coach Jack Del Rio use to be a linebacker himself, and with the outstanding workouts Wilson has put up, I could see the Jags pulling the trigger and going after Wilson this early. Ryan Kerrigan would also be another good pick here, but with the investment in Aaron Kampman and Derrick Harvey, I don't think they will go defensive end here. Secondary is also another spot they could look to add to.
17. New England Patriots - Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB, Purdue
The Patriots continue to get younger and still win games. Ryan Kerrigan has the ability to play on the end or an outside linebacker spot in the Patriots defense. Kerrigan has good size and speed to match up against a lot of tough O-Line's in the NFL and would bolster the Pats pass rush immediately.
18. San Diego Chargers - Cameron Jordan, DE/DT, California
Some say Cameron Jordan might be the best defensive lineman of this draft class. He certainly has the potential and with the ability to play interior or exterior d-line, his versatility will go a long way in the Chargers 3-4 scheme.
19. New York Giants - Tyron Smith, OT, USC
Tyron Smith is a great tackle prospect coming out of southern cal. He is physical and plays with great speed and agility. He's still a bit undersized, but weight can be added quickly to his frame. The Giants get a very good O-Line prospect to help bolster their protection of Eli Manning, who spent a lot of time on his butt last year.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Justin Houston, OLB/DE, Georgia
Justin Houston had a good combine workout and showed very good athleticism. He added a ton of weight in this off season and not just bad weight, but pure muscle. He could play end in a 4-3 easily, and with the speed he possesses, he could make some serious trouble for tackles.
21. Kansas City Chiefs - Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
Tamba Hali needs some help on the other side of him and Akeem Ayers could be that guy. Ayers stock has slipped recently but I think he could provide the chiefs with some good value at this spot.
22. Indianapolis Colts - Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
Manning isn't getting any younger and needs some help on the O-Line. Castonzo provides quick feet and good athleticism.
23. Philadelphia Eagles - Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
Carimi is one of the better tackles in this draft, and him falling to the Eagles would be a miracle for the Eagles. The Eagles desperately need help on the offensive side of the ball and Carimi is a good run blocking tackle to help Vick gain those extra yards he needs.
24. New Orleans Saints - Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
Clayborn is a good defensive end prospect coming out of Iowa. With an aging D-line, look for the Saints to make upgrades at these spots. Clayborn is a steal at number 24, and could become one of the better prospects in this years draft down the road.
25. Seattle Seahawks - Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
A lot of people hope that the hometown hero Jake Locker gets selected at this spot, and while he very well could be, I look for the Seahawks to upgrade their weak secondary with a top notch corner in Jimmy Smith. Smith has the potential to go a lot higher than this.
26. Baltimore Ravens - Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
The Ravens have a lot of interest with Sherrod. If he's there when they pick, he could be selected by the Ravens, who met with Derek at the Senior Bowl and showed major interest in the Tackle.
27. Atlanta Falcons - Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
Roddy White can’t be the only one that Matty Ice throws to on Sundays, and with a poor year by all pro tight end Tony Gonzalez, they could use some more weapons. With a 15.7 yards per catch rating, Smith is another guy that Atlanta could look to stretch the field on opposing teams and make for a long day for the defense.
28. New England Patriots - Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami
The Patriots always have a knack for going after underrated wide outs and making them into all pro receivers. Hankerson has good hands and feet and would add depth to a thin position in New England.
29. Chicago Bears - Mike Pouncey, G/C, Florida
Mike Pouncey is a stud, and with glaring needs on the offensive side of the ball, Pouncey makes all the sense in the world to land in the windy city. As much as Jay Cutler spent time getting knocked on his ass last year, plugging in Pouncey will help solidify a weak offensive line unit.
30. New York Jets - Muhammad Wilkerson, DT/DE, Temple
The Jets need to upgrade that Defensive line. With the departure of failing Vernon Gholston and an aging and injury prone Kris Jenkins, Wilkerson would add some much needed help to the D-Line and help stuff the run for the Jets.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers - Danny Watkins, G, Baylor
The Steelers are in a win now mode, and adding Watkins who's 27 years old would bolster their front O-Line and help them win immediately. Watkins might be a one contract guy, however he hasn't played much in his life and has wear and tear. Watkins could be a good pick up that plays later in his life than most Guards do in the NFL.
32. Green Bay Packers - Brooks Reed, OLB/DE, Arizona
The Packers need another true pass rusher on the other side of Clay Matthews. Reed is has above average speed and has skills to cover. He would be another good weapon for Capers to have in his defense.